Posted by: Victor | December 13, 2007

Ben Witherington III: In light of the Colorado Church shootings

Writing on his blog, Dr. Ben Witherington III, commented on his post titled “Deck the Malls with Guns and the Gory”, said the following:

The issue I am raising is just this– can Christians in good conscience participate in violence. Many Christians of course will say yes. They will not interpret ‘thou shalt not murder’ in a way that prohibits such activity, nor will they interpret the Sermon on the Mount the way I and many other pacifists do.

I respect these other opinions, but I am quite convinced they are wrong. Before Constantine Christians simply refused to serve in the military, refused to co-operate with violence, and were often killed because of it. They saw this as a matter of ethical principle. So do I.

It is the job of Christians to provide the world with a window on the future eschatological kingdom, or heaven if you like. We are meant to be a preview of coming attractions, as the prophets foretold about peace on earth and goodwill to all humans. Call us the loyal opposition to the majority, in any given age. This in turn means that the ethics applicable to general persons in the culture are not the same as the ethics required of Christians who signed on to follow Jesus.

Bible scholar Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world.

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