The False Teaching
Billy Grajham's Answer 'Turn the other cheek' doesn't apply to nations."
Q: Didn't Jesus say someplace that we ought to turn the other cheek
when people do something bad to us? Isn't that unrealistic? What would
happen if our country just turned the other cheek when someone attacked
us? They'd just run all over us, in my opinion. D.G.
A: Dear D.G. The words of Jesus to which you refer are found in
what we call the Sermon on the Mount: "But I tell you, Do not resist an
evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the
other." (Matthew 5:39).
It's important to remember that Jesus was speaking these words to His
disciples, telling them how they were to live in a world that might be
hostile to them. He wasn't telling nations how they ought to deal with
each other, or giving us a general rule for human society. In fact, the
Bible says governments should uphold what is right, and when evil men
seek to gain the upper hand they must be restrained and punished (see
What did Jesus mean when He urged His followers to turn the other
cheek? Simply this: He was telling them to take the path of love
instead of hate. Anger and hatred lead to revenge and
conflict—but Christ calls us to love others, even our enemies.
Just a few verses later, He said, "I tell you: Love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
Is this possible? Yes—when we commit our lives to Christ and
allow His Spirit to control us. This is the kind of love Jesus had for
us, when He died for us on the cross.
|Exposing the Error
Graham's answer is one of the best snow jobs
I have seen. If one checks each sentence in isolation, every one
is true, beginning with the title. So, where is the error?
Simply this: he presumes and assumes that disciples of the Lord
are citizens of the nation and responsible as citizens to fight its
enemies. The questioner assumes the same: the phrases our country, attacked us, and run all over us identify
the questioner with the nation. Graham accepts this and leaves a
disciple bound to fight the nation's enemies at the national level
while applying the law of Jesus only to the individual disciple within
the "hostile world." If your nation is attacked by another
nation, resist; if you are attacked by another individual, do not
resist. Such is the erroneous implication. Finally, Graham
restates the Lord's command in his own interpretive words rather than
accept the Lord's simple language. So doing, he deftly switches
it to the context of love/hate and away from obedience to the
Lord. When one restates the Lord's words, it is often an act
of evasion motivated by an unwillingness to accept and obey the simple
Word. This is no exception. If the Lord had meant to say, in Matt.
5:39, "Take the path of love instead of hate," those are the words he
would have used. This direct perversion of the Word is a weighty
sin, which in this case deceives others and leaves them, as citizens of some nation, on the path of hate. Listen:
But he also said to them [a] parable: Is [the] blind [man] able to
be leading the blind? Won't both fall into [a] pit?
[A] disciple is not above the teacher,
for all will be completed like his teacher (Lk,.6:39-40)
|Declaring the Truth
Mr Graham wrote:
"It's important to remember that Jesus was speaking these words to His disciples. . ."
Oh yes, very important! And these words also to His disciples: If you were of the world, the world was philia-
loving its own.
But because you [are] not of this world, but I chose you out of the world,
because of this the world hates you. (Jn.15:19)
And to Pilate he said, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were
of this world, my officers would have fought in order that I not be
delivered up to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here. (John 18:36)
To his Jewish opponents he said: You are of the below, I am of the above.
You are of this world, I am not of this world. (John 8:23)
Now, isolating these utterances and we have:
(1) ..you (disciples) [are] not of this world, but I chose you out of the world
(2) I am not of this world.
(3).My kingdom is not of this world.
Now let us go back and see where Mr. Graham and all Christendom is in error:
Mt. 5:39 is indeed not for nations of the world -- but it is for the
kingdom that is not of the world, and for all that are of it.
This is the critical distinction and is determinative of the
conduct of his disciples that are in world. It is as he
stated, If my kingdom were
of this world, my officers would have fought-
know that these "officers" were his disciples, including Peter whom he
commanded to put up his sword. The commandment of Matt.5:39 is
not for nations of the world, but is for the kingdom of God and all who
enter it; his disciples do not fight! More