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The Point of Apocalyptic

“The point that apocalyptic makes is not only that people who wear crowns and who claim to foster justice by the swords are not as strong as they think – true as that is: we still sing, ’O where are Kings and Empires now of old that went and came?’ It is that people who bear crosses are working with the grain of the universe. One does not come to that belief by reducing social process to mechanical and statistical models, nor by winning some of one’s battles for the control of one’s own corner of the fallen world. One comes to it by sharing the life of those who sing about the Resurrection of the slain Lamb.”

– John Howard Yoder, “Armaments and Eschatology.” Studies in Christian Ethics 1:43 (1988): 58.


  1. Orien wrote:

    Not only is this a great quotation from Yoder, but also is the inspiration and namesake of Hauerwas’ best work to date.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  2. adamsteward wrote:

    I love that hymn.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
  3. Dave Belcher wrote:

    ha…I just finished writing the third of my posts on the people of God in the Apocalypse…about the “new song” that the 144,000 (and/or “great multitude,” as well as the elders and living creatures) sing to the Lamb. …so I found that last line quite pertinent: “One comes to [the point of apocalyptic] by sharing the life of those who sing about the Resurrection of the slain Lamb.”

    Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  4. My favorite Yoder quote.

    And that is saying something, since I am a huge fan of Yoder.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
  5. I think this is one of Hauerwas’s favorite Yoder quotes as well – since he bases the title of his Gifford Lectures upon it (and of course quotes it in the lecture/the table of contents of With the Grain of the Universe). I would add the following quote from Irenaeus, which resonates so beautifully:

    Now seeing that He is the Word of God Almighty, who in unseen wise in our midst is universally extended in all the world, and encompasses its length and breadth and height and depth—for by the Word of God the whole universe is ordered and disposed—in it is crucified the Son of God, inscribed crosswise upon it all: for it is right that He being made visible, should set upon all things visible the sharing of His cross, that He might show His operation on visible things through a visible form. For He it is who illuminates the height, that is the heavens; and encompasses the deep which is beneath the earth; and stretches and spreads out the length from east to west; and steers across the breadth of north and south; summoning all that are scattered in every quarter to the knowledge of the Father. (Dem. 34).

    Or another translation makes it even clearer: “[The Word] has imprinted the form of the cross on the universe. In becoming visible, he had to reveal the participation of the universe in his cross.”

    Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

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