Can a Christian Be an Anarchist?

mothercirce Thu, 01/14/2016 - 20:16
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Libera_me's picture
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when it comes to the original meanings of words as the foundation of understanding them. I understand the reasoning behind changing the meaning of a word to the current understanding of it, but I strongly disagree with it. After all, many evils were caused by the shift of understanding of this nation as a representative republic to a democracy. Regardless of how many people use skim and scan to mean the same thing, (when they are polar opposites!) I choose not to. The same IMHO, should apply to the definition of anarchy, regardless of Perry Willis' well thought out points.

https://www.zeroaggressionproject.org/our-lexicon/anarchy-meaning-and-us...

Though I respect the reasoning behind the article, I will still use the words Christian Anarchist to those who either are Anarchists themselves, or are open to the ancient meaning of the word.

Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and the needy.~~ Prov.30: 8 & 9

BaneMaler's picture
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feedback from a Christian layman perspective.

Larken starts off by saying he is not a Christian (not a shocking statement from the video headline)

He then proceeds to say that he "agrees" with everything Jesus says (an erroneous statement typically made by people that don't know what Jesus said).  In fact what Jesus said drove people of all stripes to want to see him murdered.  The truth does that to people.  Paramount to what he said was that he was the one way to God, in which I find it difficult for someone who says they are not a Christian to say they agree with Jesus.  In reality they don't that's why they aren't Christians.

The guest says Christians typically look to the bible as the source of authority.  This is absolutely true.  If you can't start with this presupposition about where the Christian faith is cultivated then its hard to have a substantive conversation.  You can't talk about what the US Government is supposed to be without citing the founding documents.

I totally wish all churches were not affiliated with the 501c3 status but this is not what the church is.  It isn't a building it is a people, it is the body of Christ.  This is an issue but not an issue of faith.  Christians are free to associate with government bodies.

Just a side note on the non-aggression principle, I do believe this is consistent with Christianity.  However, under such a principle what happens when someone aggresses against a peaceful person?  Likewise, mankind has aggressed on truth and Gods authority.  What is the cost for such an action in Gods currency?  The answer is death.  Thank God that His Son has fully paid the price of that transgression for the believer.  Those that don't however continue to transgress and are aggressors to the law.

Can the libertarian coexist with the socialist in a Communist society?

They mention Noah's Flood appropriately which goes back to my questions on the non-agression principle.  Judgement on mankind was served.

So this is where we get to the meat and potatoes of this question of if Christians can be Anarchists.  He mentions Daniel as the original civil disobedient.  But again we only get a piece of the story.  Daniel was a government worker.  His master was the King.  He served the King.  It was only when the King broke Gods laws that he opposed the King and pointed to the authority of the King of Kings.  So we have to tell the whole story.

Larken uses that half story to make a point about not obeying any civil authority which is not the summation of the story.  His Christian friend says I feel comfortable with you telling a piece of what you are talking about (civil disobedience) to his church and not necessarily his idea of all civil authority.  Why?  Because there are laws that are directly from the scriptures, they are just laws.  The purpose of civil authority is to enforce the law not overreach.  There is a difference.  Isn't this the ideal of the law enforcers in an Anarchist society?  Makes you wonder if Anarchy is truly an absence of government at all.  Things like aggression are not allowed right, but why?  Who determines morality or that aggression is bad?

I'm not a Christian but I follow Jesus teachings better than you do.  Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.  Even the "worst" Christian has faith which is required to follow Christ.  What I must assume he means is that he follows the laws of God.  Well even the Pharisees followed the laws of God and they were called hypocrites.  What they lacked was authentic faith.

I think he bears a decent representation of Romans 13 but this isn't a mutually exclusive idea.  This doesn't advocate Anarchy.  This actually mentions worldly authority but he is right that all things are under the reign of the King of Kings.  The argument that we should do whatever government tells us is an extreme view.  Look at all the Christians in our world today getting upset about governments doing things they shouldn't.  I'm not sure why this is part of the argument.

The bit on Samuel the prophet is yet another out of context comment about what was happening at that time.  God established an order for the people of Israel.  The fact that people were going to Samuel shows that he had authority (ie Gods government on Earth).  The people were arguing for their own way of doing things that was the problem.

I think it would be best to represent the Christian relationship experience as thus as this keeps coming up:

God - Me > Family > Church > Community > Government (Nation)

Such structure is taught within each of these parts for instance the family has a head

(Christ leads the head) Father - Wife > Children

(Christ leads the head)Pastor - Deacons(Elders) > Members

In all sectors of life Christ leads the head or disorder is the result.

