One thought on “The Manifest Propensity of Jesus?

  1. Some might say that Henri Nouwen is wrong and that there is a huge discrepency plainly evident in the New Testament between the Jesus that commands his apostles to “disciple all nations” (people groups) at the end of the Gospel of Matthew and the Jesus that returns to the Earth as the conquering warrior that “strikes down the nations” near the end of the Revelation of John.

    Those “competing” views of Jesus are present, and his followers and others with an interest in Jesus do need to grapple with the differences in the texts. A possible direction towards a solution may be that the Gospel records the plain instructions Jesus told the followers of Jesus, while the Revelation records an apocalyptic vision of Jesus and “the armies of heaven… following him,” and that the differences are due to the symbolism of the visionary account.

    So the grappling needs to consider the question of the literary “genre” in the text in Revelation. But that alone won’t suffice in light of the perennial questions regarding the pacifism/justice debate that the followers of Jesus have been grappling with since the beginnings of Christianity. Therefore, the NT as a whole must be considered, which of course has been and continues to be the ongoing task. Perhaps that is part of the “discipling of the nations” itself which includes “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” In other words, part of the teaching must include striking the balance between violence and justice, war and peace.

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