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Perspective: A Pocket Guide to the Christian Use of Power


 A Pocket Guide to the Christian Use of Power

“Force is the last resort of every false religion.”
—Ellen White

The following statements, expressed with particular regard to associations between men and women, define the Christian ideal in both personal and organizational relationships.  They would fit on the two sides of a 4" x 6" card.  

  • God made us all, male and female, in the divine image (Genesis 1).
  • The Bible sides with the weak against oppression by the strong (Exodus, the prophets, Jesus).  
  • Jesus, the Word made flesh, repudiates coercive power and embraces the persuasive power of service and humble witness (John 1, Hebrews 1, Mark 10 and parallels).
  • The Holy Spirit clarifies the meaning of Jesus’ ministry and drives disciples toward new and deeper insight (John 14 and 16).
  • Paul, prompted by the Holy Spirit, de-legitimizes all distinctions of status based on inherited traits or imposed conditions (Galatians 3).
  • When, following the Holy Spirit’s promptings, new consensus comes uneasily, both dramatic protest and Gamaliel-like patience may reflect the spirit of Jesus; coercion does not (Mark 11 and parallels; Acts 5 and 15; 1 Corinthians 9).


Charles Scriven is Board Chair of Adventist Forum, the organization that publishes Spectrum.

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