The Prophetic Voice Of Amos As A Paradigm For Christians In The Public Square -- By: Gerald A. Klingbeil

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 58:2 (NA 2007)
Article: The Prophetic Voice Of Amos As A Paradigm For Christians In The Public Square
Author: Gerald A. Klingbeil

The Prophetic Voice Of Amos As A Paradigm For Christians In The Public Square

Gerald A. Klingbeil

and Martin G. Klingbeil


This study focuses upon the OT prophet Amos and his life, mission, and message in the context of Christians in the public square. After a brief introduction to the concept of the public square, the study introduces important biographical, geographical and historical facts that are relevant in order to understand Amos’ prophetic voice in the public square. Amos’ message is clearly an international message (Amos 1-2) and a message critical to religious traditions and structures that are disconnected from practical ethical living (Amos 5:21-27). The judgement motif is another relevant topic of Amos’ public discourse (Amos 7-9) and while not a popular theme in current discourse needs to be taken into consideration if one would like to learn from Amos’ prophetic voice. Finally, Amos exits his public square experience with a word of hope, reminding us that judgement and hope are highly interconnected themes which need to be presented concurrently.

1. Introduction Or What We Actually Mean By The Public Square

The concept of the public square is indeed an old one. Most ancient cultures boasted a public place where the citizens (and others) of the community interacted.1 In Spanish-speaking countries each town had a plaza. In ancient Israel the gate area was the public place where

business, law cases, and other important public issues were handled.2 Over the past decades it has become a catchword of modern society. Thought leaders, interest groups, governments, and also religious denominations claim a stake in the public life of a city, country, and, increasingly, the world (or was that the internet?). Statements made by a religious, political, or business leader in Rome, Jakarta, or Seattle appear on the news ticker of international news outlets in minutes and are read and interacted with in public forums, blogspots, e-publications, or e-mails to the news outlet.3

The public square is the place where opinions are formed and thoughts are exchanged and it is here that Christianity wants to be

present.4 After all, a good NT paradigm for Christian public interac...

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