Can I be a Christian and an Anarchist?

HomeChristianity and the BibleCan I be a Christian and an Anarchist?

Is it possible for a Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ to be a pacifist and an anarchist, who simply rejects all forms of violence and all worldly systems of government and business…?

Tony

Thanks for writing! You ask an intriguing question. Pacifism and anarchy seem like an odd combination to me. Of course, for anarchists to succeed, it helps to have a lot of pacifists around. =) Let’s take them one at a time. It’s certainly possible for a follower of Christ to be a pacifist. There have been plenty throughout history. While I don’t believe that being a Christian equals being a pacifist, they’re certainly compatible.

Anarchy means a number of things, of course. I’m going to assume that you mean that you reject human government, preferring to live by the teachings and example of Jesus. That sounds good. Unfortunately, there are two drawbacks to this kind of anarchy:

  1. It’s purely theoretical. There has never been a long-lasting society without human leadership, including the 1st-century church. It’s a pleasing idea, but it simply doesn’t work. Therefore – in one sense – you can’t be a Christian and an anarchist, because you can’t sustain anarchy.
  2. Romans 13. There’s absolutely no wiggle room in Romans 13 for those who wish to engage in anarchy, civil disobedience, or to just ignore the laws of their country. Here are a few verses from Romans 13:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

I completely understand the desire to ‘opt out’ of certain parts of society. At the same time, the truth is inescapable: we’re to obey our government. Unless our government tries to force us to disobey God, we’re to follow the rules. As Peter said in Acts 5, we must obey God rather than man…but, as long as we can do both, we SHOULD do both. To disobey government simply because you don’t like it, or because you disagree with it, is to also disobey God.

There you go. Seems pretty straightforward. If you can think of a way for obedient Christians to get around Romans 13, let me know. I’m a patriotic American, but I don’t blindly support the USA or Israel. Many (if not most) of our leaders are corrupt, seeking not God’s will but their own. As with every other human system, America is destined to fail because humanity is at the center instead of God. Even the nation of Israel, when given the opportunity to let God be their king, asked for a human ruler so they could be like other nations. Take heart: God is still in control, even when things don’t feel like it. The battle is not ours, it’s God’s…we just follow orders. We don’t need to strategize about how to win, or how to minimize losses, or how to keep ourselves safe. God will do whatever needs to be done, and we simply need to be obedient. Walk in the Spirit, Tony. That’s all you need to do.


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40 responses to “Can I be a Christian and an Anarchist?”

  1. Jacob says:

    Interesting article. Romans 13 seems to be a common hangup for Christians in moving towards anarchism. But I believe there is “a way for obedient Christians to get around” Romans 13.” You have to look at the specific context of the passage. In the latter part of Romans 12 and the following verses in Romans 13 (remember the book was not originally written in its modern chapter/verse demarcation) the theme is non-resistance to evil. “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 HCSB)

    If we look at the passage in this light and in the light of Scripture as a whole, we see it as similar to another passage by Paul in the book of Ephesians. “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12 HCSB) With this sort of mindset, we understand that Christian Anarchism is not characterized by violent revolution against the State, but by the same humble submission to evil, which Christ displayed when He was brought before the Sanhedrin and Pilate.

    There are other passages in the Bible, which support the idea of Christian Anarchism. Possibly, the most evident is in 1 Samuel 8.

    “So all the elders of Israel gathered together and went to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not follow your example. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have.” When they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” Samuel considered their demand sinful, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord told him, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me,[a] since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning Me and worshiping other gods. Listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them.” (1 Samuel 8:4-9 HCSB)

    From this passage and others like it, Christian Anarchists glean support for their beliefs. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know, as I would love to discuss this some more.

    God Bless,
    Jacob

    • Tony says:

      Jacob:

      Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate seeing a bit of your perspective on this.

      At the same time, I can’t yet agree. Let’s start at the beginning of your comment. There’s no reason to “get around” Romans 13, or any other passage of Scripture. It either applies to a specific situation, or it doesn’t. Clearly, Romans 13 applies to believers. Paul wrote in v5 that it is necessary to submit to those in authority over you, because the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. Seeking to escape from the system God created for your good seems like an unwise thing to do.

      The word anarchy comes from the Greek anarchia. It’s a combination word…a means “not” or “without” and archae means “leader” or “authority”. Anarchy is about rejecting external authority in favor of self-rule. Consider the ronin…a samurai warrior without a master. This was never seen as wise or good. Christianity is a right relationship with God. Any right relationship with the Creator of the universe must include an acknowledgement that He is God and we are not.

      Submission is the proper response to a sovereign. Anarchy does not include the idea of submission. It is, specifically, a system that suggests no submission. Paul taught the Romans to submit to those in authority, but there’s more to it than that: we are to submit to the authority behind the authority, who is God. To be a “Christian anarchist”, you must borrow from a system that Christianity does not recognize. I don’t say this lightly. A Christian anarchist would have to say “I recognize no external authority but God…I’m an anarchist who believes in only one leader.” That’s not anarchy. It’s just theism.

      Romans 13 isn’t the only place where God instructs people to submit to human authorities. You might also consider Hebrews, Titus, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, Colossians, Hosea, 1 Thessalonians, Deuteronomy, Numbers…I could go on. Here’s a quote from Peter:

      Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17)

      Keep in mind that the early church was persecuted by the emperor. Our first allegiance is to God, but we are to submit to those God has put in authority over us as well. This has nothing to do with the humans involved and everything to do with God, and with how He wants us to live.

      So far, you’ve offered me nothing I can grab hold of that convinces me that Christians can be anarchists. I’m open-minded, but you’ll have to provide some solid evidence to convince me. You’re very welcome to give it another shot, or two.

      • Jacob says:

        Tony, thanks for getting back to me.

        I think I should clear up a few misconceptions about my comment. I only used the phrase “a way for obedient Christians to get around Romans 13”, because it was the phrasing used in the original article. I did not intend to convey the idea that we should try to manipulate the Biblical texts to conform to ideologies. Obviously, the Bible is the supreme Word of God and we should conform ourselves to it, not vice versa. I was merely relating my comment to the source of the discussion.

        I also did not bring up the etymology of the word “Anarchy”, but I am somewhat familiar with it. Granted, I understand it to have a slightly different origin: “Anarchy” coming from the Greek “a”, meaning “without or against”, and “archos” or “archon”, meaning “king or ruler”. Thus “Anarchy” merely means “without or against rulers”. An interesting note about the Greek word, “archos”: it has the same Greek root as the word used by Paul in Ephesians 6:12 where he tells us “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers (archas), against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (HCSB)

        In regards to your comment on Romans 13:4, I will say only that the Bible says that those in authority are only there for our good, it does in no way say that the position of authority itself is good. Please don’t take this as an affront, but I believe a universal application of the same ethics we teach small children (don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff) would demand the dissolution of the State.
        And don’t think I am in complete disagreement with you either. Indeed, as you said “Submission is the proper response to a sovereign.” I will only remind you of what Paul charged Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:13-16,
        “In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in His own time. [He is] the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, the only One who has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom none of mankind has seen or can see, to whom be honor and eternal might. Amen.” (HCSB)
        The Christian-Anarchist has no issue with submission. We submit ourselves to God. And we are commanded by Him to submit to the authorities, as it will be to our benefit, so that is what we do. We do not support the establishment of individuals over others, but God commanded us to submit, so we do.

        It’s interesting that you brought up 1 Peter 2. This is one of the instances in the Bible that we are told WHY we are to submit to the authorities. In the very passage, you quoted, we are told starting in verse 15: “For it is God’s will that you, by doing good, silence the ignorance of foolish people.” This sort of non-resistance to evil is a common theme among Christian-Anarchists. By not physically opposing those, who would oppress us, we put them to shame and glorify God. Our obedience makes those, who seek to harm us or otherwise act against us, look foolish. I believe this is the proper understanding of 1 Peter 2:11-17.

        And as Christians, our ONLY allegiance is to God. Remember the apostles’ response to the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:29, “But Peter and the apostles replied, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’” What you said that the Christian-Anarchist must say is nearly correct. But more accurately, we would say, “We recognize that God is the ultimate authority and we serve only Him. But He told us to listen to you, so we will.” And you’re right, this is just Christianity. As Christians, we are to be the best subjects, so that we may “live at peace with everyone”. (Romans 12:18b HCSB)

        I appreciate your willingness to keep an open mind about this and I hope you will continue to look into this topic some more. I am still a student of God’s Word and I certainly will not claim to possess a full understanding of it. But I would like to continue this discussion, if you believe we both may grow more steadfast in our faith through it. If you are still interested, here are two resources that are particularly helpful in this discussion.

