Wesley recognized that, in view of the coming kingdom and kingdom come, Scriptural Christianity calls for radical commitment — now! This present obedience, Wesley believed, should include two elements. First, he emphasized present commitment and devotion. Now repent, and believe the Gospel!
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Walk in the light, as he is in the light. But personal commitment and devotion are only part of a right response to the future God has designed. Scripture is never optimistic that human efforts will build the kingdom. Nevertheless, we must prepare for the coming kingdom as we serve the Lord Jesus now. For now, we live between the first coming of Jesus and his future return, between the institution of the kingdom of God and its consummation. While we long for our future eternal life with God, the completion of our salvation, we can experience a foretaste of that life now as we serve the risen Lord.
Joel B. He is recognized as a world-class New Testament scholar who has written or edited more than 40 books. Funny how few people are interested in this today, when the opportunity is so great, but then Jesus talked of two roads and said few would find the narrow one. Thanks, we need to encourage one another! If He rules your life, then you are in the Kingdom of God. Once people slowly adopt all their problems in this way and notify them then they can consciously decide to change their fate and situation in which they find themselves now.
They can then change their situation into any situation they wish. Then, everything you imagine, it will happen and what you decide for, will become your reality. You just have to decide on the level of your Spirit. If you will be able to accept something truly from your heart, amen, I say to you, you decide from the level of your Spirit and at this level you can decide for virtually anything and it will happen. And do not worry that you would wish bad things. Because the Spirit always wishes everything that is the will of the Father.
Your founder Mr. Wesley defined it perfectly. He thought of it in terms of three related events: 1 the general resurrection, — the moment we decide we want to reconnect again with our Spirit, again with Jesus and Father. That day can possibly happen any day you choose. And these events will happen as Mr.
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Wesley described them. The demands of the kingdom — Sorry to have to write it, but the kingdom has no demands. Does Jesus, then, adopt the prophetic view of the Kingdom? Does he adopt the apocalyptic vision of the Kingdom? Jesus holds these two previously competing notions together, rooting the apocalyptic vision in the prophetic. In this way he is able to announce that the Kingdom of God is already breaking into the present world, even if the definitive rule of God is still to come.
Joel Green spends the rest of this final chapter helping us understand the practical significance of this tension held together by Jesus for the Churches mission. He starts off by going to the Parables of Growth in Mark 4. Because the Kingdom of God is breaking into present history, life can no longer be the same. People are called to a new life, a life of repentance and belief, a life that revolves around the good news of the coming of God. And it means that we are challenged individually and collectively to serve the kingdom in every aspect of our lives. In doing so, we understand that such activity does not bring the Kingdom, of course.
God brings the Kingdom. This is what it means to seek the Kingdom of God corporately as the church and singly as an individual. The rule of God extends to all of life.. The way he connected his topic to the mission of the church and to discipleship was invaluable and should be something that every pastor should likewise be able to do. Jesus understanding of the Kingdom of God should be what shapes our ministry philosophies, and what empowers our pastoral care.
I highly recommend this book! Comments feed for this article. October 21, at am. Paul VanderKlay. Thanks for posting this. October 21, at pm. June 14, at pm. Hi setsnservice, To seek the Kingdom The presence of the Kingdom does call for conversion a changed life. But to seek the Kingdom means to seek to enter it yourself by conversion. To pursue that treasure for yourself in heaven Lc vv One does not seek the Kingdom by spreading it on this earth or something like that. You need to seek what Gods can give you Lc Green admits at least the first. But since we do not bring the Kingdom even if there is an already.
The people of Israel were called to live by Gods rule even before Christ. The already of the Kingdom is Christ, his presence, proclamation, acts by his annointing Lc , , suffering, death and resurrection. The good news to the poor is that Jesus and his salvation comes to them, not that I come to them, or the church comes to them.
So the main mission of the church with respect to the Kingdom is to proclaim Jesus. However as converts we have to love our neighbour. Where does it break-in nowadays? Q: What is the purpose of the response the coming of the Kingdom longs for?
To enter it and escape judgement. Love to see a reaction. Thanks for taking time to interact here. It neither fears God, nor regards man. We would be filled with the spirit of Christ. But, while we shall adhere to the doctrine of non-resistance and passive submission to enemies, we purpose, in a moral and spiritual sense, to speak and act boldly in the cause of God; to assail iniquity, in high places and in low places; to apply our principles to all existing civil, political, legal, and ecclesiastical institutions; and to hasten the time when the kingdoms of this world will have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever.
