Thursday, February 16, 2017

Immigration Query

At a protest against Trump after the most recent ban on Muslims from America (which, if you're not paying attention, never happened) some protesters carried signs saying, "No ban, no wall!" (Okay, maybe there was no exclamation mark, but you get the idea.) Now, we can discuss all over the place whether or not there should be a wall and we can debate at length whether there actually was a "ban on Muslims" or whether it's wise to remove all limitations, or whether or not all ideas that Trump has are, by definition, evil, but that's not where I'm headed here. What I want to know is from the protesters. What is it you want?

It appears to me that the emotion, demagoguery, and rhetoric of this particular, loud side is calling for no limits. Not "no wall", but "no boundaries", where "no wall" is just "no wall or any other lines". The 84 Lumber commercial that Fox refused to air for Super Bowl LI appeared to suggest that it is heroic and beautiful for people to travel long distances to come into America illegally and for us to stop them isn't fair, isn't kind, isn't right. The hero of that commercial was the 84 Lumber guy who made sure to negate the entire purpose of a border and immigration laws by putting in a large, easily accessed, unregulated gate. Yea for him! Really?

Now, let me be clear. I am in favor of immigration. The president of 84 Lumber said that the point was that there should be a "big door" in the "wall" to allow people that want to come to America to work, to join, to be productive citizens, that kind of thing. I say, "Yes!" And I am not opposed to improving immigration laws. I say, "Do it!" I will go further. If the government one day passed a law that the requirement to come into this country was to get across the border and, by the way, we're taking down all impediments to that pursuit, I would have no complaints about illegal immigrants in this country. Because, you see, I am in favor of immigration. I am opposed to illegal immigration. No, wait, I can make this easier. I am opposed to illegal -- that which violates the law -- when the law doesn't violate commands from Christ. And there are no commands from Christ on the subject of who can live in what country.

So I'm asking the protesters, is that what you want? Is the aim to eliminate all borders? Or, at least, all American borders? (No one is protesting the restrictive immigration laws for Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, or any others, it seems. Just America.) And if so, are you willing to do the same in your personal life? No borders? "Come on in! My house is your house; my stuff is yours." Or do you practice walls and borders in your personal life and just don't want this country to do the same thing on a national level? Is this just another shot at enforced wealth redistribution on a worldwide scale? Now, I know none of those protesters read my blog. I'm not expecting an answer. I'm just wondering.

37 comments:

Bob said...

i assume that by extension that there should be no walls in heaven as well. that the way should be wide for anyone to come in. come ye lawless ye murderers and ye unrighteous enter my kingdom. begone ye lawful haters, let anarchy rein for this is the will of the people. it is by this estimation of the protesters that any restriction upon their personal beliefs is an attack upon humanity. why do the nations rage ?

Stan said...

Oh, I hadn't considered that. Yes, indeed! "No walls in America. (Everywhere else is fine.) And no walls in heaven. You dirty, rotten Christians can't horde that for yourselves."

Josh said...

I am not a protester, but I can empathize with what I believe their stance is. I may be wrong but, like you, I can't imagine they are making the case for unrestricted borders. I believe they think that Trump's rhetoric and EO's move away from allowing more people legally into this country, especially certain groups of people. I, like them, would like to see moves in the other direction. From your post it doesn't seem like you are opposed to that either. I think a hard stance for deportation and protectionism actually does go against Christ's commands. Obviously Jesus didn't tell us how we should or shouldn't let people into a country, but we are told to love our neighbor. What if your neighbor is a family whose father is an illegal immigrant? Would you be willing to shelter him so they wouldn't be deported, so their family wouldn't be broken apart? These are just some thoughts and questions I have been asking myself, and thought it related to your post.

Craig said...

The example I've used is that we have walls on our houses and we expect people to use the doors, not the windows. It's never been about immigration per se, it's always been about the process.

The "let them all in" mindset also ignores what seems like the bigger issue. "What is the best possible outcome for the immigrants, the US, and their country of origin?".

