Stephen Mcalpine: Riotism: A Movement for the post-Christian West




  1. A subversive church community defined by a singular and holy commitment to Jesus and the faith once for all delivered to the saints as revealed by God through his Holy Word.                                                                                                                           
  2. An exuberant church community defined by a joyful and outwardly-focussed desire to share the gospel of the kingdom in word and deed with those who are lost, dying, hurting and rebellious.

Example of Riotism: These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also….and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus. (Acts17:6)


The western church of the early-mid twenty-first century will be a movement committed to what I call Riotism. It will have to be, or it risks not being a church at all.

Riotism is defined by a traditional understanding of salvation and the Bible, and a shameless assent to the credal statements of the early Church. It is defined by a firm, and courageous rejection of the new morality espoused by the world; a new morality, sadly,  being chased helter-skelter down the street by post-evangelical Christians in a vain attempt to prove just how right-on they are.

So what do I mean by Riotism? Is it worth another neologism in times such as this, when everyone is trying to find something new to say? Here are some thoughts:

Riotism: not Pietism

Riotism is no keep-it-to-yourself club that bunkers down, tips its lid to the world and tries to avoid trouble.  It is no “search within” Christianity that is content to let the world go to hell in a handcart, whilst sitting around the parlour fire reading Pilgrim’s Progress.

Riotism understands full well that wherever Jesus is proclaimed as Lord, the Caesar-du-jour is being challenged.  Riotism, whilst not going out of its way to placard and shout, establishes an alternate community within the wider community whose practices and values are not only strange to that wider community, but hostile in their very implications.  Not hostile in manner or approach, but by the fact they challenge every other Lordship, and refuse to be co-opted to Caesar’s cause.  Riotism should be misunderstood, mistrusted, misinterpreted, mistakenly attributed for evil, and missed  like crazy should it up stakes and leave the neighbourhood.

Read the rest here: Riotism: A Movement for the post-Christian West.

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