The New “War” on Terror: 9/11 and Jesus’ Approach to Enemies of the State

This past week I was invited to speak at a youth event, which had servanthood and commissioning as its focus.  It was organized by three youth pastors that are all close friends of mine.  When they asked me to speak, they told me that I would be leading into a time of foot washing.  This spiritual act would be a symbol for the way in which we are called to serve others, and for high school students, specifically those on their campuses.

Often when I have a speaking engagement coming up (or any other project such as writing articles), an idea will often come to me when I am in the car.  On this particular drive, prior to reading the famous foot washing passage in John 13, I had this thought: I hope (and think I remember) something powerful from the story… Jesus washed all of the disciples feet, including Judas’! It was a moment where us preacher types think, “That’ll preach!”

Then I read the opening segment of the story:

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Did you catch that?  Not only did Jesus also wash Judas’ feet, but the storyteller (whom we presume is the Apostle John) frames the story with this fact in mind!  Not only so, but after a dialogue with a reluctant young Peter, the storyteller gives us another piece of inside information:

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

So, Jesus has Top Secret Intel about an enemy spy among them.  He knows that a traitor to the crown is present.  Jesus knows Judas will commit the ultimate act of treachery.  Yet, still he humbly serves him – Jesus washes Judas’ feet!

I think this piece of overlooked information reveals much about life of Jesus and the Kingdom of God.  The same Jesus who calls us to love our enemies also demonstrated service to his own enemy.  And then the Lord adds these words after all the feet are washed:

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

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Our call to model our lives after Jesus includes washing other peoples’ feet, including our enemies.  Most likely this won’t be literal in our day as this humble act was contextual in its application for people in the First Century.  Jesus invites us to serve others, especially our enemies.  It’s the “enemies” part that makes discipleship so difficult.

9/11’s tenth anniversary happens this coming Sunday.  Throughout our nation, churches will reflect on the thousands of lives lost in that horrific act of terrorism.  That needs to be named as what it is: evil.  But, if all we do is point our finger at “those terrorists,” “those enemies,” and praise our national military for killing a whole lot of them in the “war on terror,” then we will miss the point of Jesus’ model of enemy love.

Judas, by all measures of terrorism, could be classified as the worst traitor of all time.  Not in the measure of lives he led to unjust death, but in measure to the Kingdom he committed his act of terrorism against.  Judas as a “terrorist” led the King of Kings to his horrific execution!  Our King, our President, Jesus the Messiah, died because of the actions of Judas.  If anyone could be classified as a Terrorist, certainly Judas could!  And even though Jesus knew in advance that this pseudo-disciple would turn out to be a terrorist, Jesus lovingly chose to wash his feet.  He models how Christians are invited to approach enemies of the State – love and service.

In the past 10 years, Evangelicals’ reputation for militarism and killing has been at the forefront of public perception.  Leaders in our movement condemned the actions of the terrorists (rightfully so) and then called for violent retribution.  Jesus certainly was quick to “name” evil but NEVER gave permission to his followers to do anything but serve those who hate us.  Worldly militaries function one way, Jesus followers function differently.

Ten years from now, when we arrive at the twentieth anniversary of that horrific day, my hope is that the paradigm of foot washing will inform the rhetoric and actions of Christians in America.  We can promote bombs or we can promote basins of water.  We can promote retribution or we can promote reconciliation.  We can join up in support and participation in the Armies of this Dark Age, or we can join in a new kind of “war” on terror: counterintuitive service and love.

—-
Kurt Willems is an Anabaptist writer and pastor who is preparing for church planting next year by finishing work towards a Master of Divinity degree at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.  He writes at: the Pangea Blog and is also on Twitter and Facebook.



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About the Author

Kurt Willems

Kurt WillemsKurt Willems (M.Div., Fresno Pacific) is the founding pastor of Pangea Communities - a movement of peace, justice, & hope. The church plant, in partnership with the Brethren in Christ and Urban Expression, is based in Seattle, Wa. Kurt writes at The Pangea Blog and is also on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.View all posts by Kurt Willems →

  • Cheryl H.

