Saturday, January 20, 2007

From the Scripture

I tried to post some scripture on the RWC blog but they censored me. So I'll post it up here:

Wealth

"Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
--Matthew 19:24

"It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
--Mark 10:25

"It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried."
--Luke 16:22

Violence

And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
--Luke 6:29

"You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
--Matthew 5:43-48

I'm going to try to expose conservatives to the words of God more on the internet. It seems to make them uncomfortable.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Censored? I'd hardly say that approving 2 out of 3 of your comments was censoring. You seem to have a bug up your ass about my blog and trying to lay a guilt trip on me by quoting Bible verses. I fail to understand what the relevance of this is so I approved only the comments that I believed were relevant. Since all of you comments were in the same general genre that's what happened,

Reading YOUR blog has brought me to an understanding that you know much less than you profess. You may want to read the following concerning your depiction that Jesus is a pacifist and that everyone who belives in his gift of eternal life believe what you seem to. Let's see now if participate if censorship yourself...


"TURN THE OTHER CHEEK" ALWAYS? It is true that Jesus said to turn the other cheek in Matthew 5:38-42. However, many scholars do not believe pacifism (or nonresistance) is the essential point of His teaching in this passage. These scholars do not believe Jesus was teaching to "turn the other cheek" in virtually all circumstances. Even Christ did not literally turn the other cheek when smitten by a member of the Sanhedrin (see John 18:22-23).

The backdrop to this teaching is that the Jews considered it an insult to be hit in the face, much in the same way that we would interpret someone spitting in our face. Bible scholar R. C. Sproul comments: "What's interesting in the expression is that Jesus specifically mentions the right side of the face [Matthew 5:39]....If I hit you on your right cheek, the most normal way would be if I did it with the back of my right hand....To the best of our knowledge of the Hebrew language, that expression is a Jewish idiom that describes an insult, similar to the way challenges to duels in the days of King Arthur were made by a backhand slap to the right cheek of your opponent."

The principle taught in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:38-42 would thus seem to be that Christians should not retaliate when insulted or slandered (see also Romans 12:17-21). Such insults do not threaten a Christian's personal safety. The question of rendering insult for insult, however, is a far cry from defending oneself against a mugger or a rapist.

In terms of following Christ's example, one must remember that His personal nonresistance at the cross was intertwined with His unique calling. He did not evade His arrest because it was God's will for Him to fulfill His prophetic role as the redemptive Lamb of God (Matthew 26:52-56). During His ministry, however, He refused to be arrested because God's timing for His death had not yet come (John 8:59). Thus, Christ's unique nonresistance during the Passion does not mandate against self-protection.

THE BIBLICAL CASE FOR SELF-DEFENSE. It is noteworthy that the Bible records many accounts of fighting and warfare. The providence of God in war is exemplified by His name YHWH Sabaoth ("The LORD of hosts"--Exodus 12:41). God is portrayed as the omnipotent Warrior-Leader of the Israelites. God, the LORD of hosts, raised up warriors among the Israelites called the shophetim (savior-deliverers). Samson, Deborah, Gideon, and others were anointed by the Spirit of God to conduct war. The New Testament commends Old Testament warriors for their military acts of faith (Hebrews 11:30-40). Moreover, it is significant that although given the opportunity to do so, none of the New Testament saints--nor even Jesus--are ever seen informing a military convert that he needed to resign from his line of work (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 3:14).

Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus revealed to His disciples the future hostility they would face and encouraged them to sell their outer garments in order to buy a sword (Luke 22:36-38; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26-27). Here the "sword" (Greek: maxairan) is a dagger or short sword that belonged to the Jewish traveler's equipment as protection against robbers and wild animals. A plain reading of the passage indicates that Jesus approved of self-defense.

Self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love. Christ Himself said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:14). When protecting one's family or neighbor, a Christian is unselfishly risking his or her life for the sake of others.

Theologians J. P. Moreland and Norman Geisler say that "to permit murder when one could have prevented it is morally wrong. To allow a rape when one could have hindered it is an evil. To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is morally inexcusable. In brief, not resisting evil is an evil of omission, and an evil of omission can be just as evil as an evil of commission. Any man who refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails them morally."

Anonymous said...

