Christian anarchism


Christian anarchism

Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology that combines anarchism and Christianity.[1] It is the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus. More than any other Bible source, the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus' call to not resist evil but turn the other cheek, are used as the basis for Christian anarchism.[2]

Christian anarchists are pacifists and oppose the use of violence, such as war.[3] The foundation of Christian anarchism is a rejection of violence, with Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You regarded as a key text.[3][4] Christian anarchists denounce the state as they claim it is violent, deceitful and, when glorified, a form of idolatry.[3][5]

Contents

Origins

Old Testament

Few Christian anarchists comment a great deal on the Old Testament, given the scripture's many recounts of war and retaliation. Although Jacques Ellul is one notable individual who has remarked on the book's compatibility with anarchism.[6] For example, Nimrod was disapproved for becoming a dominator (Genesis 10:8,9). Abraham, who left civilization to live in tents, conflicted with Nimrod. (Jewish tradition Gen. R. Pesik. R.).[citation needed] Moses led the Hebrews out of captivity from the Egyptian state (Exodus 3:7,10), and the nation remained three centuries without king: “In those days there was no king in Israel. As for everybody, what was right in his own eyes he was accustomed to do." (Judges 17:6, 21:25). Gideon refused to be made king: "Jehovah is the one who will rule over you." (Judges 8:23), and his son described the state as parasites (Judges 9:8-21).[citation needed] Samuel then warned the Hebrews against the evils of a kingdom (1 Samuel 8:5-18).[citation needed] The prophets disapproved domination (Ecclesiastes 8:9, Jeremiah 25:34, Ezekiel 34:10, 45:8, Hosea 13:10,11), and a God's kingdom of freedom was envisioned (Isaiah 2:4, 65:22).[citation needed]

New Testament

Ministry and example of Jesus

More than any other Bible source, the Sermon on the Mount is used as the basis for Christian anarchism.[2] Dorothy Day, Ammon Hennacy, and Leo Tolstoy constantly refer back to the Sermon and ministry of Jesus in their social and political texts. For example, the title The Kingdom of God Is Within You is a direct quotation of Jesus from Luke 17:21. Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement particularly favored the Works of Mercy (Matthew 25:31–46), which were a recurring theme in both their writing and art.[citation needed]

Many Christian anarchists say that Jesus opposed the use of government power, even for supposedly good purposes like welfare. They point to Luke 22:25, which says: "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over the people; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves ‘Benefactors.’ But you are not to be like that."[citation needed]

Jesus antagonised the "system" ruled by Satan: "He sent me forth to preach a release to the captives, to send the crushed ones away with a release." (Luke 4:18,19, John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 17:16, 18:36). He was against human leadership (Matthew 23:8-12), and he refused to be made king (Matthew 4:8-10 John 6:15).[citation needed]

Book of Revelation

Christian eschatology and various Christian anarchists, which according to Alexandre Christoyannopoulos included Jacques Ellul, have identified the State and political power as the Beast in the Book of Revelation.[7]

Early Church

Several of the Church Fathers' writings suggest anarchism as God's ideal.[8] The first Christians opposed the primacy of the State: "We must obey God as ruler rather than men" (Acts 4:19, 5:29, 1 Corinthians 6:1-6); "Stripping the governments and the authorities bare, he exhibited them in open public as conquered, leading them in a triumphal procession by means of it." (Colossians 2:15). Also some early Christian communities appear to have practised anarchist communism, such as the Jerusalem group described in Acts, who shared their money and labor equally and fairly among the members.[9] Christian anarchists, such as Keven Craig, insist that these communities were centred on true love and care for one another rather than liturgy. They also allege that the reason the early Christians were persecuted was not because they worshipped Jesus Christ, but because they refused to worship human idols claiming divine status (see Imperial cult). Given that they refused to worship the Roman Emperor they refused to swear any oath of allegiance to the Empire.[8]

Thomas Merton in his introduction to a translation of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers describes the early monastics as "Truly in certain sense 'anarchists,' and it will do no harm to think of them as such."[10] It is also written that "As of the 4th century A.D., the desert lands of Egypt saw the beginning of the longest-living anarchic society of all time: that of the Christian anchorites." [11][unreliable source?][12][unreliable source?]