    Jesus – the ultimate extremist at love.

  • Defthaiku

    Hi Kurt, thanks for your article. I love Jesus and desire his Way: The Prince of Peace, yet also Commander in Chief of the armies of angels to defeat Satan. But a recent question about non-violence came to mind related to 9/11. Is there any non-violent, loving way the people on United Flight 93 could have stopped the terrorists aboard their flight without punching, kicking, stabbing, killing, etc? I think they are heroes for preventing the many more deaths that could have occurred had that flight been allowed to continue on to DC. I love *trying* to resist human urges of hate and violence, but in this particular situation, it feels like the acuity of the situation required killing the terrorists (or at least die trying) to save many other lives. What do you think?

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      I don’t have time to say much, but I would admit that even for those holding to nonviolence, there are shades of gray.  I certainly am glad that the plane was redirected…  Yet, I also believe that the call of Jesus is to nonviolence.  Intervention and “force” / “restraint” are not violent (unless they become so by going too far).  Good question.

      • Benmanben

        How do you decide what “going to far” is? Do you believe that someone can love somebody while killing them? If not, why not? What do you think the word Love meant when Jesus used it? 
        Does a man have to be hateful while killing another man? Can he not love the man, but know it is for the best for others if he goes? Why could he not? 
        Please answer all of my questions.
        If you REALLY believe what you say, and have good reason to, then I believe you would be able to answer these questions entirely.

        • Tyler Wiggs

          Benjamin,

          I would like to begin by saying that I respect your opinion, and I value your contribution to the discussion.  Sadly, I feel that some of your posts may have been written out of anger based on several cues in your writing, including asking and then answering questions you posed before hearing a response as well as your emphatic questioning technique.  I absolutely see value in asking questions because Jesus often asked questions to get people to stop and think.  However, he did not do so in a way as to belittle others.  I would highly encourage you to take a break before posting because I know I have to sometimes so that I have time to think rationally rather than emotionally.  Perhaps, I have misinterpreted your tone, and if so, I do apologize.  Nevertheless, I think we can all benefit from taking extra time to gather our thoughts (again, you may already be doing this, so I apologize if I am making an unfair assumption).  

          I could be mistaken, but I did not detect the hint of moral relativism in Kurt’s answer.  I do not believe that he was saying that it is alright for someone to hit another depending on who it is or what the circumstances are.  Rather, he seems to be alluding to the tension that exists between maintaining a non-violent stance and dealing with an extreme situation.  The “shade of gray” involves where the line is drawn between restraint and violence.  I do not believe he is saying that there is not a right answer (truth) in the situation.  He seems to be suggesting that we may not have all of the information to know where the line should be drawn because we are not God.  We must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in those situations.  The mere inability to answer a particular question in and of itself is not a reason to believe that someone does not know the truth of the matter.  Life is full of questions that we will never be able to answer until we are with God in heaven.  

          I am curious about your position though.  I was wondering if you could explain a little more about how you believe that God cares about everyone’s life, yet killing others in war is justified.  Does this coincide with your belief that you can kill while still loving?  In other words, is killing in war justified by the fact that you are stopping a person from doing something that they should not be doing?  I ask because I am not sure that I fully understand what you were saying.  I would appreciate it if you could let me know more because I am sincerely interested in hearing how you view the situation because we seem to disagree.  I do not mean to jump the gun, but I was wondering if killing someone is justifiable when you are preventing them from doing evil, then does that mean one side is always right and the other side is always wrong?  How do we know which side is right when both sides believe that they are right?

