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Tuesday, June 09, 2009
A wonderful outcome to the depraved action of a mentally ill man: Tiller's partial-birth abortion clinic is closing permanently!


Anonymous said...

So now that it has been demonstrated that the killing of the abortionist has produced the desired result of reducing the number of total abortions performed in a substantive way, do you agree with the murder?

I'm asking an honest question. Your previous denunciation of the murder of Tiller was based entirely on the premise that it would not bring about results. It now has brought about results. What then?

Darius said...

No, it was still wrong for his killer to take justice into his own hands. While it is nice to see this clinic close and perhaps save a few lives (like I said from the beginning his death might do), the net effect is still bad. See Doug Wilson's discussion on how vigilantism undermines the rule of law...

Furthermore, as Operation Rescue correctly pointed out in that article, there were legal methods in the works to shut down Tiller's killing machine within the next couple months.

Anonymous said...

But how can you prove that the net effect of violence is unsuccessful?
Tiller himself said that he was one of only 3 doctors in the US who performed late term abortions. And in fact, many people on the side of abortion rights admit that violence against abortionists IS working to reduce abortions. See:

Do you think that Jesus would justify his actions based on the net effect? If God is truly sovereign, how can you base your morality on the perceived outcome of your actions?

Darius said...

First of all, please leave your name. I don't like debating anonymous people...

Secondly, I believe the pro-abortion people like you linked to above are quite wrong on the cause for the decline in abortions. If one looks at the polls, it's undeniable that Americans have become significantly more pro-life in the last 15 years. See:

Either way, that's beside the point. The net effect of Tiller's murder is to undermine the rule of law in a society that still favors mass killing of unborn children.

Anyway, that last question is a good one. Thankfully, I believe God answered it when He was conversing with Abraham regarding Sodom (Gen. 18:22-33). Or even more explicitly in Gen. 50:20.

Obviously, humans don't know the outcome like God does, but we can use our God-given discernment to estimate it. Are you saying that you would not lie to a Nazi soldier looking for Jews even though you knew that lying would likely lead to the saving of the Jewish lives you were protecting? I am certain that you don't actually live in the manner for which you are arguing.

Are you in favor of a deontological ethic? It seems quite clear from Scripture that God denies such a view. Actions aren't good in themselves; the intent and outcome plays a significant role. For example, as I've mentioned above, one can lie and be morally right, while someone could tell the truth and be morally wrong. Or look at the NT where Jesus condemns the Pharisees for giving with bad hearts. The giving was a good thing (commanded by God, in fact), but they were still morally wrong.

I'm not a strict consequentialist, but I do believe that consequences to one's actions impact their moral rightness.

Chris A said...

This guy from my church claims to have met Tiller a couple of years ago. I think its possible that he is mistaken, but I don't think he's lying. I asked him if he shared any of his views about abortion, and he said no but they did talk about the Bible.

Mike said...

I think you disproved your own point. Jesus denounced the Pharisees for their heart, not for the results of their actions. In fact, their actions surely had a positive result (more money for the poor), but that didn't matter to Jesus.

As far as lying to Nazi's, I would hold to a Bonhoeffer's view of truth. I.E. the truth of a particular statement cannot be divorced from it's context.

No, I am not arguing for a deontological ethic. I am arguing for a Christological ethic. You stated that the murder of the abortionist is wrong because it is an ineffective way of combating abortion. I think you're wrong that it's ineffective, but I also think that your foundational argument is wrong. Our ethic should be based on Christ, not utilitarianism. Christ said to love your enemies. Christ said to turn the other cheek.

The example of the cross is absolutely and finally normative for our ethic as Christians. We are called to follow Christ in non-violently resisting evil.

Darius said...

I'm not viewing Tiller as MY enemy. He was the enemy of the unborn. It's about protecting innocent life, not Matthew 5 enemy love. Therein lies the confusion...

Interesting that you would mention Bonhoeffer, as he obviously realized that non-violence has its limits and doesn't apply to all situations at all times.

Mike said...

Your reckless abandonment of the only ethic that Jesus taught is troubling. It's a slippery slope that leads to the complete abandonment of Christ's teachings.

Show me another option that Jesus presented other than non-violence? Or show me how Jesus doesn't matter, because you have to prove one of those.

Chris A said...

My previous comment was about Tiller's killer and not Tiller himself. I got confused.

