Who Controls The Debate?
© 08.01.10 By D. Eric Williams
John 8:1-11 is considered controversial due to its content and in its inclusion in the Scriptural canon. The reason there is controversy according to content is because of the debate concerning what Jesus meant by his words and actions. Controversy over its inclusion in the canon, because this particular portion of John's Gospel does not appear in many of the older manuscripts or the “middle” manuscripts. Moreover, the style is a bit different than John's typical writing.
Nonetheless, we accept this section of John's Gospel as genuine because there is good textual support. It is apostolic in tone. And according to Eusubius, the disciple of John named Pipias, accepted this pericope as part of the inspired text. It is interesting that Pipias referred to it as a portion of the gospel to the Hebrews and so it seems it may not have been part of John's account originally.
St. Augustine said this record was left out of the gospel because it was thought the story would encourage women to lead immoral lives. To some, it appears Christ is overly lenient on the woman who is caught in adultery. Yet, as we will see, this view arises out of a misunderstanding of Jesus' behavior. Jesus is merely acting in the role he assumed during his earthly ministry. Indeed, we will find this passage actually reinforces the idea that adultery is a capital offense.
In this text we see Christ's reaffirmation of the law as given through Moses. Christ, the one who fulfilled the law, the one who brought clarity to the law, does not abrogate the penalty for adultery in this account. That has been assumed by many but it is not actually the case.
In reality, the primary principle we should learn from this section of Scripture does not pertain to the fate of the law in the new covenant age. Instead we learn we cannot allow the enemies of truth to control the debate. We cannot allow them to define the terms of engagement nor the societal role of the Church or the christian individual. To allow the world to do so does not make sense at all. We should never allow the enemies of the truth to set boundaries for truth.
Of course, this section does tell us something about how we apply God's law in this new covenant age. It is not the only word on the subject but it does provide material we need in order to better understand how the eternal law of God is to be applied in the age of the Son of Man.
Our Scripture selection reads, But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).
Accusation, verses 1-6
The setting for this exchange is the Temple. After Christ had spoken very boldly on the last day of the feast of tent pitching, he went to the Mount of Olives and either spent the night out-of-doors or perhaps went over the crest of the hill and stayed at the home of Lazarus in Bethany. Since we have concluded that Christ took his stand in the court of men on the seventh day of the feast we must assume that this is the eighth day. That means it is not part of the feast at all but is the Sabbath day following the feast.
Jesus was there early in the morning, sitting in the temple to teach. It is in this circumstance that the scribes and Pharisees find him and seek an occasion to accuse him. Their plan is to discredit Jesus and they believed they had set up a situation that would trap Christ under any circumstance. Their plan was to bring a woman who had been caught in adultery and to press Christ for a judgment concerning her punishment. You see, the scribes and Pharisees were not interested in justice. They didn't really care whether the woman was punished or not. They were fishing for an opportunity to bring Jesus down.
There is no reason to believe this was just happenstance. The enemies of Christ did not just happen across a woman who was in the “very act” of adultery. It is my belief this is something that was set up. In other words, one of the cohorts of the scribes and Pharisees had agreed to engage in an adulterous tryst with this woman at a set time and place so that she might be “caught.”This is one reason the man who was involved was conspicuously absent.
The truth is it would not have been difficult to set up something like this in that particular day and age. Adultery was quite common in first century Jerusalem - especially during the feast of tent pitching. Indeed, first century eye witnesses tell us they ceased to press charges for adultery in that time period because it had become so common.
So, the enemies of Jesus claim that a woman caught in adultery must be stoned to death. The truth is, only a woman who was betrothed at not yet married was supposed to be stoned. A virgin who was not betrothed but was found in a compromised situation was married to the man she had relations with. A woman who is married and committed adultery was supposed to be put to death and tradition prescribed death by strangling since the Mosaic legislation did not prescribe a means of execution.
The reason a woman was to be put to death for adultery is because her sexuality was the property of either her father or her husband. As a virgin her sexuality belonged to the family and thus was to be guarded by her father and her brothers. As a married woman her sexuality belong to her husband and was to be guarded by him so the family line would remain uncorrupted.