From the earliest period, women and men seem to have shared religious duties equally, though the public offices, such as missionary work and Temple observances, seem to have been held mostly by men.[13] However, in the case of Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2: "I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant (διάκονος) of the church in Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also."Referring here to Phoebe, the word rendered "servant" being in the Greek διάκονος (di'a·ko·nos), the parallel English word being deaconess, and in the context of the above quotation, this denotes a servant who is given servants to manage, in effect, a deaconess, one who delegates, a manager, though in most ways, Jewish Christianity did not differ from any of the other Jewish sects of Second Temple Judaism.[14]

Radical Christians suggest looking to the early church as a model for Christian discipleship, a view also held in Christian primitivism. Although there is some evidence that egalitarian Jewish Christians existed shortly after Jesus's death, possibly including the Ebionites, the majority of Christians soon followed a more hierarchical religious structure, particularly after the First Council of Nicaea (see also First seven Ecumenical Councils and State church of the Roman Empire).[citation needed]

Conversion of the Roman Empire

For Christian anarchists the moment which epitomises the degeneration of Christianity is the conversion of Emperor Constantine after his victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312.[15] Following this event Christianity was legalised under the Edict of Milan in 313, hastening the Church's transformation from a humble bottom-up sect to an authoritarian top-down organization. Christian anarchists point out that this marked the beginning of the "Constantinian shift", in which Christianity gradually came to be identified with the will of the ruling elite, becoming the State church of the Roman Empire, and in some cases (such as the Crusades, Inquisition and Wars of Religion) a religious justification for violence.[15]

Middle Ages

Following Constantine's conversion, Alexandre Christoyannopoulos recounts that Christian pacifism and anarchism were submerged for nearly a millennium until the emergence of thinkers such as Francis of Assisi and Petr Chelčický.[16] Francis of Assisi (c.1181–1226) was an ascetic preacher, pacifist and nature lover. As the son of a wealthy family cloth merchant he led a privileged life and fought as a soldier, but radically changed his beliefs and practices after a spiritual awakening. Francis became a pacifist and eschewed material goods, attempting to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.[17] Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, was heavily influenced by Francis of Assisi.[18] Petr Chelčický's (c.1390–c.1460) work, specifically The Net of Faith, influenced Leo Tolstoy and is referenced in his book The Kingdom of God Is Within You.[19]

