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Posts Tagged ‘Greg Boyd’

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Christian Books has “A Myth of a Christian Nation” on sale for $0.99.  This is a really good book. I have posted a few quotes from it but here is one I really really like on Civil Religion:

When we fail to distinguish between the quasi-Christian civil religion of America and the kingdom of God, two things happen.

First, American kingdom people lose their missionary zeal. Because we buy the myth that we live in a Christian nation, as defined by the civil religion, we don’t live with the same missionary zeal we’d have if we lived, say, in a country where Buddhism or Hinduism was the civil religion. This is why American Christians so often define “missions” as sending people to other countries—as though there was more missionary work to do there than here.

I believe this sentiment is rooted in an illusion. If you peel back the facade of the civil religion, you find that America is about as pagan as any country we could ever send missionaries to. Despite what a majority of Americans say when asked by pollsters, we are arguably no less self-centered, unethical, or prone toward violence than most other cultures. We generally look no more like Jesus, dying on a cross out of love for the people who crucified him, than do people in other cultures, and thus are generally no closer to the kingdom of God than people in other cultures. The fact that we have a quasi-Christian civil religion doesn’t help; if anything, it hurts precisely because it creates the illusion in they minds of kingdom people that we are closer to the example of Jesus than we actually are (cf. Matt. 21:31).

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I love this quote from Greg Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation

So, too the reason God now calls kingdom people to remain separate from the ways of the kingdom-of-the-world is not to isolate them from their culture but to empower them to authentically, serve their culture and ultimately win it over to allegiance to Jesus Christ. The reason we are not to be of the world is so we may be for the world

This point is especially important today, for a significant portion of evangelical Christianity has come under the influence of an escapist apocalyptic theology. Believing Jesus will soon “rapture” Christians out of the world before destroying it, they have little concern with the church being a witness on issues of social justice, global peace, the environment, and so on. To the contrary, in the name of fulfilling biblical prophecy, many are actively supporting stances that directly or indirectly encourage violence, possibly on a global scale (of instance, extremist Christian Zionism). Since the world is doomed for soon destruction, the thinking goes, the only thing that matters is getting individuals ready for the rapture.

Whatever else one thinks about the New Testament’s eschatology, it certainly does not encourage this sort of irresponsible escapism. The hope offered to believers is not that we will be a peculiar elite group of people who will escape out of the world, leaving others behind to experience the wrath of God. The hope is rather that by our sacrificial participation in the ever-expanding kingdom, the whole creation will be redeemed (Rom. 8:20-23; Col 1:18-20)

I believe Mr. Boyd to be correct in his assessment. It is much easier to let the world go to hell in a hand basket then engaging it with Calvary type love. It is much easier to look at homosexuals with AIDS and say “this is God’s judgment” than to put our arms around them and love them. It is much easier to ignore the rapid decline of our environment than it is to march hand in hand with “tree lovers”. It is much easier to say “we will be raptured away from it all, so prepare yourself for the next kingdom” while ignoring the world around us. Why care about child slavery? Why care about Darfur? Why care about world hunger? It is funny that Jesus came to reverse the curse of the fall while we not only avoid assisting Him, we actually applaud such destruction and pain in the name of God’s judgment!

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