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09 August 2006

The Cross And The Switchblade












"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, what we need to do is take the battle to the Muslim heathens and do unto them before they do unto us. Strike first, strike hard, no mercy sir. Freedom isn't free. These colors don't run. God bless America." (Matthew 5:38-42, NIV)

(h/t: Stuff I Notice)

Comments on "The Cross And The Switchblade"

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/09/2006 06:02:00 PM) : 

Boooo-Yah!

seriously, though. do you think there's ever a case for a justifiable war? your thoughts...

 

Blogger Spoke said ... (8/09/2006 08:20:00 PM) : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 

Blogger Spoke said ... (8/09/2006 08:26:00 PM) : 

uuuummmmmmmm, yea.

 

Blogger Monk-in-Training said ... (8/09/2006 08:41:00 PM) : 

John of the Cross wrote in one of his letters,

"Have a special love for those who do not love you, for that is how God loves us and gives us his Spirit so that we may love that way, too."

The first thing I thought of was modern, American Chrisitanity, and our reaction to those who hate us among the Islamic world. Let me see, what is it that Jesus said?

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:44-43
"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"

Seems St. John of the Cross is getting it more right than those who populate the Churches of this land. How I wonder could things have been different. Instead of throngs of Muslims surging through the cities of various countries screaming their anger and hatred at us, could love have changed things somehow?

 

Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (8/09/2006 10:48:00 PM) : 

NIV? Non-Inspired Version?

 

Blogger Marcguyver said ... (8/10/2006 02:15:00 AM) : 

Wasp, I have to admit your 'expository' was quite humoring. However, what do you think of David giving glory to God because he was able to literally hunt down his enemies and show them no mercy?

Surely we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Believe me, it's downright one of the hardest things I've ever done. BUT...I'm certainly not going to let someone stomp my head in, rape my wife, blow up my local supermarket, or murder innocent civilians just because I'm a "Christian" and the "Jesus thing to do" would be to simply beg them to stop. Surely that is ABSURD at best and defies all common sense.

 

Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (8/10/2006 07:25:00 AM) : 

"BUT...I'm certainly not going to let someone stomp my head in, rape my wife..."

Marc, we've had this conversation before (and excuse me for fielding this, WJ), I honestly wonder why you would keep repeating this excuse (and that's what the above is: An excuse for those who embrace violence-as-solution).

No one, no one, NO ONE is advocating standing by and letting bad guys rape puppies and punch babies. No one is saying that we ought to do nothing. No ONE.

What most peacemakers are saying is that we will not embrace violence against innocents as a means of stopping evil. To do so would be to embrace evil to stop evil and that's a ridiculous notion, wouldn't you agree?

Would I stop the granny-rapist? Yes.

Would I drop a bomb on his house in order to stop him? NO.

People use this excuse ("Well, it would be wrong to do nothing! So I must be right in doing what I'm doing.") in order to excuse the sin of violence against innocent people.

Have you ever heard of a pacifist or a Just Peacemaker condemn the child who shot his attacker, not knowing what else to do? No. You haven't. That's because no one is advocating "doing nothing."

To repeat this again Marc, would just seem to be a lie on your part when I've addressed this multiple times with you specifically.

If you want, you can say, "It feels like we'd be letting bad guys get away with rape if we didn't do something," THAT'S acceptable. You'd be talking about how it feels to you.

But to imply that peacemakers are advocating doing nothing, now that I've specifically and directly told you that is not the case, will now be a lie, it would be "bearing false witness," surely you wouldn't want to do this?

 

Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (8/10/2006 07:25:00 AM) : 

And again, WJ, I apologize for ranting in your rantspace.

 

Blogger hipchickmamma said ... (8/10/2006 09:12:00 AM) : 

i suggest you page down to read what SOME of our enlisted protectors are doing in WJ's post about "a time for anger." and then headover to riverbend's.

the "rapists" aren't always who you think they are nor purport to be. check the numbers.

nice response dan.

 

Blogger Streak said ... (8/10/2006 10:47:00 AM) : 

I think Dan ably addressed the problems with Marc's argument, but one part particularly bothers me.

However, what do you think of David giving glory to God because he was able to literally hunt down his enemies and show them no mercy?