But the real reason it was a capital crime is because it made a mockery of the relationship God had with his people. The marriage covenant portrayed the relationship of Yahweh and his bride and adultery reflected poorly on that relationship. Thus, God determined that adultery was a capital crime – not just for a woman but a man as well.
The truth is this pericope immediately confronts us with the lack of honor the scribes and Pharisees had for the law. There was no reason for them to ask Jesus for his opinion in this situation. The Mosaic legislation was well known and easy enough to understand. Their question toward Jesus revealed their true purpose. They were not interested in his view as much as they were interested in finding a way to accuse him.
You see, they hoped to accuse Jesus before the people or Pilate - or both. They hoped to catch Jesus in a contradiction. If Christ said the woman should be allowed to go free, they could point to his claim of support for the law and show the world his hypocrisy. On the other hand, if he said yes, stone her, they would make him out to be a legalistic hard-nose to the people and denounce him to Pilate. Under Roman rule, the Jews did not have the right to put anyone to death and for Jesus to suggest they did would be a revolutionary remark. It would suggest the authority to govern did not lie in the hands of the Romans but in the hands of the Jews and specifically in the person of Jesus Christ. In any case, the scribes and the Pharisees did not care what Jesus said; they were simply hoping to use his reply against him and to bring him down.
They didn't expect Jesus to ignore them but this is what he did. Instead of immediately provide an answer, the Bible says Jesus bent down and began to write something in the dust on the pavement of the Temple court. Basically Jesus was showing by his action that he did not consider them worthy of any reply. He was disgusted with their gross hypocrisy. He was disgusted by their pretense of concern for the Word of God. Moreover, Jesus was not interested in playing their foolish game. During his earthly ministry Jesus' role was that of a prophet and pastor not a civil ruler. Therefore, Jesus used a tactic he had used before. When Jesus drove the money changers and the sellers of livestock from the temple, the Jewish leadership asked by what authority he did these things. Christ said he would answer if they answered his question first. When he asked them about John's baptism they did not reply and so Jesus didn't answer their question. In both cases Christ was using a similar tactic. Indeed, Jesus had refused to act as a civil judge in another situation as well. In Luke 12:13 we read about a man who demanded Jesus judge between he and his brother concerning the family inheritance. Christ replied that he was not called to make that kind of judgment. In other words, he was not a civil leader or judge but an ecclesiastical leader. What I mean is, during Jesus earthly ministry he did not take on the role of a civil leader or judge and he would not allow anyone to push him into a role the Father had not given him.
We may not understand this because of the way Jesus spoke concerning the issues of the day. For instance, he made a “judgment” concerning divorce when he was confronted with the foolishness of the Sadducees. However, to speak on a subject (no matter how boldly) is much different than rendering a civil judgment. Indeed, that is exactly what the Church is supposed to do. Just as Jesus did we are supposed to speak to the issues of the day. This doesn't mean the Church is given the authority to act as legislator or civil judge. It means that (like Christ) the Bride is supposed to hold the plumb-line of God's word against society. At no time was Jesus called to carry out a judicial sentence of condemnation during his earthly ministry.
The Jewish leadership cared nothing for the moral state of the woman nor did they care about the law of God. Their concern was with finding a way to bring Jesus down. Their concern was with discrediting Christ in front of the crowds and if possible making him an enemy of the Roman state. Moreover, the scribes and Pharisees were attempting to frame the parameters of the debate. They were attempting to define the role of Jesus Christ and to push him into a corner so they could control him. This is something the enemies of the Church do as well.
Those who are opposed to Christ and his kingdom will misuse the word of God in order to define the terms of the debate and in order to define the role of the Church or the individual believer. We cannot allow it.
Unfortunately, Christians will often misuse God's Word to their advantage just like the world does. Sometimes this is done willfully, in rebellion. Sometimes it is done in ignorance but it is still a matter of wrongdoing. Sometimes it is flippant in the sense that people who call themselves Christians have no real respect for God's Word. If we as Christians misuse God's Word in order to give credibility to our own behavior how can we expect the world to do otherwise?
