John Whitehead contra bellum

John Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute, criticizes Christian support of Bush’s War. This infuriates Mark Tooley, head of United Methodist Action at the Institute for Religion and Democracy.

… Whitehead’s political musings reveal a neo-Mennonite separatism that is faddish in some evangelical left circles. They excoriate other non-pacifist Christians as sell-outs to the “empire” and potentially “fascist.” Centuries of Christian teachings about the state’s proper use of force are jettisoned as “Constantinian.” The end result is often an intemperate mishmash of 1960’s left-wing jargon and Anabaptist self-righteousness.

And an irrational contempt for the United States as a nation.

Puzzling. Why should a Christian react this way to another Christian’s citing of Jesus’ teachings on non-violence?

As to being “Anabaptist”–Whitehead should consider it an honor. During the Reformation period, when Catholics, Lutherans, and Reformed blessed and sanctified the sacred shedding each other’s blood, only the Anabaptists consistently followed the example of Jesus of turning the other cheek.

2 thoughts on “John Whitehead contra bellum

  1. Bret, that only shows that you (and that encyclopedia) don’t have a knowledge of Reformation history. On the one hand, there’s a tendency to lump together every individual who rejected infant baptism, and to portray this movement on the basis of extremists. Lutherans, Calvinists, and Catholics all did this. Notice that “violent” is the first descriptor. But the mainstream Anabaptists were and are pacifists.

    See, for example, this article and this.

    I’m reminded of a class I took at a Catholic seminary on marriage. In discussing the Reformation the professor said Anabaptists were dualistic and didn’t believe in the goodness of the body or in marriage, and that’s why there are no Anabaptists today. I countered with a story from my Pennsylvania days about an Amishman who responded to my compliment about his large family by grinning and saying, “Well, I guess I just had a fertile field.” The professor shot back, “The Amish aren’t Anabaptists! Look it up!” I responded, “Yes, they are. The descendants of the Anabaptists are such churches as the Brethren, the Mennonites, the Amish and the Hutterites.” He refused to give ground. “No they aren’t! They aren’t Anabaptists! Look it up!” “(Name), I think perhaps you would do well to look it up.” Well, all the students in the class did look it up, and were then wondering if he would admit error. But he didn’t.

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