Anarchy and Christianity

Anarchy and Christianity Jacques Ellul blends politics theology history and exposition in this analysis of the relationship between political anarchy and biblical faith On the one hand suggests Ellul anarchists need to u

  • Title: Anarchy and Christianity
  • Author: Jacques Ellul Geoffrey William Bromiley
  • ISBN: 9780802804952
  • Page: 107
  • Format: Paperback
  • Jacques Ellul blends politics, theology, history, and exposition in this analysis of the relationship between political anarchy and biblical faith On the one hand, suggests Ellul, anarchists need to understand that much of their criticism of Christianity applies only to the form of religion that developed, not to biblical faith Christians, on the other hand, need to lookJacques Ellul blends politics, theology, history, and exposition in this analysis of the relationship between political anarchy and biblical faith On the one hand, suggests Ellul, anarchists need to understand that much of their criticism of Christianity applies only to the form of religion that developed, not to biblical faith Christians, on the other hand, need to look at the biblical texts and not reject anarchy as a political option, for it seems closest to biblical thinking Ellul here defines anarchy as the nonviolent repudiation of authority He looks at the Bible as the source of anarchy in the sense of nondomination, not disorder , working through the Old Testament history, Jesus ministry, and finally the early church s view of power as reflected in the New Testament writings With the verve and the gift of trenchant simplification to which we have been accustomed, Ellul lays bare the fallacy that Christianity should normally be the ally of civil authority John Howard Yoder

    499 Comment

    • paul says:

      This is a very honest read and is one of the freshest books on Christianity I have read. The author outlines the innate incompatibility of most forms of anarchy and Christianity and why most anarchists would not accept any Christian as a practicing Anarchist. On the premise of that predicament, Ellul barrels forward covering thousands of years of history and exegetes numerous scriptures, I believe all key scriptures both in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Bible, that refer to authority or are use [...]

    • peter says:

      I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, they were higher than Ellul could realistically meet. He states both in the introduction and conclusion that his aim is neither to Christianize Anarchism nor to Anarchize Christianity. Rather, he seeks throughout this slim volume to point to the early Christian hostility to authority and to the notion that Christians and Anarchists face the same enemies and nemeses.His hostility to Islam is disconcerting, as he presents himself as someone learned in [...]

    • Jared Schumacher says:

      Very, Very Interesting. In many ways a way of speaking of the politics of Jesus from a slightly different angle. Mostly, this will be a good resource for interpretation of Christian's relationship to power.

    • Jessica says:

      I was surprised at how readable this book was, and it was very interesting to hear someone expand on a lot of things I've thought about myself. Ellul doesn't go too deep, and some of his exegesis seems a bit questionable, but for the most part it was interesting reading and gave me plenty of things to think about. He discusses nonviolence and nonvoting and devotes quite a bit of time toward demonstrating that Jesus and the early Christians did not support political powers and hierarchies. His in [...]

    • Jaap says:

      In this 100 page essay Jacques Ellul explores the relationship between Anarchism (the theory, not the violent revolution) and Christianity. He sees many similarities and shows that many texts in the Bible can be read in a way that supports the anarchist point of view. I really liked the essay and although Ellul's theological point of views are sometimes questionable (in my laymen opinion) and although he does not provide a clear path forward I believe this is a valuable contribution to progressi [...]

    • Eduardo Folster says:

      It was a great reading. Although I have some disagreements (not related to the core of his essay), I recommend it, indeed.Some important points: First, Jacques Ellul doesn’t want to equate Anarchy with Christianity. He is clear in the two points that makes Christianity different from Anarchy: (1) the biblical view of human nature and (2) salvation/faith in Jesus Christ. Second, he argues that the BIBLICAL Christianity maintains the same basic goal of Anarchy: no domination (authoritarianism/po [...]

    • W. Littlejohn says:

      A demoralizing disappointment, even though my expectations had been lowered ahead of time by Brad Belschner. Offers very little in terms of a sketch of what anarchy really means and looks like in practice, and his walk through the Bible is so oversimplistic and selective that I was embarrassed for him. Of course, I recognize he's trying to write a brief summary, and so he has to simplify, but there are two different kinds of simplicity. In one, the author is drawing on such a wealth of understan [...]

