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Let's Not Forget Mercy


By John - Posted on 08 January 2007

by Ward Fenley

Recently, in an interview with Relevant magazine, a prominent Seattle area pastor stated: "Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in his hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down his leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up." Obviously I disagree with this person's description of the hippie Jesus, but equally repulsive and dishonoring to God is this erroneous perspective: "Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down his leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed."

When Jesus tells us about His judgment, I don't believe He is calling us to view Him with carnal tattoos or calling us to revel in watching Him destroy others. Why? First, we do not have omniscience to see inside of hearts. Paul was as apostate and murderous as any example we have today, if not more, being the Pharisee he was. But God had mercy on Him. Along the same lines God destroyed Pharisees just like Paul. Why? His good pleasure in Paul’s salvation. Under the New Testament Jesus tells us:

Matthew 5:44 but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you;

Luke 6:27-28 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

That seems like a far cry from desiring God to "make them bleed."

Unfortunately this is the type of rhetoric (and worse) used in some churches.

They will know we are His disciples by our love, not by our desire to watch them bleed at the hands of the Almighty.

I am thankful that God made His Son bleed for me so that I wouldn't bleed. And I hope and pray that God has done the same for everyone to whom I preach the Gospel. They are no worse than I am. They lust, I lust; they struggle with pride, I struggle with pride; they struggle with self-worship and greed, I struggle with self-worship and greed. If I want them to bleed, I should want myself to bleed. Why would we want to go to a "church" where the pastor loves to watch people bleed at the hands of the Almighty? It's one thing for the eternally wise God in all of His secret decrees to fulfill His will. But He has not given us revelation of that secret will. Instead, I believe God calls us to speak that which we know.

Unfortunately hate-mongers are doing violence to the testimony of the church with this kind of verbal and spiritual abuse. What the world needs is a kingdom of Pauls and Barnabases to preach Christ and Him crucified and declare, "We are men of like passions as you are." The world needs to hear that. They need to see that we are no different--that the pleasures of this world are enticing to us as well. Imagine Paul saying, "We want to watch you BLEED." Again, this type of rhetoric is incompatible with the Gospel. The world needs the Gospel. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

and...

"For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

It's all there--the judgment and the mercy.

The pastor says, "I cannot worship the hippie, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up."

But Jesus said, "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart."

Sure, God is described as wrathful and just, proclaiming "vengeance is mine." But the Bible also uses these words to describe God:

compassionate

weeping over His people when they stray

full of mercy

tender

By the way, the word "tender" is from the Hebrew word racham, which literally means to cherish the fetus.

Psalm 69:16 Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender [racham] mercies.

Perhaps God is not calling us to crave seeing His wrath upon people (since we do not know His mind), but rather to tenderly care for others (as a mother cherishes her fetus) and pray for the mercy that has been bestowed upon us. Even Paul said "I wish that I were accursed for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."

Consider the weight and context of this passage:

Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, (42) Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. (43) For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, (44) And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Some would say, "Oh, but He is weeping over believers or those who will be believers." Is that what the text says? He describes those over whom He is weeping as:

Having had truth hidden from their eyes

Those whose enemies would surround them...

lay them and their children upon the ground

And not leave in them one stone upon another because...

they knew not the time of their visitation

To my recollection, preterism exults in the passage which speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem as a fulfilled event (Matthew 24:1-34). At the beginning Jesus says of the Temple, "Not one stone shall be left upon another." He is speaking of the destruction of the Temple and the slaughter of the Pharisees who killed Him (Matthew 21:33-41).

Jesus weeps over them. "Learn of Me," Jesus declares.

I used to be caught up in the "make them bleed" mentality, but God brought me out of that by a series of tremendous immoralities and pitfalls, showing me that I am no different than those who are outside of faith or those who are inside the faith. Obviously we do not serve a Jesus we can beat up. But Jesus laid down His life (got beaten up real badly, I might add) by some for whom He prayed. In His sacrifice for us He tells us to be willing to do the same: be meek, kind, tender, winning hearts by our love.

I leave you with these last two passages, the first of which is God speaking of the self-righteous Pharisees:

Isaiah 65:2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; 3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; 5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

God says that those who say, "I am holier than thou," are a smoke in His nostrils.

Perhaps that is why He also says:

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

Contrary to the “holier than thou” mentality, this is heavenly wisdom which comes from above:

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

If the wisdom comes from above, then it is from God. Do we want to show this attitude toward unbelievers, that is, an attitude full of mercy, peaceable and gentle; or do we want to show them that we want to see them bleed?