 

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

herbrp's picture
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unaware of Christianity, and ask yourself if you think you could be capable of having the mindset and philosophical ideals of those espoused by the bible and the stories/teachings of Jesus. In other words, without knowing Jesus or the Bible even ever existed what kind of person could you be? You do not need the "authority" of Christ and submission to biblical propaganda to exist in a peaceful and loving world.

BaneMaler's picture
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The bible is important to the Christian as it is like the owners manual to your life.  Without the owners manual you can see the creation around you.  This is also found in the scriptures that creation itself testifies to the fact that God exists.  So yes you can ascertain that God exists.  Also, before Moses wrought the first books of the Torah we are told that people had faith in him and God communicated to them, sometimes in amazing ways.  We also know that the laws of God are written on every mans heart.  They are without excuse to the nature of God.  So yes I believe that you could never crack the bible open to come to faith if God has chosen to have you brought up in Amazon of all places.  But the truth is you are not brought up in the Amazon and many I'm sure have testified to the truth of Christ and the Gospel to you.  Its like what Ron Paul says, now that you know the responsibility is now yours, you can't unlisten to the message.  And if God is tugging at your heart to reach out to people in the Amazon, many of whom are actually evangelized today by missionaries, then it is your duty to go.  God is the author of peace and love.  Without him there is no such thing as the two.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

fishy's picture
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and I think he is still bitter about that loss. We were raised in a very odd little church that appealed to those too intellectual to buy into "6000 years old" and such. Evolution is just one way God creates... smoothed over that kurfuffle real easy in our church. In many ways, it is a very good religion but it is still a religion. He was still a member of the church less than 8 years ago, I don't recall when I realized it. I don't know if he paid any attention, but I told him to research the church's history, then I sort of stopped paying attention to him for a while. (This choir member had become bored with all the preachers...) I recently started watching him again and he is no longer Christian, but he is now a lot nastier. I feel sort of badly, but we all need to figure out that religion is used to keep us mentally enslaved, and we need to learn to seek a connection to our Creator without the crutch of religion.

Waking up is hard to do. He was on top of government corruption at a very young age, he has been a relentless warrior for truth, and he is having a hard time right now.

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BaneMaler's picture
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I agree religion is a scourge on humanity.  Jesus was constantly challenging the religious people of his day.  Religion in fact is not what the Christian is called to uphold.  I also see Christians who go the other way and say they don't need anyone else in their life.  God put people in your life to challenge your thinking and to build you up to be a better you.  Jesus surrounded himself with relationships called disciples, those disciples created the early churches, many of whom still exist today.  These churches then stretched across the entirity of the world!  Personal faith in Christ is available to anyone but being a part of the body of Christ is like being active a member of the liberty movement.  Who are you serving if you wall yourself up in a cabin in the woods.  The truth is this is self serving and not selfless service.

As a for a Christian falling away from the faith, it is a sad thing to see.  I do think current issues popular in our culture serve as catalysts for this.  Many become discouraged because they don't have a strong foundation or the people around them are not supportive to answer questions.  There is a great analogy for the Christian that has fallen away that I think is relevant to the way people perceive what happens when we are "born again" as Jesus said.  Imagine a caterpillar that goes through a metamorphosis and becomes a butterfly.  This is like being born again.  There is no going back to being a caterpillar, the transformation is total.  When we give our lives to Christ there is no going back to being unredeemed sinners.  So the big question is was the transformation of the falling away Christian genuine or are they still a caterpillar.  The Christian faith is unique in this way.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

Micah's picture
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...with some related thoughts. :)  Probably some overlap...I have yet to watch the video the OP linked to...

Edit: watched the video, and must say it's excellent!

Regarding your comment on Daniel, please see my comments below on prudence with regard to how we deal with the State, even when not legitimately under obligation to do so.  Daniel was in the captivity, exiled, under duress -- he would have had to pick and choose his battles, just as we all do when it comes to being prudent in our dealings with our own State.  Some actions may cause more harm than good for our larger mission, even if we are technically not morally obligated to comply with coercion.

 

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BaneMaler's picture
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stories of the state and their rule over God's people.  God's people are often in duress, we know that the faith is not a carefree endeavor.  I think of the story of Esther for example, a Jewess who was believed to have wed the now notorious King Xerxes of Persia ("300" fame).  Through her obedience to an otherwise oppressive ruler who callously killed even his most closest circle, the Jewish people, and the line of Jesus himself was preserved.  Often we look at the scriptures and the stories and forget that all of these things were working in God's favor.  All the tyranny and grief was never about us, though God certainly cares about us, but it is all about Him.

I don't think the people described in the bible waited for the right opportunity to do what they really wanted without consequences.  This is no different with Daniel.  Every time the King overstepped his authority as an Earthly ruler he was put in check by God not Daniel.  Daniel merely obeyed in all things.  The King loses his crown and is in exile until he realizes the error of his disobedience to God and that God reigns supreme, not him.  He is then returned to greater glory with that perspective.  Daniel didn't exile the King, it was in God's time that the King was exiled. 

