Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Is Christian discipleship meant to embrace non-violence, justice and actually doing what Christ taught?

Doing our duty to Queen and Country; doing total discipleship to our God, JC1

Thinking about our nation's recent military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, is there one verse in one of Paul's letters that has a bearing on those trouble spots?  And another as, perhaps, a slight corrective to that one?  What could I be thinking of?!

What would be the mind of Christ in those situations?

How then does that apply to our own Christian discipleship?  Should it affect how we vote, how we write to or, even visit, our MEPs, MPs and councillors?

Hi Tim,

Thanks for all these thoughts on walks etc - we will look forward to seeing you by 9am Friday - we will bring our own lunch and so be ready for the off.

re: your thought for the day, your question about the 'mind of Christ' is a really good one; unfortunately He doesnt offer any soundbites on Afghanistan, Iraq, the Labour leadership etc!!!! (No soundbites but much teaching in the Gospels, Acts and in Paul's letters, don't you think, Peter?)  So we have to rely on the big picture of scripture as a whole I think.  Both the Old Testament and the gospels were written during tumultuous times politically and socially  from slavery in Egypt, warring nations, constant attempts to stamp out the people of God, the failure of the Jewish kings to meet expectations etc;. In the NT there is the total occupation and dominance of the Roman empire with all the injustice and inhumanity that accompanied it.  The apostle Paul made good use of his Roman citizenship and was not, of course, rebellious or revolutionary.  Unlike our Western governments and the public opinion that allows them to be so.  But only when it comes to weaker countries who can't hit back (apart from with terrorism).

When it comes to Romans 13 v 1-7, my commentary has: "The Christian and the state.  Though the Christian has no right to punish (12 v 19-21), the state does have that right and the Christian must respect it.  Paul's confidence that the Roman state is, on the whole, just and beneficent is matched in 1 Peter 2.13-17; 3.v13."

How is the mind of God and of his Messiah expressed? Constantly reconciliation with God through his Messiah is the theme, BEFORE reconciliation with our neighbour is possible. So the sermon on the mount (which most people take as great advice for life) is all about mourning our sin, hungering for God and His righteousness, seeking peace with God first, and only then can we live in our messy world loving our neighbour in need.

So I cannot expect a world that doesn't live under the lordship of Christ to follow his way any more than the OT Israelites, or NT believers could expect those around them to do. Should those who do live in the lordship of Christ follow His (non-aggression) way, however difficult or costly?  That doesn't mean I shouldn't do 'all the good I can to all the people I can just so long as I can', but I think it suggests that the main witness of Christian believers is to enjoy living under the lordship of Christ.- enjoying his world, his peace, his forgiveness, and do all I can to be reconciled with my 'neighbour'.

This may not be what you wanted to hear, as you are still in'campaigning' mode, but I think our world will remain messy until Christ comes again !!  But our own little, individual world should have the minimum mess (or hypocrisy) in it.

Every blessing Tim, and thanks again for all the prep for our time away.


This has been sent only to you, Les but is one reply to what Peter wrote on the back of the sheet I gave you yesterday.

You are right.  It is campaigning but, as I see it, it is also, for me, doing my duty to Queen and Country and discipleship to my God (JC1).  "Give to Caesar those things that are Caesar's and to God those things that are God's."

I think, this kind of patriotism puts Jesus Christ first and is also in line with His Spirit that cannot possibly be about overthrowing foreign governments.  In this century alone, these have been Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria.  Last decade, our friends and allies (and our fellow believers) in the States had seven countries as part of their Project for the New American Century.  All to be overthrown to become democratic and American compliant.  All contrary to Titus 3 v 1 and Romans 13 - being submissive and obedient to rulers and authorities.  Especially, the Spirit of Jesus cannot be about bringing democracy down the barrel of a gun, as all three main political parties we vote for believe and do.  My pastor, Les Hardwick, told me that the corrective to complying with the wishes of the authorities is the verse in Acts, "Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men' " Acts 5 v 29.

Therefore, should Christian believers be voting for the main political parties who do war around the world, to try and keep Western compliant governments in power or, use military might to protect their vital strategic interests?  "Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts" Zechariah 4 v 6.


Hi Tim 
Thank you for your e-mail in which you raise some very difficult questions.  In Matthew 24v6 Jesus said "You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.".He also spoke in chapter 25 of the need to look after the poor and hungry v 31 to 46.

The question of voting  has to be answered according to our own conscience accepting that someone else will act differently while following their own conscience. Not voting can open the door to  even worse forms of government     (there was a time when I would not vote.)

In September 2002 (15 February 2003) over one million people marched in London protesting against the war against Iraq, the war still went ahead!  The 1950s,saw many protests against  weapons of mass destruction, nothing has changed.  There seems little we can do! but we can feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, try to overcome poverty and vote for the party which seems most willing to tackle these issues!


Thanks v much for these thoughts.

We need a much higher profile given to non violence, constraint not coercion, a new determination to eschew aggression, power, domination, colonialism, empire building, forcing our ways (and wars) on others.

A new determination to allow religious and political toleration, equality, justice tempered with mercy instead of constant punishment and revenge.  A rejection of hypocrisy in too much unethical foreign policy and the closure of Guantanamo Bay.  A rejection of the all out war on Gaza that our side perpetrated in July and August of 2014.  A rejection of lying that allows some of our political leaders to say, "Of course, I will press the nuclear button" to send much of humanity to kingdom come.  Obscene riches to allow, with Trident, such disgusting behaviour by our leaders and, when poverty and inequality is so rife too!

"What we sow today we will reap tomorrow".  Mayhem, instability, civil war in the Middle East is now spreading, with revenge attacks, to our own Western nations that are bombing, missiling Syria and Iraq - and, for many more years to come.  Nearly all the politicians we vote for have unleashed the dogs of war, opened the Pandora's Box, well and truly stirred up a hornet's nest of anger and hatred against Israel and the West.

I must come round today to get the meter reading that Places for People want today.

Every blessing