    • Timothy Lindhagen-våge says:

      Jacques Ellul started the book by saying in its introduction that Anarchy is an impossibility. My reaction was a variation of shipwrecked emotions, however, upon finalizing the book, Ellul marinated my mentality back into an inevitable conclusion of anarchistic devotion to the god that makes Law natural to humanity, including those who do not believe in Him.I was always under the impression that only Christians could live in Anarchist societies (as do the Amish, Quakers and many Mennonites, as a [...]

    • Shawn Birss says:

      I gave it five stars to acknowledge that it is essential reading for a Christian interested in anarchism. However, it is actually pretty sloppy as theology, religious philosophy, and as politics. He even wastes a few pages on anti-vaccination garbage. But it is short, and universally recognized as an important work on the subject. It influences, or is at least acknowledged, in almost all other books I've ever read on the subject. So, not very good, but an important part of the whole.

    • Raleigh says:

      Great analysis of Jesus' message and pre-Constantinian christianity. Shows how truly following Jesus looks a lot like anarchism.

    • Beth says:

      I'm dying to read this book!

    • Connor says:

      While I find it difficult to agree with everything Jacques Ellul presents in this book, it generally presents an excellent argument for the political attitude he suggests to Christians. He begins by first defining anarchy as a total rejection of violence and violence-enabling authority. Additionally, Ellul doesn't refer to the chaotic, rebellion-oriented regimes that often come to our minds when we think about anarchy. Instead he offers a rather peaceful view of this political philosophy, much m [...]

    • Glauber Ribeiro says:

      How could i have forgotten about Jacques Ellul? For sure i need to go back and re-read all his stuff. In this short book, he does his best to introduce Anarchists and Christians to one another. It's not a deep treatment, but a pleasant read and a refreshing contrast to so much dreck that has been sold as Christian thinking.

    • Heith says:

      Ellul’s premise is that core tenets of Christianity and of Anarchy have much in common, such that Christians and Anarchists should not consider themselves contradictory or hostile to one another, but rather complimentary.I found this a surprisingly easy read, despite how densely Ellul packs deep thoughts together. It was initially frustrating how Ellul referred to political and social events/groups in Europe without giving much context, but once he dives into an examination of anarchist values [...]

    • Brad Belschner says:

      I liked this book, not because it said good things, but because it talked about something important. Jacques Ellul's opinions are ridiculous, but at least they're different from the normal interpretations you've been exposed to. Ellul makes you reconsiderwhat does 1 Peter 2:13-25 really mean? What does obedience to Romans 13:1-7 look like? How did Jesus act towards the civil magistrates? What does "render unto Caesar" mean? Initially I rated this book 2 stars because Ellul's interpretations are [...]

    • Zach Irvin says:

      Very illuminating. Ellul is interested in showing that christians and anarchists are not as diametrically opposed as it might appear. Here, he makes very clear that he means non-violent anarchism. The word is broken down into its parts; an-arche (no authority/no domination). He constructs most of his argument by analyzing passages of the bible (Hebrew Bible and New Testament alike) that have traditionally been used to support state power. Ellul shows that most of these passages are, in fact, hos [...]

    • David says:

      I'd read this, years ago, and recently quoted from it in a sermon.So I figured, why not go back and check 'er out? Hmmm. I first read this right out of undergrad, and grokked to it. I still generally agree with Ellul's thesis, but found myself rather less drawn to the irrational elements of his anarchistic self-understanding.Avoiding vaccination as a way of defying social control, for example, just strikes me as dumb. I have no patience for stupid, and if you're so busy fighting the power that y [...]

    • Jérémi Doyon says:

      À lire en complémentarité de La Subversion du Christianisme, avant ou après(mais plus après, je crois, pour mieux comprendre sa vision du christianisme). Car si on peut accuser Ellul de simplifier un sujet qui est, de prime abord, bien complexe, on ne retrouvera pas ce simplisme dans La Subversion. Et je crois d'ailleurs que ce livre aurait pu se donner un autre titre que livre, soit un pamphlet, un commentaire étonnamment complet. C'est un manuel de réflexion qui sert simplement à démo [...]