I don't recall an instance where Daniel compromised his beliefs in order to serve the King, can you?

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

Micah's picture
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Are you meaning that Esther, Daniel, etc. obeyed God in all things, or obeyed the earthly king in all things?  I'm thinking you probably mean the former, since Esther disobeyed the law that she couldn't go see the king uninvited (on top of Mordecai disobeying the law to pay homage to the king's officials), Daniel (and similarly Shadrach, Meshach, Obednego) disobeyed the king's laws regarding worship.  I imagine there must have been other laws which they probably would oppose if they were free to set up their own society, but which did not cross the line in their conscience as needing to be stood up to; whereas these other situations called for standing up against the rulers' edicts.

This is similar to that account of Christ and Peter paying taxes so that those collecting them would not be offended -- even though they were not legitimately obligated to do so.  Sometimes living peaceably is more important for the purpose of what we're doing than standing up in defiance.  But there are contexts where standing up against man's laws in order to follow God's Law becomes the priority -- not doing so would damage our purpose even more than trying to go along.

Regardless of what is the proper time and method of refusing to obey, it's a separate question whether the ruler actually has legitimate authority per God's Law of Love to act in the manner he is, to begin with.  Anything which violates the highest Laws of loving God and loving neighbor as self (i.e. committing aggressive violence, theft, etc. against neighbors) is illegitimate.  God may grant that ruler to be able to exist in that time and place, and they will indeed wield the sword as if they are 'punishing evildoing and rewarding good' -- that is the excuse they will give, being the ruler meting out 'justice'.  But God allowing that ruler to exist functionally as a de facto authority is not an endorsement of that authority's system of governance as morally legitimate or as a prescription for any society to follow.  So I guess I'm not seeing where any of this ties our hands today to not pursue a voluntary, anarcho-capitalist society which seeks to better align with God's highest Laws -- refusing to just go along with illegitimate coercion as an unfortunate 'necessity'.

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mwstroberg's picture
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Just curious, but why the downvote? I think the message here is quite valuable and timely. You can't serve two masters. If you serve God, you can't serve the State.

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BaneMaler's picture
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God in the scriptures establishes government and law for his people.  Crack open Leviticus for instance and you see the structure that was advocated.  Jesus also speaks of his return and his Kingdom where he reigns and the people of God are co-heirs to the thrown.  I've never heard any Christians make a scriptural argument for no government.  The founders even knew this.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

Promisekept's picture
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Galatians 5:13 - Obviously there is more to the scripture context here than the subject line above! If only it were as simple is it reads here: we'd all have gotten along with one another a lot better than we have, eh? Governments can only be influenced by the spiritual priorities; good and evil: both of the people who formed them, and of those who serve in their delegated roles. 

"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Gal. 5:14 Sounds even better: simple fulfillment in one word!

Why, oh, why, then; would Paul follow that with this puzzling admonishment: "But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."? The battle rages on inside us, daily, to some extent: are we going to abide and bear fruit, OR give in to baser passions? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: AGAINST SUCH THERE IS NO LAW." - Gal. 5-22-23 (emphasis mine)

Further on, he instructs believers: "Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another." Gal. 5:26 

Getting humble before God invites His gracious support, but proud folks are promised a taste of His resistance. "...Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" - 1 Peter 5:5 

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place. ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

mwstroberg's picture
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By implication. Jesus advocated that we treat others as we would wish to be treated. Do you really wish to endorse the State, knowing that its agents are given monopoly power to initiate violence against your fellow human beings? How is that "loving your neighbor as yourself?"

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BaneMaler's picture
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Christians follow the scriptures.  You haven't given an example rather you demand your own opinion over the word of God.  If you are going to claim that Christianity advocates anarchy then at least show scriptural proof of your claim.  I've given you just two instances of God advocating a system of governance for his people.  One from the old testament (the entire book of Leviticus) and one from the new testament Jesus teachings on the Kingdom of God (something that he talks about more than even salvation itself).

Additionally the scriptures teach that men are appointed by God to lead the nations.

Additionally Christ commands the people to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.  The Jews were under the authority of Roman gentiles and Jewish order (the Sanhedrin).

King David was an actual Jewish ruler as was his son Soloman.  This system of government dominates the later part of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament with Caephas and other Jewish leadership.

So again, where in the scriptures does it advocate anarchy?