          I am intrigued by the idea of loving someone while killing them.  I have never heard that before, but I would not want to dismiss the idea without hearing more about it.  Unfortunately, I have not read Mere Christianity, but I was wondering does C.S. Lewis specifically state that you can love someone while killing them, or does he say that you can love them by stopping them from doing something evil?  I ask because stopping someone could be the same as using restraint, whereas killing someone is much more serious.  The more serious implication I see in this situation is what happens to the person after you kill them.  Assuming that we are talking about mainstream Christian tradition, then a believer would go to heaven, while an unbeliever would be sent to hell.  How can one love a person by sending them to hell?  The alternative might be that you could spare their life, and perhaps, they would become a believer later on in life.  I think one of the greatest examples of this would be Paul.  One could argue that he was a terrorist of his day, but God worked in his life and turned him around completely.  What would have happened if he had been killed before his conversion?

          I hope that I have done your posts justice by reading them, considering them, and responding to them in a rational manner.  I think these are wonderful things to discuss, and I love the fact that we have the ability to openly share our viewpoints in a peaceful environment.  I pray that we will all benefit from seeing various perspectives rather than simply proclaiming our viewpoints and disregarding others.  If we could all find ways to peacefully work out our disagreements, then we would not even have to consider the use of violence.  Thank you for your time!

          • Benmanben

            I do NOT believe it is just to kill someone only to stop them from doing evil.
            I think it would be just to do so for a war, or to save the lives of others.
            As for, “how do we know which side is right” we cannot be certain. We HOPE and PRAY and try to always be on the right side. We cannot be perfect, no matter what it is we are doing, and as for war, we are not all-knowing but we still have hope to be on the right side. How do YOU know that by not taking a side you are not being too passive and allowing too much harm to come to others and the future? Is it really possible to not be on any side?

            As for not having to use violence, I’m sure the two of us will be peaceful with each other, but are ALL men really willing to talk things out like that?

      • Benmanben

        Do you believe there are “shades of grey in nonviolence”? What does that really MEAN? Is that moral relativism? How is it not? Does God not care about some people’s lives? I believe there ARE no “shades of grey” in nonviolence, I don’t believe in moral relativism,  I think God cares about everyone’s life, but I believe that some must be killed by war, and I believe that this can be done to God’s glory,(though I do not think it should be done hatefully.) Are you unable to answer the questions I have provided? If so, is this because you haven’t closely examined you beliefs? Couldn’t these ideas have a large affect on the future? And should beliefs for those ideas be this closely examined? If you are unable to answer all of these questions, why? Which, if any of them, can you not answer? And if there are any you cannot answer, WHY can’t you? Are you should you aren’t avoiding looking at the truth?

        -Benjamin

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          @e68b17c05ff90a05e4f8479e9abcb357:disqus … the way you wrote this feels rude.  If thats not the intention thats how it reads.  For my answers, read this series… http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/category/nonviolence-101-series/

          • Benmanben

            I wasn’t intending to be rude or polite.

            Right now I’m concerned with the fact that you seem to be preaching and what you say seems very wrong. I think I have pointed out why. I am not going to hide the truth regardless of how RUDE you might find it. Please tell me what you found rude about it.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            Feel free to read the series if you want my interpretive answers to the questions.  Also, the Anabaptists have been interpreting the bible this way for hundreds of years…  Not only so, but consider the beliefs of the early church and how they understood the bible right after the time of the apostles:

            “The professions and trades of those who are going to be
            accepted into the community must be examined.  The nature and type of
            each must be established… brothel, sculptors of idols, charioteer,
            athlete, gladiator… give it up or be rejected.  A military constable
            must be forbidden to kill, neither may he swear; if he is not willing to
            follow these instructions, he must be rejected.  A proconsul or
            magistrate who wears the purple and governs by the sword shall give it
            up or be rejected.  Anyone taking or already baptized who wants to
            become a soldier shall be sent away, for he ha despised God.”  —
            Hippolytus, 218 AD

            I do not wish to be a ruler.  I do not strive for
            wealth.  I refuse offices connected with military command.  I despise
            death.  — Tatian

