Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

The third commandment reads

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (Exodus 20:7).

In the Bible, a person’s name stands for his character. This is not always the case, but quite often the case. Certainly it is true when we come to God. His name is mentioned in Exodus 34:5-7

And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation

God’s name represents His character qualities. The above description is a little sample of that. The name of the Lord is full of meaning. All who follow Him are supposedly carriers of the same meaning, albeit in a lesser sense. This commandment has to do with our claim to represent God. Taking God’s name in vain, that is, making it empty or void, is much more than an ill-mannered utterance. It means to misrepresent God in any way.

If we claim to be His representatives and our behavior is a denial of His name, i.e. a denial of mercy, grace, justice, etc., then we are guilty, through our actions, of misrepresenting Him. From the standpoint of the Christian anarchist, this is especially troubling. The reason why, is that the fundamental reason for choosing to become a Christian anarchist is because of the quest for justice. Anarchism says that no created person stands in the place of Christ above any other created person. It rejects all lords but Christ, all antilords, that is, all antichrists.

The Christian anarchist supposedly has a better grip on history and the depradations of the state. This should shape his behavior. As a representative of a more just world, his behavior should be the most appealing, the most attractive, the least obsessive, the least statelike, overbearing, invasive, repellant. He represents the highest ideal: the fully responsible, responsibility-taking, eyes-wide-open Christian. If he has shed the injustice of the state, if he is truly antistate, then he is called to be a model of the most just life a human can live.

We can summarize this by saying that, far from emptying the name of God of its moral power, the Christian anarchist should be the kind of person whose life is an illustration of the opposite: his life should as fully as humanly possible echo the divine name. If ten Christians live on his street, he, the Christian anarchist, should be the most like Jesus.


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