    • Art says:

      Ellul sets out to reconcile anarchy and Christianity, a noble task for a society that has largely allied the "archists" (governmental empire) with it's form of Christianity, and for the communities of anarchists that have been rejecting Jesus. I appreciate Ellul for his philosophical and theological insight on the matter. What I believe he lacks is a description of what a Christian/ anarchist reconciled community looks like/ acts like in todays world. Perhaps this is where Christian communities [...]

    • Andrew says:

      I thought this book really failed to convince me, which is a shame because I'm respectively open to and practicing the two subjects of the book. Foremost, I think I disliked his attempt to reconcile anarchy and Christianity from almost legalist interpretations of Biblical passages. It's the same technique definitively-archist Christians use to justify capitalism, authority and the like. What five or ten or thirty passages *imply* seems irrelevant to me if it doesn't match the overall philosophy [...]

    • DJ says:

      like other reviewers, i didn't find what i'd expected in this book (though tbh i'm not sure what i expected). it was brief, engaging (most of the time), and for me charted unexplored interpretations of some of the most apparently State-validating verses of the Bible. at some points it seemed rushed, xenophobic, Islamophobic, Eurocentric, and oddly unconcerned with non-Christians and/or non-anarchists suffering exploitation and violence from existing nation-states. in addition, i found that Ellu [...]

    • David says:

      2.5 stars. This contained some helpful points for those interested in the connections between anarchism and Christianity, though I would doubt that those who are hostile to Christian anarchism would be much moved by what he says. That said,he does respond to a number of standard objections and misconceptions, in a somewhat helpful way. He also included a brief and bland free-will theodicy that was weak and detracted from the book. Overall,I would say that I am glad I read this as many who are in [...]

    • Nathaniel Metz says:

      This is a pretty good introductory book to Christian Anarchy. My favorite aspect of the book is how he shows that, to Jesus, human authority was nothing. Jesus continually promotes personhood over hierarchy, which I believe to be the heart of Christian Anarchy. However, I do think Ellul could have done better in his exegesis of Romans 13 and 1 Peter. It was not awful, but it could have been more thorough. I believe a better explanation of his ideas could be found in the final chapter of his book [...]

    • James says:

      Ellul is always challenging and insightful. In this book he tries to demonstrate the commonalities between Christian belief and philosophical anarchy. I think he succeeds in demonstrating some of the Bible's ambivalence toward human institutions, rulers and government. I don't buy his whole argument and would say that while he nuances some of the biblical witness he can also be reductionist. There are some great things here in terms of how Christians relate to power and government. There is also [...]

    • Doug says:

      Kind of interesting. Not exactly light reading and certainly from a Protestant perspective. One erratum: He lists the date of Herod the Great's death as AD 4. It was 4 BC. His interpretation of the Paul's letter to the Romans passage about obeying our governmental overlords is unlikely to be correct. This is the problem of trying to harmonize the Bible. Really once you do the minimum of Christ's rendering unto Caesar, Paul's subservient position is historically interesting, but probably not pres [...]

    • Darby says:

      Very interesting. I think it makes a good case for Christianity being more aligned with anarchy than other forms of governance, but it was a bit weak in historical knowledge about biblical texts. That may be a result of when it written. Some things we have learned since then, such as the questionable authorship of the letters of Paul, render some of the arguments obsolete. Its datedness only detracts somewhat from the thesis, which I think is fairly strong, even if I don't completely agree.

    • Kyle Luck says:

      I had high hopes for Ellul's work, but I was not terribly impressed with this essay. It is, perhaps, a good primer to the subject matter but the discussion lacks significant nuance and depth. Moreover, the structure of Ellul's argument seemed a bit disorganized and the exegesis was inexhaustive. I appreciate the book, but I don't know that I will go back to it anytime soon.

    • Paul Rack says:

      Good book. Commentary on power in the church. Points out that Jesus' understanding of power is the opposite of coercion and control. Ellul wants to start a conversation between Christians and anarchists, two groups that have long been suspicious of each other.

    • ♥ Ibrahim ♥ says:

      [No matter what God's power may be, the first aspect of God is never that of the absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of the God who puts himself on our human level and limits himself] Jacques Ellul

    • Adam says:

      I thought a lot of the ideas in this book were good and I agreed with most of what he said, but I really hate the term "Anarchy." I'm not sure where my aversion stems from but that word is really a turn off to me. I don't like government at all but don't call me an anarchist. Thanks.

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