        The first is the first episode of a podcast produced by a Christian-Anarchist. He presents his arguments calmly and logically, and he concludes each episode with support from the Bible.

        https://youtu.be/_MtjefmqwzQ?list=PL6sL0v6hbViAIAywdJu2n5srDa3f3eB8E

        The second is a collection of Biblical passages collected by Dr. Greg Boyd, another Christian-Anarchist and the senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church. He provides several selections from throughout the Bible as well as his interpretation of them.

        http://reknew.org/2008/01/the-bible-government-and-christian-anarchy/

        • Tony says:

          Jacob:

          Thanks for your thorough reply. I still can’t yet agree with you. The main issue seems to be one of definitions. While there is much truth in Boyd’s essay, I have a problem with his (and your) explanation of the word used in Scripture. The English word anarchy begins with a negation (an) and ends with a conjugated verb (archy). The Greek root is archo, which means ‘to be chief’ and ‘to lead’ and ‘to rule’. I see nothing in any Greek lexicon to suggest that this word should have Boyd’s qualifier – human authority – attached. While this might explain your position, it does not explain the biblical position.

          We should not, as Boyd points out, place our hope in human leaders. That does not mean that Christians are anarchists. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of examples where God put humans in charge, and expected others to follow their lead because they represented Him. Moses is a good example. He wasn’t a king, yet God put him in charge. The Israelites were accountable to him and to God, but God did not deal with them directly. In the New Testament, Jesus often described the Kingdom of God using the illustration of a ruler, or a leader, being put in charge of the master’s affairs while he was away. Clearly the parallels there suggest that followers of Jesus should recognize the authority of God’s representatives.

          Some atheists like to play with words for effect, saying that Christians are also atheists…disbelieving in every god but one. This kind of sophistry obscures the truth. In the same kind of way, redefining anarchy to be the recognition of only one ruler or leader is simply wordplay. The word means “no ruler” or “no leader”. I’m not suggesting that our allegiance should be to men, but that our allegiance to God must include His sovereign act of choosing men to rule over us.

          Listen: I’m not a big fan of governments. They’re chock full of people, and we all know how problematic that is. Christians should not have dual allegiances. Paul didn’t tell Onesimus to return to his master Philemon because he owed Philemon his allegiance…instead, Onesimus was to return and submit to Philemon as a way of submitting to God. This is our model. If you want to say “we’re redefining anarchy for our own purposes”, then I have no problem with the intent. My issues are 1) the confusion that comes from using a word that must be redefined every time you use it, and 2) the confusion that comes from using that redefined word in relation to Scripture.

          Do you see what I mean?

          • Michael says:

            What would you say about Siphrah and Puah?

          • Tony says:

            Michael:

            I appreciate your comment! Your question seems to actually be, “Would you say Siphrah and Puah were anarchists?”. Anarchists reject all authority on principle. The text doesn’t suggest that these two midwives rejected all of the Pharaoh’s authority on principle, but that they refused to obey the Pharaoh when he demanded they perform an immoral act. The answer is simply and – I would think – obvious: no.

            Would you agree?

            (The story of Siphrah and Puah is found in Exodus 1)

  2. Dereck Wagner says:

    Jesus is the real definition of anarchy….Should read Tolstoy or Jacques Ellul….

    • Tony says:

      Really, Dereck? I should take Tolstoy’s word (or anybody else’s) that Jesus was an anarchist? That’s pretty silly. How about we read the New Testament and see for ourselves…you know, right from the source documents? If you can show me where Jesus advocated the overthrow of Rome, I’ll be eternally grateful.

      • paul says:

        Tony, saying we should overthrow Rome is a stupid idea. Government requires your belief in it for it to continue (you in significant numbers). It simply dissolves when enough people take moral responsibility ‘to rule over one’s own spirit’. People do quite alright building roads and hospitals without the need for threatening violence if we don’t contribute. Rome was falling apart because the non-violent love shown be Christians showed it up for what it was – violent and immoral. We are by are in know means instructed to believe in Government. We ought not divide our faith. Between God and systems of Mammon. Constantine mixed pagan values with Christianity and made it the state religion (by threat of violence). That’s not Jesus. And it’s no surprise there has been some much violence done by professing Christians throughout history. Derek suggesting you read Jacques Ellul or Tolstoy doesn’t negate putting scripture first.

        • Tony says:

          Paul:

          First, I didn’t say we should overthrow Rome.

          Second, it might be helpful if you could point to any historical situation where a government dissolved because enough people took moral responsibility. If you can’t find any, what might that tell you about humanity?

          Third, I agree: too much government takes away the freedom of those over whom they rule. We built a lot of roads and schools and hospitals without being told to, and I believe we should be allowed to continue doing so.

          Fourth, we are instructed in the Bible – many times – as to our relationship with government. You either don’t know that (and so are ignorant of God’s expectations for you) or you choose to ignore it, and so pretend.

          Fifth, you’re taking “mammon” out of context.

          Sixth, you’re right: when Christianity and power mix, bad things usually happen to Christianity.

          Thanks for commenting. =)

  3. Mohammed Ali Singh says:

    Have you ever questioned the bible as to why Yahweh would want to honor a wicked and satanic government that does not honor you? That is what got Gods Son slain was a wicked manmade government that is faulty where they only live to please themselves and not God. Baruch Obama does not forgive and forget as the police who are malefactor and cowards only want violence and harassment of the innocent. They serve Satan. Our country North America would have been more Christian than what it is now if everyone was a anarchist environmentalist. Using Isaiah 29:21 as a excuse to criminalize compliments is showing disrespect hatred towards men who tell women your breasts and cleavage is beautiful. That is what the devils wanted the U.S. government to commit this sin against God and humans. North America would have been a better Christian country without its government.

    • Tony says:

      Mohammed:

      First, thanks for your comment. I’d like to discuss this more.

      Your first question is strange. You seem to suggest that the Bible’s statements about government are wrong. If you don’t believe that the Bible is God’s perspective on the matter, we need to stop talking about anarchy and start talking about the reliability of Scripture. If you do believe it’s God’s Word, how can you ignore it? It seems you prefer your opinion over what the Bible says. Have I misunderstood?

      You characterize some government (maybe America’s government) as wicked and satanic. I’m not going to disagree with you at the moment. What I will do is point to the government that was in power when the New Testament was written: the Roman Empire. Was it any less wicked or satanic? I wouldn’t think so…yet the New Testament tells us in a number of places, like Romans and 1 Peter, how to coexist with such governments:

      Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:16-17)

      Wait…can that be right? Is God saying (through Peter, who knew Jesus better than pretty much anybody) that Christians should honor a wicked and satanic emperor? Yes. I believe that’s what God was saying. Nero was certainly a wicked and satanic ruler, and God told the early church to honor him. I don’t believe it because I like it, but because I’m convinced that the Bible is God’s Word. If you would, please deal with the question at hand: do you trust the Bible to reliably convey God’s instructions to us?

  4. Joel says:

    Interesting thoughts.

    For clarity sake. Anarchism is the proposition of self-governance without temporal rulers.

    From there, let me address your statement bottom up. The reference to Romans 13 is questionable. This chapter of Romans has only recently been brought into this supposition of application toward the government of man. Historically, it has been understood as referring to church governance, the priesthood. There have been times that it has been presented as referring to the government of man, generally from the position of those priests who were attempting to leverage said government to promote their religious or moral interests.
    More particularly, I will point out three fundamental disagreements in the temporal to your proposal, namely:
    1. If rebellion against the authority of government is antagonistic there are a few historical figures I would like you to justify against the proposition – Dietrich Boenhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom, Christian martyrs in China, North Korea and the late Soviet Union. Boenhoeffer and ten Boom both actively resisted the government appointed by the Creator in Nazi, Europe. ten Boom was imprisoned in a concentration camp and Boenhoeffer was executed. Martrys in the later nations have been persecuted, jailed and put to death for open opposition to what you claim by Romans 13 are/were legitimate, Creator established rulers.

    2. As above, please justify the actions of the US founding fathers and the US War for Independence.

    3. The presence of those today, within the US, who openly oppose governmental law on such things as taxation, abortion, capital punishment, etc. from a moral/theological position rooted in Judeo-Christian position. I ask, are these people therefore in open rebellion against the Father or acting as salt and light and speaking truth into a sinful world and against the depravity of fallen man?

    4. Please justify Romans 13 against the prophecies of the Antichrist, the False Prophet, the Son of Perdition? If, being obedient unto death includes being obedient to the government of man by right of Romans 13, then would it be rebellion against Jehovah to not take the mark?

    As to your assertion that there has been no long standing period of time when man lived without being governed by other men, I will point you to three examples. The first, Ireland. Ireland was an anarchic state for nearly 1000 years. This is not anecdotal, it is confirmed history. Second, I will point you to the Hebrews following the Exodus and until the time of the kings. Two points here – 1. The Law was of the Creator and ministered by the patriarchs, judges and priests, 2 – When the Hebrews requested a king from Jehovah, they were only granted such as that was what they demanded and said request was initially denied by the Father. Thirdly, as to anarchic societies, I challenge you to look back into the histories of Abraham and before. There were governments but there were also ungoverned sojourners (Abraham is a good example, so is Lot till he chose to go into the city).