It appears to us a self-evident truth, that, whatever the gospel is designed to destroy at any period of the world, being contrary to it, ought now to be abandoned. If, then, the time is predicted, when swords shall be beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruning-hooks, and men shall not learn the art of war any more , it follows that all who manufacture, sell, or wield these deadly weapons, do thus array themselves against the peaceful dominion of the Son of God on earth.
Having thus briefly, but frankly, stated our principles and purposes, we proceed to specify the measures we propose to adopt, in carrying our object into effect. From the press, we shall promulgate our sentiments as widely as practicable. We shall endeavor to secure the cooperation of all persons, of whatever name or sect.
It will be our leading object to devise ways and means for effecting a radical change in the views, feelings, and practices of society, respecting the sinfulness of war and the treatment of enemies. In entering upon the great work before us, we are not unmindful that, in its prosecution, we may be called to test our sincerity, even as in a fiery ordeal. It may subject us to insult, outrage, suffering, yea, even death itself. We anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, calumny. Tumults may arise against us.
The ungodly and the violent, the proud and pharisaical, the ambitious and tyrannical, principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places , may combine to crush us. So they treated the Messiah, whose example we are humbly striving to imitate. Our confidence is in the Lord Almighty, not in man. Having withdrawn from human protection, what can sustain us but that faith which overcomes the world?
Wherefore, we commit the keeping of our souls to God, in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator. But nothing of the kind happened. The same ingloriousness has fallen to the share of another champion of non-resistance to evil, the American Adin Ballou , who lately died, and who preached this doctrine for fifty years. Later on I received a letter from [Lewis G. I wrote to Ballou, and he answered me and sent me his writings. Here are a few extracts from them:. I have covenanted to forsake all and follow Him , through good and evil report, until death. But I am nevertheless a Democratic Republican citizen of the United States, implicitly sworn to bear true allegiance to my country, and to support its Constitution, if need be, with my life.
Jesus Christ requires me to do unto others as I would that others should do unto me. The Constitution of the United States requires me to do unto twenty-seven hundred thousand slaves [there were slaves then, now we may put the working people in their place] the very contrary of what I would have them do unto me, viz. I vote on. I help govern on. I am willing to hold any office I may be elected to under the Constitution. And I am still a Christian.
I profess on. I find no difficulty in keeping covenant both with Christ and the Constitution. Accordingly, the land is well furnished with gibbets, prisons, arsenals, train-bands, soldiers, and ships of war. In the maintenance and use of this expensive life-destroying apparatus, we can exemplify the virtues of forgiving our injurers, loving our enemies, blessing them that curse us, and doing good to those that hate us. For this reason, we have regular Christian chaplains to pray for us, and call down the smiles of God on our holy murders. I see it all; and yet I insist that I am as good a Christian as ever.
I fellowship all; I vote on; I help govern on; I profess on; and I glory in being at once a devoted Christian, and a no less devoted adherent to the existing government. I will not give in to those miserable Non-Resistant notions. I will not throw away my political influence, and leave unprincipled men to carry on government alone.
I endorse it. I swear to help carry it through. Is not war a Christian service? Is it not perfectly Christian to murder hundreds of thousands of fellow human beings; to ravish defenseless females, sack and burn cities, and enact all the other cruelties of war? Out upon these new-fangled scruples! This is the very way to forgive injuries, and love our enemies! If we only do it all in true love, nothing can be more Christian than wholesale murder!
One man must not kill. If he does it is murder. Two, ten, one hundred men, acting on their own responsibility, must not kill. If they do, it is still murder. But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is no murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take? This is the question. Just so with theft, robbery, burglary, and all other crimes.
Evil is to be resisted by all just means, but never with evil. From what can we see that Christ in such cases prescribed non-resistance? From the words which He then used. But I say unto you that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. Those injunctions by which Noah, Moses, and other prophets authorize men to inflict personal injury on injurers, in order to punish and destroy evil. He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death , and if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe Ex.
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And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him: breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again Lev. And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother : and thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot Deut.
These are the precepts of which Jesus is speaking. Noah, Moses, and the prophets taught that he who kills, maims, and tortures his neighbors does evil. To resist such evil and destroy it, the doer of evil is to be punished by death or maiming or some personal injury. Insult is to be opposed to insult, murder to murder, torture to torture, evil to evil. Thus taught Noah, Moses, and the prophets. But Christ denies it all. Did the ancients authorize the resistance of insult with insult? Yes; but Jesus prohibited this.
