The anarchism of the Gospel

BBC's adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace
The BBC's adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace
BBC’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace

Giles Fraser’s latest Guardian column on War and Peace is one of his finest yet.

It is a while since I read Tolstoy’s great epic, and I found myself uninspired by the first episode of the BBC’s adaptation of it, but I remember at the time thinking that there was great truth and wisdom in its pages.  Giles Fraser captures this magnificently, pointing out how Tolstoy’s practical, non-violent theology was a threat to both the church and the state.

Giles Fraser“War and Peace is an extended argument for that most foolish of moral wisdom: pacifism”



With some of my recent blogs and Facebook posts, trying to explore issues of social justice, non-violence and radical hospitality, and through friends around the world who are standing up for similar principles, I have become acutely aware that such a path is often seen as both foolish and threatening.

“Tolstoy reminds us that to be a Christian is to be a fool and a social outcast, that anyone who wishes to follow Christ has to be prepared to die as an enemy of the state, nailed to the cross. It’s a little bit more than a few verses of Shine, Jesus, Shine on a Sunday morning.”


I would really encourage you all to read Giles Fraser’s piece:

Tolstoy’s Christian anarchism was a war on both church and state