It seems like spending more effort to help countries alleviate the problems that drive immigrants to leave would be better for everyone. But that's not even a part of the conversation.

Stan said...

Yes, Josh, as I said, I'm not opposed to improving immigration laws. I said, "I am in favor of immigration. What I am opposed to is to is illegal ... most anything, including immigration. Anyone who says I'm mean to not allow anyone who wants to to come in against the law is missing the point.

"What if your neighbor is a family whose father is an illegal immigrant? Would you be willing to shelter him so they wouldn't be deported, so their family wouldn't be broken apart?"

I wonder what your answer is to yourself. (You didn't offer it.) I'm somewhat torn between compassion and a biblical worldview that says, among other things, "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves."
(Rom 13:1-2) That is, do I show compassion to the illegal family next door in opposition to God? On the other hand, I know of no law that says, "Report them or else." (That wasn't true in the military; failure to report known crimes was punishable by military law.) And, please note, pitting God's law of love against God's law of obeying the law is really problematic. If the law of love supersedes the law in all cases, then it could be argued that sheltering all sorts of criminals is a godly thing to do, and I'm not going there. Lacking a specific "Thou shalt protect those in your neighborhood who enter the country illegally", I'd have to take a "hands off" approach (while encouraging the family next door to correct their "illegal" status).

Stan said...

Precisely, Craig, it's the process that concerns me.

Yes, it's interesting that helping alleviate their problems is not only not part of the conversation, but considered to be bad -- interfering.

Josh said...

I just can imagine an instance where compassion is in opposition to God's Law. I really don't think pitting the two laws against each other is problematic. Jesus was asked what the greatest laws were and he told us. Love God and love your neighbor. My answer would be to shelter him, attempt to keep his family together, and work with him to correct his illegal status. I don't know if God's command allows a "hands off" approach. The hands off approach just reminds me of the two the walked by in good Samaritan parable.

Stan said...

Interesting. No answer to my question about your answer to yourself. It would seem pointless, then, for me to ask for clarification. When does "love your neighbor" not allow for violating God's other commands? Is it loving to turn in a rapist or a murderer? Is it loving to shoot or not to shoot a home invader?

My question would be in reverse. Is it loving to leave this theoretical illegal family alone? Is it loving to protect them from the demands of the law? Basically, is "love" defined as "making life comfortable for people"? I know in my vocabulary it is not. I would not have been loving to my kids if I only made their lives comfortable rather than, at times, making it uncomfortable for them to sin. So I'm not as clear as you seem to be on what constitutes loving this theoretical illegal family next door. And I am clearly not comfortable with telling God, "You were wrong on that command and I'll just follow this one instead."

Josh said...

I did answer. "My answer would be to shelter him, attempt to keep his family together, and work with him to correct his illegal status." I don't disagree with you that love isn't always easy or painless. Most of the time is should cost us our comfort and not the person we are loving. Speaking the truth in love when it comes to sin can be hard and painful, but is it sin to live in a country illegally?

I would throw back the question to you. Was it loving for people to shelter the Jews during the holocaust or African Americans during the underground railroad?

Bob said...

I have an idea; lets redefine the law of the land to exclude all law abiding citizens. that way we don't have to deal with the concept of the illegal immigrant. thereby removing any distinction between the two. then we can all just love one another. and there won't be any haters that try to shove the constitution down our throats. the concept of law is such an anachronism today. I will from this day forward forcefully enter into every household in my neighborhood to free the impoverished and the helpless. by crashing down the doors of destiny, i will bring about a new order, where man can be free from the tyrannical expression of free thinking. come brothers let's join together smashing every salient symbol of the old glorious way . In love; let us kick in the the white glossy teeth of those the think differently. why? you may ask. don't ask why brothers... just follow me into the maw of humanity.. .. hallelujah the missiles are flying....

David said...