    As I will guess you have already surmised, I am one of those heathen believers that is also an anarchist. I base my political position on a few simple points:
    First, I find no merit in the argument that Romans 13 applies to any other government than the governance of the Church and that being made up of brethren who are submitted to our Jehovah, ergo, the governance of the Father.
    Second, Yeshua plainly did not submit to the religious leaders of the day nor place any reverence to the government of man beyond what was good and true, seeking to live at peace but holding the Law as supreme. This is demonstrated numerous times in the Gospels, examples being His outright rebuking of the Pharisees, scribes and priests, His plainly stating to render unto Caesar that which was Caesars (specifically, you trade in Caesar’s gold, you pay Caesar’s tax). His hostile and violent rebuke of the money changers in the Temple, an openly sanctioned policy of the priest’s “rightful government”.
    Second, I am admonished by Paul to remember that I am not a citizen of this world but a sojourner. If I am not a citizen this world, how can I be a citizen, ergo part, of any government of this world? As an ambassador, I am expected to conduct myself and my affairs in a way that justly represents my governor’s best interest and presents them in a becoming light but I am in no way subject to the moral or ethical codes or the social norms of the nation I find myself in. If the host nation’s codes happen to coincide with the Law of my home, then that is good. If they do not, I am not obliged to disobey my Father’s law in order to validate theirs. Nor am I obliged to submit to the law of my host nation in any way that would place me in rebellion or controversy to the Law of my home.
    Third and last. Yeshua plainly stated that no man can serve two masters. This is applicable in reference to government as well. I can serve my Father’s government or I can serve the government of man but not both. I choose my Father’s.
    One last point, and maybe I should have made this one earlier. Anarchy is not “chaos” anymore than democracy is. It is no more hedonism than dictatorship is. It is simply the belief that there is no man who can claim the right to rule over me, take of my labor without my consent or demand of my resources without my approval. My Creator is just that, my Creator. He, being the One who has molded, shaped and given me life has every right to expect my submission. Funny thing, he requests it and does not take it by force. With that being the case, how so would a man, being my equal, assume and propose that he has more rights than our Creator?
    I’m sorry, but I do very much disagree with your proposition that the two (faith and anarchy) are mutually exclusive and incompatible. I’m open to hearing contention. Cheers.

    • Tony says:

      Joel:

      >> For clarity sake. Anarchism is the proposition of self-governance without temporal rulers.

      When you can create any definition that pleases you, nobody can prove you wrong. The accepted definition of anarchy is the rejection of hierarchy. There’s nothing in the definition about temporal rulers. If you want to add that, you’ll need to use another word…like ‘spiritual anarchy’ or ‘Anarchy by Joel.’

      >> Historically, it has been understood as referring to church governance, the priesthood.

      Bologna. Come on, Joel…have you actually read the passage in question? Look at vv 6 and 7. The early church didn’t collect taxes and revenues from believers.

      >> there are a few historical figures

      Again, you base your arguments on a faulty premise. By saying “temporal rulers” you mean that you only acknowledge God as an authority over you. Just be honest about it. Romans 13 (and other passages like 1 Peter 2:17) tells believers that God has put men in authority over them. You’re free to dislike it, and you’re free to pretend otherwise, but neither will change the reality.

      • Grant says:

        Hi. I am first claiming no authority on these matters and I am in no way and expert on the word of God.
        I would like to first point out that you made no attempt to contradict Joel’s comments about how “no man can serve two masters”. But as a side note to this argument, how do we prove that a government ruler is he “who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong”? I know I’m starting to dabble into free will and “is everything chosen for us?” kinda stuff. Cause if we, as humanity are corrupt, and we choose a corrupt ruler who puts corrupt rules in place, can we still claim that they were chosen by God to lead and judge us?
        I do enjoy theology debates and how to interpret Gods word as it allows us to open our perspectives to hopefully better grasp the word of God in all of our insolence. For I believe that no man can grasp the whole meaning of Gods words, no man is correct because he believes himself correct, and that no man can prove that they can know Gods true will as that is a claim to be an intellectual equal to God. Thus I do encourage open mindedness. But please do not take this as me using Gods word for my own gains or as me attempting to nullify Gods word.

        • Tony says:

          Hey Grant:

          Thanks for weighing in. I didn’t contradict Joel’s point about two masters because I agree with Jesus that nobody can serve two masters. That does not mean, of course, that serving God means not submitting to someone else. Take Ephesians 5:21, for example: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Does submitting to one another mean that we’re serving two masters? Of course not. Joel referred to some principles found in 1 Peter 2…let me simply post some more from that passage:

          Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

          Clearly, God wants His children (that is, those who follow Jesus) to submit to more than just Himself. Those who claim to be both Christian and anarchist are simply fooling themselves, being either ignorant of or disobedient to what God has already told us to do. I’m not at all saying that every earthly authority is good, or that we should disobey God in an effort to obey men. That should be obvious. I’m simply offering God’s Word to those who think anarchy is a good, godly idea. It’s not.

          Our obedience to God in this area isn’t limited to only godly leaders, either. Nero was likely the Emperor of Rome when Peter wrote 1 Peter. Nobody in their right mind believes that Nero was in his right mind, yet Peter – taught by Jesus – wrote that Christians should submit to him. Nero, along with probably every other emperor, was corrupt…but God wanted His followers to submit anyway. That’s pretty much the opposite of anarchy.

          As for America, where we choose our leaders…that’s only a tiny bit more complicated. I can’t say that I understand how God guides the affairs of men, but it’s clear that He does. When one Roman emperor replaced another (something that happened around ten times in 100 years or so), God was there. I can’t imagine who many circumstances God had to arrange to get things exactly the way He wanted them, but – obviously – He did. In America, God simply has to do a bit more. I’m confident that He’s capable of managing America, even though more of us are involved in governmental affairs. Based on how the Bible describes God, I have no doubt that America hasn’t somehow evolved out of His control.

          I’ll say it again: anarchy and Christianity aren’t compatible. Those who say that they are misunderstand Christianity, or anarchy, or both. When confronted with the clear teaching of Scripture, Christians who claim to be anarchists should adjust to God’s Word. We should not pretend otherwise.

          Let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

  5. Kevin Craig says:

    I think we should go back to the top and look at Tony’s original question. He asked if a follower of Jesus can be an “anarchist” *AND* a pacifist. This seems to be to be an exact description of a Christian. Jesus told His disciples that “the kings of the gentiles” love to be “archists,” but Christians are NOT to be so (Mark 10:42-45). That doesn’t mean Christians assassinate archists, because Christians are also pacifists who do not “resist evil” (Matthew 5:39). Jesus said that when archists invade your land, and want to enslave you for a mile of labor, give them two miles of labor (Matthew 5:41). This does not mean that imperialist invasions are condoned by God. God will judge archists. Taxation is the moral equivalent of theft, but Jesus says “give to him who asks.” Isaiah 33:22 says that God is our King, our Lawgiver, and our Judge. That’s all three branches of government in the U.S. America would be a better place if, after we violated Romans 13 by killing Christians from Britain and abolishing government by Red Coats, we did not replace George III with George Washington. If we will beat our swords into plowshares, we could live safely under our own vine and fig tree. But if God “ordains” the Assyrians or the Romans to invade us and tax us and enslave us and taze us and lock us in cages and kill us, we submit as pacifists, but as anarchists we continue to deny that there is any legitimate Archist but Jesus. No King but Christ. The desire for an earthly, visible, physical king is the rejection of God as King (1 Samuel 8).

    • Tony says:

      Kevin:

      First, thanks for your comment.

      It’s both interesting and noteworthy that you have chosen to point to Jesus’ words, and then reinterpret them to say something different. Jesus most decidedly did NOT say that the kings of the gentiles love to be archists. He also, most decidedly, did NOT say that Christians are not to be archists. To suggest that He did is to recolor the text with your preferred beliefs, rather than derive your beliefs from the text. For Christians, this is very bad form. Of course, I hope I’m not being too harsh…perhaps you’ve done this in ignorance.

      Certainly we’re not concerned with the exact word, but with the intention…what Jesus meant when He spoke. Clearly, you’re inserting your own meaning into the text. The word Jesus used is katakyrieuō, which means “to bring under one’s power, to subject one’s self, to subdue, master” and “to hold in subjection, to be master of, exercise lordship over.” While someone sympathetic to anarchism would easily read Jesus’ words to mean that Christians should not be in a position of authority over anyone else, doing so means ignoring the rest of the Bible, and especially the New Testament.

      Why would I say that? First, because Jesus Himself was in a position of authority over all of His followers. His disciples exercised authority over the early church, as we see in places like Acts 15. The word katakyrieuō comes from kyrios, meaning Lord…something that Jesus was called over and over and over. There’s nothing sinister about being katakyrieuō. That’s simply someone in a position of authority. What the people in question did is what Jesus wanted His followers to avoid. The most commonly-used translation is “lording it over” someone. Jesus didn’t say to avoid being in a position of authority, but to avoid misusing that authority. Following Jesus’ example, Christian leaders are to be servants of all, which is the opposite of what many ‘earthly’ leaders do.