Up until now, I haven't given my opinion about the murder, mostly because I know I might be wrong. But I look at it like this: Remember in Unforgiven when, after killing those guys, the kid says, "Well, I guess he had it comin' to him for what he done to them women" or something like that?

Then Eastwood goes, "We all got it comin' to us, kid."

And then when Eastwood is about to smoke Gene Hackman, Hackman says, "I don't deserve die like this!"

Eastwood replies, "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." Man, that's cold! And he's looking him right into his eyes and then smokes him.

Apart from Christ, we all have it coming to us. We have received mercy because Christ died in the place of the ungodly, and we have received him. Even with Christ, if we sin, we will be judged unless we judge ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:31). A man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6:7).

So the way I look at it, that doctor got what was coming to him, and the killer will get what is coming to him. But God is merciful, and that dude is obviously mentally ill. If God doesn't get him, the state will. Either way justice wins out because God is just.

Keep in mind, I'm speaking of judgment in the general sense.

Darius said...

Obviously, you read the Sermon on the Mount quite literally. I don't. I see it as serving several purposes.

One, to show the true holiness of God and how hopeless it is for Jews (or anyone) to get to heaven via their works (Matt 5:20). Remember the context into which Jesus was speaking... the Pharisees were teaching the Jews that they had to follow thousands of different rules to get to heaven. Jesus says "yeah, that's true. Not only that, but you have to follow them perfectly and beyond the compromised rules set out for you by God in the days of Moses." I think Christians find it easy to forget just how depressing that sermon would have been to its hearers. In one aspect, Christ meant it to be depressing, so that people would stop working for heaven and just put their faith in Him.

A second purpose for that Sermon was to provide a clearer ethic of living for His followers and to show them God's heart behind the laws. God doesn't just care about your actions, He desires a good heart.

That said, I also read it much like I read Proverbs: general moral statements which aren't absolute. Just as it is not true that sinners are always poor and the righteous always rich (Proverbs 13:21), it is also not true that everyone who ever says "You fool!" is in danger of hell (or Jesus himself was close to being damned for how he talked to the Pharisees). Nor did Jesus literally want you to gouge out your eyes if you were struggling with lust. It is a general principle that Jesus is getting at that we need to recognize. Don't be quick to anger, don't lash out in retaliation toward those who want to take advantage of you, don't road rage, CARE about your holiness.

When we turn Jesus' sermon into a litany of laws, we discover a new form of legalism. Every situation is different. In some cases, the best thing you can do is give someone money if they ask. But that's not all cases. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a beggar out to eat rather than give them the money they are asking for. By your reading of the text, we shouldn't be that discerning; we should just blindly follow the words on the page without understanding the spirit behind them.

Lastly, the God of the Old Testament (who in my opinion is EXACTLY the same God as seen in Jesus) was clearly quite in favor of the protection of innocent life. I get my ethic from the WHOLE of Scripture, not just those verses which fit it best.

Darius said...

That said, Chris makes a good clarification. I may indeed be wrong (and I'll find out in the next life). And I'm definitely not saying that one should be quick to shed blood. I would repeat Tolkien's wise words (via Gandalf's mouth): "Many that deserve life deserve death. And sine that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death and judgment."

That's not saying that there isn't a place for death and judgment, but only that we should not be very willing to exact it on another, and never without significant amount of prayer and conflicted thought (assuming the situation allows). Bonhoeffer is a good example of this; he was quite conflicted on what his role should be in fighting Hitler.

Thank God, but I doubt any of us will ever have such a situation.

Darius said...

Oops, "sine" should be "some."

Mike said...

It's a straw man argument to say that pacifists don't believe in protecting innocent life. We just have to be more creative about it.

Call it fulfillment, replacement, whatever, but Jesus obviously supersedes the OT. And the entirety of his ministry calls for an ethic of non-violence. And almost every single NT writer calls on Christians to look to the cross as our example for Christian life. This is clearly taken from more than a couple verses.

No one disputed a non-violent ethic as the ONLY way to be a Christian until Constantine. Period. Whenever possible, defer to the early church.

Darius said...

And yet Jesus HIMSELF said that not one dot above an i in Scripture would disappear. So, if we recognize that God doesn't want us to just throw aside His ENTIRE Scriptures when they don't suit our tastes, then we have to deal with what He said to Noah. And He said that anyone who kills another person shall lose their life. He also repeatedly indicated an ethic that showed a true care for innocent life.

