Jesus commissions his followers to persuade…

One should observe that Jesus commissions his followers to persuade and influence people through teaching that is empowered by the Holy Spirit. He never authorizes imperialism, exploitation, coercion, threats, or any other means of illicit power over others. Instead, he tells us to love our neighbors and even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). The Book of Acts shows the early Christians winning conversions through persuasion, not coercion or manipulation. Sadly, some later Christians who held the reigns of political power did enforce Christian conformity through the sword. One would be hard pressed, though, to find any warrant for this in the teachings of Jesus (or the Apostles).

Douglas Groothuis, from On Jesus, p. 46

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