Affirmation, verses 7-9
One of the questions that immediately comes to mind when we read this passage is “what was Jesus writing in the dust of the Temple floor?” The answer, of course, is we don't know for sure. It isn't in the text and so anything we suggest is supposition. Nonetheless, I think it has something to do with the passage we read earlier from Numbers 5:11-31. It is my opinion that Jesus was writing the names of the men who brought the accusation against the woman – writing their names, the sins of adultery they committed and the the corresponding curse. This may seem a bit implausible because the law from Numbers chapter 5 is focused on the woman not the husband. However, it was the belief of the Jews that if the woman was innocent the curse would fall on her husband – if he was guilty of adultery himself. Therefore, any man who is guilty of adultery would be very careful about accusing his wife. Indeed, the belief was more generally that the woman may be guilty of adultery as well but if her husband had committed the same sin she would be free from the curse and he would receive the punishment. This is based partly on Hosea 4:14 which reads, I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, Nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men themselves go apart with harlots, And offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot. Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled. In other words, those who are in authority are judged more stringently than those who merely follow the example of authority.
Another passage bears on the actions of Christ as well. In Jeremiah 17:13 it says, O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. "Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the LORD, The fountain of living waters.” Those who had their names written in the earth were under the curse. Those who had their names written in the earth did not have their names written in the book of life in the heavens. And so, the action of Christ in writing the names of these men in the dust of the Temple Court had a twofold purpose. It was to say those men (who were acting as proxies for the husband) would be held accountable for their sins of adultery. It was to say the curse they hoped to bring on this woman would be poured out upon them. The writing in the dirt of the temple floor signified the fact that God's curse would be upon them because they had departed from Yahweh and forsaken the Lord. I think what Jesus wrote in the dust of the temple floor revealed the sins of these men and revealed their destiny before Almighty God.
Yet, as the accusers of the woman did not connect the dots right away. They continued to press Jesus and demanded he answer the question; should this woman be put to death by stoning or not? Jesus was not about to be buffaloed by the enemies of truth. He was not going to allow them to define the parameters of the debate nor to define his role, so he shrewdly says (having written their names, their sins and the corresponding curse in the dust of the Temple floor) let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Now, Jesus did not mean sin in general. If he had meant that, no earthly judgment by mere men would be possible at all. If Jesus meant a person had to be sinless in every way in order to stand as a judge then there could be no valid human judgment. There could be no court of law were a criminal is sentenced for his crime. There could be no determination as to whether a person is bearing good fruit or bad. Hence, Jesus was speaking specifically about the unrepentant sin of adultery. In other words, the one who had not sinned in a like manner, cast the first stone. Jesus said this with a list before him in the dust that the scribes and Pharisees could easily see.
Many people would like to think Jesus was being enigmatic. They want to believe he meant something other than what it seems he said. They wish Jesus was more specific and clear. However, Jesus is very specific. He is very clear. He is also making it clear he will not allow the scribes and the Pharisees to define his role during his earthly ministry. It is God the Father who determined that Jesus Christ would function in a prophetic and pastoral role during his earthly ministry. Therefore, the scribes and Pharisees could not be allowed to determine what Jesus was all about. His job was to be a pastor and a prophet not a civil ruler.
Why didn't Jesus simply say he was not called to be a judge as he did in the situation when the man asked him to adjudicate concerning the family inheritance? Well, Jesus was accomplishing four things at once. He put the scribes and Pharisees in their place, he provided criteria for choosing proper judges, he affirmed the law and he made it clear he Father defined the role of the Son not the scribes and Pharisees. Please note, Jesus did not abrogate the death penalty for adultery. Indeed, he affirmed it. He said it would be proper for her to be stoned but only by righteous judges. This is something we overlook – perhaps willfully; Jesus said she should be stoned if proper judgment were rendered.