            We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder, and
            everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have
            traded in our weapons of war.  We have exchanged our swords for
            plowshares, our spears for farm tools… now we cultivate the fear of God,
            justice, kindness, faith, and the expectation of the future given us
            through the crucified one… the more we are persecuted and martyred, the
            more do others in ever increasing numbers become believers.  – Justin,
            martyred in 165 AD

            “I recognize no empire of this present age.”  — Speratus, Acts of the Martyrs

          • Benmanben

            Why are the quotes you posted to mean anything to me, other than bad theology.

          • Benmanben

            Which of my questions does the site answer?

          • Benmanben

            Please just answer 2 of any of my questions at the beginning of my above post.

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  • Matt

    I promote the use of bombs. Bombs that will enact justice on those who have waged war, not only on America, Israel (which I believe as Christians we are to support…), or Europe, but on the free-thinking mind of man. I promote the use of bombs in order to defend the freedom, security, and interests of the United States and in order to provide hope and liberty for millions of people worldwide. The Bible is very clear that Christianity is an individual relationship with Jesus Christ, and that governments are ordained by God Almighty to be His ministers and to be the harbingers of justice….aka…the guys with the bombs.
    As a Christian, I love my enemies, but I do not apologize for or ignore evil. In the public realm, I celebrate when justice is done and I understand and acknowledge that governments have a purpose.
    I have a few questions. (1) As a believer in non-violent philosophy, do you also support the oppression of mankind? (2) How is man to free himself from oppression without force? Keep in mind that British polititicians loved Ghandi because he was non-violent, and therefore not a threat. (3) How is justice supposed to be carried out without violence?

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      @94e86a1aca008884674ff8fda1c554d1:disqus ,

      Questions… why should Christians support Israel without question?  Heres my response: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2011/07/07/god%E2%80%99s-chosen-people-and-god%E2%80%99s-chosen-politics/

      Also, How can you “love your enemy” and kill them at the same time? I don’t think you can.  On this issue, see my series “Nonviolence 101″: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/category/nonviolence-101-series/

      • Matt

        Kurt,
        I appreciate the response. I would like to ask though if you see a distinction between Christianity as it applies to the individual (love your enemy, turn the other cheek) and the role of the state in God’s plan. Romans Ch.13 v. 4 For government is God’s servent to you for good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servent, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. The passage beginning with Romans Ch. 12 v. 9 which ends with the verse often used to argue for non-violence (v. 21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good) is dealing with an individual’s role in Christianity.
        Furthermore, non-violent philosophy is in direct conflict with human nature as described by the Bible. Man is inherently evil and therefore inherently violent, selfish, etc. How is justice, not revenge, not selfish hatred, but justice to be carried out on earth (a Biblical role of the state) without violence.
        Jesus also tells his followers in Luke 22 to sell their robes and to buy a sword. As his time on earth was ending, he was telling his followers that they would be responsible for defending themselves. Defense would require violence. And that’s on an individual level too.
        Finally, I would like to ask you about a practical matter. Your freedom to write this blog and to publicly speak your viewpoints and to boldly proclaim the Word of God is possible due those who have in the past and still actively visit violence on those around the world. This viewpoint is not a right-wing, neocon, patriotic punditry. This is reality. Arguing for the the Christian world to embrace non-violence is the same thing as advocating for the oppression of mankind at the hands of those who completely hate Christianity. The enemies of humankind love the idea of people not fighting back. Freedom has never been gained without violence. Are you in favor of oppression?

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          @94e86a1aca008884674ff8fda1c554d1:disqus … if you read the series “Nonviolence 101″ at least 95% of your questions will be answered. You may not agree, but at least you will have an idea of where I am coming from.  I don’t have time to rewrite ideas I’ve expressed elsewhere so I hope you will read those.  Peace friend.  here’s that link again: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/category/nonviolence-101-series/

          • Benmanben

            I really don’t care where you’re coming from. I’ve seen enough of this site, and I have a feeling it comes from a place that highly disregards the importance of the Bible, only occasionally pulling out verses and giving strange interpretations of them!

