Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sun. Aug. 26, 2012 (Rosie Perera)

Rosie Perera’s message on biblical non-resistance from an anabaptist perspective was entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers” and took its inspiration from a book of the same name by Garry Staats of Winebrenner Seminary in Ohio. This huge topic addressed the biblical background of Anabaptist non-resistance, and Rosie found herself challenged as an outsider to understand and explain the roots and results of non-resistance, a difficult undertaking from her American roots which often reflect an entirely different and more violent ethic. As a peace church, we are often challenged by others to defend what we believe and Rosie noted that peacemaking does not preclude activism - Jesus, after all, did cleanse the temple with a scourge. MLK said “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” Further, “a nonviolent spirit...grows out of a spirit of love...” Rosie drew from the Sermon on the Mount, showing that as the kingdom of God draws near, the peacemakers are blessed. The main teaching found in Mt. 5:38-48 identifies retaliation as a seed of evil, and love for enemies a blessing; here Jesus is establishing a new ethic for the kingdom of heaven. Deuteronomy’s advice to respond to injustice and evil with identical behaviour was a dead end, and Rosie notes this change in ethics is an example of progressive revelation as seen in Hebrews 1 “Though God in past days spoke to us in many different ways... Now he has spoken to us through his Son...”. Capital punishment was not the rule in the OT either - Proverbs 22:24 and Lamentations 3:30 all encourage turning the cheek and leaving vengeance for the Lord. Jesus lived what he taught, restraining Peter from more violence at the taking of Jesus, and more so in his betrayal by Judas, meeting violence with a dish of bread and milk. Paul’s grace too picks up the theme of non-resistance, encouraging all Christians to submit to authority. This was a hard teaching for the church and earthly rulers to learn, culminating in Augustine’s call for Just War to redress the invitation of Romans 13. Anabaptists refused to learn this lesson, and often paid for with their lives. Pray that the world of peace and love may be established so that other do not have to pay this price either. [AP]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, August 26th, 2012 using your browser's preferred media player.



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