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.


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