Good Death – 7

Sacramental Doses of Death

Water, fire, salt and wine are symbols of judgment. In small quantities they bring life and keep death at bay (defilement). In large quantities, God uses them to destroy an irredeemable culture:

Syncretised sons of God (Gen 6) – water
Sodom – fire and salt (Gen 18-19)
The old Canaanite world, then Babylon – wine (Jer 25)

murderFor the church to be “salty” means it brings sound judgment to society. To lose its saltiness is the same as fire not being hot, or water not being cold. If we are not salty, we are lukewarm, and things that should be mortified in the church are not dealt with. Judgment begins at the house of God and flows to the nations.

In this context, the following words of James Jordan are not so shocking as they might otherwise appear:

The coming of the kingdom always involves the violent destruction of the wicked. When God announced the birth of Isaac, He immediately went out and destroyed Sodom (Genesis 18-19). These events are linked. The rescue of Israel from Egypt entailed the destruction of Egypt. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is followed by the slaying of Ananias and Sapphira. The New Covenant brought with it the horrors of AD70.1 Jesus is Kinsman Redeemer/Avenger. In Hebrew, redeem and avenge are the same word: ga’al.

Christians should rejoice at the privilege of bringing holy violence against the wicked and violating their plans and their wicked integrity. In union with Christ, who is both Redeemer and Avenger, Christians have both privileges. Serving in the Church, Christians extend redemption. Serving in the State, Christians extend Vengeance where necessary. The Christian serving as President of the USA should have Osama bin Laden captured and brought to Washington. Then, in front of television cameras from all nations of the world, the Christian President should smilingly blow bin Laden’s brains out, and publicly praise the Triune God for the privilege of doing so. Anyone who disagrees with this has no notion of what his baptism into union with Christ means.

A theology of indiscriminate “non-violence” is pure Satanism. It gives the world to the devil. In Christ we are now adults, and as adults we have grown-up responsibilities. One of those is the joyous privilege of exercising violence against the wicked.2

I have to say, I gulped hard when I first read this. But such a reaction shows how far out of step with Christ we are in our thinking. And such a judgment assumes we are already judging ourselves rightly with sacramental doses of water, fire, salt and wine and not hypocrites. The problem with the world begins with me.


1 Read Frederick Farrar’s summary here.

2 James B. Jordan, Evil Empire?, Biblical Horizons Newsletter No. 199, September 2008. Subscribe at

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