Modern era

Adin Ballou
Adin Ballou (1803–1890) was founder of the Hopedale Community in Massachusetts, and a prominent 19th century exponent of pacifism, socialism and abolitionism. Through his long career as a Universalist (and then Unitarian) minister, he tirelessly sought social reform through his radical Christian and socialist views. Although he rejected anarchism both as a label and as a theory, he was extremely critical of "human government".[20] Tolstoy was heavily influenced by his writings.
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an American author, pacifist, nature lover, tax resister and individualist anarchist. He was an advocate of civil disobedience and a lifelong abolitionist. Though not commonly regarded as a Christian anarchist, his essay Civil Disobedience does include many of the Christian anarchist ideals.
William B. Greene
William B. Greene (1819–1878), an individualist anarchist based in the United States, was a Unitarian minister, and the originator of a Christian Mutualism, which he considered a new dispensation, beyond God’s covenant with Abraham. His 1850 Mutual Banking begins with a discussion (drawn from the work of Pierre Leroux) of the Christian rite of communion as a model for a society based in equality, and ends with a prophetic invocation of the new Mutualist dispensation. His better-known scheme for mutual banking, and his criticisms of usury should be understood in this specifically religious context. Unlike his contemporaries among the nonresistants, Greene was not a pacifist, and served as a Union Army colonel in the American Civil War.
Leo Tolstoy wrote extensively about Christian pacifism and anarchism.
Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) wrote extensively on his anarchist principles, which he arrived at via his Christian faith, in his books The Kingdom of God is Within You, What I Believe (aka My Religion), The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, and Christianity and Patriotism which criticised government and the Church in general. The Kingdom of God Is Within You is regarded as a key Christian anarchist text.[4] Tolstoy sought to separate Russian Orthodox Christianity — which was merged with the state — from what he believed was the true message of Jesus as contained in the Gospels, specifically in the Sermon on the Mount. Tolstoy takes the viewpoint that all governments who wage war, and churches who in turn support those governments, are an affront to the Christian principles of nonviolence and nonresistance. Although Tolstoy never actually used the term "Christian anarchism" in The Kingdom of God Is Within You, reviews of this book following its publication in 1894 appear to have coined the term.[21][22] He called for a society based on compassion, nonviolent principles and freedom. Tolstoy was a pacifist and a vegetarian. His vision for an equitable society was an anarchist version of Georgism, which he mentions specifically in his novel Resurrection.
David Lipscomb
David Lipscomb (1831–1917) was a minister, author and member in the American Restoration Movement. He wrote a strong condemnation of the state called On Civil Government: Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny, and the Christian's Relation to It and co-founded Lipscomb University.
Charles Erskine Scott Wood
Charles Erskine Scott Wood (1852-1944) was the author of a satirical bestseller, Heavenly Discourse, which portrayed God and Jesus as anarchists opposed to churches, governments, war, and capitalism.
Thomas J. Hagerty
Thomas J. Hagerty (c.1862–?) was a Catholic priest from New Mexico, USA, and one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Hagerty is credited with writing the IWW Preamble, assisting in the composition of the Industrial Union Manifesto and drawing up the first chart of industrial organization. He was ordained in 1892 but his formal association with the church ended when he was suspended by his archbishop for urging miners in Colorado to revolt during his tour of mining camps in 1903. Hagerty is not commonly regarded as a Christian anarchist in the Tolstoyan tradition but rather an anarcho-syndicalist. Christian anarchists like Dorothy Day and Ammon Hennacy have been members of the Industrial Workers of the World and found common cause with the axiom "an injury to one is an injury to all."
Nikolai Berdyaev
Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948), the Orthodox Christian philosopher has been called the philosopher of freedom and is known as a Christian existentialist. Known for writing "the Kingdom of God is anarchy" he believed that freedom ultimately comes from God, in direct opposition to anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin, who saw God as the enslaver of humanity (symbolically; Bakunin was an atheist). Christian anarchists claim Man enslaves Man, not God.
Peter Maurin
Peter Maurin (1877-1949) was a French social activist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Maurin's vision to transform the social order consisted of establishing urban houses of hospitality to care for the destitute; rural farming communities to teach city dwellers agrarianism and encourage a movement back-to-the-land; and roundtable discussions in community centres to clarify thought and initiate action.[23]
Léonce Crenier
Léonce Crenier (1888–1963) first rejected religion, becoming an anarcho-communist when he moved to Paris from rural France in 1911. In 1913 he visited his sister in Portugal where he stayed for several years. During this period he suffered a debilitating and agonising illness. Receiving the attentions of a particularly caring nurse, he survived, despite the gloomy predictions of the doctors. Converting to Catholicism, he became a monk. He is particularly known for his concept of Precarity, and was influential on Dorothy Day.
Cartoon by Art Young, first published in The Masses in 1917 and later reprinted in Ammon Hennacy's autobiography.[24]
Ammon Hennacy
Ammon Hennacy (1893–1970) wrote extensively on his work with the Catholic Workers, the IWW, and at the Joe Hill House of Hospitality. He was an Irish American Christian anarchist, draft dodger, vegetarian, and tax resister. He also tried to reduce his tax liability by taking up a lifestyle of simple living and bartering. His autobiography The Book of Ammon originally released as The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist, describes his work in nonviolent, anarchist, social action, and provides insight into the lives of Christian anarchists in the United States of the 20th century. His other book is One Man Revolution in America.
Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day (1897–1980) was a journalist turned social activist (she was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World) and devout member of the Roman Catholic Church. She became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. Alongside Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933, espousing nonviolence, and hospitality for the impoverished and downtrodden. Dorothy Day was declared Servant of God when a cause for sainthood was opened for her by Pope John Paul II. Among books she authored was her autobiography The Long Loneliness.
Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul (1912–1994) was a French thinker, sociologist, theologian and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books against the "technological society", and some about Christianity and politics, like Anarchy and Christianity. Similar to the theology of one of his main influences, Karl Barth, Ellul's works and ideas are considered dialectic.[25]
Philip Berrigan
Philip Berrigan (1923–2002) was an internationally renowned peace activist and Roman Catholic priest. He and his brother Daniel Berrigan were on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for illegal nonviolent actions against war.
Ivan Illich
Ivan Illich (1926–2002) was a libertarian-socialist social thinker, with roots in the Catholic Church, who wrote critiques of technology, energy use and compulsory education. In 1961 Illich founded the Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC) at Cuernavaca in Mexico, in order to "counterfoil" the Vatican's participation in the "modern development" of the so-called Third World. Illich's books Energy and Equity and Tools for Conviviality are considered classics for social ecologists interested in appropriate technology, while his book Deschooling Society is still revered by activists seeking alternatives to compulsory schooling. Ivan's views on Jesus as an anarchist are highlighted in a speech he made at a chapel in Chicago.[26]
Vernard Eller
Vernard Eller (1927–2007) was a minister in the Church of the Brethren and author of Christian Anarchy: Jesus' Primacy Over the Powers.[27]

Anarchist Biblical views and practices

Church authority

With some notable exceptions, such as the Catholic Worker Movement, many Christian anarchists are critical of Church dogma and rituals. Christian anarchists wish that Christians were less preoccupied with performing rituals and preaching dogmatic theology, and more with following Jesus' teaching and practices.[28] Jacques Ellul and Dave Andrews claim that Jesus did not intend to be the founder of an institutional religion, whilst Michael Elliot believes one of Jesus' intentions was to bypass human intermediaries and do away with priests.[29][30][31]

Pacifism and nonviolence

The Deserter (1916) by Boardman Robinson.

