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Showing posts from June, 2015

The Christian and Retaliation – Matthew 5:38-42

There are so many ways to misread a passage like the one we are considering this morning.Passivism and its variants have often found refuge in passages like this one.An extreme example was that of the Russian author Leo Tolstoy who believed that these verses forbade any opposition to evil in the most absolute sense.He therefore didn’t believe in government, in particular the police, because the job of police is to oppose evildoers.From this passage he reasoned, “It is impossible at one and the same time to confess Christ as God, the basis of whose teachings is non-resistance to him that is evil, and consciously and calmly to work for the establishment of property, law courts, government and military forces. . . .”[1]
On the other hand, some people have looked at this passage, thought it taught what Tolstoy thought it taught, but who found such teaching to be so unreasonable that they have written Christ off altogether.Clearly, government is not bad (in and of itself – although bad gove…

Telling the Truth – Mt. 5:33-37

There is a story from The Hiding Place which I’ve never forgotten since my mother read the book to my brothers and me when we were children.  Some of Corrie Ten Boom’s close family – it was a sister and brother-in-law – had a hidden cellar in the kitchen where their boys would hide when the Gestapo would come to round up young men for their factories in Germany.The entire family was very devout; they were all men and women of integrity.But such integrity can sometimes precipitate a crisis, and this is what happened to the Ten Boom family.
Here is how it happened.One day, German soldiers came round to search their house in a routine search for workers.The boys quickly went into hiding in the cellar.When the Germans couldn’t find any young men in the house, one of them directly asked Corrie’s niece where her brothers were.Now her mother had taught her that lying was never justified for any reason. Everyone in the family held their breath – would she lie and save her brothers from being …

Christ and Divorce: Matthew 5:31-32

In his commentary on this passage, John Stott admits that he has “a basic reluctance to attempt an exposition of these verses.”His reasons for this are two: the fact that the topic of divorce is so controversial and also the fact that “it is a subject which touches peoples’ emotions at the deepest level.”And yet, he faces up to the passages squarely because, as he puts it: “I am convinced that the teaching of Jesus on this and every subject is good – intrinsically good, good for individuals, good for society.”[1]He evidently is one of a few commentators to do this.Lloyd-Jones, in his sermon on this passage noted that “for some reason or another many commentators, even though they have set out to write a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, slide over this and do not deal with it.”[2]I also must admit a basic reluctance to deal with this text and to feel a temptation to “slide over” it.Indeed, I would not even speak on this text if I did not believe that the Bible is to be faithfully…