You Are Not A Revolutionary

Many rebel-rousers gladly accept the term “revolutionary.”  Some go a step further and suggest that by emulating the ethos of the Old Testament prophets and Christ, they are doing nothing more than they did: shaking convention up a bit.  Walter Kaiser provides a good rejoinder to this way of thinking, especially as it relates to the prophets.  Kaiser states:

[The prophets] were men of words: so are our present-day revolutionaries.  Many students today stand on the steps of many a university and pour out their words in an unending, and often unintelligible, stream.  Of course, the contrast to us is very obvious.  The prophets were men of God’s Word, a vast difference from man’s word.  They wrote, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ about fifty-three hundred times; thus over and over again in the Old Testament, there is this key reference.  Today’s would-be prophets repeat, ‘I say,’ ‘I feel,’ and ‘I think that . . .’

There is another contrast.  The revolutionaries of today appeal to the masses.  They appeal to them to rise up against tyranny, against the ‘unjust establishment,’ against the social order that has gone awry.  And in many cases the appeal is justified.  The establishment has, in many instances, really turned on itself.  Later on you will see why I say that, but for different reasons than many are using today.

But the prophets of old did not appeal to the crowds.  They did not appeal to the masses.  They did call for revolution–but here comes the great contrast.  They appealed basically to the individual.  They wanted something to happen to the individual first.  They did not appeal to the institution.  They did not appeal to society in general.  They longed for something radical to happen inside of the individual person.  Then, perhaps, the institutions and society might be affected.  Certainly this is the tenor of the gospel message (Walter Kaiser, The Old Testament in Contemporary Preaching [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973], 93-4).

So you are not a revolutionary like the Old Testament prophet, unless you appeal to the inner man with the word of God to effect change that only God can bring.  This is indeed the tenor of the gospel.


2 thoughts on “You Are Not A Revolutionary

  1. This is the irony with men like Rob Bell and Shaine Claiborne — while they have this aura of revolutionary about them, their message isn’t an offense to anyone but regenerated believers!

    I mean — who wouldn’t want to help the poor?!

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