Blue Collar Todd’s (through the IRD) polemic attempts at trying to critique Christian Pacifists and their theologies of atonement just do not add up.
first, the Institution for Religious Democracy has had several articles aimed at mindlessly accusing pacifists for being unpatriotic, unChristian, and liberal. All of which are falsehoods to be sure in order to energize their neo-conservative base, but I’ll digress.
Anyhow, for anyone who knows anything about theories of atonement, atonement is just a shortened version of the old english word: AT-ONE-MENT. Meaning, the Cross is God’s miracle to sinners that God is reconciled with us and creation, and wishes humanity to be reconciled with each other. No reading of the apostle Paul can ignore this. The fact is that the “historic, universal church teachings about God’s role for the state and that the state” are multiple. John Calvin and his French followers the Huguenots had different visions for the state. For Calvin, the citizen was to submit to the state on the basis of Romans 13, for the Huguenots, they used Revelation 13 to justify revolution. The American revolution is based on the latter while US American contemporary Evangelicals choose calvin over the Huguenots. I won’t even get into all of the bad theology and history that the IRD and like minded conservative Christians do, but I will say this:
The cross is an act of non-violence. Jesus, the son of the Lord of Hosts did not ask Michael and company to come down and strike the Romans dead. He could have, but in an act of subjective obedience, Jesus gave his life so that we may know how to live, and not just live eternally. Jesus came to give us life, and have it more abundantly. This is not prosperity gospel. In light of the cross, it is concretely anti-prosperity gospel. The Crucified God reigns in suffering; this is what Revelation points to, when it talks about the Lamb who had been slain since eternity (God suffering in creation through God’s Word).
The only Christians who fear anabaptist and neoanabaptist movements are the protestant and catholic descendents who killed their forebears all those years ago. Not only did the first anabaptists (barring those crazy 2 or 3 who tried to take over a german village) affirm inerrancy, the Trinity, Christ’s divinity (and i have sufficient resources in case you need reading),they practiced non-violence as an orthodox way of life. God the Father & Spirit resurrecting Jesus is not only the beginning of the new creation, but it is also the divine approval of Jesus’ non-violent life. As I mentioned in my series on this blog, The God of Peace (so far), that the Hebrew Bible can be used as a pacifist text, for it is God who fights our battles, time and again, and God gets the praise and honor, rather than politicians leading the Israelites: see here.
Christian pacifism and atonement go hand and hand. Because God desires person to person/community to community reconciliation (think Galatians 3, and the like), Christian pacifists have little choice but to keep up the possibility of reconciliation, even with the worst of their enemies, and yes, that does mean Muslims. What Blue Collar Todd and IRD do not understand is this: their hope is in revenge, in the murdering of murderers, the law. Pacifists hope is in Grace, who came in the fullness thereof.