Another Sad Example!

For the better part of my Sunday, I felt like things were going really well.  Our Sunday morning Celebration Service seemed to go well.  The afternoon was warm and sunny.  We played games outside, got the yard mowed and even had ice cream sandwiches.  I would say that I thought my Sunday was going to go off without a hitch.  Then an article popped up on my homepage.  Not the article that I wanted to read on a Sunday afternoon.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_tiller_shooting

A 51 year old man is being held in Wichita for the killing of one of the few doctors in the United States that practiced late-term abortions.  The doctors wife was serving in the choir of their Lutheran Church.  The 67 year old doctor was shot and killed.

Why is it that every time I turn around it seems that the church is giving the world another reason to hate us?  When Jesus was on this earth, ministering to people, mentoring disciples and starting a revolution, at what point did we ever see Him take out a gun and start offing people that He thought were deserving of death?  Where is that His example anywhere in Scripture?

As the physical life and ministry of Jesus was coming to a close there was an encounter.

It was brief.

It was intense.

It caused bloodshed.

Jesus was about to be arrested by the Jewish people in the Garden of Gethsemane.  600 men with clubs, armed for battle.  Led to Jesus by one of His very own, Judas.  One of Jesus’ most flamboyant followers takes out a sword and starts cutting people’s ears off.  Jesus restrains Him and tells him to put his sword away.  Then Jesus reaches down, picks up the severed ear of Evander Holyfield’s ancestor and heals it completely.

Now tell me; where is the example that, whether justified or not, the followers of Christ have the power to do things like this?  This is just another sad example of a Christian person who has completely missed the point.  Maybe this whole being a “light in the world” thing would be a lot easier if we weren’t running around killing people and trying to justify their deaths in our minds.

Your thoughts?

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About Stan Rodda

Follower. Husband. Father. Shepherd. Apostle. Husker.

Posted on May 31, 2009, in Church, the culture, the nation. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I wrote this a while back…i think it correlates…

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=41584618051

  2. In that same encounter Jesus said if you live by the sword you die by the sword. The baby killer got justice and the man who killed him will also. It is wrong to kill. It saddens me to know that a late term abortionist would be a church goer and I wonder what his church thought of him. Did the elders condone his life?

    • culturalawakening

      I see what you’re saying. I guess my biggest problem is that Scripture teaches us that we are the servants of another. That we are not the judges of people on earth. So for me, whether we feel justice was carried out or not, it wasn’t this person’s job to carry it out. It was a Lutheran church, so I’m not sure what the level of involvement would be in his life from the church.

  3. The doctor did not receive justice. What Jesus meant by “live by/die by” was a warning that if you look for violence you will find it. He did NOT mean that those who are violent deserve violence. All sinners deserve punishment, not just the ones who are violent. THAT would be justice, and only God can dish out that sort of judgement. “vengeance is mine declares the lord”. The doctor and the killer are accountable to the laws of God and the laws of man. The doctor may have been contrary to Gods will but in the USA he committed no crime. The other man purposely broke both the law of God and the law of man… suppose some Green Peace nut job came into your office and shot you in the face for using paper… same level of lunacy.

    • culturalawakening

      The Green Peace illustration definitely seals it for me. There is no justice in this act. No one asked this guy to be the deliverer of justice to the doctor. There was no ruling in a court. There was only an emotional reaction by one man. While some may view him as a savior of babies, it seems to me that one sin is not greater than another in this case. Either way, the church and ultimately Christ, continue to receive and look bad to everyone in the world. As if the next step for abortion doctors and those who support it, is going to be to see this then come running to churches next week asking for God’s intervention in their life and praying for forgiveness. This act will more likely only increase the already widening gap between the church and everyone on the other side of the issue. It’s really sad.

  4. kathy hullinger

    i think it was wrong to kill the man. but where as his death is making head lines how many of the destroyed FETUS’ made a head line or thought. how can he believe in God and still go to church and hold his head high. how can he believe this was his calling. Yes i think it was wrong to kill him esp if it was a pro lifer because that negates his actions. it’s a circle with no end or answer.

