I finished The Powers That Be. Overall, I’d still recommend the book. I really am not a fan of the last chapter, though. I already returned it to the library. That means I don’t have any cool quotes to share, so we’ll both have to rely on my mommy brain to describe what I read.
Basically, he paints a picture of a weak God, IMO. He said that God would like to answer our prayers, but his hands are pretty much tied because the principalities and powers of nations/organizations/etc. are fighting it out in the heavenlies, and there’s not much God can do while they’re in the midst of it.
His theory is based on Daniel 10
12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
He says that the word used for princes is really talking about angels/principalities/powers, and that when we pray, they are battling it out. He says that God wants to answer our prayers, but has to wait for them to finish wrestling. If you google “Walter Wink Daniel 10”, you should get plenty of results (including the google books result) that will sum up his position quite nicely.
I guess my biggest issue is that it is a really big piece of theology to hang on one chapter from Apocalyptic literature. He might be absolutely right, although I am just not sold on the idea.
I think that ending the book with that particular argument could turn off a lot of people who would’ve been a lot more impressed in his work before that point. I don’t know. Its still a good book, but I didn’t love that chapter.