| Re: WWJD?|
GOD Bless you Chapel.
| 2009/9/19 12:12|
| Re: |
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
To all of you who cling so ardently to this doctrine of non-resistance as if it were the very heart of God's will, let me ask you this based on Harry Bethel's teaching....
Our Lord said, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:19). What are these commandments? Some of them are clear commandments concerning non-resistance: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain...
Harry Bethel says Teaching #1 warns us to obey the least of God's commands:
Mt 5:19 [color=CC3300]Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.[/color]
Harry then points at the "eye for an eye" passage and tells us we must obey it literally...
Mt 5:38-42 [color=CC3300]You have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."[/color]
If we are to accept Harry's approach to these scriptures as correct, then we must not pick and choose. We must also obey Teaching #5 exactly as it is stated because Teaching #5 comes before Teaching #10:
Mt 5:29 [color=CC3300]"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."[/color]
If we are all honest with ourselves regarding personal sinfulness, and if we will obey these scriptures in the literal sense as Harry wants us to do, then we should have a lot of blind guides in our churches.
Have you obeyed this commandment? Or do you have eyes that NEVER lead you to sin?
Are we wrong not to blind ourselves to avoid sin? Or is Harry's approach to these verses incorrect?
Here is another "command" that I believe belongs in the same category as those presented above:
Lk 14:26 [color=CC3300]If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sistersyes, even his own lifehe cannot be my disciple."[/color]
Are we, as believers of Christ, to take this teaching at face value and thus hate our very families? Or are we to draw meaning from it by looking at its companion verses to get the proper context, and view it as part of the total message of the bible?
Are we to disregard the whole forest and just focus on each tree as if each was separate and unrelated to the rest of the forest?
Scripture is not intended to be easy to understand. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to truly see God's meaning in each verse. When will we stop reading the bible on our own power and finally seek the Spirit's voice? When will we begin to rely more on the Spirit to guide us, rather than on other men like Harry who are well-meaning but prone to error like us?
I post these things out of love for all of you, not to win or lose any argument, but to simply seek the truth in God's Word.
In Christ's Love,
| 2009/9/19 13:53||Profile|
| Re: |
All I know is what the Holy Spirit has shown me, and led me to and that is not to be involved in worldly affairs. I do not vote, or write letters to congress, I don't hold up picket signs, and I have no plans to join the military or be a police person. None of these things have I ever felt a leading from the Holy Spirit to take part in. Having said that I do pray for those in government positions of authority that they would see their need for Jesus and walk daily in His will, and not their own.
If you, and Chris walk with a clear conscious in what you feel the Lord showing you then be faithful to walk that out. I am:-) There are probably many things that I feel led to walk in that you do not, perhaps that it just the place that the Lord has each of us at this time:-)
| 2009/9/19 16:29||Profile|
| Re: |
Excellent post, Chapel.
From my observation, non-resistance as a lifestyle is the hardest thing to live out. When someone does us wrong, we want to retaliate. Jesus says to turn the other cheek. Matthew 5:39-41.
And then there are lawsuits. From the way religious folks act here in our community you would think the scripture commands folks to sue.
In our community this concept has been tried sorely. Some have encountered lawsuits fueled by covertousness and the desire to control others unnecessarily. For example: a brother in our church wanted to set up a broiler farm with several houses. In order to do so, there are a lot of state rules to meet. He met them all plus some. But, lo and behold, here come some folks who challenged him and he bent over backwards to satisfy their wishes. They got to be so obnoxious he postponed this project even though he had met all the legal qualifications. And this is just one lawsuit.
How does one witness in a litigious society which thinks you owe them everything but they are not willing to work? And some of these lawsuits are the result from lawyers going to churches to get signatures so they can file a frivolous lawsuit. Seems to me this is an issue churches need to address - unless they are merely a social club then they could care less.
Actually, Obama does not challenge us as much as the locals who work to exercise undue, illegal power through intimidation. To turn the other cheek is a reality here in our community. And we live in the USA!
