Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

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Biblical Anarchy

Posted on November 11, 2012 by Alexander

And everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.

We have been taught to believe that the word “anarchy” means “chaos and pandemonium. ” And as it is used today that is what is meant by the speaker. But the meaning of words are not understood solely by current usage.  Dictionaries provide current usage and past usage through their etymological definitions so we may see how words have changed through the generations.  The word breaks up into two words  “an” meaning “without”  and “arch” meaning “leader”.  More broadly it means without government or hierarchy.  Not having a human leader does not automatically mean chaos and pandemonium.  That connotation is encouraged by leaders who want to retain their leadership.

I am proposing a new concept, which is as old as creation: biblical anarchy, and I am referring to the Church, not governments of the world.  Of course, God has created life to need leadership.  It begins with the family as the parents are the leaders of the children.  All children are born ignorant, except for the knowledge God inscribes on every human heart, so we all need to be taught by those who know what we do not know.  So, when I speak of biblical anarchy, I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Leaders that are used by the Lord, however, are temporary in leadership, not permanent.  Only professional students stay in school their whole life, for example. We all have to graduate and move on.   Because we live in a fallen world, civil governments still remain a necessity.  But the Church of Jesus Christ has no need for any hierarchal government system, because all regenerated believers have direct access to the King.

In 2008 I realized that the book of Judges had a bad rap.  The verse in Judges that is repeated twice, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6 & 21:25) is usually understood to mean that they strayed because their understanding of what is right was wrong, so God had to raise up judges to bring them back.  But when you consider the amount of evil recounted in Judges compared to all the evil recounted in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, the contrast of evil done through the kings is enormous! Since the Lord was already their king, God did not want them to have a human king, and gave them stern warning of the consequences if they chose a human king (1 Samuel 8:9-18). The Lord wanted His people to be biblical anarchists, that is to serve Him and not a human leader.  They rejected God as their King for a human substitute (1 Samuel 8:7).  The natural question is, why? The answer is that they did not want to be accountable to God since human accountability is much easier to manipulate.  I think the generation living under the time of the Judges was much more willing to be accountable to God, than those during the Israeli kings.

Two years later I came across a Jewish website that said that the Judaic view of that verse understood it to mean that there was no need for leadership because everyone knew what was right to do and did it. As I continue to watch both organized religion and civil governments abuse and use people, I am becoming more convinced that the government of the Kingdom of God is the complete opposite of what we are told.  More and more believers are forsaking institutional Christianity for house church gatherings or organic fellowship.  Regrettably, many have no clue what that means and continue meeting with a hierarchal structure – low key, but hierarchal nonetheless.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation”  (Luke 17:20 KJV).   When one studies the history of the Church one sees two streams of the Church.  The visible Church which is organized religion, and the invisible or underground church.   The  real body of Christ is the organic church which exists in both the visible and invisble fellowships.  The organic church are all believers  regenerated through the new birth.  The underground church tends to flourish in areas of persecution. Persecution forces  believers to meet secretly, abandoning institutional congregations, thus embracing biblical anarchy since they must hear the Lord for themselves.  Advice from people can be too dangerous if one does not know for oneself what is the guidance of God. Of course, there are many underground congregations who continue to meet in the same manner of organized religion, but because of the persecution, those believers seem to be closer to God despite their format of gathering.

I believe that the trend in the United States for believers to abandon organized religion for alternative gatherings of believers is the beginning of the underground church, which is strengthening the organic church through what I am calling biblical anarchy.  I find it ironic that Hebrews 10:25 is the main justification for organized religion when the entire chapter declares the one-on-one relationship that God has given all regenerated believers makes the case that there is no more need for organized religion!  The point of verse 25 is that we need to have an intentional hospitality in staying connected with other believers.  And historically, the main persecuters of the underground church is often not the civil government, but the institutional churches that had become state churches.  By extension, though, the civil government persecuted the underground church through the state church.  This was the case for the post Protestant Reformation believers, and why the Pilgrims came to the New World.

As more and more mainline denominations embrace the global agenda, the underground church is going to grow in the United States.  The need for big government in civil society is a myth.  Even the unregenerate are not looking for trouble on the most part.   So even the civil government does not need to be large.  The wars of the world are created by governments, that is, people holding power wanting further power and wealth for themselves.  This is especially true in the 20th century, and if you look behind the scenes of what has really happened in the last century,  the United States government has been the driving force behind all the wars .

Evangelical Christians are also the main support group for these wars, and they don’t realize it. They have been taught that obeying human governments is the same thing as obeying God. So, without really thinking that teaching through, many believers blindly obey governments regardless of what the governments do.  Nazi Germany had a strong Christian support, so much so that the swatiska was created as another symbol for the cross.  In hindsight, how can Christians today say that invading Iraq was in the interest of nation defense? Does that jive with the teachings of Christ?

I fear that those believers who do not forsake organized religion and embrace the biblical anarchy that I am writing about, will be the new persecutors of the underground church. Why do professing Christians persecute other Christians?  For the same reason that the Israelis wanted a human king.  They can justify their selfishness easier in organized religion by their check list of do’s and don’ts, to make them feel right with God while remaining selfish.  Likewise, the arm of the flesh is easier to see as a resource for aid, then trusting God whose aid you have no idea how it may come about.  They want to stay in control. I pray that evangelicals do not become the persecutors of the underground church and that I am wrong in my concern. Those who want to lean on the arm of the flesh and remain in state churches have forgotten that the only way to gain your life is to lose it (Matt. 16:25).

Post Script 11/12/12

As I said at the beginning of the blog, I do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Biblical anarchy means having no human leadership, but only God.  However, human leaders are used by God.  Consider that Paul told us to “follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). But if you are following Christ, Paul is not your leader but is your companion. His example incarnates Christ for us so we are encouraged in our incarnation of Christ, too.

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