Gregory A. Boyd:
“If Jesus wasn’t concerned about ‘taking Israel back for God’ by political means, why would any who align themselves with his kingdom aspire to ‘take back America for God’ by these means?”
“Did Jesus ever suggest by word or example that we should aspire to acquire, let alone take over, the power of Caesar? Did Jesus spend any time and energy trying to improve, let alone dominate, the reigning government of his day? Did he ever work to pass laws against the sinners he hung out with and ministered to? Did he worry at all about ensuring that his rights and the religious rights of his followers were protected? Does any author in the New Testament remotely hint that engaging in this sort of activity has anything to do with the kingdom of God?
The answer to all these questions is, of course, no.”
“However we, as American citizens, might personally decide to weigh in on these issues politically, we should not attach the label Christian to this activity.”
“Of course our political views will be influenced by our Christian faith. But we must also recognize that people who have diametrically opposing views may believe they too are advancing the kingdom.” [Again, this hit home with me through Philip Yancey’s statement that Hillary Clinton was pro-choice, not in opposition to Christianity, but rather because of her Christian faith.- df]
There are a couple or so ideas in this book that I most definitely do not agree with.
They are beliefs, however, I also held at one time. I don’t wish, though, to
focus on what I don’t agree with, since most of this book expounds upon what may very well
be one of the most crucial messages of our time. It would be very difficult to over-emphasize
the importance of this book.
The body of Christ needs a wake-up call to shake it from its
thirst for violence, hatred and bloodshed. What many evangelicals call
a “Christian Worldview” is nothing but a religious version of the political, power-
hungry kingdom of the world. More than one prominent televangelist has, in reference to our enemies, said things like “Blow them away to the Glory of God.”
Rest assured that this rhetoric, whether spoken by Christians, Muslims, or any other socio-religious political group, is NOT the way of Jesus…OR of His followers.
Some quotes follow, which may be periodically updated.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
“Evangelical Christians who align themselves too closely with political
causes or declare that they want to bring America ‘back to God’ are
actually doing harm—both to the body of Christ and society in general.”
From the Back Cover:
The church was established to serve the world with Christ-like love, not to rule the world. It is called to look like a corporate Jesus, dying on the cross for those who crucified him, not a religious version of Caesar. It is called to manifest the kingdom of the cross in contrast to the kingdom of the sword. Whenever the church has succeeded in gaining what most American evangelicals are now trying to get — political power — it has been disastrous both for the church and the culture. Whenever the church picks up the sword, it lays down the cross.
“It’s difficult to overemphasize the change that occurred when, in AD312, the emperor Constantine was converted. This was the first time anyone ever associated the Christian faith with violence, but its success stained the church from then on. [Constantine made] it a crime not to be a Christian. The kingdom of God, manifested in the crucified Nazarene, had become the empire of Christendom. What followed was a long and terrible history of people using the sword “in Jesus’ name for the glory of God.”
(That demonic perversion continues in much of American Christianity today. – df)
Participants in the kingdom of the world trust the power of the sword to control behavior; participants of the kingdom of God trust the power of self-sacrificial love to transform hearts.”
“We believe in our nation over and against their nation, our religion over and against their religion, our culture over and against their culture, our political ideology over and against their political ideology, and so on.”
“By God’s design, people are not to be won over primarily by our clever arguments, scary religious tracts, impressive programs, or our sheer insistence that they are going to hell unless they share out theological opinions. No, they are to be won over by the way in which we replicate Calvary to them. That are to see and experience the reality of the coming kingdom in us.”
“The best way to get people to lay down the cross is to hand them the sword!”
On ‘God and Country’:
“We have allowed out allegiance to the kingdom of God to be compromised by allegiance to our nation, and allowed the flag to smother the cross. The time to turn completely from this Constantinian Idolatry is long overdue.”
“Perhaps it would be a benefit if the word GOD wasn’t so trivially sprinkled on our coins, our Pledge of Allegiance, our civic functions, and elsewhere. We end up wasting precious time and resources defending and tweaking the civil religion – as though doing so had some kingdom value.”
“What if the energy and resources used to preserve and tweak the civil religion was rather spent feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, befriending the drug addict, and visiting the prisoner? What if instead of trying to legally make life more difficult for gays, we worried only about how we could affirm their unsurpassable worth in service to them? What if instead of trying to defend our religious rights, Christians concerned themselves with siding with others whose rights are routinely trampled?”
“Believing Jesus will soon “rapture” Christians out of the world, they have little concern with the church being a witness on issues of social justice, global peace, the environment, and so on. Whatever else one thinks about the New Testament’s eschatology, it certainly does not encourage this sort of escapism.”
“We must refrain from doing what Jesus never did: Namely, positioning ourselves as wiser, morally superior guardians and “fixers” of others. Moral guardianship is what the Pharisees did — not Jesus.”
“Like Jesus, no part of Paul’s kingdom ministry involved trying to tweak the morality of the culture at large.”
“We kill and die for our freedom and the freedom of others. But why should a kingdom person think killing for this reason is a legitimate exception to the New Testament’s command to love an bless enemies?”