This post was originally posted in January of 2010 on my old blog. It’s being reprinted here.
I mentioned that I had more thoughts on nonresistance to share. Well, during the time since I last posted and this post, I’ve been mulling those over and coming up with a few more.
To begin with, I’d like to warn you, the reader, that nothing you read here is final. I reserve the right to change and correct the content as I meditate on the subject and change and (hopefully) correct my own beliefs as well. For that same reason, if it wasn’t obvious already, don’t take anything I say without checking it out against the Bible first. ;)
That said, I’d next like to point out that while I believe the one specific interpretation of nonresistance that I defined at the start is not supported by Scripture, there are a multitude of other interpretations on this subject–some of which are still called “nonresistance”, while others do not. Regardless, the Bible does teach something on this subject, so as Christians it is our duty to find out what, exactly, the Bible does teach.
We have, for example, Isaac and the servants of Gerar in Genesis 26:16-22, where Isaac, rather than provoking a quarrel with the Philistines, quietly gives in without a fight when they claim the well he dug and digs another well for himself. Then they claim that one, too. Yet Isaac peacefully allows them to take that one and digs a third well, at which point the Philistines finally leave him alone.
Also, we have the account of Elisha, in 2 Kings 6:8-23, where rather than having the band of raiding Syrians killed–which would have been within their rights–he fed them and let them go.
Further, we have the example of Proverbs 25:21-22.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. (ESV)
And so on. Notice that these examples were all from the Old Testament–clearly, whatever principle inspired them was not solely a New Testament phenomenon! But was it a moral imperative? And if so, how do we resolve this with Elijah calling down fire from heaven in a similar case to Elisha’s? (2 Kings 1:9-11) What was the difference between the two situations?
So you see there’s still a lot of ground we haven’t covered. I’m not sure how much of it I’ll be able to cover–or if I cover it, how correct I’d be–but we’ll try.