What I am saying is that we should realize Jesus was affirming the death penalty for adultery. When I say that you should also understand that according to the Bible, death was the maximum sentence for adultery. It wasn't therequired sentence; the offended party could ask for much less. He could demand monetary payment or, as in the case of Joseph, he could simply carry out a quiet divorce. We must also recognize this example tells us that the crime of adultery and its punishment are civil concerns. The Church has no place meddling in the affairs of the state when it comes to rendering judgment and condemning the guilty. In other words, it is legitimate to say there must be a separation of Church and state – as long as we understand what that means. It does not mean the Church (the institution of the Church) is barred from speaking to the issues of the day. It does not mean the Church is not allowed to bring a forceful word against societal sins like adultery. Moreover, it does not mean the individual Christian - the man who is no part of the ecclesiastical authority – it does not mean he is barred from participation in the legislative or judicial process.
Having spoken these words Jesus stooped and continued to write in the dust. It is my opinion he was adding to his list. Perhaps he was adding to the list of curses that were to fall upon those who were trying to fight against God. Additionally, this action would draw attention to the list. This action may have been what finally caused the scribbles in the dust to register on the minds of the scribes and Pharisees. It would seem so because soon after this, they began to leave. The Bible says that having heard Christ's words they went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.
There was no way they could answer Jesus. He had not abrogated the law. He had not disagreed with Moses. But he had put them on the spot. Even if they were not certain what he was writing in the dust – even if he was simply doodling in the dust – they thought he had knowledge concerning their sinful behavior. In short, Jesus backed the scribes and Pharisees into a corner. He defined the terms of the debate. He defined his role and placed them on the spot. This was completely unexpected and they found themselves at a loss. Their only recourse was to leave before they were further embarrassed.
These hardened men reacted strongly because the words of Christ packed a punch. He spoke with authority and knew exactly what to say to cut to their conscience. The one thing they held dear - their reputation - was endangered and they beat a hasty retreat. The older first because they were a bit more experienced in the ways of debate and verbal battle; they also had more to lose.
Christ left things as they lay because it was not time to press the issue. Remember, Jesus had another six months or so before his death and he was determined to adhere to the Father's time table. Not only that, this simple statement followed by his silence proved to be the most effective rebuttal he could have made.
The Scripture tells us the woman was left standing in the midst. In other words, the scribes and Pharisees had left but Jesus - along with the crowd who had been listening to his teaching - remained and the woman was there in plain view. We might wonder why she stayed. Why didn't she slink away along with the accusers? It is my thought she was there because she was hoping for forgiveness. She had been found out. She had been humiliated. She was probably afraid of retribution from her husband or those who had acted as her husbands proxies and had accused her. In any case, she remained behind - and was blessed for it
Most Christians today do not realize this example of Jesus rules out the involvement of pastors in political office. I am not saying a pastor cannot speak out concerning political issues. Indeed, that is part of the responsibility of the pastor. It is part of the responsibility of Church leadership to speak to all of the issues of the day. This includes politics, education, science, the arts and so on. Nonetheless, ordained Church leadership is not supposed to shoulder the responsibility of civil leadership.
I remember when I lived in Spokane Washington, before I entered full time ministry there was a pastor of a local Church who ran for city Council and eventually for the mayor of Spokane. I was uncomfortable with it at the time but I did not know the Scripture well enough to see this example of Jesus and John chapter 8 as saying that kind of activity was wrong. Is an understanding of the separation of the civil and ecclesiastical realms that led the original states of this nation to write into their constitutions a specific prohibition against ministers serving in civil office.
Please understand this is not preclude a Christian serving in civil office. Nor does it mean a Christian must keep his religious beliefs separate from his civil or legislative service. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, a civil leader is a minister of God and as a minister of God he must bring God's will to bear on civil matters. The principal provided for us in this passage is that the Church leader, the pastor or other ecclesiastical authority, is not supposed to be involved in the civil realm as a legislator or judge.
