Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Further reflections on Christian anarchism

The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. Exodus 15:18

I always make an effort to keep these posts short and sweet simply because not everyone wants to or has the time to read something lengthy. The idea is to put a thought up which people can pursue on their own. Looking back on a previous post on Christian anarchism though I felt it was necessary to do a follow up. If you missed the first post please read that one before going through this one. 

Last time I mentioned that God never wanted a King to rule over His people but nonetheless conceded to Israels request. 1 Samuel 8:1-22 reveals that Gods people were actually rejecting Him when they requested an earthly king. Human government is therefore actually premised on a mistrust in God. And I am not speaking only of kings and presidents here, we see it in the Indian caste system and in the churches clergy/laity divide as well. We can see Gods thoughts on the "power over people" system that the world operates in throughout scripture.We see it in the rebuking of Diotrephes in 3 John 9 who loved having preeminence in church meetings and the Nicolaitians in Rev 2:15 who were "conquerors of the people". In Mark 12:38 Jesus speaks out against the scribes who loved being important in the eyes of men.

There is a remarkable story in Luke 4 when Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness, two things can be discovered in verses 5-7. Number 1 is that the Kingdoms of this world are under Satan's influence (at least to some degree) and number 2 is that Jesus was not interested in ruling in this manner. Throughout his ministry people would try and draw Jesus in on the politics of his day, yet he never chose option 1 or 2 but always provided a 3rd way of looking at things. For he was neither left nor right but Kingdom driven.

We who are citizens of the Kingdom of God are “foreigners,” “exiles” and “strangers” in this world (Phil 1:27; 3:20; Heb 11:13; 1 Pet 1:17; 2:21). Yet here is where I want to put the breaks on a little bit. To simply say that all governments and nations are "less than nothing" in Gods eyes (as Isa 40:15-17 puts it) would not paint a complete picture of what the bible tells us regarding the authorities of our land. Romans 13 for instance reveals that Governments can be useful in restraining evil by the laws it creates and holds citizens accountable to. A law against rape may not be able to change a wicked mans heart but at least the fear of punishment may be enough to restrain him. A parallel can easily be drawn with the law that was given to Israel compared to the law that is written in the Christians heart (Ez 11:19). Apart from recognizing the good that governments can do in restraining evil, the bible also tells us to pray for our leaders, to pray for peace in the land and to pay our taxes. 

But let it me known that our only real hope lies in God who is above all other powers (Rom 13:2), while some leaders are better than others and some forms of government are better than others none can be considered Christian or even ideal because they operate contrary to the Kingdom of God. The world uses the sword, Gods kingdom picks up the cross, the world uses power and force, Gods kingdom seeks to serve and build others up. One wars against its enemies, the other blesses its enemies. One has borders drawn in the sand, the other is found wherever Gods will is carried out.

The Kingdom of God is far more important than the airtime that the church is giving it, the New Testament defines the very gospel as the gospel of the Kingdom. Can you imagine how different the church would look if it began to serve others rather than try present a religious version of the worlds kingdom to people.

I listened through a great series here addressing these very issues. I don't agree 100% with everything Greg Boyd teaches but I really like him, the heart of the series on the link was so spot on, it really is worth a listen.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Jesus in Exodus 12

I have been spending some time in the Old Testament of late and have just being reminded of how everything in scripture points to Jesus. Some of the types and shadows are incredibly detailed. Consider some of the passages in Exodus 12 regarding the Passover with some verses from the New Testament.

Ex 12: 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 

*John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Ex 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 

1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Ex 12:8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 

*John 6:50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Ex 12:13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

John 6:54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 

Ex 12:27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 

*1 Cor 5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 

Ex 12:43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. 

*1 Cor 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

Ex 12:46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. 

*John 19:32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. 36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.

Ex 12:48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. 

*Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

We see this kind of thing in all the feasts of Israel and in many others parts of the Old Testament as well. Let the awesomeness sink in as you discover more of Him in the lesser read places of your bible.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Thoughts on Christian Anarchism



Belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force...

I first heard of the term "Christian anarchy" about three years back when reading up on a band I had being enjoying and I was taken aback by it, it seems like the ultimate oxymoron and to this day I do not like the term as I find it to be both confusing and unhelpful. Anarchism (at least to the general public) brings to mind pictures of chaos, rebellion and violence, while Christian anarchism emphasises subversiveness and non violence. One of the better known anarchist slogans is "No gods, no masters", while the bible says "you will have no other Gods before me" and "call no man your master for one is your master" (Ex 20:3 & Mat 23:8). So while traditional anarchism and Christianity are clearly at odds in some areas, there is actually a ton of common ground to be found as well.


