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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ellul, J. (1986). The subversion of Christianity . Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans. 

How has it come about that the development of Christianity and the church ha given birth to a society, a civilisation, a culture that are completely opposite to what we read in the bible, to what is indisputably the text of the law, the prophets, Jesus and paul? 3

The difficulty is precisely that one cannot say: "certainly our practice is poor, but consider the beauty, purity, and truth of revelation" We have insisted on the unity of the two. We have to understand this. No recognisable revelation exists apart from the life and witness of those who bear it. The life of Christians is what gives testimony to God and to the meaning of this revelation. "see how they love one another" this is where the approach to the revealed god begins. 6 ff

We have to admit that there is an immeasurable distance between all that we read in the bible and the practice of the church and of Christians 7

The real essence of the subversion is indicated by the very term christianity, which gives to the matter the force of an 'ism' (christianisme) A word ending in 'ism' denotes an ideological or doctrinal trend deriving from a philosophy. 10

Christian practice has constantly been a subversion of the truth in Christ ... Beware over simplified solutions 11

In fabricating Christianity , therefore , Christians have known what they were doing. They have freely chosen this course. They have voluntarily forsaken revelation and the lord. They have opted for new bondage. They have not aspired to the full gift of the holy spirit that would have enabled them to take the new way he opened up. They have made a different choice and left the holy spirit unemployed, idle, present only on sufferance. This is why the burning question is a purely human one: why have Christians taken this contrary course? What forces, mechanisms, stakes, strategies, or structures have induced this subversion? For human aggrandisement and nothing else. 13

But what has been the result? A christianity that is itself a religion. The best, it might be said, the peak of religious history. A religion classed as monotheistic. A religion marked by all the traits of religion, myths legends rites holy things beliefs clergy etc. A christinity that has fashioned a morality - and what a morality ! The most strict, the most moralistic, the most debilitating, the one that most reduces adherents to infants and renders them irresponsible , or, if I were to be malicious, I should say the one that makes of them imbeciles, who are sure of their salvation if they obey this morality, a morality that consists of chastity , absolute obedience sacrifice etc. A Christianity that has become totally conservative in every domain - political economic social - which nothing can budge or change. Political power that is good. Whatever challenges or criticises it, that is evil. 18

The origin of sin in the world is not knowledge, as is often said - it is the knowledge of good and evil 70

Christians - first take up political or moralistic positions and then toss in some theology to justify themselves ... In this way the content of the faith becomes an ideology. 90

The substitution of morality for revelation that for 2000 has been one of the aspects of the perversion of the will of god. 94

If we follow Jesus, it is not a matter of looking up to heaven but of being on earth and concretely living out the will of God that as done in Jesus Christ 106

Christianity has become a religion of conformity of integration into the social body. 133

Our God is a God of beginnings. There is in him no redundancy or circularity. Thus, if his church wants to be faithful to his revelation, it will be completely mobile, fluid, renascent, bubbling, creative, inventive, adventurous, and imaginative. It will never be perennial, and can never be organised or institutionalised. 157

We are possessed by something that uses what is already ours. 174

The bible refers to six evil powers - mammon, the prince of lies, Satan , the devil, and death .... All characterised by their functions money power deception accusation division an destruction. They are not a kind of reality of their own. They do not exist as people do with their infinite complexity , multiple applications, evolutions and diversities, relations and inner mystery. They work only on earth in reference to us. 176

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