Reframing the Debate

My friend Chris shot out an email today that merited some blog postage. He states;

Doing some research here [he is writing a book with Shane Claiborne].

Yoder’s Christian Witness to the State (p 56-57)
The question, May a Christian be a policeman? is posed in legalistic terms. The answer is to pose the question on the Christian level: Is the Christian called to be a policeman? We know he is called to be an agent of reconciliation. Does that general call, valid for every Christian, take for certain individuals a form of a specific call to be also an agent of the wrath of God? Stating the question in this form makes it clear that if the Christian can by any stretch of the imagination find his calling in the exercise of state-commanded violence, he must bring us (i.e., lay before the community) the evidence that he or she has such a special calling. Long enough we have been told that the position of the conscientious objector is a prophetic one, legitimate but only for the specifically called few; in truth we must hold that the nonresistant position is the normal and normative position for every Christian, and it is the use of violence, even at that point where the state may with some legitimacy be violent, that requires an exceptional justification. I have met no one testifying to such an exceptional call. Generally those who seek political positions do not admit a need to justify their actions as discipleship, within the framework defined by a prior admission of the nonresistant teaching of the New Testament.

2 thoughts on “Reframing the Debate

  1. Remind me of George Fox’s response to William Penn’s question of wearing a sword: “Wear it as long as you are able.”

  2. Hi Logan,

    We are a couple living in Lawton, Oklahoma, interested in connecting with soldiers who may be facing similar questions of faith as you have. We want to be a listening ear for them. If you know of anyone in the military who is in this area, please pass along our e-mail: acory78 -at- gmail . com

    Blessings ~Anna and Jeff

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