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The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  1,870 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
The church was established to serve the world with Christ-like love, not to rule the world. It is called to look like a corporate Jesus, dying on the cross for those who crucified him, not a religious version of Caesar. It is called to manifest the kingdom of the cross in contrast to the kingdom of the sword. Whenever the church has succeeded in gaining what most American ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published April 29th 2007 by Zondervan (first published 2006)
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Dec 05, 2008 Paul rated it really liked it
Boyd’s book was a very interesting read for me. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had such a rollercoaster reading experience as I had reading this book. I have read books where I agree with some of it but not all of it. Only the intellectually insecure seem to discount everything someone says simply because s/he says something you disagree with. But with this book, I literally agreed with one sentence 100% and then disagreed with the very next sentence 100% and then agreed with the very next sentence 1 ...more
Wendy Roberts
May 29, 2015 Wendy Roberts rated it it was amazing
This really should be required reading for so many Christian evangelicals. I have many wonderful Christian friends who have become completely caught up in the idea of a Christian nation...God blessing our nation according to how much power the Christians wield, and how closely we are following his commands. Boyd pulls almost exclusively from Scripture to show that Jesus was apolitical...that Jesus showed in his life that the government in charge was superfluous to what the Christian should be ...more
Feb 01, 2011 Philip rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, political
I think every American Christian should read this book. The American church really is becoming obsessed with politics and forgetting our real mandate is not to make a country into a Christian-run nation. The only part that I disagreed with was his last chapter on non-violence. I think that Romans 13 clearly demonstrates that government has the right to operate the sword, and for Christians to participate in this mandate does not violate Christ's command to turn the other cheek. But overall, I ...more
Sep 11, 2011 Steven rated it it was amazing
This book is certainly over due. This is a book all Christians in America must read. As Boyd writes Christians in American have become to closely tied to the American government and as a result the church in America has also been tied with the government, which it never should be. America is a nation with Christians, not a Christian nation. Boyd writes about the dangers of the myth Christians live by in believing America is a Christian nation. His argument is sound and his points are well ...more
A controversial book that argues for a severe distinction between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world, to the point that the author disputes Christians serving in the military. Whatever side of the "American as Christian nation" question you may fall, Boyd helpfully unpacks five significant harms done by the close association of these kingdoms and passionately and scripturally argues that Christians must trust only in the "power under" demonstrated by Christ and his cross, ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
How I wish I could give a copy of this book to every politician, every religious leader, and everyone who believes that, due to their Christianity, it's their job to judge anyone different from them and treat these "others" with disdain, violence, hatred.

Few books have moved me as this one has. The author advocates for a realistic view of our nation and its founding, including the dark places glossed over by many who profess Christianity. He advocates further for individuals and congregations t
Geoffrey Harris
Jul 29, 2011 Geoffrey Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would have given it 4.5 stars if I could have, but 5 was more warranted than 4. While I don't believe that Dr. Boyd and I share the same political philosophy, I do think that his principles are sound and Christ-like. This is a very sensitive issue, but needs to be addressed in the Church. I appreciate Dr. Boyd's courage to share this message in this day and age. I know that when he first delivered this series of sermons to his congregation, nearly 1000 people left his congregation, which ...more
Jeremy A
Oct 28, 2007 Jeremy A rated it it was amazing
I am hardly objective since I attend Boyd's church. This was a great read and the sermon series it was based on articulated many thoughts I have been wrestling with over the past 3-4 years. Boyd offers a dynamic vision of the "kingdom of god" that calls believers to emulate Christ's self-sacrificial love and service to society rather than attempting to police it morally by seeking and wielding political power. Boyd brilliantly deconstructs the myth, still believed by way too many in this ...more
Jeff Borgman
Jan 14, 2016 Jeff Borgman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Boyd tackles one of the major dominant and still emerging obstacles to Christian faith in the US which is nationalism and more precisely the power-over authority of the "principalities and powers." This book is a must read for opening up thoughts and dialogue about what it is to be a part of God's kingdom and how that differs from the world at-large. Be careful, this book is revolutionary!
***Dave Hill
Nov 10, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it really liked it
(Original review Jan 2007)

