shane claiborne

adventures in getting it right: shane claiborne responds to mark driscoll

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Friday, October 25th, 2013

shane claiborne

adventures in getting it right: shane claiborne responds to mark driscoll

these days, i don’t have much interest in blogging about or responding to the various antics of mark driscoll and his ilk. i’ve been there, done that and there’s a ton of other people still doing it with great regularity.

i haven’t felt any differently throughout driscoll’s latest absurb online proclamations. an abundance of people have blogged and tweeted incessantly about it and most—or, most likely, all—of it won’t do anything to sway driscoll or his legion of followers.

if you aren’t aware of what’s been going on, here it is in a nutshell. he wrote a blog post, is god a pacifist?, in which he argues that the life of jesus—contrary to the consensus of biblical scholarship and, you know, a basic reading of scripture—isn’t characterized by the way of nonviolence. one of the more choice cuts is as follows:

Today is a season of patience as Jesus Christ waits for people to come to repentance. Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist; he’s patient. He has a long wick, but the anger of his wrath is burning.

Once the wick is burned up, he is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter his enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow.

Then there will be peace forever as the Prince of Peace takes his rightful throne. Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist.

Jesus is no one to mess with.

i’ll just let that simmer with no commentary…

i need not offer commentary because in a post from jonathan merritt, he includes a response from everyone’s favorite christian hippy, shane claiborne. reminiscent of brian mclaren’s gracious and poignant manner of communicating, claiborne gets it so right without trolling anyone or starting a fight. i’ll post his response in full. it’s really great and worth reading through a couple times.

Jesus was not a pansy. Nor was Jesus “a prize fighter with a tattoo down his leg, a sword in his hand, and a commitment to make someone bleed,” as Mark Driscoll has contended. “Fight Club” may have been a good movie, but it makes for really bad theology.

Mark may see things like “kindness, gentleness, love and peace” as feminine, dainty things for pansies, but the Bible calls them the “fruit of the Spirit.” These are the things that God is like.

We need only look at the cross to see what perfect love looks like when it stares evil in the face – love forgives, love dies, love does not kill. Jesus was not violent, and surely not passive. Jesus shows us a “third way” that is neither fight nor flight. He teaches us that evil can be opposed without being mirrored, oppressors resisted without being emulated, and enemies neutralized without being destroyed.

The way of the cross is problematic to fight-club theology and the theology of imperialism, power and might. It was offensive even to Jesus’s own followers who begged him to call down “fire from heaven” on their enemies, and who continually digress to the logic of the sword. Fight-club theology is nothing new, but it is always sad, and it is a betrayal of the cross.

Jesus is Life. He died to conquer death. His blood was shed to stop the shedding of blood. His sacrifice on the cross was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. It was the final triumph of life over death, of love over hatred. There is no need for more blood. In fact, we can even say that when we shed the blood of another, it is a offense to the cross.

We can call Jesus crazy, but we dare not call him a pansy. The nonviolent love that we see on the cross is not the sentimental love of fairy tales but it is the daredevil love of the martyrs… and it teaches us that there is something worth dying for, but nothing we should kill for.



  1. […] Okay. God is the Judge. But that doesn’t mean we’re judges. In fact, Jesus commands his followers not to judge others! (Judging in the sense of (1) pronouncing someone’s eternal status, and (2) taking vengeance into one’s own hands). So maybe God isn’t a pacifist in the sense that he will never act as something of a conquering warlord. But that doesn’t change the Kingdom values God has set forth for his subjects. Not surprisingly, Shane Claiborne threw in his eloquent two cents: […]

  2. John says:

    Still waiting for the theology that shows Driscoll’s theology as incorrect. Not even a good presentation of an alternative view is presented. Lots of candy here but nothing to chew on.

