Archives For peace

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From “An Unexpected Peace”:

“When the angels announced that peace had arrived on earth, it was not because Herod was dethroned, or the Jewish people agreed on the identity of the real King of the Jews, or because the message of Christ would ensure that everybody got along. They announced that peace had arrived on earth because Jesus had arrived, and those on whom his favor rested would benefit in a way that somehow transcended political and social realities. The circumstances hadn’t changed – other than that Christ was present.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you…not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Jesus spoke these words in the middle of the most tumultuous and violent events of his life. Judas Iscariot was hatching a plot to betray him. The crowds were in an uproar. The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were disturbed and fearful, hatching their own plots to rid themselves of this menace to their power and position. Even the Romans could feel the atmosphere of tension in the city.

Yet in the midst of all this, Jesus said he was giving peace. Clearly, the peace he offers isn’t a peace by the standards of the world (John 14:27). Peace is not just the absence of strife. A fuller definition has to involve the presence of Christ: “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). True peace is found when we are in right relationship with Christ. The promise of Christmas is that Christ can bring peace within us even as life remains tumultuous around us.”

 

God of War

Anthony Weber —  July 13, 2012 — 5 Comments

The entire concept of a God of justice and mercy ordering the slaughter of thousands of people  on many occasions I find abhorrent.This is an issue I have always had profound trouble with and one I suspended judgment on when I began to believe.. The responses to this problem I have seen so far (God did them a favor, they were like cancer, or God’s justice is beyond ours) seem to me to be lame or inappropriate.”   – from a letter to Timothy Keller

Let’s be honest: The Old Testament God sometimes seems cranky and eager to smash something.  That is a daunting image of God, especially when compared to the mild and humble picture of Jesus. If the New Testament God is Mr. Rogers, the Old Testament God is Randy Couture. However, neither of these caricatures is accurate. This post is the first part of a series on an often uncomfortable topic:  God of War.

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Growing up Mennonite, we never talked about God and war.  We read the story about David and Goliath with as much detachment and inner condemnation as we could.  We wondered how much we should cheer for David’s mighty men, who were the elite forces of their day. We cheered when Sampson brought the temple down, but with some guilt.  (Plus he had long hair, and that was a problem for us too.) So what do you think we did with all the God-ordained wars in the Old Testament?

Nothing.

We loved Jesus when he said “love your enemy” and “turn the other cheek,” but God?  God in the Old Testament was sometimes treated like the crazy uncle who shows up at family reunions.  Nobody really knows how to interact with him or explain him to others. Continue Reading…