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The politics of Paul and the way of Jesus, part 1 [Peaceable Romans #6]

February 19, 2022

The explanations of the common principles and guidance of Jesus and the Apostle Paul in this recent post by Ted Grimsrud are very insightful and important. They are useful and valuable anytime, but especially so now, in a time when people are so divided and acrimonious in our country. Christians seem as much so as everyone else, failing to apply particularly nonviolence and love of enemies, as both Jesus and Paul taught, in different ways.

If you are not Christian–of another religion or none–I urge you, also, to read this article. It is applicable to anyone… not requiring belief in specifically Christian doctrines of any controversy.

In Ted’s typical manner, he goes deeper (and sometimes a different direction) than what is typically heard in sermons or Christian books dealing with Paul’s teachings on issues like submission to government or to one another in social structures. I think you may be surprised with some of his conclusions, as well as encouraged!

Thinking Pacifism

Ted Grimsrud—February 18, 2022

Christians have tended to hold Jesus and Paul in tension. On the one side, Christians of a more liberal persuasion have tended to take their cues from Jesus and see Paul as a supporter of the status quo. Others wouldn’t so much say there is a tension as assume (often without realizing it) that Jesus is not particularly relevant for their social ethics. His message is often seen to focus on personal ethics and the ideals of our future in heaven. For such conservatives, Paul teaches us more relevant political principles, especially about obeying the governing authorities and respecting the state’s police function.

Reasons not to dismiss Paul’s politics

Now, I definitely am on the Jesus-as-central side. Some years ago, I read a wide variety of Christian thinkers who reject pacifism. I was struck with how every single one of them—from evangelicals to Catholics to…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 20, 2022 1:15 am

    Thanks Howard! I shared to my Facebook page. Most relevant to our “ecumenical path to deliberative democracy”.

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