Friday, February 13, 2015

A Must Read!

It is not often that I refer to a book as a "must read." Here's an exception.

Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence is a text that I believe every Christian, at least those who have been raised in the USA, should read. We American Christians have largely ingested a massive dose of militarism along with our Christianity. The church in this country for the most part is one of the biggest supporters when our military goes off to war (at least as long as the president at that time is a Republican). We also relish our perceived right to self-defense. Author Preston Sprinkle, while not writing a great deal about politics in this book, confronts his readers with a strong biblical case for nonviolence.

I appreciate this book for two main reasons. First, Sprinkle bases his conclusions in scripture. This book is simply full of bible. You may not agree with all of his conclusions (I didn't), but you will have to at least deal with the scripture passages he sites. Second, the author addresses difficult questions and objections such as "What about Jesus' cleansing of the temple?" "What about the two swords?" "What about the soldiers who are not told to leave the military?" "What about Israel going to war in the Old Testament?" and "What about the death penalty now?"

Sprinkle spends roughly the first 1/3 of this book looking at violence/nonviolence in the Old Testament. This is an important topic for certain due to Israel's repeated warfare as a nation. Sprinkle uses the next 40% on analyzing the life of Jesus Christ during his first advent and what we have to expect in his second coming. The final 20% of this text focuses first on how the early church lived related to violence/nonviolence, and second on how we should respond to and think about difficult questions related to nonviolence.

Violence is largely accepted within the church as acceptable under a range of situations. But should this be? This is not an easy question to answer. For this reason, I deeply appreciate Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence. It challenges us to think through assumptions we have about how we interact with the world. It is not a comfortable book. However, it is well-written, well-researched, and worth your time. I highly recommend it.

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