Monday, November 23, 2015

Preston Sprinkle, “A Case for Christocentric Nonviolence”

Preston Sprinkle’s manuscript, “A Case for Christocentric Nonviolence”, presented at the Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting, is available online.  

His book Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence is one of the few books by Calvinist authors that I recommend getting a hold of (you can also read TC Moore’s review here--as Moore notes, “perhaps most delightfully surprising is how directly he challenges the nationalistic idolatry and violent misinterpretations of those in his own Neo-Reformed camp like Mark Driscoll and Wayne Grudem. Before reading Fight, I don't recall ever reading another Neo-Calvinist author break ranks and so clearly call out their fellow Calvinists on any subject whatsoever.”).


Here is an excerpt from his manuscript:
I also find non-Christocentric versions of pacifism, or nonviolence, to be ethically and theologically anemic. If Jesus does not walk out of a grave and sit at the right hand of the Father, then we have no business loving our enemies. Unless Christ defeats evil by submitting to violence—by dying rather then killing—and rises from the dead to tell the tale, I will most certainly destroy my enemy before he destroys me. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, all forms of nonviolence, I believe, are uncompelling. 
To be clear, I believe in Christian—or more explicitly, Christocentric—nonviolence. Christocentric nonviolence says that we should fight against evil, we should wage war against injustice, and we should defend the orphan, the widow, the marginalized, and oppressed. And we should do so aggressively. But we should do so nonviolently. 
In other words, Christocentric nonviolence does not dispute whether Christians should fight against evil. It only disputes the means by which we do fight. 
Now, rather than asking the questions: Are some wars just or should a nation wage war as a last resort, I want to ask and answer the question: should Christ-followers use violence as a means of confronting evil or defending the innocent.
The full manuscript is available here.


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