Hi, back again.

Attending a Universalist Church and lending credibility to it as an alternative to a Christian Church you can hardly be qualified to quote from a Bible that Universalists don't seem to take seriously. This church is a false religion and diverting others from the true Church based in Jesus Christ.

A Unitarian Universalist approach to the Christian Bible and other sacred works is given by the UUA:

We do not, however, hold the Bible - or any other account of human experience - to be either an infallible guide or the exclusive source of truth. Much biblical material is mythical or legendary. Not that it should be discarded for that reason! Rather, it should be treasured for what it is. We believe that we should read the Bible as we read other books - with imagination and a critical eye. We also respect the sacred literature of other religions. Contemporary works of science, art, and social commentary are valued as well. We hold, in the words of an old liberal formulation, that "revelation is not sealed." Unitarian Universalists aspire to truth as wide as the world - we look to find truth anywhere, universally.

undergroundman said...

Thank you for presenting an argument! :)

Even Christ did not literally turn the other cheek when smitten by a member of the Sanhedrin (see John 18:22-23).

"...one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying, "Is that the way You answer the high priest? Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong, but if rightly, why do you strike me?"

That's the whole of that. No striking back. I fail to see how that helps your argument. Your argument is essentially that some scholars have tried to weasel out of the commandment; thus, it's invalid. I don't see how you can conclude that.

The backdrop to this teaching is that the Jews considered it an insult to be hit in the face, much in the same way that we would interpret someone spitting in our face.

OK. How do you respond to the mandate directly following that:

"And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also." Following that: "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." (Matthew 5:42)



The principle taught in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:38-42 would thus seem to be that Christians should not retaliate when insulted or slandered (see also Romans 12:17-21).


No. That could be the gist of 39, but not 40-42. What's your argument against those? Also, why is your website so insulting to non-Christians/liberals if think Jesus is telling you not to insult people? That's what I really want to know.

During His ministry, however, He refused to be arrested because God's timing for His death had not yet come (John 8:59). Thus, Christ's unique nonresistance during the Passion does not mandate against self-protection.

He ran away from people who were throwing stones at him. How that translates into self-defense is beyond me. Certainly, run from those who would kill you -- but kill them? Show me the verse.

In terms of following Christ's example, one must remember that His personal nonresistance at the cross was intertwined with His unique calling.

I'd be fine if you simply followed what he directly commanded his followers to do. If you can find a reasonable case for self-defense, fine (yours wasn't reasonable). Regardless, he said that you should give to those who steal from you -- period.

The New Testament commends Old Testament warriors for their military acts of faith (Hebrews 11:30-40).

Commends them for their faith. Now, if you truly have faith, why do not do as Jesus asks? Why do you question him? Why do you listen to scholars who try to weasel people away from his mandates? (Ever heard of Kierkegaard?)

Also, the idea that all books of the Bible are equally valid is quite strange. Never does Jesus say that. If you truly want to be a Christian, I urge you to look to Jesus' words and example first and foremost.

Christ Himself said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:14). When protecting one's family or neighbor, a Christian is unselfishly risking his or her life for the sake of others.

Quite a radical interpretation of John 15:13, in which Christ is discussing his and their impending death in a "world chich hates you" because "you are not of this world." It is ironic because you right-wingers are so obsessed with being of the world while Christianity is about the opposite - giving up materialism.

By the way, I was disappointed that you'd copied and pasted nearly of your stuff from here: http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/qselfdefense.html

Nevertheless, I hope we can both do some rational thinking. You can start by explaining the vicious insults on your website.

undergroundman said...

(Though I might add that I enjoy your website immensely and will likely order a fair amount of shirts from there.) :)

undergroundman said...

One doesn't have to be a Christian to be able to read and interpret the Bible. That argument doesn't make sense. I did, however, attend a Protestant Christian School from 1st grade to 8th grade. I got my fair share of theology. My parents are Christians. (Though at least my Dad is willing to admit that believing in Christ is not a rational choice. It is a faith-based choice, entirely contrary to reason.)

By the way, one can believe in Christ and his teachings and at the same time hold that the Bible is not God's Word.

Anonymous said...

I never claimed that the quoted material was original. I don't have the time to type out long exposes...

Good talking to you.