Following Jesus

Banning a Dangerous Weapon

November 27, 2015 by

When cinemas in the United Kingdom refused to show a Church of England ad featuring the Lord’s Prayer, the outrage was almost universal. Everyone from prominent atheist Richard Dawkins to Prime Minister David Cameron ridiculed the ban as silly.

Watch on YouTube.

It is silly, but I’m not worried, as some have argued, that faith and religion are being pushed out of the public square; I think that happened a long time ago. What’s more interesting to me is that if the powers that be truly realised what a powerful weapon this prayer really is, I don’t think they’d be so eager to have it shown all over the country.

That’s because the Lord’s Prayer is not a harmless bit of poetry recited to make one feel better. In it we invoke the Lord God Almighty to set up a kingdom on this earth where his will is done. We’re calling on God to intervene in history and turn this world upside down. We’re asking him to sweep away all hate, injustice, greed, and selfishness, along with everything in our own lives that is phony, dull, and pious. And that’s just the first two lines. The Lord’s Prayer goes on to cover everything we need to live as God wants us to live. It’s applicable even in horrific situations such as the recent terror attacks in Paris; if we really forgive those who hurt us, that means we can’t go and bomb them.

For cinema-goers not ready to have their world turned upside down, it certainly would be easier to stick with the mix of anesthetizing entertainment, consumerism, sex, and violence that is usually served up in the movie houses. But for those willing to experience how earth-shattering it can be, the Lord’s Prayer is there, available for all of us to use, whether or not we see it on screen.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

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  • Dear R. Anthony, Thank you for your thoughtful hard-work, intelligent/logical analysis of my thoughts on Joe Hine's article. Wow. You make me think; and leave me with much to chew on/digest. Would you want me explain my viewpoints more fully?- If you say yes-- when I can------I'll identify where we concur in whole or in part, and where we do not agree based on scripture/scriptural intent from reputable bibles. Where helpful, I'll explain the meaning behind my phrases which bother you (for example. Isis recruits Moslim members using the internet and sensational aired killings thereby new Isis members kill more people which brings more members and so on. My phrases 'stop the murder from continuing' is directly related to our need to stop Isis which will stop the murderous cycle/snowballing of increasingly more murders. Your statement about 1Cor 5:1,2 I agree is literally correct that it deals with sexual immorality. But I disagree that it has nothing to do with the sin of murder. NIV p.2504 1Cor1ff explains the context that scriptural intent didn't limit these verses to sexual immorality alone, but that the church nust discipline flagrant sin (that includes murder) among members-such sins left unchecked can polarize and paralyze a church. If you say no-- then you had your say and do not wish to continue our dialogue --I'll not respond. But will, when I'm able, think deeply about your viewpoints and if convinced of biblical correctness/support in context include any/some/all into my beliefs/convictions. God bless you, In Christian love and Christian unity

  • It's circular reasoning to state a premise (stop the continuing murder) and introduce a conclusion marked by "therefore" ("stop the murder....from continuing...). Quoting 1 Cor 5:1-2 is not relevant to murder but rather addresses incest in particular and sexual immorality in general. These verses do not use terrorism as a context. It is a contradiction on your part to propose stopping murder and then saying afterwards it's permissible, presumably for a Christian, to resort murder to save "INNOCENT many." This is the same kind of mindset that justifies the assassination of a doctor outside an abortion clinic in order to preserve the life of one or more unborn developing fetuses in the name of the right to life or sanctity of life. An appeal to authority even if a Just War treatise ignores the body of literature of a pacifist kind that argues against war and against viewing war as a righteous means of conflict resolution. If you appeal to the Old Testament's use of capital punishment look at the New Testament especially Matthew 5:38-39: You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man; but if any one strikes you on the right jaw, turn to him the other one too." I will guess you are familiar with people executed by capital punishment who turned out be have been innocent of their crimes or those on death row awaiting capital punishment and at the last moment being exonerated by DNA evidence confirming they are innocent. The carrying out of capital punishment does not always support justice; it's not always upholding a "just cause." I wonder what the Just War advocates would say to your claim that those who kill (murder) others made in the image of God are attacking God. In some parts of the world, Iraq for one, religious statues, works of art and veneration, have been smashed by the Taliban and these statues present one representation or image of God. That's desecration not an attack on God. Perhaps that's a form of displaced anger against God. Remembering as we are urged that we are made in the image of God---to the tune of black, white, we are all precious in his sight--- does not seem to have much deterrent affect on those intent on murdering others. I would not like to ever find myself in an active shooter incident although I have received training in how to respond. In the either/or scenario presented it's comes down to kill in self-defense or be killed. The choice to do nothing is one option but I imagine I would not take that one. I would resist and if possible try to neutralize the threat either by myself or with the aid of others. It's hard to predict what I would do, how I would react or respond in those circumstances. But, killing the perpetrator could be justifiable under the law. You seem to suggest that there's an obligation to look after one's own, in this case students, and failing to meet that obligation constitutes being declared an infidel. Is there a biblical mandate for that obligation drawn from 1 Timothy? Quoting 1 Tim 5:8 is in the context of caring for the material needs of widows. Let me quote from the Amplified version: "If any one fails to provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his own family, he has disowned the faith [by failing to accompany it with fruits], and is worse than an unbeliever [who performs his obligation in these matters]. Your comment closes with two New Testament passages from the Gospels and parallel in their injunctions. It is clear from those that disciples of Christ should not judge others harshly in the sense of condemnation. Instead forgiveness is enjoined. I am reminded that this year a gunmen entered a church and opened fire on those in a southern congregation resulting in the deaths of injuries of the worshipers. Following that rampage, survivors and family members in that church reached out proffering their forgiveness and seeking justice rather than retribution. Collectively as a church, and individually as fathers and mothers they surrendered to God and demonstrated grace and mercy in Christ. I recall that a man tried to assassinate a pope but the pope survived his wounds. That pope eventually visited the prison cell of the man who tried to take his life. And forgave him in Christ. Could these people have adopted an inflexible withholding of forgiveness or laid down conditions for forgiveness or even exempted certain sins as too heinous to be forgiven? Obviously if they had, they could or would never have been able to forgive. I shall not be sanctimonious here as admittedly there have been times in my life when I found it easier to nurse a grudge, seethe in anger, indulge in playing the victim rather than forgiving someone who hurt me. I am not so innocent. In fact, according to the Bible, I am a sinner redeemed from the slave market of sin. In closing, I am not sympathetic to your viewpoint that "practicing, murdering terrorists" do not merit divine forgiveness. However, that is for now your choice and it's to be hoped that in time you will reconsider enlarging your vision of grace. That said, it is not my place to judge you. If I may hold up my imperfect life as a mirror, the more I have walled off my heart to forgiving others, the more Christ has given me opportunities to forgive others. All too often I have found it difficult to forgive myself. And again and again, it has come back to me, "my grace is sufficient unto thee." Christ gives both the capacity and the capability to forgive, in other words. Thanks for sharing your thoughts honestly with us.

    R. Anthony Squire
  • Amen and well said.

    Lydia Lewis