Shane Claiborne’s Letter To The IRS

Shane wrote a letter to the IRS. You can find it here. Thoughts?

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  • Ronnie  On April 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Paying Taxes:
    Jesus was clear on paying taxes. Matthew 22:15-22 and Mark 12:13-17. Therefore, Shane is going directly against what Jesus has commanded.

    Peter cutting off the Ear:
    In regards to his comment on Peter, “The early Christians understood the message – it was a message of Amazing Grace. It was a message about how there is something worth dying for, but nothing in the world worth killing for – not even freedom or democracy.”

    The gospel of Matthew and John give this story the most detail in what kind of meaning this whole encounter had. Peter cut off the ear of one of the servants as a warning of a sort. Almost to say, “Over my dead body you are taking Jesus.” But Jesus knew that Peter must not kill them because it was time for Jesus to be crucified.

    [52] Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. [53] Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? [54] But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54 ESV)

    [11] So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11 ESV)

    It seems pretty clear here that Jesus is saying:
    1. Peter you fool, I do not need you to protect me, I AM
    2. It is time to fulfill the scriptures/drink the cup that the Father has given me.

    I do not see how Claiborne is getting, “I am one of those Christians who believe we should still have the right NOT to kill, even in an empire that has a military bigger than Rome’s.” out of this passage.

    Military:
    Plus this is going completely against Genesis 6 and Romans 13. You cannot just throw out sections of the bible.

    So I think that Claiborne needs to reread the story of Peter with the whole bible in picture.

  • Ronnie  On April 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

    *Correction just to be a bit more clear. Under “Military:” I have Genesis 6 and I am not referring to an actual military with that but I am referring to the fact that there is something worth killing for.

  • Jeffrey  On April 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

    In regards to the thoughts on Peter, I think your pespective is one, but not necessarily the *only* one. I see validity to what you’re saying as it relates to Peter using earthly means to defend Christ, who was fulfilling a supernatural destiny, but I think there is proper application in Shane’s context as well.

    As far as Genesis 6, are you equating God’s judgement to American militarism? Because they are not synonomous. I would actually take almost any passage from the OT with a grain of salt when we try tying it into American militarism, because you’re trying to connect God establishing Israel as “His people” in the Promised Land to America defending their interests. Christians do it often, and in my opinion, incorrectly. God establishing His people, and America establishing it’s place as a superpower (or maintaining that place) are not equals. But if we’re speaking of something worth killing for, are we then presuming to know God’s will in that, or acting in His stead, or are we allowing Him to be judge? Because Genesis 6 is about God exactly judgement on humanity, not God allowing us to do the same.

    And Romans 13 is clear, as are other parts of the Bible, when it speaks of subjection to authority UNLESS that authority contradicts Scripture. Numerous examples could be given here of God’s people defying the powers that be, both in the Bible, as well as in history.

    Speaking to Matt. 22, I’m not defending Claiborne here, but trying to eliminate any confusion. As I said on Facebook:

    “Agree. I like the spirit of what he’s saying, and I obviously agree with him on his war sentiments, but part of paying taxes in a republic means that you pay what you owe, and allow the government to spend it as it sees fit, given that they… are voted in “by the people”.

    The obvious contradiction here (figuratively, not in this discussion) is when we point out that you “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, but when it comes to other things that taxpayer money is spent on, it becomes a moral issue and outrage.

    I’m not saying not to stand up for those issues, but moreso that there has to be continuity across the board when we’re talking about what our tax dollars do towards, and how we react as a result. The outrage one feels towards war and the outrage one feels towards abortion are on level ground, even if they aren’t considered as parallels by any certain individual.”

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