Mike said...

So why did the early church adopt a non-violent ethic? Maybe you aren't interpreting Jesus properly.

D.J. Williams said...

Just wanted to say that as an observer, I'm really enjoying this discussion. Keep it up.

Darius said...

Regarding the early church... I see a distinct difference between enemy love and defense of innocent life. The early church was a community which could have had little effect on government policy (until Constantine) or done anything to save innocent life. But they dealt with persecution all the time...

Jesus didn't seem to have a problem with the Roman centurion. In fact, that man more than any other impressed Him. And note that He didn't say "go and sin no more" like He told the adulteress. The centurion would have gone away more confirmed than ever in his job... the God of the universe just said that he was awesome! Christianity isn't about a new set of rules, it's about faith. And that faith shows itself in an ethic that defends life and loves enemies.

Mike said...

Jesus' silence about the centurion's profession tells us nothing. It's a complete argumentative fallacy - the argument from silence. The centurion had an allegiance to the kingdom of Caesar and he gives Jesus (at least in the text) NO indication that he is interested in changing his allegiance to the kingdom of God. The simple fact of the matter is that we don't even know if the centurion became a believer in YHWH. The most probable scenario is that he saw Jesus as a miracle worker and had faith that Jesus, as a miracle worker, could save his servant. The centurion's "faith" should not be seen as "saving faith." Jesus was simply shaming the Jews that were following him.

Jesus didn't inaugurate his own Kingdom until later. And Jesus himself said that his ministry was the Jews and it was going to be the disciples job to expand the kingdom to the gentiles.

Let me quote from a friends blog:

"All of that said, the likeliest reason Jesus does not give the centurion a good lecturing is that the centurion was not there to be lectured at. If we follow Luke’s account of the meeting, the centurion was not even present at the discussion; he had sent messengers to Jesus to speak on his behalf. According to the nonpacifist reading, then, if Jesus were against militaristic violence, he would have had to relay the message through the centurion’s servants, something like this:
Tell your master his request is granted, and while you’re at it, tell him he ought to resign from the military immediately. If he asks why, tell him that I am the Hebrew Messiah, and that I’ve come to show the way of nonviolent servanthood and suffering. If your master has any further questions, come find me, and I will be happy to speak with him face to face. If I am no longer in Capernaum, I will probably be in Nain. After that, I don’t know for sure. Luke doesn’t really say."

There are all kinds of things in the Bible that you could argue for if you use the argument from silence. I don't think I need to list that many, but we could start with Polygamy and you could even argue that human sacrifice is acceptable to God, because in certain places it isn't specifically condemned by the narrative.

Mike said...

Let me shift the conversation to some other more explicit verses in favor of non-violence. I urge you to look at these verses honestly. Not merely as whimsical platitudes, but as verses that are meant to be formative to us as christians in our ethics. I understand that this is radical to us as 21st century christians, but go with me for a bit.

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world…. I urge you to imitate me. (1 Cor 4:11-13, 16)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. (2 Cor 4:7-11)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:3-4)

I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Pet. 3:9-17)

Darius said...

Fair enough about the argument from silence... that is possible. However, let me point out a couple bad errors in your (or your friend's) reading of the text.

We know plenty about the centurion's faith, and it appears quite possible to be a saving faith. For example, he calls Jesus "Lord." The Greek word here is kurios, which comes from kuros, meaning supremacy. This is a term that the centurion would have also used if he spoke to Caesar. So it's pretty clear that he gives his allegiance to Jesus (at the very least, temporarily) by calling Him "master."

He also shows that he views Jesus as more than just a Hebrew "miracle worker" when he sends word to Jesus that he didn't come to Him in person because he wasn't worthy to speak to Jesus face-to-face (again, something he would never say if he thought Jesus was just a scummy Jewish miracle worker. He also recognizes that Jesus has all authority over the physical world in his military analogy. If that's not saving faith, then I don't know what is.

"And Jesus himself said that his ministry was the Jews and it was going to be the disciples job to expand the kingdom to the gentiles."

Yes, but whenever a Gentile came to Him in faith, He showed them the Kingdom (by way of His healing power).

Darius said...