Something that's been confusing to me about the obey the government put over you is the windmill that helped the Israelite spies escape. By her government's standard, she committed treason, and yet she's lauded in the Bible as a hero. So it would seem, in some cases, there is freedom to disobey the government even when it's not telling you to do something sinful.

Stan said...

Note: I may have accidentally deleted a comment or two rather than publish it. If you made a comment you thought I should have published here and it hasn't shown up, please do it again. It was an accident.

Stan said...

David, I am not familiar with the story of the windmill that helped the spies escape and I'm really curious what word you were using that autocorrect changed to that word, but I get the point. It cannot be denied that there are times when we must disobey the government rather than disobey a direct command of God (Acts 5:29). Defending God's people from being unjustly arrested and killed would fall in that category, as in the case of Rahab. The question is whether or not illegal immigration is commanded by God.

David said...

It was woman, and Rahab was her name. So, an instance of helping an illegal immigrant would be a Christian fleeing persecution, perhaps? Say, an Iranian family moved in next door, who turned out to be illegals, but if they were deported you know they'd be jailed or even executed?

Stan said...

I would encourage you to decide. I know that "whatever is not from faith is sin." (Rom 14:23) I would personally want to explore legal means of keeping them safe. (Typically "if they're deported they'll be executed" is grounds for safe admittance, for instance.) I'm talking here about the broad generalities, not particular cases. I think it was right, for instance, to hide the Jews against the law in Nazi Germany. And I'm especially asking about what they want. I'm telling you to examine each case on an individual basis over against the law and Scripture. They seem to be telling us, "Let 'em all in! You're evil for blocking any!"

Josh said...

My point that I assume was deleted was I did answer your question. "My answer would be to shelter him, attempt to keep his family together, and work with him to correct his illegal status." I see this as the stance that seeks the best for this person, and remains true to respecting the authority, especially with all the Biblical text describing how we treat the foreigner among us.

Love isn't always comfortable, and I agree with that. I just think that it costs the person giving love more often than it costs the person being loved. Love should always seek the best for the other person at cost to yourself. Sometimes that is painfully correcting a sin in a child. I don't like having to do this, but it is loving, as you have said. Honest question; Is being an illegal immigrant a sin? If not, then what is the loving correction we are trying to fix by not helping them. If you think it is a sin, then I guess I could see your argument.

Stan said...

Josh, your approach, which includes "respecting the authority", makes sense to me (and doesn't disagree what I said in the post). You are not among those who say "Let 'em all in and anyone who disagrees is a hater."

I did read an interesting analogy. Mr. Jones comes into your house and steals your television. He gives it to his son. You go to the police and tell them who took your TV. Mr. Jones argues that his son didn't steal your television and shouldn't have to give it up. This is, in essence, one of the arguments espoused by some. "Don't break up the family just because Dad came in illegally."

Josh said...

Another aspect of this whole situation is the fact that we have been capitalizing on the cheap labor as a society for years. In practice our government has taken a don't ask, don't tell approach to much of this because of the financial benefit. If the wheel isn't squeaking (crime, rape, drugs...etc), don't fix it. So in essence we have "said" it is okay for you to stay here, work for substandard wages as long as you aren't a problem. We will keep you under our thumb with threats of deportation, but as long as you work for near nothing and don't ask questions we won't turn you in. In my mind this is a form of injustice that we have refused to deal with as a country because of the financial gain it has given our companies and our society.

The analogy is really this; A thief steals the TV, but is caught in the act by the owner. The owner says, "how about you work for me under the table and I'll give you the TV now, but if you step out of line or don't show up for work I will call the cops, I filmed you in the act." The thief decides to work hard for the owner and works off the cost of the TV, but then the man turns him in to the police anyways and since there is no paper trail of this unwritten deal the owner made with the thief, he is sent to jail.

As with all analogies they are simplified versions of real life, but I personally think my version is more accurate.

Stan said...