Of course I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. I am a committed and convinced supralapsarian. Some such as the pastor quoted above would argue after the Calvinistic fashion, "But it is God's sovereign will that these men bleed. Therefore we desire it." Yet, if these men fall into immorality, and it comes into the eyes of the public, would they say, "I desire falling into immorality because it was God's sovereign will?" As Calvinists and believers in the absolute sovereignty of God, they couldn't deny that their fall was the absolute sovereignty of God. Yet I can hardly believe that after such a fall they would say, "I desire falling into immorality because it is God's will." Rather, God bestows mercy upon whom He wills, yet He tells us to have mercy on those who hate us. God says "I hate those who sow discord among the brethren," yet God tells us to love our enemies. God says, "I will curse them who curse you," yet God tells us, "Bless them who curse you." God obviously does not want us operating on what He sovereignly executes out of His eternal and incomprehensible decrees. Rather, God wants us to operate based upon what He has revealed to us. Some might argue, but the Psalmist says:

Psalm 139:21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

But Jesus offers an interesting New Testament interpretation:

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

It seems to me that some who claim the kingdom of God and declare that they give all glory to God have forgotten what God has required of us: "He has shown thee, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee: but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God." In forgetting this command, perhaps they have forgotten God. For, to forget love is to forget God, for God is love. What does God say of those self-righteous Israelites who forgot Him, and yet thought by their great sacrifices they were honoring Him?

Psalm 50:16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. 18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. 19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. 20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. 22 Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

Let's not forget love. Let's not forget mercy:

James 2:1 My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come into your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile clothing; 3 and ye have regard to him that weareth the fine clothing, and say, Sit thou here in a good place; and ye say to the poor man, Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool; 4 Do ye not make distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren; did not God choose them that are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and themselves drag you before the judgment-seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme the honorable name by which ye are called? 8 Howbeit if ye fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: 9 but if ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou dost not commit adultery, but killest, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment.

Again, let's not forget love. Let's not forget mercy.

Donone's picture

Ward,
I love you and your heart for truth.Lets hope that pastor was caught up in an ego trip when he uttered those inane comments. Mercy triumphs.

Your friend and brother

Don Hendricks

JL's picture

Don,

Contact me please. j.l.preterist@gmail.com

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Virgil's picture

I want to again thank Ward for an awesome article and I will repeat what I said on Ward's discussion group on Yahoo!

The big problem I see with this is the total misrepresentation of Jesus: "I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up." So then since the Scripture depict a Christ that WAS in fact beat up by his own creation, then what should we conclude?

In other words, whoever subscribes to this philosophy would have rather preferred that Jesus fought back when he was beaten, tortured and killed by the Roman soldiers. These are the people that admire violence and abhor the Jesus who did not even answer the false charges of his accusers. They love the blood-soaked robe of Christ yet they gag at the sight of the white fleece of the Lamb. Indeed, the atoning death of Christ on the cross would not have even happened if it was up to this kind of mentality, because "Jesus should not be the guy that a human can beat up."

The fact is that he WAS the God who let his own people kill him. That is what the power is in, a God that loves us so much that he let us not only beat up his own son, but actually he let us KILL him! That is what makes our God and Christ different than any other God of the ancient world, a Greek god that would shove a lightning bolt up your a** if you failed to say "hi."

"A Christ looking for blood" is a totally flawed picture of our savior Ward, therefore I completely agree with your article. In Revelation Jesus is looking for his bride, the Church, his New Jerusalem, the LOVE he longed for since he created the world. The sexual depiction of the relationship has nothing to do with blood and violence. If we truly think so then we are no different than the Dispensationalists who now are crossing their fingers hoping that Israel nukes Iran or vice-versa.

So there is no question that from a Futurist perspective Jesus is a fierce God looking for reasons to wipe us all out. As Preterists however we are called to think beyond the destruction of the first century and that Jesus came to destroy his enemies in the first century; and that it is all history. Driscoll is therefore speaking out of his own eschatological ignorance. To continue to portray our savior in that manner is an error. Instead we see God dwelling with us, consuming the relationship that began in the first century. In Revelation 19 we see the Bride being readied: "the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."

