Monday, July 31, 2006


It's not the kind of move a mega-church pastor makes during a $7 million fund raising effort, especially when you're short $3 million.

Unless, of course, you are the founding pastor and you can preach a series called the "Cross and the Sword," urging the church to keep away from politics, avoid moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming that the US is a "Christian nation" and stop glorifying US military campaigns.

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, founding pastor of Woodland Hills Church (WHC) in Maplewood, Minnesota, began tiring of requests to rally around, endorse, condone and introduce various issues, politicians, pamphlets and guides from the pulpit. And why not hang an American flag from the platform, since the country was engaged in battle?

Essentially, Boyd has concluded that, among other things: "When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses. When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross."

In this day and age, such commentary stands in opposition to the current of present-day evangelicalism, at least as popularized by major media. Yes, you know the ones......those aligning themselves with and known primarily by the Republican party.

The interesting thing is that this is news now. Boyd delivered the sermons shortly before the last presidential election. In the time transpiring, it seems WHC has lost around 1000 of its 5000 members. Perhaps the knowledge of such may help to percolate sales for his newest book, The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Nation, which was released on May 1 of this year. The book is based on the aforementioned sermons he delivered at the time. It is one of a only a handfull on the subject from other authors.

From his Letters From A Skeptic to Satan and the Problem of Evil to God of the Possible, I have appeciated Boyd's writing style and ideas. Most of his material in what I've read is carefully and painstakenly presented.

Boyd balks at the premise that this makes him a "liberal," who was educated at Yale's divinity school and Princeton Theological Seminary. In fact, Boyd's book, God of the Possible roused an unsuccessful attempt to shoo him from the Baptist General Conference.

While not hinting at his political preference, he maintained that the sermons were not mounted attacks at the Religious Right or the Republican party. He was decrying the sad state of how both sides of the right and left had become steeped into a political idolatry.

And what of Boyd's first sense of dis-ease? While at another megachurch's Fourth of July service some years ago, the service concluded with a choral rendition of "God Bless America" and a video of fighter jets (for Jesus I presume) flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses: "I thought to myself, 'What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?'"

Boyd's assertion is primarily this: the role of Christians was not to seek "power over" others with controlling governments, legislation and waging wars. On the contrary, Christians should seek to have "power under" others by winning people's hearts through self-sacrifice for those in need. His contention is that this was the model of Jesus.

Boyd also argues that America is not a "Christian nation" and was not founded as a theocracy.

It is true that a certain very vocal, powerful segment of Christian so-called, "evangelical" elitists are jockeying for position in ways and realms that don't belong to them. It remains to be seen how much of their authentic Christianity must be laid at the door once given access to the coffers of wealth, prestige and influence. The closer you get to the hot core of the machine, the more you are melded into the likeness of its cause and effect. It is never the other way around and by the time this is known, the tiny compromises add up.

It is no simple thing to ascertain just what role Christians should play in the political machinery of nation-states whose ruling elite are led by avowed occultists and pawns for multi-national, corporate conglomerations. While only God truly knows the hearts of men, I do know that our "Christian" president has never issued a letter of remit to the occult Skull and Bones, perhaps one of America's most powerful secret societies (to whom he still adheres). I don't guess it isn't enough either that Jesus never said anything in secret. Anyone honestly willing to sustain inquiry long enough into the matter will find in evidence that light and darkness cannot co-exist. It isn't a matter of siding with either of a two-party, hijacked political system either.

Can conscientious Christians vote or be involved in some level of the governmental process? I reservedly say we can at present, but we just better know who the gatekeepers are, and this is not an easy task in the flux of all that we have at stake. Anyone trying to act for decency and justice even on the local levels of our governing seats know this. Most people know too, that not all involved are demons from Hades bent on thwarting all things Christian. But the resolve to be willing to call some things for what they are is being lost in the fracas over three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline and the endless war on terror.

We know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19.

see the full article on Boyd here.