        • Tyler Wiggs

          Matt,

          I can most certainly see where you are coming from with regards to this issue.  I have to admit that my reaction to “evil” and “injustice” is rather similar to yours.  When I feel that something is wrong, I often feel the urge to use violence to seek “justice.”  Ironically enough, when I hear people (especially Christians) advocate the use of violence, I become upset because Jesus preached non-violence and proclaimed that God blesses peacemakers.  At first glance, violence makes worldly sense because it prevents an immediate “evil” from continuing.  However, violence cannot kill an idea.  Violence can intimidate people so they act a certain way, but it will not change people’s hearts.  For instance, if a person you may have wronged would have responded with violence against you, you probably would not change the way you feel.  Instead, you would probably feel wronged by that person and seek your own justice, for everyone is right in his/her own eyes. Violence leads to more violence.

          Christ has called us to take a higher road.  In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”  The Civil Rights Movement stemmed from injustice, yet he maintained that the way to overcome oppression was through nonviolent resistance. 

          Furthermore, violence is not the only way to achieve justice.  The ideal reason police forces exist is to ensure that a neutral, third-party intercedes to prevent an escalation of violence.  Police are trained to use the least amount of force necessary to resolve a situation.  The American justice system is designed to achieve “justice” without cruel and unusual punishment.  As you have stated, the government has been given this ability by God, but in America’s system of government, the people have the ability to change the laws. Ultimately, the police and the military are held accountable by the people, so we cannot believe one thing while encouraging (or merely supporting) the government to act in a contradictory manner.  If a person believes that it is not just to shoot a non-threatening criminal, then he/she should not support the creation of a law that allows the police to do so. If a person believes that we are to love our neighbors and our enemies as ourselves, then he/she should not support the bombing of countries, which results in the killing of innocent lives. I know that this is an extremely simplified summary of a complex issue, but we have to remember that we have the ability to hold the government accountable. 

          In the wake of 9/11, a more appropriate response would be to track down the individuals who were responsible for the attacks and put them on trial.  Instead, our nation declared war on an idea (terrorism).  We will never be able to defeat terrorism.  We may be able to limit its prevalence through security measures and intimidation, but we cannot control people’s thoughts.  People on earth will always disagree, and some of them are likely to act out their feelings with violence.  While not everyone will see the light, God still calls us to LOVE others.

          God Bless!

          “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” – Billy Graham

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            Wonderful comment @google-735be4b66207db2757268738955ed235:disqus  and thanks for reading!

          • Matt

            Tyler,
            What in the world is non-violent resistance. Is that like marching in the streets and waving flags and stuff? When has that every led to justice? George Orwell writes that Ghandi was viewed by the British gov’t as almost an ally and that if the Japanese would have made it to India during WWII he would have been helpful to them too. Non-violence didn’t run the British out of India, the cost of empire post-WWII did. People make the claim that Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a non-violent revolution. Not true. 300,000 screaming people in Tahrir Square could not topple that dictator but it did serve as excellent cover to a military ousting of their frontman. No actual revolution occurred there. The only successful (maybe) revolution of the Arab Spring is in Libya. Do you suggest the rebels give Ghadafi power back?

            And as for the Civil Rights Movement, their movement had very little effect on actual southern laws. They did make a big public scene which led to northern influence on federal laws which began the change. Don’t get wrong here. There were thousands of very brave men and women who fought for justice and the rights they deserved. Heroes, every last one of them. The success of the Civil Rights Movement was long overdue. But non-violent resistance did not exactly lead directly to the movement’s success. And as for MLK Jr. I would not exactly use him as a reference of moral character. An objective and in depth examination of his life reveals some pretty messy details.

