The Myth of a Christian Nation – Gregory A. Boyd


Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310267315
ISBN-13: 978-0310267317
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After reading this book, I found myself longing for the world Reverend Boyd describes. The book is subtitled “How the quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church”. This book came about in 2004. Reverend Boyd feeling pressure from the right wing and his congregation into leading the church into voting for what they deemed the right candidate, delivered a series of impassioned sermons. This sermons were on the dangers of associating the Chrisitan faith with a political point of view. He titled this series “The Cross and The Sword”. He received overwhelming positive response, but also a lot of negative responses. 20 percent of his congregation [About 1000 people] left the church.

They felt it was the Church’s job to promote an anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-American position. His idea though is simple. He sees two separate kingdoms. The first is the Kingdom of God, the other is the Kingdom of Man. He says the evangelical view is about “taking America back for God”. The right tends to vote for religious candidates, want to outlaw abortion, outlaw gay marriage, and involve the Church in all aspects of our lives, such as keeping God in the pledge of allegiance, prayer in schools, etc. He says that combining these two, is “idolatrous”, and is part of what is destroying the church, and damaging God’s Kingdom. He doesn’t say whether these positions are right or wrong, but these issues are part of the Kingdom of Man.

The Kingdom of God is separate, and somewhat co-exists separately with the Kingdom of Man. The Kingdom of man is initially a power-over paradigm. It concerns our power over other countries, genders, races, etc. The objective is to control, and is used through our military force, etc. The Kingdom of God is strict to Jesus’ teachings. It’s a power-under paradigm. The objective under it is to serve. Help the homeless, help the poor, feed the hungry, heal the sick.

He surmises that Jesus rules over the Kingdom of God, while Satan rules over the Kingdom of Man.  This isn’t to say that any government is evil, but things like War, Genocide, Slavery, etc. are things controlled by the Devil.   As he says, it’s a tit-for-tat arrangment.  Our soldiers bombed Iraq, days later Iraqi soldiers beheaded an American.  When our country struggled with slavery, we should have been out there from the beginning protesting against it. 

The solution is simple but not easy.   He uses the Illustration of Jesus against Pilate.  Jesus had all the power in the world at his hands.  He could have drawn upon that power and defeated all those against him.  He would have been winning by Kingdom of the World standards, but he chose to lose by those standards.  In the Kingdom of the World, Jesus lost the fight.  However, in the Kingdom of God, he managed to show people that being willing to sacrifice everything you have for the love of another person, is much more powerful.  An example showing this was his dis-tasted seeing a war video.  Planes were shown bombing cities, with patriotic music, and people cheering.  His point was that rather than cheering over the deaths of innocents, we should have been in the streets praying for the people that perished.  The bombing was Kingdom of the World, the praying is Kingdom of God.

I thought the book was well written.  The facts/ideas were interspersed with relevant scriptural passages.  While many would consider his ideas Liberal, he is in fact an evangelical minister.  This book is just about concerns that in order to control people and situations, that doing so in the name of God brings a lot of bad thoughts towards the church/country.  It’s due to what Christianity has done to some of these other countries, and the way it was done in not so Christlike manners, that’s made us enemies.  We can correct it, but need to be willing to take the steps to do so.

I know that many who read this review will probably be infuriated, and refuse to read this book. I had doubts about it, but by the time I was through, I was wishing I could step outside the Kingdom of Man and all of it’s biases and control issues, and live within the Kingdom of God. That kingdom was a much more beautiful place to read about than the world seen outside my window.

Pick this book up if you see it, rent it at the library, whatever you need to do, but please read it, and read it with an open mind. I think it might change how you look at things also, it certainly did for me.  You can discuss it here