Making herself ready meant being clothed in the fine linen (the righteous acts of the saints), veiling herself for the bridegroom who was coming for her - the Church, the Bride of Chris was ready for marriage, ready for what Solomon wrote long ago: "When my King-Lover lay down beside me, my fragrance filled the room. His head resting between my breasts—the head of my lover was a sachet of sweet myrrh. My beloved is a bouquet of wildflowers picked just for me from the fields of Engedi...How beautiful you are, my darling, How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves behind your veil."

So no, Jesus is not looking for blood - he is not Baal, thirsty for the blood of your children. He is our King, the one who saved us and now is enjoying a deep and intimate relationship with us. How beautifully Solomon painted this relationship:

"I am my beloved's,
And his desire is for me.
"Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.
"Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;
Let us (see whether the vine has budded
And its blossoms have opened,
And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
"The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;
And over our doors are all choice fruits,
Both new and old,
Which I have saved up for you, my beloved."

Starlight's picture

I think the more difficult questions start to appear when we move all these issues away from the foreign element of discussion and consider our own back yard.

Do we think Cornelius quit his Roman centurion position after he was visited by Peter and he and his household was converted? Did he immediately join the Essenes’ peace movement of his day?

Now think about our local law enforcement men and women today and we know from Paul in Romans 13 that they are instruments of God. Are we to look down upon them as less than Christian when they are asked to perform our “dirty” work for us? They may have to use deadly force in the implementation of their jobs and we as a community have endowed them with that “instrument”. Do we wash our hands and say that we partake not in the responsibilities that they incur? Do we rationalize to ourselves that we are a separate people and therefore are clean?

These questions and issues that are being tossed around here the past few days are extremely complex and cannot be categorized one way or the other in simplistic terms. Someone has to take the responsibility for implementing order in societies and that means making some hard decisions that do not appear to be covered by the “turn the other cheek” concept. If that person is a Christian we need to give him/her a sound theological position to work with, and in so doing we are taking the ultimate responsibility ourselves. If we leave them twisting in the wind with negative moral implications we have shirked our responsibility as well. So in essence we need not look at these issues in such simplistic terms but come to grips with the harder points that must be addressed. We can’t simply live as the Quakers do living under the umbrella of others having to provide all the protection so that we can live in our own little utopian world.

We have to look at the context of scriptures and of life and not get carried away with this black and white either or mentality as the only way.
It requires Godly wisdom with pure hearts cleansed by the Blood of Christ and graciousness given to our brethren in the reconciling of these issues.

Blessings

Norm

Paige's picture

Norm,

I understand your concerns, but I'm not sure that Ward wrote this to convince everyone that they need to be pacifists...

There is a place for all of us in this world, with all of our differences. My husband is a Police officer, and will serve in that capacity unless or until God tells him its time to go. That does not mean everyone should become a police officer. IMO, Quakers, Amish, Mennonites etc. should live exactly as their conscience dictates. Many in their position have had to face circumstances where the umbrella of protection has been removed. They have made the same kind of hard choices others of a different philosophical background have had to make. We all still reap the consequence of our choices.

Paige

Virgil's picture

Ahh...Norm! God willing I will finish an article I started on pacifism vs. nonviolence. I think God calls us to be peacemakers and people are failing to understand what exactly that means.

Starlight's picture

Paige,

Thanks for the response.

I didn’t intend for my comment to be a direct response to this article but was intended for our readers to be mindful of the complexity of these issues in general. It seems that we loose sight of that fact when we position ourselves on one side or the other, and in reality it is too complex a subject to do so, just as you have mentioned.

I had to deal with this subject personally myself when I joined the military. I joined as a medic because I wanted to serve my country but did not feel comfortable killing people, but I would risk my life to save people. Everyone has to handle this issue in their own personal perspective. I just wanted to reiterate that coming down on one side or the other in a dogmatic fashion is perilous and good points reside on both sides. As far as the Quakers are concerned I personally am thankful for them in many ways and praise God for their earnest desire to please him. But I also think that as a nation as a whole we cannot take their position. Just my humble opinion though.

Blessings

Norm

Starlight's picture

Virgil,

You don’t know how much I appreciate your insight and willingness to speak to these issues. I will look forward to more of your insight and I’m sure it will bless us all. The peaceful heart is so important and our natural instincts are not in that manner. I can’t think of anyone more qualified than you because of your background from a previous country so different from ours.

Norm

tabernacle's picture

"As far as the Quakers are concerned I personally am thankful for them in many ways and praise God for their earnest desire to please him. But I also think that as a nation as a whole we cannot take their position."