Got off on a bunny trail here...sometimes one has a real problem to think lovingly of these folks, like now.
| 2009/9/19 19:47||Profile|
| Re: |
Dear Leo you write..."To all of you who cling so ardently to this doctrine of non-resistance "
Forgive me for bailing out of this conversation. I had surgery on both eyes on Thursday and can barely see, I am squinting right now to reply. So I will just hit on some basics. First of all, speaking for myself, I am not clinging on to anything, that sounds like desperation to me. Its just a matter ow walking out the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus and it comes from the inside, not the outside. As far as all the talk of gouging out eys and so on, let us remember that we take Scriptures literlely. Now in every language and communications their are literary devices. If I say I am so hungry that I could eat a horse, and I say it within the context of a non-fiction piece, it does not mean that I am going to eat a horse, the readership of today knows this, however it is a vehicle to express the depths of my hunger. If I say that it is raining cats and dogs, again, the same thing, we know that it is raining very heavily, but not actual cats and dogs. If Jesus says that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven, we know that under no circumstances can a camel go through the eye of a needle. Jesus is using a literary device in order to show the impossibility, outside of Him, of a rich man enetering heaven. If we read that a dragon rises from the sea, then we know that this is symbolic, and we do not look in the future for an actual dragon to rise up out of the sea. It is simply a matter of common sense. When Jesus talks about plucking out eyes or cutting of limbs, it is a literary device for expressing an extreme sentiment, not to be taken literaly. This, however, cannot be said of teachings that talk of turning the other cheek, or going the extra mile or giving the cloak when the coat is taken. These are literal teachings and there is nothing to suggest otherwise, and the disciples actually lived this out. In those days the Romans, by law, could compel a Jewish person to carry a load one mile, which they hated, in fact they detested this law. Jesus was saying, do not detest this, do not resist this, in fact, "go the extra mile," a phrase we still use to this day. So lets compare apples to apples. The teachings of Jesus are the teachings of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will urge His people to go a certain way, and they will follow for His sheep know His voice and the sheep listen to the voice of the master. He gave His commands then He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us walk HIs narrow path, and there are very few that find it. Most find the broad path of the world and the world's wisdom, counting the narrow path as too costly...........Frank
| 2009/9/19 20:28|
| Re: |
Thank you for contributing to the discussion. You said:
It is simply a matter of common sense. When Jesus talks about plucking out eyes or cutting of limbs, it is a literary device for expressing an extreme sentiment, not to be taken literally.
And I agree with you completely in this. The literary device is called [u]hyperbole - an extravagant exaggeration used for emphasis or vivid description, not to be taken literally[/u].
If one would look back on the sermon on the mount and look at its structure carefully, a larger message would become apparent (at least this is how I see it) :-) :
[b]Jesus' Main Message - Fulfillment of the law (The Law remains, but I'm raising the bar - you must be more righteous than the Pharisees.)[/b]
Mt 5:17-20 [color=CC3300]Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [b]For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.[/b]"[/color]
Apparently, Jesus wanted to correct some disciples who were anticipating that, with his coming (Messiah), the old Mosaic laws on righteousness would become obsolete. He said it was not so, and that the hurdle for acceptable performance was raised much higher than that practiced by the Pharisees. The last sentence, in bold style above, is what Jesus wanted to emphasize to his disciples.
[b]And he drove home this main message that his disciples should be [u]much more righteous[/u] than the Pharisees by using hyperbole in a sequence of topics touching on established Mosaic law.[/b]
The sequence of hyperbolic examples supporting the main message are as follows:
[b]Example 1 - Murder (Hyperbole: They said do not kill, I say do not even be angry with anyone - always settle your differences immediately, to be more righteous than the Pharisees.)[/b]
Mt 5:21-26 [color=CC3300]You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, Raca, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, You fool! will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."[/color]
[b]Example 2 - Adultery (Hyperbole: They said do not commit adultery, I say do not even look at a woman lustfully - and always cut off any part of your body that causes you to sin, to be more righteous than the Pharisees.)[/b]
Mt 5:27 [color=CC3300]You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."[/color]
[b]Example 3 - Divorce (Hyperbole: They allowed divorce with a mere certificate, I say treat divorce like adultery, except in cases of unfaithfulness, to be more righteous than the Pharisees.)[/b]
Mt 5:31-32 [color=CC3300]It has been said, Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."[/color]
[b]Example 4 - Swearing an Oath (Hyperbole: They said keep your oaths to God, I say do not even swear any oath at all - just mean what you say, to be more righteous than the Pharisees.)[/b]
Mt 5:33-37 [color=CC3300]Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord. But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is Gods throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."[/color]
[b]Example 5 - Justice or "Eye for eye" (Hyperbole: They said seek justice and no more, I say do not seek justice at all - accept injustice twice over, to be more righteous than the Pharisees)[/b]
Mt 5:38 [color=CC3300]You have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."[/color]
[b]Example 6 - Love your Neighbor (Hyperbole: They said to love your neighbors, I say love your enemies also - and pray for them, to be more righteous than the Pharisees.)[/b]
Mt 5:43 [color=CC3300]You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."[/color]
The series of hyperbolic examples ends here. The reason I see these six examples as interconnected hyperbole to emphasize the main message is because:
1. They are all extravagant exaggerations of established Mosaic Law, which was the Pharisee's standard for righteousness.