A Christian has under no condition the right to deprive of life or to subject to insult him who does evil to his neighbor. May he enter a court with a complaint, to have his insulter punished? No; for what he is doing through others, he is in reality doing in his own person. May he fight with an army against enemies, or against domestic rebels?
Of course not. He cannot take any part in war or warlike preparations. He cannot use death-dealing arms. He cannot resist injury with injury, no matter whether he be alone or with others, through himself or through others. May he voluntarily give money, to aid the government, which is supported by military forces, capital punishment, and violence in general? No, if the money is not intended for some special object, just in itself, where the aim and means are good. No; he must not voluntarily pay the taxes, but he must also not resist their collection.
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The taxes imposed by the government are collected independently of the will of the subjects. It is impossible to resist the collection, without having recourse to violence; but a Christian must not use violence, and so he must give up his property to the violence which is exerted by the powers. May a Christian vote at elections and take part in a court or in the government? No; the participation in elections, in the court, or in the government, is a participation in governmental violence. In what does the chief significance of the doctrine of non-resistance consist?
This doctrine forbids doing that by which evil is perpetuated and multiplied. He who attacks another and insults him, engenders in another the sentiment of hatred, the root of all evil. Satan cannot be driven out by Satan, untruth cannot be cleansed by untruth, and evil cannot be vanquished by evil. True non-resistance is the one true resistance to evil. It kills and finally destroys the evil sentiment. It is as practicable as any good prescribed by the Law of God.
The good cannot under all circumstances be executed without self-renunciation, privation, suffering, and, in extreme cases, without the loss of life itself.
Such a man, in trying to save his life, shall lose it. Besides, in general, where non-resistance costs the sacrifice of one life, or the sacrifice of some essential good of life, resistance costs thousands of such sacrifices. If all men did not resist evil with evil, the world would be blessed. But one or thousands who have firmly determined not to resist evil with evil, whether among the enlightened or among savage neighbors, are much safer from violence than those who rely on violence.
A robber, murderer, deceiver, will more quickly leave them alone than those who resist with weapons. They who take the sword perish with the sword , and those who seek peace, who act in a friendly manner, inoffensively, who forget and forgive offenses, for the most part enjoy peace or, if they die, die blessed. Thus, if all kept the commandment of non-resistance, it is evident that there would be no offenses, no evil deeds.
If these formed a majority, they would establish the reign of love and good-will, even toward the ill-disposed, by never resisting evil with evil, never using violence. If there were a considerable minority of these, they would have such a corrective, moral effect upon society that every cruel punishment would be abolished, and violence and enmity would be changed to peace and love. If there were but a small minority of them, they would rarely experience anything worse than the contempt of the world, and the world would in the meantime, without noticing it, and without feeling itself under obligation, become wiser and better from this secret influence.
In the course of fifty years , Ballou wrote and edited books dealing mainly with the question of nonresistance to evil. In these works, which are beautiful in their lucidity of thought and elegance of expression, the question is discussed from every possible side. He establishes the obligatoriness of this commandment for every Christian who professes the Bible as a divine revelation.
He adduces all the customary retorts to the commandment of non-resistance, both from the Old Testament and from the New, as, for example, the expulsion from the temple, and so forth, and all these are overthrown; he shows, independently of Scripture, the practical wisdom of this rule, and adduces all the objections which are usually made to it, and meets all these objections. Thus one chapter of a work of his treats of non-resistance to evil in exclusive cases, and here he acknowledges that, if there were cases when the application of non-resistance to evil were impossible, this would prove that the rule is altogether untenable.
In adducing these special cases, he proves that it is precisely in them that the application of this rule is necessary and rational. There is not a single side of the question, either for his followers or for his adversaries, which is not investigated in these works. But the fate of Garrison and especially of Ballou, who is not known to any one, in spite of his fifty years of stubborn and constant work in one and the same direction, has also confirmed to me the other fact, that there exists some kind of unexpressed but firm understanding as to passing all such attempts in silence.
Ballou died in August, , and his obituary was given in an American periodical with a Christian tendency Religio-Philosophical Journal , August 23 d. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. The Net of Faith is that teaching of Christ which is to draw man out from the dark depths of the sea of life and its untruths. This primitive church was his own ideal of a social structure, based on equality, freedom, and brotherhood.
Constantine, in his turn, invested the Pope with worldly wealth and power. Since then both powers have been aiding one another and have striven after external glory. Doctors and masters and the clergy have begun to care only for the subjugation of the whole world to their dominion, have armed men against one another for the purpose of murdering and plundering, and have completely destroyed Christianity in faith and in life.
