Jesus the rebel: why I choose to be a Christian anarchist

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I grew up believing that being a Christian and being a supporter of the Republican party were synonymous. Heck, as a child I remember meeting an adult in my church who was a *gulp* Democrat, and it absolutely blew my mind. I felt like how a TI-89 calculator probably feels when someone inputs information not covered by its logic programming. As I grew older, though, deep down I found myself unable to wholeheartedly accept everything my religio—er—political party was telling me was right; the Holy Spirit would quietly whisper to me, “Yeah Mr. Politician is saying _____, but what do I say?” Typically, what the He would say was contrary to what I was hearing, but it was so much easier to just put my head down and be angry: angry at the terrorists, angry at the immigrants, angry at the people who didn’t look like me, angry at the poor. As the Holy Spirit has alleviated this hatred in my heart over the last six months, I got to see at Jesus how He always wanted me to see Him: the rebel who was killed by His government for starting an insurrection not with sword or stone but with love. Jesus of Nazareth was the most effective and truest anarchist in human history.

What does that look like today? I hit on various elements of what is called “Christian anarchism” in my previous post, but for starters, the whole “We are a Christian country” thing is absolutely nonsense for two reasons:

  1. It is false

I’ve discussed reasons as to why it’s false in previous posts, but I want to say it again: the United States of America has never been and is not some “shining city on a hill” as Ronald Reagan ridiculously claimed when he stole Jesus’s words directed at believers in Matthew 5:14 and disgustingly applied them to the United States. I mean, this isn’t difficult, people. John Adams, one of the beloved “founding fathers” basically said so himself in Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli all the way back in 17972:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

So we never were a intended to be Christian country, and we CERTAINLY haven’t become one. Captain Chris Antal, the ex-Army Chaplain who resigned because he’d had enough of the Army’s murderous drone warfare, put it this way when asked why he resigned:

We have in our nation an established religion. It’s not Christianity; it’s American National Religion. It consists of the unholy trinity of governmental theism, military supremacy and an understanding of capitalism as freedom. As a religious leader, I feel it’s my prerogative to differentiate myself from this state-sanctioned religion and speak from my authentic tradition in a way that resists these national policies.

  1. It is impossible

A “Christian country” cannot have any sort of a governing body in which one man rules over another because only God can be man’s ruler. Don’t believe me? Here’s God’s reaction to Israel “demanding” a ruler for them:

But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also (1 Samuel 8:6-8).

Imagine walking through a cornfield maze with all its dead ends, split paths, and lack of vision. Now imagine you have a friend (if you don’t have one, just imagine what it would be like to have one) communicating to you the way to go via walkie talkie (if they still make those) as he sits on a cliff that overlooks the entire maze. He (or she, gosh, not the point) has been your friend for a while, so he obviously has your best interest and well-being at heart. He’s been leading you through this maze, which is turning out to be quite extensive, for quite some time now. Occasionally you’d try to follow the path you believed was correct even though it was the opposite of what your friend told you. It never worked, but your friend always managed to get you going the right way.

So it’s starting to get hot, and because you can’t see any path besides the ones directly in front of you, you begin to doubt the intel that your friend is giving you. Suddenly, after hours of simply following the orders of your friend by yourself, another person whom you don’t know comes along. He’s just like you in that he can’t see over the tall stalks of corn, and his knowledge of the way to go is limited to what’s directly in front of him, but he’s unbelievably confident of the way to go. He makes turns without consulting your friend, and sure, he’s a little embarrassed when the turn ends up being the wrong one, but he just keeps telling you the way to go. Oddly enough, you find yourself following his suggestions more than your friend’s after a while. You know this new person is just as limited as you are, but, well, you can see this person, and you can’t exactly see your friend.