Christian anarchists, such as Leo Tolstoy, Ammon Hennacy, Jacques Ellul, and Dave Andrews, follow Jesus' call to not resist evil but turn the other cheek. This teaching they argue can only imply a condemnation of the state as the police and army hold a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.[3] They believe freedom will only be guided by the grace of God if they show compassion to others and turn the other cheek when confronted with violence. Christian anarchists believe violence begets violence and the ends never justify the means.[32]

A few of the key historic messages many Christian anarchists practice are the principles of nonviolence, nonresistance and turning the other cheek, which are illustrated in many passages of the New Testament and Hebrew Bible (e.g. the sixth commandment, Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17, "You shall not murder").[Third-party source needed]

To illustrate how nonresistance works in practice, Alexandre Christoyannopoulos offers the following Christian anarchist response to terrorism:

The path shown by Jesus is a difficult one that can only be trod by true martyrs. A "martyr," etymologically, is he who makes himself a witness to his faith. And it is the ultimate testimony to one’s faith to be ready to put it to practice even when one’s very life is threatened. But the life to be sacrificed, it should be noted, is not the enemy’s life, but the martyr’s own life — killing others is not a testimony of love, but of anger, fear, or hatred. For Tolstoy, therefore, a true martyr to Jesus’ message would neither punish nor resist (or at least not use violence to resist), but would strive to act from love, however hard, whatever the likelihood of being crucified. He would patiently learn to forgive and turn the other cheek, even at the risk of death. Such would be the only way to eventually win the hearts and minds of the other camp and open up the possibilities for reconciliation in the "war on terror."[33]

Simple living

Christian anarchists, such as Ammon Hennacy, Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, often advocate voluntary poverty. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as withdrawing support for government by reducing taxable income or following Jesus' teachings.[34] Jesus appears to teach voluntary poverty when he told his disciples, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:25) and "You cannot serve both God and Mammon" (Luke 16:13).[Third-party source needed]

State authority

The most common challenge for anarchist theologians is interpreting Paul's letter to Roman Christians 13:1–7, in which Paul demands obedience to governing authorities and describes them as God's servants exacting punishment on wrongdoers.[35][36] Romans 13:1–7 holds the most explicit reference to the state in the New Testament but other parallel texts include Titus 3:1, Hebrews 13:17 and 1 Peter 2:13-17.[37][38][39][40]

Blessed are the Peacemakers (1917) by George Bellows

Established theologians, such as C.E.B. Cranfield, have interpreted Romans 13:1–7 to mean the Church should support the state, as God has sanctified the state to be his main tool to preserve social order.[41][42] In the case of the state being involved in a "Just War", theologians also argue that is permissible for Christians to serve the state and wield the sword.[43][35] Christian anarchists do not share this interpretation of Romans 13 but still recognize it as "a very embarrassing passage."[44][45]

Christian anarchists and pacifists, such as David Lipscomb, Jacques Ellul and Vernard Eller, do not attempt to overthrow the state given Romans 13 and Jesus' command to turn the other cheek.[44][46] Although Lipscomb still describes the state as an evil power executing wrath and vengeance.[47] As wrath and vengeance are contrary to the Christian values of kindness and forgiveness, Lipscomb and Ellul neither support, nor participate in, the state.[48][44] Eller articulates this position by restating the passage this way:

Be clear, any of those human [authorities] are where they are only because God is allowing them to be there. They exist only at his sufferance. And if God is willing to put up with...the Roman Empire, you ought to be willing to put up with it, too. There is no indication God has called you to clear it out of the way or get it converted for him. You can't fight an Empire without becoming like the Roman Empire; so you had better leave such matters in God's hands where they belong.[49]

Christians who interpret Romans 13 as advocating support for governing authorities are left with the difficulty of how to act under tyrants or dictators.[42] Ernst Käsemann, in his Commentary on Romans, challenged the mainstream Christian interpretation of the passage in light of German Lutheran Churches using this passage to justify the Holocaust.[50]

Paul's letter to Roman Christians declares "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong." However Christian anarchists point out an inconsistency if this text were to be taken literally and in isolation, as both Jesus and Paul were executed by the governing authorities or "rulers."[42]

There are also Christians anarchists, such as Tolstoy and Hennacy, who do not see the need to integrate Paul's teachings into their subversive way of life. Tolstoy believed Paul was instrumental in the church's "deviation" from Jesus' teaching and practices, whilst Hennacy believed "Paul spoiled the message of Christ" (see Jesuism).[51][52] Hennacy and Ciaron O'Reilly, in contrast to Eller, advocate nonviolent civil disobedience to confront state oppression.[53]

