John Lennon and the Bible: Visions of “Utopia,” Justice, and the Church’s Mission

The purpose of this blog post is to get you to read this excellent article about the Church’s mission and Biblical utopias by Fred Putnam.

On Wikipedia, the featured article today was “Imagine,” by John Lennon. It was (and is) very popular and influential for its lyrical content and vision casting, among other factors. “Imagine” it was (and still is) a stirring song that invited us to travel to and, if only for a minute, inhabit or at least taste what it might be like to live in a “better” world (or at least a collectivist, atheistic one). However, the Bible also has its visions. In his article, Putnam traces the history of utopias out very helpfully and highlights what Christians (and non-Christians) may need to do in light of the utopias envisioned by the Bible. It’s really worth a read. For any and all people who may want to know how the prophetic corpus (or really the whole Bible) ought to be read and how we ought to be challenged and motivated into action).

Some of the important questions answered in this article include:

How do I read the Bible? Ought the Church promote justice even if it is from a non-Christian organization? What do we do with utopian (or “eschatological”) visions set out in Scripture? Can they be realized here on earth? How do I evangelize to people? How do I make the Gospel and the God of Israel (and of the whole universe, too) attractive to non-believers? What do universal human needs tell us about God? Is justice here on earth really that important?

(I even listened to Lennon’s “Imagine” for a bit while reading this article . . . how scandalous! Not necessarily recommending it. Just letting you know. It is, after all, a heartfelt song, and the chord progression and simplicity is very beautiful.)

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