This analogy illustrates the Israelites’ decision to have human-led government control their lives, obviously, but before you point and laugh at the Israelites, realize that people make the exact same decision when they go to the polls to vote. Voting for a political candidate to be president is saying, “I think that this person is the best option for ruling over me.”3 I will do no such thing. WAKE UP, CHRISTIAN!! Who is the King in your life (John 12:15)? Where does your citizenship belong (Philippians 3:20)? Whose son/daughter are you (1 John 5:1)? What ethnicity are you (1 Peter 2:9-10)? THAT’S IT. You don’t get to choose who your leader is every four years; YOU ALREADY CHOSE!

I heard a pastor, one that I respect immensely, once say that us millennial Christians have the obligation to vote because there will never be a perfect candidate and Romans 13 requires that we care about the well-being of our country. So that thought coupled with all the propaganda conservative and liberal media pushes for the sole purpose of making people angry4, I got to thinking about what it would literally look like if Jesus ran for president. What would his platform be? How would he campaign? Then I realized that He wouldn’t run at all. For Him to express favor for the promotion of one country over any other would directly oppose His entire mission here on Earth. Jesus came to redeem us from our grotesque sin and to DEMOLISH borders & dividing lines, not build them bigger! Paul says that there is “neither Jew nor Greek” in Galatians 3:28, which means that Christians CANNOT be Americans. It’s impossible. Can’t be done.

Here’s the thing though: if you simply stop there, you’re no different from someone who listens to Rage Against the Machine and demands violent rebellion. That’s the difference-maker for Christian anarchy versus humanistic anarchy: verses like Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1, and 1 Peter 2:13 still exist. Christians are obligated to “be subject to governing authorities”.

“Chase, you illogical buffoon, that makes no sense. How can you be this anti-America person but still obey America’s government?”

Ah, but that’s just it! That’s the beauty of it! As I mentioned earlier, the ONLY weapon a follower of Christ is permitted to wield is love. But it’s the only weapon we need.

“Pfff, yeah I’m sure the government will just hate how loving all you anarchists are being…”

I know, seems ridiculous, right? Even those who do not belong to the people of God THINK that they want world peace & love, but at the end of it all, you know what that requires? Giving up power. And that simply won’t do. Being a Christian means admitting, we’re powerless, showing other people how powerless they are, and gathering together to worship He who is all-powerful forever and ever, amen. But if history has proved anything, it’s that when a government feels that the people have made anything more important than the state, that thing is unacceptable.

Think about how Jesus managed to routinely gather thousands of people together. Back in that day (and even today) crowds meant unity, unity meant power, and power meant potential uprising. That’s why the Pharisees hated Jesus so much. Jesus wanted to take away the power that the Romans had given them over the Jews, and give that power to God. The Pharisees hid behind “the Law” that they claimed God ordained as a means for granting them power over the people, but Jesus broke it all the time! Picking grain on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath, and really just a bunch more Sabbath-violating. Heck, is breaking Jewish law not why they killed him?  Look at Matthew 26:63-66:

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

There’s so much more I could say, but I hope you’ll think about what has been said. I’ll conclude with a quote from one of my all-time favorite thinkers, Jacques Ellul:

What seems to be one of the disasters of our time is that we all appear to agree that the nation-state is the norm. … Whether the state be Marxist or capitalist, it makes no difference. The dominant ideology is that of sovereignty.

Thanks for tuning in.


Footnotes:

1Conservatives start to make less and less sense the more I think about it. I don’t think a good argument could be made as to why fundamentalists don’t just go all the way and become members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Seriously, what’s stopping them? Faulty logic is what’s stopping them.

2I say that Adams “basically” said this because technically someone else wrote the document, but, as president, Adams had to sign off on every single line in the document. Thus, he was behind it.

3And yes, even taking the “vote for the lesser of two evils” approach means deciding that one person is more capable than another. As C.H. Spurgeon says”Of two evils, choose neither.”

4I had to point it out. This is absolutely happening. Both sides of the media and politicians are trying to create an “us vs. them” dividing gap for their own benefit. Next time you find yourself getting angry when you see some headline from a major media outlet or a quote from some politicians, take a second to breathe and remember that’s what they WANT you to feel because they want you to act on that anger.

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