2. They are all structured the same way. They all begin with something like: "You have heard it said..." or "It has been said...", followed by "But I tell you..." (Jesus was emphasizing just how much higher they had to jump than the Pharisees).
I pray that this explanation of how I view these passages in Jesus' sermon on the mount will be of help to others. Please realize that I am not in any way trying to minimize God's expectations of us. Our citizenship in His kingdom will cost us our very lives - we must die to ourselves to be reborn. All I'm saying is, as far as I can see (and I am only human), these six passages of Scripture are hyperbole, and are not to be taken literally.
In Christ's Love,
P.S. Frank, I pray that your eye surgery was successful, and that your eyes will heal quickly. God bless you, friend.
| 2009/9/19 23:52||Profile|
| Re: Will You Kill or Be Killed?|
Matthew 5:38-42 [NRSV]
38 You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer commenting on Matthew 5.38-42
At this point it becomes evident that when a Christian meets with injustice, he no longer clings to his rights and defends them at all costs. He is absolutely free from possessions and bound to Christ alone. Again, his witness to this exclusive adherence to Jesus creates the only workable basis for fellowship, and leaves the aggressor for him to deal with.
The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match. Of course this can only happen when the last ounce of resistance is abandoned, and the renunciation of revenge is complete. Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren.
By willing endurance we cause suffering to pass. Evil becomes a spent force when we put up no resistance. By refusing to pay back the enemy in his own coin, and by preferring to suffer without resistance, the Christian exhibits the sinfulness of contumely and insult. Violence stands condemned by its failure to evoke counter-violence. When a man unjustly demands that I should give him my coat, I offer him my cloak also, and so counter his demand; when he requires me to go the other mile, I go willingly, and show up his exploitation of my service for what it is. To leave everything behind at the call of Christ is to be content with him alone, and to follow only him. By his willingly renouncing self-defense, the Christian affirms his absolute adherence to Jesus, and his freedom from the tyranny of his own ego. The exclusiveness of this adherence is the only power which can overcome evil.
Suffering willingly endured is stronger than evil, it spells death to evil.
There is no deed on earth so outrageous as to justify a different attitude. The worse the evil, the readier must the Christian be to suffer; he must let the evil person fall into Jesus hands.
The Reformers offered a decisively new interpretation of this passage, and contributed a new idea of paramount importance. They distinguished between personal sufferings and those incurred by Christians in the performance of duty as bearers of an office ordained by God, maintaining that the precept of non-violence applies to the first but not to the second.
In the second case we are not only freed from obligation to eschew violence, but if we want to act in a genuine spirit of love we must do the very opposite, and meet force with force in order to check the assault of evil. It was along these lines that the Reformers justified war and other legal sanctions against evil.
But this distinction between person and office is wholly alien to the teaching of Jesus. He says nothing about that. He addresses his disciples as men who have left all to follow him, and the precept of non-violence applies equally to private life and official duty. He is the Lord of all life, and demands undivided allegiance.
Furthermore, when it comes to practice, this distinction raises insoluble difficulties. Am I ever acting only as a private person or only in an official capacity? If I am attacked am I not at once the father of my children, the pastor of my flock, and e.g. a government official? Am I not bound for that very reason to defend myself against every attack, for reason of responsibility to my office? And am I not always an individual, face to face with Jesus, even in the performance of my official duties?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, (SCM Press: London, 2001), p. 91-93, (originally published in 1937 by Chr. Kaiser Verlag of Munich).
| 2009/9/20 13:18||Profile|
| Re: |
May I first day that I fully endorse Bonheffer's interpretation of the sermon on the mount. The book, "The Cost of Discipleship," is one of my favourites and I try and read it at least every couple of years. I find the first two chapters to be exceptional and totaly slices open the fault lines of the reformation.
