Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

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What is a Christian anarchist?

The meaning of Christian anarchism is not societal chaos induced by believers in God. Nor is it the provocation of revolution by Christians. Nor is it the introduction of a theocracy or a theonomy.

Anarchist is used in the sense of “no arky,” that is, “no human head,” or, more precisely, no merely human head. After all, the Christian anarchist is a worshipper of Jesus Christ, who is one of the three persons of the Godhead but who also came and took a human body like ours for His incarnation. His view of Christ is orthodox: Jesus was both fully man and fully God.

It is the Christian anarchist view of human government and of the state that is especially distinct. He is in favor of human government. He knows that the only feasible form of government self-government under God. Only a person who is undergoing regeneration can exercise meaningful self-control and can self-govern. Because the human race was damaged at the Fall of man, we need a power outside of ourselves in order that we may live moral lives. Today, we can have the desire to live morally, but we lack the power to. That we must have from outside of ourselves. God is the source for both this desire and also of this power.

Christianity, rightly understood, is the blossoming of a person. It means the fullest realization of what humanity is supposed to be in a person. Self, commitment to the old, coercive selfishly formed humanity, must die. In its place we continue to exist as distinct persons, but we are released from bondage through Christ. We choose, voluntarily, the beauty of holiness; we choose the mind of Christ. We choose a kingdom where we live in a way that is completely just toward others.

We recognize that the modern state is a machine for coercion and exploitation, that combinations of unconverted people must, inevitably produce enormous injustices, and that Satan exercises enormous control in all such structures. These structures constitute a bulwark of satanic lordship on earth. If the United State is the best that human government can produce, then we see the result: murder on a vast scale in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, theft of native American lands, the internment of 80,000 plus Japanese-Americans in concentration camps in 1942, a failure to live by its own Constitution in a long list of ways, an insatiable thirst for power and empire, and more.

The Christian anarchist recognizes that the best human government can do is facilitate the imposition of evil on human lives. Refusing to grant the state the legitimacies that it wants you to grant it does not mean rebellion against God but that you maintain your convictions and reservations about it; that you recognize it as part of the world that is passing away. You see it as a false hope, and insist on keeping your hope focused on the kingdom of God. The Christian anarchist is salt, preservative, God’s bulwark of true humanity, a taker of full personal responsibility for his actions. He reaps what he sows and what he sows is a world both just and merciful.

He prays for all those mere humans who are found in authority even as he cuts through the illusions of goodness ascribed to the human ruler. His eyes are open and his heart. God’s kingdom is his benchmark in a world that is found wholly under the imposition of satanic power (1 John 5:19). Jesus has defeated these powers (Colossians 2:15) and shows that He has by transformed followers who take no part in coercion and refuse to offer their allegiance to any but God.


Power versus unpower; Jesus chose the anarchist perspective

Anarchism is a repudiation of power. As an anarchist I do NOT want power over others. I do not seek it. I am satisfied if I can have power over myself, opportunity to make my own choices for myself, to choose good or to choose evil. I am made in God’s image. I live—unremittingly—in the moral domain. Because of what I am I can do no other.

Having said that, I am a weak creature. I am designed to worship but live in a nature that has been set against itself. We are all like sheep that have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). We wander on the mountainside as coyote howls in earshot. We exist in a moral domain, but our race has strayed from our Creator.

Consider the contrast between our adversary (which is the literal Hebrew meaning of “Satan”), and Christ.

In Isaiah 14:12-14 we are granted a peak through the divine window into the heart of Satan:

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:12-14 ESV).

The very next verses in 14 and also in Ezekiel 28 record not this self-intended fate, but the actual: Satan will be destroyed. A fire will come from from his own midst and consume him (Ezekiel 28:13-19). Here is a creature who sought to set himself above the stars of God—stars being a biblical symbol for his fellow angels. That is, he sought to be worshipped, one creature by others. He longed for God’s power but not His character. Listening to the Isaiah 14 passage we see his problem: “I, I, I, I, I,” that is, “me, me, me, me, me!”

But there is a contrast in Scripture. While Satan seeks power, Jesus does not. His labor occurs in unpower. Listen to Philippians:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV).

Whereas Satan seeks power and is destroyed, Jesus gives power up, and in the following verses is exalted (Philippians 2:9-11).

Nor did Jesus walk through earth crackling with electrical energies, zapping stuff. He “made himself nothing.” The Underlying Greek literally says that He “emptied Himself.” The miracles He wrought He did not directly do. John 14:10 says of Jesus that “the Father who dwells in me does his works.” If you prefer King James, “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Jesus asked His Father and His Father did the miracles. Jesus had emptied Himself of His own power. Satan sought power to defeat God; God gave up power to defeat Satan (Hebrews 2:14).

Jesus who had had absolute power, refused to be corrupted by it. It is not true that absolute power corrupts absolutely—not for God. But for any other being, (that is, for all other beings, for all others are created beings), surely it is true that the more power one gathers, the more readily the character is corrupted.

When Christians seek to link arms with the state, they choose to run with the multitude to do evil. Why do they do it? They think that they can turn the world by guiding, accessing, or participating in the power of the state. They choose the satanic course. The course of Jesus was to give up power, to let things stand on their own footing, to make His case for living justly by actually living justly. He took the form of a servant and humbled Himself. And unpower triumphed over power.

So. Which method and which mind will you have in you?

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