New Book on Bible: If Not Empire, What

The Bible is the most diverse and time-tested set of writings we have on the intersection of life, empire and faith. It deserves careful attention in a time like ours when imperial “solutions” threaten Earth.

We are asking people to read the Bible the way it was written—as a collection of arguments about life, love and power. Especially, we ask people to pay attention to the big argument, whether God created the world to work by the imperial paradigm of domination and homicidal power or by the peasant-and-commoner vision of compassion and community.

We offer this book free of charge as a PDF document. We also invite you to purchase paperback copies from our page on It is also available as an eBook via Lulu.

For independent reviews by John A. Lapp and Tony Bartlett, click here.

For author interviews, go to Geez Magazine, Peter Enns’ Rethinking Biblical Christianity, and Radical Discipleship.

Praise for If Not Empire, What?

“(This book) is as resource for every teacher and preacher.  It can serve every effort to take the Bible seriously as we engage our own worlds of inequality, oppression and the insidious violence of empires that pervade our lives.”
—Robert J. Suderman, Secretary of the Peace Commission of Mennonite World Conference.

“We are all laypersons when it comes to resisting and transforming imperial values and structures.  That is why reading scripture together with eyes wide open to our world is so urgent, and this project so welcome.”
—Ched Myers, author, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story; Founder, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.

“Friesen and Stoner’s book is a very helpful tool for beginners to start the process of engaging the real struggles that take place in the Bible between the people of God and ‘empire.’ Their enthusiasm is infectious!”
—Wes Howard-Brook, author, “Come Out, My People!”  God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond; instructor of Theology and Religious Studies, Seattle University.

“Examining the Bible book-by-book, Friesen and Stoner illuminate the many ways the biblical story consistently challenges dominant narratives of greed, violence and power.   I hope many congregations will take the opportunity to learn from and with this resource.”
—Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, Associate Dean for Leadership Education, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

“It turns out there is an alternative to empire.  Read this book for instructions for resisting the presumption that empire is inevitable.”
—Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rove Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke University.

“John and Berry have written a manifesto to the church.  At its core, it is a call to discipleship, an invitation to join a holy uprising.  It is about turning the world upside-down so that the last are first and the first are last, the mighty are cast from their thrones and the lowly are lifted up.”
—Shane Claiborne, author, activist and founder of The Simple Way community.

 “Friesen and Stoner unveil the actual message of the Bible—turn from Babylon and toward the Lamb—and give us tools that will empower a Bible-like resistance today.”
—Ted Grimsrud, Professor of Theology and Peace Studies, Eastern Mennonite University.