      Second, Paul both exercised authority over the early gentile churches, and taught people like Timothy and Titus to exercise authority over those in their care. As we see in Philemon, Paul could have exercised authority over Philemon in the matter of his slave Onesimus. He wrote in v8-9 …although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. Did you catch that? In Christ Paul could do that. He would not be disobeying Jesus by exercising authority over Philemon…but he preferred to take a softer approach.

      When you claim that Jesus said that Christians shouldn’t be archists, you’re simply wrong. It’s right there in the text. As Paul told the Romans in 13:3, those rulers (“archists,” as you call them) hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. God put the rulers in place (the opposite of anarchy) and Paul pointed out that they are there to oppose those who would do evil. There are plenty of bad rulers who either allow or perpetrate evil, but that does not mean they weren’t put in their position by God Himself, as that passage clearly says.

      I’m not a violent man, and I don’t advocate violence…but that doesn’t mean I’m free to pretend that the Bible is my plaything. You commit an egregious error when you insert your own words and meanings into the text of the Bible and teach people that it means something that it clearly does not. I have no doubt that you and I might agree on much, if not most, of what we read in Scripture. Because you’re clearly wrong about this, this is not one of those things.

      • Kevin Craig says:

        Mark 10:42 says, “Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.” The word “rulers” is the Greek word from which we ultimately derive the word “anarchist.” We could transliterate the phrase as “archists of the Gentiles.” “Archists” compel other people to serve them using the sword (armed force or threats of violence). “Archists” invade other countries and put people under “tribute” (taxation and forced labor). Verse 43: “But so shall it NOT be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your servant.” So followers of Jesus are NOT to be archists (AN-archists), but :servants.

        Paul was not an “archist.” He did not threaten Christians with the sword or with imprisonment or death or military occupation in order to extort wealth or service from them. No human being on earth today has God’s permission to be an archist. They will face God’s judgment (condemnation).

        But as pacifists, Christians are nevertheless not to resist evil, but to “be subject” to archists (limited by Acts 5:29).

        Isaiah 10 says that God put Assyria in place to invade Israel and crush the people like trash in the street. But then God condemned Assyria for doing exactly what God “ordained” the Assyrian army to do. God “ordains” archists as a matter of Providence, but not as a matter of moral approval. What archists do is a violation of basic Biblical commands (e.g., “Thou shalt not steal”).

        • Tony says:

          Kevin:

          As with your previous comment: you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts. First, “archist” is not a word, no matter how many times you repeat it. Second, the Bible should be read as it was written, not as you prefer it.

          1. You cite Mark 10:42…but you misquote Jesus. He did not say that Christians shouldn’t be in authority over anyone. He said that we should not lord our authority over anyone, or exercise our authority, but to follow His example and serve. Jesus – who, while God, was certainly a man – had authority but did not use it to be served, but to serve.
          2. You claim that those who rule (archo) compel with threats of violence. Jesus is an obvious example of One who does not. It’s true that some do, but not all. When you pretend that the word indicates one type of behavior, you misuse Scripture. The word carries no positive or negative connotations. We have plenty of other examples in Scripture: Peter, pharisees, the disciples at Pentecost, people in the crowd at Jesus’ crucifixion, the servant girl who prompted Peter’s denial of Jesus, Philip (while with the Ethiopian), Apollos, Tertullis, and more.
          3. God’s approval is not limited to those who do not rule. A cursory review of the Old Testament, with an eye toward kings and prophets and judges, should make that clear to you. God’s disapproval is reserved for those who disobey, and – because those who rule may rule as God intends – your entire theory about Christianity and anarchy is bologna.
          4. I find it interesting that you say that one who calls you an anarchist to demean you is “either a liar, or else a victim of educational malpractice, ignorantly repeating political slander.” Your logic is that they misuse the word. Well, your own misuse of Scripture to make your own point puts you in exactly the same category. Your claim that “an archist is someone who believes he has a right to impose his will on others by force” is bunk. Archist isn’t a word, and the concept you’re trying to convey is contrary to God’s Word.

          Quite simply, you are wrong. Having read your comments here, plus a bunch of stuff on your websites, it seems apparent that you consider this a pet project. If you’re really a Christian (as I assume you are), you should subject yourself to Scripture. Go back and study the passages in question. Look at the Greek and Hebrew to make sure you understand what the original texts said. Check on some commentaries, to see angles you may have missed. In the meantime, let me encourage you to just STOP. Your misuse of Scripture only creates confusion where none is needed, and where any may be harmful. When you’ve completed your study, you will be able to reliably explain the topic.

          I am more than willing to discuss the proper handling of Scripture, either via email or here in the comments. What I’m not willing to do is to publish your personal theories, which contradict Scripture, to give you a hearing. If you want to argue that your reading of a particular passage seems better than mine, have at it. If you want to continue to misuse Scripture, you have plenty of your own websites on which to do that. I wish you well, and hope that you take my criticism as from a brother, and not as from an enemy.

          • Kevin Craig says:

            Hello again Tony,

            I can see you’re very passionate about this subject, as am I. Discussing it is, as you say, a “pet project.” If I’m passionate about a subject, I respect passion on the opposing side more than I do indifference.

            But I don’t understand why you’re so passionate about saying my term “archist” is “not a word.” Is “anarchist” a “word?” But “anarchist” is just a combination of the Greek letter alpha (called the “alpha privative,” meaning “not” or “without”) + ARCHIST! So why is “not an archist” a word, but “archist” is not?? I don’t get it (your passion).

            The “archist” part of the word “anarchist” is derived from the Greek word in Mark 10:42, αρχειν, which is “archein” when transliterated into English. If you look the word up in a Greek lexicon, it’s under ἄρχω, which is transliterated into archō. Jesus said the kings of the Gentiles like to “archein.” Is “archein” a “word?” It means “to rule.” An “archist” is someone who wields political authority. There’s a Greek word ἄρχων, transliterated árchōn, which is a specific office or position of political authority, but the more general word “archist” nicely collects all the various offices or political positions so that we can discuss the general concept of wielding political authority. Jesus used the word árchōn in Matthew 20:25 (KJV, “prince”), but He also used the word βασιλεύς, “king,” in Luke 22:25. A “ruler” (“archein,” Mark 10:42), a “king,” and a “prince” are all “archists,” and the “an-archist” says all of them are behaving unethically by doing so.

            And I think that’s the real question we should be discussing, not whether “archist” is “a word.”

            The “archist” wields political authority, and most folks in our day agree that POLITICAL authority (in “the State”) is very different from ECCLESIASTICAL “authority,” or “leadership” in the “church.” Every Professor of Political Science in every university on planet earth will agree that POLITICAL authority begins with legalized extortion, that is, the power to say to someone, “Give me your money or I will hurt you,” and have nobody successfully challenge that act of extortion. In short, a monopoly of violence and theft.

            There is no verse in Scripture that any human being alive today can point to and say, “THERE, that verse right there gives me God’s permission to engage in extortion without moral condemnation from God.” When Jesus said to “render unto Caesar,” or to carry the provisions of a pagan soldier who has invaded Israel “two miles” (Matthew 5:41), He was not saying that Caesar had God’s moral approval to invade and conquer other nations and put them under tribute. Those military invasions and plunderings were sinful. They were violations of God’s Law. But those who were conquered were commanded in Scripture to “be subject” to their lawless, sinful conquerors, and leave vengeance to God (Romans 12:14-21). I describe that as “pacifism.” A consistent pacifist condemns all archism.

            It is a sin to levy a tax. It is a sin to be an “archist.” To this claim you have four responses:

            1. Jesus did not say that Christians shouldn’t be in authority over anyone. He said that we should not lord our authority over anyone, or exercise our authority, but to follow His example and serve. Jesus – who, while God, was certainly a man – had authority but did not use it to be served, but to serve.

            I don’t think Jesus ever wielded political authority while on earth. When some folks wanted Him to, He fled them (John 6:15). I don’t think it’s possible to “serve” someone while engaging in a military conquest of them and putting them under tribute, imprisoning and crucifying those who protest. That seems to be the best definition of “lording over.” But if you’re not taxing people then you’re not acting like “the kings of the gentiles,” which Jesus prohibits us from doing in Mark 10.

            2. You claim that those who rule (ARCHO) compel with threats of violence. Jesus is an obvious example of One who does not. It’s true that some do, but not all.

            Jesus threatened with violence, and carried through with His promises in AD 70, using the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem:

            Matt. 22:7: But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

            Luke 21:20: But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 22: These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

            Vengeance belongs to God, however, and what Rome did was sinful, and Rome was crushed to powder as predicted in Daniel 2.

            God may do it, but human beings must not, and Jesus said His followers must not.

            When you pretend that the word indicates one type of behavior, you misuse Scripture. The word carries no positive or negative connotations.

            You’re right. The word itself carries no positive or negative connotations. Some people say that this monopoly of violence is necessary, even good. Certainly Pharaoh, Caesar, and Hitler said it was good. But if someone is not threatening someone else with violence, then he does not have political authority. He is not archo-ing. He is not an archist. And I think the Bible says that the “kings of the gentiles” — from Pharaoh to Caesar — needed to repent, stop archo-ing, and let Jesus be their King.

