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Nonresistance and Peacemaking in the Bible

Nonresistance and Peacemaking in the Bible

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Published by robertmilliman
A brief provisional outline of the biblical teaching on nonresistance and peacemaking
A brief provisional outline of the biblical teaching on nonresistance and peacemaking

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Published by: robertmilliman on Aug 20, 2010
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06/19/2012

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A Brief Provisional Outline of Biblical Teaching on Non-resistance and Peacemaking
Page 1 of 3
 
AffirmationThe Bible teaches non-resistance and peacemaking. This is the only conclusion to which onemay arrive from a
 prima facie
reading of the New Testament. For example, it is clearly taught bythe life and teaching of Jesus and the teaching of the apostles.EvidenceProphecy: Jesus is called the Prince of Peace in the prophecy of Isa 9:6.The angelic announcement of Christ’s birth: It concludes with the benediction, "Glory to God inthe highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:1).The example of Jesus: Jesus did not resist the violence to which he was subjected—beatings,lashing, and the cross—even though he could have called upon the armies of heaven to rescueHim (Matt 26:53). Furthermore, he did not retaliate in any way. Instead, he trusted God (1 Peter 2:21–23).Selected teaching given by Jesus and His apostles:
 Blessed are the peacemakers
, for they will be
called sons of God 
(Matt 5:9).
 Do not resist an evil person
. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
 Love your enemies
and
 pray for those who persecute you
,
 
that you
may be sons of your  Father in heaven
(Matt 5:39, 44, 45).
 Do not repay anyone evil for evil 
. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peacewith everyone.
 Do not take revenge
, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: It ismine to avenge; I will repay,
 
says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feedhim; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. Do not be overcome by evil, but
overcomeevil with good 
(Rom 12:17–21).But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then
 peace-loving 
, considerate,submissive,
 full of mercy
and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in
 peace
raise a
harvest of righteousness
(James 3:17–18).
 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing 
, because to this you werecalled so that you may
inherit a blessing 
. For, whoever would love life and see gooddays must
turn from evil and do good 
; he must
 seek peace and pursue
it (1 Peter 3:9–11).
Christ suffered 
for you
 , leaving 
you
an example
, that you should
 follow in his steps
. Whenthey hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.Instead, he
entrusted himself to him who judges
justly (1 Peter 2:21, 23).Selected examples of appeals for peace and unity made by Christ and His apostles.Jesus’ prayer for unity: John 17Paul’s appeal to unity based on the example of Jesus: Phil 2The symbolism of the Lord’s Supper: 1 Cor 10The purpose of the death of Christ: Reconciliation between God and people, in other words, theremoval of enmity and the restoration of peace.The consequence of the reconciliation of God and people: Peace and unity between people and people groups.ConclusionPeacemaking and non-resistance appear to be the overriding characteristics of the story lived bythose who are disciples of the Prince of Peace and children of His Father.
 
A Brief Provisional Outline of the Page 2 of 3Biblical Teaching on Non-resistance and Peacemaking
 
Brief Responses to Common Objections to the Biblical Teaching
What about war in the Old Testament?
This is a genuine problem. In grappling with it, one must consider the conclusions in thefollowing list. At the least, they demonstrate that Old Testament teaching and example do notabrogate the clear teaching of Jesus and His apostles.One must adhere to the basic hermeneutical principle of attempting to
understand difficult  passages in light of clear ones
. In other words, the clear teaching of the New Testament, towhich reference is made above, must be given the benefit of the doubt when its teaching appearsto conflict with Old Testament teaching and example. In other words, one who clings to OldTestament teaching that appears to contradict New Testament teaching has the burden of provingthat the Old Testament supersedes New Testament revelation.The fact of progressive revelation anticipates differences in the teaching of the two testaments.For example, contemporary Christians obey the New Testament teaching of monogamy andreject the Old Testament example of polygamy.The New Testament affirms a discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments characterized by teaching in the Old Testament that has been ended, replaced, and/or superseded.Example verses:The entire Old Testament Scriptures testify of Christ (Luke 24:27)Christ came to fulfill the Law (Matt 5:17)Christ is the goal of the Law, and in His fulfillment of it, the Law has ended for  believers (Rom 10:4).The grace of Jesus replaced the grace of Moses (John 1:16–17).The Old Covenant has faded away, but the New Covenant lasts forever (2 Cor 3:10– 13).Selected illustrations:Jesus endorsed the end of capital punishment (John 8:3–11).God endorsed the cessation of Old Testament food laws and the full inclusion of theGentiles in Gods’ program of reconciliation (Acts 10:9–16).Selected illustrations of contemporary Christians’ belief in this affirmation:They do not offer sacrifices at a temple.They do not refrain from eating pork and shrimp.They do not refrain from wearing clothes made of blended fabrics.The law of love now prevails, and the following passages summarize its principles:So in everything,
do to others what you would have them do to you
, for this sums up theLaw and the Prophets (Matt 7:12).
 Love your neighbor as yourself 
(Matt 22:39).
 Forgive
us our debts,
as we
also
have forgiven
our debtors (Matt 6:12).Israel was a theocracy. Its governance and actions are not analogous to the modern nation-state.Yahweh ruled directly or through His mediator, e.g., Abraham, Moses, Saul, David.Yahweh was the leading warrior in all battles. He actually won the battles for Israel.

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