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Update Newsletters
17 September 2006 Issue

1. Seventh Day Adventist comments

2. Activist Feedback

3.  DVD Feedback

4. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence

1. Seventh Day Adventist comments

In recent weeks, we have had diverse comments on whether or not SDAs support ethical vegetarianism. For purposes of clarification, the Christian Vegetarian Association is not an SDA organization; the CVA is non-denominational.

2. Activist Feedback

Anita, tabling at the Vegfest in Toronto, writes:

The festival was wonderful. Two glorious days by Lake Ontario on an early fall day. The turn out was tremendous and there was no shortage of discussion and debate. There were a number of patterns of discussion that emerged over the last 2 days.

1) Many Christian vegetarians disclosed to me the struggles that they have experienced at their churches and within their families and circle of friends because they are Christian and vegetarian. Some individuals sadly left their churches because of it. Many took stacks of pamphlets that they want to distribute at their churches and amongst friends and family.

2) Another group were vegetarians who were not Christian, but clearly wanted to challenge the fact that I am both. Their arguments were about the meat eating that occurred in the bible and that Jesus was not a vegetarian because he ate fish. I simply stated that I believe the core values of the Christian faith are love, compassion and non-violence and that my practice of vegetarianism, not only makes sense, but honours these values. In most situations, this ended the debate.

3) The third were individuals that were vegetarian, not Christian, but spiritual in some way. They were very open to the discussion about spirituality and vegetarianism. Most of them were pleasantly surprised to see the CVA.

Many people commented on my t-shirt and the lovely framed picture.

I had a great time.
Peace and blessings.

To find out about all upcoming leafleting and tabling opportunities in your area, join the CVA Calendar Group at

Read the home page, and then join. You will then be able to log in anytime to identify upcoming events in your region.

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com if you might be able to help.

3. DVD Feedback

Charles writes, "My wife and I watched the video on the weekend. It's so impressive! We are ordering some for our friends.

The video is available at www.christianveg.org/materials.htm on DVD or VHS for $12 ($10 each for 2 or more) postpaid from
CVA, PO Box 201791, Cleveland OH 44120.

4. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence

Narrative Christus Victor

[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.org/violence_view.htm.]

We have seen that satisfaction atonement theories and the moral influence theory are problematic. They arose in part because many Christian theologians rejected the earlier Christus Victor framework because it posits that Satan played a necessary part in God’s divine plan. However, satanic forces are very real, and they militate against the realization of God’s realm in which, the Bible relates, all Creation will live in peace and harmony. Consequently, Weaver has articulated a framework that depicts Jesus’ life and death as designed to nonviolently overcome satanic forces. She has suggested the term “narrative Christus Victor,” because it relies heavily on the Gospel and Revelation narratives.

In the Gospel narratives, Jesus taught about the reconciling and redemptive power of love and forgiveness, while Revelation describes a cosmic battle between God’s forces and those of Satan. The cosmic imagery depicts the cosmic importance of the conflict and should not, in my opinion and that of many scholars, be taken literally. As I will discuss, Revelation anticipates God’s reign on earth as a historical event, realized not with a sword but though the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Weaver’s framework neither portrays Jesus as a passive victim nor as resisting his victimization by complaining about the injustice or fighting the powers and principalities that persecuted him. If Jesus had been passive, the mob would have concluded that he agreed with their verdict that he was satanic; if he had resisted his fate, the mob (unable to see its own violence) would have seen his actions as proof of guilt. Either way, he would have been just another in the endless series of scapegoats. Instead, he actively challenged the satanic structures by demonstrating, in word and deed, God’s loving plans for the world. He was well aware that, by challenging the authorities, he would prompt them to torture and murder and him. In life, Jesus made the realm of God visible, bringing light, life, and love to the world. In death, the resurrection established Jesus as ultimate victor in the conflict between good and evil.

As discussed previously, I see “Satan” as describing the human desires that lead to conflict, rivalry, hostility, and violence. Throughout human history, satanic desires for power have undermined the reign of God, and it is possible that Christian authorities have been gripped by the same satanic desires that have always captivated people. While the Revelation equates the violent and rapacious Roman Empire with Satan1, the world has seen countless powers and principalities that have assumed this role. Provocatively, Weaver suggests that the Christus Victor framework lost favor “. . . when the church came to support the world’s social order, to accept the intervention of political authorities in churchly affairs, and to look to political authorities for support and protection.”2 In other words, when the church joined the satanic powers and principalities, it sought atonement theologies that removed Satan from the picture.

It is tempting to condemn other people for yielding to Satan’s enticements, but none of us is immune. Whenever we harm any of God’s creation and call our actions righteous, our activities are satanic, because we are resisting and undermining God’s reign. It is indeed “Amazing Grace” that God forgives our participation with the same kind of powers that killed Jesus and lovingly invites all of us to join in the realm of God.

1. The symbolism in Revelation shows that the writer equated the Roman Empire with the forces of evil. For example, the seven-headed dragon (Revelation 12:3) relates to the seven hills of Rome as well as a sequence of seven emperors.

2. Weaver, J. Denny. “Violence in Christian Theology” Cross Currents July 2001.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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