It looks like in your view "All illegal immigrants are good people caught in a bad situation finding themselves exploited by the Man (those dirty rotten Americans) and should actually be allowed to keep my television."

Personally, I think we should eliminate the laws, open the borders, and stop complaining about "what they're taking from us". I'm sure everyone would be fine with that. It's Christian, right?

David said...

To answer your question Josh, being an illegal immigrant is a sin, in that it is disobeying the law put over us by God. It is as much as sin as not paying your taxes or speeding.

Josh said...

That is not my view, but to ignore the systematic ways we have built our wealth as a nation on the backs of the poor is dishonest at best, and evil at worst. The tricky part about this whole conversation is nuance. Are there illegal immigrants that are good people that are just trying to support their families in a way that they couldn't in their country of origin? Yes. Are there illegal immigrants that are rapists and murderers? Yes. We love to talk in generalizations like "all," but unfortunately they don't really work in the real world. My view is this: "Some illegal immigrants are good people caught in a bad situation finding themselves exploited by the negative side of a society driven by greed, and a just way should be devised to allow them to change their status from illegal to legal and continue to be productive residents of this country. Some illegal immigrants are criminals (other than just coming to this country illegally) and should face the consequences of their actions, which likely should be deportation."

Stan said...

Yes, I was careful not to say it was your view. It just looked like it was.

You're pointing out the inequities in the system, the evil of mankind, and such. I think we agree that there are inequities and evils. "Are there illegal immigrants that are good people that are just trying to support their families in a way that they couldn't in their country of origin?" Yes. Is that your criteria for "legal immigration"? If they are good people who want to be here to support their families, we ought to simply allow admittance? Maybe so. But you're referencing changes to the immigration system (to which I specifically said, "Do it!"). Is it incumbent on all good Christians to assist others in violating the law because there are inequities in the system, evil people, and good people that simply want to support their families? I need a better argument than the emotional plea for a better life for the poor fellow if I'm going to choose to violate the law.

Josh said...

David, Is it then a sin for a judge not to marry a homosexual couple? Is it a sin for a state sponsored doctor to not administer a lethal injection, because he thinks it goes against his oath as a doctor? Was the start of the revolutionary war a sin? Was hiding Jews a sin during the holocaust? Were the actions of the civil rights movement a sin? When you claim the laws of the government are equal to the laws of God, you are in dangerous territory.

Stan,
God says love your neighbor, then defines neighbor with the parable of the good Samaritan. This seems like a pretty good argument that is not based on an emotional plea, it is based on of the teaching and modeled action of Christ.

That is not my criteria for "legal immigration." As a Christian I can hope for a better system to be implemented by an earthly government, and at the same time be living with Christ as my Lord. What Christ says goes, over and above every earthly institution.

Stan said...

And we're still at the question of "Is it loving your neighbor to give them illegal access to this country's resources for a 'better standing of living'?"

Josh said...

Yes. To prioritize a nations laws over a neighbor's needs conflicts with the teachings of Jesus.

Stan said...

Okay, I have to ask the question in reverse. We agree that the primary law for Christians is love. There is nothing higher. We define love as compassion, as looking out for the best for others, of assisting others to avoid or get out of bad situations, that kind of thing. So, given "love" as the primary law, under what possible circumstances could a Christ-follower fail to assist an illegal alien to avoid being arrested? What situation would allow at all for a border between the unpleasant places from which they're coming and our pleasant country? What possible rationale can a Christian have for not calling for the end of borders and for the admission of all who want to come and to violate the law in any case that this doesn't happen ... based on this law of love?

This goes farther. If love is the primary law, would it not have been placing Christ's law above human law to assassinate, say, Hitler in 1940? In fact, given the mess that the public and the media and all those sources see coming from Trump as president, would it not be loving to assassinate him, an act of obedience to Christ? If not, why not?

Where do we draw the line? What laws are not better violated in order to meet the felt needs of fellow human beings?

David said...