Overall 4/5
Writing 4/5
Re-Readability 4/5
Info 4/5

Gregory Boyd is a theologian and pastor of a large Protestant congregation in Minnesota. Disturbed by what he saw as increasing identification between the evangelical Christian church and the political right wing, he started in 2004 a series of sermons on “the cross and the sword,” arguing that such close ties were not only harmful to the church, but were against the message of Jesus. The result was a serious diminution o
Casper Denck
Jul 09, 2010 Casper Denck rated it really liked it
Crossposted at

In the run up to the 2004 Gregory Boyd began a sermon series "The Cross and the Sword" that according to the New York Times resulted in the loss of 1000 members from the church membership of 5000. The Myth of a Christian Nation is based on these sermons and it is easy to see why this was a source of contention for many evangelicals; Boyd's argues that many evangelicals have simply got it wrong, not so much on the substantive issues with whic
Jan 20, 2014 Jenni rated it it was amazing
Great read! Lots of good, thought-provoking discussion contrasting the kingdom of the world with the Kingdom of God and what each looks like in practice. The book encourages readers to have a healthy suspicion of every version of the kingdom of the world, especially our own. The author argues that in fact no nation can be Christian because "while some nations serve law and order better than others, the powers that govern all nations are to a significant extent corrupted by the polluting ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Should be basic reading for all CHRISTIANS involved in politics regarless of party, conservative, moderate or liberal.

From wikipedia:
“As a result of the sermon series one-fifth of Boyd's church (over 1,000 people), left the congregation.
Boyd then authored The Myth of a Christian Nation to further explicate his views on the subject. In the book Boyd challenges the theology of the Christian right and the theory of American exceptionalism, as well the claim that America is a "Christian Nation".

He i
Marty Solomon
May 28, 2012 Marty Solomon rated it it was amazing
Boyd does an incredible job with this book in taking a very delicate and explosive topic and dealing with it in a dialogue-inducing way. While he pulls no punches and is very straight-forward through the book, he also "keeps his head" and stays away from outlandish rhetoric or dramatic pontification.