Thanks for the verses. I affirm them all. I believe one can live according to those words AND defend life, even with violence if necessary. The verses you've quoted apply to how we treat our enemies. A man beating up a child in the street is not my enemy (at least, not in that situation), the child is the one needing to be defended. As a Christian, God would want me to do whatever possible (hopefully the bare minimum) to stop the abuse. If, however, that same man were to walk up to me and ask me for my money and punch me, I would be compelled by Christ not to resist him. Give him my money with a bloody smile, tell him that I will pray for him, and wish God's blessings on his life. Not an easy thing to do, of course, but that's the Christian ethic.

Mike said...

I don't understand why not killing someone is such a tough burden to bear. Of course we are called to defend the innocent. But you seemingly just ignore the plethora of verses that call on us to overcome evil with good.
It seems totally disingenuous to me for you to get around loving your enemies by claiming a defense of the innocent clause.

Let's follow your argument. Let's say you kill someone in "defense of the innocent". Are you saying that you killed someone that was NOT your enemy? What does that mean? You killed your ally? That doesn't even make sense.

I say again. Why is it such a burden to think that overcoming the world with good doesnt include killing the world?

Darius said...

Okay, let me put it another way. How is it loving to the innocent child to let him get beat up or murdered? Or how is it loving to millions of innocent lives to allow Hitler to live instead of assassinating him? We're called to love everyone, not just enemies. In some cases, that might involve violence toward a third party (though hopefully not lethal in nature if at all possible). Why do we have to read Jesus' words so literally and legalistically? If our Lord was anything, He was not literal or legalistic. Can't we leave certain situations as exceptions to the proverbial spirit behind enemy love?

Mike said...

Back to the centurion. A quick little search on what else is involved with being a centurion in the Roman empire brings up these things: slavery, emperor worship, idolatry, the ideology of Pax Romana, adultery, torture (including crucifixion!), and likely many more things. Jesus did not condemn any of those activities which were all a part of being a centurion. Does that mean that Jesus approved of all of them? You can't select one aspect the centurion's lifestyle and say that Jesus approves of it and reject all the rest.

Also, I disagree with your exegesis of kurios. BDAG gives several definitions for kurios:
"1. one who is in charge by virtue of possession. 2. one who is in a position of authority."

You could argue that it means what you say in certain contexts, but I think you would be hard pressed to say that it means that he saw Jesus as on the same level as Ceasar. You're reading way too much into that word. And once again, it's an argument from silence.

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

I don't intend to be insulting, but really? Your argument now consists of saying, "let's not be legalistic?" I don't see how following the teachings of almost every NT writer is being legalistic.

I say again, why does defense of the innocent have to include violence? Can we not overcome evil with good? Are you so uncreative that violence is the only method that you think works? THAT seems to be buying into the world's ways.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:3-4)

Darius said...

Re: centurion. That "job description" you gave wasn't mandatory, outside of perhaps emperor worship. But the OT tells us that God understands the difference between worship and honor. See the end of the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 for more on this. Similarly, I am certain God has no problem with a Christian saying the Pledge of Allegiance (1 Peter 2:17, Romans 13:7).

It was possible to have been a moral and God-fearing centurion.

Darius said...

"THAT seems to be buying into the world's ways."

Actually, isn't it now the world's way to ignore evil or allow it to prosper? It's pretty much only Christians in the Western world who believe that violence still solves things.

Mike said...

Here are some quotes from the early church:

Justin (circa AD 160):
We will not ask you to punish our accusers. Their present wickedness is sufficient punishment. (1.165).
We who formerly murdered one another now refrain from making war even upon our enemies. (1.176)
We used to be filled with war, mutual slaughter, and every kind of wickedness. However, now all of us have, throughout the whole earth, changed our warlike weapons. We have changed our swords into plowshares, and our spears into farming implements. (1.254)

Clement of Alexandria:
Christians are not allowed to use violence to correct the delinquencies of sins. (2.581)
If you enroll as one of God’s people, heaven is your country and God your lawgiver. And what are his laws? … Thou shalt not kill…. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. To him that strikes thee on the one cheek, turn also the other. (Protrepticus X)
If the loud trumpet summons soldiers to war, shall not Christ with a strain of peace to the ends of the earth gather up his soldiers of peace? A bloodless army he has assembled by blood and by the word, to give to them the Kingdom of Heaven. The trumpet of Christ is his gospel. He has sounded, we have heard. Let us then put on the armor of peace. (Protrepticus XI/116)

Mike said...

