Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

A Theology of the Powers

Principalites and PowersI just started my PhD program at the University of Manchester (Cliff College) on the topic of a missional view of authority and power as it relates to structures and the powers that be.  My first trip to Manchester will be at the beginning of March.  I’m exited about the trip. I will start my studies by developing an exhaustive bibliography relating to a theology of the powers, (i.e. the principalities and powers) language that we find in Scripture, including terminology that we find for example in Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authories, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:12

I have just started to compile a bibliography, of mostly books.  But my bibliography can included songs, films, literature, and certainly journals.  So if you are aware of any books, journal articles or anything on the topic of a theology of the powers, please let me know.

I have some of the key writings by the following figures on my list:

  • Arnold, C.E.
  • Berkhof, H & John H. Yoder
  • Boyd, Gregory
  • Caird, G.B.
  • Clinton, E. Arnold
  • Dawn, Marva
  • Ellul, Jacques
  • Forsyth, Neil
  • Girard, Rene
  • Hiebert, Paul
  • Horsley, Richard
  • Johns, Loren & James Krabill
  • Jung, Leo
  • Kelly, Henry A.
  • Koenig, John
  • Kraft, Charles
  • Krivocheine, B
  • Lane, A.N.S.
  • Langton, E.
  • Lee, Jung Young
  • Leivestand, R
  • Lewis, C.S.
  • Ling, T.O.
  • Linthicum, R.C.
  • Masello, R.
  • McAlpine, T.H.
  • Minear, Paul
  • Morrison, C.
  • Mumford, L.
  • Newbigin, Lesslie
  • Peck, Scott
  • Rudwin, M
  • Russell, J.B.
  • Schlier, H.
  • Schweizer, Eduard
  • Stringfellow, William
  • Toy, C.H.
  • Von Den Heuvel, A.H.
  • Von Harnack, A.
  • Wink, Walter
  • Wright, Nigel
  • Yoder, John Howard

Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

15 Responses to A Theology of the Powers

  1. David Morgan says:

    There is the new Understanding Spiritual Warfare (http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Spiritual-Warfare-Four-Views/dp/0801039363) which may be more useful for its bibliographic references than the book itself looking at the fact you have some of its authors already included.

    You also have to look at The Authority of the Believer by. John A. MacMillan which some of us believe is the source book for much teaching on Spiritual Warfare in Pentecostal circles. In that light Paul L King’s work may be helpful as it goes back into other peoples views – to start see – http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0027.xml

    Also is it worth looking at Wimber as you are in an English context? Which goes back to George Eldon Ladd’s Theology of the Kingdom.

    Just some thoughts for you.

  2. JR Woodward says:


    Yeah, I came across that last week, and it is very helpful, especially because the four views provides a wide variety of resources, so thanks for mentioning that. Thanks for the other resources as well. Peace.

  3. Jake Belder says:

    Andy Crouch has done some things recently on the idea of power. I thought he was writing a book about it, but I don’t think it’s been published yet. Here’s a talk he gave at one of the Q gatherings, which might be helpful: http://www.qideas.org/video/power-privilege-and-risk.aspx

  4. JR Woodward says:


    Thanks bro. Yeah I heard Andy share at Biblical recently on power. Fascinating stuff. I look forward to checking out his Q talk. Hope all is good with you. I’m coming over to Manchester on March 3rd till March 16th. I will have a rent a car. I don’t know what my schedule is of yet, but I hope we might be able to connect at a pub or something.

  5. Jake Belder says:

    That would be great. Just tweet me or send me an email when your plans are sorted out, and we’ll hopefully be able to set something up.

  6. JR Woodward says:

    Jake, For sure. If for some reason you don’t hear from me by March 6th, give me a tweet as well.

  7. arlenerauen says:

    I am reading alot of Neil Anderson these days and the books are packed full of resources that he cites…I will put them together and post here the next time I get on the internet….also have some good resources on the power of prayer….real prayer 4 doing business with God….not the foo foo stuff …I just read some resources on prayer that alot of foreign missionaries look to like the Bible!!

  8. ronfurg says:

    JR — You might check out Gordon Dalbey’s: “No Small Snakes — A Journey into Spiritual Warfare.”

    • Arlene Rauen says:

      Gordon Dalbey wrote a lot of book on spiritual warfare and more than one it seems on it relating to men & spiritual warfare…the public library here in LA has 8 pages on books on Spiritual warfare…going to scan & e-mail my find today on Church planting and this topic(will do this tomorrow )…happy reading!!

  9. JR Woodward says:

    Thanks bro. I’ll check it out.

  10. JR-

    A friend of mine from the U. of Aberdeen, Scott Prather, recently finished his thesis on Barth (someone that definitely needs to be on the list; the stuff is mostly in CD, vol. III, but beyond that I can’t tell you much because my work in Barth is focused elsewhere), Yoder, and the powers. It isn’t released yet and is expensive, so hopefully once it is out you can find it at a library. Hauerwas gave this endorsement (which means I’m going to read it myself!):

    “This is not only a book that illumines the work of Barth and Yoder by comparing their understanding of ‘the powers’. Perhaps more significantly, Prather painstakingly elucidates the hold that these powers have on our lives, once money is recognised in these terms. Prather has thus managed to combine elegant scholarship with substantive argument to help us see redemption in a new light.”

    Here is the pre-release link with more info:

    If it is helpful I could also put you in touch with Scott.

  11. Just been looking through some of your site and saw this. It’s a long time after you posted this and so you’ve maybe found this in your trawling through articles databases already – but I had an article a couple of years back in the Evangelical Quarterly (83.3, 251-266) which engages with Wink and the Pauline powers language – mainly from an exegetical perspective, though some wider hermeneutical considerations too. It’s overview mainly rather than any hugely substantive contribution – but it might be useful for its bibliography?!

  12. JR Woodward says:

    Thanks, I will check it out.

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