This post by Kurt Willems on the RedLetterChristians blog is what ought to be foremost on the minds and intentions of Christians, for after all, it is pretty clear that Jesus meant and took great pains to emphasize and preach OVER and OVER. Which is what makes it so baffling that so many â€œevangelicalâ€ (ie â€œGood News bearingâ€) Christians, many of whom proudly proclaim how they take the Bible seriously and often literally, can so completely miss this, or take great pains to separate these messages of Jesus into little grand justifications and arguments that require a tremendous amount of jumping through hoops to be â€œjustifiedâ€ in such a downplaying of such an emphasis. In fact, the amount of rationalization and â€œreinterpretationâ€ required to sufficiently de-construct these teachings of Jesus would be something for which they would cry bloody murder on their â€œliberalâ€ counterparts and pronounce them as enemies of a proper respect for Scripture.
In the past 10 years, Evangelicalsâ€™ reputation for militarism and killing has been at the forefront of public perception. Leaders in our movement condemned the actions of the terrorists (rightfully so) and then called for violent retribution. Jesus certainly was quick to â€œnameâ€ evil but NEVER gave permission to his followers to do anything but serve those who hate us. Worldly militaries function one way, Jesus followers function differently.
It is the powers that wield such a culturally persuasive force to enable such a serious acceptance of such otherwise questionable exegetical hermeneutics. The pressures that come to bear on those ideologies that threaten the ethic of Kingdoms presuming to rival that of the Kingdom of God (which is precisely what the whole idea of â€œkingdomâ€ was meant to be for Christians: to suggest that the worldly kingdom of state was not the ultimate power) — these pressures from the worldâ€™s kingdoms will offer their protection and ideological apologetic; ammunition in the form of a neutered gospel, and aid the spreading of such values by enlisting the ideological aid of popular theologies in order to secure â€œreligious zealâ€ as ally. The most often I hear is â€œthatâ€™s just the way the world worksâ€; basically claiming that the way of Jesus is â€œimpracticalâ€. â€œYouâ€™ll just end up dead by turning the other cheekâ€. What we end up with is the ultimate rejection of the ultimate authority as claimed by the Scriptures: Jesusâ€™s own message. Not the Bible or a particular hermeneutic or articulation, but the life and teaching of Jesus. And Jesus knew the ultimate failure of the worldâ€™s take on violence (which is an endless cycle that is in itself in need of redemption).