The Gordian Knot is a knot tied by Gordius, a legendary king of Phrygia, that according to a prophecy, was impossible to undo except by the person who had “understanding.” Alexander the Great, not able to untie the knot solved the puzzle by cutting it with his sword. The simplicity with which Alexander solved the problem represents the ease of unraveling the complexity that defies the average Christian from understanding and accepting non-resistance. When the flesh and fog of this world hide the truth the simplicity of Christ can be a Gordian Knot.
Non-resistance is more than just a way of thinking, it is a way of life and doing, commanded by the Savior and practiced from the very beginning of the Church.
When I accepted Non-resistance (and its sister Separation), it was that sword of Biblical simplicity, that severed the knot which held my understanding hostage; but that insight and submission has bypassed the average Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian. Non-resistance, such a simple thing, was twisted, convoluted, and tangled over many, many, years, despised and hated by institutional Christianity, was the open door to much persecution, suffering, and death of innocent believers, renowned martyrs, and the Lord Himself.
So, what is non-resistance, what is it based on, why the rejection, and is it a valid Christian doctrine?
There have been several doctrines that have caused much heat within the Christian Church. Many would classify “Believer Baptism” as the primary source of that heat and it did cause many fires, which were mostly confined to the Reformation period of 16th Century. But there have been two other doctrines that have been the source of irritation to the commercial Church that extends back to the beginning of the Church age, and into the present. Separation and non-conformity to the world, and Non-resistance to the evil person appear to be the two positions unceasingly disliked by the world, the commercial Church and hated by the Devil.
What is “Non-Resistance”? Non-resistance is one of three Christian doctrines (mentioned above) that have caused much disruption within the Body of Christ. Non-resistance to the evil person, as taught by Jesus in Matthew 5:39, has been the foundation stone of Christian sacrifice, igniting disputes, divisions, condemnations, and burnings.
When I use the word non-resistance I am referring to Matthew 5:39, “Do not resist an evil person.” It is a New Testament doctrine. When we submit ourselves to Jesus as Lord of our life we enter the Kingdom of God. If we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us we are now subject to the laws that govern that Kingdom. The laws of that Kingdom forbid us from taking vengeance against our enemies. Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, lived a life as a subject of Heaven obeying Kingdom rules and laws, including non-resistance to the evil person, and commanded us to follow Him. Consequently, all Holy Spirit-filled Christians are likewise forbidden to retaliate against an evil person, regardless of the circumstances or situation.
Non-resistance is not something to be imposed on those who are not filled with the Holy Spirit or on the governments of this world. It is impossible to expect those who are outside the restraints of the Holy Spirit to function or live as Kingdom Christians or to even understand true Christian living.
The unbelieving world was ordained by God in its present form to carry the sword and to govern and be the executor of God’s wrath on the nonChristian world. Disciples of Jesus are nowhere in the New Testament permitted to participate or take part in this government. The state and the Church are in no way connected, they are separate institutions with opposing ideas of government. True Christians cannot walk as Jesus walked while walking as Caesar walked.
Non-resistance Is Unnatural to Humans
Resisting evil with evil seems so appropriate and rational and it is not surprising that non-resistance to evil is rejected by mankind and even by most “Christians.” The reason for this is that we perceive life, outside the Garden of Eden, through a dirty lens. Because of our original parent’s sin, all knowledge of true existence is distorted and obscured. In the Garden, knowledge was intuitive and spontaneous. Adam and Eve’s minds were not confused and clouded with conflicting thoughts and ideas, all truth came naturally, their minds were clear, and there was no consciousness or desire for evil. With disobedience came a new consciousness; now they sensed a conflict of two kinds of knowledge, good and bad, and the inability to distinguish between them. Once outside Eden with their new sensitivity to evil, conflict became unavoidable, and part of their new human nature. After they failed in Eden and with the growing population of the earth, questioning, argumentation, and debate became the favorite means of seeking and acquiring intelligence and liberation. The quest to unravel the Gordian’s Knot and to understand the meaning of life remains man’s greatest challenge. With all of the conflicting knowledge and growing confusion concerning what is right and wrong, powerful men deemed it necessary to enforce, regulate, and restrict other weaker men, who were also experiencing similar influences to express their particular views of life. Needless to say, the conflict of their thoughts spilled over into universal forced constraint and war against neighboring people and countries who defined things differently.
Non-resistance to the evil person appears so foreign and out of place when we read the Old Testament. There is a right and wrong way to view the Old and the New Testaments. The Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches routinely direct their congregations to the Old Testament when promoting and justifying the use of violence by the military, police, courts, or personal protection. But, the Old Testament must be viewed in the correct context, and to understand that context we need to read and understand the Book of Hebrews. The Book of Hebrews makes it very clear that the Old Testament has been set aside in favor of the New Testament.