When you think in terms of being part of a nation as a whole are you part of an earthly nation or an heavenly?

tabernacle

Virgil's picture

And that is a great question that needs to be asked as well. Were we called by Christ to think and act at a higher level than the rest of the world, and is it possible that the Quakers actually got it right and we got it wrong?

Starlight's picture

Wow! I love you guys who are keeping my feet to the fire;-)

I think Virgil said he was going to write a “book” (exaggeration) on that subject;-)

I would ask the question back; what do you think Cornelius was required to do as far as his remaining under the auspices of Rome. Could he leave that national membership and forsake all nationalistic inclinations, or could he reside in both the spiritual and national entities.

Blessings

Norm

Paige's picture

Excellent question, Norm. Do we have a record of Cornelius's life beyond what is recorded in the NT? From the NT, we don't see him resigning his position (as far as I can tell). I personally know people who insist that we have to forsake all nationalistic inclinations. (No SS, drivers licenses, etc.) I have troubles with that view. However, I also have trouble thinking that Cornelius would have been rounding up people in Rome to put in the coliseum to face the gladiatiors and the lions. At some point, would he have made the choice to resign because of conscience?

Paige

Starlight's picture

Paige,

Cornelius wasn’t the only Centurion who may have been affected.

Matt 8: 8The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." …..11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

So it appears there is a high degree of probability that Jesus wasn’t as interested in whether a person was free or slave or (slave owner) or a centurion trained in war as much as he was concerned with something else. But yes sometimes we have to make choices on how far our loyalties reside with the nation or with a company or anything else that will compromise our conscientious heart.

Norm

Ed's picture

Keep in mind too Norm that even the apostle Paul claimed Roman citizenship.

Strange thing indeed for the writer of the majority of the NT.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Barry's picture

"We have to look at the context of scriptures and of life and not get carried away with this black and white either or mentality as the only way.
It requires Godly wisdom with pure hearts cleansed by the Blood of Christ and graciousness given to our brethren in the reconciling of these issues."

This issue is complicated perhaps. Perhaps less than we might image it to be.

What complicates all such biblical issues is the need to be "morally right" (IE self-righteousness).

Go back to Adam's position.
Was Adam responsible as a steward? IMO Yes.

Was Adam morally accountable prior to eating of the forbidden fruit? IMO No. (except toward the eating of that fruit).

The question is rather simple then. What did Christ (fulfillment) solve what did he end.
Are we responsible toward stewardship or accountable as if we are God himself?

If reconciliation is comprehensive what would that indicate?
Was sin put away or was it not?
If yes:
Was it put away only for a select few?
If yes:
When?
If in fulfillment then how do I go back in time to become one of the select few?
If the select few are still being selected, on what eschatological bases is it happening?
Are the works of Adam immortal outside of the selection?
If so how does harvest select once again since the harvest is the end of the age?

It's not really that complicated.
We are now in the responsibility of stewardship toward our being in God's image.
We are not in the accountability which fragments and separates who we really are through the grace of God.

Therefore whenever we can we build bridges and manifest that the other is part of ourselves. As far as that responsibility toward who we are can possibly be maintained. It is an ethic of identity.
We are to see in others what they themselves may not have already seen and live as such. But because this is often not seen by others we at times are offered fewer options.
We are to deal with those options as responsibly (to our common identity) as possible.
IMHO not overly complicated.

Barry

we are all in this together

Starlight's picture

Barry,

The complexity that I was inferring from the topic at hand was the tension that arises from being able to properly discern the appropriate attitude toward war and peace. Biblically there is a vast reservoir of scriptures that one may utilize as proof text for one side or the other. It requires wisdom to discern in my estimation and can only be filtered properly through Christ.

Norm

Barry's picture

Yes I think I understand your point Norm.
You said:
"The complexity that I was inferring from the topic at hand was the tension that arises from being able to properly discern the appropriate attitude toward war and peace. Biblically there is a vast reservoir of scriptures that one may utilize as proof text for one side or the other. It requires wisdom to discern in my estimation and can only be filtered properly through Christ."
The only way to properly filter is through fulfillment.
Hence: what attitude?
The ignorance of another may lead to the point that one has no other options. Offering fellowship may not mean that it is taken or reciprocated.

However the "attitude" should be one of offering such fellowship in spite of the other's ignorance until they leave no other options.

War is fought because of one or two reasons.
One:
People think that God is on their side and not the others or some variation of this where one believes that they are elected or destined to have what someone else has. This derived from the belief of accountability which means ownership whether individual or national.
Two:
Because not all parties involved understand who they really are and so options to build bridges are reduced to the point that one must act to preserve loved ones that are already in practising relationship whether individual or national.

