Abide In Me

The collaborative Christian Ministry of
Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

COMP cover"Come Out My People": God's Call Out of Empire In the Bible and Beyond

Release date: October 2010

Winner, Catholic Press Association Award: First Place in Scripture


What readers are saying:

"This is no ordinary “introduction” to the Bible! Howard-Brook has a quite distinct angle of vision that surely reflects the wave of the future in biblical interpretation. He studies the ways in which the faith of ancient Israel and the early church was formed by, in response to, and in resistance against empire. He rightly sees that empire (external to the community, but also within the community) generated the force of violence in the articulation and practice of faith. Howard-Brook is an acute reader of texts, has done his homework in the new literature on empire, and finds recurring patterns of thought that pervade the Bible. This is a remarkable offering for those who care about the interface of power and faith with all the threats and seductions that go with it, issues that are now unavoidable for serious interpreters.  As I read, I felt overwhelmed, both by the mass of data and by the cunning of interpretation. I could not put it down, and expect to continue to be instructed by it."

—Walter Brueggemann, An Unsettling God: The Heart of the Hebrew Bible

"Howard-Brook undertakes what few dare anymore: an introductory primer for the whole Bible.  Using some of the best of recent scholarship, but without the lamentable dichotomies, this book attends to historical and canonical issues; to social theory and spirituality; to scripture’s irreducible Jewishness and its critical relationship to empire; to its inner conflicts and its deeper unity; to Abraham and Christ.  Like Jesus on the Emmaus Road, this book invites disciples to “connect the dots,” in order to recover our ancient, anti-imperial identity, and to embrace a radical faith and practice that are personal and political.

—Ched Myers, author, Binding the Strong Man

"Come Out My People" is the most comprehensive survey yet of the ambiguity and ambivalence of most biblical literature about a series of ancient empires. While some texts voice opposition to imperial domination, others attempt to mitigate its effects, and yet others even embrace empire. The struggle is not simply one between the people of God and foreign imperial rulers, but also one within the people of God, between the forces of control and exploitation from above and the possibilities of God's creation. The book is full of exegetical insights on biblical texts. It is solidly rooted in the critical new scholarly perspectives and research on the ancient imperial contexts in which these biblical texts were produced. Howard-Brook illuminates how ancient empires exercised control and manipulation of people not simply by political and military means, but also through the religion of empire. Throughout he makes clear that the core message of the God of creation is to call people out of empire, to refuse to cooperate with the forces of destruction and domination today."

Richard Horsley, author, In the Shadow of Empire:
Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance

“If we who sojourn in America are to be a community that can both name and resist the lure of Empire, we need a story more powerful that the story called America. Wes Howard-Brook knows that the Bible tells such a story. May its story be ours as we're set free from our imperial imaginations to dream with our Creator of a new world here and now.”

—Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove,
author, The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture

"Come Out, My People; will become a classic for communities that seek first to receive the gracious gift of God’s alternative future to Empire.

Jarrod McKenna, Australian Peace Award Winning activist

"Howard-Brook's text tackles the whole of scripture – becoming the biblical survey book I have always wanted to read. He pulls in not just biblical criticism, but theology, and history, and anthropology, and linguistics. It's a book that doesn't limit the Bible to one small lens (which always misses the forest for the trees), but attempts to read it as a holistic text that speaks truth to us today. I bought it for research purposes and ended up being unable to put it down (all 500+ pages of it). It is a great resource and an engaging read."

—Julie Clawson,
author, Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices


"The author builds his case on solid biblical scholarship, questioning the savvy of some schools of thought, and proposing alternative explanations that challenge old presumptions.... The narrative reflects the American cultural background where it was written. Yet, it can be easily adapted to other milieus, and could be easily used by Small Christian Communities the World wide to read their reality and see the passage of God even where the Empire is controlling their lives and blocking human development."

—excerpt from review at SouthWorld.net


"His cogent treatment of Scripture is full of insights."

—Gordon Houser, The Mennonite, 1/1/11


"... a masterpiece of scholarship and political commentary which could help everyone everywhere out of their culture of violence and empire into the new life of God’s love and peace. I think it’s a defining moment in scripture study. I urge everyone to get this book, study it and discuss it. It charts a new course for all of us."

—John Dear, SJ, NCROnline; full review here.


"Not since reading Ched Myers’s ground-breaking Binding the Strong Man has a book so influenced my reading of the scriptures. ...I cannot overstate the importance of Come Out, My People!. Buy it, read it, discuss it, and put it into practice."

—Frank Cordaro, Des Moines Catholic Worker
full review here.


"Howard-Brook creates a lively conversation between contemporary struggles over the demands of empire and biblical struggles with the various empires that sought to control Israel across its history. Refreshing and original, clear and inspiring, the book expands horizons for interpreting biblical books and passages."

—Kathleen M. O'Connor, in Christian Century (4/26/11)

"This is a brave, bold, and largely effective attempt at a holistic biblical theology, cutting across the current of working with scripture piecemeal..."

—Matthew Forrest Lowe, in Review of Biblical Literature, 3/2012
full review here.

"...a global, sweeping overview of the entire Hebrew Bible and New Testament, with insights from several noncanonical traditions to support his thesis. This is a book that both seasoned scholars and interested readers will find challenging and thought-provoking. "

—David Valeta, in Review of Biblical Literature,  8/2012. full review here.

"The book reads as a manifesto for radical discipleship, and in this
respect does not disappoint. This bold reading of scripture gathers the
clues and threads in support of its radical thesis. It is this gathering
which may be the most enduring contribution of Howard-Brook’s ambitious
project,as Christians who catch the radical edge of Jesus’ message use it as a reference source, inspiration and staging post for their own journeys."

—Mark Bennet, in Practical Theology, PRTH 5.1 (2012) 110-111

"... interesting, provocative, challenging, and often insightful. It continues and develops the recent trends in biblical scholarship of providing a social analysis of texts and of exploring the issues of empire and creation."

—Timothy A. Lenchak, SVD in New Theology Review (2012) 89-90

"There is ... much to be learned about the biblical writings from this insightful and bold book. Howard-Brook covers an enormous range of material with  clarity, wisdom,  and challenge. This is an important book that merits much careful and active engagement."

—Warren Carter, Brite Divinity School, author of  The Roman Empire and the New Testament: An Essential Guide ((Abingdon, 2006), in Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology (66(3): 2012) 352.

Howard-Brook "has produced a wide-ranging tour de force, fitting as the result of more than two decades’ reflection on the biblical and historical roots of violence and domination."

—D.J. Reimer,
in  Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 36.5 (2012)

"Howard-Brook argues persuasively that proponents of empire may masquerade as servants of God and/or function in God-ordained offices (such as prophet, priests and kings) yet employ human systems to justify and perpetuate their oppressive actions 'in the name of Jesus.'...Readers should consult this work regularly as an essential alternative to standard historical critical approaches to biblical theology."

— Martin Mittelstadt of Evangel University, 
in Religious Studies Review 38.3 (9/12).

Read or download the
Table of Contents, Preface and Introduction

Visit the Come Out, My People! Facebook page.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email Wes