            We have plenty of other examples in Scripture: Peter, pharisees, the disciples at Pentecost, people in the crowd at Jesus’ crucifixion, the servant girl who prompted Peter’s denial of Jesus, Philip (while with the Ethiopian), Apollos, Tertullis, and more.

            These are examples of people who engaged in military invasions and put people under tribute? These are people who levied taxes? These are people who wielded a sword? These are people who are described as archo-ing?

            3. God’s approval is not limited to those who do not rule. A cursory review of the Old Testament, with an eye toward kings and prophets and judges, should make that clear to you. God’s disapproval is reserved for those who disobey, and – because those who rule may rule as God intends – your entire theory about Christianity and anarchy is bologna.

            “Bologna” is not exactly a detailed, scholarly refutation. The desire for “kings” (“like the gentiles”) by Israel represented a sinful rejection of God as King, as I mentioned in a previous comment (1 Samuel 8). There is no verse in the Bible that gives any human being alive today moral permission from God to be a “king” over others, and engage in legalized extortion. Again, as I mentioned in a previous comment, God is our King, our Lawgiver, and our Judge (Isaiah 33:22), and the “three branches” of government in the U.S. are a usurpation of God’s Authority.

            What I get from the Old Testament is God telling us that human archists are a curse, and God is the only legitimate Archist, and if we trust in His government, we will be blessed. If we trust in human archists, we will be cursed.

            4. I find it interesting that you say that one who calls you an anarchist to demean you is “either a liar, or else a victim of educational malpractice, ignorantly repeating political slander.” Your logic is that they misuse the word. Well, your own misuse of Scripture to make your own point puts you in exactly the same category.

            We’ve all been brainwashed by archist (“public”) schools to believe that “anarchists” are dangerous because they are bomb-throwing assassins who deny private property and overthrow governments by force, when in fact it is “archists” who drop many times more bombs, confiscate or destroy many times more private property, and overthrow other governments. (I can’t think of a single government that’s actually been overthrown by a bunch of “anarchists.” Archists in Washington D.C. have overthrown many governments by force and violence.) A person who truly opposes archism opposes all these acts of violence. Those who are called “anarchists” by the mainstream media are wanna-be archists. Archists are the true and larger danger to humanity and to Christianity.

            Your claim that “an archist is someone who believes he has a right to impose his will on others by force” is bunk. Archist isn’t a word, and the concept you’re trying to convey is contrary to God’s Word.

            “Bunk” doesn’t convince me that every political scientist on earth is wrong. Political authority is a monopoly of violence. You are not exercising political authority unless you are violating the 8th commandment against theft, by threatening to violate the 6th commandment prohibiting violence. Archists violate these commandments. Desiring earthly, political archists is a rejection of God (1 Samuel 8). Acting like the kings of the Gentiles is contrary to the command of Christ.

            So to get back to the original question at the top of his page, yes, it is “possible for a Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ to be a pacifist and an anarchist, who simply rejects all forms of violence and all worldly systems of government and business.” Not just “possible,” it is mandatory.

          • Tony says:

            I can see you’re very passionate about this subject, as am I.

            Nope. I’m not passionate about anarchy, or archy, or archaism, or whatever. I’m passionate about making sure that people understand who God is, how He works, and what He might expect of us. To do that, we need to properly interpret the Bible. THAT is what I’m passionate about. The passion you’ve noticed isn’t about this topic, but the result of your misreading and misuse of Scripture.

            Is “anarchist” a “word?”

            Really, the fact that archist isn’t a word is pretty irrelevant. It’s not a word, but you keep pretending that it is. You seem to want it to be. The fact that your argument rests on repeating archist archist archist is a small, but not insignificant, red flag. What does the red flag signify? Your misreading and misuse of Scripture (see below).

            Jesus said the kings of the Gentiles like to “archein.”

            You’re wrong. That is not what Jesus said. He didn’t say that they like to archein. He said that they like to katakyrieuō. The word archo is “to rule” while katakyrieuō means the following: to bring under one’s power, to subject one’s self, to subdue, master – or – to hold in subjection, to be master of, exercise lordship over. Clearly, archo and katakyrieuō are not the same word. Here are Jesus’ words, transliterated from the (NASB) Greek:

            oida oti oi dokountes archein katakurieuousin autos
            You know that those recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them

            You keep using the word archein. Those are the rulers. There is no negative or positive connotation involved in the word. The word Jesus uses as a negative is katakurieuousin. To make it clear: your claim is that being a ruler is bad. Jesus’ statement is not that being a ruler is bad, but lording your authority over others is bad.

            In other words, you’re simply wrong. Your argument is that Christians should be anarchists…that is that we are to have no other ruler than God. You base this on a faulty premise, as I’ve pointed out above. As everybody knows, a faulty premise leads to a faulty conclusion. You’ve misread Jesus’ words. Whether intentionally or not, you’re spreading misinformation about Jesus’ words and about the nature of a Christian’s relationship to others. Yes, I’m very passionate about that.

            I doubt you’ll agree that your argument has been decimated, so let’s move on. I’ll deal with your whole comment so you won’t be able to suggest that I’m dodging you or any part of your argument. I’m not going to publish any more of your comments along this line, as I have no interest in allowing you to further confuse the issue on my website. Moving forward, I will only publish your comments if you address the text, rather than restating your opinions. You have our own websites, and you know a thing or two about messaging. I’m sure you understand.

            There’s a Greek word ἄρχων, transliterated árchōn, which is a specific office or position of political authority

            Again, you’re simply wrong. Look at the variety of references in the New Testament:

            • a synagogue official
            • the ruler of the demons
            • rulers of the Gentiles
            • a magistrate
            • a leader of the Pharisees
            • the rich young ruler
            • Nicodemus
            • the ruler of this world
            • Moses
            • Jesus

            Clearly, archon is not a specific office or position. You might make note of a few facts about those mentioned as rulers, Kevin. Moses, according to Acts 7, was sent by God to be a ruler. Why would God send someone like Moses to fill a role that He considers unethical? Obviously, you haven’t done your homework. You appear to have read just enough Greek to be dangerous, but not enough to correct your own mistakes. If you’re as serious about following Jesus as you are about convincing people to be anarchists, you should complete your study of this topic so you might undo some of the damage you’ve done. Those who presume to teach others will be held to a higher standard…and – I say this with respect, not derision – you are failing. You can, and should, do better.

            most folks…every professor…violence and theft

            Do some rulers misuse their authority? Of course. If they didn’t, Jesus wouldn’t have mentioned it. Does that mean being a ruler is bad? Of course not. Here’s a list of Old Testament judges, all of whom are designated as “rulers” in Hebrew: Joshua, Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli, Samuel. God set them up as judges. Some were righteous, others were not…but God would not set up HIS rulers if being a ruler is unethical. Further: if being a ruler is unethical, why would God only condemn rulers who disobeyed and were unjust, rather than failing to condemn them all?

            It is a sin to levy a tax.

            Again and again and again…you don’t know what you’re talking about! Look at Luke 3:12-13:

            Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

            Jesus didn’t tell them to stop sinning. He didn’t tell them to stop obeying the Romans. This is why it appears you’re more interested in your pet theory than in what Scripture actually says, Kevin. This is pretty basic stuff.

            It is a sin to be an “archist.”

            Then Jesus sins, because He is an archist. See Revelation 1:5.

            I don’t think Jesus ever wielded political authority…

            The word archon is not limited to political authority, regardless of how many times you pretend that it does. Just look.

            Jesus threatened with violence, and carried through with His promises in AD 70, using the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem

            Very good! Most people don’t know that. However: you’re contradicting yourself. First you say that archons necessarily use violence. Then you say that Jesus never wielded political authority. Then you say that Jesus used His authority to commit violence. Which is it?

            You’re right. The word itself carries no positive or negative connotations.

            Then why do you persist in pretending that being a ruler is necessarily unethical? You’re full of contradictions.

            I think the Bible says that the “kings of the gentiles” — from Pharaoh to Caesar — needed to repent, stop archo-ing, and let Jesus be their King.

            Nonsense. You’re just making things up. First, to show that Jesus was talking about this group of people, you need to find evidence in the text. Otherwise, you’re adding your opinions to Scripture. Second, you’re using “archo-ing” inconsistently, since you first say that it’s bad, then say it’s neither negative nor positive, then say it’s bad. Like everyone else, you need to double-check what you think against what the Bible says.

            These are examples of people who engaged in military invasions and put people under tribute? These are people who levied taxes? These are people who wielded a sword? These are people who are described as archo-ing?

            Again, and more agains. Stop pretending that archons are necessarily political rulers who use violence and levy taxes. That’s not how the Bible uses the word, so that’s not how you should use the word.

            “Bologna” is not exactly a detailed, scholarly refutation.

            Nice try, Kevin. It’s an apt description, and it’s supported with facts from the text. I’m not comparing your opinions with my opinions. I’m comparing our opinions with God’s own words.