The two attitudes are very different IMO.

Any thoughts?
Barry

we are all in this together

Starlight's picture

Barry,

I have problems setting up formulas for others to adhere to. But I also don't hesitate to make decisions to do what I believe needs to be done. I think if you asked people why they supported or didn't support a war I believe you would get as many different explanations as there were people asked. Just because I say the position that people take is a complex one doesn't mean I excuse myself from a decision. If I were King (of a nation) I would have to make decisions in a different frame of reference than if I were a college professor sitting in my ivory tower analyzing it from all points of view never having to face the actual realities of a decision. The professor’s work is important for proper thinking but the Kings work is the one that really matters.
I have my beliefs but I’m not going to force them on anyone until I am King.

Norm

Barry's picture

Hi Norm,
"Barry,

I have problems setting up formulas for others to adhere to."
If possible live at peace.

"I think if you asked people why they supported or didn't support a war I believe you would get as many different explanations as there were people asked."
Yes but there would be common attitudes and philosophies behind those thoughts.

"Just because I say the position that people take is a complex one doesn't mean I excuse myself from a decision."
Of course not. My points are often thinking points, conceptual if you wish, without personal inference.

"If I were King (of a nation) I would have to make decisions in a different frame of reference than if I were a college professor sitting in my ivory tower analyzing it from all points of view never having to face the actual realities of a decision. The professor’s work is important for proper thinking but the Kings work is the one that really matters."
True enough.
Since Kings of any real authority are getting fewer I'll take you to mean national leader.
However the idea that nations can behave substantially different from individuals is IMHO unproven. I see little difference in the application of ethics in the new age.

"I have my beliefs but I’m not going to force them on anyone until I am King."
Are you looking for votes soon :).

It is true that the perspective of a national leader is in all likelihood going to be different from the average citizen.

However it is the vote and henceforth perspective of the average citizen that decides the continuance or not of the leader (in most democratic societies).

In any case this kind of sidesteps the larger issue IMHO.
Are we all in this together or not? That is the question and it is from that, that we formulate our views and attitudes concerning any particular war.

Any thoughts.
Barry

we are all in this together

Starlight's picture

Barry,

I try to put myself in the “King or Leaders” shoes when I think and that is the point where I typically discourse from. But I also can wear the hat of the professor who is seeking a wide range of information and may play the devils advocate or informational gathering role as well. I think it is ultimately hard to really truly understand the position of a world leader such as Bush unless you become very intimately aware of all of the aspects that he would have to reckon with. Try as we may it is just a guessing game to a certain extent. Sometimes the best we can do is to push for leaders that have traits such as honesty and integrity and a track record that helps us get a handle on some of his attributes. Even then in this media staged world it becomes very difficult to truly know someone through the media world.
But yes ultimately the responsibility lies with the people and their willingness to take their responsibilities seriously. As a realist I look around and am not sure that our form of democracy is really the best approach. But its kind of like ourselves, we are stuck with our physical and mental attributes that the Lord has provided us each with and we kind of have to deal with that.
I personally wished I was brighter and had been a tad better athlete when I was younger but alas it was not to be;-)

Blessings

Norm

chrisliv's picture

Well,

Virtually all of the Apostles were murdered or imprisoned for life at the hands of the so-called "instruments" of God, aka, Law Enforcement, Centurions, Brahmin princes, etc.

So, it doesn't follow that the so-called instruments would destroy the finest instruments in God's toolkit.

I think people have an intrinsic right to defend themselves. But all Christians should also be free to reject the protection of a earthly Prince's or Potentate's sword. Anabaptists have a valiant history of that, and never complained that a Prince didn't come to save them. The Amish in North America show remnants of that same spirit.

So, what is the price of the Prince's Sword? Is it really as much of a benefit and a minister of God, as some suppose?

Surely not. I'll give a cursory list below, of the 20th Century count of "Democide", or State murder of its own people. If the 19th Century were considered, the United States would be up there too, with similar population percentages, when considering the so-called Civil War initiated by Wash DC.

