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October 27, 2023


Ellen Haroutunian

Ken, this is brilliant and beautiful. It’s how I have imagined it. This is what it means to truly be in Christ and in one another.

Bradley Jersak

I wouldn't accept the premise of your question: that it's simply a pacifist position or that it involves giving up agency. I'll come back to that in a moment. First to your excellent question:

The passage you raised largely exegetes itself with Matthew's help. Why go buy a couple of swords? He tells us: to fulfill the Scriptures: so that when arrested, "he would be numbered with transgressors." Note that having the sword identifies them as transgressors. And having fulfilled that prophecy, Jesus immediately rebukes Peter for drawing the sword. "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword." The Christians of the first three centuries uniformly received this as a universal prohibition from the use of violence.

Back to your premises. Pacifism is an ideology of peace. One need not be a Christian to be a pacifist. The issue is about following Jesus in voluntarily laying down our lives for the other. One never needs a weapon to lay down one's own life, but it absolutely requires a voluntary act of cruciform conviction, the very highest use of agency.

Dan Bettle

The pacifist view you reviewed here is, indeed, frequently argued and has persuasive power with those who are willing to give up agency because the burden of carrying it is too great.

Please exegete for me Luke 22.35-38. DB

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