Douglas Harink on “Messianic Anarchy”

A provocative quote from Douglas Harink for Canada Day from his insightful discussion of Romans 13 in his recent book Resurrecting Justice:

“What do messianics owe political authorities and institutions?  Not obedience.  Not loyalty.  Not flag-waving, anthem-singing devotion.  Not military service.  Not participation in their ministries of punishment and death.  But also, not violent resistance or revolution (Rom. 13:2).  Messianics are neither for nor against worldly political authority.  In this sense, they might truly be called anarchists, because for them justice and life do not depend on the “archys” – the ruling powers of this age.  Nothing truly messianic hinges on whether the ruling powers are for or against them.  Messianics are conscientious unbelievers in worldly politics (syneidesin = “conscience” in Rom. 13:5).  They practice holy, peaceable anarchy because they refuse to believe in and dedicate their bodies and souls to the political systems of this age.”1

  1. Douglas Harink, Resurrecting Justice: Reading Romans for the Life of the World (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 200), 184.

2 thoughts on “Douglas Harink on “Messianic Anarchy””

  1. Hello Robert, Happy Canada Day! Considing this quote I would highly recommend reading “Unbelief and Revolution” by Groen van Prinsterer translated by Harry van Dyke, if you haven’t yet.

    1. Hi Rob. Thanks for the recommendation. I’m not familiar with that work, I’ll have to look it up. A recent attempt at developing a political theology in the Reformed tradition that I’ve found quite helpful on many fronts is James K.A. Smith’s “Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology.”

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