Gregory A. Boyd (born June 2, 1957) is an American theologian, pastor, and author. Boyd is Senior Pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and President of Reknew.org. He is one of the leading spokesmen in the growing Neo-Anabaptism movement, which is based in the tradition of Anabaptism and advocates Christian pacifism and a non-violent understanding of God.
Boyd's Princeton dissertation (published as Trinity and Process) was a critique of the process theology of Charles Hartshorne. Here, he attempts to construct a philosophical theology that retains the positive features of a process worldview, while avoiding its unorthodox implications. Boyd is also a former Oneness Pentecostal, and wrote the book Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity (1992), critiquing the movement's anti-trinitarian view of God and other doctrines.
Boyd is also known as one of the leading supporters of open theism, which he explores in the book God of the Possible (2000). In essence, open theism is the view that the future is partly open, and therefore known to God partly as a realm of possibilities. Proponents of the conservative or traditional view of God within the Baptist General Conference, such as John Piper, tried unsuccessfully to have the rules of the denomination changed to exclude Boyd and other open theists.
He is widely known for his award-winning book Letters from a Skeptic (1994). This book is a collection of letters written by Boyd and his father Edward, who was an atheist at the time. Through the course of their correspondence, Boyd addressed many of the perennial intellectual challenges to the Christian faith, which led to his father's conversion.
Boyd was featured in a front-page New York Times profile in July 2006, after losing 20% of his congregation because he refused to lend his public support to conservative political causes and directly challenged the highly politicized nature of American evangelical Christianity. In his view, the Kingdom of God always looks like Jesus Christ. Jesus did not seek to maintain control or power over others, but instead sought to self-sacrificially serve and love them. Therefore, according to Boyd, the gospel cannot be associated with any particular political or nationalistic ideology. The congregational loss stemmed from his 2004 sermon series called "The Cross and the Sword." As a result of the sermon series he authored the book The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church (2006), in which he argues that a commitment to non-violence and to loving one's enemies lies at the heart of the teachings of Jesus. Boyd further discussed these views in the CNN documentary God's Warriors, which aired in August 2007. In a more recent book, The Myth of a Christian Religion: Losing Your Religion for the Beauty of a Revolution (2009), he presents his understanding of what the Kingdom of God is.
In 2012, Woodland Hills Church began exploring Anabaptism and the possibility of affiliating with Mennonite Church USA and the Brethren in Christ. Boyd stated that "we've really been kind of growing in this direction since the church started, without knowing what Anabaptism was." During the exploration, leadership asked the congregation to read Stuart Murray's The Naked Anabaptist, and the church has met with Anabaptist groups.
Boyd in 2017
He is also a notable figure in New Testament scholarship and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. He is critical of liberal scholarship as typified by the Jesus Seminar as well as the individual work of scholars like John Dominic Crossan and Burton Mack. He has participated in numerous public debates, most notably with friend Robert M. Price and Dan Barker on the historicity of the New Testament and related matters. His first book in this area was Cynic Sage or Son of God? (1995). More recently, his book (co-authored with Paul Rhodes Eddy), The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (2007) won the 2008 Christianity Today Book of the Year Award (Biblical Studies category).
Boyd has argued that if we assume that the Christian God isn't absolutely all-powerful, then it becomes logical that he is all-good. In his book God at War, he elaborates on this God. Boyd contends that God is at war and sometimes he fails which explains outcomes that are calamitous for humans.
Boyd is known for his academic work on the topics of Satan, the problem of evil, spiritual warfare, and the demonic. He is authoring a series of books, titled Satan and Evil (produced by InterVarsity Press), two volumes of which have already been published: God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict (1997) and Satan and the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy (2001). In between numerous other projects, he has been at work on the next installment of this series, tentatively titled The Myth of the Blueprint, which is now planned as a two-volume work with roughly 1,000 pages to each volume. Boyd is also a contributor to the 2012 book Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views (eds. J. Beilby and P. R. Eddy, Baker Academic). Related to this, Boyd supports the Christus Victor model of the atonement.