The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus

A new way to follow Jesus that draws on old ways of following Him

The Underground Church proposes that the faithful recapture the spirit of the early church with its emphasis on what Christians do rather than what they believe. Prominent progressive writer, speaker, and minister Robin Meyers proposes that the best way to recapture the spirit of the early Christian church is to recognize that Jesus-following was and must be again subversive in the best sense of the word because the gospel taken seriously turns the world upside down.

No matter how the church may organize itself or worship, the defining characteristic of church of the future will be its Jesus-inspired countercultural witness.

  • Debunks commonly held beliefs about the early church and offers a vision for the future rooted in the past
  • Proposes that the church of the future must leave doctrinal tribalism behind and seek a unity of mission instead
  • Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said,”Robin Meyers has spoken truth to power, and the church he loves will never be the same.”


[STARRED REVIEW] Meyers (Why the Christian Right Is Wrong) offers a number of subversive ideas in his latest, reminding readers that Jesus came to feed the hungry, wage nonviolence, and generally afflict the comfortable in his day. Today, the comfortable are seated in the pews of Christian churches, worshiping idols at twilight. Like many who use a traditional, prophetic voice, Meyers has a talent for putting theology on the ground and in the midst of life. Jesus really does mean for us to feed people, as he did: hospitality is a cardinal Christian virtue. So is nonviolence, but it’s so hard that most fail at a practice that demands discipline and sacrifice. Meyers calls for other practices running counter to the prevailing imperial culture, including low or no-interest moneylending and tithing, which may startle middle-class mainline Protestant churchgoers. Going back to basics is not a new idea, but Meyers writes with energy, intelligence, and conviction, adding to the choir calling for Christianity in a new key. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, December 21, 2011)


‘When was the last time you thought of going to church as dangerous? Once we challenged the status quo; now we mostly defend it. The Underground Church tells the story of how we forgot where we came from and why we must recover our subversive roots. Read it if you dare. Become part of the movement if you are daring.’ Archbishop Desmond Tutu –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review & Commentary

  • Wes Hopper

    We forget how fast Christianity departed from the teachings of Jesus. It started with Paul around 50 CE who said that he wanted to know nothing but Christ crucified. By 100 the discussion in the Greek world was almost exclusively about the theology of who or what Jesus was, and any substantial discussions of his teachings or life were non existent. The Ebionite Jewish followers of Jesus did their best but their evangelism, requiring circumcision, was a hard sell to gentiles. So if we’re to build a church today based on Jesus’ teachings, which is a very good idea, we’re starting from scratch. The only churches that make an attempt to do that, as far as I know, are the New Thought denominations of Unity and Religious Science (now Centers for Spiritual Living).
    It’s important to remember that any mainline Nicene Creed church is fraudulent at its core. Its core theology (Trinity) is just made up stuff, as any study of the history of the first 500 years of Christianity clearly reveals. And it will be hard to wean them from that comforting illusion.