Monday, August 31, 2009

Yoder- Who is your Messiah?

"The invocation of violence to support any cause is also implicitly a messianism. Any national sense of mission claims implicitly to be a saving community. One cannot avoid either messianism or the claim to chosen peoplehood by setting Jesus or his methods aside. One only casts the aura of election around lesser causes." Nevertheless p. 138


byron smith said...

On this I disagree. Or at least, I'd like to know how he justifies this claim. Why is violence necessarily messianic? And does he distinguish between violence and force?

The mainstream/Augustinian Christian tradition (and it is this that America has departed from some time ago) has been very careful to say that force used in the service of political authority is precisely not messianic, but purely secular, limiting the scope of evil in this present age but not pretending to bring in the one to come.

Mike W said...

Yeah, the statement could be tempered by saying the use of violence for 'm/any causes' is implicitly messianic. I think his real beef is how we define evil, and especially if we define evil without Jesus' command to love our enemies, then our 'restraint of evil' and our justifications of it is evil itself.

byron smith said...

Yes, that is a fair point. Just what/who is being restrained by political authority (and how that is done) are key questions for any positive account of the Christian obedience of rulers.