By Greg Boyd, originally published on his blog ReKnew.
In an interview several years ago for Relevant Magazine, Mark Driscoll (well known pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle) said,
“In Revelation, Jesus is a pride-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” (You can find the original interview here).
I frankly have trouble understanding how a follower of Jesus could find himself unable to worship a guy he could “beat up” when he already crucified him. I also fail to see what is so worshipful about someone carrying a sword with “a commitment make someone bleed.” But this aside, I’m not at all surprised Driscoll believes the book of Revelation portrays Jesus as a “pride fighter.” This violent picture of Jesus, rooted in a literalistic interpretation of Revelation, is very common among conservative Christians, made especially popular by the remarkably violent Left Behind series.
The most unfortunate aspect of this misreading, as Driscoll’s comment graphically reveals, is that the “pride fighter” portrait of Jesus easily subverts the Jesus of the Gospels who out of love chooses to die for enemies rather than use his power against them and who commands his followers to do the same (see e.g. Mt 5:43-45; Lk 6:27-36). In fact, if you read these passages carefully you’ll notice that Jesus makes loving enemies and refusing all violence the prerequisite for being considered a child of God! Loving enemies like Jesus commands (and like the rest of the NT teaches, e.g. Rom. 12: 14, 17-21; 1 Pet 2:21-23) requires that we crucify our fallen impulse to resort to violence, while the model of Jesus as a “pride fighter” with a “commitment to make someone bleed” allows us to indulge it. If we can dismiss the peace-loving Jesus as a “hippie, diaper, halo Christ,” then we’re free to wish and even inflict vengeance on our enemies all we like — and feel righteous about it!Continue reading Will Jesus Wage a Literal War According to Revelation?