  5. I hope those who commented also read Ryan’s blog (he posted the link at the top).

    I love your example of Jesus’ encounter with the soldier. What an amazing example of His patience with humanity. It was a foretaste of what was to come….”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

    I have heard some Christians trying to justify , even celebrating, the murder of this man. Seriously? Are we going to go the route of situational ethics here? “Murder is wrong, except if you’re murdering a really bad guy.” Murder is murder. Sin is sin. This is a tragedy. And Stan is right, it just gives the world more cause to hate Christians.

    Time for us to start being Jesus to the world.

  6. I totally agree that the guy was wrong in killing the doc. I think it is supposed to be left up to God to decide and play out those matters. As devil’s advocate though, you have to wonder. The government is supposed to carry out God’s justice on murderers but they allow baby killing. At what point do we reject the laws as ungodly? God called on the israelites to kill the philistines because of their worship of Molech (god of infant sacrifice) I am a peaceful person and wouldn’t harm anyone, but I can see where someone would get so bothered by the sin tolerance that it would drive him crazy. Not that murder is a proper response to the insanity. I have looked at tons of blogs and articles and opinions and more times than not christians are more upset that the doc. was killed than the fact that the doc. was a murderer. I say good riddance to both of them.

    • …also wondering who ever said it’s the governments job to carry out God’s justice?

      • Romans 13:1 – Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

        Genesis 9:6 – 6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;for in the image of God has God made man.

        John 19:10-11 – 10 “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.

      • Romans 13 – says follow the law, it does not say the government is responsible for determining the punishment and carrying out God’s justice. ONLY God can do this.

        Genesis 9 – what does this have to do with anything? an eye for an eye leaves the world blind.

        John 19 – God let the Nazi’s come into power, does this mean they were carrying out His justice as well?

        It is not (nor is it justified by scripture) the place for any government to presume it is their place to judge for God and to carry out His justice on men.

      • sidenote: in John 19 Jesus isn’t speaking of earthly governmental authority, He is speaking of the role certain people are playing in His execution. Jesus left Heaven to become a man and willfully submitted Himself to earthly authority…He gave them the power they had over Him. FYI: His execution at the hands of the government was totally UNJUST, which is why it accomplished what it did. If humans were even capable of divine justice we would have no need for it because we would all be perfect anyway.

  7. also as devil’s advocate, aren’t aborted babies better off? If babies truly are innocent in God’s eyes, and if an unborn fetus is a complete person, aren’t they better off dying and going to heaven then having to suffer through 80 years on the earth?

    • Not really. If it were better for humans not to be born then God would not allow us to be born. Because we are alive it is proof that God intends us to live and go through the pains of life. What will those aborted babies’ testimony be in heaven? How can their testimony compare to someone who has lived faithfully, how can they understand the love of God without going through life struggling to connect with Him? There is a reason for life and thinking they are better off for not living is a poor way to make ourselves feel better about letting it happen.

  8. Hey Stan…long time reader first time poster to your blog 🙂

    Ok…I’ve had some conversations about this topic with several of my associates and have been thinking about it a lot lately.

    I’m going to play the devil’s advocate the right way and offer this suggestion. What if this act was an act of righteousness…and God viewed it as such?

    Remember Phineas…the son of the High Priest? God told the Israelites not to marry outside of the nation of Israel. Phineas found out that a man had not followed the law…went to their tent and killed them both with his spear (contextually it seems he did so while they were doing the nasty…I always found that kinda funny). Interestingly…God called him righteous for this act.

    Now, here we have a man who believed so strongly in the word of God that it was wrong to commit murder that he killed the man responsible. I know, you think well he’s a hypocrite…but I don’t believe that to be true.

    There seems to be a reprieve from social justice murder in the Bible…as well as in our society. Social justice was served by the killing of this Doctor. He was a murderer. He murdered hundreds of babies…viable outside the womb or not…they are still alive.

    It is interesting that if a drunk driver kills a pregnant woman he can be charged with double homicide, but yet a doctor can perform an abortion and draw a paycheck…there is no social justice there…but justice needs to be served.

    I’m not saying that this guy was acting on orders from God, but it’s possible that he was acting for God.

    In the Romans passage that’s been quoted, it’s not so much of a command as a warning. If you break the law you will be punished because the authorities have the power to do that. We need to be good citizens, but when a government fails to enact social justice, the priests need to pick up their spears and protect the nation.