Swearing of oaths

In the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5:33-37) Jesus tells his followers to not swear oaths in the name of God or Man. Tolstoy, Adin Ballou and Petr Chelčický understand this to mean that Christians should never bind themselves to any oaths as they may not be able to fulfil the will of God if they are bound to the will of a fellow-man. Tolstoy takes the view that all oaths are evil, but especially an oath of allegiance.[54]

Tax

Some Christian anarchists resist taxes in the belief that their government is engaged in immoral, unethical or destructive activities such as war, and paying taxes inevitably funds these activities, whilst others submit to taxation.[55][56] Adin Ballou wrote that if the act of resisting taxes requires physical force to withhold what a government tries to take, then it is important to submit to taxation. Ammon Hennacy, who, like Ballou also believed in nonresistance, managed to avoid taxes without using force.[57]

Tax supporters cite "give to Caesar what is Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21) and Paul's letter to Roman Christians (Romans 13:6-7).[58] Although Jacques Ellul does not interpret Matthew 22:21 as advocating support for taxes but as further advice to free oneself from material attachment. Ellul believes the passage shows that Caesar may have rights over the fiat money he produces, but not things that are made by God, as he explains:[55]

"Render unto Caesar..." in no way divides the exercise of authority into two realms....They were said in response to another matter: the payment of taxes, and the coin. The mark on the coin is that of Caesar; it is the mark of his property. Therefore give Caesar this money; it is his. It is not a question of legitimizing taxes! It means that Caesar, having created money, is its master. That's all. Let us not forget that money, for Jesus, is the domain of Mammon, a satanic domain![59]

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism in the Christian tradition has a long history commencing in the first centuries of Church with the Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers who abandoned the "world of men" for intimacy with the God of Jesus Christ. Vegetarianism amongst hermits and Christian monastics in the Eastern Christian and Roman Catholic traditions remains common to this day as a means of simplifying one's life, and as a practice of asceticism. Leo Tolstoy, Ammon Hennacy and Théodore Monod extended their belief in nonviolence and compassion to all living beings through vegetarianism.[60][61][62][63]

Present-day Christian anarchist groups

Brotherhood Church

The Brotherhood Church is a Christian anarchist and pacifist community. The Brotherhood Church can be traced back to 1887 when a Congregationalist minister called John Bruce Wallace started a magazine called "The Brotherhood" in Limavady, Northern Ireland. An intentional community with Quaker origins has been located at Stapleton, near Pontefract, Yorkshire, since 1921.[64][65]

Catholic Worker Movement

Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Workers.

Established by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day in the early 1930s, the Catholic Worker Movement is a Christian movement dedicated to nonviolence, personalism and voluntary poverty.[66] Over 130 Catholic Worker communities exist in the United States where "houses of hospitality" care for the homeless. The Joe Hill House of hospitality (which closed in 1968) in Salt Lake City, Utah featured an enormous twelve feet by fifteen foot mural of Jesus Christ and Joe Hill. Present-day Catholic Workers include Ciaron O'Reilly, an Irish-Australian civil rights and anti-war activist.[67]

Anne Klejment, professor of history at University of St. Thomas, wrote of the Catholic Worker Movement:

The Catholic Worker considered itself a Christian anarchist movement. All authority came from God; and the state, having by choice distanced itself from Christian perfectionism, forfeited its ultimate authority over the citizen...Catholic Worker anarchism followed Christ as a model of nonviolent revolutionary behavior...He respected individual conscience. But he also preached a prophetic message, difficult for many of his contemporaries to embrace.[68]

The Catholic Worker Movement has consistently protested against war and violence for over seven decades. Many of the leading figures in the movement have been both anarchists and pacifists, as Ammon Hennacy explains:

Christian Anarchism is based upon the answer of Jesus to the Pharisees when Jesus said that he without sin should be the first to cast the stone, and upon the Sermon on the Mount which advises the return of good for evil and the turning of the other cheek. Therefore, when we take any part in government by voting for legislative, judicial, and executive officials, we make these men our arm by which we cast a stone and deny the Sermon on the Mount.

The dictionary definition of a Christian is one who follows Christ; kind, kindly, Christ-like. Anarchism is voluntary cooperation for good, with the right of secession. A Christian anarchist is therefore one who turns the other cheek, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and does not need a cop to tell him how to behave. A Christian anarchist does not depend upon bullets or ballots to achieve his ideal; he achieves that ideal daily by the One-Man Revolution with which he faces a decadent, confused, and dying world.[69]

Maurin and Day were both baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church and believed in the institution, thus showing it is possible to be a Christian anarchist and still choose to remain within a church. After her death, Day was proposed for sainthood by the Claretian Missionaries in 1983. Pope John Paul II granted the Archdiocese of New York permission to open Day's cause for sainthood in March 2000, calling her a Servant of God.

