Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

Christianity and anarchism must inevitably stand opposed to non-Christianity and statism. It is true that most Christians are unexamined statists, but what we here speak of is the Christianity that takes seriously the whole of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. It should also be noted that an ideology that is unexamined is not one that people have committed to or necessarily are likely to commit to.

Much of Christianity is not of this strong type, however; as Ellul notes,

Christians and the church have wanted an alliance with everything that represents power in the world. In reality, this rests upon the conviction that thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit the powers of this world have been vanquished and set in the service of the gospel, the church, and mission. We must use their forces in the interests of evangelism. Wealth and various authorities receive recognition in this way and are put in the church’s service.

But what happens is the exact opposite. The church and mission are penetrated by the power and completely turned aside from their truth by the corruption of power. When Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world, he says clearly what he intends to say. He does not validate any worldly kingdom (even if the ruler be a Christian). He puts us on guard against seeking any authority other than that of the Holy Spirit” (Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity, pp. 20, 21).


The acceptance of one power or authority, alliance with one secular power, leads inevitably to a combination with every social force. (Ibid., p. 31).

People in the church think that God has neutralized the power of the world and that they are clever enough to turn the world’s own features against itself and thus to advance the work of God. They fail to understand the depth of the biblical warnings concerning the world and the urgency of Heaven’s warnings against trusting in human intellect. Their endeavors to convert the world are largely crash-and-burn, and the world enters the church. The agency (the church) God intends to be His chief agent of healing in the world, is enrolled as an agent of the state. The state, of course, is a self-preserving coercive machine, thoroughly destructive of humanity, tending rather to dehumanize and impress a culture of helplessness upon its citizens and to teach itself as solution and necessity.

Those who wish to move toward a healthier humanity need to develop the character traits which make for such an outcome. Namely, faith in God, self-control, self-sufficiency in non-faith matters, the exercise of free will, and the exercise of thought unconstrained by all the poisons of statism.

We will further explore these ideas in posts that shall be forthcoming.


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