            Its true. Terrorism cannot be stopped. There will always be people who will kill innocents for their own selfish, twisted glory and power. Just look at Finland, OKC, the list goes on. The goal of the War on Terror and the Freedom Agenda, etc, was not to change how people think like you assert. The goal of the War is to give oppressed peoples the ability to choose their own paths. As Christians, should we not be open and honest about Islam’s destructive and oppressive nature. Those people trapped under its yoke deserve freedom as much as anyone, right? In mind opinion, besides the glorious gift of salvation, the freedom of the mind is God’s greatest gift to mankind. America’s goal isn’t to make people believe in what we want them to believe in, or to change their minds, but it is to allow them opportunity to choose their own path. Is that not a goal worth fighting for?

            You assert that America should have brought those responsible for 9/11 to trial and that would be justice done. The problem with that is that trials are reserved for criminals and the Al Qaeda declared WAR on America and the West long before 9/11. 9/11 is just the first time that we responded with a forceful defense. Our efforts have led to the limiting of Al Qaeda’s ability to stage large scale operations, like 9/11, and have shown the rest of the world that we will defend our people. We have hunted our enemies (enemies that we did not choose, but whom chose us) and prevented furthur attacks. No one should have to live with the fear of waking up, going to work, and being murdered. In order to ensure this, violence is needed.

            I propose a hypothetical question? What would be the result if the U.S. did not forcefully defend itself after 9/11. What would have happened if followed non-violent resistance policies? Would have Osama bin Laden been impressed with our restraint and decided to give up the fight? Would the world be a safer place? Would man be more free?

            I love that there are differences of opinions and that in this country man is allowed to think freely and hold different worldviews. It makes life more interesting and speaks to the wonder of life. It also speaks to the work of the American fighting man. I respect those who choose non-violent resistance, even though I have no idea what that is, as a worldview, and I will continue to stand in the gap and stand ready to make sure that the freedom to make that choice is always a reality.

          • Tyler Wiggs

            I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me, and as you mentioned, I too appreciate the freedom that we have to express our views.  Nevertheless, I feel that your responses have been clouded by your perspective and based on certain assumptions.  I encourage you to thoughtfully consider the other side.  In the end, you may still disagree, but too often, we simply make up our minds and argue our points without considering the other perspectives.

            In your response, you expressed your opinion that Gandhi and the Civil Rights Movement had little effect.  By doing so, you have minimized the fact that both instances used non-violent tactics to bring about change.  The British are no longer controlling India, and the laws in the south have changed. One can certainly argue that non-violence did not directly lead to these changes, but in the process, one cannot overlook the fact that change was still accomplished. 

            Similarly, I noticed that you originally stated that violence has brought us to where we are today and has given us the freedoms we enjoy.  I cannot argue that wars have led us to where we are today, but I hesitate to make any assumptions that violence was the only way to achieve freedom.  If individuals would have used non-violent strategies, they may have gained freedom another way.  I cannot say for certainty because another way was chosen.  Nevertheless, I can appreciate the sacrifices they made and the hard work they put in to get us to where we are today.  Now, we have the opportunity to appreciate their actions and do the same, or we can continue to learn from our past and forge a new route.

            I doubt that this argument will completely alter your perception of war, and I recognize the need to take my own advice by considering your viewpoint.  If we believe that war can be utilized for good, we must still maintain certain standards by which we judge our conduct.  Most commonly, people rely on Just War Theory to determine whether a particular war (or even actions within war) is justified.  According to this tradition, our current wars would not be justified for a variety of reasons, including the doctrine of last resort.  Therefore, while other wars may have been justified, our current wars are not.