Absolution, verses 10-11
It may seem a little odd to us that Jesus asked the women were her accusers had run off to. I think Jesus was simply making a point. I think this is a rhetorical question designed to establish the difference between the scribes and Pharisees and Jesus himself. I believe he was trying to draw attention to his role as a pastor and prophet.
I also believe the woman's use of the term “Lord” was a clear statement of her submission to Christ. In the Septuagint the word translated as Lord in this passage is used to convey the name of Yahweh. The Jews were reluctant to say or write the name of Yahweh and so they substituted kurios, Lord, in it's place. In the first century this word was used as a term of deep respect. The scribes and the Pharisees typically referred to Jesus as “teacher.” This woman was using a term that showed her respect and acknowledged her submission to Jesus Christ. In other words, it is reasonable to suppose this woman had experienced the new birth.
Once the woman had acknowledged the absence of her accusers Jesus said neither do I condemn you. It might seem odd to us Christ would say this if he did not want to shoulder the role of a civil judge. In truth, it should convey the opposite. Christ is reaffirming that he does not exercise a role of a civil magistrates at this point. Because of a circumstance he wants to clarify that fact and once again affirm that his God-given role is very different than that of a civil leader. This would (of course) be in opposition to the accepted understanding of the Messiah.
Finally, Jesus tells the woman to go in sin no more. In the first place, Christ acknowledges the woman is guilty of adultery. Please do not think Christ was trying to minimize what this woman had done. Rather, he is extending forgiveness and admonishing her to refrain from similar sin in the future. This doesn't mean Christ declared not guilty. She is still subject to the penalty of her sin. This principle is clearly presented elsewhere in Scripture. For instance in Joshua 7:19 to 21 we read, Now Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me." And Achan answered Joshua and said, "Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it."
Achan was enjoined by Joshua to confess his sin but confession and repentance did not exempt him from punishment. It is my belief that Achan remained one of God's chosen. Yes, he paid a heavy price for his sin but I think we will see him in heaven someday. The circumstance is similar with the woman caught in adultery. She was subject to the penalty of the law but if she were a new creation, she would be saved from her sin. Even the children of the most high arr chastened for their sins. In Hebrews chapter 12 we are told that the legitimate children of God should expect to endure chastening. Now, the context is different but the principle remains the same. To be forgiven does not mean one is exempt from the earthly or civil penalty for sin. The husband or the betrothed of this woman would have the right to bring charges against her and civil penalties would apply. As mentioned before, adultery was rarely prosecuted first century Judea and even when it was, the death penalty was not applied. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the fact there are consequences for sin.
There is no reason to believe Jesus did not expect this woman to obey him. When he said sin no more he expected her to obey. Christ was not in the habit of giving this kind of instruction to people who were not his true followers. Therefore the woman would have to produce fruit in keeping with repentance in order for her salvation to be confirmed. We don't know anything about this woman or her history other than this one instance and so we have no way of knowing what happened after this. In Roman catholic tradition this woman (supposedly named Susanna) went to Spain and ministered there.
In granting forgiveness to this woman Jesus affirmed his pastoral role. The actions of Jesus Christ do not minimize sin. Indeed, we are reminded that forgiveness is extended to those who are repentant.
The truth is, all of us are guilty. All of us need forgiveness. All of us are subject to punishment. It is easy for us to look at someone else and suggest they did not deserve forgiveness. It is easy for us to think we are somehow special and so deserve extraordinary treatment. The truth is, unless we are repentant we will not be forgiven.
The world is always attempting to force the Church into a corner. The world tries to set the parameters of the debate and tries to define the role of the Church or the Christian individual. We cannot allow this to happen. We as Christians must clearly define the role of the Church and of the Christian individual. Not only that, we have the duty to define the role of the state and the family as well. In other words, the Bible gives us the information we need in order to define what is the Church, what is the state, and what is the family. We must not allow the world to establish any parameters on any subject. To do so is to suggest there is some natural order not subject to God. I have spoken before about the myth of natural law. Natural law theory suggests there is some common understanding of right and wrong available to every human being that is somehow not subject to the authority of God. Frankly, this is ridiculous. There is no such thing as natural law. Moreover, I do not understand how any consistent Darwinian evolutionist could suggest there is such a thing as natural law. You see, in that world view, everything is subject to chance, time and change. In that world view it is the survival of the fittest and so might is what makes right.