  3. Athena says:

    Meaning of the Death on the Cross

    Although Jesus did not die this death on the cross to atone for the racial guilt of mortal man nor to provide some sort of effective approach to an otherwise offended and unforgiving God; even though the Son of Man did not offer himself as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of God and to open the way for sinful man to obtain salvation; notwithstanding that these ideas of atonement and propitiation are erroneous, nonetheless, there are significances attached to this death of Jesus on the cross which should not be overlooked.
    Jesus desired to live a full mortal life in the flesh on Earth. Death is, ordinarily, a part of life. Death is the last act in the mortal drama. In our well-meant efforts to escape the superstitious errors of the false interpretation of the meaning of the death on the cross, you should be careful not to make the great mistake of failing to perceive the true significance and the genuine import of the Master’s death.
    Mortal man was never the property of the archdeceivers. Jesus did not die to ransom man from the clutch of the apostate rulers and fallen prince of the sphere. The Father in heaven never conceived of such crass injustice as damning a mortal soul because of the evil-doing of his ancestors. Neither was the Master’s death on the cross a sacrifice which consisted in an effort to pay God a debt which the race of mankind had come to owe him.
    Before Jesus lived on earth, you might possibly have been justified in believing in such a God, but not since the Master lived and died among your fellow mortals. Moses taught the dignity and justice of a Creator God; but Jesus portrayed the love and mercy of a heavenly Father.
    The animal nature – the tendency toward evil-doing – may be hereditary, but sin is not transmitted from parent to child. Sin is the act of conscious and deliberate rebellion against the Father’s will and the Son’s laws by an individual will creature.
    Jesus lived and died for a whole universe, not just for the races of this one world. While the mortals of the realms had salvation even before Jesus lived and died on Earth, it is nevertheless a Fact that his bestowal on this world greatly illuminated the way of salvation; his death did much to make forever plain the certainty of mortal survival after death in the flesh.
    Though it is hardly proper to speak of Jesus as a sacrificer, a ransomer, or a redeemer, it is wholly correct to refer to him as a savior. He forever made the way of salvation (survival) more clear and certain; he did better and more surely show the way of salvation for all the mortals of all the worlds of the universe of Nebadon.
    When once you grasp the idea of God as a true and loving Father, (the only concept which Jesus ever taught), you must forthwith, in all consistency, utterly abandon all those primitive notions about God as an offended monarch, a stern and all-powerful ruler whose chief delight is to detect his subjects in wrongdoing and to see that they are adequately punished, unless some being almost equal to himself should volunteer to suffer for them, to die as a substitute and in their stead. The whole idea of ransom and atonement is incompatible with the concept of God as it was taught and exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth. The infinite love of God is not secondary to anything in the divine nature.
    All this concept of atonement and sacrificial salvation is rooted and grounded in selfishness. Jesus taught that service to one’s fellows is the highest concept of the brotherhood of spirit believers. Salvation should be taken for granted by those who believe in the fatherhood of God. The believer’s chief concern should not be the selfish desire for personal salvation but rather the unselfish urge to love and, therefore, serve one’s fellows even as Jesus loved and served mortal men.
    Neither do genuine believers trouble themselves so much about the future punishment of sin. The real believer is only concerned about present separation from God. True, wise fathers may chasten their sons, but they do all this in love and for corrective purposes. They do not punish in anger, neither do they chastise in retribution.
    Even if God were the stern and legal monarch of a universe in which justice ruled supreme, he certainly would not be satisfied with the childish scheme of substituting an innocent sufferer for a guilty offender.
    The great thing about the death of Jesus, as it is related to the enrichment of human experience and the enlargement of the way of salvation, is not the fact of his death but rather the superb manner and the matchless spirit in which he met death.
    This entire idea of the ransom of the atonement places salvation upon a plane of unreality; such a concept is purely philosophic. Human salvation is real; it is based on two realities which may be grasped by the person’s faith and thereby become incorporated into individual human experience: the fact of the fatherhood of God and its correlated truth, the brotherhood of man.

  4. Stephen Zendt says:

    Athena is providing a long quote from The URANTIA BOOK, looking deeply into the reality and the significance of the Crucifixion.
    We are so accustomed to view the death of Jesus as a martyrdom ordained by God. Yet the political and religious realities in Jerusalem at that time, meant a determined effort to arrest Jesus and cause him to be executed by the Romans, was the cause of Jesus’ death on the cross.
    We are children of God, by faith, not because of some dire warning about damnation due to Jesus having died for our sins.

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