David Fitch: Is God’s Love Coercive?

We venture into an illuminating yet challenging dialogue with David Fitch, a seasoned pastor and professor at Northern Seminary. His latest book, Reckoning with Power: Why the Church Fails When It’s on the Wrong Side of Power, serves as the backdrop for a deep dive into the nuances of power dynamics within the church and its external engagements. This conversation is particularly notable for how it veers into a spirited debate, pushing the boundaries of our usual discourse and encouraging both reflection and critical examination.

The episode is marked by its exploration of the contentious space where faith and power intersect, prompting listeners to reassess their understanding of authority and control within Christian communities. Fitch’s stance on the church’s misalignment with coercive power forms the crux of the discussion, advocating for a model of leadership and community that mirrors the non-coercive love demonstrated by Jesus.

However, the conversation takes a turn as it delves into topics of soteriology, the nature of hell, and the concept of godly power as non-coercive. Fitch’s views provoke a series of probing questions from Nate and Shelby, leading to a debate that touches on the heart of religious trauma, fear-based theology, and the implications of eternal punishment. This exchange highlights the complexities of reconciling traditional theological positions with a contemporary understanding of a loving and just God.

The back-and-forth between Fitch and Nate and Shelby is not just a theological sparring match; it is emblematic of the broader discussions happening within the Christian community today. It challenges listeners to confront uncomfortable questions about their beliefs, the institutional church’s role in society, and how power should be understood and wielded within faith contexts.

This episode stands as a compelling invitation to engage with the difficult aspects of our faith, pushing us toward growth, understanding, and, ultimately, a more profound embodiment of the values we profess. For anyone wrestling with questions of power, authority, and the nature of God’s love, this episode offers no easy answers but provides a rich soil for contemplation and discussion.

Want to hear Nate & Shelby debrief this episode? Listen to the extra episode!

people sitting in front of table talking and eating

Join 850+ others and become a member

Get bonus episodes, group Zoom calls, private FB group, and remove ads