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City of God, City of Satan: A Biblical Theology of the Urban City

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Why is the city a battleground of hostile principalities and powers? What is the mission of the church in the city? How can the church be supported in accomplishing that mission? These are the questions that Robert Linthicum treats in his comprehensive and probing biblical theology of the city. In the Bible the city is depicted both as a dwelling place of God and his peopl Why is the city a battleground of hostile principalities and powers? What is the mission of the church in the city? How can the church be supported in accomplishing that mission? These are the questions that Robert Linthicum treats in his comprehensive and probing biblical theology of the city. In the Bible the city is depicted both as a dwelling place of God and his people and as a center of power for Satan and his minions. The city is one primary stage on which the drama of salvation is played out. And that is no less the case at the end of this pivotal century as megacities become the focal point of most human activity and aspirations around the world. This is a timely theology of the city that weaves the theological images of the Bible and the social realities of the contemporary world into a revealing tapestry of truths about the urban experience. Its purpose is to define clearly the mission of the church in the midst of the urban realities and to support well the work of the church in the urban world.


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Why is the city a battleground of hostile principalities and powers? What is the mission of the church in the city? How can the church be supported in accomplishing that mission? These are the questions that Robert Linthicum treats in his comprehensive and probing biblical theology of the city. In the Bible the city is depicted both as a dwelling place of God and his peopl Why is the city a battleground of hostile principalities and powers? What is the mission of the church in the city? How can the church be supported in accomplishing that mission? These are the questions that Robert Linthicum treats in his comprehensive and probing biblical theology of the city. In the Bible the city is depicted both as a dwelling place of God and his people and as a center of power for Satan and his minions. The city is one primary stage on which the drama of salvation is played out. And that is no less the case at the end of this pivotal century as megacities become the focal point of most human activity and aspirations around the world. This is a timely theology of the city that weaves the theological images of the Bible and the social realities of the contemporary world into a revealing tapestry of truths about the urban experience. Its purpose is to define clearly the mission of the church in the midst of the urban realities and to support well the work of the church in the urban world.

48 review for City of God, City of Satan: A Biblical Theology of the Urban City

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rick Mcgarry

    According to the dedication, Robert Linthicum struggles to put into words the urban theology he describes in City of God, City of Satan. However, he has seen it lived out in two different churches, one of which was in Grosse Pointe Woods, not too far from Detroit. He also interacted reflectively for four years with third world and first world urban pastors from 38 cities in 17 different countries before submitting his ideas for publication. He created this theology in response to the insistence According to the dedication, Robert Linthicum struggles to put into words the urban theology he describes in City of God, City of Satan. However, he has seen it lived out in two different churches, one of which was in Grosse Pointe Woods, not too far from Detroit. He also interacted reflectively for four years with third world and first world urban pastors from 38 cities in 17 different countries before submitting his ideas for publication. He created this theology in response to the insistence of third world pastors that the praxis of urban ministry must be grounded in biblical reflection. He seeks to develop a systematic internally consistent theology of the city, present a sociologically sound biblical explanation of power in the city, and find biblical ways to sustain God’s urban people (page ix-x). He sees the city as a battleground into which God is advancing, where spiritual disciplines provide God’s people power for ministry. Linthicum points out that in order to interpret the Bible properly we must remember that at the time the New Testament was written there were a million living in Rome. However, western theology was largely developed at a time when 25,000 people lived in Rome, and it was still the largest city in Europe (pages 21-22). The theology that developed in rural Europe was not always consistent with the urban world in which the Bible was written. There are at least two controversial points of interpretation that Linthicum presents and seeks to defend. First, he insists that the city of Jerusalem was not intended primarily to be an exceptional city in the way it related to God. Rather, it was intended to be the paradigm for the way God desired and intended to relate to every city. It was intended to belong to God and witness to shalom while providing a just and communal existence for its citizens. This was in contrast to Babylon, with its bureaucratic, self-serving, dehumanizing social system. I was partly, but not entirely, persuaded by this argument. The second issue that Linthicum raises concerns principalities and powers. First he gives very particular, technical, and somewhat detailed definitions of each of the four terms that Paul uses in Colossians 1:16 (thrones, dominions, principalities and powers.) He then defines them collectively as spiritual forces that work through the structures and systems of the city, nation, or universe. (pages 67-68) Once again, I was influenced, but not entirely persuaded. Linthicum goes on to assert that these forces were created by Christ, then captured by Satan. Jesus died to set these powers free from Satan. The central argument of the book seems to be this: God loves the city, but it is the site of a great battle between God and Satan. God is going to continue restoring, renewing and recreating the city until it becomes his kingdom. Through it’s prayer, presence, practice and proclamation the church is to expose the lies that keep the city in bondage.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Holmes