Both biblical Christianity and anarchism recognize how power corrupts those who exercise it and call for non hierarchical societies. God never wanted Israel to have a King  (1 Sam 8:7), but to be governed by Himself and guided by judges. This is similar to the function of elders in the church today. But this is not to be mistaken for hierarchy, scripture teaches that men are to submit one to each other (1 Pet 5:5), not to seek titles (Mat 23) and that anyone who wants to be great must become a servant to others (Luke 22:26). Moreover, we are specifically instructed not to exercise authority over one another (Mat 20:25). The heart of the church is realized in community, not just a weekly service run by a few and at the same time it is to be governed by consensus decision making (Acts 6:3).

Christian anarchist theology is largely based on the teachings found in the sermon on the mount with a strong emphasis on non violence and servant hood. 2 words that come up repeatedly in Christian anarchist literature are "kingdom" and "community" and they seem to be at the heart of the movement. Most Christian groups throughout history that have had an anarchist impulse in them have been community based, think of groups like the Anabaptist's, the Quakers, Misseo Dei or the Jesus Radicals. Adherents to this philosophy/theology have recognized that the bible speaks of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of the earth. And the two will always be at odds with one another. Christian anarchists recognize that all authority in heaven and earth belongs to Jesus and that he alone is the true King (Mat 28:18, Isaiah 9:6-7). While we are to serve, obey and live at peace with the worlds leaders as much as possible, we answer to God and pledge allegiance to Him alone. (Acts 5:29).

It is very interesting  to see how Jesus never got sucked in to the politics of his day, people  were always asking him questions, trying to get him to weigh in on earthly matters which he would kind of side step or turn around on them. He said himself that his kingdom was not of this world so why would he really devote his energy to worldly ones? Certainly he saw the oppression around him and was moved by it, but he chose not to fight against it by becoming part of it (Matt 4:8-9). This is in stark contrast to what we see in the West today. Christians often appear to place more faith in political leaders and parties than they do in God. I am sure that I am not the only one who has struggled with the idea of having to vote for the lesser of two evils when elections come around.

We would do well to recognize that our neighbor is not necessarily the one on our side of the border line (Luke 10:36-37) and that we are all of one blood (Acts 17:26). For the most part I have found the writings on this topic very interesting and in harmony with the Gospel of the Kingdom that we read about throughout scripture. Certainly a few objections will be raised by many, Romans 13 comes to mind. Instead of trying to write a mini booklet I would rather point you toward what others from within have written. Here are some great starting places for further digging.

On defining Christian anarchy


On Romans 13


In conclusion I think that we should live at harmony as much as possible with worldly authorities but not replace God with them. Jesus and many of his followers spent time in prisons and died at the hands of their political and religious leaders. Not because they were morally loose, but because they would not bow their knee to Ceaser. Faith and politics do not mix well, ever since the merging of Christianity and the Roman empire in the 4th century the history of the institutional church has been a bloody and sorrowful one. We would do well to hear the call of God in Revelations 18:4 and "come out of her". Let us take it upon ourselves to further Gods kingdom through His ekklesia rather than build up the kingdoms of men. The church looks like Christ when it carries the cross, not the sword.

Friday, 9 August 2013

For God so loved the world, except for Esau who he hated...

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Romans 9:13)

There are some verses in scripture that, at a glance, can seem quite confusing and even contradictory to what we know to be true about God, Romans 9:13 being a perfect example. In fact, the whole of that chapter has being misused and abused for hundreds of years by some sects within Christianity. Something that gets missed often in the above mentioned verse is that the word hate which is translated as  “saw-nay” in Hebrew or “miseo” in Greek does not mean “hate” in the sense that we use it in English, if that is what the writer wanted to convey he would have used the words “bazah, ma’as or to’evah”, the word used in  Hebrews actually means to “love less” than “or “prefer over”. If I said to you that I loved chicken less than bacon and you concluded that I hated chicken you would be grossly mistaken. So it’s not that God hated Esau the individual and predestined him to go to hell and Esau was just living out those predetermined steps, but rather the text tells us that Jacob was preferred over Esau in relation to being chosen in the lineage for the nation of Israel. That is ultimately what the context of Romans 9 is about. 

Similarly, we see the same word (miseo) is translated as hate in Luke 14:26.

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Everyone knows that we are called to love our wives, children, even our enemies (Eph 5:25, Mat 5:44, Luke 6:27,35), the word hate then clearly cannot be taken to literally mean despise or loathe in these verses. It makes so much more sense if we understand it as “anyone who loves his family more than me cannot be my disciple” and similarly “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I overlooked (in favor of Jacob)”.  Scripture calls us to love our enemies, it would be fair to assume that God holds Himself to the same standards that he gives us. 