Therefore, Christians must not allow non-Christians to define the role of the Church, the state, the family or the individual. We acknowledge that the institution of the Church does not have the responsibility or the right to rule in the civil realm. We acknowledge that ecclesiastical leaders should not be involved in civil leadership. But that does not mean the Church is not allowed to boldly speak concerning the issues of the day. Indeed, the Church has the duty to speak with boldness concerning all that goes on in our society. We must be a strong voice for truth in every realm of human endeavor.
In addition, the individual Christian is charged with the responsibility of bringing his arena of activity under the authority of Jesus Christ. He is supposed to do everything he does as unto the Lord. If he is a civil leader, he must do his job as unto the Lord. In fact, he is a servant of the most high God if he is a civil leader and therefore must work to implement the will of his master. This is not a mixing of Church and state. This is simply a matter of bringing God's word to bear on this world. Every civil leader governs in agreement with his worldview or philosophy of life. And that is religion. Therefore, the Christian who leaves his religion “at the door” of the legislature is no Christian at all. He may want to use the name of Christian but if his stated belief system does not order his action then it is no belief at all. No, there is no separation between a person's worldview and what they do. What they believe must control what they do regardless of what realm they labor in.
Therefore we must be on guard against the world's accusations. The world will continually try to trip us up and confuse us. The world will try to define reality according to an ungodly standard. Our response must be an unapologetic presentation of truth. Part of what we should do is reveal the hypocrisy of the world. We need to be able to define religion no matter its source and show the world that a person's belief system is always their religion – regardless of what they call it. We should do so carefully just as Jesus was careful in his response to the scribes and Pharisees. In order to do so we need to know the word of God and we need to know about the issues of the day. It is helpful to study our own history and especially the history of that realm in which we labor. If you are involved in the field of medicine, you need to know about the history of science and medicine and the contributions of Christian scientists and thinkers. If you are involved in the field of law enforcement you need to know how modern jurisprudence arrived at this point and where it came from. You need to know the history of this nation as a nation under God's law.
Before I conclude a want to touch on this issue of extending absolution. We cannot forgive someone's sins as Jesus did but we certainly can extend forgiveness to those who have offended us. Jesus told Peter he should forgive 70 times seven the repentant brother who came to him seeking pardon. We must do so with wisdom because we do not want to confirm someone in their sin. Therefore it is critical that our compassion be tempered with Biblical wisdom. Jesus knew the heart of this woman and so he was able to extend forgiveness legitimately. Obviously we cannot do the same and so we must be led by the Spirit of God and the principles we see in his word. In short, one who is truly repentant and bearing the fruits of repentance must be forgiven and extended the courtesy of assuming they are sincere.
Finally, we cannot shy away from the plain teaching of Scripture. We must study to know how to properly apply God's Word in this age of the Son of Man but we cannot pretend there has been a wholesale change in its application. It is very important for us to study the Word of God so we may develop a mind like that of our Father in heaven. We need to be knowledgeable enough to control the discourse and the discussion and to define the issues according to God's Word.
Moreover, we must be clear on the role of the Church, the state and the individual Christian. It is not a combination of Church and state for a legislator to vote or to rule in compliance with God's Word. At the same time, it is an improper combination of Church and state for an ecclesiastical officer to rule in the civil realm. The Church should hold the plumb-line against society, not the sword.
Jesus said the world would hate us because we are not like them. They hate us because we seek to think God's thoughts after him. They hate us because we seek to implement God's Law and his just penalties for sin. And paradoxically – they hate us for our love and compassion.
I encourage you to spend time getting to know the word of God. I encourage you to become familiar enough with the Bible and its application to this realm that you are able to lock horns with anyone attempting to define the terms of debate, to define the role of a Christian in society. I encourage you to study this example of Jesus, and go and do likewise.