I just finished a great book. Christi-anarchy, by Dave Andrews. It's the kind of book that makes me realize that most of the stuff I wanted to say has already been said, just with a great deal more clarity and depth of thought. If I could post the whole book up, I would, but seeing as that would take too long, I will just quote as much as I can while trying to avoid violation of copyright laws (I can quote 10% or something can't I??). Just buy the book.
He starts out without a historical snapshot of the incredible evil that has been perpetuated in the name of Christ. He revisits the idea that in the evolution of the Church from Christ to Constantine, already the church as an institution has become contrary to the teachings of Christ:
According to A.N. Wilson, the Nicene Creed, to which all Christians now subscribed on pain of banishment, notably 'contained not one jot of the ethical teachings that Jesus had once preached.' Not for the Emperor was a Jesus who called upon his followers to 'love your enemies... love them, not hate them... bless them, not curse them... turn the other cheek... take up your cross and follow me'; but the 'unthinkable, impossible, perfectly ridiculous ' imperial Christ 'riding a fiery white stallion... and shouting - "Heigh! Ho! Forward charge!"'
From that time onwards no one Christian territory has been safe from Christian tyranny imposed in the name of an imperial Christ. Jaques Ellul laments the fact that 'freedom finds little place in church history'... He says - as we have witnessed for ourselves - that 'whenever the church has been in a position of power, it has regarded freedom as the enemy'.
I have found myself increasingly coming to believe that when Christ says things like "those who Love me will obey my teaching" and "many will say Lord, Lord, but I will say 'I never knew you'", it means that what we look back on and call the Church may be completely different from what Christ sees as his Church throughout history. I have come across various groups in history who were very deliberate about living out the teachings of Christ, and most often they were labelled heretics by the "Christians" in power, as their lifestyles subverted the rulers' power. Andrews touches upon some of these groups and deals well with the power-laden use of the word "heretic".