We need to be careful of steering the boat to far to the left as well though. Texts like 2 Pet 3:9 and Gen 6:6 reveal that God can love and judge simultaneously. It is not Gods love that saves us, it merely provided us with a way to be reconciled to Him (Jn 3:16). 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Examine yourself and Correction in Love

Below is principle (or chapter) 28 in it’s entirety from the book “Principles for the gathering of Believers under the headship of Jesus Christ”. You can download the book freely from the link below and I recommend doing just that. There is some great wisdom in there from the churches in Iran, China and North Korea. Because of the amount of religious carelessness that we all get to see flying around on social media, I thought this would be great to share.

IN THIS age of technology when we get hurt it is easy to go to
Facebook, or other social media to voice our feelings. For many of us
having mercy or asking: Am I correct in feeling this way? can become
an afterthought. Scripture reminds us to examine ourselves first.
Judging, criticizing, maligning character, slandering and speaking to
tear down another is probably one of the easiest things to do. Sadly,
in the Christianity of our day such unedifying practices are applauded
as righteous and discerning. Tearing down has become a ministry
preoccupation with many in the blogosphere and Internet in general.
 It is so easy for one to just spend a few minutes typing at the
computer and the result can be devastating. The defiling of the
testimony of a brother who has loved the Lord for many years can
happen in minutes when the tongue is uncontrolled. Such
correction and criticism usually comes with little or no prayer, and
without speaking to the individual himself, while appearing to be
very holy on the outside. Yet the fruit produced from many of these
types of rebukes, is usually the increase of a critical spirit in others.
Of course, there are some brothers who have fasted and prayed,
sought the Lord and had a burden from His heart. There are those
who have pleaded with the individual involved and even worked
through other brothers and sisters in the local area where that person
is located. They have only, as a last resort and plea to this precious
brother or sister in the Lord, chosen to post a public warning. Such
warnings in love are needed for those who are continuing in sins. It
is also Biblical at times to warn the Church of God of others that are
clearly false teachers.

 No public warnings must be posted on the Internet or on other
social media until the intent and love of Scriptural correction is
fulfilled. Disputes in the body of Christ must be resolved first in the
household of God according to principles set out in the Bible.
According to Matthew 18:

 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just
between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them
over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that
‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three
witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the Church; and if
they refuse to listen even to the Church, treat them as you would a
pagan or a tax collector.”

 Also in Luke 17 it says: “So watch yourselves. ‘If your brother or
sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive

 In Galatians 6 it says: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught
in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

 Here is a simple outline on how to proceed:

 1.) Examine yourself. What evidence is there of this sin in my
own heart and life. Do I do the same things in my hidden life?
2.) If the person has propagated doctrines different from yours,
are you certain you are in the faith and correct? Have you sought
advice from a good spectrum of servant leaders? Is the beam in your
eyes greater than the little speck you are complaining about?
 3.) Have you attempted to solve the problem based on Biblical
 4.) Christ’s exhortation to watch over one another and to bear
one another’s burdens in the spirit of meekness and love should be
foremost in our mind.482
 5.) The primary aim must be the restoration of the offender and
not to destroy him or her.
 6.) Loving the sinner or enemy but not their sin, is the guiding
principle. We attempt to restore the person in gentleness and love.
This then gives a worthy witness of our faith during correction for a
testimony to the sinner, the Church and the world.
 7.) It is also true that we cannot overlook sin, as many do in
churches today. We do not want to create problems, nor dissension or
oense. We say, “We leave it to the Lord.” This is wrong. Scripture
tells us we have the duty to oppose sin against us in our Churches or
Assemblies. One rotten apple can destroy the whole barrel. Satan and
his demons are active in the Church to plant dissension, opposition,
division and anger. He seeks to sow evil so that we might devour each
other. Satan goes where he can find people of faith to destroy them.
 8.) We must forgive 70 times 7 but we should not have
fellowship with such a person unless he or she repents and turns
around. God tells us that if we forgive, He will forgive us. If we don’t
forgive, He will not forgive us.
 9.) the oender must be readmitted to fellowship when he or she
has repented, asked for forgiveness and made restitution where
possible. Warnings in love and correction in love, including expulsion
from fellowship for a time are necessary for those continuing in sin.
 In any correction in the body of Christ, may we follow the
example of Moses who flung himself in the dust before rebellious
Korah. this humble servant leadership that does not seek evil for
anyone but rather forgiveness and mercy that is approved by God.

God still judged Korah in the end for his disobedience but Moses
gave every opportunity for Korah to repent as he humbled himself in
a great way before him. Moses was not trying to build his reputation
but rather was simply following the Lord in humility. We must be
ready for such situations to occur in gatherings of believers who are
meeting under the Headship of Jesus Christ. Where the light is
shining greatly the enemy will be active to disrupt.
 May God grant us such great humility and Christ’s love in
correcting any brother or sister in the Lord.