This page is an excerpt from a page of the Gamaliel website - www.gamaliel.org
"Power" Is Not a Bad Word
Some people are put off by the blatant appeal to power, which is an integral part of congregation-centered organizing. We tend to think of power as manipulative, as domineering, as too political, as "power over" someone else, and we suspect such power is out of keeping with our Christian values. We recall Lord Acton's famous dictum: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."
More recently, however, we have come to recognize that power in and of itself is neither good nor bad. Power is nothing more than the ability to accomplish something.
Whether the goal is to accomplish something helpful or harmful is another question, but power itself is a necessary ingredient for any action. Power is constitutive of life.
Think of some of the positive ways power is treated in our scriptures. Whether the technical term is exousia, sometimes translated as "authority," or dynamis, usually rendered as "power," the New Testament often uses the concept in a positive and godly manner.
Thus Jesus is said to have had a reputation for ministering "with authority and power" (Luke 4:36), and he gave his disciples "authority ... over all the power of the enemy." (Luke 10:19)
After his resurrection, according to Matthew (28:18), he reminded them that "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," and then he assured his followers that he will be with us to the very end. And before his ascension, according to Luke (Acts 1:8), he promised his followers that "'you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
St. Paul was not afraid to admit to the Philippians (3:10) that he wanted "to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his suffering." When he described his ministry to the Thessalonians, he insisted that "our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit with full conviction." (1 Thess. 1:5)
And years later he could assure the Romans (1:16) that the Gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith."
can't frame an entire theology of power on a handful of selected texts.
But these examples should demonstrate that the concept of power is a
respected and valuable scriptural concept.
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