Of course, this list doesn't include all of the State war-deaths during the 20th Century, which were beyond those of the last 2000 years, combined. Yes, the 20th Century certainly was the Century of Cain.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone
---------------------------------------------------
NON-War Deaths By Government-20th Century

Soviet Gulag (1917-87)
-Executions during collectivization, etc.
61,911,000
* ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Communist Chinese State (1949-87)
-Executions of landlords, peasants, etc.
35,236,000
** ***** ***** *****
Nazi State (1933-45)
-6 mil Jews, 5 mil Poles, 10 mil others
20,946,000
***** *****
Chinese Nationalist (1928-49)
-Purges of communists, etc.
10,214,000
*****
Japan's military (1936-45)
-Nanking massacre, etc.
5,964,000
***
Khmer Rouge (1975-79)
-Khmer Rouge kill 1/3 of Cambodians
2,035,000
*
Turkey's Young Turks (1909-18)
-Slaughter of Turkey's Armenians
1,883,000
*
N. Vietnamese (1945-1987)
-S Vietnam's democide = 90,000.
1.670,000
*
Poland killed ethnic Germans
-8 million fled Poland (1945-1948)
1,585,000
*
West Pakistan (1958-87)
-E. Pakistan Hindus killed or expelled
1,503,000
*
TOTAL # Murdered = 142,000,000+

Starlight's picture

Chris,

Thanks for the numbers, I always knew it was huge but putting a number to it is always focusing.

“So, what is the price of the Prince's Sword? Is it really as much of a benefit and a minister of God, as some suppose?
Surely not.”

When you put it in that perspective it gives you pause for thought. But of course that is what this whole episode has been about “pause for thought”.

I’ll respond with just one of many answers from the word.

Matt 10:17" Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles……

28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

Blessings

Norm

chrisliv's picture

Wow,

Thanks, Norm. You're right on point.

Those words by Christ illustrate exactly what was the State-response, and gave Christians a valuable warning to count the cost of becoming a disciple of Our Lord:

" Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles…… Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul."

Now, notice how portions of Romans 13 in the typical, statist interpretion seem to be in contradiction to Christ's warning:

"Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good."

Well, if Paul was talking, in Romans 13, about Nero "The Beast" Caesar, then did nero show "praise" to the Apostles and the Body of Christ ?

No, of course not. Nero had Paul's head chopped-off. And the Roman Empire went on to persecute Christians for 250 years, until the Church became a state corporation under Caesar Constantine, with the Edict of Milan.

So, was Paul giving bad advice to Christians?

Or, was Paul talking about the "higher authorities" in ecclesiastical government, not the lower authorities of a degenerate Beast.

In any event, Christ communicated far better than Paul about how the State will treat His followers.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

chrisliv's picture

Or,

Here's another one.

You suggest the Quakers are ungrateful for their so-called benefit of protection by a Prince's Sword, because they're pacifists and refuse to be pressed into State warfare.

What about early American British colonists? Why did they rebel against the so-called "instruments or ministers of God" in the for of King George's redcoats?

King George chartered them and supposedly protected them.

Wasn't King George III the "higher power," "ordained," as God's "minister," as most statist interpreters of Romans 13 believe?

If so, why do statist churchgoers today celebrate the 4th of July or the Boston Tea Party.

I mean, when poor, ole King George tried to impose a 3 pence tax, per pound, on imported British Tea, the Colonists rebelled against the so-called "higher powers, ordained by God" and dressed up like Indians to conceal their destruction of property that wasn't even their own.

Or, take a look at the Virginia State flag. It shows King George III (the so-called "higher authority") slain and bleeding on the ground, with the slogan, "Death To Tyrants" under him.

No, you can't have it both ways. Either Americans are rebels against the "ministers of God", in which the Bible equates rebellion the same as "witchcraft", or Romans 13 is talking about Ecclesiastical authorities that God was at that time ordaining within the Body of Christ as was being outlined in Romans 12. (Of course, Paul's Roman Epistle had no chapter divisions)

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Starlight's picture

Chris,

Why don’t we take it even further, why shouldn’t’ every single American pack up and move back to their countries of ancestral origins as it was obvious we stole the land from the Native Americans?

I also didn’t mean to imply that the Quakers were ungrateful and if I inferred that to these noble people I retract it and apologize. What I intended and maybe poorly worded was that they are benefiting from others having to bear the sword for them and not acting as partners in their own protection. How did they obtain the original lands that they now occupy, were they appropriated peacefully from the Native Americans with no duress imposed due to the generosity of the Indians.

