After yesterday’s post re. Jesus for President it’s only fair to continue the theme with a mention of Greg Boyd’s book, The Myth of a Christian Nation.
But first, a disclaimer. I’m only on the second chapter, and I left the book at work today. However, the good news — especially for the vast majority of you who read these things and never pick up the book — is that you can download the sermons the book is based on free of charge from Woodland Hills Church website.
Greg Boyd believes — and some days he must think he’s the only one — that the destiny of the Christian Church is not inextricably linked to the politics of the USA. In fact, he dares to say that these kingdoms operate entirely differently. He points out that the kingdoms of this world operate by “power over” whereas the Kingdom of God operates by “power under.” He suggests a comparison between what society calls criminal and what the Bible calls sin: There are many things which are sins but are not crimes; but other things that are criminal in most jurisdictions, but not mentioned in the Bible as sin. If you still don’t think that makes the case, he looks at the things the U.S. has done and not only posits that it’s not a Christian nation now, but that it never ever was.
So how does this go over? By some accounts, about a thousand people left Woodland Hills after the series. However, to others it was greeted as a breath of fresh air , and they showed up at Woodland to replace those who left.
I could go on with all the good points Boyd makes in the sermon series, but I don’t want to pretend this is a valid book review until I get to the last chapter. Maybe I’ll come back to it at that point. What matters here is that it’s interesting to review the U.S. situation as a Canadian. Here we labour (spelled with a “u” up here) under no illusion that Canada is a Christian nation. There is civics and there is religion and never the ‘twain shall meet. We have no flags at the front of our churches; no voter guides are distributed at election times; no one has T-shirts suggesting we “take Canada back for God.”
We are however influenced by all of these kind of things taking place south of the 49th parallel. Not so in the U.K. where they also — and then some — have no illusions that government and Christian faith have direct connection. Perhaps that’s why I find the writing and Christian culture from the Britain so refreshing.
Anyway, to hear the sermons, the first link below will take you directly to the sermon download section of Woodland Hills website. Then go to 2004 (an election year!) and then go to April 18th and 25th (for the premise; these are the most vital sermons) and also May 2nd and 9th. You can download MP3 files; we copy to disc so we can loan them out when we’re done.