Why True Christianity Is Anarchist


I wanted to take a few moments to talk about anarchism since Donald Trump has, predictably, attempted to scapegoat anarchists for ‘rioting’ and ‘looting’ in an attempt to regain control of the narrative. around white supremacist police brutality in our country. First of all, I have to admit that no two anarchists are the same. There are anarchists who believe in the strategic use of physical violence; I do not know. My anarchism is entirely linked to my Christian faith.

The one basic common denominator of anarchism is a distrust of authoritarian systems such as the institutional church, the criminal justice system, technocratic bureaucracy, and education based on standardized tests. These systems not only allow people to build power through corruption; they also behave inefficiently because they force people to work through coercion rather than inspiring spaces of curiosity, co-creation and belonging. Anarchists believe that people should be given the maximum power to make decisions that affect their lives. For an anarchist, localized direct democracy is the purest political system. On a spiritual level, I believe that anarchism provides an antidote to understanding the Christian faith that can address and correct its heretical colonial behavior of centuries past.

So what does anarchism have to do with Christianity? I believe that the true authority of Jesus stems from his helplessness on the cross and that this helplessness is in fact the continuous posture chosen by God towards the universe, which theologians call kenosis or “self-emptying”. Divine authority is totally anti-authoritarian in the sense that God wants to inspire our obedience with nothing but love. The power of God’s love is undermined when confused with institutional punitive power. When missionary conquistadors for centuries offered baptism or death to indigenous peoples, they completely perverted the gospel. An obedience rooted in fear of punishment does not belong to the God who inspired John to write “there is no fear in love for perfect love has cast out all fear”.

Some streams of Christianity undermine the radical message of the cross of Jesus by essentially nullifying Jesus’ powerlessness through the omnipotence of the Heavenly Father. They make the cross an act that the Father inflicts on the Son rather than that of the triune God. self– the sacrifice and the acceptance of the rejection of humanity. For me, the cross is the purest revelation of God as creator who allows himself to be continually crucified by his creation.

If God were the fascist imperial general that some streams of Christianity make him out to be, there would be no basis for true love in our response to God. We would simply serve God for the same reason that Kim Jong Un’s officials give him two-hour standing ovations. When I read RC Sproul The holiness of God and John Piper Desire Godit seems to me that the authoritarian God they describe is essentially a Kim Jong Un.

Authoritarian Christians have plenty of biblical proof texts to back up their point. It just depends on how you associate the God who strikes Uzza to death for touching the Ark of the Covenant with the Jesus who lets the Romans crucify him. If the God who kills Uzzah does not directly experience Jesus’ powerlessness but instead imposes the cross on Jesus as part of his absolute control over everything, then we are really dealing with two Gods with two different natures even though we claim the opposite.

Authoritarian Christianity seems to have embraced the premise of the heretical Marcion with the only difference being that it revels in the very thing that horrified Marcion and made him want to remove the Old Testament from the canon. In a theology that pits the Father and the Son against each other and only allows kenosis to one of them, the Trinity is not really one God.

When we worship control, we project a radically controlling God onto the biblical text even though Genesis 3 shows us that the craving for control is the very source of our original sin. Lucifer, the ancient serpent, stands at the tree of knowledge of good and evil and offers to give us a way to play God and dominate others. What most Christians have missed for centuries is that it was actually the Bible teachers and systematic theologians who continually played the role of Adam and Eve and gorged themselves on the fruit of knowledge.

For authoritarian Christians who worship control, Eden’s sin has nothing to do with the nature of the fruit God was trying to protect us from. They make sin a historical oddity that has nothing to do with disobedience and nothing to do with the serpent’s promise to Adam and Eve to turn them into gods. For a Christian anarchist, the sin of Eden is the thirst for control expressed by the voice of the serpent. I see the story of Eden as an allegory that plays out every time a Christian Bible teacher (or any other human being) uses their knowledge to gain power for themselves.

Donald Trump’s recent photo op outside a church holding a Bible he has never read is a perfect representation of the sinful fruit of authoritarian Christianity. When knowledge is reduced to a means of asserting power, then the Bible literally becomes a medium. While Donald Trump voices the most grotesque and obvious version of it, there is a whole nation of authoritarian Christians who have also made the Bible a medium for their self-justification. Trump understands nothing of the content of the Bible, but as a masterful salesman he knows how to use imagery to reach his authoritative Christian base.

It continues to amaze me how perfectly authoritarian Christians today imitate the Bible teachers in the gospels who hated Jesus so much because they wanted to be right above all else. Jesus purposely did things that were incorrect to confuse them and clarify important truths. None of the people he healed on the Sabbath amid worship services had life-threatening conditions that required immediate attention. They really weren’t ditch oxen, despite his protests. He had to do what he did to overturn the notion that worship is primarily about correctness rather than pleasure. Jesus was handed over to the Romans to be crucified by the chief priests of his religion for behaving like a spiritual anarchist with their sacred rules.

It’s possible if white authoritarian Christians continue to have the power that Trump thinks he has, then anarchists like me will be politically scapegoated and persecuted, especially if the rage in the streets reaches new heights and the order social is really threatened. Our democratic freedoms will wither like the most fragile of flowers if the market really begins to be impacted by street protests.

To be clear, I have no intention of inflicting violence on anyone or anything. I have too much to do in my garden. I’m not going to say that people who do such things aren’t real anarchists, but my calling as an anarchist is to reverse the dehumanization of our world with my words rather than throwing bricks in windows. However, I’m not sure I can completely condemn brick throwing. Maybe it has its place in making the current social order completely untenable, so that we are forced to change. But it is certainly not my calling as someone who worships a slain lamb that is overthrowing Satan’s world.


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