I agree King George was a good man and my ancestral grandfather Voss was in error of revolting and I’m ashamed of his participation in those battles against the Brits. I don’t know what God was up to in allowing that to happen to tell you the truth. Especially since they were just whiskey dealers anyway;-)

I definitely do not celebrate the Boston Tea party as that is too far north and heavily Yankee influenced. I’m still bitter from the Civil war in which my families suffered much from their picking the wrong side to fight with, they had to pack up and move west to Texas and wrestle some more land away from the Indians. Then they didn’t stop there as they moved some more Indians in Oklahoma out and took back the land that they said they had given them as long as the water flowed and grass growed. So much for Christian pioneers if you ask me.

In fact the more I think about it I think we need to go back and rectify the wrong that was done to Esau and put him and his people in the proper place of authority. Maybe the middle east as the center of the universe would be ok after all.

Just funnin guy. (except for the Quakers being noble)

It’s a mess isn’t it?

Norm

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

I appreciate and agree with the spirit of your comments.

The thing is, God provided the Earth for all of humanity.

I mean, Native Americans were Orientals, who were just the first inhabitants to arrive in North America.

People should be able to locate themselves wherever they want on this planet, and let a natural equilibrium of population, culture, and economics adjust accordingly, without being denied by hostile political boundaries that are a recent phenomenon in societies. For example, Passports only became customary during World War I.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Ed's picture

Chris,
I apologize for the times that I have just discounted what you have written without reading it. In light of that, I have a valid question for you (you may have stated it time and again, but I missed it).

Can I assume that, for the most part, you would consider yourself an anarchist libertarian? I mean in general terms, not trying to put you in a box.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

chrisliv's picture

Sure,

Thanks for that. I too apologize for any terribly harsh statements that haven't helped to illuminate some truth or historical fact. We certainly don't have to agree on everything, and it's nice that we're having a friendly exchange.

Anarchist-Libertarian? Maybe in the same sense that the early Christians were. Or, maybe after the order of the somewhat more contemporary figures such as Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau, or Alexander Solzenitzen were.

"Anarchist" has a negative connotation. But the term itself only means to be free from overloads, i.e., self-government, which is really something that comes close to what Citizens of Christ's Kingdom are, since our Lord is invisible to the naked eye, even though His influence is not. And, I think, in the pure, theoretical sense, Christ was the quintissensial anarchist who rejected violence as a modus operandi for effecting positive change.

But, the typical 19th and 20th Century anarchists have a history of using violence for effecting their causes to subvert or destroy state structures or fictions. Of course, I reject violence as a means to an end. And, I also don't like the term "anarchy" because it is often used, wrongly, to describe "chaos".

Small "l" libertarian is a pretty good term and set of values.

Voluntatyists, as espoused by guys like Carl Watner are good too.

But, I suppose I'd describe myself as a Citizen of the preeminent Kingdom on Earth: Christ's. Or, relative to State predominance, I could call myself a non-racial, Christian Political Separatist, something not too different than existed in small pockets around the American Northeast in the 19th Century.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Ed's picture

Chris,
Yes, I didn't mean anarchist in the modern and perjorative sense. I was thinking anarchy from the self-governing definition.

Have you heard of Kevin Craig? You might enjoy his stuff. His websites are as follows:

Vine & Fig Tree http://members.aol.com/VFTINC/home/index.htm

and
The Christmas Conspiracy http://thechristmasconspiracy.com/

I'm not saying that you'd necessarily agree with everything, but I find many of your ideas to be somewhat similar.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

chrisliv's picture

Hey,

I don't think I know of him.

Thanks for information, though.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Ed's picture

I frequently see (and have used) the Romans 12 argument. One thing that we should consider in the debate as Preterists is that Paul was referring to the Roman authority in regards to God's using them to "punish the evildoer," i.e., apostate Israel. It was not necessarily a blanket endorsement of all gov't.

As Chrisliv has pointed out rightly, that same authority just a short while later turned its sword upon Christians. It was for that reason that God then overthrew Rome (as Empire).

But, at least in the destruction of Jerusalem, the Roman authority was God's Avenger - but only for a short while.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

chrisliv's picture

Hey,

Thanks, Ed.

Peace,
Christian

Ed's picture

Listen,
if we are going to get anywhere in these discussions, we have to be honest about our paradigms. I'm just trying my best to point out what I see as correct. Just because I disagree with a lot of what you write, it doesn't mean I disagree with it all - or even if I do disagree with it, doesn't mean I'm right, or that you are wrong.

And by the way - you're welcome.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Virgil's picture

Ed, the same authority of Nero that was killing Christians by the thousands? I really doubt that. It seems that Paul is speaking in general terms regarding governments.

