I’m not sure how it happened, but I have evidently recently become a Greg Boyd groupie. I first read his book “Letters from a Skeptic,” an exchange of letters between Boyd and his unbelieving father on the nature of faith. I then started working through his book “God of the Possible,” an introduction to “Open Theism” which argues that the future is only partly known and determined by God. I’m about a quarter of the way through that one.
Then I decided to preach an Election Day sermon… which wasn’t on Election Day or had much to do with the election. I remember that Boyd had this book entitled Myth of a Christian Nation; after reading some quotations from it, I decided that I needed that book before I preached the sermon Sunday. But I didn’t have time to order it, so I had to go to Lifeway and pay retail. I called to reserve my copy, and when I got there I discovered they only had the hardback version, so this was really going to set me back. As it turned out, they had it on clearance for $1.99 plus tax! I didn’t really use it for the sermon, though I did refer to it in my Sunday night discussion. To paraphrase Jim McQuiggen, “I think everyone should be forced to read Boyd’s book… if they want to.”
Boyd’s book is summed up by the title of the sermon that inspired it (whose title I co-opted for my discussion last night), “The Cross and the Sword.” Boyd believes that Christians are called to be citizens of the kingdom of God who live out the sacrificial life of the cross; all governments are part of the kingdom of the sword who “lord it over” and “exercise authority” by the sword (Matt 20:25). While civil authority is ordained by God, the kingdoms of the world are controlled by Satan (Luke 4:5-7). The church must live out the kingdom of God on earth, and the exercise of political power is antithetical to that calling. The subtitle of Boyd’s book is, “How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church.”
The devil, of course, is in the details, but much of what Boyd says makes sense. This was the best $2 bucks I’ve every spent.