I have read Mr. Boyd’s book before. In fact, I’ve read it three times. I have also given away at least three copies of it. I think I may have given away four because I am unable to locate the last copy I purchased. I was wanting to read it again so I bought it for my Kindle last week. You may wonder why I have read it so many times. Is it a great book? I guess that would depend upon how you define great. I think it is a good book. I think it is an important book. It is one of the few books that actually changed the way think.
The basic premise for the book is that a good number of American Christians have somehow merged their religious and political beliefs in such a way that they are almost indistinguishable from one another. Boyd’s thesis is stated as this:
A significant segment of American evangelicalism is guilty of nationalist and political idolatry.
Boyd says that many American believers mistakenly confuse the kingdom of God with the belief that we should be “taking America back for God.” This usually manifests itself in a perceived culture war that we must win at all costs. The way to win this conflict is to vote and protest. Boyd argues that while this may be a noble pursuit, it is still a part of promoting an earthly kingdom. The kingdom of God is not of this world and should be focused on Christ. The difference, Boyd believes, lies in how we view power. Kingdoms of the earth (all of them) wield power over the people. The kingdom of God teaches that we should submit to those in authority. It comes down to choosing to serve rather than to rule.
I confess, I still don’t understand how we can practically apply this in every single situation we encounter. That is one reason I have decided to read this one again. Perhaps I’ll catch something I missed before. As I get back into it, I will try to share some of the things that jump out at me.