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Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination

(Powers #3)

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  400 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Wink explores the problem of evil today and how it relates to the New Testament concept of Principalities and Powers. He asks the question "How can we oppose evil without creating new evils and being made evil ourselves?" Winner of the Pax Christi Award, the Academy of Parish Clergy Book of the Year, and the Midwest Book Achievement Award for Best Religious Book.
Paperback, 444 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Fortress Press
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Greg Williams
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the third volume of Walter Wink's trilogy on the "principalities and powers" mentioned in the New Testament. Like the other volumes, it is written in a scholarly style with copious footnotes that can make it a difficult read at times. After getting about half way through this book, I got a little worn out by it and so took a break before finishing it. That said, I feel it was well worth reading. I now think about things differently as a result of this trilogy.

Wink's writing i
The conclusion to the trilogy on the powers featuring an exploration of the Domination System.

Wink's central thesis features the existence and perpetuation of the Domination System: he sees the kosmos of this world as the Domination System, the Powers over this age and the people whom they empower who themselves justify their behavior according to the myth of redemptive violence (a phrase Wink coined, apparently). Wink uses Enuma Elish as the archetype, demonstrating how so many stor
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Wink deals with the nature of the systems of the world, which he renames The Powers, in line with Wagner's view of territorial powers, but in a way that is far more conducive to evangelicalism. Although Pentecostalism is referenced within the text, few of these ideas have been adopted by Pentecostals, who prefer a more individualistic fight when it comes to evil -- The Domination System, in Wink's work is completely unknown to many non-denominational churches. Not only does he outline the biblic ...more
Jamin Bradley
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a spectacular book. After having researched peace and having written nearly a hundred pages on the topic in one of my own books, I never thought I’d need to dive back into the conversation. But this is perhaps the supreme work on the topic.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I will need to re-read this theological masterwork many times to fully digest and mine the gold found within it. Elegant and hopeful while remaining true to understanding our world and the Domination systems a part of it.
Dwight Penas
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Wink's work on the "powers and principalities" is very important and intellectually and theologically sound (the latest for the most part). I am disappointed, however, by his lack of serious Christological consideration. Without saying so, it appears -- especially in this volume -- that he subscribes (without saying directly so) a kind of "exemplar" model of Christology. Jesus modeled how to act as a child of the kingdom of God. And he skirts Arianism with talk of a "christ-principle" that becam ...more
Dan Boyce
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Walter Wink helps translates pre-modern thinking about the forces at work on and in our world into our modern and post-modern shaped thinking about the world. Mondernity pretty much strips the world of any real spirituality insisting on an strictly human-centric interpretation of the way things are. In it's arrogance, modernity reduces all things to mathematics and mathematical formulas. Wink in his "Powers" series opens the windows to a bigger picture (pre-moderns weren't as gullible as we mode ...more
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a remarkable achievement. I know of no one else that has taken on the subject of the powers, much less who could have done so in such a lucid, scholarly, compassionate and challenging manner.

This is the third and final book in Wink's trilogy on The Powers. He clearly explicates the meaning of Christ's death on the cross and how we as Christians are called to react through living lives of radical faithfulness in our interaction with the world. The book is at times deeply personal, m
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mainline Christians, with some theology background
Shelves: religion
One of my all-time favorite books. Although it is the third in a series, it isn't necessary to read the first two to understand this one. Wink is the first person to describe the death of Christ in a way that has any meaning for me. More than that, he presents a Christian vision and a Christian life that is not only powerful but, put into practice, necessary and useful and meaningful for those who live it and for the rest of the world. This is a Christianity that takes us out of our churches and ...more
Brian White
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book after reading "The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium" by Walter Wink. This is the longer theological treatise. "The Powers That Be" is a briefer version geared more for lay readers. I found this original longer version interesting but if I were to recommend either book to readers it would be "The Powers That Be." Still, great insights and I still love Wink's thoughts on intercessory prayer.
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Re-reading… …how on earth did I only give this 4 stars? Maybe because *The Powers That Be* was still fresh in my mind, and this volume is a deeper dive (TPTB is more accessible, lighter read than the 3 volume Powers trilogy, that Wink recommends be read in *reverse* order). As the coverage gets more technical and theological, the earlier the volume (the 1st two are titled *Naming the Powers* and *Unmasking the Powers*).
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t had a five star book in awhile, but this book definitely qualifies as such. Walter Wink writes about the domination system of the world and the spiritual interiority of institutions. Though Wink may fall on the more liberal end of scriptural analysis, his ideas concerning the spiritual core of institutions and the role they play in society, the significance of Christ’s death and the power of nonviolent action provide a much more comprehensive understanding of the world.
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Written in the early 90's, the author has some interesting theological commitments which color the scholarship that he brings to the topic. He is egalitarian which leads him to conclude that all differing gender roles within contemporary society must be understood in terms of domination and suppression of the weaker gender.

Good scholarship. Good research. Good writing. He makes a good contribution to the topic of spiritual warfare.
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first two books in Wink's trilogy are mere setting the ground for this one. This is the best as Wink goes into practical application. In the face of redemptive violence, the way the world works, Christians respond with nonviolent resistance. A great book that does not just defend nonviolence but does so in light of the powers and principalities that run the world.
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you want a book that carefully lays out the biblical case of non-violent resistance, this is it. He condemns our culture for its love of revenge and violence. He shoots down the Hollywood blockbuster and its promotion of redemptive violence -- if we just kill the bad guy, all will be well in the world. This book changed my life.
Bryan Neuschwander
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book hits the nail on the head--glancingly, bending the head; then striking again misses, bending the shaft to right angles; then hammers a flurry of blows, leaving the nail firmly embedded horizontally in a field of elephant tracks. Totally worth the fifty cents I paid for it.
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Walter Wink's work never ceases to astound and amaze. This book challenged my perceptions of reality in some uncomfortable ways, and yet even weeks after finishing it I find the concepts emerging again and again as I view the world around me with a slightly different lens.
Bernie Tomasso
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I did not expect the book to be an extensive treatment of the role of violence in civilization. It certainly was well worth reading although a difficult read. I will definitely be thinking about what I Iearned for quite some time.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Eloquently sets the sociological scene for Christianity. Powerful concepts articulated in a practical way. Walter Wink is brave and crazy enough to put himself out there and draw lofty concepts to practical and personal conclusions... so admirable and inspiring, if a bit wacky at times.
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book greatly influenced my theology. The concept of structural evil is something that I find very relevant when observing how society functions. Wink does some great reinterpretations of Gospel stories which have become classics in progressive religious circles.
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Exegetical and systematically theological look at power. Really opened my eyes to seeing a new set forces operating in the world. Spiritually challenging and encouraging.
Love it. Sort of defines my current theology.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in social justice
Shelves: socialjustice
An incredible book... starts with the origin of the domination system... one of the most revealing chapter for me was Ch 10 Not Becoming What We Hate...
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical
Sub title: " Discernment and Resistence in a World of Domination". See my comments for Naming the Powers,Vol I of this series.
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
This is one of the most insightful books I've ever read. I reread it weekly, and have found it to be absolutely crucial to my work and my own religious faith.
Emily Mcginley
rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2007
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Jun 09, 2009
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Apr 13, 2017
John Borthwick
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Dec 21, 2016
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Mar 06, 2009
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Dr. Walter Wink was Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. Previously, he was a parish minister and taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 1989-1990 he was a Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.

His newer works include:

The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man

Other books in the series

Powers (3 books)
  • Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament (Powers, #1)
  • Unmasking the Powers: The Invisible Forces That Determine Human Existence (Powers, # 2)
“Violent revolution fails because it is not revolutionary enough. It changes the rulers but not the rules, the ends but not the means. Most of the old androcratic values and delusional assumptions remain intact.” 7 likes
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