Philippians 2

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
 6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
 7but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
 8And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross!
 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name,
 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.


5 thoughts on “Philippians 2

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  1. In a separate post you mentioned “Graven Ideologies” by Bruce Ellis Benson, so I thought you might be interested in this… it also ties in directly with Phil 2:11…

    While editing a section of the film Rebellion of Thought called “Creating God In Our Own Image,” I included this quote from our interview with Bruce Ellis Benson regarding Christian Idolatry…

    “…we affirm as Christians that God does exists, and that our conception of God is not purely a kind of idolatrous conception of God. Now of course, there it gets a little difficult, because as Christians, I assume that our conception of God is probably never completely pure, that is to say, our conception of God is never completely free from idolatry. It’s very easy for the conception of “Jesus, Lord of my life,” to morph into, to change into, “Jesus, who is the granter of my desires.” That’s not a very big step, as it turns out, and indeed I assume that many of us live, in a sort of practical way so that Jesus is the granter of our desires, first and foremost, rather than the Lord and Master of our lives.”

    What are your thoughts on this concept of Christian idolatry?

    To learn more please visit the blog Rebellion of Thought and/or

  2. I agree with Benson on the possibility of our conception of Jesus being idolatrous. I can see how ‘our’ desires can be conflated with what we think the Lord wills. I doubly concerned when there is a more collective political will that is identified with the Lord’s will. This in conjunction with individual desires being wholly identified with what we think Jesus wants has had dire consequences in history.

    Our knowledge of God can never by equivocal nor univocal. We know by analogy.

    I believe this has been the strength of this postmodern conversation. It reminds us of the lessons taught us by Paul, Aquinas, Calvin and others regarding the limits of ‘comprehending’ God. Postmodernity frees us up from epistemologies and practices that would have us presume to “know” God’s thoughts. By first reminding us of the great theological resources that exist in pre-modern theological reflection and second by pointing out the situadness and particularity of a Christian thought and polity that does not see itself as such.

    Benson’s thoughts on this are a salve for us Christians who conflate our particular traditions and practices with the very thoughts of God. Naming this idolatry I think can be very helpful in that it can free us from the temptation to be ‘masters of the universe.’ A legacy in Christianity that has been hard to shake.

  3. Anthony,

    I understand your concerns about conflating God’s will with political endeavors. I think that is the underlying problem with an antinomian superstructure of Christian theology. It comes from a triumphalist slant to the reading of the Kingdom of God. Which to Christ (and Paul) was integral to the Torah. Torah is knowledge of God’s will. In Judaisms, including Yeshua’s, the “will” of God has been revealed, is wide and generous. How you interpret and apply Torah to bring your neighbor into the Kingdom is the part Yeshua came to raise disciples. That sounds understated, but I would question that perception as coming from a position deeply pessimistic about the benefits of Torah. Torah is nothing but beneficial in Judaistic thought…especially Yeshua’s. Yeshua’s version is the manifest Judaism. It is a political movement, but it is one that relies on transforming the heart of your neighbor from within…not imposing it upon him.

    In short, I believe we must be wary of the methods of Caesars but we must not wimp out in our part to play in civil society…or shut up as the PC crowd would have you.

  4. eric,

    I agree with you. I always find it difficult to articulate that the gospel is very political but not in the way commonly thought of. Christians need to look into that Roman or Constantinian compromise and see that it is not the ‘political’ we should be eschewing. It is the ‘kind’ of politics we should be looking at.

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