“So the former commandment is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.…” Hebrews 7:18, 19
Without any argument from anyone, it is well known that the purpose for writing Hebrews was to present the sufficiency and superiority of Christ over Moses. Yet, without apology, the Old Testament is routinely quoted to support violence within the ranks of the Church, but Hebrews objects:
“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, set your focus on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” Hebrews 3:1
The Book of Hebrews goes into great detail to make us understand our relationship to the Old and the New Testaments. These “Testaments” are viewed as legal “Last Will and Testament” documents. “Wills” are regularly updated by people to reflect changing situations while the testator is alive and that is exactly the case with the Old and New Testaments.
“For if that first covenant had been without fault, no place would have been sought for a second.” Hebrews 8:7
“Therefore Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died to redeem them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. In the case of a will, it is necessary to establish the death of the one who made it, because a will does not take effect until the one who made it has died; it cannot be executed while he is still alive.…” Hebrews 9:15-17
This bit of information is exactly why Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians cannot undo the Gordian Knot. The Old (last will and) Testament is no longer a valid document and cannot be used to claim any inheritance. When our time has come to stand before the Great Judge and hear a verdict, we dare not invoke a document that has been set aside and invalidated by a Newer document. If we plead our defense and innocence of murder, based on the Old Testament, which is no longer valid, we will be turned over to the bailiff and cast into outer darkness to serve out our sentence without mercy.
For two thousand years, the institutional Church has hidden this critical information from its congregants, whether intentionally or through ignorance, the results are the same. When the Anabaptists discovered the lie they did not hesitate to share it with the world and earned for themselves drownings, severed heads, and fire. Today the voices have subsided and very few are sounding the alarm, but the time has come to unveil the truth and to expose the lie, once again. Many inside the prison walls of Protestantism and commercial Christianity have to make a deliberate choice of what they believe.
Why the Rejection and Anger?
Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin’s persecution of the Anabaptists can be understood from the standpoint of the Anabaptist’s doctrine putting a stumbling block in front of the Protestants and slowing the progress of the Reformation. But, how does this explain the continuous persecution of true believers of other periods or eras? The Church, and, or, the ruling powers, just as Jesus foretold (John 15:20), will always be at odds with true believers.
There has to be more to it than the many fabricated arguments that claimed the Anabaptists practiced an aberrant view of Scripture. The Anabaptists, and other like groups, recognized the hand of Satan in the organized Church and also understood the nature of evil that is resident in the heart of mankind. It was the Anabaptist’s bold teaching and preaching of absolute freedom, that exposed the Reformer’s compromise and embrace of the State; at other times, it was confronting the powers-that-be with the fact of the sinful nature of all men, or refusing to participate with the government during times of war. Boldly stating, in words easy to understand, the lostness and confused situation of all men, in the face of those who have the power and authority to kill you, has been an identifying factor in every era of the Church. And, it was only when these Kingdom Christians, living pure separated lives, refusing to retaliate, putting their lives on the line, in the face of every evil, that the Church sank deep roots in good soil growing strong and sturdy.
Human nature, living outside Paradice, has developed a very strong attraction toward “self” preservation. Psychology (now being offered in Christian Colleges) within the last 100 years has refined a whole course of study and theology around the understanding and taming of the “self.” A vast and growing number of Christian Churches now have paid psychologists on staff to handle “self” based issues that were once the domain of the Pastor and his Bible. These psychologists identify the lack of “self” awareness and acceptance as the target problem in all sorts of life issues whereas the Word of God identifies the self as the root of our problems and prescribes “dying to self” as the solution. Love for self is what prevents the loosening of the Gordian Knot; it is self-love that arouses and encourages the taking of a life, condemning criminals, buying handguns for protection, voting for a political champion, support of military actions, respecting policemen, and a host of other things that are meant to create a sense of security and safety.
When these things are pointed out to the commercial Church they often respond according to the flesh, with anger and violence.
This is Just the Beginning
Don’t be tricked into believing that being a “Christian” is to just agree with your denominational code or creed. Many will be rejected on the day of reckoning when they seek justification for their life through a recital of selfish deeds, obsolete documents, and denominational mandates. Salvation will be rewarded to those who have severed the Gordian Knot and bowed to Jesus, becoming disciples of His words, works, and ways, conforming their lives to His, and bravely broadcasting the truth of separation and nonconformity to the world and non-resistance to the evil person. Modern Christendom has rejected the innocence of the Lamb for the sword of vengeance and retaliation. Consequently, modern Christianity is a lie, a mixture requiring no cross of sacrifice, praising war and the warrior, worshiping evil and death, and delighting in its emblems, holidays, and honors.
The Old Testament is a shadow of what was to come. The Levites were set apart as priests and did not participate in the exploits of the other eleven tribes. Likewise, the followers of Jesus are a kingdom of priests who do not participate in violence. David, who was a warrior with blood on his hands, was not allowed to build the Temple, that task was delegated to Solomon, who reigned in peace, and was a shadow of Christ. The true Church which represents the body of Christ is the Temple in which dwells God’s Holy Spirit.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were obedient servants of the state but refused to violate a higher Law, and chose to suffer martyrdom by fire, but were delivered. Daniel likewise chose the lion’s den rather than dishonor God and plead for his life. With undisturbed obedience, they trusted God and were willing to suffer if it was His will. These four men deliberately chose to suffer, setting an example for all Christians for all time.