"David, Is it then a sin for a judge not to marry a homosexual couple? Is it a sin for a state sponsored doctor to not administer a lethal injection, because he thinks it goes against his oath as a doctor? Was the start of the revolutionary war a sin? Was hiding Jews a sin during the holocaust? Were the actions of the civil rights movement a sin? When you claim the laws of the government are equal to the laws of God, you are in dangerous territory."

Guess you've not been paying attention. If a law causes you to sin, or in these cases encourage sin, then you are biblically fine to not obey that rule. Homosexuality is clearly a sin, so telling them it's okay (by "marrying" them) would be accepting their sin as okay. Lethal injection might be a little grayer, but if they believe the Bible is telling them to NOT do something, then to do something against their conscience would be sin. As a matter of fact, yes, I believe the Revolutionary War was performed I opposition to Scripture. We already pointed out that protecting God's people was a good thing. You're going to have to be a little more specific about those civil rights movement actions, because I certainly hope you don't condone everything done in the name of civil rights. If you specifically mean the nonviolent protests, and they were in opposition to the mistreatment of people based on a false belief that some people are "less than" others, that's fine. But those ones trying to promote sinful behavior, no. I'm not the one claiming the laws of the government are equal to the laws of God, the Bible did that with the only caveat being that it not violate God's law. They demand you push the button to reduce senior citizens' pensions, while distasteful, is not commanding you to sin, so it is to be obeyed. Ordering you to execute a nonviolent protestor, sin, you are biblically okay to disobey. The other side of it is though, you need to be willing to accept the consequences for your disobedience, which, in most of the stories I've heard, people aren't. Standing on your principals is going to be painful.

Josh said...

Stan, I've been thinking about your question for a day now. I think we draw the line at Christ's teaching, and a key distinction between God's kingdom and ours. I obey Christ over and above all laws as he is my Lord. If Christ says love my neighbor, I must love my neighbor, regardless of who my nation says is my neighbor. At no point can loving one person, involve hating another, so your second paragraph is out. Christ also seems to show that priority should be given to the weakest among us (widows, orphans, sick, prisoners), so serving and supporting struggling immigrants seems in step with Christ's teaching. All that being said, I can see how an American Christian could make the argument against the immigrant, but I can't see how a Christian American could.

David, I still can't see how coming to a country illegally is a sin. I know Christians that sneak Bibles into China illegally. You alluded to fact that sin is relative to the reader (doctors and lethal injection), what if in an attempt to better his life or his families life he enters the US to make more money and support them. I find no Biblical command against this. I disagree that this is sin.

Stan said...

You are not aware, I guess, of the negative effects of illegal immigration. I know of several regions now critically short of emergency care because of all the free services given to illegal aliens, as an example. Sometimes loving one has negative effects on others. (And note that neither the victim nor the Good Samaritan broke any laws.)

So you WOULD advocate no borders as a moral mandate.

Stan said...

On your comment to David, "I still can't see how coming to a country illegally is a sin."

We are not commanded to enter countries at will. We are commanded to obey the government. It is only when the government commands something contrary to God's commands that we are to obey God rather than the government. Since there is no command in Scripture that would require that someone disobey the laws of the neighboring nation to enter it, it has to be a sin to violate that law. (You reference illegally bringing God's Word to people as if it's a parallel. We are commanded to take the Gospel everywhere. It's not the same thing.)

More on your comment to me. I understand the command is to love and that this command would supersede others if we are commanded to violate it. What I don't think we see clearly is what that command to love means. Is it loving to harm someone? Never? And, yet, isn't it loving for a parent to have their child inoculated against diseases even though it causes pain to do so? Small example, but the point is love isn't so clear. Is it loving for a wife to shield her drug addicted husband from the law, or is it loving to turn him into the police so he can seek treatment? Is it loving to shelter an illegal immigrant from the law or is it loving to urge them to obey the law? You clearly believe that it is not possible to be loving on one hand and to cause something unpleasant on the other, but it was God who instituted the death penalty for murder. Is that a failure to love? You said, "At no point can loving one person, involve hating another." Really? Is it loving to allow Person A to kill an innocent person or to use sufficient force (even lethal force) to prevent Person A from killing the innocent? And is it really hate to use that force on Person A? Is all punishment hate? I don't think we have a clear idea of what love and hate are (since God has no problem killing when necessary and doesn't see love as "warm and fuzzy" -- see, for instance, Heb 12:6). I, for one, am not entirely clear that the best thing I can do for an illegal immigrant is to shelter them from the law. I'm not at all sure that always or necessarily constitutes "love".

