Archives For JH Yoder


“Applying Yoder’s Theo-political
Thought to the Question of History”

A Review of
Christ, History and Apocalyptic:
The Politics of Christian Mission.

by Nathan Kerr.

 Reviewed by Chase Roden.


Christ, History and Apocalyptic:
The Politics of Christian Mission.

Nathan Kerr.
Paperback: Cascade Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


How does the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord affect a Christian’s view of history?  Professor of theology and philosophy Nathan Kerr begins his recent book with this deceptively simple question.  And although it may seem esoteric, in the course of under 200 pages Kerr makes the case that the role of history should be a central question for 21st-century Christians.  Kerr believes that modernism has made an idol of historical processes, and therefore even the concept of “history” is a hindrance to the true confession of Christ’s lordship.  Kerr lays out the key features of an alternative, “apocalyptic” vision of history — one that places God’s interruptive action in the person of Jesus of Nazareth at the center of all historical interpretation.


At this point, you may be wondering how our concept of history can be so harmful as to be considered idolatrous.  The answer to that involves the issues of the book’s subtitle: politics and Christian mission.  Following John Howard Yoder, Kerr sees Jesus’s work on earth and the continued action of the Holy Spirit as inherently political; Kerr has an Anabaptist’s earthy, “real” concept of Jesus’s mission as involving not primarily the heart or mind, but the everyday lives and actions of individuals and communities with regard to one another.  For Kerr and Yoder, the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus inaugurate the reign of God, in which the Church doesn’t just carry out the mission of God, but in which the Church is God’s mission.  Continue Reading…