But a year, two, three years passed, and the book did not appear. Only in I learned that the printing of the book, which had been begun, had come to a stop. I got the proof-sheets of as much as had been printed, and I read the book. The book is in every respect remarkable. The large fish that broke through the net are the rulers, emperors, popes, kings, who, in not renouncing their power, did not accept Christianity, but its semblance only.
He teaches that Christianity, which demands from its followers meekness, humility, kindness, forgiveness of sins, the offering of the other cheek when one cheek has been smitten, love of enemies, is incompatible with violence, which forms an indispensable condition of power. All such books, which are called heretical, have been burned together with the authors, so that there are very few ancient works which arraign the departure of official Christianity, and so this book is especially interesting.
But besides being interesting, no matter how we look upon it, this book is one of the most remarkable productions of thoughts, as judged by the depth of its contents, and the wonderful force and beauty of the popular language, and its antiquity. And yet this book has for more than four centuries remained unprinted, and continues to be unknown, except to learned specialists. Works of this kind, which touch on the essence of the Christian teaching, ought, it seems, to be analyzed and recognized as true, or to be rejected and overthrown. But nothing of the kind has happened.
One and the same thing is repeated with all these works. But still more startling is the ingloriousness of two works, of which I learned also in connection with the appearance of my book. The ignorance about these two books is particularly remarkable, because, to say nothing of their worth, both books treat not so much of the theory as of the practical application of the theory to life, of the relation of Christianity to military service, which is particularly important and interesting now, in connection with the universal liability to do military service. It seems that this is a very living question, one, the answer to which is particularly important in connection with the military service of the present time.
What must a man, as a Christian, answer in reply to this demand? There are some persons, who, without any determinate process of reasoning, appear to conclude that responsibility for national measures attaches solely to those who direct them; that it is the business of governments to consider what is good for the community, and that, in these cases, the duty of the subject is merged in the will of the sovereign. Considerations like these are, I believe, often voluntarily permitted to become opiates of the conscience.
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I have no part, it is said, in the counsels of the government, and am not therefore responsible for its crimes. We are, indeed, not responsible for the crimes of our rulers, but we are responsible for our own; and the crimes of our rulers are our own, if, whilst we believe them to be crimes, we promote them by our cooperation.
But those who suppose that obedience in all things is required, or that responsibility in political affairs is transferred from the subject to the sovereign, reduce themselves to a great dilemma. It is to say that we must resign our conduct and our consciences to the will of others, and act wickedly or well, as their good or evil may preponderate, without merit for virtue, or responsibility for crime. What is remarkable is this, that precisely the same is expressed in the instruction to the soldiers, which they are made to learn by rote: it says there that only the general is responsible for the consequences of his command.
But this is not true.
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A man cannot shift the responsibility for his acts. And this may be seen from what follows:. There is no rational limit but that which is assigned by Christianity, and that is both rational and practicable. We think, then, that it is the business of every man, who believes that war is inconsistent with our religion, respectfully, but steadfastly, to refuse to engage in it.
Let such as these remember that an honorable and an awful duty is laid upon them. It is upon their fidelity, so far as human agency is concerned, that the cause of peace is suspended. Let them be willing to avow their opinions and to defend them. Neither let them be contented with words, if more than words, if suffering also, is required. If you believe that Jesus Christ has prohibited slaughter, let not the opinion or the commands of a world induce you to join in it.
The book is devoted to the same question, which it analyzes in relation with the demand made by the government of the United States on its citizens as regards military service during that Civil War, and it has the same contemporary importance, in that it analyzes the question as to how and under what conditions men must and can refuse to do military service. In the introduction the author says:. It is well known that there are great numbers of people in the United States who profess to be conscientiously opposed to war. They are mostly called non-resistants, or defenseless Christians, and refuse to defend their country or take up arms at the call of the Government to go forth in battle against its enemies.
Until now, this conscientious scruple has been respected by the Government in this country, and those claiming it have been relieved or excused from this service. Since the commencement of the present civil war in the United States, the public mind has been unusually agitated on this subject. It is not unreasonable that such persons as feel it to be their duty to go forth and endure the hardships of camp life, and imperil health, life, and limb in defense of their country and Government, should feel some jealousy of those who have, with themselves, long enjoyed the protection and benefits of the Government, and yet, in the hour of its need, refuse to share the burden of its defense and protection.
