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The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church Kindle Edition
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The contents and topics of the book (which are rarely specific to individual political issues) are repeatedly discussed in light of a dynamic Boyd establishes early. That is, the Kingdom of God vs. the Kingdom of the world. He labels the Kingdom of the world as a kingdom that practices “power over” by using the sword to conquer, control, and enforce rules. He describes the Kingdom of God as a kingdom designed to practice “power under” as being fully submitted to God, desiring to live like Jesus, and following chiefly the command to love.
I did not find Boyd to take a radical position of condemning everything related to the world or Earthly politics. However, I felt he approached the entire subject in a much higher, big-picture approach than I expected. He repeatedly drove home the point that the Kingdom of God is not simply an ideal version of the Kingdom of the world. He drew such contrast between what the lives of Christians should look like and what we sometimes settle for by labeling “Christian.” I was convicted by his plea for purity among the kingdom of God, rather than simply thinking that if Christians could just gain all the key political positions in America then the world would be as God desires. I cannot stress how challenged I was to not just view political issues through the lens of the Bible, but to realize the will of God is not found in political issues and the Kingdom is something that is only damaged by associating it with such.
As the title implies, the book also challenges some of the history narrative that is widely accepted in Christian circles regarding the founding of our nation. I struggle with this as I have recently searched for information on the founding of our country and the faith of our founders. It seems that, depending on where I look, I find two drastically different accounts of this. I seem unable to find a history of our nation’s founding that does not have a political or religious agenda in the way it tells the story and so I don’t feel that I can trust either story and am now very skeptical, which I feel is also the attitude of Boyd.
All that praise being given, I felt the author was sometimes being intentionally sensitive, as was the case in chapter 8 – a chapter I would say should be left out completely. In passages such as these he becomes offended for others who I’m not sure are all that offended. His overriding message that attaching God to our politics hurts God’s image and pushes away those who we are called to reach is a valid one and one that should be made. But I think he makes too many applications of that point and in doing so does what he condemns, pushing away some of his intended audience, especially the super-conservatives.
The last chapter of the book then takes what many would consider a very pacifist approach to some issues the author says he is commonly asked about. This is one of the few times where he does get specific on political issues, addressing specific wars and discussing the military. Boyd makes a great point that love is the chief calling of Christians and love is the very opposite of being passive. My fear, though, is his valid points will be overshadowed by his passive-like approach that will serve those who disagree with him as reason to dismiss all the good he has to say. I feel I was able to read this content with an open heart and allow myself to be challenged by the good that is there. I fear many others will simply approach this book in order to agree or disagree with it and leave with the same attitude with which they came.
Despite my few oppositions, I give the book 5 starts simply because I think it would be good for every Christian to read. This book needs to literally not be judged by its cover.
You may get angry if your idea of Church doesn't fit the reality in this book.
Greg Boyd lines out a position that has bothered me ever since I became a Christian in 1995. I immediately noticed that the gospel had been "Americanized" and I always had questions about wars and violence that were never addressed in any sermons I heard although Christ and the New Testament writers speak of it often.
You may not agree with everything or anything he says in this book, but you should be able to defend your position from the scriptures as he presents all of his positions from the scriptures.
Just War Theory is a doctrine of men that is never modeled or laid out in scripture and it should be tossed in the fires of Gehenna like all other man-derived doctrines that drive man further from the clear teaching of the scriptures.