I don't understand why so many conservatives (I believe Marc is conservative, yes?) like to draw from the OT selectively to justify violence. God telling the Israelites to anihilate the Amelekites. The OT God is a much angrier God and likes to smite people. This God reflects, in my mind, a desert tribal and pre-modern people, but not necessarily who God actually is. After all, can we really see the God who sends his Son to live among humans casually ordering genocide? Jesus talks about saving the one solitary sheep, but God destroys entire populations including infants?

I don't buy it. And I don't like it. I understand, as Stephen Prothero has so ably shown us, that Americans from all walks of life have appropriated Christ to reflect their own assumptions. But the modern evangelical conservative church seems to have turned Jesus the Shepherd into Rambo. Only this Rambo sits in the back of torture rooms and watches approvingly as our Christian President waterboards suspects.

/rant

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/10/2006 11:27:00 AM) : 

do you think there's ever a case for a justifiable war?

Yeah, I'm sure there is. I suppose it's reasonable to say that countries have a right to defend themselves when attacked (although certainly not to invade countries that had nothing to do with it, and certainly not wage wars against nouns, fighting tactics and invisible enemies).

That said, I seriously doubt the U.S. has been justified in most, if any, of the military interventions we've been involved in in the past few decades. And I don't think Christians ought to fight in wars.

what do you think of David giving glory to God because he was able to literally hunt down his enemies and show them no mercy?

I think that the words of Jesus override the words of David.

Surely we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Believe me, it's downright one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Agreed.

BUT...I'm certainly not going to let someone stomp my head in, rape my wife, blow up my local supermarket, or murder innocent civilians just because I'm a "Christian" and the "Jesus thing to do" would be to simply beg them to stop. Surely that is ABSURD at best and defies all common sense.

A couple of points that Dan didn't make. One is that someone violently attacking you and something violently attacking someone else in your presence are two different things. Christ and most all of his disciples died martyrs. They were violently killed. Are you suggesting it would have been better for them to fight back? Why shouldn't you follow the same standard?

Regarding violence against others, your questions presume that there are only two choices. Either respond violently to a rapist/murderer/supermarket bomber, or someone will be violently raped/murdered/blow to pieces. There are always other options. See the actions of Don Cheadles's character Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda, for example. John Howard Yoder also has an entire book on this subject (which I sadly haven't read yet).

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/10/2006 02:16:00 PM) : 

"I suppose it's reasonable to say that countries have a right to defend themselves when attacked."

i would also assume that we can add defending the weak and powerless to the list, no? except that usually it means attacking the weak and powerless, "smart bombs" notwithstanding.

"(although certainly not to invade countries that had nothing to do with it, and certainly not wage wars against nouns, fighting tactics and invisible enemies)."

right. "war on terrorism." how do you fight a tactic? i think we should concentrate on limiting it, sure - but also limiting the conditions that make it so acceptable.

"That said, I seriously doubt the U.S. has been justified in most, if any, of the military interventions we've been involved in in the past few decades."

again, i agree. though i think we should be a military presence in such places as darfur (presently) or such other genocidal regions where the government allows these monstrocities to happen (rwanda and bosnia come to mind). i do think that one could make an argument for attacking the Taliban, though. but it appears that that was merely a speed-bump in the normal CIA-sanctioned political wars.

"And I don't think Christians ought to fight in wars."

idk. i might be with marcguyver on this one. the sort of anti-OT God thread i'm catching is, i think, harmful to our ideas of a God that doesn't fit within the box. yes, we as individuals (son or daughter of God) and collectively as people of God are to love our enemies and turn the other cheek (hence the name of my blog) - which, as marcguyver points out, is extremely difficult to do - but should we forget the God who makes things right at times violently, angrily overturning tables, necessitating sacrifices (w/o the shedding of blood), accepting the sacrifice of his own self, ordering purity of his land through total annihilation (not advocating Israel's current war-culture, btw).

i'm not suggesting i really understand it all. i just think that God's a big, big God. and sometimes love and justice infused means dealing a blow as well as taking it.

that said, the NRA sucks. and i've been careful to stay the hell away from the military (and got angry with one of my brothers - and one of my mentees - for not doing so).

i'd just like to see what people think. iron sharpening iron and all.

 

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said ... (8/10/2006 04:56:00 PM) : 

Wasp Jerky said: "John Howard Yoder also has an entire book on this subject (which I sadly haven't read yet). "

That book is called _What Would You Do?: A Serious Answer to a Standard Question_ (Herald Press,1983; Rev. & Exp., 1992) and is excellent, but it deals with personal attacks only.

