October 19, 2008

more on The Politics of Jesus...

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It is often stated that The Politics of Jesus is one of Christianity Today???s most influential books of the past century. I agree. Yoder???s work is frequently sited and often provides the basis for other writer???s arguments.

The book served as an introduction to Anabaptism for me. I had two assumptions about Anabaptism beforehand: that nonviolence, or pacifism, equaled withdrawal, and that salvation was rooted in the resurrection, not the cross.

Yoder, an Anabaptist, places emphasis on the cross. He writes, ???The cross is not a detour or a hurdle on the way to the kingdom, nor is it even the way to the kingdom; it is the kingdom come.??? This startled me! But as Yoder goes on to discuss suffering, servanthood and subordination it made all the more sense.

Further along, Yoder discusses our relationship to authorities. Here, nonviolence potentially becomes most tangible. Yoder quotes Berkhof: ???All resistance and every attack against the gods of this age will be unfruitful, unless the church herself is resistance and attack, unless she demonstrates in her life and fellowship how men can live freed from the Powers.??? Yoder???s argument provides another nonviolence perspective. One that engages the world; the ostracized and powerful.

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