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July 24, 2013

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Eric H Janzen

I know this is a simplistic response (maybe), but as the Church--those called to follow Jesus--our paradigm is to be submitted to Christ's paradigm and not the other way around. If we are his disciples, then we obey his teachings. What does it matter if Church history at various points has decided that violence and war were acceptable? They were wrong. They wiggled themselves around Jesus' teachings on the centrality of Love, forgiveness, forgiveness of enemies, praying for those who persecute you, turning the other cheek...ignored the sermon on the mount etc.... That the Church has made these mistakes historically, certainly doesn't mean that we should. In fact, that is absurd...it is the proverbial 'would you jump off a bridge cause your friends did?'

What surprises me, as a confessed pacifist,is how many Christians, people professing faith in Jesus Christ and claiming to follow him, completely ignore his teaching on violence, forgiveness, and ultimately, Love, which is at the heart of the Gospel. You can't love your enemy whilst driving a sword through his gut...and when you choose to run him through with your sword, you've chosen to turn away from the Gospel and the Lord Jesus. Too harsh? Maybe, but doesn't the debate ultimately come to this point? Doesn't it bring us to a moment where we must ask this very question: If I choose violence and destroying my enemy over forgiving them and praying for them, am I abandoning my faith in Jesus Christ?

What say you?

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