This book is sure to irritate many readers, yet I find his message about confronting the idolatrous blend of the American way with the Way of Jesus completely refreshing. Not since reading "Jesus for
Apr 23, 2007 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Frustrated followers of Christ
This book gave a pretty fresh perspective of what if means to live for the "Kingdom of God" as opposed to the "Kingdom of Man". The author makes a good argument as to why these two shouldn't and can't overlap, as he explains that a government can no sooner be "Christian" that can a petunia or an aardvark. (most world governments are by nature self serving, controlling, defensive and vindictive. )
I felt newly enthused after reading this book, as the author gives wonderful examples of what it l
Mar 01, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
While I found myself agreeing in general with a lot of the book, it wasn't nearly as deep or thought-provoking (or even controversial]) as I'd hoped. Boyd's writing style was extremely repetitive (probably better to drive home his point, I'll admit), and fairly dry. On top of those things, he spends the last 30 pages basically discussing why he is a pacifist, which only LOOSELY relates to the theme of the book, so I ended up skimming that last chapter. On the other hand, I think the book does a ...more
Aug 10, 2008 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Boyd attacks the idea that to be a Christian is to be affiliated with a specific political party. He shows that a Christian's commitment is to the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of the world. So much wrong happens when people assume that a specific kingdom of the world (America for example), is favored by God. He spends a lot of time going through the damage that has been done by equating a earthly nation with God's kingdom, specifically the damage done by assuming America is a Christian ...more
Dec 12, 2009 Callie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: evangelicals, conservatives, liberals, those turned off by the church
I have a headache and don't feel like writing a review, so I'll keep it short. This book is absolutely amazing. For me, I'd say it's life-changing. This book points out what a mistake it is to mix true Christianity up with politics. There were points in the book that were a bit repetitive, but the message was so incredible. Why haven't I heard these things before? No matter how good any govt. may be, it is no substitute for the kingdom of Heaven. Ugh, I can't do this book justice right now. Read ...more
Jan 08, 2009 Kirsten rated it did not like it
I hated this book. What could have been a very interesting topic was ruined by Boyd's flimsy arguments as well as (at best) sloppy and (at worst) dangerous readings of scripture. Verses that possibly could support his argument were presented as obvious fact, while those that didn't were ignored outright. His arguments were circular and incomplete, to the point that Boyd even refuted himself a few times in his own book. Terrible.
Toby Knoblauch
Feb 02, 2013 Toby Knoblauch rated it it was amazing
There is hope for the church - and for the world - as long as there are pastors, leaders and ordinary Christians like Gregory A. Boyd around who understand what it means to follow Christ and who resist to give in to the frantic activism of the "religious right". Very glad to have come across this book. 'd like to give it into every believer's hand, well, at least to all those who think the church should be part of the political power game... Excellent, compelling. Read it. Live it :)
Sep 12, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing
Very challenging book about weather a country can be "Christian". The need for seperation of Church and State, something i didn't really understand until i read this book. The central idea lies in the fact that a country must exercise POWER OVER others forcing a change on the outside, while Christ calls us to serve using POWER UNDER others to transform from the inside.
Apr 24, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing
A message particularly relevant to the Church in North America. An open mind and heart can be raised to new expectation in God's Kingdom. No political structure in history has brought us or any nation to a place where earthly government and heavenly government align.
Jul 07, 2008 Felicia rated it did not like it
I heard the author on NPR and was intrigued by what he had to say. Unfortunately the book left me dissapointed. I was unable to finish it. While I appreciated the topic, the book was not at all engaging.
Feb 11, 2015 Kristy rated it really liked it
This book is very challenging to say the least. I particularly enjoyed chapter 6 and what followed. Boyd relies heavily on Scripture for his writing/thoughts/points which I really appreciated. There is a lot he says that many American Christians need to hear.
Lisa Greer
Jan 28, 2010 Lisa Greer rated it it was amazing
Absolutely foundational read... for any Christian in the U.S. (and beyond if you want to understand Christians in the U.S. and where things have gone wrong).
Douglas Wilson
Jan 11, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it it was ok
pretty confused, actually
Scott Holstad
Jul 23, 2012 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it
The Myth of a Christian Nation is a pretty good book that makes some excellent points while at the same time hitting the reader over the head with some strong repetitions and yet not going as far as it could in some of its criticisms of the religious right. Indeed, Boyd attempts to take both left and right to task, although to my satisfaction, he does focus primarily on evangelicals -- just not enough to satisfy me completely.

Boyd contends that Jesus taught a "power under" form of service to hum
Heidi Archer
Nov 14, 2016 Heidi Archer rated it it was ok
Alternately annoyed and inspired by what Boyd wrote, so I guess a book worth reading? I personally really struggle with some of his intense apologetic-ing in the first third of the book, but in any event, it gave me something to think about.

I did enjoy reading something that called nationalism for what it is: idolatry. Let us all be grateful for the spaces we live in, the artificial boundaries imposed by nation states, but let us never forget that we are bound by our love, our humanness, not our
Bobbi N Mullins
Dec 03, 2016 Bobbi N Mullins rated it it was amazing
Very important book for every Christian to read, whether you consider yourself to be liberal, conservative or somewhere in between. This book will challenge everyone to think more about how to live like Jesus. I also enjoyed Boyd's book Letters to a Skeptic. He is well educated and very intelligent; his books make you think deeply.
Anne Snyder
Nov 15, 2016 Anne Snyder rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book, offering encouragement and hop; an especially good read for anyone fed up with the political system after this election cycle. The book offers practical suggestions of how we can live out true Christianity and have a different perspective and radically different ways of influencing the world around us than the current civil religion offers us.
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Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of ReKnew. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) for sixteen years where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor.

Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). Gre
More about Gregory A. Boyd...

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“Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God as a radical alternative to all versions of the kingdom of the world, whether they declare themselves to be "under God" or not.” 20 likes
“Consider these questions: Did Jesus ever suggest by word of example that we should aspire to acquire, let alone take over, the power of Caesar? Did Jesus spend any time and energy trying to improve, let alone dominate, the reigning government of his day? Did he ever word to pass laws against the sinners he hunt out with and ministered to? Did he worry at all about ensuring that his rights and the religious rights of his followers were protected? Does any author in the New Testament remotely hint that engaging in this sort of activity has anything to do with the kingdom of God? The answer to all these questions is, of course, no.” 15 likes
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