Joshua's Prayer

Rodion, has a nice post here, on the topic of Israel typology, violence, national identities, and the Christians identity in Christ. I don’t agree with all of it, (I’m not completely a pacifist, though I wish I could be) but I think it’s worth your time. Here is an excerpt of Rodion's post, followed by the comment I left, Joshua's Prayer.

Most Christians in the U.S. revel in the fact that God has blessed them with this wonderful and righteous country. Most are basically convinced that God has blessed us with the promised land and delivered us from our enemies (the Native Americanites, the Spanishites, the Frenchites, the Britishites, and the Mexicanites) in order to fulfill his promise to us of possessing a land filled with milk and honey.

Second, one thing that is usually bypassed in our parallel of modern America and OT Israel is that before Israel headed into the Promised Land, after forty years in the wilderness for their disobedience, God specifically told them that they were not getting the land because they were a righteous people. No, they were sinful and unfaithful but God was faithful and God had made a promise to Abraham and to Moses and God was going to make good on it. In our country we often assume that God has chosen us and given us this land because we deserve it ("God helps those who help themselves").

So how does this apply to our topic of Israel Typology? I claim that if we appeal to creation as the norm by which to understand Jesus' purpose (after all John claims that it was Christ who created in the first place and, thus, it should be him who creates everything new), then we can understand why we should not use books like Joshua to justify our Christian violence. God's promise to Abraham was esentially this: After the first eleven chapters of Genesis humanity had gone from good, to bad, to worse. The unity of man and woman had been destroyed, families (tribes) began to fight with one another, as the tribes grew bigger nations began to war with each other (Noah's curse of Ham ensured that this would be the way of nations in the future), and finally at Babel the tongues were divided. Therefore, the unity that God had created had been increasingly more and more hidden under the sin of humanity. God essentially promises Abraham that God will put things back the way they were before all of this happened by blessing every tribe, tongue and nation all of which were removed from their original created purpose.

I said:
Rumsfield is a prophet in the order of St. Joshua, and to him we pray:
"St. Joshua in the promised land, holy is your name, your kingdom come and bloodshed be done, today, as it was in your day. Give us this day our daily orders, and punish our timidity as we punish those who act timid with us. And lead us not into the temptations of the Left, but deliver us the victory. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever and ever, Amen.


Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov said...

Hmm...It is interesting that everyone thinks I'm a pacifist after reading the post. I may or may not be but I love how the options between war and pacifism seem to be the only options and both are extremems. I have read over my post after each one of these accusations :) and have thought to myself "Could a just war theorist have written this?" My answer is absolutely. I never say that all war is wrong or that when violence happens it is not sin, as a just war theorist argues all violence is sin even if it may be necessary. I simply argue that we cannot use the book of Joshua to justify Christian violence, and any just war theorist can agree with that as none of Joshua's conquest met just war criteria in the first place.

David Best said...

I guess I did infer that your a pacifist rodion, my bad. I agree with you, war is evil, and must be engaged in at times.p

David Baxley said...

I agree completely that we are not Israel and we are not in the promise land. I agree that when Jesus came he changed things up and looking at Joshua as a way to defend Christian violence is really the route to go. But I do have this thought. "Christian" violence is different then a country going to war. Christianity is not a nation it is a lifestyle and relationship. Christians should be turning the other cheek. We should be peacemakers. But a nation is different. A nation has a responsibility to its people and its boarders. A religion does not. And we are not a "Christian nation" We might be a nation founded on Christian ideals by many Christian people but that makes us a nation with Christian values, not a Christian nation.

My thoughts...