I think you are misreading 1 Peter and Romans if you think that God is ok with you pledging your allegiance to any social order other than the Kingdom of God. But that's a rabbit trail. Let's focus on violence.

Mike said...

I dont understand why you say,
"It's pretty much only Christians in the Western world who believe that violence still solves things."

But you still seem unable to eliminate your option to use violence?

Darius said...

Well, this is getting far afield of the original discussion (or maybe not), but does that mean that Christians should never support war? I assume that you would say yes. I don't see how one can "creatively" save lives against the Stalins or Bin Ladens of the world except by violence...

I also assume you're a disciple of Shane Claiborne... am I right, Stephen... er, Mike? :)

Darius said...

"But you still seem unable to eliminate your option to use violence?"

Cause I don't see that a viable option, nor one required of Christians.

Mike said...

Here is a statement from Origen directly forbidding violence in the defense of one's family:
The statement [of Celsus] is false “that in the days of Jesus, others who were Jews rebelled against the Jewish state and became his followers.” For neither Celsus, nor those who think like him, are able to point out any act on the part of Christians that hints of rebellion. In fact, if a revolt had led to the formation of the Christian commonwealth, the Christian Lawgiver would not have altogether forbidden the putting of men to death. So it could not have derived its existence in such a way from the Jews. For they were permitted to take up arms in defense of the members of their families and to slay their enemies. Yet, Christ nowhere teaches that it is right for his own disciples to offer violence to anyone, no matter how wicked. For he did not consider it to be in accord with his laws to allow the killing of any individual whomever. For his laws were derived from a divine source. Indeed, if the Christians truly owed their origin to a rebellion, they would not have adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character. For their laws do not allow them on any occasion to resist their persecutors, even when it was their fate to be slain as sheep. (4.467)

Mike said...

Never read any Claiborne. Definitely agree with most of the writings of John Howard Yoder. But absolutely I agree that Christians are never called to participate in killing no matter what the reason. That includes capital punishment and especially war. And that position was the normative position of every major early church writer until Constantine polluted the church.

If you don't think that the church can operate without the use of violence, I don't know that we have enough common ground to continue this discussion.

And I'm not suggesting that non-violence is something that the whole world can and should adopt, I'm suggesting that the church can should adopt it, especially since no one else will.

Mike said...

What do you think DJ? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Darius said...

"If you don't think that the church can operate without the use of violence, I don't know that we have enough common ground to continue this discussion."

I think as a rule, the Church can operate without violence. But the occasional Bonhoeffers are okay in my view.

"And I'm not suggesting that non-violence is something that the whole world can and should adopt, I'm suggesting that the church can should adopt it, especially since no one else will."

Okay, then you would probably not agree with Claiborne. He's a pacifist who believes that the world governments should adopt pacifistic policies.

Darius said...

Yeah, DJ or Chris, any thoughts?

On a side note, "Mike," have we "met" on another blog before? From wither dost thou come, so to speak? :)

Mike said...

Let me interject one more thing in here. I make ZERO claims about the practicality or utilitarian benefit of non-violence. While some (notably Ghandi and MLK) have argued for non-violence as the most effective means of promoting their cause, I disagree. I think the history of the world proves that violence works.

But that doesn't really matter for us as Christians right? We arent called to what works. We are called to be faithful to the mission of Jesus. That is, the mission of the cross. The cross includes suffering and dying.

I am a pacifist purely for christological reasons. Even if that includes dying early. Christological pacifism ONLY makes sense in light of the resurrection. As Paul says, if there is no resurrection we are to be most pitied!

Mike said...

I may have gotten a little too passionate under a different pseudonym before and wanted these thoughts to be taken at their face... :)

Are you going to interact with the early church fathers?

Darius said...

Thanks for that clarification, Mike. You would definitely differ from some of the other "Christian" pacifists I've heard of. Ones like Claiborne claim that pacifism is effective, just rarely tried. In some cases, I think that's true. But on the macro level, as a line from the great movie "Dark Knight" put it, "some people just want to watch the world burn."

That said, I think effectiveness matters to God. He's a rational God wanting BOTH faith AND fruit, not just pious people watching the world burn while we play with our "farming implements." He wouldn't tell us to put out a forest fire by pouring gasoline on the flames. So, yes, in many cases (especially on the individual level), enemy love looks like Matthew 5. But in other cases (most notably Bonhoeffer and Hitler), enemy love takes the form of assassination (as it loves the lives of other non-Christians who, in a sense, are also our enemies).