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

Micah's picture
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Hi, BaneMaler --

About the time I was first drawn into the Liberty movement back in 2008, by Dr. Paul, I was pretty much a mainline evangelical Christian conservative.  If you go back into the Daily Paul archives you'll see that I've been on quite the journey of discovery since then, regarding principles of Love and Liberty, moving more and more in the minarchist direction, and eventually ending up persuaded by the anarcho-capitalists in the movement, such as Tom Woods, Rothbard, Walter Block, Jeffrey Tucker, etc.  I remain a committed, evangelical Christian and am careful to consider how my worldview aligns with Scripture, even with my quite radical shifts in the pro-Liberty, anti-war direction.

One thing to ponder here is this:  does the fact that God either advocated or allowed a particular governmental structure to exist at a certain time in history for a specific purpose in a specific culture mean that this particular governmental structure is the ideal that Christians should now pursue in our own time and place?

Would you say that because at one time the Levitical system was mandated for the Ancient Israelites, this is what we should be striving to reinstitute now, even in the New Covenant era when God does not choose to interact with people in the form of direct theocracies as He once did?

It's also interesting to note that at the time of the Judges, Israel was living under a relatively decentralized system -- 'In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.' (Judges 21:25).  We find that Samuel and God Himself seek to warn the people about the dangers and downsides of moving from that situation with no real executive or legislative bodies present to instead demand a monarch, a central authority who would tax and rule and send sons off to war, etc. (1 Sam 8).  The history of Israel after that tragic decision by the people (which God gave them the freedom to choose) certainly showed the corruption the centralized power would bring in many ways over the ensuing centuries.

If we consider Christ's teachings in the New Testament, we also see that He emphasized some rather libertarian ideas at times:  saying that He and Peter weren't really obligated to pay taxes but saying they would do it anyway out of prudence (Matt 17:25-27) "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."  He was also clear that His followers should not seek to rule or lord it over others:  "But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:25-28)

It is so amazing to think about the kind of Kingdom that Christ seeks to establish -- not one that is imposed top-down with political or military might with Himself enthroned like Zeus wielding thunderbolts.  That was the world's method of achieving power which Satan tempted Him with in the wilderness, which He rejected.  He would not take up such a 'ring of Power', even to do good.  That was not the way.  No, this Kingdom is one in which the highest King is the lowliest Servant, the one who points to the little child and declares that is what He is like, what His Father is like, and what we are to be like; who stoops to wash the feet of His disciples, even the one who would betray Him; who demonstrates Love and forgiveness even to the point of going to the Cross and asking the Father to forgive those who were murdering Him.  The Kingdom is established through hearts and minds changing from the selfish ambitions that plague them from within, dying to all that and becoming alive with a new thirst and hunger for righteousness.  But what is 'righteousness'?  Per Christ, all the Law and the Prophets hangs on these greatest commands:  Love God, love neighbor as yourself (including even enemies).  As John would later expand on this, he who does not have this love does not know God, for God is Love.

A key part of loving your neighbor as yourself is not inflicting aggressive violence against another in a way that would be wrong to be done to yourself.  It doesn't take much reflection to realize that this would also include enlisting other people to go do your dirty work for you against your neighbors.  If it would be wrong for you to go steal from your neighbor for donating to your favorite charity, it's still wrong even if you hide behind someone with a club or a sword or a crown or a badge to do the violence for you.  If it would be wrong for you or any private entity to go kidnap someone and throw them in a cage for eating too much junk food or drinking alcohol, it would also be wrong for anyone to do it on your behalf.  So at the very least, the State cannot legitimately, morally use force against anyone in a way that would not be legitimate for some private entity to also do.

Next consider that passages like Romans 13, which seem to talk about submitting to earthly authorities should not necessarily be taken as an actual endorsement of any or all of the systems of government that Christians find themselves under, with what God has allowed to occur in history, in a particular time and culture.  Just because it is prudent and wise for the early Church to not take on the Roman Empire (it would be spitting in the wind and cause more harm than good -- similar to how Jesus and Peter not paying the taxes would have caused more harm than good at the time), this does not mean that God is endorsing the Roman Empire and suggesting that if you ever find yourself in an opportunity to escape that system and establish a new one that you should not pursue it.  This is similar to how even though the Bible talks about the institution of slavery as a reality in the world and has advice for slaves and slavemasters in how they should treat each other, this should not be taken as an endorsement of that institution or a prohibition against ever getting rid of it and having a society without it.

So just because we, as libertarian Christians, should be prudent in how we carry ourselves in the current State we find ourselves living under, this does not mean that we cannot or should not ever seek out a better way -- namely, better approximating that ideal of loving your neighbor as yourself, sans the aggressive violence which breaks that very highest Law of Love.  We can have debates about whether particular forms of anarchism would be prudent or workable or effective, evaluate risks vs benefits (just as we can debate the pros and cons of all the various forms of the State), but there isn't some mandate from the Bible:  thou must have a State.  I don't see God demanding that Abraham seek out a State to submit himself to -- he was essentially his own ruler, with his own property; a mini-nation of his own.