    Loved this book. One of the most thorough and challenging theologies of urban ministry i have read. Robert challenged both theological assumptions, and practical implications of churches that exist in the city. The theology in this book feels robust enough to both form a community in biblical orthodoxy and equip them in transformative orthopraxy. That combination feels lacking in current ecclesial structures. I think the implications of this book can shake some people the wrong way because it pu Loved this book. One of the most thorough and challenging theologies of urban ministry i have read. Robert challenged both theological assumptions, and practical implications of churches that exist in the city. The theology in this book feels robust enough to both form a community in biblical orthodoxy and equip them in transformative orthopraxy. That combination feels lacking in current ecclesial structures. I think the implications of this book can shake some people the wrong way because it puts into question all popular iterations of church communal structures and forces the church to consider how it is seeking to be a seeker of shalom for its surrounding neighborhoods. But it’s this type of shaking that i think can strengthen current structures and help us consider Abandoning the ones that don’t serve us in this season.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marcás

    Wow! This is bad. I couldn't finish this so take that into account, but still... Replete with anachronisms about 'class', and about the structure of town, city and country at different times in history. The author stridently takes his preferred starting points and runs with them as self-evident, without stopping to question his assumptions meaningfully. Nor does he approach the scripture or referenced studies in a balanced manner. He annoyingly reads a lot into the Bible, presenting some shoddy Wow! This is bad. I couldn't finish this so take that into account, but still... Replete with anachronisms about 'class', and about the structure of town, city and country at different times in history. The author stridently takes his preferred starting points and runs with them as self-evident, without stopping to question his assumptions meaningfully. Nor does he approach the scripture or referenced studies in a balanced manner. He annoyingly reads a lot into the Bible, presenting some shoddy sociology as a theology of the city. Most infuriatingly, ge will say something like, after he lived in the city he couldn't accept that this was the body of Christ. This makes no sense to us Orthodox or Catholics, especially. Very disappointing as there are important considerations to make re the role of the city for the Church. Still I wait for a thorough, fair theology of the city.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nathan C

    Haiku review TBD: (This is a placeholder to remind myself to write this later...)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Allen McGraw

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Best

  7. 5 out of 5

    Albert Tan

  8. 4 out of 5

    Evan Johnson

  9. 4 out of 5

    Darrell Rice

  10. 5 out of 5

    Enyonam Tetteh

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Parson

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael

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    Zipporah

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    Candace

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shamshadeen Mayers

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve Godfrey

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    Jeff

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    Edward Bryant

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    Stacey Douglas

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    T. Aaron Smith

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dandelionsmom

  25. 5 out of 5

    Keith Ham

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    Nathan Carter

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    Anthony Perez

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brent

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    Stephanie

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    Nathan

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    Annette Thompson

  33. 5 out of 5

    Henry Jin

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    Andrew

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    Henry Tam

  37. 4 out of 5

    BrittaLisa

  38. 4 out of 5

    Steve Laube

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    Judah

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    Josh Harper

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    Rebecca

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    Amy McDaniel

  44. 5 out of 5

    Seth Enriquez

  45. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  46. 5 out of 5

    Jill Eshelman

  47. 4 out of 5

    Monica

  48. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

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