            We’ve all been brainwashed

            Have we? You can’t back that up. Did you go to public school? If so, how did you free yourself from this brainwashing? It certainly wasn’t by studying Scripture.

            Archists are the true and larger danger to humanity and to Christianity.

            There is no danger to Christianity. Not even the gates of Hell will prevail against Jesus’ church. Anarchy is a political position, and there are no political solutions for spiritual problems.

            …yes, it is “possible for a Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ to be a pacifist and an anarchist, who simply rejects all forms of violence and all worldly systems of government and business.” Not just “possible,” it is mandatory.

            In sum: when you create your own definitions, you can make any point you wish. If you want to say that you’re espousing God’s point of view, you need to show it using Scripture. You’ve misread and misquoted and misused Scripture again and again and again. I don’t fault you for having an opinion, Kevin. I fault you for pretending that your opinion matches Scripture. It does not. If I redefine archon to mean left-handed zookeepers, I could make all kinds of outlandish arguments. You’ve made an outlandish argument. To be clear: I agree with some parts of your point of view. Many rulers, if not most, do lord it over those in their charge. Many rulers, if not most, are disobedient to God. Many do use violence. Many are thieves. I’m sure you and I would agree on much, much more than these things, and I’d love to sit with you and become friends.

            My ONLY problem with what you’ve written is that you pretend to echo the words of Jesus, when you do not. As I mentioned, I won’t publish another comment like your last one. I will welcome any discussion of the text, and the text alone. I wish you well.

          • Kevin Craig says:

            You say:

            You keep using the word archein. Those are the rulers. There is no negative or positive connotation involved in the word. The word Jesus uses as a negative is KATAKURIEUOUSIN. To make it clear: your claim is that being a ruler is bad. Jesus’ statement is not that being a ruler is bad, but lording your authority over others is bad.

            How do you get this out of the text of Mark 10:42 or the synoptic parallels? How is it that being a “ruler” is OK, but being a “lord” is not? How does the text say that if I engage in extortion as a “ruler” that’s OK, but if I engage in extortion as a “lord” that’s unethical?

            “Hello, I have militarily conquered your nation, and I am now your ruler. Pay me tribute or I will hurt you.” [OK, you say]

            “Hello, I have militarily conquered your nation, and I am now your lord. Pay me tribute or I will hurt you.” [Not OK, you say]

            I see no evidence that anyone living in Jesus’ day would see any ethical difference between a “prince” (Matt. 20), a “ruler” (Mark 10), and a “king” (Luke 22). They are all doing the thing that anarchists oppose as unethical — engaging in archism, that is, political authority, which is God’s right alone. Jesus says His followers are not to be like this.

            It’s like Hebrew “parallelism” — condemning the same thing with different expressions.

            Parallel key terms in the synoptics (Matt / Mark / Luke):

            Title 1 : Prince / Ruler / King
            Action 1: exercise dominion / exercise lordship / exercise lordship

            Title 2: “Great ones” [all three]
            Action 2: exercise authority [all three]

            Jesus is saying, if you were expecting Me to usher in a political Kingdom, with you sitting as vice-archists on My right hand, if you were expecting to be a “great” archist over others, think again. You are to be a servant, not a prince, ruler, king or great one. You are to serve others, not rule over others, nor exercise dominion, lordship or authority over others.

          • Tony says:

            Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate you trying to focus on the text.

            Neither the word ‘ruler’ nor the word ‘lord’ have any negative connotations attached to them in Scripture. A little homework goes a long way. The word translated as ‘lord’ is kyrios. It simply means someone with the power of deciding, as with someone in authority or the one who owns a thing. It was also an honorific, used to express respect. Biblically speaking, there’s nothing wrong with being either a ruler or a lord. You’re confusing being a lord with lording it over someone. The context of Mark 10:42 gives us clues to the meaning of the words used there. You’re attaching a negative meaning to the persons, rather than to the actions they take. Jesus contrasts their actions with the actions He wants His followers to take. He mentions ‘great men’ and then tells His disciples how to be great. If being megas (great men) was bad, Jesus wouldn’t tell them how to do it right…He would tell them not to do it at all.

            I write this for you, but more for the sake of others who will read our conversation: there are established rules for interpreting any written text, including the Bible. One of those rules is that a text should be understood by acknowledging the sense in which it was originally written. We should never add our own meaning to the text, but discover instead the meaning that’s already there. We all naturally understand the trouble that comes from taking a text out of its original context. This is the most basic of all interpretive rules, and you’re breaking it all over the place. You’re eisegeting when you should be exegeting.

            Your previous attempts at interpreting Scripture have been erratic, at best. You admit that the word ruler carries neither a positive nor negative connotation…yet you persist in saying that being a ruler is bad. You say that ‘rulers do bad things’ and so conclude that being a ruler is bad. A parallel may be helpful. Look at the word ‘husband.’

            A husband is simply ‘a man who is married.’ Yet: some husbands beat their wives. Some cheat on their wives. Some manage their finances poorly. Some husbands are cruel and petty and rude. However – and this should be obvious to all, including you – condemning all husbands is a mistake. Some husbands never hit their wife. Some are faithful, as they should be. Some are good stewards, and are not cruel or petty or rude. The word ‘husband’ carries no negative or positive connotation. We should not conclude that, because some husbands do bad things, being a husband is bad.

            This is what you’ve done with ‘ruler.’ You say that rulers (“archists,” as you call them) drop bombs on people. You say that rulers confiscate private property, and that they kill and steal and kidnap. It’s true that some rulers do bad things. One might even suggest that most rulers do bad things. That does not mean, of course, that all rulers should be considered murdering thieves any more than all husbands are abusive monsters.

            Those who claim to follow Jesus must actually follow Him. We should read His words carefully. We should avoid misrepresenting what He said and did. You’ve done this numerous times, Kevin. You insert our own meaning into the Scriptures. This is a serious problem. A quick look at the New Testament shows that we are to be very careful to mirror what Jesus said and did, and not to twist or change or interpret it. You might spend a few minutes in Titus 1, for example. Paul gives Titus very strongly-worded instructions to not put up with those in the Christian community who teach anything contrary to what was already handed down to them. I’m not talking about echoing what some human authority teaches, of course…I’m talking about what Jesus taught. This warning is echoed in the letters to Timothy, to the Galatians, to the Corinthians, and more.

            An example: you claim that Matthew 5:41 carries an indictment of rulers. That’s nonsense, as the context of Matthew 5:38-42 talks about not resisting evil people. Who are these evil people? The first example Jesus used is a person who would intentionally insult you in an attempt to humiliate you. The second is someone who sues you in court. The third is the only one who might possibly be considered a ruler: a soldier in the occupying army. Of course, other passages of Scripture show that soldiers are not rulers, but subject to them. What did Jesus say we are to do to them? We – His followers, that is – are not to resist them, but to love them and pray for them and even greet them. You say that this passage talks about ‘archists’ but – clearly – it does not.

            You’ve invested an immense amount of time and energy in promoting your own ideas and now you can’t see what’s right in front of you: that you are misusing Scripture for your own ends, rather than letting Scripture guide you. The plain and simple truth is that you are reinterpreting Scripture to mean what you want it to mean, rather than letting Scripture correct you. Let me recommend that you call a halt to expanding your anarchist efforts while you take some classes on biblical interpretation from a reputable school. You need to be better at handling the Word of Truth. I don’t say that in an effort to make myself look good, certainly…I welcome any and all efforts to correct me where I’m in error. I say that because you are clearly in error, and that I’m doing you a favor in pointing it out. If you’re able to return the favor, I would be in your debt. Both of us – and, indeed, every follower of Jesus – should submit ourselves to the text and not pretend that it means what we want it to mean.

            I have little interest in furthering this conversation online, Kevin. When you can show from the text that Mark 10:42 – as but one example – says what you think it says, I will publish another of your comments. Until then, I wish you well.

          • Kevin Craig says:

            Whom do you consider to be the most reliable living commentator on the Gospel of Mark?

          • Tony says:

            This seems like a silly question, Kevin. Do you consider any single person to be a final authority on any portion of Scripture? I certainly wouldn’t. That suggests that one person has, essentially, the final word on the matter. Each point must be taken on its own merit. Anyone (including you and I) can be right about a bunch of things and wrong about another, so appeals to authority are generally a bad idea. That’s why an appeal to authority is considered a logical fallacy, rather than great advice. If you find that a particular commentator makes a good case for a point of view, feel free to present it. Somewhere else, of course. I really couldn’t care less what John Calvin or Martin Luther or Augustine or John Piper thought about any specific verse. I may be informed by their point of view, but I don’t adopt a position on the basis of its origin. Besides: I’m not talking to them, I’m talking to you.

            YOU do your homework. YOU present your argument. YOU make your case. I’m not rejecting your argument because of you, Kevin. I’m rejecting your argument on its merit. Bringing in a third party doesn’t improve the situation, it simply shifts the burden from you (where it belongs) to someone else. Come on: you’ve spent a ton of time on this. You should have your argument nailed down by now. It should be airtight. The fact that it’s not indicates either that your argument is bad, or that you’ve never really been challenged to back it up.

