Did Jesus teach by word and deed the things He expects His children to imitate? If not, then what was the purpose of His appealing to our ability to follow Him? Was Jesus being unrealistic in His great sermon where He plainly states that we should love our enemies and resist not an evil person? Are the teachings of Jesus credible and to be taken literally? If the answer to this last question is yes, then is our life in fidelity with Jesus, or are we really only infidels? The picture above illustrates my point exactly. A fish symbol stating this person believes the teaching of Jesus, and a license plate and peace symbol, in the the form of cross-hairs, says he does not believe Jesus; they cancel each other out. This man is just a religious pagan.
Whatever we may think about those teachings it is a settled matter that Jesus taught a way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies. All attempts to justify violence, from the life of Jesus, or from His teaching, are empty arguments of ignorance from both a spiritual and intellectual point of reference; this is not my opinion, it is a fact of Christian history.
The charade has been long exposed that tries to give moral credit to the violence committed by Christians in the name of Jesus. The days of Constantine’s sword and the bloody cross on the shields of the defenders of his empire and the Catholic Church’s slaughter of millions of innocent Christians and Turks, along with Protestant approval since the Reformation, have been invalidated by a simple perusal of the truth from the pages of Scripture.
The Devil’s method of operation has changed, but his purpose has not; he merely opted for a new strategy, from conscious thought to un-conscious action. Satan, the great enemy of truth, has changed his game plan from those ancient days of consciously killing people, to un-consciously doing the same. The bloodletting of Constantine, the Crusades, and the Inquisition, are thumbs-down, by every Christian, in regards to their having followed Christ or knowing His will; and although we hear much about the love of Jesus today regarding our fellow-man, the Devil has successfully engineered and inducted a method of murder and homicide built around inattention to the words of Jesus. There is not a pulpit in the land that will give Jesus a hearing on the subject of non-resistant love toward their enemies; the subject is simply ignored as, “too idealistic and unattainable.” Jesus is now only called upon in a support role, as the Comforter of the troops in their righteous duty of national or personal defense. Consider that Christians readily admit that Jesus is love personified, and their supreme example, then, in the same breath, appeal to their “natural” God given rights of self-defense, and appeal to the false idea that Jesus could never realize the times in which we now live; or they will philosophize some concept of a reality in which defense and force become Godly virtues. “Force, violence, and death are a tragedy, but are necessary,” they say, “if peace is to be forthcoming in a fallen world.” “Can doing what is rational and logical be a sin?” Very sly of that old serpent, wouldn’t you say? In the name of patriotic duty, to a flag or banner, Christians now march onto the field of battle and slaughter their fellow man, never realizing they are doing the exact opposite of Christ’s commands. They have never learned about Christ’s peace and love as a way of life, it is never even considered as part of the context of how they are to view these things and live their life.
I don’t blame the sheep, even though the message is clear enough throughout the New Testament, but more to blame are the leaders and the seminaries. Most seminaries do not even offer courses in the meaning of Christian Non-resistance; the subject is only touched on as a historical matter to fulfill some required regiment of study, and not meaningful to any other extent. Those graduates of these esteemed halls of high spiritual learning instill nothing concerning the very key to the Kingdom of God: Love of God and Love for one’s neighbor. These students will learn pneumatology, ecclesiology, and sacramentology, but nary a word on the Christian Non-resistant duty to love their enemy-ology. There is no integration on the teaching of service and love to ones enemies; and it is not questioned by anyone, although Jesus taught and lived this very life, and was our example of the non-resistant life, even in His death.
I have been a Christian for thirty nine years and I have yet to hear from the pulpit a message of non-resistance to evil; why? When Jesus had so much to say on the subject, why are the seminaries and pulpits so silent? I can assure you that the average pastor, priest, or bishop is as non-informed or miss-informed on this subject as the average Christian. The result of this prolonged avoidance is that this critically important subject gets zero attention from Church leaders. This allows them to preach a Gospel that is devoid of 50% of what is the pure essence of the Gospel, i.e. love your neighbor, which would more than qualify it as “another Gospel.” To merely say “I love God” and not display the main fruit of that sentiment (to actually love your enemies) is blasphemy. The second part of that statement, cancels out the first part, loving God, and you end up with nothing except a religion of the mind, void of the spirit. To say we love God and that we are a son or daughter of His Kingdom, then to judge, condemn, and kill our enemies, is treachery, sedition, disloyalty, betrayal, duplicity, and high treason. Does this at all sound like a lack of faith or infidelity? Good, because it is! When we join hands with the world in their patriotic crusades we are not following Jesus and we do not exhibit faith in His commands to separate ourselves from that world. When I share this message with other Christians I hear the same response over and over again, “I have never heard that message before,” or “If it is true why haven’t I ever been told about this from my Church?” or, they reject the message and end the conversation without ever giving it a hearing, and then they look at me as if I am insane.