    Jesus told us we would be hated by men….but who hates the pacifist? When is the last time a Buddhist monk was hated or persecuted? We won’t be hated because we turn the other cheek…we are hated because we are to act counter-culturally. Jesus wasn’t killed because He was a good teacher…He was killed because He pissed people off. He took a whip and drove people out of His temple that were sinning…I find it interesting that a church allowed a murderer to worship with them weekly…they must’ve missed the part about kickin people out of the church who were refusing to stop sinning….

    We’ve become a passive church allowing wolves to enter our flock…and maybe, just maybe a little righteous anger is justified.

    Why was it wrong to kill this murderer? It’s funny how we have viewed murders over the years. Shaka Zulu kills 2 million people in taking over Africa…he’s a national hero. Hitler kills a million Jews trying to take over Europe and he’s a horrible person. Lenin and Stalin kill far more and yet no one cares. Osama Bin Laden is responsible for killing thousands and there’s no social outcry from Christians with him being wanted ‘dead or alive’, but doctors who murders hundreds of unborn babies we allow to live in our communities and worship at our churches?

    Were we mad at the soldiers who killed Saddam’s brothers…or the ones who took out Al-Qaeda’s top generals? Why are we mad at the guy who took out this baby killer?

    Social justice will be served with him as well…as it should be. Murder is against the law in the US and he will answer for that. That’s on the social level…but on the spiritual level…maybe God counted his act as righteousness.

    • Realizing this is just a “devils advocate” position, where and who draws the line between murder and a “righteous killing”? How can “societal justice” be served by allowing people to kill anyone they disagree with on the grounds that society is better off without them? A lot of people have played the God card over the years. How would this be different muslim “extremists” killing infidels? Aren’t they under the impression that they are serving their god, taking a stand to make society better?

  9. culturalawakening

    Matt – I appreciate what you are saying. And there is no doubt that some of what you are saying may be true.

    I chose to write on this story for a couple of reasons. The main reason was that I wanted to get people thinking and writing their opinions on this story. I think, based on reading the comments, I achieved that goal. I’m glad people are thinking this through and hopefully there are a few non-Christ followers who have been reading and who are working through this story as well.

    The other reason I wrote was to look at this from the culture’s perspective. The purpose of the blog is to try and help the church realize that there is a culture that is leaving them in the dust. The church is quickly becoming irrelevant overall, no matter how great their music or preaching. The culture as a whole seems to think it can do better without us and is leaving us behind to die a slow death. IMHO.

    My point is, does an act like this in a church, help the cause of Christ in our culture or hurt it? Let’s say you are right in assuming that God considered his act as righteousness. Even so, does that counter balance the fact that the very people we’re called to save and show love to are turned off by the act? Where is the line between achieving the righteousness of God and still reaching and loving the culture? Loving the culture to the point where the recognize that we are His follower (Jn. 13).

    I guess maybe I don’t have a specific answer yet, but I’m still convinced that this will just be one more example that gives the culture a reason to leave us behind.

    For real though, thanks for your thoughts. Really got me thinking. That’s the purpose of the blog. Thanks for reading and posting.

    • just wondering: is the “culture” really leaving the church behind? or is it maybe the other way around? Is the “culture” really any different than it ever has been? Perhaps the church is just withdrawing…? I hate this language that makes the church and the culture two separate things, they arent, they cant be, the people of the church still live in the world, they are part of culture. “culture” isn’t sinners, or non christians, or secular radio, or movies. Biblical morality does contradict much of what we find in the world but the church is still part of that. It isn’t The Church vs The Culture, it’s the Bible vs. Humanity…

      • culturalawakening

        I agree with you Ryan. I would have to say that the semantics are probably more right to say that the church withdraws. I think that some Christians view themselves as better and thus make a separation between them and the rest of the world. I think this is a very unhealthy way to think about it. I just want to remind the church that they are a part of the culture whether they like it or not. They’re parenting decisions affect what the culture will look like. They’re marriage decisions will affect the culture. Who we are down to how we manage our finances is a part of the culture. That’s just how it is. I just want the church to wake up to that and as you say, don’t withdraw from that.

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