Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wrong, Just Wrong

The video below is from GodTube.com.

The caption says: "This video depicts the attitude that the body of Christ needs to embrace for these days that we are living." This is a very dangerous attitude and one that strikes me, quite frankly, as un-Christian.

The militaristic tone of this piece strikes me as no different from that which we, rightly, criticize when it comes from the Muslim world. Would we see a video such as this depicting Muslims with swords as simply depicting a metaphor for apostolic work? I do not think so. And I doubt many Muslims in the world seeing what is happening in Iraq would have a very favorable view of this video segment. To them it would smack of the imagery of the Crusades. It strikes me so as well.

No question, Jesus does say that he had come to bring a sword (Matt. 10:34). But the Peshitta Bible (Eastern Orthodox) has a footnote that puts this comment clearly in its proper context. "I have come to bring a sword" is an Aramaic (the language of Jesus) idiom meaning "divisions." Read chapter 10 of Matthew, this is clearly what Jesus means. His presence and his message will cause divisions among people (setting 'man against his father'). Jesus is not advocating violence or even aggressiveness at all.

Read Matthew 5: it is the humble, the meek, the peacemakers that Jesus said are blessed. Not the aggressive.

Read Matthew 26:52: When being arrested in the garden, Peter draws his sword and Jesus rebukes him, saying, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword."

Jesus commands us to "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to anyone who hates you, and pray for those who carry you away by force and persecute you." (Matt. 6:44)

Jesus bids us, "do not resist an evildoer" (Matt 5:39), he does not instruct us, as the caption for the video further says, "to be offensive."

The totality of Jesus message is the rejection of violence, thus my rejection of the attitude expressed in this video.

I believe it was Gandhi who once said that the only people who did not think Jesus was a pacifist were Christians. This video seems to provide evidence for that statement.

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