Militant Christianity and Matt Walsh’s Misinterpretation of the Gospel of Peace

Based on Matt Walsh’s April 7, 2014 article, Jesus Didn’t Care About Being Nice or Tolerant and Neither Should You.

I have only recently discovered the latest religious trend and “professional sayer of truths” Matt Walsh. I’ll be honest, whenever I read anything by Matt Walsh, I tend to get pretty steamed up (although he has written two articles recently I agreed with). So I began writing this article in a very sarcastic tone, the biting remarks flowing freely, when I was hit cold with conviction by this Scripture I came across when putting this article together. It also happens to be one of my favorite verses,

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:22-26)

I really could just stop there. After all, this one verse refutes just about everything Matt writes because Matt seems to be always on the defense, and always angry. I appreciate Matt’s zeal, but it seems he likes to provoke, he likes being nasty, and he likes making fun of people using biting sarcasm. In this article on tolerance and Jesus, Matt pokes fun (wait, did Jesus make fun of people?) at what he calls the “heretical Nice Doctrine”, and the people who espouse it. Now Matt is right that Jesus was no push-over, neither did He compromise with evil. And Matt is right that Jesus stood against evil, but not in the way Matt seems to think. Jesus defeated sin through the cross, not protests (1 Corinthians 15:55-56).

Blessed are the Peacemakers EditorialThe propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or…They insist that Jesus was a nice man, and that He never would have done anything to upset people…“I don’t recognize this Jesus. This moderate. This pacifist. This nice guy. He’s not the Jesus I read about in the Bible. I read of a strong, manly, stern, and bold Savior. Compassionate, yes. Forgiving, of course. Loving, always loving. But not particularly nice. He condemned. He denounced. He caused trouble. He disrupted the established order.”

At the heart of Matt’s article, whether he realizes it or not, is a clarion call for militant-minded Christians of the world to unite and smite. These Christians believe Jesus came to slaughter and destroy evil, and therefore it is our job as Christ-followers to do likewise to evil and sin wherever and whenever it may be found. Matt goes on in this vein, insisting that Jesus did not resist confrontation, was not a pansy (my word), did not give in to the other side, and so on. Walsh calls those who ask for peace and tolerance “cowardly”, and although he backtracks a little, asserts that “anger is far more godly than tolerance” (Uh, Matt, you might want to read 1 Timothy 2:8, “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”). He insists that there are Biblical times when Christians should use strong language, cause a scene, hurt people’s feelings, and even use physical force. I guess Matt also missed Galatians 5:14-15,

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Or Galatians 5:22-23 which says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Matt tells his readers rightly that Christians should not be angry for anger’s sake, but ties all his arguments for anger back into how Christians should respond “in righteousness” to social issues like abortion, and the defense of the traditional family. What Matt is missing is a lot of Biblical and historical context. Where precisely does the Bible say Christians are supposed to be “intolerant”? And where in the Bible are Christians needed by God to defend Him? In fact, it was Peter who tried to defend Jesus on the night of His secret arrest and trial that Jesus told Peter, “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:52-56). I think He can and always has handled things just fine without us.

Jesus deliberately did and said things that He knew would upset people. He stirred up division and controversy. He provoked…

Yes, Jesus did do those things. But the important question here is “why”. The answer is that by speaking truth and showing compassion and gentleness (two key character traits missing of the hypocritical Jewish leaders Jesus pointed out to crowds); just being who He was in fact, Jesus was threatening the influence, authority, and power of the Jewish leaders. Jesus was genuine, while many of the Jewish leaders were corrupt. Jesus was not persecuted because He marched into battle against abortion, but because He declared Himself the Savior. Our job as Christ-followers is “to preach Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23). That is the Gospel, and that is the message that has stirred up division and controversy for ages.

Christ was not and is not a cosmic guidance counselor, and He is not mankind’s best friend, nor did He call us to be. He made dogs for that role — our destiny is more substantial, and our path to it is far more challenging and dangerous.

Ok, this statement really does make me angry because there are several well-known Scriptures that refute Walsh’s assertions, including:

JesuswithaGun

Does Jesus “Stand at the door and knock” peacefully, or does Jesus threaten with violence? Is this Christ conveying the “Good News”?

John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

Isaiah 9:6 “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:30 (also from Isaiah 9:4)

…We should be marching and shouting Hallelujah. We’re nice Christians with our nice Jesus, and we are trampled on without protest. Enough, already. I think it’s time that Christianity regain its fighting spirit; the spirit of Christ…‘What would Jesus do?’…Jesus would flip tables and yell. Maybe we ought to follow suit.”

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:1-3)

“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” (1 Thess. 4:11-12)

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth…  (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

“Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.” (Isaiah 9:5)

 

The weapons of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18) do not include politics, protests, or angry demonstrations. If you feel concerned enough about certain issues to make a stand, you have the freedoms and abilities in America to do so publicly, but don’t spiritualize issues that Jesus never did. People back in Jesus’ day were performing abortions, practicing adultery, divorcing, etc. They went one step further and even had religiously sanctioned prostitutes for men and women.

But Jesus didn’t protest outside of temples or brothels. Jesus didn’t bother to petition the government to change the unfair tax laws, the divorce laws, or any law. Jesus didn’t get political because (if we believe His claims to be Messiah) He was above human politics, saw the bigger picture, and knew He didn’t have enough time. None of those things I listed that Jesus didn’t do are “bad”, but let’s be real here: Who or what are militant Christians really trying to defend, and most importantly, why? I will conclude with this photo:

2Women

 

Read more about Militant or “Aggressive Christianity

9 comments

  1. Pingback: Pro-Life Arguments about Late Term Abortion Miss the Mark | The Rambling Soapbox: Writings and Thoughts of Loura Lawrence
  2. faddessi

    Very nicely done! My chief criticism is with regard to the long stretch of scripture quotes toward the end. This is “your” commentary and as a reader, I am here for your opinion and views. The use quotes, scriptural or otherwise, would be better served if they were surrounded by your words more closely.

    Frank

    Like

  3. handselkoan

    That last picture is the clincher. You could have just posted that… but the piece here is very well-constructed. I liked reading it.

    I am curious, though. Isn’t one fairly crucial aspect of Jesus Christ, as a Person of passion (or, arguably, aggression) when the situation called for it, a condition of Him being incarnate of God? As such, is it not a little arrogant to think we can undertake action based on judgment in the same way? It seems to me God, or Jesus in God’s mortal form, would have full right to judge and act accordingly (however disruptive it may be, like turning over tables). God made everything and is the only Entity with the right to judge. It’s the same as when parents make judgments for their children while they are minors, because the children simply can’t make the right choice the appropriate way; hopefully the parents can. We of faith know God can, and we believe God does.

    If we follow suit in our behavior like this zealous leader is telling us we should, don’t we presume the same moral right in judgment of others as Jesus may have applied in His lifetime on Earth? That seems unwise. Maybe it’s why tolerance is mandated in the Bible, however much that part is neglected by some.

    Like

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