            You claim that Christians should be anarchists…but you do so by using your own definition, not the commonly-accepted one. You make claims about Scripture that the texts themselves don’t make. You present poorly-formed arguments to make your point. Now you want to find some commentator that will tell me you’re right? No, Kevin. YOU show me that you’re right, if you’re able. If you’re unable to show me, from the text, that what you’ve said is accurate, it’s possible that your position needs to be revised. I know it’s hard to backtrack from a strongly-held position, but sometimes it’s necessary. Take your time. I’ll wait.

  6. Kevin Craig says:

    [Edited to remove nonsense, repetitive silly arguments and, hopefully, your desire to bang your head against this wall]

    You said I should enroll in a reputable seminary.

    I thought I’d ask you which commentator on the verse you thought was most reputable. You say that’s a silly question. That’s certainly not the answer I was expecting.

    Here’s the original question posed at the top of this page:

    I suspect…you had a lot of negative emotional baggage attached to the word “anarchist.”

    archist…

    when Jesus speaks about “the kings of the gentiles,” He is not speaking about “authority” exercised in a church, synagogue, or some voluntary association. He’s talking about “exercising lordship” [katakurieuo] over subjects in a “worldly system of government.”

    Is it POSSIBLE for a Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ to be a pacifist…, who simply rejects … all worldly systems of government

    • Tony says:

      Kevin:

      First, your comment was delayed because it went into my junk folder…it contained too many links.

      Second, I’ve told you multiple times that I won’t just publish whatever you write. You apparently either forgot, or decided to ignore me. I meant it. I will address a few points here, solely for the benefit of others. I’m convinced you’re not willing to fairly discuss the issue. I’ve given you plenty of space to convince me, and your arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny. You consistently pretend that words don’t have fixed definitions, you ignore the plain and simple reading of Scripture, and more. Your failure to engage on these issues are the reason I’ve truncated your comment from almost 3000 words to just a handful of ideas I think may be useful. Let me know via email if you have any questions. I doubt I’ll publish any subsequent comments.

      You said I should enroll in a reputable seminary.

      No, I didn’t.

      I thought I’d ask you which commentator on the verse you thought was most reputable. You say that’s a silly question. That’s certainly not the answer I was expecting.

      Anyone who relies on a single commentator is just asking for trouble. I understand that your time and resources may be limited, but you have the internet. The Bible tells us that a wise man has many counselors. That includes me and you, so I would never suggest that it’s a good idea to just pick one person and see what they think.

      Here’s the original question posed at the top of this page:

      As I point out, it’s possible to be a Christian and a pacifist. It’s not possible to be a Christian and an anarchist. Why? I’ll repeat myself: anarchy has a definition. When you look up the definition, it contradicts the clear instructions in the New Testament. You’re free to create new words to express yourself, but you’re not free to use my website to convince people that anarchy means something that it does not.

      I suspect…you had a lot of negative emotional baggage attached to the word “anarchist.”

      LOL. You’re very presumptive. You’re also not very good at reading, as I’ve addressed this.

      archist…blah blah blah

      when Jesus speaks about “the kings of the gentiles,” He is not speaking about “authority” exercised in a church, synagogue, or some voluntary association. He’s talking about “exercising lordship” [katakurieuo] over subjects in a “worldly system of government.”

      Yes. You seem to think that’s a problem. I do not, because the New Testament clearly tells followers of Jesus that no authority exists that God did not put in place, and that we should do things like ‘submit to civil authorities’ and ‘honor the Emperor.’ That’s not to say that those authorities are godly, but that godly people will obey God’s instructions about dealing with them. You seem to be comfortable ignoring those instructions in favor of your pet theory, but I’m not going to ignore the Bible like that.

      Is it POSSIBLE for a Christian to be…who simply rejects…all worldly systems of government

      Again and again and again: this is ridiculous. By that I mean that it’s worthy of ridicule. Anarchy does not mean rejecting only worldly systems of government. It means rejecting ALL forms. You can pretend that it means what you prefer, but you’re simply wrong.

  7. Mihail says:

    I found this discussion while researching the relationship between Christianity and anarchy, because a friend stated that they are, and that anarcho-Christianity is a thing. Our discussion went very similarly to the conversation here. Anarchists tend to be absolutely committed to their philosophy, and I have found that their study of the Word (in cases I have witnessed, I don’t claim to know all anarchists) is usually limited to cherry picking the parts of the Bible that appear to justify anarchy. I have also experienced the flexibility with which they define words and ideas in order to make them fit. I hope that they can realize that to truly experience God, they must recognize Him as the supreme being to whom we must align instead of judging God by the yardstick of their beliefs. I have sadly concluded that anarchy and its proponents not only hold views incompatible with Christianity, they seem to believe that Christianity should be modified and redefined so as to fit into the idea of Anarchy.

  8. mgiaag says:

    Friends,
    I came to this site because someone close to me is being drawn to anarchy. In an effort to understand the mindset and its outcomes, I am researching primary sources. I do not attempt to sway non-believers with Christian doctrine. But to a Christian, here are my conclusions:

    God is not a God of confusion. The bottom line is this: A Christian believes in and comes under the authority of a king, Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, you are not an anarchist. Anarchy is rooted in self-rule. Christianity is rooted in submission to Jesus Christ. The term Christian-anarchist is a contradiction in terms.

    Does a Christian’s life look like an anarchist’s or pacifist’s life? It can; a Christian’s life is service and community-centric, but it’s in submission and obedience to the authority of God, never to the authority of self.

    Discussions like this are good if they drive us to the Word for answers and conclusions. As Paul warns, we must be careful about fine-sounding arguments and let the Word we read, read us and convict us of the truth. If we obey scripture, which a Christian must, and hand our thoughts over to Christ, the Holy Spirit will bring us understanding in order that we will live in accordance God’s will. If we struggle on this or any topic, we should pray for revelation, especially in the midst of and after theological discussions.

    A word about God’s will. It is God’s will that we respect authority. It is not God’s will that we permit that authority to dethrone and replace Him in our life. I confess I have a distrust for authority; by our very nature, we are all corrupt. So, I approach authority with the armor of God and prayer for wisdom so that I both act in His will and that I might not be deceived. I live in a free country (today), so I don’t know what my response will be if I am ever forbidden by man to worship and live for Jesus Christ. But in preparation, I pray for guidance, strength, and courage so that in the end I can stand before Him and hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

    • Kevin Craig says:

      mgiaag,

      Everyone in this conversation who identifies as a Christian anarchist/pacifist views himself as being under the authority of Christ the King. What we oppose is human “archists” who seek to usurp the authority of God, and we seek to oppose them in a peaceful (“pacifist”) way rather than the way of violent revolution.

      Romans 12 and 13 are a unit on not resisting evil. “Bless those who persecute you” (Romans 12:14) does not mean that persecutors have God’s ethical approval. They need to repent. We are not to resist evil (Romans 12:19), but to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), even (turn the page) the most evil entity on the planet: The State (Romans 13:1ff). Paul refers to the Empire as “the Powers.” Everywhere that Greek word is used in the New Testament, it means “demonic.” Even the Romans believed that demons guided their Empire.

      The message of Romans 13 is “be subject to evil.” The message of Romans 13 is not “evil is good.”

      “Be subject” — pacifism
      “evil powers” – anarchism

      Yes, “all things work together for good” (Romans 13:4; 8:28), even evil things, like “principalities and powers” (Romans 8:38).

      But evil people have a moral obligation to repent of things that pacifists have a moral obligation to submit to.

      [Link removed]

      • Tony says:

        Kevin, or should I call you Dave?

        Words mean things. You’re free to believe whatever you want, but you’re not free to come to my website and pretend that the words you’re using mean whatever you want them to mean. Here are some definitions of anarchy:

        absence of government
        a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority
        a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
        absence or denial of any authority or established order
        absence of order
        a state of society without government or law
        political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control
        lack of obedience to an authority; insubordination
        confusion and disorder

        Christians are not to be anarchists. You can pretend otherwise, but it’s just pretending. The first step in any sincere communication is finding common ground. Without it, there can be no meaningful dialogue. Until we can agree on the meaning of words, you’re wasting your time here. Again, and again: make up new words, if you want, for new things. Misusing existing words with established definitions is a shortcut to confusion.

        By the way: I’ve removed the links to your website. You have a lot of nerve, misrepresenting this conversation on your website and then coming here to promote it.

        • Jordan Wade says:

          Anarchism is belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.

          Anarchism is a political philosophy and movement that rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. It calls for the abolition of the state which it holds to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful. It is usually described alongside libertarian Marxism as the libertarian wing (libertarian socialism) of the socialist movement and as having a historical association with anti-capitalism and socialism.

