Within mainstream society it seems as if there is not a great deal of emphasis on the contributions made by theologians in society, as well as contributions by theologians to religious thought. Particularly in Christendom, ecclesiastical assemblies are so consumed with vain ideas of worship, and content on hearing biblical messages that capitulate to their personal desires, that theological studies are often neglected. Yet the contributions theologians have made in society, and the impact these contributions have had on religious assemblies have been pivotal in guiding religious discourse on subjects such as ethics, morality, and social transformation. It is for this reason, that in this essay an attempt will be made to analyze three essays from three world-renowned theologians of the 20th century. The theologians are Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Walter Wink, all of which have produced the essays used for this analysis, and have written works that have completely challenged status quo religion, and changed the landscape of Christendom forever.
With this in mind, the objective of this essay is to focus on the main ideas of each theologian, and discuss how each theologian’s ideas are compensatory to the other. This is important because even though each theologian’s writings were inspired by the harsh realities of the societies, and also by the effect each writer experienced in their moment in history, their critiques specifically of Christian institutions remain a consistent amongst all three writings. Furthermore, not only are their critiques consistent, but their goals for providing new frameworks for the future of the Church and Christian discipleship are consistent as well.
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... oppressed, is in conflict with God’s social vision for humanity. Therefore if we are to be true representatives of God we fight until social ills are eliminated, or we fight until God establishes the order for God’s self.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, ed. Readings in Christian Ethics: A Historical Sourcebook. Edited by J. Philip Wogaman and Douglas M. Strong. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
King Jr., Martin Luther, ed. Readings in Christian Ethics: A Historical Sourcebook. Edited by J. Philip Wogaman and Douglas M. Strong. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Wink, Walter, ed. “Identifying Powers.” In An Eerdmans Reader in Contemporary Political Theology. 0 ed, edited by William T. Cavanaugh, Jeffrey W. Bailey, and Craig Hovey, 354-68. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012.