Greg Boyd = Christian Anarchist!

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : January 11, 2008

Well, we all knew that Greg Boyd fit the category, but now he’s embraced the lingo. He recently wrote on his blog:

Anyway, I encourage you to join the Christian Anarchistic movement. Get along with the ruling powers as much as you can, but put no trust in them. Let’s let our lives reflect the truth that governments are part of a fallen world order that has been rendered obsolete in Christ. May our lives reflect the truth that the hope of the world lies in the power of the cross, not the sword — or the vote.

Viva la revolution!

Now I need to figure out a way to get him writing for Jesus Manifesto and calling himself a Christarchist instead of a Christian Anarchist. :)

Mark Van Steenwyk is the general editor of Jesus Manifesto. He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.

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Viewing 8 Comments

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    Well, he did say anarchistic, rather than anarchist. :)
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    • v
    i'll be honest, i know nothing of christian anarchy. i only think of Rage Against The Machine, lol. The terminology scares me, but to be honest, if it is what i read here, then maybe i am one anyways, or on the verge. i'll keep checking it out.

    If my boy Greg is coming out, then i defenitely have something to think about.

    where's the best place to start?
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    • v
    As I wrote to Boyd privately, Anarchy & Christianity is my least favorite of Ellul's works (and I greatly enjoyed it).

    Imho The Subversion of Christianity and Propaganda are the best; the Technological Society is said to be his seminal work but I can't find a readable translation.

    Read Boyd's blog posting and then read his book Myth Of A Christian Nation. Then read John Howard Yoder's The Politics Of Jesus. Then delve into one of the three titles Boyd mentions. I also recommend the above Subversion of Christianity by Ellul.

    Drop me a line if you'd like any other recommends.
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    • v
    Good choices, Jordan. I'd add would be Theopolitical Imagination. It's a small but dense read (read after you've tackled the other books).

    Some other books that might be helpful:

    Mere Discipleship
    Dissident Discipleship
    Binding the Strongman

    If you decide to buy any of these, I encourage you to buy them through the Christarchy! portal (so I can get a cut)

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    • v
    i have read boyd and yoder. i have read both mere and diisident discipleship. maybe i am further along than i thought. i have loved them all. i finally found something that connected with my soul.

    when i pick up some of the others i will use your portal mark. thanks.
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    • v
    I too have been hesitant of the lingo, but have found myself nodding in agreement with the before mentioned authors and books. The problem is that the word "anarchy" has almost exclusively come to mean "fight the man..and usually with force" which would be antithetical to the Christian's proper cause. But when Boyd breaks it down, showing that the word more literally understood denotes the denying of a supreme authority (other than God of course), it makes a lot more sense to me. I'm not sure about the exegetical work there on Romans 13, I'll have to continue looking at the passage (for the 1 millionth time), but I still don't see an "anarchist" leaning there. I just see "let the government do its job...protect you...keep the peace (which is why we are also told to pray for the rulers)...but in the end, you do your Christian thing and let them do theirs."

    I guess if that is Christian Anarchy in a nutshell, I'm on board. As long as we make clear distinctions between anarchy and Christian anarchy, because they are not the same thing. Just ask the french revolutionaries
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    • v
    Indeed they are not the same thing. The problem is that some Christian anarchists are anarchists who happen to embrace Christianity or Christians who embrace anarchy. I only claim the term in the sense that I believe that Christ is my ruler, and I don't believe I should submit to any other ruler, since I am in Christ.

    This is why I'm trying to utilize the word "christarchy" and "christarchist"--because it more authentically gets at what I'm advocating: the rule of Christ.
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    • v
    I've been drifting away from using the term myself. earlier on i very strongly embraced Anarchism and called myself a christian anarchist. for me it was a breath of fresh air. it allowed me to get the load off my shoulders that i had been carrying for a long time (dissonance about christianity and the pollitical system.) however after a while i realized that i love Jesus but what i was really embracing was anarchist theory; something that doesn't necessarily need to have anything to do with Christ. Though i do think anarchist theories are some good critiques of the industrial capitalist economic model and so on, it is too easy for our christianity to be co-opted into this ideology (or any ideology for that matter, think of capitalism?). the question at hand shouldn't be "As christians, which political ideology should we buy into? which ideology more closely fits with the call of Christ?" Instead Christ himself should be our ideology. The role of christ isn't to simply inform us about how to live our lives in a separate political sphere. He is our Lord and we are to be citizens of his kingdom

    There is definitely something lacking in "Anarchism", i've found. There is a Tyrany in Democracy. Its an enslavement to oneself or to common consensus rather than submission and obedience to the holy spirit. Mark and I have had many conversations about this, care to expand this idea a bit mark? Eliminating authority doesn't seem do be what Jesus is going for, but rather surrendering all authority to him. Christarchy is an entirely appropriate term. Christ is our Archon (ultimate, rule).

    I don't mean any offense to anyone who embraces the term Christian Anarchism. I still use the term myself on occasion. Sometimes it is helpful. I just feel it is extremely important to put all these things in their proper place, and recognize what Jesus calls us to. Let us embrace the Lordship of Christ.


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    January 17, 2008 at 3:07 am

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