Greg Boyd, in his newest book, The Myth of a Christian Religion: Losing Your Religion for the Beauty of a Revolution
is about “sword-power vs. cross-power” (22).
What makes Boyd singular is that he thinks cross-power must shape everything, and this lands him in the anabaptist camp. The difference is power over vs. power under. The latter is about humility and self-sacrifice. It may look weak but it is the power of God.
How useful is his “power under” and “power over” theory? Do you think this is practical? Is it utopian? Why do we need this theory? How does it relate to “servant leadership” ideas?
The temptation of sword-power starts with Jesus, and he refuses to go along with Satan (Matt 4:1-11). The Church did fine until Constantine where sword took over the cross. The movement that suffered under nationalism became nationalistic.
The word “holy” is important: it means singular and in contrast to the kingdoms of this world. When Christians align themselves with the State, cross-power becomes sword-power. Instead of the Giant Jesus wev’e got the Giant Caesar.
But Jesus grew up in such times and he chose cross-power and his cross-power was subversive of sword-power in that day and in our day. Our responsibility is to live as Jesus lived — not to run government, not to advise government, and not to play with government. At times, though, followers of Jesus will agree on protesting what the government is doing. But retaining distinction — the holiness — is critical for followers of Jesus. We are to fight evil and not other humans, and we fight with cross-power.
The follower of Jesus is to live the kingdom by cross-power and let that life be the changing instrument of power.