Tag Archives: Miroslav Volf

How a God of Vengeance Discourages Violence

Imagine this horrific scenario: it is the first century A.D. and you are out laboring in the fields while your family is safely at home…so you think. But upon returning home, you find them murdered by Emperor Nero’s minions for the simple crime of following Christ. Now, understandably, filled with a storm of anger and wrath, you determine to assassinate as many Roman soldiers as you can. What will hold you back? What will keep your anger in check? Isn’t it true that the only thing that will keep you from violence in the face of such a horrific event would be knowing that someone else would take vengeance?

So, there are many today who call for non-violence, at the same time foolishly saying that the idea of a judging God is primitive and that the “true” God is himself “non-violent”. They don’t like chapter 16 of Revelation. For instance…

And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!” Revelation 16:5-6 (ESV)

Indeed, one of the main reasons God gave Revelation to the early church was to encourage persecuted Christians that He would take righteous vengeance on their enemies. Miroslav Volf comments, in his work Exclusion and Embrace

“My thesis is that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance…My thesis will be unpopular with man in the West…But imagine speaking to people (as I have) whose cities and villages have been first plundered, then burned, and leveled to the ground, whose daughters and sisters have been raped, whose fathers and brothers have had their throats slit…Your point to them–we should not retaliate? Why not? I say–the only means of prohibiting violence by us is to insist that violence is only legitimate when it comes from God…Violence thrives today, secretly nourished by the belief that God refuses to take the sword…It takes the quiet of a suburb for the birth of the thesis that human nonviolence is a result of a God who refuses to judge. In a scorched land–soaked in the blood of the innocent, the idea will invariably die, like other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind…if God were NOT angry at injustice and deception and did NOT make a final end of violence, that God would not be worthy of our worship.”


For Thursday, Christmas Eve, Revelation 17

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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