Christian Pacifism, a Second Look.

A while back I talked a bit about my frustration with folks who plaster peace-loving bumper stickers all over their cars but fail to see that they are doing the same thing as the ones they rail against.

I got a great response from a friend asking clarification about what I think of Christian pacifists.  Here’s a bit from her reply that I found particularly good.

I can say that I am acquainted with many deeply spiritual and Christian people-authors, activists, and people I know directly-who are highly motivated for peace, with their ideologies directly informed and shaped by the Gospel of Christ.

In my response to her, I (hopefully) clarified that I have nothing against pacifism as an ideology, but that it can never be based on anything other than a peaceful relationship with God.  I think that only pacifism that is based in a Christian worldview of having achieved (by virtue of the cross) peace with God has any real power in bringing about real peace in our world.  All other brands of pacifism (and especially the agnostic, New Age, hyper-environmentalist, humanist version so prevalent here in Asheville) are impotent, precisely because they are simply another in a long line of worldviews that ignore our most fundamental problem both as a society and as individuals–our enmity with God.  And they are an attempt (just like radical Islam is an attempt) to force others to their way of seeing the world.  The bigoted response of these “pacifists” against what they see as bigotry is astounding.

Though I’m not sure where I stand on pacifism as an ideology (I’d most likely fight someone that was trying to hurt my wife or children), I do think that apart from Christianity, there can be no peace.  What about you?  What do you think?  Comment Below.

Jesus Is Not On Your Team.

I have bad news.  Jesus is not on your team.

There are two teams, see.  The bad guys, and Jesus.  The crooked, depraved, self-serving, religious folks; and Jesus.

He’s not on your team.  He didn’t come for your agenda.  You can’t recruit him to your cause.  You can’t get him on board with your timeline and market projections.

In Joshua 5:13-14, we get an astonishing view of the pre-incarnate Christ.  He shows up, and Joshua worships Him (and given that the man in the story doesn’t tell him to stop worshipping, I assume that man is Jesus, whom it is OK to worship).  But the astonishing part is that when Joshua asks Jesus, “are you on our team or theirs?” (referring to the inhabitants of Jericho) Jesus doesn’t say at all what I would expect.

This is the Old Testament.  God’s chosen nation, Israel, is going to fight against a pagan city, Jericho.  I’d expect Jesus to say, “I’m on your team.  Let’s go kick some pagan butt.” And then he’d go all Jack Bauer on the other team and call in a tactical support team of angels to extract Rahab from her place like Dana Walsh (the Rahab-Dana Walsh comparison could be taken WAY deeper if Dana had repented, by the way).  He’d scream “DROP YOUR WEAPON” to the guards outside of Rahab’s place, and use the phrase “I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I have to” multiple times in an episode.

But read what he says! (mouse over the verse above to read it)  He treats the question like a multiple choice, and adds an option (c).  He’s not on either team!

Joshua saw an impressive dude with a sword, and got all strategic.  He needed a little help with the folks from Jericho.  But Jesus gently reminds him that if he wins the battle, it’s because God wins the battle.  He didn’t recruit God onto his team. Israel didn’t earn God’s favor, and they were no better than the people of Jericho.  It’s by grace that they were saved, through faith.  Not as a result of works, so that Joshua couldn’t boast.

That sounds familiar.