          Of all the political philosophies that have existed throughout history, anarchism is perhaps the most misunderstood. With general impressions ranging from the idea that Anarchy Is Chaos to scary images of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists from popular fiction, what most probably don’t realise is there’s actually a wealth of complex and multilayered ideas associated with anarchism that have had an impact on radical politics, the arts, and even mainstream culture.

          The definition of anarchism to most people means “belief the state is bad and shouldn’t exist.” However, while all anarchists are anti-statists, it is not the only or, in most cases, even the primary part of their ideology.

          Anarchism is the belief that rulership as a whole, not just the state, should not exist – as indicated in its Greek roots, an- [no] -arkhos [ruler] – and that people should instead organize their social relations and institutions though voluntary cooperation without hierarchies of power. So what characterises anarchism is not anti-statism so much as anti-authoritarianism.

          This means that most anarchists would not welcome a reduction in state power if it meant an increase of other kinds of authoritarianism as a result. For example, privatising a public health service may weaken the state, but increase the power of corporations, and thus anarchists would probably oppose doing so. Though generally speaking, they don’t support state or private management of things. Instead, anarchists push for voluntary, localised, and cooperative institutions organised from the bottom-up through decentralised networks and run via processes of participatory democracy and workplace self-management.

          Another way of thinking about anarchism is that it’s “democracy without the state” or “socialism when it occurs on a voluntary basis”. This tends to confuse many who

          associate the word democracy with representative government; and
          especially those who associate the word socialism with statism.
          In fact, the word democracy originally meant direct democracy, like in Ancient Greece. And the word socialism originally referred to a number of economic systems in which economic institutions were run by those who actually worked in them. It’s the earlier meanings of both words that anarchists use when talking about them. This also applies to their use of the word libertarian. Which, despite its modern Anglo-American use to mean laissez-faire capitalist, was actually first used by anarchist socialists to mean “anti-authoritarian”. A frequently used synonym for social anarchism is libertarian socialism.

          • Tony says:

            Welcome to GodWords, Jordan.

            I agree with much of what you’ve written. You point out that anarchy is the rejection of rulers, and that’s correct (of course). However: there’s nothing in the established definitions of anarchy to suggest any qualification… that is, to suggest that SOME form of rule is acceptable while others are not. It’s not something like ‘midarchy’ or ‘semiarchy.’ Anarchy is not about being ruled by benevolent beings (like God), and not about being ruled by voluntary association with other like-minded people.

            We can have no sincere and clear communication without agreeing on terms. The initial claim is that anarchy and Christianity are compatible. They’re not. The subsequent claim is that anarchy isn’t really anarchy, it’s the rejection of all rulers not named Jesus of Nazareth. That’s just silly. It’s two fallacies in one: moving the goalposts and no true Scotsman. Now you’re saying that anarchy – as you define it – is really just agreeing with people around you on how you will all live together. That’s group rule, not anarchy. Democracy isn’t anarchy. Socialism isn’t anarchy. Communism isn’t anarchy. Communitarianism isn’t anarchy. Monarchy isn’t anarchy.

            What is anarchy? LITERALLY, it’s “no rulers.” The word means ‘an absence of government.’

        • Kevin Craig says:

          You can call me “Dave” if you want to, but I haven’t the foggiest idea why you would want to. Not a clue.

          What word would you like us to use instead of “anarchism?” (“Us”
          being those who want the whole human race to obey the commandments of Jesus the King and want no human being to call himself a “king” and act like an “archist” over others [Mark 10:42-45].)

          • Tony says:

            I could call you Dave because it appears that the real meanings of words aren’t really that important to you. Anarchy means having no rulers or government. Per your previous comments, you put yourself under the rule of Jesus Christ… so, by the actual definition of anarchy, you’re not an anarchist. Some government is not at all the same as no government. If you want to pretend that anarchy means something other than its regular, established definition, then you probably won’t mind if I call you Dave.

            What word would I like you to use instead? How about simply “CHRISTIAN“? Is that not good enough, descriptive enough, and specific enough for you? Christians are citizens of God’s Kingdom, subject to His rule and reign, and are only sojourners here. That’s pretty radical, and not confusing at all. It worked for believers in the first-century, it works for believers around the world today, and it will work for you if you use it.

  9. Kevin Craig says:

    Tony,
    The problem with the word “CHRISTIAN” is that a fellow named “Tony,” whose question appears at the very top of this page, asked if he could be a Christian if he “rejects all forms of violence and all worldly systems of government.” You have pretty much been saying “NO” this whole time. So it seems to me that it would be good to have a word that describes someone who opposes violence (like theft, kidnapping, and murder) and therefore opposes “the State” (which steals [“taxation”], kidnaps [“incarceration”], and murders [in my lifetime, the U.S. federal government has killed, crippled, or made homeless tens of MILLIONS of innocent non-combatant civilians around the world]), and yet a person who still confesses Jesus as Christ/King, Judge, and Lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22).

    I can pretty much guarantee that “the government” will call such a person an “anarchist,” because he does not believe in the moral legitimacy of an institution which every political scientist in every university on planet earth will agree is a “monopoly of violence.”

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/state-monopoly-on-violence

    So I would say that a person who believes in the moral legitimacy of the government of Jesus Christ and denies the moral legitimacy of every earthly “government” is a “Christian anarchist.”

    But I’m happy to use ANY word you want to use, so we can begin to have a conversation about whether such a person who opposes violence and all earthly usurpers of Christ’s government — regardless of how we label such a person — is truly a Christian. That’s the question “Tony” posed at the top of this page.

    • Tony says:

      You’re equivocating, Kevin. Tony’s question is irreducibly complex. There’s an “and” in there that you seem to gloss over. He asked whether a Christian can be BOTH a pacifist AND an anarchist. Pacifists reject all forms of violence. Anarchists reject all systems of government. A complete response would include at least two parts: whether a Christian can be a pacifist, and whether a Christian can be an anarchist. I address both in my response:

      1. A Christian can legitimately be a pacifist, and
      2. A Christian cannot legitimately be an anarchist.

      Why do I say these things? Because:

      1. There is no command in the New Testament to engage in violence, so pacifists are not necessarily being disobedient by rejecting all forms of violence, and
      2. There are commands in the New Testament to accept and obey those placed in authority over you.

      Seems pretty simple. A third, corollary response might address whether anyone, Christian or not, can be both a pacifist and an anarchist. In theory, perhaps. In practice, the two go together like rhinos and roller skates because human nature is fundamentally flawed.

      I assume you have no problem with #1. You clearly have a problem with #2. That’s between you and God and the New Testament. You’ve spent a LOT of time quibbling about words like anarchy and “archism” and very little time explaining why the commands in the New Testament allow for anarchy. You’ve spent a TON of time actually lying about what the Bible says – or, giving you the benefit of the doubt, displaying your towering ignorance about what the Bible says. For example, you claim that Jesus told His followers to not be “archists.” You say that we who follow Jesus should reject all human authority because they’re “archists.” You’ve misquoted Jesus again and again, and stuck to your guns when it was pointed out.

      If you’re actually a Christian, then act like it: deal with the text. Don’t dance around it. Don’t twist it. Address it head-on. Don’t prefer your own ideas to the Bible’s ideas… let your own ideas be shaped and corrected by God’s. If you’re going to make a claim about the Bible, be prepared to back it up. I’m a very, very patient man, Kevin… but I tire of hearing from you because we’ve made no progress in almost two years. You’ve also written about this discussion elsewhere, misrepresenting it (and me) in the process of trying to show that your pet theory is somehow the key to Christian living. It’s not.

      I’ll make you a deal. If you’re willing to re-read this article and conversation and deal with the Scriptures involved, I’ll continue to publish and respond to your comments. If you persist in ignoring the Scriptures that address the questions of human authority, I will persist in ignoring your comments. Deal?

      Deal, whether you like it or not. I have no interest in mutual flagellation. I want progress. Make a better argument or take it elsewhere.

      • Kevin Craig says:

        [Editor’s Note: per the instructions in my last reply, parts of this comment will not be published.]

        If I have misrepresented you, please copy and paste the sentence and tell me how I should re-state it.

        • Tony says:

          In case you missed it, Kevin, here it is again:

          I’ll make you a deal. If you’re willing to re-read this article and conversation and deal with the Scriptures involved, I’ll continue to publish and respond to your comments. If you persist in ignoring the Scriptures that address the questions of human authority, I will persist in ignoring your comments. Deal?

          Deal, whether you like it or not. I have no interest in mutual flagellation. I want progress. Make a better argument or take it elsewhere.

          “If I have misrepresented you, please copy and paste the sentence and tell me how I should re-state it.”

          The entire first part of your article misrepresented our conversation. It’s not my job to make sure you’re intellectually honest. If your conscience doesn’t bother you, feel free to pretend that you’ve done nothing questionable. If you wonder whether you’ve been honest and fair, feel free to amend your article after thoughtfully reflecting on what you read here. I thought about writing a rebuttal a while ago, but decided not to bother. I’m not that concerned about your opinion of me, or the opinions of your readers. They can come here and see for themselves, or they can remain misinformed. Either way, I wish you well. As for future interactions here, ‘the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.’

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