Fellow blogger Robert Martin, who blogs at Abnormal Anabpatist made the comment in my previous post “Neither Calvinist or Arminian; But, I’m not sure I’m Baptist either.”
I keep tellin’ ya, mate… you’re pretty close to Anabaptist. 🙂
Go find the book “The Naked Anabaptist” by Stuart Murray.
Anything Robert says is worth considering. He is a deep thinker, a careful writer and I am always encouraged in reading his blog. I also follow another blog called Menno Nerds, which is a compilation of a number of Anabaptist authors, where again I am often encouraged and forced to think outside of my comfort zone. I must admit I am drawn to the Anabaptist movement. In many ways it taps into my own heart for combining social justice as a natural outworking of the Gospel message.
Anabaptism is more of a movement than it is a organisation. Christians from every theological belief can be a member and so within their ranks are those who hold to Reformed, Arminian, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Baptist and those with more liberal views – who together believe that Christianity is more than just belief; its putting shoes on that belief and putting it into action. Hence they have a lot to do within a social justice environment. Along with their deep commitment to social justice, another deeply held conviction is that of being peacemakers and within the framework of peacemaking, there is no room and allowance for violence as peace makers.
For the most part, I too am a peacemaker. And so I too am almost a Anabaptist in my belonging. Except that I believe that God allows for Christians to be involved in violence when the circumstances permit. I hate war. I abhor it. At the same time, I believe there are times when we need to allow for war. During Jesus ministry, he had tax collectors coming to him for advice and asking what they must do to live out a kingdom life. His reply to them was to only collect the tax they were meant to collect, and no more to line their pockets with. Soldiers came to him asking him what they needed to do, and he told them to be content with their pay, and not to extort people.
We note that Jesus commended a Centurion’s faith, when he came to Jesus asking him to heal his servant, saying just say the word, and he will be healed, for he too was a man who knew his authority and only had to say something for it to be done. In Acts, we find another Centurion who the Scriptures call a righteous and good man. He was a man who likewise had a heart of social justice and looked after the poor. He was a praying man, and he had an angelic visitation where he was told to send for Peter who would be found in Joppa. At Joppa, while in prayer, Peter had a vision of a sheet of unclean foods being offered to him to eat – and when he protested against it, God told him not to call unclean that which he calls clean. And we read that Peter accompanied the centurions messengers back to his home, where he shared the Gospel message with them. Not only did he share the Gospel with them, the Holy Spirit fell on them, enabling them to speak in tongues also. Something which amazed Peter and his companions causing them to offer them a hand of equal friendship and being equals in God’s family. We also read of the Apostle Paul in his imprisonment, where he is having fruitful ministry amongst the palace guards. And so we read from the Biblical witness its easy to find that people employed in jobs in which we would equate today as being security guards, policeman and soldiers. Apart from Jesus’ direction to them to be content with their pay and not to extort people – I can’t find any other direction to them in regards to the work they were required to do. Certainly, there is no ‘recorded’ direction or commandment that they were to leave their positions and stop doing the work they were trained to do.
Because of this, I can’t say with any amount of certainty that its 100% wrong for Christians to be involved in any defensive acts of violence when its required of them. Even to the extreme of being involved in war, if the action is to provide protection for those who need it. Indeed, those actions could be considered a work of love, if indeed they save the lives of others, who would otherwise be wiped out. But, perhaps that is a another conversation for another day.