The GoodLion Podcast
Learning From Jesus: The Wisdom Warrior (Michael Bowles)
Tue May 30 2023
The Good Lion Podcast and CGN International Conference
- The Good Lion Podcast is sponsored by CGN and the upcoming Calvary Global Network International Conference.
- The CGN International Pastors and Leaders Conference will be held at Calvary Chapel Coast from May 25th to June 28th with the theme "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" based on Isaiah 61.
- The conference will feature various speakers, times of prayer and worship, fellowship, and meals together.
- Interested individuals can sign up for the conference at conference.calvarychapel.com.
Introduction to the Wisdom Warrior Concept
- Aaron Savato and Michael Bals host the Good Lion Podcast where they discuss culture and theology.
- The concept of the "wisdom warrior" is discussed in the podcast.
- The idea was introduced to Michael during a class on Ecclesiastes at Western Seminary.
- The motif of the wisdom warrior is a recurring theme in the Bible, with Jesus being seen as the embodiment of wisdom.
- The wisdom warrior is defined in Proverbs as someone who is calm, seeks to end conflict before it begins, does not return evil for evil, and appears weak but is protected by God.
- This profile aligns with Jesus' teachings on peacemaking and redemption rather than conquest.
Peace Ethic in the Old Testament
- The discussion focuses on the concept of a peace ethic in the Old Testament.
- Examples of characters who embody this ethic are Jeremiah and Daniel.
- Jeremiah's message was to seek peace in the city where they were exiled, which was not what most people wanted to hear.
- Daniel offers a non-violent resistance and limited cooperation with the empire, embodying Jeremiah's peace ethic.
- The cultural climate today is similar to Israel's exile experience, where there is a desire to overthrow the other party and restore one's vision of the good life through violence or vengeance.
- Jesus' model of redemption does not involve overthrowing enemies but fighting for God's plans centered on His people.
The Wise Warrior in the Bible
- Daniel's identity as God's covenant people clashes with his allegiance to Babylon.
- Daniel engages in non-violent resistance, such as refusing to eat from the king's royal table and not giving allegiance to the golden image.
- The story of Daniel shows how evil can be fought through wisdom instead of violence.
- The trope of the wise warrior implies that the wise man is also fighting.
- The Old Testament uses warrior language, including conflict between the Messiah and serpent.
- The Hebrew words used in messianic scriptures refer to warfare imagery.
- Jesus is a wise warrior who defeats cosmic evil through laying down his life and wielding the weapon of wisdom, or his word.
- Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:30 that Christ Jesus became wisdom from God and embodies wisdom fully.
- Wisdom is not just intuition or business savvy but includes non-violent resistance in the face of self-proclaimed state power or empire.
- Jesus' battle is against the serpent, identified as Satan, who embodies cosmic evil.
The Cross and Non-Violent Resistance
- The cross is the climax where Jesus lays down his life self-sacrificially and it will be consummated when he comes again.
- In Revelation 19, Jesus is depicted as coming on a white horse with "King of Kings" and "Lord of Lords" tattooed on his thighs, wielding a sword from his mouth.
- There is a cosmic war against the chaos monster embodied in the biblical quote "he lies, he kills, he destroys."
- Sin is the opposite of communion with God and participating in sin means fellowshipping with demons.
- Wisdom is a better tactic than violence according to Jesus' model even when confronted by Satan in the wilderness.
Nonviolent Resistance and Inaugurated Eschatology
- Many Puritans believed in making America a Christian nation, but their application of this idea led to oppression and injustice towards natives.
- Jesus provides a way forward and wields the weapon of his mouth against chaos monsters that bring disorder to creation and humans.
- The already not yet concept means glimpses of God's kingdom can be experienced on earth, but chaos still exists.
- Inaugurated eschatology is a primary eschatological position that involves nonviolent resistance to evil rather than resorting to violence or political force.
- Resisting evil non-violently does not mean being passive, but rather being willing to disadvantage oneself and lay down one's own life for the truth.
Nonviolent Resistance in Practice
- The speaker reflects on the Christian martyrs who were willing to die for their faith without resorting to violence.
- They believe that Christians should follow a subversive, nonviolent ethic of peace like Jesus and other peaceful figures such as Gandhi, Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr.
- The speaker notes that there is no official framework or political party in America that promotes nonviolent resistance as part of their whole ethic.
- Both sides of the political spectrum engage in violent resistance and uprisings while framing themselves as oppressed and the other side as oppressors.
- The speaker argues that putting hope in a political party is getting sold a bootleg version of the kingdom of God.
Living as Wisdom Warriors
- Pursuing the kingdom of God offers a way forward that cuts through political divisions.