Darius said...

"I may have gotten a little too passionate under a different pseudonym before and wanted these thoughts to be taken at their face..."

Fair enough, that's reasonable.

Darius said...

There, I got rid of that accursed word verification box...

Darius said...

The early church fathers have limited authority in my view, since they were wrong about many things (not to get into that issue, but Origen himself mentioned that paedobaptism was a tradition within the early Church). In fact, Arianism almost won out as the orthodox position. Anything outside of the Bible is suspect and, while informative, has to be read through the lens of Scripture.

Mike said...

Obviously I agree with scripture as normative. When the fathers and the Bible disagree, you should go with the Bible. But this is an interpretation issue. Would you merely dismiss, with the wave of your hand, the interpretive tradition of the entirety of the early church fathers (who btw wrote before the canon was finalized)?
They in no way contradict scripture on this issue. You just disagree with their interpretation.

Mike said...

Quick question here. Your argument about effectiveness seems irrelevant to me in this discussion.
Let's assume for a minute that I'm right, that Jesus and the NT call Christians to non-violence. And let's also assume that non-violence is not the most effective means of combating evil. Are you saying we should abandon what Jesus taught because it isn't effective? Are we or are we not called to suffer persecution for doing good?

If you truly don't believe that non-violence is a viable option, then I sincerely question your belief in the sovereignty of God.

Darius said...

Maybe so.

Practically speaking, it is rather unlikely that I will be faced with the exceptions I've mentioned. In the potential case of happening upon an assault of an innocent person in progress, how would you recommend acting while staying true to the rubric you've set out above?

Instead, it is much more likely that I will have ample opportunity in the future of employing Matthew 5 enemy love (I've already had plenty of opportunities to do so in the past). And in regard to those situations, I completely affirm your view that Christians should adopt such a mentality (if they haven't already) when faced with enemies of all sorts. Particularly, as you mentioned above, because the world will not. The world is full of road ragers.

Darius said...

"Are you saying we should abandon what Jesus taught because it isn't effective?"

Nope, definitely not. But it should make us wonder if we're misunderstanding or misapplying His Word if we're ineffective.

"If you truly don't believe that non-violence is a viable option, then I sincerely question your belief in the sovereignty of God."

In that case, if you're ever stranded on the roof of your house during a flood and a boat comes by picking up people, I hope you turn it down because that would show a lack of faith in God's sovereignty. :) I believe that in some cases, God sends a boat (or a Bonhoeffer) to perform His sovereign will. Note that I am not saying that non-violence is never an option. It usually is the only option. I just want you to agree that in some cases, it isn't an option.

Mike said...

I a little confused how not killing someone is analogous to getting on a rescue boat.

Darius said...

I was a little confused how saying that non-violence may not be the best option in some cases was questioning the sovereignty of God. Are you saying that if we see a person being assaulted, we should just trust God that He'll somehow protect that person or maybe He'll choose to send someone along to help him out? Maybe a good Samaritan, perhaps? Maybe you're that good Samaritan God chose to send, just like the rescue boat is God's method of getting you off that roof.

Mike said...

Because I believe that non-violence is an absolute standard that Jesus has called us to. You are saying that it isn't effective, so non-violence is wrong on a utilitarian basis.
I therefore question whether you believe that God could accomplish His goals IF he has called us to that absolute standard.

So let me rephrase it. IF God has called us to non-violence in every situation even if it isn't the most effective option, is that what we should do?

Darius said...

IF God has called us to non-violence in every situation even if it isn't the most effective option, is that what we should do?

Most definitely.

Mike said...

THEN the effectiveness of the ethic has no bearing on whether it is what Jesus has called us to.

Chris A said...

Wow, guys. Are you exhausted yet?

I just wanted to make a comment about the centurion. I don't think his faith was "saving faith" and neither do I think Jesus was shaming his followers. However, Jesus did allude to the fact that Gentiles would be saved (Matthew 8:11).

The centurion's revelation of Jesus was related to his understanding of how kingdom's operate. Jesus and his disciples both preached the Kingdom of God, and it seems obvious from the centurion's comments that his faith was based on kingdom principles. Directly after his conversation with the centurion, Jesus transitions into speaking about the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 8:

5And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

6And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

7And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

9For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

10When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

11And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »