Bonhoeffer and the Way of the Crucified: Methodeia, Doctrine, and the ‘Powers’
Jonathan K. Sharpe and Jerry Pillay
Jonathan K. Sharpe (Ph.D., University of Pretoria) is Assistant Professor of
Theology at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ; Jerry Pillay (Ph.D.)
is Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria
in South Africa
Abstract: The Greek word methodeia, the “schemes,” “tricks,” or “methods” of the enemy that move us away from Christ and from unity in his body, is uniquely found only within Ephesians 4:14 and 6:11. In Ephesians 4:14, Paul focuses on the unity of the body of Christ and the way Christians grow into unity and maturity with Christ is by avoiding the methodeia of the enemy. The term also appears again in Ephesians 6:11 where Paul urges believers to put on the armor of God to avoid the methodeia of the devil. In this chapter we consider Peter Rollins’ theological movement of “Radical Theology” as being an example of methodeia which might disrupt the transformational unity of the body of Christ and against which we need to arm ourselves. We especially examine the purported reliance of Rollins’ movement upon the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and to what extent Bonhoeffer may propose a still radical but, conversely, more clearly orthodox movement of deconstruction than that suggested by Rollins, one in which Christ alone must deconstruct the human “I” and supernaturally enable persons both to overcome sin and the devil and to do good in the world only in and through Christ, via the specific historic means provided by Christ.
Key Words: Apostolicity, a/theism, Body of Christ, Bonhoeffer, Church, Confession, Death of God theology, Deconstructionist, Devil, Ideologies, Institutions, Materialist, methodeia, Obedient Thinking, Orthodoxy, Pyrotheology, Radical Theology, Rollins, Sin, Systems, Temptation, The Word