Doukhobors

The origin of the Doukhobors dates back to 16th and 17th century Russia. The Doukhobors ("Spirit Wrestlers") are a radical Christian sect that maintains a belief in pacifism and a communal lifestyle, while rejecting secular government. In 1899, the Doukhobors fled repression in Tsarist Russia and migrated to Canada, mostly in the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The trip was paid for by the Quakers and Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. Canada was suggested to Leo Tolstoy as a safe-haven for the Doukhobors by anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, while on a speaking tour across the country, observed the religious tolerance experienced by the Mennonites.[citation needed]

Online communities

Numerous Christian anarchist websites, social networking sites, forums, electronic mailing lists and blogs have emerged on the internet over the last few years. These include: A Pinch of Salt, a 1980s Christian anarchist magazine, revived in 2006 by Keith Hebden as a blog and bi-annual magazine;[70][71] Vine & Fig Tree started by Kevin Craig in 1999;[72][71] Jesus Radicals founded by Mennonites Nekeisha and Andy Alexis-Baker in 2000;[73][71] Lost Religion of Jesus created by Adam Clark in 2005;[74][71] Christian Anarchists created by Jason Barr in 2006;[75][71] The Mormon Worker, a blog and newspaper, founded in 2007 by William Van Wagenen to promote Mormonism, anarchism and pacifism;[76][77][71] Academics and Students Interested in Religious Anarchism (ASIRA) founded by Alexandre Christoyannopoulos in 2008.[78][71]

