Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Greg Boyd - Kingdom or Polis

The problem that I have with Greg Boyd's teaching is his understanding of the political system. He contrasts the Kingdom of God with the “Polis” or the political system. His aim is to keep the two separate. This is not necessarily a physical separation, but a moral separation. Everything in the Kingdom of God must be Christ-like. The Polis involves law, force and punishment. Law cannot be Christ-like, so the Polis can never be part of the kingdom.

The political arena uses law and force to change behaviour. “Power over” does not belong in the Kingdom of God

Greg seems to be ambivalent about Christian involvement in the Polis. On the one hand he says that the Polis is the domain of the evil one. On the other he says that Christians should vote if they are asked to vote and should participate in politics, if they feel that is right for them. What they must not do is label their policies as Christian, because there are no political solutions that are uniquely Christian. The only Christian way of bring change to society is the Kingdom way.

He says that sincere Christians can have different opinions about political issues. One will vote Republican another will vote democrat. Those who are not Christians may have different opinions. Politics is the art of bring a variety of opinions together to obtain a compromise. We should not label our policies as Christian. Our opinions about what are good and just laws are no better than those of others involved in the Polis.

The fundamental points in his arguments are the following.

  1. The Polis is dominated by opinion.
  2. The Polis is dominated by “power over” methods.
I believe that both these points are partly right and partly wrong. I will explain why tomorrow

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