Putting that aside, I find no hyberbole in the Scriptures that you give, I merely find instruction based on a heart that is given over to God. Now, who could do such things? Who could lay down all of their rights and seek no justice on their own behalf? What a ridiculous notion right? Wrong, that is exactly what Jesus is calling on His people to do. This is the sermon that makes Him a revolutionary. All of the disciples would actually follow this path, they laid down their rights and they paid with their lives. They did not hate or seek to defend or retaliate, they did ask forgiveness for those who murdered them. Now where would they get such a notion? Of course, from the greatest example of a reaction to injustice, Jesus Himself. Was there a greater crime than Calvary in the history of man? Did Jesus willingly give Himself? Did He resist? What did He say about those who actually nailed Him to the cross? "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." How did Stephen react to his murderers, even as he was being murdered? This is the heart of the Gospel. This is where the chains of hatred and bitterness were broken. To this the enemy has no reply, this is the power. It is why the church , especially in America, is so without power, the power of God. The power of God is found when light meets darkness. When darkness meets darkness it merely produces more darkness. The enemy wins. It may not seem that way in the natural, if human wisdom was your guide then you would completely reject this notion. But when God finds a person or people aho are willing to lay down their lives and their rights then He can change the world through that group of people.
You write........"Apparently, Jesus wanted to correct some disciples who were anticipating that, with his coming (Messiah), the old Mosaic laws on righteousness would become obsolete. He said it was not so,"
He did not say that brother, and it was so brother. Hebrews 8:13 In that He says " A new Covenenat," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
Praise God, I am no longer under the "Old Mosaic Law of Righteousness." The laws of God are written on my heart and come from the inside out. Jesus said on the cross "It is finished," and all things were fulfilled. The powers of darkness and death and sin were broken by Jesus,by willingly submitting Himslelf to the cross and shedding His blood once and for all time, no longer would the blood of calves and bulls be required, for Jesus is now our sanctuary, our tabernacle. What was once only a shadow of the heavenly reality, has now become our reality. It is Jesus who leads us "behind the veil," into the Fathers presence. We have been reconciled, just as the Father had planned from before the foundations of the earth............Frank
| 2009/9/20 15:51|
| Re: |
Matt 5-7 is Christ showing how far the intent of the law goes so that none can claim its righteousness. The intent of the sermon on the mount is not to tell people how far to go so they can measure up to some higher standard, but rather to emphasize how far short of the perfect measurement we come, which in turn is to cause us to fall upon Christ.
Lest one would cast Joshua or David out of heaven this topic is probably best summed up with each thing (whether war or peace, killing or healing) having its own time, and the man of God must seek out God's will at that time.
3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
| 2009/9/20 17:31|
| Re: |
Praise God! Apparently your eyes are getting better.
Putting that aside, I find no hyberbole in the Scriptures that you give, I merely find instruction based on a heart that is given over to God.
But Frank, it was you who pointed out the hyperbole to me:
Now in every language and communications their are literary devices. If I say I am so hungry that I could eat a horse, and I say it within the context of a non-fiction piece, it does not mean that I am going to eat a horse, the readership of today knows this, however it is a vehicle to express the depths of my hunger. If I say that it is raining cats and dogs, again, the same thing, we know that it is raining very heavily, but not actual cats and dogs. If Jesus says that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven, we know that under no circumstances can a camel go through the eye of a needle. Jesus is using a literary device in order to show the impossibility, outside of Him, of a rich man enetering heaven. If we read that a dragon rises from the sea, then we know that this is symbolic, and we do not look in the future for an actual dragon to rise up out of the sea. [b]It is simply a matter of common sense. When Jesus talks about plucking out eyes or cutting of limbs, it is a literary device for expressing an extreme sentiment, not to be taken literaly[/b].
In fact, you said a mouthful :-) .
If now you say there is no hyperbole in this passage, and ...
I merely find instruction based on a heart that is given over to God
...then we must obey:
Mt 5:29-30 [color=CC3300]"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, m cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."[/color]
... we cannot pick and choose the instructions that we will obey.
As I said before, if we are to take this passage (Mt 5:17-43) as literal instruction from the Lord, and if we are honest about our personal sinfulness, then there will be a lot of really blind people leading the "blind". Unless we can honestly claim that our eyes never lead us to sin.
Please do not misunderstand my intention. I'm merely trying to point out that these specific passages are hyperbole in support of Jesus' instruction to his disciples to become much more righteous than the Pharisees. Since these are "extravagant exaggerations" to stress a point, they are not to be taken literally. I am not saying the same for other verses in the Bible.
There are many other passages that instruct us regarding adultery, divorce, oaths to God, justice, and love for neighbor. It is to these other passages that we must go for enlightenment.
I have not said that non-resistance is wrong. I personally believe that it is to be the rule, particularly where personal injustice is concerned. Forbearance is a necessary part of "love your neighbor".
Just let's not turn a blind eye on how these verses are constructed and unified and interconnected in the Bible. Identifying hyperbole as hyperbole, seeing it for what it is, does not in any way detract from God's glory or the tenor or weight of His instructions to us.
In Christ's Love,
| 2009/9/20 19:01||Profile|