Fortress Press

Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination

Engaging the Powers

Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination

Walter Wink (Author)


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Wink explores the problem of evil today and how it relates to the New Testament concept of Principalities and Powers. He asks the question "How can we oppose evil without creating new evils and being made evil ourselves?"

Winner of the Pax Christi Award, the Academy of Parish Clergy Book of the Year, and the Midwest Book Achievement Award for Best Religious Book.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800626464
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 440
  • Publication Date January 1, 1992


"In this magnificent finale to this trilogy, Walter Wink engages the Powers with brilliant exergesis and a profoundly creative nonviolence, revealing the way to the Powers' and our own transformation. Wink on the Powers is a classic resource for activist and scholar alike."
--James W. Douglass
Ground Zero Community

"This book provides an intellectual, historical, and scriptural basis for the truth of Christian nonviolence. It will be an inspiration to many people, and particularly helpful to those who have come into nonviolence intuitively, or through a painful experience."
--Mairead (Corrigan) Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate
Northern Ireland


One of the most pressing questions facing the world today is, How can we oppose evil without creating new evils and being made evil ourselves? It is my conviction that any attempt to face the problem of evil in society from a New Testament perspective must be bound up with an understanding of what the Bible calls the "Principalities and Powers." I am also convinced that no social ethic can be constructed on New Testament grounds without recognition of the role of these Powers in sustaining and subverting human life.

My thesis is that what people in the world of the Bible experience and called "Principalities and Powers" was in fact real. They were discerning the actual spirituality at the center of the political, economic, and cultural institutions of their day. The spiritual aspect of the Powers is not simply a "personification" of institutional qualities that would exist whether they were personified or not. On the contrary, the spirituality of an institution exists as a real aspect of the institution even when it is not perceived as such. Institutions have an actual spiritual ethos, and we neglect this aspect of institutional life to our peril.
-- from the Introduction