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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

See the next post for a statement concerning Wiley Drake's denial that he supported this action.

Advocating violence to defeat your enemies is a sure sign of having stopped walking along the way of Jesus. When Jesus was faced with the choice to use violence or allow his associates to use violence to further his cause, he repeatedly rejected it. John 6 reports that when a crowd, having been fed by Jesus, begins to organize to force him to be their king, in an apparent plan to violently drive out the rulers, Jesus immediately withdrew to get away from them. When he was asked, in Luke 9, by James and John whether they should call down fire to destroy a village that did not receive them when traveling, Jesus rebuked them. When a disciple (Luke 22 and Matthew 26), Simon Peter according to John 18, pulled out a sword to fight and struck a man when Jesus was arrested, Jesus rejected the use of the sword and said to put it away. Even in the accounts of the cleansing of the temple, there is no claim that Jesus used the improvised cord whip to strike people--he drove out the animals from the exploitative marketplace where sellers and moneychangers used their privileged position to cheat poor and weary pilgrims. Turning over tables and freeing animals was not a resort to using physical harm against an opponent.

The reader and I might go on and on about various interpretations of whether Jesus ever would approve of force or violence, what the definition of force or violence is, and such matters. But I think it is fairly clear that Jesus rejected violence over and over. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others who adopted a theology of nonviolence rooted it in Jesus' teachings and way of living, and they did not just make it up out of the air. I'm casting my lot with this view. Theories of justifiable violence have a lot of the New Testament to set aside if they want to have Jesus-centered perspective.

So when it comes to Christians advocating social policy and social change, a limiting principle on strategy exists. Christians must not advocate and use violence to force their ways on others. Electing violence as a solution is a way of rejecting the cross, the symbol of Jesus' refusal to take up violence. A little bit of violence might have made the difference to get Jesus out of custody so that a guerrilla resistance force could be set up to keep the powerful off center. But he consistently pointed out that it was not his way, nor was it to be the way of his followers.

The following paragraph contains information based on several sources which was later denied by Wiley Drake. No one has offered an explanation of how his name became attached to the statement of support for the man who murdered a doctor for performing abortions. But Drake has stated clearly that in such cases a person is not justified to commit murder. I appreciate his clarifying this statement and apologize for any misrepresentation which appeared in this blog.

I write all of this to say that at least this Baptist does not intend to remain silent when someone points out that [a new story denies Wiley Drake ever signed the statement mentioned in the following sentences] a Baptist leader, Wiley Drake, has gone on record in support of a person who, in God's name, shot and killed a doctor who performs abortions. Davis's name endorses the man who did this on documents from the organization to which the man belongs. You can read more about it at EthicsDaily.com. I am committed to receiving children into the world as blessings and gifts rather than shutting them out as burdens and hindrances. Abortion shuts out the hope and promise of children. But I also cannot see how believing in protecting the unborn coheres with killing the already born. It's too bad that we Baptists don't have a good way to contest a pastor's credentials to serve as a minister. Drake's statement [now publicly denied] in support of the killer seems to me to be a denial of his baptismal vow to follow Jesus, as well as his ordination vows, none of which say to execute those who oppose him. Drake gives evidence of being bold in his convictions. What he needs to go with his boldness is some more Jesus in his convictions.

Thanks to my friend Larry Bumgardner for bringing this to my attention, and to Mainstream Baptist for making prompt comments several days ago.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Broadway,

thought you might like to know that Drake is on record as saying he never signed any such document and until this news came out had never heard of the individual. you can see this info at www.wadeburleson.com


Mike Broadway said...

I don't know who Anonymous is, but I will give the benefit of the doubt on letting this rebuttal be stated. However, I went to the Army of God website and read his name followed by supportive comments. Of course, someone could have falsified the signature and comments.

Mike Broadway said...

I have acknowledged in this post and in a follow-up post that Rev. Drake has now disavowed signing an endorsement of the person who admitted committing murder.

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