That brings me to the point of anarcho-capitalism:  there are actually rules and rulers and authorities in this system -- namely, property owners with property rights.  How would Romans 13 apply in an anarcho-capitalist society?  It would still apply because we as Christians should then honor these property rights as the governing authorities -- seeking to use force to violate the property rights, against the authority of the property owners ('rulers') that He has allowed to exist at that time and place would be imprudent and even wrong.

I'll leave off here for now, but perhaps I can sneak in a portion of George MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons here? (It's in the public domain, so no copyright issues...)

Kingship

 

Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king! To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth: every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.--JOHN xviii. 37.

 

 

Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king. The question is called forth by what the Lord had just said concerning his kingdom, closing with the statement that it was not of this world. He now answers Pilate that he is a king indeed, but shows him that his kingdom is of a very different kind from what is called kingdom in this world. The rank and rule of this world are uninteresting to him. He might have had them. Calling his disciples to follow him, and his twelve legions of angels to help them, he might soon have driven the Romans into the abyss, piling them on the heap of nations they had tumbled there before. What easier for him than thus to have cleared the way, and over the tributary world reigned the just monarch that was the dream of the Jews, never seen in Israel or elsewhere, but haunting the hopes and longings of the poor and their helpers! He might from Jerusalem have ruled the world, not merely dispensing what men call justice, but compelling atonement. He did not care for government. No such kingdom would serve the ends of his father in heaven, or comfort his own soul. What was perfect empire to the Son of God, while he might teach one human being to love his neighbour, and be good like his father! To be love-helper to one heart, for its joy, and the glory of his father, was the beginning of true kingship! The Lord would rather wash the feet of his weary brothers, than be the one only perfect monarch that ever ruled in the world. It was empire he rejected when he ordered Satan behind him like a dog to his heel. Government, I repeat, was to him flat, stale, unprofitable.

What then is the kingdom over which the Lord cares to reign, for he says he came into the world to be a king? I answer, A kingdom of kings, and no other. Where every man is a king, there and there only does the Lord care to reign, in the name of his father. As no king in Europe would care to reign over a cannibal, a savage, or an animal race, so the Lord cares for no kingdom over anything this world calls a nation. A king must rule over his own kind. Jesus is a king in virtue of no conquest, inheritance, or election, but in right of essential being; and he cares for no subjects but such as are his subjects in the same right. His subjects must be of his own kind, in their very nature and essence kings. To understand his answer to Pilate, see wherein consists his kingship; what it is that makes him a king; what manifestation of his essential being gives him a claim to be king. The Lord's is a kingdom in which no man seeks to be above another: ambition is of the dirt of this world's kingdoms. He says, 'I am a king, for I was born for the purpose, I came into the world with the object of bearing witness to the truth. Everyone that is of my kind, that is of the truth, hears my voice. He is a king like me, and makes one of my subjects.' ...

(I wouldn't claim that MacDonald, himself, was an anarchist, but you can see what is resonating with me here.  And I very much would agree with J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a devout Christian and described himself as an anarchist -- it is indeed possible and Scriptural to be both!)
 

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BaneMaler's picture
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I appreciate the thoughtful debate here.  It is exciting to discuss these issues with people that I feel are on a similar journey in life as myself.

So I will try to answer point by point as succinctly as I can. To you first point I think I know what you are getting at.  This is why I think it is important to view the scriptures in its totality.  Both the old and new testament have presidence for governmental structures.  Not one or the other.  This is significant.  We know that the final creation (the new heaven and Earth) will consist of a governmental structure as well and it will be perfected with King Jesus at the thrown, the children of God being co-heirs to the thrown as spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ.  So there are no gaps advocated in submitting ourselves to governance.  This does not support statism however and I will get to that.  Is it ideal, absolutely not, we live in a fallen world only being held together by the grace of God.  Wrap your head around that one and you can see the answer to many questions.  However our falleness does not abrogate our responsibilities, it is of no excuse otherwise why live at all if we can't do everything perfectly.  This is faith in ourselves and what we can do and not in what God can do with our brokeness.

No I don't follow Levitical laws or governances these were established for the Isrealites but we do uphold the Covenant of the Law, the 10 commandments.  These are timeless for all and we see these tenants as the basis for the American society.  To continue in the Levitical law would be to deny Christ ever came to fullfil that law.  I think some scholars refer to this as trampling on the blood of Christ.  So no I don't sacrifice lambs because the final sacrifice has already forgiven all sin.  I don't travel around with the temple because Christ dwells in me as that temple and so on.  The Old Testament systems were to point the Jews to Christ when he came so they would know the truth.  But what you are getting at is this, has Christ returned yet to reign?  No.  So we still have authority on Earth through Him to manage and claim dominion over it until that day comes.

So I agree with you about the time of Judges.  But that wasn't the best of times for Gods people.  The verse you quoted can also be found in the time of Noah where men did what was good in their own eyes.  The same eyes that saw it fit to eat of the fruit in the garden and defy the commands of God which are few. This was like the dark ages.  Israel became subjects of the people they conquered generations before.  Again as for the King over Israel, God had already given the people a government structure to follow, he gave them a prophet, he gave them the royal priesthood, he was even gracious enough to send them Judges so that they knew they were out of bounds.  Its like if I gave you the Constitution and you decided that Executive Orders were a better way to write law because it was more expedient even though it subverts the entire system.

I think this point you made about Jesus being libertarian is spot on.  The Spirit of the Lord is described as the fountain of Liberty itself.  Liberty would not exist if not for God, think about that.  As for the tax you have to read carefully what you have written.  Jesus didn't advocate not paying taxes but he gave a great argument for taxation without representation - having been strangers in land they were called to pay taxes strange kings.  Jesus then shows them a piece of the Gospel, that despite our deserving of anything as sinners, he would die for us as the perfect servant and king.  He paid the tax despite the fact that he didn't owe it.  He likewise paid the ultimate price of his life even though he didn't owe it.

It is a great picture!  I love the verse that says every knee show bow, which gets to the heart of what you are saying.  Not because they were forced to bow but because it will be evident that the Lord is King and he is worthy of praise.  Oh what a shame to realize this too late.  To realize that He is the only one worthy of praise and that you rejected him.  A very poor example but it might be like waking up after election day in '08 or '12 and realize Ron Paul was right and the opportunity is now gone.  Sorry really poor example but maybe some here will appreciate that :)

On this point I totally agree.

I wholeheartedly agree with your point here.  The Kingdom of God is progressive.  It is working its way to the ultimate perfection and design.  As for slavery as described in the scripture there is enough cultural evidence from the time that this was more commonly characteristic to indentured servitude not chattel slavery.  Voluntary over coerced.  In any case you had good masters and poor masters that treated people horrifically.  This is why it is important to understand the historical context for these things as we would trying to understand any document like the Constitution.

From my knowledge of Abraham I can see what you are saying here.  But be aware that he was like his own nation and other nations actually came and took his family from him and it was his responsibility to send the nation that he cultivated out to save his family, many surely died in the conflict.  There were also disputes where Lot and his wife would leave to seek another nation for their security and pursuit of happiness.  Abraham in his day also met many rulers like in Egypt so this becomes an issue really of whether or not Abraham was capable of securing his people which I think God allowed and increased his numbers.  Outside of that context his people became slaves to the Egyptian empire.

So this last point sounds to me like a Constitution Republic that we intended to have.  The idea of property rights was enshrined in the founding documents.  This was more about the security piece and preserving those liberties from tyrants.  I guess it is easy this day and age to forget that the US was not always the top of the food chain so to speak.  British attempts to conquer this nation were very real.  Doesn't mean a similar situation couldn't arise again in the future as it most certainly will.

I don't disagree with you that a Christian can be an Anarchist.  A Christian is not defined by what system of government they adhere to.  It is defined by whether or not they have been transformed by the blood of the lamb, that is the liberty we have to be a part of all walks of life on Earth.  We are then called to be sanctified, becoming more like Christ over time.  This is the hurdle I believe that challenges us to continue to reside in the state that we are in.  How would Christ then navigate the system of government of his day, as an example for us.  I think we have a perfect example and a perfect answer.

Micah have you thought about what eschatology you subscribe to?

 

 

 

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

Micah's picture
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Yeah, I appreciate the discussion on these topics as well. :)  We both advocate the 'train' of society heading in the direction of Liberty from where we currently are, and I would be very pleased to see us get to the 'minarchist' station of an extremely limited State.  There's so much we agree on, even if I'd then argue for us to keep going towards the next station on the Liberty route from that point.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments on all the various points I brought up.  A few thoughts in reply:

Let's see...the final governmental structure in the final creation -- yeah, participation in that is voluntary, as you noted regarding 'every knee shall bow'. When God is finally All-in-All, then Love will be All-in-All, and all created persons will regulate themselves voluntarily in accordance with that Love -- God in us, enabling us to fulfill the highest Laws of Love. Until the reconciliation is fully realized, those who remain outside the Kingdom of Love in the ages to come will continue to experience the chaos, strife, decay that comes from non-Love marring relationships between person and person, and between person and Person. Only through voluntary participation in Love, through the enabling grace of God (i.e. through the Way of Christ), can those outside enter in to the Kingdom.