            Still, I feel fortunate that we have alternatives to war and violence.  For instance, this forum is a (generally) peaceful exchange of ideas rather than an exchange of violence.  One of the problems with war is that it assumes that the victor is “right.”  In reality this is not always the case.  Each side maintains that it was correct, but war determines who has the greater ability to win in combat.  In contrast, non-violent measures allow us to disagree as we search for a peaceful
            solution.  At the end of the day, you may not change my mind, and I may not change yours. However, the benefit of non-violence is that we are both left alive to continue the discussion.

          • Tim

            I love how they use their feelings and emotions as the Biblical evidence necessary to justify their viewpoints.  At no point do they offer solid scriptural evidence for their opinions.  They rely on taking portions of scripture instead of the entire scripture.  They neglect the Old Testament and virtually every book of the Bible minus the gospels.  And even the gospels they pick and choose from.  

        • Doane

          Just because you say that non-violence is the same as advocating oppression does not make it so.
          In fact, the only thing that has moved the world toward true justice has been as people begin to see and act on Jesus’ command that we love one another, not through violence.
          I know you don’t want to see this, but it is true.

    • Doane

      That’s what Jesus’ detrators said.

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  • Benmanben

    He wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t fight enemies at war!
    Isn’t there a certain point where you can love your enemy but must kill him for the better of others!
    Didn’t C.S. Lewis discuss in Mere Christianity that if you really loved others as yourself, you would even want yourself to be stopped from doing these terrible things?
    What in this do you fail to understand?!
    I think by enemies he was referring to people who you don’t like, or who bother or ruin you, and not when it so dangerously affects other people!
    I believe you can love your enemy whilst killing him.
    I believe I can, and I believe C.S. Lewis understood this and explained it well in Mere Christianity. I don’t think I’d be so upset about this if I hadn’t seen C.S. Lewis referenced to by this site earlier! 

    Though I suppose he’s one of the people you want to pretend was just like all of you! And I suppose you like to pretend he is interested in pushing American progressive politics through poor use of Bible verses!
    I am sick of what I see on this site, though I feel the need to correct what I see as terrible theology on it, seemingly theology without thought or care of TRUTH!

    -Benjamin

    • Doane

      It comes as no surprise that you are sick of this site. Apparently you don’t get the “red letter” part.

      • Tim

        There is more to the Bible than red letters.  This site emphasizes only portions of scripture while essentially ignoring or devaluing the rest of the Bible.  If this author was familiar with the Old Testament, I don’t think he’d believe God was a pacifist.  If he was familiar with the end times and the Battle of Meggido, I don’t think he’d believe God to be a pacifist.  
        If you guys can put your emotions and feelings aside and read scripture you’d know that Jesus’s purpose for living on earth was to die on the cross.  This was prophesy He HAD to fulfill.  If He eliminated Judas, He would not die on the cross.  If He killed the soldiers that took Him, prophesy would not have been fulfilled.  Where does it say in the red letters that Jesus disagrees with God?  You HAVE to believe that to believe Jesus is a pacifist and God isn’t.  You HAVE to believe they disagree to think Jesus is ok with sexual immorality.  Our president is the authority referenced in Romans.  The authority that does not bear the sword lightly, he’s to punish evildoers.  We can’t love our friends if we stand idly by as they are killed.  Is that love?  To do nothing as something terrible happens?  Did Penn St love children because the eyewitnesses did nothing?  

    • Josh

      If you truely love someone and still seek to kill them, what is your emotion? Think of king David and Absolom. He was his enemy, and his son. He opposed him and tried to stop him, but even if you choose to stop someone and kill him if neccessary, then everything is sadness. Glory and joy is not found in defeating your enemies, but in the rebuilding after they have stopped opposing you.

      But I understand there’s more to it than that, it is true that in the bible people rejoice at wicked people’s defeat, we are told that the righteous themselves rejoice. There is something to be said for being glad that justice was done. I’ll have to have another read to check if I’m right, but I believe that the righteous rejoice in the justice of the decision, in the appropriateness and fairness, and in their own freedom after being delivered.