Josh said...

In what instance can you illegally leave your country, without sinning. Fear of death? War? Nuclear fallout? I don't see any of these in the Bible, but if my country had degraded to the point where I couldn't support my family and I feared for my life or my future I would leave, legally or illegally. I am confident of this, it would not be a sin for me to leave harm and keep my family safe.

To your next points. No person in their right mind (except maybe an anti-vaxer) would say that inoculating your child is causing them harm. Harm and pain are different. Love is often painful, but never harmful. Is it better for the man to be off drugs? Yes, not harm. Is it better to split up a family in the name of the law? No, painful and harmful. You say that God instituted the death penalty, but that was specifically for the nation of Israel, and Jesus condemns it for Christians living in his Kingdom.

Do I think it is loving to use reasonable force to prevent Person A from killing an innocent person. Yes, up until the point of lethal force. At no point is lethal force loving. You are just returning lethal violence for lethal violence. It is preemptive "eye for an eye," which Jesus condemned. You are claiming that what they are doing is wrong, and fixing it with the same wrong action. It is actually loving to all parties to do everything in your power to restrain person A without killing them.

Stan said...

"I would leave, legally or illegally. I am confident of this, it would not be a sin for me to leave harm and keep my family safe."

I am sure you speak the truth that you would leave under those circumstances. I'm not sure on what basis you can claim that it is by definition not a sin to do so illegally. But I'm not debating that point.

Is it your contention that all who come to America illegally do so on the basis that remaining where they are will end their lives? Everyone that comes here illegally is fleeing death? If you say it isn't so, you're now back to a case-by-case evaluation which it would appear is not allowed in your "rule of love" standard for the hypothetical next door neighbor. I would contend that most who come illegally are not fleeing death, but are mostly seeking a better life.

So you agree that it is possible to cause pain (or hardship or whatever) without requiring a lack of love. Then you ask this: "Is it better to split up a family in the name of the law?" This is a bit problematic, isn't it? Why would they be splitting up the family? Because the family broke the law. That is, it would be a consequence of their own choice. No one made them break the law. You agreed that splitting up the family for the husband to go for rehab (by force -- it specifically was an act of legal action) was good, but in the case of the illegal immigrant, there ought to be no repurcussions.

Oh, and God did not institute the death penalty for the nation of Israel. He did it for mankind before Abraham was ever born. It was based on the premise that humans are made in God's image (Gen 9:6), not Mosaic law. Regardless, it appears as if you're saying that it is not moral to execute people for capital crimes ... even though from your perspective God ordered it for Israel. I'd be interested in seeing someplace where Jesus rescinds this law of His Father's.

As for not using lethal force, again, I'm baffled. Paul said that a ruler "is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." (Rom 13:4) You appear to be saying that such force is immoral and Paul must therefore have been in error for saying it was a good thing. And if your Person A could not be constrained without lethal force, it is the loving thing to allow the innocent to be killed. I suppose, then, that we will have to disagree ... on multiple points.

Josh said...

Who should we help then?

Did they break the law coming to this country? Yes. Are their legal consequences for that? Sure. Is it my job as a Christian to assist in making sure those legal consequences come to pass? No. My job is to love them, no matter where the come from and how they got here.

To split up a family because a drug addict needs rehab is completely different than what we are talking about. Drugs destroy families. Seeking a better life for your family doesn't, in fact it does the opposite.