In the meantime, in this current earthly situation, we as created persons should try to approximate this Kingdom of voluntary Love as much as we can. The problem with so much of what earthly governments do is that they are claiming some special exemption to violate that very highest Law of Love, some exemption from the moral responsibilities we all have to that Law. A crown or a badge or a democratic vote does not excuse an immoral action that violates loving my neighbor -- it is immoral whether I do it or someone else does it for me. No amount of fancy political rituals or uniforms or appeals to precedence can excuse the use of aggression against my neighbor.

So if it would be immoral for me, a company, a church, a club, some private group to go around threatening people with violence or kidnapping if they didn't pay up for some charitable cause (our private crime-prevention program or whatever), it would also be immoral even if they were wearing uniforms or robes or crowns. Yet, this is what occurs when the State collects taxes with threats of violence if they are not paid.

Now if the State only collected fees from those who voluntarily agreed to participate in their services and programs, that would be a different matter. There would be no Biblical reason that I can see for opposing the alternative idea of competition among people providing the services of defense and arbitration to people through voluntary contracts and charity. The details of how this might be implemented would definitely be up for debate. Also up for debate would be how to wisely transition from a society with a monopolistic State to a voluntary society. But this system would be more in line with the Law of Love than the situation where neighbors use coercion and aggression against each other.

When it comes to the Ten Commandments, which of these commandments should be enforced by a State threatening violence, coercing people to obey them?

1. You shall have no other gods before Me. (We wouldn't advocate people using threat of violence against others who are of a different faith or of no faith. This is completely voluntary.)

2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image. (Threatening others with violence not appropriate here either. Should be voluntary to not idolize any created thing.)

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (No violent threats appropriate for enforcing this either.)

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (No violent threats appropriate here either, for those who don't keep the Sabbath in the 'proper' way.)

5. Honor your father and mother. (No violent threats appropriate here against those who don't have good relationships with their parents.)

6. You shall not murder. (Aha! Here's one at last that likely warrants defensive threats of violence -- although this is of course disputed by those who say Christ taught pacifism. But no person(s) should go about enforcing this in any fashion they choose. If it would be wrong for me or a private group to go rob all my neighbors to finance our crime-fighting, or to commit other murders in the name of preventing a murder, this would also be wrong for other person(s) who call themselves 'agents of the State' to do. Now, emergencies can justify unusual actions in the moment, including property violations (I might need to break into my neighbor's house to prevent a murder, or 'steal' their car), but always with limitations on them and with the understanding that restitution might be needed later on after the emergency is over. But these emergencies do not justify preemptively committing acts of aggression against people (stealing, killing, kidnapping, etc.) for general future use -- I couldn't demand a key to my neighbor's house or his car claiming it was to prevent a possible future murder that might occur there. I couldn't demand that he pay me money so I could prepare to defend him in some hypothetical future situation. Neither can anyone else morally do this, even if they're labeled an 'agent of the State'.)

7. You shall not commit adultery. (Now we're back to threats of violence not being appropriate for enforcement. We certainly don't think stoning people for it is appropriate these days!)

8. You shall not steal. (This falls into the the same category as #6. Defensive violence may be appropriate; but the limitations that would be present for any private individual or group in carrying out that defensive violence would also be present for any 'agent of the State'.)

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Most cases of lying wouldn't warrant threats of defensive violence, etc. Deliberate lying which was used as a means to bring aggression against another -- falsely testifying against someone in court -- might be another story?)

10. You shall not covet. (We wouldn't think coercive enforcement was appropriate here. Should be voluntary only.)
 

So of the ten commandments, only two or three could arguably justify defensive violence -- but even with those there are limitations on how one can morally go about defending oneself or others; and these same limitations apply to any person doing the defending. Nobody gets some special exemption to violate morality simply because they wear a uniform or a robe or a crown.

Sorry if I'm drifting off of the points you were trying to make -- quite a few distractions here, as I type; and I may be going off on a tangent. :) lol

As far as eschatology goes, I come from a pretty typical pre-millennial, dispensational type background; but I guess I'd have to say I'm not really dogmatic on this.  I'm open to studying these things a lot more than I have and considering other views.  One major shift I've had in the last several years is in the direction of evangelical universalism, as far as God successfully reconciling His entire Creation through Christ, in time.  So I guess that informs my view on how things ultimately end up, but as far as the details of the events that unfold between now and then, in history, I can't say I'm enough of an expert to have a firm opinion there. :)

Edit:  Oh, one question I did forget to ask.  The slavery in the Bible -- are you saying that the slavery among the Hebrews and the slavery among the Romans and Greeks were both voluntary (i.e. indentured servitude)?  With the Romans it was more a case of people captured during conquest, no?  So the slave and slavemaster situations Paul was referring to would indeed have involved chattel slavery in the Empire??

