The apostle Paul, struggling against opponents of his gospel in the city of Corinth, insisted that “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.” Rather than resorting to violence, he sought to “demolish arguments” and “captivate every thought” through open statement of the truth.
For him, to use coercive or deceptive means would be to succumb to the forces he was opposing. His message could be defended only by clear, peaceful proclamation of the word. As Angel NuÃ±ez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference observed, “The greatest weapon a Christian has is godly love.”
Similarly, the Gospel of Luke tells a story about Jesus’ response to a Samaritan village that rejected him and his followers. His disciples James and John asked, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But Jesus rebuked them and said (according to some ancient manuscripts of Luke’s Gospel), “No, you don’t know what spirit you belong to” (Luke 9:51-56).
I fear that my Christian brothers and sisters in the Dove World Outreach Center, like James and John, do not know what spirit they belong to.