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For AP: Biblical context for ‘With us’

October 11th, 2006

Last week, HotAir’s AllahPundit had a discussion on the Amish’s tendancy to outrageously forgive their enemies, and asked Christians to reconcile their advocacy of war, with Christ’s teaching of ‘turn the other cheek’.

Today’s controversy is Ted Turner’s comments on President Bush use of the phrase ‘if you aren’t with us, you are against us’, quoting AP, quoting CSPAN:

There are a lot of things about this war that disturb me and one of them is the attitude, that you know, that was well expressed by our President. He said it very clearly, he said either you’re with us or you’re against us. And I had a problem with that because I really hadn’t made my mind up yet.

Typical of Ted, who’s news agency cozied up to Saddam in prelude to Iraq, becuase they were neither hot nor cold… But anyways, my point is that that religious zealot Bush was using the words of Jesus in that speech. The lede:

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. ( Luke 11:23)

I like Eugene Peterson’s ‘The Message’ paraphrase that renders the text as:

This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.

I think Ted’s comments fall into the ‘making things worse category. But that is plainly up to interpretation.

Also interesting to grab the crossrefrences in that Luke passage (one is Matthew 12:30 which is a synoptic, same thing, different verse…)

Luke 9:50 – But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” (paradox? looking at context, the person in question is casting out demons in Jesus’ name, so while not technically a disciple, clearly on the same side…)

Revelations 3:15-16 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot!. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth!”

Whoa, that Jesus dude, knew how to slice to the point. Get with the program, take a side, stop hemming and hawing… Seems Jesus was a bit more complex than the ‘turn the other cheek’ angle. But we’re now talking spiritual warfare here, not Iraq and not the war on terror. Still good apocalyptic thoughts … even from Ted Turner… who is as lukewarm as they come.

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