The justice of the kingdom

“However primary the path of nonviolence is for the Christian, the peace of God’s kingdom is exhaustively described in Scripture, and it is the peace of a concrete condition of justice; it is neither the private practice of an ‘ethical’ individual, jealous of his own moral purity, nor the special and quaint regime of a separatist community that stands aloof from (in ill-concealed contempt for) its ‘Constantinian’ brethren. Where the justice of the kingdom is not present, and cannot be made present without any exercise of force, the self-adoring inaction of those who would meet the reality of, say, black smoke billowing from the chimneys of death camps with songs of protest is simply violence by other means, and does not speak of God’s kingdom, and does not grant its practitioners the privilege of viewing themselves as more faithful members of Christ’s body than those who struggle against evil in the world of flesh and blood where evil works. . . . The justice of God – the peace of God – can be found and fought for in the heart of history, for the kingdom has already come – the tomb is empty – and will come again; the battle has been won, and we must seek to prepare the earth for a victory that has already claimed us as its spoils.” (David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite, pp. 341–42)

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