Ed's picture

Virgil,
How could he speak in general terms, in exclusion to the Roman gov't? If he was speaking in general terms, what indicates that he wasn't speaking of Roman authority?

It doesn't make contextual sense: Paul tells the Romans to obey "the authorities over you." Who else would he mean but the Roman authority?

Don't get me wrong here - I still disagree with much of what Chris writes, I still think that God has placed human gov't over nations for His purposes. That may be good and that may be evil. Just as God used Rome and Babylon for evil against Israel, each time Israel experienced it, they deserved it. At no time did God's use of those evil gov'ts constitute an approval by God of their evil. In fact, we know from the Babylonian example that after God finished using them to punish Israel, He judged them for doing so.

It was the same with Rome. Rome fell apart not long after God used them in the DofJ.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Virgil's picture

Right, however the Roman empire worked very much at the local level through local governments that were native, just like Herod in Israel for example. They did the same in Tracia, where I am from, and throughout the rest of Europe. Also, keep in mind that the letter to the Romans also circulated outside of Rome - it was a letter to the "Romans" as much as it was a letter to gentiles.

JL's picture

And Romans was probably written before Nero took the throne and certainly before the persecutions started.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Virgil's picture

That's quite possible Jeff - this issue came up at our last Emergent meeting here where the issue of abusive governments came up in light of Paul's words. It certainly brought up some very good conversation :)

Sam's picture

once again, the argument turns into an "either/or" instead of an "and/both." Either Jesus is ONLY loving and has NO wrath, or, as I believe the Bible explicitly teaches, Jesus IS loving AND able to execute wrath on the ungodly. It's both.

Sam Frost

Virgil's picture

I don't think Ward did that at all - it seems like he recognized both aspects of Christ the king: judge and lover of mankind. They BOTH are valid aspects of who God is, yet Jesus did not say that JUDGMENT is the greatest...instead he said LOVE is the greatest quality. Can you explain why?

Sam's picture

Virgil,

I am careful about what words I use lately. I did not say, "Ward said..." I said "the arguement" (i.e., the posts). Of course love is the greatest. Love conquers all. Notice the phrase, though: love CONQUERS all. I am currently reading a book on non-violence (written by a Buddhist), and it cannot work because its first assumption is that "evil" and "sin" are not "real" but merely represent a deprivation of education. The Bible on the other hand, represents what is real...we must love at all costs, even our enemies, but there does come a time to kill (Ecclesiastes). The Bible gives us a perfect balance and God governs the whole world and all of its kingdoms with this balance. He is the Perfect Judge who sees all things.

Sam

Virgil's picture

Ah, what a coincidence...I am working on the same topic, nonviolence and pacifism :) We'll have to compare notes. And I agree with you regarding Buddhism, however at the same time I think most Christians can learn a little bit from Buddhists, considering they barely know anything about Biblical nonviolence.

- virgil

davo's picture

Virgil: …I think most Christians can learn a little bit from Buddhists…

Oops, there's another one for the dossier ;). Seriously though – the ultimate Love/Wrath scenario/exchange happened at the Cross where the wages of sin brought death, yet God's gift brought life – and all that through Jesus Christ.

davo

Virgil's picture

Well I see it past the cross as well being wrapped up at the fall of the Temple. I think there is definitely a marriage-like connection there, otherwise John wouldn't be using that language.

davo's picture

Well yes you are right -- specifically, I like describing it as how Max K expresses it, as "the Cross-Parousia event".

flannery0's picture

Of course it's both!

from the article:

"For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

It's all there--the judgment and the mercy.

Hey Sam. :)

Tami

Sam's picture

Tami,

You are silly and a woman, and you don't know what you are talking about. So there! Hi back at cha'!

Sam

Barry's picture

LOL ROFL
Barry

we are all in this together

KingNeb's picture

"You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Jason did not sin with his lips."

thereignofchrist.com

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Jesus' vengeance and wrath was upon the JEWS of His day, who totally rejected Him as their God and chose to serve Satan instead. I think this is where futurist so-called "ministers" and "preachers" go far astray contextually (as always) in their handling of Jesus' persona and approach to man.

The words of the "minister" in Ward's article reminded me of the spoof on Christ's second coming found at www.bettybowers.com. It's pretty funny as a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of futurist fundamentalism's view of Christ's Return someday soon.

Here's the link for those interested in some dark comedy - "The Payback of the Christ" - sequel to "The Passion of the Christ": http://www.bettybowers.com/payback.html

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