Quotations by Boyd, Greg


The all-important distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world entails that a kingdom-of-God citizen must take care never to align any particular version of the kingdom of the world with the kingdom of God. We may firmly believe one version to be better than another, but we must not conclude that this better version is therefore closer to the kingdom of God than the worse version.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 10-Jan-12 | Last updated 10-Jan-12
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Not everything about the kingdom of the world is bad. Insofar as versions of the kingdom of the world use their power of the sword to preserver and promote law, order, and justice, they are good. But the kingdom of the world, by definition, can never be the kingdom of God. It doesn’t matter that we judge it good because it stands for the principles we deem important — “liberty and justice for all,” for example. No version of the kingdom of the world, however comparatively good it may be, can protect its self-interests while loving its enemies, turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, or blessing those who persecute it. Yet [that] is precisely what kingdom-of-God citizens are called to do. It’s what it means to be Christian. By definition, therefore, you can no more have a Christian worldly government than you can have a Christian petunia or aardvark. A nation may have noble ideals and be committed to just principles, but it’s not for this reason Christian.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 17-Jan-12 | Last updated 17-Jan-12
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To be sure, a version of the kingdom of the world that effectively carries out law, order, and justice is indeed closer to God’s will for the kingdom of the world. Decent, moral people should certainly encourage this as much as possible, whatever their religious faith might be. But no version of the kingdom of the world is closer to the kingdom of God than others because it does its job relatively well. For God’s kingdom looks like Jesus, and no amount of sword-wielding, however just it might be, can ever get a person, government, nation, or world closer to that. The kingdom of God is not an ideal version of the kingdom of the world; it’s not something that any version of the kingdom of the world can aspire toward or be measured against. The kingdom of God is a completely distinct, alternative way of doing life.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 24-Jan-12 | Last updated 24-Jan-12
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Tragically, the history of the church has been largely a history of believers refusing to trust the way of the crucified Nazarene and instead giving in to the very temptation he resisted. It’s the history of an institution that has frequently traded its holy mission for what it thought was a good mission. It is the history of an organization that has frequently forsaken the slow, discrete, nonviolent, sacrificial way of transforming the world for the immediate, obvious, practical, and less costly way of improving the world. It is a history of a people who too often identified the kingdom of God with a “Christian” version of the kingdom of the world.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 31-Jan-12 | Last updated 31-Jan-12
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When Jerry Falwell, reflecting a widespread sentiment among conservative Christians, says America should hunt terrorists down and “blow them all away in the name of the Lord” (emphasis added), he is expressing the Constantinian mindset. When Pat Robertson declares that the United States should assassinate President Chavez of Venezuela, he also is expressing the Constantinian mindset. And when Christians try to enforce their holy will on select groups of sinners by power of law, they are essentially doing the same thing, even if the violent means of enforcing their will is no longer available to them.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 7-Feb-12 | Last updated 7-Feb-12
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This tragic history has to be considered one of Satan’s greatest victories, and the demonic ironies abound. In the name of the one who taught us not to lord over others but rather to serve them (Matt. 20:25-28), the church often lorded over others with a vengeance as ruthless as any version of the kingdom of the world ever has. In the name of the one who taught us to turn the other cheek, the church often cut off people’s heads. In the name of the one who taught us to love our enemies, the church often burned its enemies alive. In the name of the one who taught us to bless those who persecute us, the church often became a ruthless persecutor. In the name of the one who taught us to take up the cross, the church often took up the sword and nailed others to the cross. Hence, in the name of winning the world for Jesus Christ, the church often became the main obstacle to believing in Jesus Christ.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 14-Feb-12 | Last updated 14-Feb-12
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Love is patient and kind (1 Cor. 13:4); enslaving and torturing people is neither. Love is never rude (1 Cor. 13:5); burning people alive is. Love does not insist on its own way and is not irritable or resentful when others disagree (1 Cor. 13:5); compelling people to agree with you by using force is the direct antithesis. Love doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing (1 Cor. 13:6), even if (especially if) those rejoicing credit God, who supposedly gave them the power to do it. Love bears all things while believing the best in others and hoping the best for others (1 Cor. 13:7); imprisoning, enslaving, and killing others in the name of your religious views is not bearing their burdens, believing the best about them, or hoping the best for them. It’s that simple.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 21-Feb-12 | Last updated 21-Feb-12
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One wonders why no one in church history has ever been considered a heretic for being unloving. People were anathematized and often tortured or killed for disagreeing on matters of doctrine or on the authority of the church. Yet no one on record has ever been so much as rebuked for not loving as Christ loved.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 6-Mar-12 | Last updated 6-Mar-12
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Can you find any region where Christians once ruled where the church has prospered in the long run? Scan the whole of Europe: England, Sweden, Denmark, and so on. Could anyone dispute that these countries are today on the whole more secular and less open to the gospel than regions that have had little or not contact with the gospel? […] It teaches us that whenever Christians have gotten what so many American evangelicals today are trying to get — namely, the power to enforce their righteous will on others — it eventually harms the church as well as the culture. The lesson of history, a lesson the Devil has known all along, is this: The best way to defeat the kingdom of God is to empower the church to rule the kingdom of the world — for then it becomes the kingdom of the world! The best way to get people to lay down the cross is to hand them the sword!

