I often get squirmy when we talk of ‘taking‘ our cities for God, or ‘making war’ against the enemies of Jesus, or ‘pulling down’ the enemies strongholds, taking ground in the name of Jesus etc.
I know there are many violent images in scripture, war type images in there about our role as believers, but we get this all mixed up with the images of war we see on TV. We forget that our enemies are not ‘unsaved’, or ‘infidels’, or anyone else for that matter. Sin is the enemy, Satan, not people made in God’s image! And we so flippantly use imagery of war, when in fact war itself must be an enemy of God.
Jesus came as a peacemaker. Jesus came with a message about praying for those who persecute you, not piercing them. He came with a message to turn the other cheek, not seek revenge. To love our enemies, and people who are different from us.
This language of war comes through so strongly in Christian circles, I get uncomfortable with it – very. I remember Petra…”This means WAR!”. Does anyone remember the strong fighting and warfare imagery Carmen used in some of his clips? (Does anyone remember Carmen???)
Sure I understand we are in a battle, I know our fight is “not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers” and we have weapons recommended in Ephesians, battle language fits easily into this kind of talk. But our Chrisondem mindsets, takes this thinking straight into violent conquering people groups, other religions, people who maybe don’t think, look or smell like us, gays, aboriginals, Muslims, tax-collectors, and all of a sudden, these people become the enemy and we the knights riding in with our swords (bible of course!!) ripping the spit out of these ’ememies’ of God while crying all the way as the Crusaders did ‘God wills it’!!
Gandhi did battle in politics, but he did not do it with violence, it can be done you know!
Lets take it a little further (can you pick on CS Lewis??) I got an email from a mate recently which got me thinking, have a read –
This article will put evangelicals in a twist because it challenges C.S. Lewis with the authority of Scripture! (Â you can almost taste the internal conflict.)
Little Tyson (9 years old) said “I donÂt think GodÂs like Aslan cause God fights with love not swords.” He is quoted in the link below:
Who does it for you? Aslan or Jesus?
“DonÂt get me wrong, I loved reading the Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis was a wonderful storyteller. But with all the Christian hype around about the movie The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, I felt someone should ask the question, “Is Aslan a good representative of Jesus?”
-quote from Mark HurstÂs article: “Who does it for you? Aslan or Jesus?”
Mark wrote this article after little Tyson and I hung out with them and discussed “the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. Tyson thought that the little girl in the Japanese animation “Spirited Away” was more like Christ than Aslan because the little girl made the monster into a ÂgoodyÂ but Aslan killed the witch. There was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that had the title “Hollywood finds God in Narnia”. The article discussed at length that Hollywood considers Christian movies are “the new gay” meaning that like Gay movies a couple of years a go here is the new market to make big bucks, what Hollywood is calling “Passion dollars” (after GibsonÂs movie).
Tyson was very excited about the big Narnia pictures in the paper. But he didnÂt understand what it had to do with God. To directly quote the wisdom of this 9 year old, “I donÂt think GodÂs like Aslan cause God fights with love not with swords.” Yes the kingdom belongs to these little ones.
So there you have it. Do we really internally sprititualize it? Or is there something in us that says we really should use violence (physical, emotional, verbal) to bring people into the Kingdom…hey look at our history, we have been using it since about 312AD as a method of evangelism!