John Frederick (Ph.D) is Lecturer in New Testament and Greek at Trinity College Queensland in Australia. He is the author of Worship in the Way of the Cross (IVP, 2017) and The Ethics of the Enactment and Reception of Cruciform Love (Mohr Siebeck, 2019). John has planted and pastored churches in Phoenix and Boston, and he is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America.
Abstract: In Ephesians 6:10–20, the apostle Paul penned one of the most memorable accounts of spiritual warfare for Christians. Throughout the history of interpretation, the majority of exegetes have viewed Paul’s account of the “armor of God” in relation to the spiritual struggle of individual Christians in their quests for growth in personal holiness. This article counteracts individualistic, moralistic, gnostic readings of Ephesians 6:10–20 by re-situating the “armor of God” metaphor within its original corporate/ecclesial, covenantal, and missional context in Ephesians. The article begins by redirecting evangelical thinking on social activism away
from recent fundamentalist denunciations back to the original activist ethos of neoevangelicalism. Next, Walter Wink’s phenomenological reading of the Powers is explored as a framework for evangelical activism against human structures, systems, and ideologies that facilitate the activity of demonic and oppressive spiritual Powers. The article concludes by offering an exegetical recovery of the corporate, covenantal, and missional components of the armor of God metaphor thus providing a biblical and theological rationale and impetus for evangelical social action as the primary referent of spiritual warfare in Ephesians.
Key Words: spiritual warfare, demonology, the Powers, Ephesians, evangelical
activism, social justice, Carl Henry, Walter Wink, Bultmann, neo-evangelical,
covenant, missional, thoughts and prayers, faith and politics