  • dan

       The apostle Paul had enemies. He called them ministers of Satan in Corinthians. As time went by he softened his tone. In Philippians, written later, he spoke poorly of his enemies, but ended up thankful that they at least were preaching about Jesus. I think he understood by then that once the spirit of Jesus gets in, the war is won. God’s spirit does not give theological understanding or reasonable thought, the Spirit gives loving motivation – the power to do good. I believe the Christian approach to world peace is to spread the love, and follow it up with the message of Jesus. 
       Governments do not think like God, and the do not have the power of God. Governments do not try to serve God. Bombs make really good sense to Presidents and generals. War is a reasonable solution to a desperate situation. Governments are required to fight for their people. It makes great sense to me. But then, I am a human. After 9/11 I wanted revenge. I wanted to kill somebody. I was very glad President Bush was president. I knew he was going to bomb somebody. 
       To God, war is counterproductive. God is not human. He does not think reasonably. He thinks like God, whatever that is. Jesus did not come to earth to promote killing and war. Good article. As time has gone by I have sure changed. I wish we never went to war. I am signing up for service and love. 

  • Jim

    Hey I do not know anything about theology, in Christ I am but a baby, and need to have a lot of stuff roasted out of my life to get to the refined gold.

    When I read most of Revelation, it seems like at that point in history Jesus is one ticked off God. 

    Was he a pacifist and then a destroyer?  Also was Jesus non existent when God almighty was kicking you know what in the old testament?

    Could someone help me with this? 

    Jim

    • dan

         Everybody has a different take on this. My understanding is that Revelation is mostly about the time of Nero. It is difficult to understand because it is written in an apocalyptic style, mostly with imagery and words which would have meant a lot to the people who read it a long time ago (the original intended audience). I also am of the opinion that Revelation has divided more churches than any other book in the bible. Consequently, I would recommend putting it on the shelf for awhile. Talking about revelation is like talking about politics in a bar, or soccer in an Irish bar. 
         The whole bible is a history of the relationship of God with the people of God. This is a very special history. I personally believe that many Old Testament people got it wrong. That is why we have the New Testament.   For example, in the O.T. Joshua believed God called him to kill everyone in Canaan and take over. I think he got it wrong. That does not mean that the Old Testament is not filled with inspired truth, it just needs interpretation.   Short version: there was the time of the Patriarchs, the time of Moses, the time of the Judges, the time of the Prophets and Kings, the time of the second temple Judiasm or the priesthood, and finally the time of Jesus to the present.   I think each time period represents an improved understanding of God on the part of the people. I also think each time period helped prepare the way for Jesus. The theology of the Hebrews and the attitudes of the Hebrews continued to change such that there would be many people very open to the message of Jesus by the time he arrived. Most Jews were still not too receptive at that time. Liberal pharisees predominantly were very receptive, such as Paul.    The fact that Jesus had to come to earth to help us “get is straight” pretty much implies that our Old Testament understanding of God and a proper relationship with God was very lacking. For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son…   The Jesus we met in the New Testament is so very different than the God of Joshua, and King David, etc. Has God changed? Most people think God is unchangeable. So what changed if not God? That would be our understanding of God.    Jesus conquered by dying on the cross. He did not conquer by killing. I just cannot see Peter or Paul jumping out of a helicopter in Pakistan wearing night vision goggles, killing Osama Bin Laden with a machine gun. True justice is not killing people. True justice, perfect justice, is uniting people with the spirit of Jesus.   Our court system, self defense with a handgun, war, etc. are all human substitutes for true justice. These things are the next best thing. They represent an improved human understanding that there is a right and a wrong, and that something ought to be done about it. Lacking Jesus, this a good option for supporting justice in the world.   As Christians, we have the spirit of Jesus available to us. That is the best justice available on earth currently. God’s Holy Spirit urges us to spread ideal, true, perfect justice. The spirit of Jesus is guiding me personally to love my enemy, and to teach them about Jesus.

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