See also

References

  1. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 2–4. "Locating Christian anarchism...In political theology" 
  2. ^ a b Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 43–80. "The Sermon on the Mount: A manifesto for Christian anarchism" 
  3. ^ a b c d Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (March 2010). "A Christian Anarchist Critique of Violence: From Turning the Other Cheek to a Rejection of the State". Political Studies Association. http://www.psa.ac.uk/journals/pdf/5/2010/1338_1226.pdf. 
  4. ^ a b Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 19 and 208. "Leo Tolstoy" 
  5. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. p. 254. "The state as idolatry" 
  6. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 84–88. "Old Testament" 
  7. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 123–126. "Revelation" 
  8. ^ a b Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 243–246. "Early Christians" 
  9. ^ Hinson, E. Glenn. The early church : origins to the dawn of the Middle Ages, (1996) pp 42–3
  10. ^ Merton, Thomas. "Wisdom of the Desert." Abbey of Gethsemani Inc. 1960. p.5
  11. ^ Th. I. Riginiotes. "The holy anarchists". http://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/praktikes/anarx_monaxism1.htm. 
  12. ^ The Holy Anarchists. youtube.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uet4g1Nel1g. 
  13. ^ Chadwick, Henry. The early church , (1967)
  14. ^ McGrath, Alister E., Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). ISBN 1-4051-0899-1. Page 174: "In effect, they [Jewish Christians] seemed to regard Christianity as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief—that Jesus was the Messiah. Unless males were circumcised, they could not be saved (Acts 15:1)."
  15. ^ a b Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (July 2008). "Christian Anarchism: A Revolutionary Reading of the Bible". World International Studies Conference. pp. 10–12. http://www.wiscnetwork.org/ljubljana2008/papers/WISC_2008-11.pdf. "Christian history" 
  16. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 246. "Christian pacifism - let alone Christian anarchism - was submerged for nearly a millennium" 
  17. ^ "Francis of Assisi." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  18. ^ Coy, Patrick G. (1988). A Revolution of the heart: essays on the Catholic worker. Temple University Press. pp. 19–22. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4dG87jxGDFcC&lpg=PP1&dq=A%20Revolution%20of%20the%20Heart%3A%20Essays%20on%20the%20Catholic%20Worker&pg=PA19#v=onepage&q&f=false. "The influence of Francis of Assisi in Maurin's life was considerable." 
  19. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. p. 38. "Peter Chelčický" 
  20. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. p. 39. "Adin Ballou" 
  21. ^ The review of reviews, Volume 9, 1894, p.306. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=O40-YRkO0t8C&q=%22christian+anarchism%22&dq=%22christian+anarchism%22&lr=&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=1900&as_brr=0&cd=6. 
  22. ^ The Speaker, Volume 9, 1894, p.254. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sIpNAAAAYAAJ&q=%22christian+anarchism%22&dq=%22christian+anarchism%22&hl=en&ei=G5jWTKDXNJ2ShAfI79iWBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA. 
  23. ^ Coy, Patrick G. (1988). A Revolution of the heart: essays on the Catholic worker. Temple University Press. pp. 16–23. "Peter Maurin" 
  24. ^ Hennacy, Ammon (1970). The Book of Ammon. Hennacy. p. 332. 
  25. ^ James A. Fowler (2000). "A Synopsis and Analysis of the Thought and Writings of Jacques Ellul". Christ in You Ministries. http://www.christinyou.net/pages/ellul.html. 
  26. ^ Ivan Illich (1988). "The Educational enterprise in the Light of the Gospel". Chicago. http://www.davidtinapple.com/illich/1988_Educational.html. "Jesus was an anarchist savior" 
  27. ^ Vernard Eller (1987). Christian Anarchy: Jesus' Primacy Over the Powers. Wm. B. Eerdmans. http://www.hccentral.com/eller12/index.html. 
  28. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 167–175. "Deceptive Dogmas...Sanctimonious self-righteousness" 
  29. ^ Ellul, Jacques (1988). Anarchy and Christianity. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 26. "The immediate reality, however, is that the revelation of Jesus ought not to give rise to a religion. All religion leads to war, but the Word of God is not a religion, and it is the most serious of all betrayals to have made of it a religion." 
  30. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 175–177. "Institutional religion" 
  31. ^ Elliot, Michael C. (1990). Freedom, Justice and Christian Counter-Culture. London: SCM Press. p. 164. "Jesus asserted that each person could have direct and personal access to the truth, and each become in effect his or her own authority" 
  32. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. p. 52. "The cycle of violence" 
  33. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (April 2008). "Turning the Other Cheek to Terrorism: Reflections on the Contemporary Significance of Leo Tolstoy's Exegesis of the Sermon on the Mount". Loughborough University Institutional Repository. pp. 41–42. https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/bitstream/2134/6673/1/Christo%203.pdf. 
  34. ^ Dorothy Day (February 1945). "More About Holy Poverty. Which Is Voluntary Poverty.". The Catholic Worker. http://www.catholicworker.org/dorothyday/daytext.cfm?TextID=150. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  35. ^ a b Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 181–182. "Paul's letter to Roman Christians, chapter 13" 
  36. ^ BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Romans 13:1–7
  37. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 191–192. "Similar passages in the New Testament" 
  38. ^ BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Titus 3:1
  39. ^ BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Hebrews 13:17
  40. ^ BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: 1 Peter 2:13-17
  41. ^ C.E.B. Cranfield (1985). The Christian's Political Responsibility According to the New Testament. pp. 177–184. "We have to serve the state for the sake of men's eternal salvation" 
  42. ^ a b c Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 181–182. "Christian anarchists on Romans 13, rendering to Caesar, and civil disobedience" 
  43. ^ BBC. "Just War - introduction". http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/war/just/introduction.shtml. 
  44. ^ a b c Ellul, Jacques (1988). Anarchy and Christianity. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp. 86–87. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=55_Oa12YTt0C&lpg=PP1&dq=Anarchy%20and%20Christianity&pg=PA86#v=onepage&q&f=false. "The Intepretation of Romans 13:1-2" 
  45. ^ Boyd, Greg. "Does Following Jesus Rule Out Serving in the Military if a War is Just?". http://www.gregboyd.org/essays/kingdom-living/does-following-jesus-rule-out-serving-in-the-military-if-a-war-is-just/. 
  46. ^ Eller, Vernard (1987). Christian Anarchy: Jesus' Primacy Over the Powers. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 239. http://www.hccentral.com/eller12/part10.html. "Voluntary self-subordination" 
  47. ^ Lipscomb, David (1866-7). On Civil Government. Doulos Christou Press. p. 72. "Human government, the embodied effort of man to rule the world without God, ruled over by 'the prince of this world,' the devil. Its mission is to execute wrath and vengeance here on earth. Human government bears the same relation to hell as the church bears to heaven" 
  48. ^ Lipscomb, David (1866-7). On Civil Government. Doulos Christou Press. p. 69. "This higher power is a revenger to execute wrath on him that doeth evil. The Christian has been clearly forbidden to take vengeance or execute wrath, but he is to live peaceably with all men, to do good for evil. Then a Christian cannot be an officer or executor of this higher power" 
  49. ^ Christian Anarchy (Eller) 1
  50. ^ Käsemann, Ernst, Commentary on Romans, (1980)
  51. ^ Tolstoy, Leo (1882). Church and State. "This deviation begins from the times of the Apostles and especially from that hankerer after mastership Paul" 
  52. ^ Hennacy, Ammon (1970). The Book of Ammon. Hennacy. p. 475. "Paul and the Churches" 
  53. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 199–201. "For (non-violent) civil disobedience" 
  54. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 67–69. "Swear not at all" 
  55. ^ a b Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 192–197. "Jesus' advice on taxes" 
  56. ^ "Anarchists and War Tax Resistance". National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. http://www.nwtrcc.org/anarchists.php. 
  57. ^ “Ammon Hennacy” in Gross, David M. (ed.) We Won’t Pay: A Tax Resistance Reader (2008) ISBN 1-4348-9825-3 pp. 385-393
  58. ^ BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Romans 13:6–7
  59. ^ Ellul, Jacques: Anarchism and Christianity, p.20
  60. ^ Miller, Robin Feuer (2010). Anniversary Essays on Tolstoy. Cambridge University. pp. 52. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=G9KwMaSPEF0C&pg=PA52#v=onepage&q&f=false. "Tolstoy's famous embrace of vegetarianism was triggered in large part by his intensifying philosophy of non-violence" 
  61. ^ "'Thou shalt not kill' does not apply to murder of one's own kind only, but to all living beings; and this Commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai." – Leo Tolstoy
  62. ^ Hennacy, Ammon (1970). The Book of Ammon. Hennacy. p. 125. "I had been vegetarian since 1910" 
  63. ^ Geological Society of London (2007). Four centuries of geological travel. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=olMgmIYuMPYC&pg=PA192. "Monod became a vegetarian and an ardent pacifist" 
  64. ^ Alfred G. Higgins (1982). A History of the Brotherhood Church. p. 52. 
  65. ^ "The Brotherhood Church history". http://www.thebrotherhoodchurch.org/history.htm. 
  66. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 24 and 260. "The Catholic Worker movement" 
  67. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 28–29. "Ciaron O'Reilly" 
  68. ^ Klejment, Anne; Patrick Coy (1988). A Revolution of the heart: essays on the Catholic worker. Temple University Press. pp. 293–294. 
  69. ^ Hennacy, Ammon (1970). The Book of Ammon. Hennacy. p. 0. 
  70. ^ Keith Hebden (2006). "A Pinch of Salt". blogger.com. http://apos-archive.blogspot.com/. 
  71. ^ a b c d e f g Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 264 and 265. "Online communities" 
  72. ^ Kevin Craig (1999). "Vine & Fig Tree". http://vftonline.org/XianAnarch/homepage.htm. 
  73. ^ Nekeisha and Andy Alexis-Baker (2000). "Jesus Radicals". http://www.jesusradicals.com/. 
  74. ^ Adam Clark (2005). "Lost Religion of Jesus". Yahoo Groups!. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Lost_Religion_of_Jesus/. 
  75. ^ Jason Barr (2006). "Christian Anarchists". Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/christian.anarchists. 
  76. ^ William Van Wagenen (2007). "The Mormon Worker blog". wordpress.com. http://themormonworker.wordpress.com/. 
  77. ^ William Van Wagenen (2007). "The Mormon Worker newspaper". http://www.themormonworker.org/. 
  78. ^ Alexandre Christoyannopoulos (2008). "Academics and Students Interested in Religious Anarchism (ASIRA)". Anarchist Studies Network. http://anarchist-studies-network.org.uk/ASIRA. 

