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

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,228 ratings  ·  149 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 Publishing Company (first published 2006)
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Paul
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
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 do...more
Pip
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 wo...more
Steven
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 defend...more
Geoffrey Harris
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 eithe...more
Jeremy A
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 country...more
Jeff Borgman
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!
Jenni
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 influenc...more
***Dave Hill
(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...more
Casper Denck
Crossposted at http://nicodemist.wordpress.com/2010/...

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...more
Nancy
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...more
Marty Solomon
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...more
Deb
Apr 23, 2007 Deb rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
jessica
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
David
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 nation...more
Callie
Dec 12, 2009 Callie rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Toby Knoblauch
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 :)
Heather Tomlinson

There are parts of this book that are pure gold. Boyd's description of the Kingdom of God as contrasted with the Kingdom of the world is brilliant, and will stay with me for a long time (power over vs power under). It's clearly biblically inspired, and I can imagine in the US in particular, it was a very important book when it was published.

My criticism would be mainly that there is quite a left/liberal bias. Boyd articulates (in my view, correctly) that Christians should see the Kingdom of God...more
Kirsten
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.
Tim
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.
Steve
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.
Kristy
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.
Felicia
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.
Lisa Greer
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).
Robert Justice
I was extra excited to read this one, because it promised to be a book that is rarely written about: Why the Christian Church should NOT become too involved in politics. And Boyd didn't disappoint!
His main thesis in the book is that Jesus' teachings contradict any American Christian thinking that is too preoccupied with politics for three reasons:

1) Any and every worldly government (even America) is sadly under some degree of influence by Satan and the demons.

2) Jesus taught very specifically...more
Mark Oppenlander
Some of my conservative Christian friends will not like this book. Heck, some of my progressive Christian friends will not like this book. And it is exactly this that makes me think that Boyd is on to something.

Gregory Boyd is the pastor of a large church (~5000 members) in the upper Midwest (St. Paul, Minnesota to be exact) who was very concerned with the polarization he saw amongst the members of his congregation during the 2004 presidential election cycle. He preached a series of sermons on h...more
Scott Ray
Ok this was a difficult book.
The premise was good. We are not to follow blindly the kingdom of this world, no matter what form of government they may take. We are members of the Kingdom of God and that is important that we always place that above all other allegiances. The goal of this is also a good goal. The argument, rightly stated, is that equating Christianity with any form of Government hinders the spread of the Gospel. When we spend all of our time arguing politics with lost people then w...more
Alethea
I loved this book. A well-thought-out and articulate explanation for why politics and religion should never be mingled. It doesn't suggest that personal beliefs should have no bearing on how people approach their own personal politics, but it does make the point that politics and faith ask for different behaviors.

The primary thing I got from this book is the idea that it is possible for two people to agree on what is right and have different opinions on how to encourage that rightness. To use a...more
Malin Friess
Gregory Boyd's (Princeton Seminary Graduate) thesis is this:

"Evangelicals fuse the kindgom of God with a preferred version of the Kingdom of the world...such that the Kingdom of God is largely about "taking America back for God," voting for Christian candidate, outlawing abortion, outlawing Gay Marriage, winning the Culture war, defending political freedom at home and abroad, keeping the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, fighting for prayer in public schools, and fighting to displa...more
Carolyn Lind
This book that helps clarify where the church has gone off the tracks, forsaking the Kingdom of God for an unholy alliance with the kingdom of the world. The theme persists throughout that "the love we are called to trust and emulate is supremely manifested in the cross of Jesus. The cross is the ultimate symbol of the kingdom of God, for it defines what that kingdom always looks like. It looks like Christ--self-sacrificial and loving. It looks like grace."

"This is what the kingdom of God look...more
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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.” 12 likes
“Participants in the kingdom of the world trust the power of the sword to control behavior; participants of the kingdom of God trust the power of self-sacrificial love to transform hearts. The kingdom of the world is concerned with preserving law and order by force; the kingdom of God is concerned with establishing the rule of God through love. The kingdom of the world is centrally concerned with what people do; the kingdom of God is centrally concerned with how people are and what they can become.The kingdom of the world is characterized by judgment; the kingdom of God is characterized by outrageous, even scandalous, grace.” 7 likes
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