Neither is it strange that such a position should be looked upon as most unreasonable and monstrous, and those who hold it are regarded with some suspicion. Many able speakers and writers… have raised their voices and pens to refute the idea of non-resistance as both unreasonable and unscriptural.
This is not to be wondered at, seeing those who profess the principle and do not possess it or correctly understand it act inconsistently, and thereby bring the profession into disrepute and contempt. However much misapplication or abuse of a principle may prejudice the minds of those who are unacquainted with a subject, it is yet no argument against its truth. First of all the author proves the obligatoriness of the rule of non-resistance for every Christian in that it is clear and that it is given to a Christian beyond any possibility of misinterpretation.
With this the author considers the question as to principle itself completely solved. The author concludes his book with the following:. Christ has chosen his disciples out of the world. They have no promise of temporal good or happiness, but the contrary. Their promise is in the world to come. The spirit that they possess renders them happy and contented in any sphere of life.
So long as the world tolerates them, they are contented; but if the world will not let them dwell in peace, they flee to another city or place; and so they are true pilgrims and strangers on earth, having no certain abiding-place. Their hope and prospects are in the world to come. They are well contented that the dead may bury their dead , if they are only permitted to follow Christ. Without touching the question whether the duty of a Christian in relation to war, as established in these two books, is correct or not, it is impossible not to see the practical importance and urgency of the solution of this question.
What does the government do?
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Does it excuse them? Does it compel them to serve, and, in case of a refusal, punish them? In the government acted as follows. Here is an excerpt, which is almost unknown in Russia, from a diary by N. These men had been sent to the army, but they refused to serve; they have been flogged several times and have been sent between the rows, but they gladly undergo the most cruel torments and are prepared for death, if only they can avoid serving.
All men are equal and the Tsar is just such a man as we are. Why should we pay him tribute? Why should I subject my life to danger in order to kill in war a man who has done me no wrong? You may cut us into small pieces, but we will not change our ideas, we will not put on the military cloak, and will not eat rations. He who will pity us will give us an alms, but we have nothing belonging to the Crown and we want nothing. They have four times been taken before the Committee of Ministers, and it was finally decided to refer the matter to the Tsar, who commanded that they be sent to Georgia to mend their ways, and ordered the commander-in-chief to report to him every month concerning the gradual success in turning these peasants to the proper ideas.
It is not known how this improvement ended, just as nothing is known of the whole episode, which was kept a profound secret. In the late cases of refusal to do military service in consequence of religious convictions, other than those of the Mennonites, the authorities have acted as follows:. I know that in the case of one man in Moscow, who in refused to serve, they wrote up voluminous documents two months after his refusal, and these were kept in the ministry as the greatest secret.
They generally begin by sending the one who refuses to the priests, who, to their shame be it said, always admonish the person refusing. But since the admonition, in the name of Christ, to renounce Christ is generally fruitless, the refusing person is after the admonition by the clergy sent to the gendarmes. The gendarmes, finding nothing of a political nature in the case, generally return him, and then the refusing person is sent to the learned, to the physicians, and into the insane asylum. In all these recommitments the refuser, who is deprived of his liberty, undergoes all kinds of humiliations and sufferings, like a condemned criminal.
This was repeated in four cases. The most convenient thing for the government to do would be to have the refuser executed, beaten to death with sticks, as they used to do of old, or executed in some other manner. But it is impossible openly to execute a man for being true to a teaching which we all profess, and it is equally impossible to let a man alone, who refuses to serve. And so there begin all kinds of devices and cunning and tortures of this man. Either he is sent to some outlying region, or he is provoked to commit some act of insubordination, and then he is tried for breach of discipline and is locked up in prison, in a disciplinary battalion, where he is freely tortured in secret, or he is declared insane and is locked up in an insane asylum.
Thus one man was sent to Tashkent, that is, as though he were transferred to the Tashkent army, another to Omsk, a third was tried for insubordination and sent to prison, and a fourth was put into a lunatic asylum. Everywhere the same is repeated. Not only the government, but also the majority of liberals, of freethinkers, as though by agreement, carefully turn away from everything which has been said, written, and done by men to show the incompatibility of violence in its most terrible, rude, and lurid form, in the form of militarism, that is, the readiness to kill anybody, with the teaching, not only of Christianity, but even of humanitarianism, which society pretends to be professing.
The same impression of a desire to conceal, to pass in silence, what I attempted so carefully to express in my book, has been produced on me by the criticisms upon it.