The Powers That be: Theology for a New Millennium Paperback – 1 Jun 2000
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The primary message is that Jesus preached and lived a nonviolent gospel. But this leads to the recognition that (other than in the first few centuries) the Church has mostly embraced militarism.
Wink reviews the roots of Just War thinking and finds them wanting (no war can really be said to fulfill the criteria) but he also considers Pacifism and concludes that too often Pacifists have taken a weak, passive approach far removed from the active response Jesus counseled.
Drawing on the practical out workings of a non violent approach adopted by King and Gandhi, Wink sets out how Jesus rejected Violence but advocated active resistance to evil. And he also sets out how the Christian command to love enemies is incompatible with lethal force.
Wink is a realist and addresses the suspicion that the advocates of non-violence are cowards. He quotes Gandhi who demanded that his recruits to the non-violent struggle should be at least as brave as the soldiers who were willing to fight and die; rejecting violence is not necessarily a way to personal safety.
But in non-violent struggle there is hope, as enemies can be changed and a new order built on firm foundations, in stark contrast to violent revolution, which generally deposes one tyrant who is then replaced by another.
And of course this is not mere theory- a review of history shows how non violent struggle has achieved phenomenal success in such places as S Africa, the US and Eastern Europe.
The question remains as to why the mainline Churches seem to have rejected the way of Jesus. It seems that this is partly due to a lack of trust in God, but also partly due to translators and interpreters of the bible being over influenced by their powerful patrons, anxious to preserve the status quo.
In summary, for Christians, War is not an option - but neither is colluding with evil.
I was surprised because a friend raves about Wink, but I didn't get much from it. She thinks he's profound, I find him vastly overrated.
--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
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