Thursday

"Christian" militia? That's not Jesus


A few years ago, Christian singer Wayne Watson came out with a song called “That’s Not Jesus.” In the song he describes how Jesus is embarrassed publicly whenever Christians behave badly and how the body of Christ is to demonstrate what he is really like by their obedience to his new commandment.

Well, once again “Christians” have espoused unlawful violence in Jesus’ name and engaged in other spiritually embarrassing behaviors.

In light of the celebration of Maundy Thursday, I just wanted to expound a little on the so-called “Christian” militia group that was recently arrested for plotting to kill a police officer and others who attended his funeral.

This group claims to be preparing for the last days when they will have to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ while they are at war with the Antichrist, once a one-world government is created.

Now, without getting deeply into the complicated genre of Biblical prophecy, we can say that they are partially right; however, I have read the Bible several times and I have never found a passage that says, either literally or metaphorically, that Christians are supposed to kill anyone in order to defend the gospel. Period. Self-defense is a separate issue that we won’t touch at the moment.

As we celebrate Maundy Thursday, we are reminded that Christ gave his people a new commandment: “... just as I have loved you, you also should love one another,” John 13:34, NRSV. Jesus gave his disciples this command after he completed the degrading task of washing their feet before eating the Passover together — a task that was usually reserved for the lowliest servant in the house! Within 24 hours, Jesus had sacrificed his life on a cross after suffering a horrendous scourging — more degrading experiences that he did not deserve.

The truth is that Jesus loved people unconditionally. He also commanded his disciples to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Jesus did not overthrow any governments, nor did he take out his aggressions on innocent people (the defilers of the temple were hardly ‘innocent’). This militia group does not represent the Jesus I know and love. I really wish the media would call them what they are: an “extremist group” rather than a “Christian” group.

Are Christians supposed to stand up for what is right? Yes, but when we do conflict should not be our goal. Unfortunately, conflict is often an inevitable result when we stand up for what is right because there are many who will not agree with us. However, I do not believe that we are supposed initiate a conflict, nor are we supposed to aggravate one maliciously. We are not supposed to be at war with people within our spirits, nor are we supposed to be “puffed up” with pride because we believe that we are right.

In fact, our life should flavor the situation in which we find ourselves. Remember the salt concept of which Jesus spoke? “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other,” Mark 9:50, NIV.

This is not an easy way to live when we depend on ourselves. We need the Holy Spirit to help us, and this is what Maundy Thursday is about.