- Focusing on individual people and ministering to them can contribute to positive change for the Kingdom of God.
- Jesus is a Messianic wisdom warrior who fights the forces of darkness through wisdom, not violence.
- The story of the woman caught in adultery is an example of Jesus using wisdom to combat a tense situation and challenge hypocrisy.
- Jesus clashes with religious leaders who have hopes for restoring power, but he offers an invitation to live in and occupy spaces where we may not have full power.
- Jesus used logic and reason to disarm his opponents and make them drop their stones.
- This approach is similar to the martial art of judo, which uses an opponent's strength against them.
- Jesus allowed his enemies to attack him without retaliating with violence or verbal tirades.
- Instead, he absorbed their attacks and responded with wise insights from the Lord.
- The goal was not to defeat or kill his opponents but to bring them under the authority of King Jesus and Yahweh.
- Bringing someone under control means getting them to think about things through the lens of scripture in light of Christ.
- Yielding conflict results to God is important for followers of Jesus who are guided by the Holy Spirit.
- Wisdom involves being content with whatever outcome may come, even if it means facing persecution or death.
Praying for Change and Practical Action
- The speaker suggests praying for change in society and culture.
- They acknowledge that Jesus will bring justice, but also emphasize the importance of practical action.
- The speaker uses the example of potential civil war in America due to political and social tensions.
- They note that violence is often seen as the answer by many people.
- The speaker advocates for using wisdom from the Lord to combat cultural issues and change hearts and minds, rather than resorting to violence.
Wielding Wisdom Like a Weapon
- The speaker discusses how they aim to help people come to faith in Christ and reason with them in a way that compels them to see truth.
- They express grief over slave owners finding justification for their sin through Abraham's ownership of slaves, stating that humans reflect God's image and any oppression is unjust.
- The speaker cites the example of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar as an instance where humans were used as a means to an end, leading to injustice.
- They mention how God sees the oppressed and calls on people to wield wisdom like a weapon with their words to call others to see God.
- The speaker talks about how Sodom and Gomorrah were inhospitable towards sojourners, aliens, and travelers, which was against God's desire for his people to be hospitable and care for the marginalized.
- They suggest hypothetical scenarios for combat training as someone trying their best to be a wisdom warrior.
Seeking Peace and Unity
- The idea of seeking peace and unity with others, as outlined in Matthew 18, is an important aspect of being a wisdom warrior.
- Taking the high road and being the first to apologize can help bring peace even in close relationships.
- The church should strive for unity rather than division.
- When faced with a friend who expresses anger towards sinners, it's important to be mindful of different narratives presented in the news and to consume news in moderation.
- Instead of prescribing specific actions, living by the spirit and praying fully can guide one's response to such situations.
- God moves towards people, offering them hope, as seen in examples like Jonah and Nineveh.
The Battle for Souls and Being a Positive Influence
- The battle for souls is between Yahweh and the Chaos monster, not the people in Portland.
- Demonic forces have enslaved some people into destructive ideologies.
- Being a wisdom warrior means subduing anger with judo moves and pointing people back to God's authority.
- Theologically conservative pastors who go to progressive environments like Portland can be wisdom warriors within the culture.
- Discipleship starts as soon as someone learns another person's name, and every interaction should move them closer to Jesus.
- Befriending someone who attacks Christianity on social media without revealing oneself as a Christian can be a way of showing love, grace, and mercy.
Changing Negative Views of Christianity
- Being a positive influence as a Christian can change someone's negative view of Christianity.
- Christians should not be judged based on the actions of a few individuals.
- The approach to defending Christianity on social media should not be defensive, but rather focused on understanding and relating to the person with opposing views.
- Christians should view people as victims of the true enemy, not as enemies themselves.
- The focus should be on pointing people back to Jesus and his teachings, rather than defending Christianity as a whole.
Embodying the Way of Jesus
- Jesus calls us to protect the people he wants to bring into the tribe, not just our own tribe.
- Defending Jesus against secularists can sometimes lead to anger and defensiveness that makes people deaf to God's message.
- To be a wisdom warrior in life, we must embody the way of Jesus by self-sacrificially laying down our lives for others and wielding the weapon of wisdom with grace, truth, and love.
- It starts at home with how we treat our spouses and children.
- Conflict is inevitable, but we should approach it with humility and a servant's heart like Jesus did.
- The host thanks the guest for being a resource to the church and presenting his paper at a theological society.
- The host believes that God has the guest on a path of deeper learning to help the church in the future.
- The guest is thanked for being a good friend and supportive during ministry.
- The host refers to the guest as an "online wisdom warrior" and thanks him for occupying that space with grace and wisdom.
- The episode ends with a call to action for listeners to leave a review and support Good Lion Ministries.