movement, movement

Ellul, From The Subversion Of Christianity

Posted in christianity, culture, philosophy, quotes, religion by amoslanka on October 21, 2008

If we grant that what the New Testament means by Christianity and being a Christian merely conforms to human ideas and pleases and flatters us as though it were all our own invention and teaching springing up from within ourselves, then there is no problem. There is, however, a ‘but,’ a difficulty, for what the New Testament really means by being a Christian is the very opposite of what is natural to us. It is thus a scandal. We have either to revolt against it or at all costs to find cunning ways of avoiding the problem, such as by the trickery of calling Christianity what is in fact its exact antithesis, and then giving thanks to God for the great favor of being Christians. As Kierkegaard says, nothing displeases or revolts us more than New Testament Christianity when it is properly proclaimed. It can neither win millions of Christians nor bring revenues and earthly profits. Confusion results. If people are to agree, what is proclaimed to them them must be to their taste and must seduce them. Here is the difficulty: it is not at all that of showing that official Christianity is not the Christianity of the New Testament, but that of showing that New Testament Christianity and what it implies to be a Christian are profoundly disagreeable to us (”Instant,” p. 167). Never–no more today than in the year 30–can Christian revelation please us: in the depths of our hearts Christianity has always been a mortal enemy. History bears witness that in generation after generation there has been a highly respected social class (that of priests) whose task it is to make of Christianity the very opposite of what it really is (p. 240).

Jacques EllulThe Subversion Of Christianity



6 Responses

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  1. bmccoy said, on October 21, 2008 at 10:54 am


  2. yazz said, on October 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    once again: love kierkegaard.

  3. david said, on October 21, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    wow, so very technical and intelligent sounding, I can hardly process it all. I tend to lean toward the master’s summary…

    Matthew 22:36-39

    “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’…

  4. Brittany said, on October 22, 2008 at 7:55 am

    I went through a Keierkegaard stage- I think I spent one whole Chicago winter holed up, reading his stuff, feeling quite existential. Things that resonated: The notion that an infinite God transforms into a finite Jesus has always been paradoxal to me, and possiblya threat to the reasonable part of the mind. Also, abandoning reason for faith is a hard pill to swallow.
    If Christianity was stripped bare, boiled down to it’s most basic and true parts what would it look like?

  5. chris (subversive church) said, on October 23, 2008 at 3:23 am

    I like where you are going with this!!! We always seem to be on the same page, often traveling at the same pace! It’s very exciting to me. One thing that Mike and I realized in our discussion, is that Jesus fulfilled the law, but not necessarily the laws of Moses (as all 630+ Jewish laws are called). He fulfilled the only two real laws there are “Love your God and Love your neighbor”. As you adhere to those laws, everything stems from that. Christianity today has made a system of authority with a rule to live by or be judged. Authority decides what the law is. If we live by the two interconnected laws that Jesus lived by, we restrict our selves by guaging everything we do against our love for God and love for others. It becomes both personal and communal, but not authoritative. Keep doing what you’re doing man!

  6. Dion said, on November 3, 2008 at 1:50 am

    In a world straightjacketed by morality, the radical anti-morality of Christ is bound to offend everyone; love doesn’t wear the uniform of judgement.

    The only hope for the West is too realize who the real enemy is;
    my hatred of Christ is the regrettable but necessary dawn of a more honest, and therefore more hopeful, appraisal of him.

    Who in our world can endure the shattering of hierarchy initiated by unconditional love??

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