Further reading

19th century

20th century

  • Elbert Hubbard (1910) Jesus Was An Anarchist
  • Archie Penner (1959) The Christian, The State, and the New Testament (reprinted in 2000 as The New Testament, the Christian, and the State)
  • Ammon Hennacy (1965) The Book of Ammon
  • Mary Segers (1977) Equality and Christian Anarchism: The Political and Social Ideas of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Vernard Eller (1987) Christian Anarchy: Jesus' Primacy Over the Powers
  • Linda Damico (1987) The Anarchist Dimension of Liberation Theology
  • Jacques Ellul (1988) Anarchy and Christianity
  • Patrick Coy, et al. (1988) A Revolution of the Heart: Essays on the Catholic Worker
  • Michael C. Elliot (1990) Freedom, Justice and Christian Counter-Culture
  • George Tarleton (1993) Birth of a Christian Anarchist
  • Dave Andrews (1999) Christi-Anarchy: Discovering a radical spirituality of compassion

21st century

  • Frederick G. Boehrer (2001) Christian anarchism and the Catholic Worker movement: Roman Catholic authority and identity in the United States
  • Jonathan Bartley (2006) Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy
  • Tripp York (2007-9) The Purple Crown: The Politics of Martyrdom; and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon: The Christian Anarchists of the 20th Century
  • Shane Claiborne (2008) Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals
  • David Alan Black (2009) Christian Archy
  • Alexandre Christoyannopoulos (2009-10) Religious Anarchism: New Perspectives; and Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel
  • Ronald E. Osborn (2010) Anarchy and Apocalypse: Essays on Faith, Violence, and Theodicy
  • Keith Hebden (2011) Dalit Theology and Christian Anarchism
  • Tom O'Golo (2011) Christ? No! Jesus? Yes!: A radical reappraisal of a very important life

External links


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