SEEMS THERE IS a ruckus right now over whether the character of Jesus is more aptly described as pacifist or a patient judge who is to slay the unrepentant. Is he one or the other, or both? Seems there is evidence over the whole Bible to suggest he was one during some occasions and the other on other occasions. Why do we split hairs over minuscule theology and lose the world with the argument? I’m thinking influential Christian voices ought to know better – if I can allow myself that presence of a momentary self-righteousness.
I think that we opt for a Jesus that fits our own preference set, and we can always find Scripture to elevate to suit our argument.
So what’s my preference – what way do I lean in this argument – for everyone has to pick a way – there are no broad fences in our theological world?
I go Jesus 55% pacifist and 45% patient (though slaying) judge.
Why? Because Jesus is both. We cannot take God for one or the other – he is both. There are situations for both; applications for both. Indeed, we must realise that God’s dimensions – the nuances of his character – are infinite. We will never truly understand. In the present argument there are only two polar choices – so we partial (judging) human beings – liable to take offense – will take it to one extreme or the other.
Why can’t we see the ideal of a continuum here? Isn’t there the scope in God to cover all bases – from pacifist to patient judge (and back again) stopping any which way?
Perhaps the real problem – the true stumbling block in the present argument – can stem from the offense both given and taken in the use of the word “pansy”. Mark Driscoll is all about shock theology, yet other writers, like Scot McKnight on this occasion, and the four others he profiles in his article, may overreact to the shock talk. I certainly don’t think Driscoll is backing down from a fight – he’s no pacifist pansy!
Respecting the Role of God
Isn’t this the matter of respecting the role of God? If we were not to get so hung up on chasing theological dragons, we would have more impetus to love.
Don’t theological arguments – much of the time – play straight into the hands of the enemy? After all, how many Christians really fight fair when the attacks get personal? There are not many models of Christ around – even of those who love him.
Respecting the role of God is holding our theological views lightly, preferring to love rather than to be drawn into stupid controversies. Theological debates, in most ‘secular’ environments, are the devil’s playground. We cannot serve God and fight our compatriots simultaneously.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.