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BaneMaler's picture
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The Gospel is certainly for everyone so you are right there.  My response was more to somewhat downplay our first thoughts on slavery.  I think slavery as it pertained to who Jesus was talking to, his audience at the time, was more a discussion on people that owed you debts.  I'll have to dig back into the context of that scripture to pull some of those verses out.

It would seem you got me on the 10 Commandments as well but again I think we need to dig into context and the importance of covenant relationships established by God.  Adherence to the 10 Commandments was first introduced to the theocratic community known as Israel so it was a type of the coming age but also served to show the harsh reality of sin.  In spiritual terms disobeying any of these commandments will lead to spiritual death.  So we have to separate that out with the practical application of these things once the theocratic society of Israel was disbanded.  We also see that God in Levitical law explained precise judgments for disobeying the commandments.  Very few of these required death as you somewhat came to the conclusion to on your non-aggression principled angle. They usually required some kind of sacrifice. As for the institution of marriage and how it applied to adultery, this was a serious offense to God.  He explains in Genesis that the two flesh become one, let no man separate.  Adultery then should be seen as the murder of the two flesh that had become one that God had brought together.  In Gods view adultery is murder.  All murder then warrants the ultimate punishment, a life for a life.  You sorta opened a can of discussion on this point.

As we move on Jesus brings us the fulfilling Covenant of the Son.  A covenant based on the fact that man is woefully incapable of obeying the law.  A covenant based on grace.  The Jewish theocracy had failed and the Jews are now ruled rather than rule.

What I'm trying to understand is whether you realize that Christ died for our sins and his blood covers our deficiencies.  Because of this we aren't slaves to the law but by his grace we can be obedient to it.  So liberty is applied as we voluntarily decide to follow Christ rather than imposing such a reality through our efforts or even governments.  If we disobey the commandments it only proves we are human and that we may not be submitting to Christ.  Non-believers are expected to function outside of the law.

Part of why today I advocate to do away with corporal punishment.  Jesus' blood is able to redeem any lost soul.  It is only because we are living in the Kingdom Age that this new state is even possible.  Kinda why I asked about your eschatology.

Do I believe Jesus is a pacifist though, not even close.  We have to think of all the times the Angel of the Lord appears and demands military action of his people, the Great Flood,  the very fact that there is a final battle led by Jesus who is described bearing a flaming sword, which if I not mistaken appears from mouth or the word.  Likely the same sword that divides.  Ultimately Jesus will fight for His people and for inevitable peace, the destruction of Satan.

 

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Never Be Defeated! https://youtu.be/XmTmTMcdxOs

Micah's picture
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...are a bit scattershot and unfocused, given I barely have a chance to string two sentences together these days. :)

Much we agree on.  I see Christ's work as fulfilling the highest Law of Love through His (and His Father's) forgiveness and His enabling grace which helps us grow over time into complete repentance and our own forgiveness of others.  The old laws were only a tool all along to lead society towards the recognition and fulfillment of this highest Law of Love.  Anything without Love as its center and engine is death and vanity.  All sin is at its root a form of non-Love; not really a thing in itself but more of a deficiency or lack of Love.  His sacrifice for us, in His life, death, resurrection leads us to that Way, Truth, and Life that can only be found in Love, through reconciliation (annihilation/destruction of the non-Love within us).

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I guess to me the main points related to anarchism are these:

- Person A and Person B both have to follow the Law of Love towards Person C

- Person B doesn't get some special exemption for committing aggression against Person C just because they are labeled a 'ruler'.

- Person A can't hind behind some Person B and indirectly use them to aggress against their neighbor, Person C, just because of some 'ruler' label

- So at a minimum we should all agree that people who claim the label 'State' have no authority to commit any act of aggression, and they have no legitimate moral authority (even if God is allowing the State as a de facto authority in history) to use violence in a defensive manner beyond what would be appropriate for some private entity to use.

- Beyond that, there is no Biblical mandate against getting rid of the State altogether and having a community based on voluntary exchange, competition among those who would provide security and arbitration services.  The wisdom and morality of *how* we get there from here is important, but there is no fundamental reason to cling on to immoral aggression in the form of the State any more than there was a fundamental reason to not get rid of the immoral aggression of chattel slavery, as society was able to.  This comports more with that Law of Love.

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HVACTech's picture
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and just for the record. I am a MinArchist and a Deist.

total Anarchy will only be possible after the common man has both a force field and a replicator. (like on Star Trek) :)

I have been round and round with these pure, hard core Anarchists. they are a plague on our movement.

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