Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A bit off the beaten track

We were in a Mennonite bookstore a few weeks ago—there are quite a few around here (we're in the middle of Mennonite/Amish country in this part of Indiana)—and I picked up an interesting little book that I'll be excerpting here for a bit. Here's the first snippet:

“Jesus was the center of the early church; all she did, all she taught was rooted in Him. He was her living Truth.

“The practice of the early church, then, was rooted in the practice of Jesus, and central to His practice was the bearing of the cross.

“When Jesus spoke of men becoming His disciples, He spoke without fail of being willing to take up the cross. The impact of this action certainly was no known until after Jesus' death; but when once the reality of the cross was made plain, taking up the cross became the characterizing life-purpose of the believers.—Love and Nonresistance, page 78

<idle musing>
Anabaptists are big on transformation and radical discipleship—see Scot McKnight's post today for a good summary of Anabaptist beliefs.

I've been a pacifist since I became a Christian almost 40 years ago. Before that I was more on the radical side of things. And not at all adverse to the use of force to see my ideas put in place. That was one of the first things God changed in me. But, I have to admit that I never explored the "nonresistance" option as opposed to pacifism. In truth, I didn't know there was a difference—and maybe there isn't. But, this author makes a case for the distinction. And, if that distinction is valid, then I would have to say that I am in the nonresistance crowd, not the pacifist crowd.

I don't buy his "two-kingdoms" model, though. I just don't see the distinction between secular and sacred the way he does. I suspect that is a hang-on from the Germanic Lutheran roots of some Anabaptists. But, if you throw away that, the book is very good—but you will be able to judge a bit more for yourself in the next week or two as I excerpt from it...
</idle musing>

1 comment:

Joel and Renee said...

May I borrow this book, Please? Love, Renee