I'd also recommend the writings of Gene Sharp, such as _The Politics of Nonviolent Action_, or _The Anti-Coup_, etc. The purpose of Sharp, Glen Stassen's Just Peacemaking work, Christian Peacemaker Teams, the campaign for a Department of Peace, etc., is to expand the options that nations have to respond to threats without military force. We work with military academies to design better ways to fight wars, but most nonviolent revolutions have been improvised.

You know the old proverb about how when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail? Well, these are programs to expand the toolkit so that we have--at least in many cases--more options than either war or appeasement or doing nothing.

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/10/2006 07:33:00 PM) : 

that sounds like a plan, michael!

 

Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (8/11/2006 10:26:00 AM) : 

As to the question of If not war, then what? The Friends/Quakers have a great resource here:

http://www.fcnl.org/ppdc/

I know that most war apologists honestly don't want war, nearly everyone recognizes the harm that war does and would want to avoid it if possible. That being the case, I'd really wish everyone would familiarize ourselves with our options. The more we know about peacemaking, the more we can find just solutions, EVEN IF you want to hang on to the notion of war as a last resort.

Why are we violent, but not illiterate? Because we are taught to read.

-Colman McCarthey

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/11/2006 11:07:00 AM) : 

I'm not sure I follow you, jasdye. I understand that we have to somehow find a way to reconcile an Old Testament God who ordered Israelites to slaughter women and children with Jesus. But if Christians have a new covenant, and if an eye for an eye is the old way, then I don't see how Christians can kill people. Turning over tables and using a whip on animals in the temple to drive out the moneychangers does not equal shooting people. The early Christians could have easily joined the military to spread some arbitrary greater good. That they didn't seems to set the course for us.

None of this necessarily has anything to do with what the U.S. should or shouldn't do.

To quote Yoder:

What does Christ say about the Christian and national loyalty? For centuries most professing Christians have believed that their faith made them not only more obedient citizens, but also more courageous soldiers; that God helped them not only to love their neighbors but also to hate and destroy their enemies. Since the Roman emperor Constantine allied his government with the church, priests and preachers have been crowning kings, blessing armies, and praying for the defeat of their nation's enemies, all in the name of the Prince of Peace.

Almost every theology and denomination has explained how this had to be so. Today people of the church will argue that even nuclear weapons can be used by Christians against their fellow human beings if the nation so commands. But what does the gospel say?

The Bible does not ignore the existence of nations. But most often when we read in Scripture of "the nations," it is to say that out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation persons have been redeemed to belong to God's people.

"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people," writes Peter of the Christian church (1 Peter 2:9). The nation to which the Christian belongs first is "God's own people," the fellowship of the saints, the church of Jesus Christ. This "people for God's special possession" is united not by a common language or territory or government but by one and the same divine call and a common response; reconciled to God, its members belong to each other. The unity thus created breaches every wall and rends every curtain, whether of bamboo or of iron.

This new nation, the people of God, is the Christian's first loyalty. No political nation, no geographical homeland to which an individual belongs by birth, can take precedence over the heavenly citizenship which is given a Christian in his or her new birth.

These pious phrases - citizenship in heaven, new birth, people of God - are nothing new. They are in fact so familiar, so well-worn, that it occurs to few Christians to step and think what it would mean to take them seriously.

When God calls us to put first loyalties first, this means that Christians of different nations, even of enemy nations, belong more closely to each other, and have more in common with each other, than with their non-Christian fellow citizens. Not for nothing do Christians call another brother and sister. How then could a Christian, for the sake of a country's prestige or possessions, seek to take the lives of spiritual brothers and sisters, when their sole offense was to have been born under another flag?

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/11/2006 12:51:00 PM) : 

amen and amen.

i'm in complete agreement with Yoder there. my first citizenship is to the Kingdom of Heaven. although, as Augustine argued so long ago, good Christians generally make good citizens, esp. under Kingdom Priorities.

my question isn't whether or not America (whether through talk shows, military action, jingoistic movies and songs, political action, etc.) should commence with its US-first mindset. it shouldn't. we can no longer afford to play Big Brother/Policeman to the world, nor to throw off the rest of the world's concerns as if we are any better. i would think Abu Ghraib and Gitmo would've taught us that we'll have a hard time showing off our human rights credentials (as if we deserve any so soon removed from slavery and cultural apartheid). and we need to stop playing the bully. but, old habits die hard.

my questions, i suppose, are more related to the question of whether or not the church can, in good conscience, declare a bloody, killing war to be Biblically justifiable. something along the lines of WWII.

again, not sure if i make sense in my ramblings here, but thoughts are appreciated.

 

Blogger Marcguyver said ... (8/15/2006 03:03:00 AM) : 

Where do we draw the line between 'turning the other cheek' and giving someone a dose of our 'righteous indignation'?
Do we have a right to fight for our family's safety and well being? How 'bout our neighborhoods? What about our cities? or our country? For that matter, what about other countries and their citizens? Can I be a Christian and a Cop?

Is there an obligation for Christians to respond to the cries of their oppressed brothers and sisters? What about the cries of the 'non-Christian'?
Clearly the bible directs us to show compassion and forgiveness towards others and even goes so far as to command us to pray for our enemys and those that wrongfully persecute us.
But should we also be training our sons and daughters how to slay 'his thousands' like David did, or to drive a tent peg through the temple of an enemy commander like Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite did?

You know, I must admit that I would have probably been more like Peter than Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (LOL, that is if I wouldn’t have just tucked tail and ran). And the physical, and spiritual restraint that Christ showed was HUGE.
However, it seems that his situation was truly unique and that he was obviously accomplishing something that could only be done if he was actually killed, thus the command to put away the sword.

I do however, see the relevance of being more Christ-Like and less ‘Rambo-Like’ in our response to the world and its actions toward us, but in the words of a famous song, “Sometimes you have to fight to be a man.”
That being said, I also agree that most of these guys running around talking about how tough they are, or bragging about how many people they’ve killed, are either bald-faced liars, or are really messed up in the ‘brain-housing group’.

Being exposed to death and destruction typically brings about the opposite response in me; I want less and less to do with it. It always reminds me just how vulnerable and frail I am, and how much of a ‘vapor’ we really are…….here today and gone tomorrow. But sometimes, it’s good to be reminded of that; it helps keep things in perspective; it also seems to reinforce the VALUE OF LIFE!!

Life is precious, very precious. That is why I believe so strongly in removing those from society that so easily snuff out or destroy others’ lives without so much as a passing thought; like crushing a spider under their shoe.
There are wolves out there trying to kill, steal, murder, abuse, and destroy the law-abiding 'sheep'. Are we going to conquer, stop, or destroy these murderous wolves by attacking with other frail sheep? Or should we be training some of those sheep to be just as lethal as those wolves?

Did the early Christians fight Rome while being led to the Coliseum? Did they mount an armed revolt to save themselves and/or their loved ones? Obviously not, but if they would have, I sure wouldn’t have thought any less of ‘em or faulted them for it.
How can you fault a person for fighting and defending their own life? On the other hand, I have to say that they are probably a lot ‘tougher’ than I’ll ever be, to be able to calmly walk into that den of torture without so much as apparently lifting a finger in their own defense.

Bottomline; am I acting outside of the 'Will of God' for me as a Christian when I gun down a murdering thug running amok in the streets I protect? Better yet, If I'm 'Committing Law Enforcement' in your town, do you want me to stop them when they are raping or murdering you or your relatives?

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/15/2006 09:11:00 AM) : 

Marcguyver,

You raise some interesting questions. But I'm not sure that they are the right questions. To crib from Greg at The Parish, "the issue isn’t what do you do in case of X. The issue is 'was Jesus a pacifist' and 'is Jesus the anthropological model for who we are supposed to be?' I think the answer is yes to both those questions. Therefore, whatever comes, be it a Hitler or a robber, the response of non-violence is borne out of the conviction that the politics of the kingdom of God are non-violent.

Hitler was not the first powerful madman the world has seen. He won’t be the last. In every case, the world will find ways to deal with them. Do Christians need to be involved in the violent part of the conflict? No. We can help the wounded on both sides, pray, cook, deliver food, visit the grieving, and bear witness to the higher way with our lives as necessary. As Yoder pointed out, the question of what would we do if everyone decided to live as a pacifist in the face of a madman is pointless. The numbers who will do that will never amount to very many. Indeed, most Christians aren’t willing to do it.

The Church is powerfully equipped to resist a Hitler. However, we must be prepared not to 'love our lives to the death.' The difficulty is in living within a culture that fears death to the point of pathology. Any defense that involves me giving my life in a non-violent way seems foolish to a culture enamored of violence. Once again, the question is 'what are the politics of the kingdom?'
The Church is an eschatological community, which is to say we live into whom we shall be. The phrase I like to use is 'this is who we shall be so this is who we must be.' It means that we are practicing kingdom living now, not later, so any argument for the provisional necessity of violence misses the eschatological call of the people of God. Are we prepared to argue that hatred is provisionally necessary, or greed, or lust, or envy?

Nancy Murphy, a professor at Fuller, has a sign on her door: When Jesus said love your enemies, he at least meant don’t kill them. Indeed. How do we simultaneously love and kill? That dilemma alone should cause Christians to pause and reconsider the use of violence."

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/15/2006 03:27:00 PM) : 

not that i completely agree with Bonhoeffer on this one, but i think sometimes the most christian thing to do is to stop - inequivocably - the evil presence in the world. Monsignor Deitrich, if we recall, recanted from his pacifist claims and was imprisoned and killed for his part in a foiled plot to assassinate Hitler after seeing firsthand the effects of that evil regime (i don't suggest that Christians ought to participate in a similar plot for a current regime that many have unfairly characterized as Hitler-lite. it's more Moussolini, btw).

on the other hand (as there are many hands in this argument, i believe), i wouldn't want to identify myself - although i do, out of human nature having the best of me much of the time - with pre-Acts Peter. at least not the questionable aspects of his actions ('you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God' followed by 'No, you shall never die!'). so, yeah, eschatological living necessitates a general practice (a deliberate life-long practice) of non-violence.

but i'm not convinced that that is always the case, since part of that eschatology means bringing Heaven on Earth and how shall we stand when those who repeatedly rape, torture and murder are slapped on their wrists? isn't the Kingdom of Heaven about Love, Mercy and Righteousness?

 

Blogger Streak said ... (8/16/2006 10:20:00 AM) : 

But should we also be training our sons and daughters how to slay 'his thousands' like David did, or to drive a tent peg through the temple of an enemy commander like Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite did?

Still wondering if that is really fair to call on the OT as our model when Christ is supposed to bring the new way of thinking on this?

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/16/2006 10:38:00 AM) : 

i think sometimes the most christian thing to do is to stop - inequivocably - the evil presence in the world.

So why didn't Jesus stop the evil presence in the world? Why didn't he have his disciples and followers do so? Why didn't the early church do so? Am I to believe there weren't rapists and murderers and madmen living then? Or that the Roman government was a presence of good worth keeping around? Shouldn't the early church have risen up against Rome when it was slaughtering Christians?

How do we decide who is evil, or how evil is too evil? Does Saddam deserve death for his crimes? Do members of the Reagan administration deserve death for supporting Saddam and supplying him with weapons? Does the U.N. deserve death for economic sanctions against Iraq that resulted in over a million deaths (500,000 of them children)? Does the U.S. deserve death for not stopping those sanctions? Does George Bush deserve death for lying us into a war that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of U.S. deaths (and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths)? Do we taxpayers deserve death for giving him the money to do it? Why not blow up abortion clinics to keep babies from being aborted?

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/16/2006 01:29:00 PM) : 

hyperbole notwithstanding, wasp jerky, there are some questions in there worth asking.

yes, the Kingdom of Heaven is not a political Kingdom, not won or gained through swords and death. Jesus - a teacher from a remote region of the far edges of the Roman Empire - took Rome to task for playing God (remember, he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - the name Caesar imposed on himself) and it is an invisible kingdom.

but just as Jesus didn't overthrow the kingdom of Rome (instead working to overthrow the kingdom of Satan, past, present and future), he also didn't - contrary to the popular opinion i hear here - overthrow the Law. he came to fulfill it.

part of my argument is thus: if Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, that doesn't mean that we go about every Saturday walking so many steps here to there and laying in the shade most of the day. it means i now take with me the concept and practice of peace - both Shalom and Pax. which influences my relationship with God, my brothers and sisters in Christ, myself, the world and - yes - politically w/in the church ('Pax'). so that is an important understanding to start with. i don't go looking for fights, i don't intend to get involved in fighting for superflous reasons and certainly not to someone else's injury.

having said that, there is a responsibility within the state and of the state to establish order and justice. the covenant God made with Noah establishes that, because we are made imago Dei, human life is precious. therefore, "I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person's life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die." (Genesis 9:5ff, NLT) no where did Jesus, the apostles or the church fathers overturn this as far as i know.

from my perspective, humanity isn't given dignity. the justice system in America is a mockery - a holding cell for poor people and a training cell for criminal activities - and the rich get off.

it's not up to individuals to exact revenge, i concur. abortion clinic bombings are acts of terrorism, plain and simple. as far as the questions on your last paragraph, maybe we should set up tribunals for wide-scale political bull-shitting that leads to wide-scale death. of course, the question is, who would be qualified to run them? idk. my cynical self says the trials should be held in nuremburg.

but i don't think that means that we shouldn't be living witnesses to justice and righteousness (meaning that we advocate turning things right and treating all people as being made in the image of God - including those on death row. even Suge Knight).

p.s.,
my Word Verification for this post is "wigeboy". hmmm....

 

Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (8/16/2006 04:15:00 PM) : 

Marc asked:

" Where do we draw the line between 'turning the other cheek' and giving someone a dose of our 'righteous indignation'?"

At the deaths of innocents would be one obvious line to be drawn. Most peacemakers and many, if not most, pacifists are fine with the notion of forcibly trying to stop a violent attack. When I was a teacher and mental health worker, I used Safe Physical Management to restrain individuals who were engaged in dangerous behavior.

But there are more and better ways of standing up to deadly violence than by embracing deadly violence and especially deadly violence that kills innocent bystanders.

Have you read yet the Quakers website I referenced you to that details a number of ways of stopping violence using non-violent means?

You really need to stop talking as if those who advocate non-violence are talking about idly standing by and letting evil happen. It ain't the case.

As you imply yet again here:

"If I'm 'Committing Law Enforcement' in your town, do you want me to stop them when they are raping or murdering you or your relatives?"

The answer to which (for most of us) is NO. BUT NEITHER do I want you to bomb or shoot at the house where a rape MIGHT be occurring in a vain hope of stopping the rapist. There is NO comparison to war in your analogy.

 

Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (8/16/2006 04:23:00 PM) : 

jasdye said:

""I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person's life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die." (Genesis 9:5ff, NLT) no where did Jesus, the apostles or the church fathers overturn this as far as i know."

As you may or may not know, jasdye, there are quite a few laws given in the OT such as this one. There is the law to also kill "men who lay with men" and disobedient children. There is the law not to eat shrimp nor pig.

There are laws against tatoos and against charging interest. There are the Jubilee laws extensively given and referenced throughout the OT wherein there was a great redistribution of wealth to insure that the rich didn't get too rich nor that no families were without property for too long and where debts were just erased.

There are some good and intriguing laws in the OT and some weird and troubling laws in the OT. The only place where these laws appear to be overturned directly in the NT is in the case of the food laws and in the case of what to do with our enemies.

"You have heard it said," Jesus says, "An eye for an eye (OT). BUT I TELL YOU, turn the other cheek. You have heard it said love your friends and hate your enemies, but I tell you love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."

We must not discount the laws and teachings of the OT but we must weigh them in light of Jesus' teachings and God's ongoing revelation to us. Jesus DID give us some new directions to go and improved upon our understanding of the Old Ways.

We need not be stuck in the days of an eye for an eye forever (Even though that's an OT command), we can and should learn from God's continuing revelation to us.

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/16/2006 05:15:00 PM) : 

actually, it becomes quite apparent that the early church overturned a lot of the Law as it relates to an ethnic group trying to distinguish itself from other ethnic groups that were bold in their idolatry (which was partially the reason for the OT wars. although some sick minds think that those practices should continue). an easy and good example of that would be the routine of circumcision. ethnic Jews may continue in the practice, us Gentiles (i'm assuming you're also goyem, Dan) really don't need to. we've been circumsized in the heart (although i was physically circumsized. didn't enjoy it in the least). so there are certain trends, legacies and - what's the legal word i'm looking for here? - well, you know, to start interpreting the Scriptures in light of.

but it's my understanding that Jesus was overturning a popular (and still-popular in the mideast, as we can attest) view of vengeance that was interpreted from the Law. not the entire Noahic Covenant, nor that reference in the Law itself. he condemns vengeance, as well as violence as a way-of-life (esp. popular with the zealots that were trying to "violently bear [the Kingdom of God] away"), but he never said that the state shouldn't execute. the Apostle Paul, in fact, seems to suggest that that's the state's job.

now, of course, i've turned the matter over to whether-it's-ever-right-to-execute case, which i already know most people here's feelings on. so, the argument is getting circular. sorry about that.

on the plus side, this has gotta be your longest comment section, eh, wasp?

 

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