Editorial -- By: Robert W. Yarbrough
TRINJ 27:2 (Fall 2006) p. 185
The Prince of Peace and the Armor of God
As this edition of Trinity Journal goes to press, a furor rages over remarks by Pope Benedict XVI. His citation of a medieval writer's pessimistic assessment of Islam's effect on the world touched off waves of protest internationally. We live at a time where public discussion and interaction between the West and Islam can hardly be avoided any longer. Yet some demand that only nice things be said about Islam. To press this insistence is to retreat into unhelpful denial that, like all movements of which sinful humankind is part, Islam owns a mixed track record. (So does the church, but I am not aware of anyone denying that, or executing people who point it out, or shooting non-Christians in the back as occurred in Somalia to sixty-five-year old Italian nun Sister Leonella on September 17, 2006, gunned down in a women-and-children's hospital in Mogadishu in the wake of Pope Benedict's remarks.)
Like the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus is variously remembered and represented today. In 1989 Andres Serrano affected artistic expression in displaying Christ on a crucifix immersed in urine. For hundreds of years now Western scholars from Reimarus to Strauss to Funk have deployed formidable intellects and literary artistry in discrediting Jesus in other, hardly less blasphemous ways. Of course, even when Jesus was alive and going about doing good, he ended up arrested, condemned, and executed for his efforts. It is no surprise that his memory has likewise been subjected to rough treatment down to the present hour.
There is an inherent complexity surrounding Jesus that we cannot circumvent. On the one hand he came as the Prince of Peace. The love, goodness, virtue, industry, morality, and social betterment he has imparted to this world through both his followers and his Spirit are immeasurable. This is to say nothing of eschatological
TRINJ 27:2 (Fall 2006) p. 186
rescue—the salvation of our lost souls. No wonder God's people will sing his praises through all eternity.
Yet Paul the Apostle of Christ counseled Jesus’ followers to “put on the whole armor God” (Ephesians 6). Christ may be the Lily of the Valley, but his followers are not flower children. They may be sheep of their Lord's pasture, but the martial metaphor of armor has its place, too.
I am reminded of this right now as I present a “children's sermon” each week to kids right before the “real” sermon by our pastor. Last month the lectionary readings were in Ephesians, and I took the cue to exhort the children to believe the gospel and put on “the belt of truth.” The next week it...
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