Hopefully this helps-
Kingdom of Earth (ie USA)
-Have and uphold immigration laws.
-Can bear the sword by the authority of God.
-Can have a military and police force for security.
-Can do all the things that God has given authority for these Kingdoms to do.
-Not Christian and not held to Christian Morality
-Power over.

Kingdom of God-
-Strictly for Christians.
-Based on the teaching of Christ.
-No Borders.
-No retaliation or violence, because our enemies are not flesh and blood.
-Love enemies and neighbors.
-We do not physically war for the Kingdom of God, but we do spiritually.
-We attempt to live on "Earth as it is in Heaven"
-We prioritize people and not policies.
-Power in Serving

Stan said...

As I said, we'll need to disagree ... on multiple points.

I did state that helping some is right and good. Those that face death at home, for instance, ought to find legal safety here. That is, there are some that should be helped.

"Is it my job as a Christian to assist in making sure those legal consequences come to pass?" That was not the option under discussion. It was not, "Should I turn them in?" It was, "Should I protect them from the law?" Not the same thing.

We differ on definitions. In this conversation we differ on definitions of love, on Christian responsibility to governmental authority, on "on earth as it is in heaven", and on harm. (There have been, of course, many other differences of definitions in the past between us.) Nor am I fully able to follow the logic. It would seem, for instance, that no Christian could be a policeman, in the military, or in the border patrol by your definition. It would also seem that God forbids any sort of violence or capital punishment. Since I can't correlate that to Scripture, I'm simply left with the inability to understand your position. Fortunately, whether or not you agree with me on this topic is not essential to salvation.

Josh said...

A Christian could be a policeman, in the military, and in the border patrol. They would have to be non-combatants, but that hasn't stopped people in the past. The movie "Hacksaw Ridge" is exactly about this. When Paul says our battle is not against flesh and blood, but we continue to seek out battles against flesh and blood, are we not contradicting scripture?

You say you can't follow my logic or my position. It comes from the teaching of Jesus and Paul:

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

And Here

"14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

And here is where Jesus doesn't obey the law of capital punishment:

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

And here:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Stan said...

We debated pacifism before. We didn't get anywhere then, either. I don't believe we will now. If by "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood" you take it to mean "we never wrestle physically", then even your "reasonable force" position falls flat and you should never use any force to defend yourself or others. I know you don't believe that. And we discussed the problem of absolute non-violence where you seem to hold that Jesus taught it and I can't get past the fact that he used a whip in the temple to chase out the moneychangers. ("Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple" (Matt 21:12).) I don't offer that as an argument; I'm simply pointing out that you and I come down on different places in the discussion about Scripture.

By the way, the fact that in a peripheral story (Most earlier manuscripts don't have that story) about a woman supposedly caught in adultery (supposedly because if she was caught "in the act", the law required that both she and the man be stoned; where was the man?) Jesus did not exercise the death penalty (in a time when Israel's leadership did not have that right) doesn't mean that He denied the death penalty all together. It means that He didn't do it in that event.

We clearly understand Scripture differently. You deny the texts that declare actual omniscience and I don't understand the ones you gave as absolute statements of non-violence or denial of all capital punishment. You see Christ as abrogating God's laws and I see Him denying that He would do that (Matt 5:17). You see God as limiting His sovereignty and I see Him absolutely sovereign. And you see love as something different than I do. I suppose there's no wonder we won't agree here.

(Please don't understand any of what I've said in that last paragraph as a suggestion that your view is inferior or even incorrect. I've simply pointed to some differences.)

Josh said...

I agree it is pointless to make the same points again, although maybe someday I will change your mind ;-)

Thanks again Stan. As to your last parenthetical point, I would reciprocate that idea. I always pray that someone would read our interactions and see what civil disagreement can look like. I appreciate that you are willing to have a conversation about these ideas, and you stretch me to think deeper about them. God bless.