During his public ministry, Jesus taught extensively in words and deeds about the kingdom of God. In How God Became King, N. T. Wright weds this material with Jesus’ self-sacrificial death to argue that God’s kingdom was also established by those words and deeds and, above all, by that death rather than by the force of arms. Growing out of this argument are an advocacy of pacifism, theocracy, and the divine right of human rulers, on the one hand, and a repudiation of democracy, the separation of church and state, and just war theory on the other hand. Undergirding these pros and cons is the use of Israel’s theocracy as a pattern to be followed in political engagement as part of Christians’ evangelistic enterprise. This review finds Wright’s arguments exegetically and biblically-theologically unconvincing.

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