Today we hear the shout from the liberal Christian left, “What would Jesus do?” and see the acronym WWJD popping up in many places. Although I do not acknowledge their social justice agenda, which is itself a form of war, only a non-violent kind, I do think the question, “What would Jesus do?” to be an honest question. The question gives us a frame of reference when answering some supposed violation of the spirit of the Gospel. The problem with most of what we see today coming from liberal Christianity is that there is a gross ignorance of what Jesus taught concerning the Gospel and they just venture off in a new direction which still involves locking arms with the world, only on a different level; they really do not know what Jesus would do. But, to ask that question in regards to Christian involvement in government, holding office, serving as judge or jury, stockpiling weapons for self-defense, or serving in the military, should alert us to the severe lack of the message of non-resistant love toward those who we may consider our enemies, foreign or domestic. Is it possible for someone, familiar with the words and life of our humble, defenseless, Savior, to see Him taking up a machine gun and deliberately firing it into a crowd of people He has never met or knows anything about? Can we picture Jesus sitting in deliberation with a bunch of other people trying to decide their guilt or innocence? Can we imagine Jesus shouting out from the cross, “You may be killing Me but I will get you in the end?” Jesus forgave His enemies, and then He blessed them, and He asked us to do the same. The whole Christian world has gone mad with the message of vengeance, but our Father, God, states that “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” and with those words He removed forever our responsibility to do anything in response to evil men, except to forgive and bless, and to feed and clothe, and love.
The statement by Jesus of the renunciation of violence is clear enough and beyond qualification. There is no question anywhere that Jesus actually spoke those things. Christians have only decided that they cannot live according to His words. To be more explicit the vast majority of Christians have decided they do not wish to live according to those words of Jesus.
Acknowledging the overwhelming refusal to obey Jesus and to imitate His lifestyle, it is a good question to ask whether the teachings of Jesus are credible in the world of Christendom today. Our own historical judgment on the issue is that His teachings are not credible. The example of the Christian Church over the last eighteen hundred years is proof positive that we have rejected the lifestyle our Savior demands. More human blood was spilled during World War II than all other wars combined, and this by Christians. We look at the barbarous wars of history and are shocked, yet we never lift our eyes to view the vast fields of death in our own immediate history. The death toll of World War I was between 16 and 30 million human beings, and it was called “The War to End All War.” This epitaph is now used in a despairing way when seen in the light of “The Great War” WW II, where between 60 and 85 million souls perished due to raging murder on a never before imagined scale: babies, young girls and old women and men, along with pride filled military men and women seeking some patriotic glory, all died from war, epidemics, disease, famine, atrocities, genocide, and who knows what else. Christians have closed their eyes to the truth and have ignorantly concluded that the teachings of Jesus concerning the love of our neighbor holds no credibility or truth, and live a life in direct support of evil, and never even blush.
If my writings do anything I pray that they will be a call to fidelity; a call to believe, or to at least investigate the matter with an open mind and heart. Christians in small numbers are beginning to recognize the blindness in which they have willingly lived and participated; I, myself participated in that lie for the better part of my Christian life. The really aggravating part was that the truth was there, right in front of me, the whole time. I was bound by some false notion of patriotism, which the Church reinforced, because they too were blinded; and from our mother’s milk we are reared on this notion of national allegiance and greatness, and that its greatness is dependent on our participation in taking human life if necessary, and not on the Gospel of peace, love, and forgiveness.
Christian fidelity begins with knowledge and prayer, true knowledge, not the lip syncing of pastoral five point sermons, or the mutual stroking of small group meetings. Acquiring true knowledge is an act of the will. Jesus says in John 7:17 “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, then he will know whether my teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” My own journey began by rejecting everything taught by the institutional Church, and by throwing it all out, rejecting it all, and starting fresh. All that I thought was building me up and opening a way to God I found to be a wall, high and thick, blocking my way and making me miserable. By exercising my will power to earnestly desire truth, the wall crumbled and God Himself made a way. What the institutional Church could not do over a period of many, many, years, God did in a day; the shackles fell away and I was free. Christian faithfulness equals freedom, freedom to believe the truth, the freedom of fidelity.