Original Research

Resistance and nonresistance: New Testament perspectives on confronting the powers

Dorothy Jean Weaver
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 61, No 1/2 | a418 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v61i1/2.418 | © 2005 Dorothy Jean Weaver | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 October 2005 | Published: 09 October 2005

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Dorothy Jean Weaver, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

The New Testament depicts a world caught in the throes of an apocalyptic power struggle between the forces of God the Creator and the cosmic powers of evil. This study identifies two contrasting and complementary New Testament strategies for confronting these “powers”: resistance (Jas 4:7) and nonresistance (Mt 5:39). The motif of “resistance” is visible as Jesus resists the temptations of Satan (Mk 4:12-13 et al), “overcomes the strong man” (Mk 3:27 et al), and “heals all those who are oppressed by the devil” (Ac 10:38 et al). The motif of “nonresistance” is visible in Jesus’ passion as he is “handed over” (Mk 14:10 et al) and as he conquers the powers of evil through his death (Col 2:13-15 et al). For a comprehensive and balanced understanding of New Testament perspectives on confronting the powers of evil the motifs of “resistance” and “nonresistance” must be held in tension and in correlation with each other.

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