War, killing, judging, soldiering, or policing are all forbidden to New Testament Christians; neither is there any idolatry of flag worship, pledging allegiance, or serving on juries.
The New Testament and Holy Spirit alone are our authority and guide for living, and the non-resistance of Jesus, His Apostles, and the example of the initial 300 years, before the corruption brought on by Church apostasy and Constantine, are our examples. Non-resistance is not some new aberrant teaching that has sprung up in recent history but was a consistent doctrine present in the early church.
Just War Theory
As the Church was being infected with the scourge of compromise problems were to be expected. For the first 300 years of the Church’s existence, there was a uniformity of belief that Christians were to live separated lives and practice non-resistance. Constantine, being a smart military man, Christianity growing rapidly, and many military-age young men declining the offer to join the army, had to come up with a plan. He could of course continue the path of those who came before him and punish those who refused to serve forcing them to comply, but, at the time, Christians were not desirable or permitted into the military for obvious reasons, foremost of which was their stance of non-resistance to evil and separation.
Since conversion to Christianity was outpacing the pagan religions human resources were becoming less available. The military genius of Constantine realized that if he were to become a Christian himself and outlaw the other pagan religions then those pagan religionists would simply switch their allegiance, come into the Christian Church, corrupt the Christian ranks, and allow him to introduce his unique brand of Christianity, a Christianity that kills their enemies. Christianity, at that period, was already beginning to slip noticeably, so with a little help, he could continue the slide, and mold the Church into an arm of the government. The Church leaders, still smarting from the persecutions of the past, moved quickly, without much prodding to oblige themselves of this new age of peace. Now the Church, the Body of Christ, sat on thrones of comfort and were elevated to positions of authority.
But, some did not bow to the new arrangements and disapproved of Constantine’s efforts. The Bible clearly did not sanction an alliance with the state and those disagreements were not ignored by Caesar’s critics. But, Rome was losing its footing and beginning to stumble. It was during this time, about the beginning of the 5th Century, that Augustine steps onto the stage and creates, what we know as, The Just War Theory. Augustine was not only a brilliant theologian but a philosopher and applied his skills of logic to solve the problem with Rome and Christians in the military. Christianity was already faltering along with Rome when Augustine showed up. Rome was no longer seen as unconquerable and the threat of invasion was a clear and present danger. The timing was perfect for a new idea to be implemented. The Just War Theory was easily employed since Christians were now occupying the ranks of the military and the external threat of invasion very real. All that was needed now was to justify Christians killing their enemies. From that time to today Protestants and Catholics both embrace this theory, which is nowhere taught or mentioned in the New Testament.
A Reversal of Truth
What was once forbidden by Christ was now common and accepted. Now, all of those who continue to embrace the truth of separation and non-resistance, as taught by Jesus to His Apostles, are outcast, ridiculed, hunted down, persecuted, and killed. From this time the true Church went underground and hidden. With Augustine and Rome hijacking Christianity the Body of Christ entered into the “Dark Ages,” from about 425 to 1517 (when the Church broke free from Catholic Apostacy during the Reformation). It was not until 1525, during the Radical Reformation, that true Christianity presented itself openly and reignited the persecution of true believers who refused to kill their enemies or take vengeance against anyone.
It was about 1700AD, when Anabaptists came to America, that the persecution ended. This is not to say that non-resistance was finally accepted because that is far from true. Although there is presently no persecution of those true believers in America it is only because these Anabaptists have chosen to stay separated in out-of-the-way places and put a lid on their boldness.
Today, the time is ripe for an uprising of those Anabaptists who have found their voices. The isolation that was once their safety is today impossible. The world situation along with the vastness of communication is calling Anabaptists out of their hiding places with renewed voices that will, without a doubt, reignite persecution of all those who refuse to hold back what the Spirit is revealing to many Spirit-filled Kingdom Christians across this country and the world. The dark veil that has hidden the truth of the commercial Church is coming off to reveal a corpse that is being propped up. Many are seeing it and are leaving, and some are coming over to the Anabaptist camp where truth is still lived-out by the majority in actual life for all to see.
The truth of separation and non-resistance was woven into the fabric of the pilgrim Church and cannot be removed without destroying the whole garment. Although this fundamental truth has existed from the beginning the commercial Churches have hidden it under centuries of worldliness and compromise. Today, as in the days gone by, this truth must be exposed to the light of day, and when it is seen in all of its beautiful truth it will arouse in many fertile souls what they have been longing for when they imagine the Church in all of its glory. The planting of those early seeds of truth are once again beginning to sprout. Mankind’s failure to untie the Gordian Knot of this world’s ruler (Satan) was accomplished by the Sword of Truth, “Do not resist evil.” The solution to the puzzle for all professing Christians is to pick up their own cross and follow the Master in the same manner, separation from the world and non-resistance to the evil person.