Jesus came in contact with several people who weren’t orthodox Jews, but rather were heretics or idolaters. We have the Samaritans, who had mixed Judaism with pagan influences, and who were forbidden to worship the Lord in Jerusalem. The Romans were colonialist immigrants from other parts of the empire, and even if some had become proselytes (like Cornelius, Acts 10), most of them worshiped the Roman idols of Jupiter, Mars and others. There were also adherents of other religions in the areas of Decapolis, where Jesus did some miracles (Mark 5).
How did Jesus relate to these idolatrous Gentiles? Well, He simply took control over a state, became President and deported them. Wait, He didn’t? Then at least He commanded His disciples to take control over a country and deport all the idolaters? Huh, He didn’t do that either?!
Not that those ideas didn’t float around in Jesus’ time. The Zealot movement and other radical Jewish groups wanted to fight against the Romans and drive those stupid colonialists back to Europe (which they also tried in 70 and 135 AD, and failed miserably). Many believed that this was what the Messiah was supposed to do. Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans (Jn 4:9), and vice versa, and when some Samaritans heard that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, they forbade Him to enter their village. Enraged, John and James suggested that Jesus should order a heavenly genocide from above, burning those heretics alive (Lk 9:51-54).
But Jesus rebuked them. He didn’t come to barbeque idolaters but to save them. He loved Samaritans, shared the Gospel with them and used a Samaritan as the good example in His famous parable about loving everyone indiscriminately (Jn 4, Lk 10). He told His Jewish disciples to love the Romans, pray for them, and walk the extra mile with them (Lk 6). Do to them as you would have them do to you (Mt 7:12). He didn’t fight to kick the Romans out of Israel. Instead, He was crucified by them, dying for their sins. On the cross, He shouted: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” (Lk 23:34).
In fact, the high priests and Pharisees saw Jesus as too immigrant friendly. “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation”, they said (Jn 11:48).
Today, there was a horrible and unacceptable attack against journalists at a satirical magazine in Paris. I pray for the victims and their families, that God will keep and comfort them. I also pray that this shall not increase the tention between Christians (or pseudo-Christians) and Muslims. The huge anti-Muslim demonstrations organized by Pegida in Germany may use this as an argument for closing the borders for Muslims, as they previously has connected resistance to Islam with resistance to immigration.
Jesus would never had done that.
“But wouldn’t Jesus correct the errors of Islam?” Of course He would, He would have argued that He is the Son of God, for instance. “Wouldn’t Jesus protest against terrorism?” Definitely, He would protest against all sorts of violence! “Wouldn’t Jesus want to stop the islamization of Europe?” Jesus would want to stop islamization, atheization, buddhization and all other promotions of teachings that contradicts the Gospel, and He would do it through compassionate, miraculous evangelism, not through deportation.
See, when you start to argue for deportation, you’re not just criticizing a religion anymore. I can have many different arguments against Mormonism, but when I start arguing that we should deport all Mormons from Sweden, I’m not just discussing religion anymore. I’m discussing punishment. Besides, that’s a really stupid way to treat the errors of Mormonism, since a Mormon doesn’t become less of a Mormon just because I kick him/her out of Sweden. In fact, it will be harder for me to share the Gospel with them if I force them away from me.
If one argues that deportation is the solution to islamization, one does not really have a problem with Islam in itself. In that case, the solution would be evangelism rather than deportation. No, if deportation is your solution, then your problem is the presence of Islam in your country, and you don’t have that much of a problem with people being blown up in other countries as long as it doesn’t happen in yours. Instead of defusing the bomb, you send it to the Middle East. As if ISIL supporters would be less radical if they were forced to be in Iraq rather than Germany.
Christians must get rid of the weird idea that our duty is to take political control over a country and then deport people that aren’t Christians. We must differentiate between the terrorist minority and peaceful majority that happen to share a similar belief system. We should convert non-believers through self-sacrificial evangelism and the gifts of the Spirit, not through deportation because that’s not going to convert anyone anyways. As Paul said, Christians don’t use violence, we fight arguments instead:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:3-5)
[…] en respons på detta har jag skrivit ett inlägg på min engelska blogg idag: Why Jesus Wouldn’t Attend Anti-Muslim Demonstrations. Jag går igenom hur Jesus behandlade avgudadyrkare som romare och samariter, och slår fast att […]
“In fact, it will be harder for me to share the gospel if I force them away from me”
Bästa meningen jag läst på länge 😀
I really like your text. I am a Christian living in Germany and I’m deeply concerned about what is going on here with Pegida and similar groups.