Comments on our Campaign: Stop Cruelty in Churches
Hi Frank and Mary,
I thought you might be interested in the following which was taken from the book "Gunning For God" by John C. Lennox:
"Christendom is not the same as Christianity, as the Danish Theologian and philosopher Kierkegaard pointed out. Christendom's violence was not Christian, for the simple reason that it was diametrically opposed to what Christ himself taught. People who engage in violent and cruel activities at any time, in Northern Ireland or the Balkans or anywhere else, while invoking the name of God, are certainly not obeying Christ when they do so, whatever they may say to the contrary.
After all, the name "Christian" means a disciple or follower of Jesus Christ. Following Christ means obeying his commandments. And one of those commands was the explicit prohibition of the use of force to defend Christ or his message. That command has been very well known since it was issued at a point of high tension in the Gospel narrative, the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus taught his followers not to hate their enemies but to love them; and he acted accordingly when the armed crowd came with Judas to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest him. In that historic encounter he specifically forbade his disciples to use violence. Jesus rebuked one of his disciples, Peter, who, untrained in swordsmanship, swung wildly with his sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest's servant, Malchus. "Put your sword back into its place," Jesus said, "for all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (Matt 26:52, ESV). He could not have made it more plain. To take the sword, gun, or bomb in Christ's name is to repudiate both Christ and his message. He will have none of it. Gunning for God, in the sense of taking a weapon into one's hands on God's behalf, is a contradiction of and an affront to the Christian message."