Anarchy and Christianity by Jacques EllulJacques Ellul blends politics, theology, history, and exposition in this analysis of the relationship between political anarchy and biblical faith. On the one hand, suggests Ellul, anarchists need to understand that much of their criticism of Christianity applies only to the form of religion that developed, not to biblical faith. Christians, on the other hand, need to look at the biblical texts and not reject anarchy as a political option, for it seems closest to biblical thinking. Ellul here defines anarchy as the nonviolent repudiation of authority. He looks at the Bible as the source of anarchy (in the sense of nondomination, not disorder), working through the Old Testament history, Jesus ministry, and finally the early churchs view of power as reflected in the New Testament writings.With the verve and the gift of trenchant simplification to which we have been accustomed, Ellul lays bare the fallacy that Christianity should normally be the ally of civil authority. - John Howard Yoder
Anger What Does the Bible Say?
Is it possible for a Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ to be a pacifist and an anarchist, who simply rejects all forms of violence and all worldly systems of government and business…? Thanks for writing! You ask an intriguing question. Pacifism and anarchy seem like an odd combination to me. Of course, for anarchists to succeed, it helps to have a lot of pacifists around.
Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. And the people will be oppressed, Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; The youth will storm against the elder And the inferior against the honorable. When a man lays hold of his brother in his father's house, saying, "You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler, And these ruins will be under your charge," He will protest on that day, saying, "I will not be your healer, For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; You should not appoint me ruler of the people. For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Most Relevant Verses
Jesus Was Not An Anarchist
I first learned about anarchism back in the s. We met a young couple, Karl and Linda, who had just moved to our hometown, Eugene, Oregon, to be part of the rising anarchist movement there. I was disabused of that superficial antipathy in conversations with Karl and Linda and also in seeing their lives. They were compassionate, committed to social justice, and Linda, at least thoroughly nonviolent. They were pretty negative about Christianity, but were interested to learn to know about our Anabaptist convictions. About the same time, I took a class on the history of political theory at the University of Oregon—and the professor treated anarchism as a serious political philosophy that needed to be considered alongside the other more mainstream approaches. I have not traveled very far down the anarchist path in these past decades, but I have remained interested in and sympathetic toward this political orientation.
What does the Bible say about? Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority?