Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Help, help, I'm being repressed!

A typically clueless editorial appeared in a local student paper and raised my hackles a bit when it said:

It is almost forgotten that Jesus was a civil disobedient, pacifist, minimalist who lived in a colonized state and spoke of redistributing wealth. We rarely look at his example anymore.
In response, it's irresponsible and just a poor understanding of the New Testament to say that Jesus was:

-a civil disobedient

Look closely, again, and you'll see that Jesus consistently refused and in fact assiduously avoided civil disobedience.
For example:
John 6:14-15 - Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.

People of His time were expecting a military, conquering Messiah, whose kingdom would be of this world, who would overthrow the prevailing Roman domination and set up a kingdom.
They did not realise that this would be a hallmark of his SECOND coming, not His first, for if He came in judgment and power the 1st time, EVERYONE would die and go to Hell, because His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection are the only way for any sinful human to be with God in Heaven forever.
John 18:36 - Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."

-a pacifist

He taught people not to resist evil people when they insult you, to turn the other cheek, yes. Why? Because now is a time of grace, but that has not always been the case, nor will it always be. Jesus was the One Who commanded the slaughter of Canaanite tribes in the Old Testament, and Jesus will destroy the stubbornly unrepentant, later.
He came, the 1st time, to "seek and save that which was lost" (Lk 6:45) and "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). The 2nd time around, He won't be "nice" at all.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 - Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming...
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 - For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
John 12:48 - He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
Romans 2:16 - God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 4:3-5 - For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Revelation 19:11 - And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

-a minimalist

A minimalist with regard to the things of THIS world. Why?
Matthew 16:26 - For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 6:19-21 - "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

He taught that we should desire SPIRITUAL, HEAVENLY treasures, and in great abundance. Those are gained by obedience to His Word, love, peace, mercy, etc. But to say He was a minimalist is not specific enough and is therefore misleading.

-spoke of redistributing wealth

Oy. He spoke of GIVING, yes, which I guess is, strictly speaking, redistributing wealth.
But compulsory giving thru high taxes is not giving at all but extortion. Jesus commanded us to pay rightful taxes, but never said those taxes had to be high.
Given the extremely high levels of corruption in the government, it's ridiculous to use a buzzword like "Jesus spoke of redistributing wealth". That is merely code for "take money by force from some, swallow significant portions of it in gov't overhead, corruption, bribery, and waste, and give some of it to people, some of whom will really use it and some of whom will waste it. And for God's sake don't hold them accountable!"
Note from the two quotes above as examples from Matt 6 and 16 - Jesus was concerned with the heart, not with the outward actions. Compulsory "giving" is not His speed - He wants to change HEARTS so that they will give sacrificially and voluntarily.

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