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This post is written by Micah Bales at his own blog and is published here with permission. It is the best article I’ve seen so far about Christian nonviolence and ISIS.
A couple of folks I really respect – Kate Gould of Friends Committee on National Legislation (aka, the Quaker Lobby), and Jim Wallis of Sojourners – were recently on the O’Reilly Factor. For those of you who don’t watch cable news, this is a television program where Bill O’Reilly basically screams at people and incites hatred of anything non-white, non-rich, and non-Republican. I normally don’t watch the show. But when I heard that Kate and Jim were going to be talking, I tuned in.
I knew almost immediately this wasn’t going to be good. It’s Bill’s program, so he gets to frame the question. Here’s what he asks: Do Christian pacifists have a solution for stopping ISIS?
It’s the wrong question. O’Reilly knows it’s the wrong question, and that’s why he’s asking it. Unfortunately, both Gould and Wallis attempt to answer his question directly and rationally. Gould presents an argument for diplomatic measures to curb ISIS’ support. Wallis tries to explain that O’Reilly’s rhetoric of holy war will only lead to a wider conflagration and cost more lives.
This is great for Bill O’Reilly. To these subtle, rational arguments, all he has to do is scream and berate. At one point, O’Reilly interrupts Jim Wallis mid-sentence and demands: How would you stop the ISIS savages from murdering innocent people? How? (more…)
Luke 6 is one of my favourite chapters in the Bible. A “great number of people” from all over Israel gather around Jesus, for two reasons: to hear Him preach, and to get healed from their diseases. And healed they are, all of them. Demons are cast out. Power is flowing out from Jesus. In other words, there’s full-scale revival. Then He starts to preach:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God!”
In this Charismatic revival scenario, Jesus starts to talk about the poor. He goes on with blessing the hungry, the weeping and the hated. They are blessed. They are loved. The needy, broken and oppressed are healed phycially and spiritually by the compassionate Saviour.
But then the faith healer gets angry.
“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort!”
Jesus warns and critizises the rich, the wel-fed and the comfortable. They have to repent. God wants economic equality (2 Cor 8:14), His love basically cannot remain in people keeping their money for themselves instead of giving them to the needy (1 Jn 3:17).
Now, what I love with this passage is the obvious and natural combination of miracles with a divine call for economic justice. It’s a typical example of Holy Spirit activism. How come that we’ve managed to separate healing revivals from global justice? How come that healing revivalist Benny Hinn rather preaches a “blessed are you who are rich” message? How come that Christian activist Jim Wallis isn’t conducting any miracle crusades? It’s quite obvious that Jesus did both things in Luke 6. And we should do what Jesus did (1 Jn 2:6).