Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Idolatry of Patriotism

Even though I disagree with Greg Boyd on some big issues, namely open theism, I liked his article in the latest issue of Relevant Magazine. He talks about the idolatry of patriotism. Here are a few paragraphs:
"I appreciate that America recognizes my rights to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,' but there is nothing distinctly Kingdom about these rights. They're nowhere to be found in the Bible. To the contrary, as a follower of Jesus I'm called to surrender my rights to life, liberty, and happiness, and instead submit to the will of God. These rights are noble on a political level, but they can get in the way of my call to seek first the Kingdom. I'm grateful America extends these rights to people, for most countries throughout history have not. But my sole allegiance is to the heavenly Kingdom that calls me to surrender my rights. If I get too concerned with an earthly county that frees me to pursue my rights, my healthy patriotism becomes idolatrous, I've put my country's ideas before God.


Despite the fact that He lived in an age when plenty of political and nationalistic issues were being hotly debated, Jesus never displayed the slightest interest in such matters. He didn't come to bring us a 'new and improved' version of the Kingdom of the world. He came to inaugurate a Kingdom that is 'not of this world.' It's a Kingdom that is no more Israeli than it is Palestinian; no more American than it is Iraqi; and nor more socialist than it is democratic. Instead, it's a Kingdom that encompasses people from every nation and political persuasion, for it puts on display the 'one new humanity' Jesus dies to create (Ephesians 2:!5). In this Kingdom, Paul declares, there is no longer any Jew or Greek (Galatians 3:27-29). In our Kingdom, all national, tribal, ethnic, gender, social and economic distinctions are insignificant.

So over the Fourth of July weekend-and all year-be appreciative of your country. Be patriotic. But make sure your patriotism pales in comparison to your sacrifice, commitment and allegiance to the Kingdom of God."


  1. Its nice to see that Boyd "appreciates" the fact that he has the liberty to publish such articles without the fear of being imprisoned.

  2. If you liked his article, you would likely love his Myth of a Christian Nation which came out of his series on the kingdom of the cross and kingdom of the sword. He is a bit liberal in his political views, and a tad too pacifistic for my taste (his views on the death penalty and self-defense are horrible) but in general I find myself in agreement on his basic premise that the two kingdoms are worlds apart and should not be merged.

  3. Thanks Wes. I'll have to check those videos out.