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 13-Mar-12 | Last updated 13-Mar-12
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While this conclusion may seem paradoxical to the Constantinian kingdom-of-the-world mindset, it makes perfect sense within a kingdom-of-God mindset. For the kingdom of God is not about coercive “power over,” but influential “power under.” Its essence is found in the power to transform lives from the inside out through love and service.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 20-Mar-12 | Last updated 20-Mar-12
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When kingdom-of-God citizens aspire to acquire Caesar’s authority to accomplish “the good,” we sell our kingdom birthright for a bowl of worldly porridge (Gen. 25:29-34). To the extent that we pick up the sword, we put down the cross. When our goal as kingdom people becomes centered on effectively running a better (let alone Christian) version of the kingdom of the world, we compromise to be faithful to the kingdom of God.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 10-Apr-12 | Last updated 10-Apr-12
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If you peel back the facade of the civil religion, you find that America is about as pagan as any country we could ever send missionaries to. Despite what a majority of Americans say when asked by pollsters, we are arguably no less self-centered, unethical, or prone toward violence than most other cultures. We generally look no more like Jesus, dying on a cross out of love for the people who crucified him, than people in other cultures. The fact that we have a quasi-Christian civil religion doesn’t help; if anything, it hurts precisely because it creates the illusion that we are closer to the example of Jesus than we actually are.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 17-Apr-12 | Last updated 17-Apr-12
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When we fail to distinguish between the quasi-Christian civil religion of America and the kingdom of God … we end up wasting precious time and resources defending and tweaking the civil religion — as though doing so had some kingdom value. We strive to keep prayer in schools, fight for the right to have public prayer before football games, lobby to preserve the phrases “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance and “in God we trust” on our coins, battle to hold the traditional civil meaning of marriage, and things of that sort — as though winning these fights somehow brings America closer to the kingdom of God.

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 24-Apr-12 | Last updated 24-Apr-12
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Now, you may or may not agree that preserving the civil religion in this way is good for the culture. Vote your conscience. But can we really believe that tweaking civil religion in these ways actually brings people closer to the kingdom of God, that it helps them become more like Jesus? For example, does anyone really think that allowing for a prayer before social functions is going to help students become kingdom people? Might not such prayer — and the political efforts to defend such prayer — actually be harmful to the kingdom inasmuch as it reinforces the shallow civil religious mindset that sees prayer primarily as a perfunctory religious activity? Might it not be better to teach our kids that true kingdom prayer has nothing to do with perfunctory social functions, that true kingdom prayer cannot be demanded or retracted by social laws, and that their job as kingdom warriors is to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) whether the law allows for it to be publicly expressed or not?

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd (b. 1957) American evangelical pastor, Christian theologian, author.
The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007)
Added on 1-May-12 | Last updated 1-May-12
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