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Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  627 ratings  ·  74 reviews
More than ever, Walter Wink believes, the Christian tradition of nonviolence is needed as an alternative to the dominant and death-dealing "powers" of our consumerist culture and fractured world. In this small book Wink offers a precis of his whole thinking about this issue, including the relation of Jesus and his message to politics and nonviolence, the history of nonviol ...more
Paperback, 119 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Fortress Press
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 ·  627 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Jacob Aitken
It struck me while reading this that "nonviolence" is not the same thing as Pacifism. The latter includes the former, certainly, but the latter has political connotations that the former does not.

Wink suggests that "nonviolence" is a third way beyond Institutional Violence and Pacifism. The former, argues Wink, represents the "principalities and powers" while Pacifism simply accepts the status quo, thus further strengthening the powers. I think Wink's analysis of the situation is a b
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, compelling argument for nonviolence in a violent world. This way is not a way of "passivity," as in some excuse to ignore reality and do nothing. This way requires strength, conviction, courage, creativity, intelligence, and patience. It requires seeing through and past things as they are and learning how to work "against the grain" of human nature. It requires recognizing the destructive nature of power plays and schemes, and their inability to create real, lasting change. ...more
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very short, succinct overview of the principles and practices of nonviolence and pacifism. Wink draws primarily, as one would expect, on the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi--particularly Gandhi's principle of Satyagraha ("truth force")--and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wink discusses the manner in which nonviolent resistance to injustice can be carried out, and he gives numerous historical examples of how nonviolence has worked in the past, focusing especially on India's struggles aga
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
I didn't record on here when I read this book the first time, so I don't know how long it has been. However, I dipped back in today because I was reflecting on the eschatological nature of peace during Advent and, as it is a short book, I read the whole thing. I certainly appreciated the insights I underlined before (re-reads are always great for telling you who you used to be); however, I also came away with a renewed appreciation for the way Wink is a student of not just non-violence but of libera ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Compelling and concise. Wink writes from years of experience, deep conviction, and a clear view of history.

I read this one after reading Richard B. Hays's treatment of violence in defense of justice in The Moral Vision of the New Testament. This book was an excellent companion piece.

Wink acknowledges the effort, patience, and creativity required for nonviolence, and distinguishes Christian nonviolence from other forms of resistance.

He also offers instructive stories ranging from internationa
Marilyn Chilcote
This is it

5 short chapters clarify and sum up my faith as a Christian, and how all of us humans of any or no religion might find hope working together in and for this earth.

Simple, straight -forward, direct. The best of the 22 books I've read this year on NV resistance.
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theological
This short book gives a clear overview of Jesus' third way of nonviolence. A great summary!
Shalom House
Revolutionary, if lived out! What a great thing to strive for.
Dan Salerno
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Walter Wink's book, JESUS AND NONVIOLENCE: A THIRD WAY starts out strong and keeps getting stronger.

Take this gem from page six: "The issue is not, 'What must I do in order to secure my salvation?' but rather, 'What does God require of me in response to the needs of others?'"

Throughout his book, Wink systematically and powerfully lays out a case for Christian nonviolence. He suggests that there are three basic ways to respond to evil - passivity, violent opposition or mil
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-violence
I really liked this short book. It was short and sweet and gave good encouragement as well as practical advice for disarming oppressive forces non-violently.

My only real complaint is that I feel the book was organised backwards!

I felt a tad uneasy through the first four chapters of the book. His interpretation of the sermon on the mount could definitely be taken as nothing more than 'be passive aggressive to get what you want'. Scattered throughout were phrases explaining
Matias Uusisilta
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A clearly written book that shows that Jesus never taught the oppressed to cheerfully turn the other cheek but to rise against the powers that be in a strategic way that is neither fight nor flight. Wink arguments for this Third way in a comprehensive way and gives a thorough list of examples from the recent history of successful nonviolent revolutions. The book really made me think about how natural it is for us humans to consider violence when confronted by oppression or injustice, when it is ...more
Ryan Dufoe
This is a short, sweet book about nonviolent resistance to oppression in the way of Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., and, as the author argues, Jesus. I personally came into this with a hope that it would talk about the Western self defense cult, but Wink's words about the theology of non-violence transcended my finite hopes for this book and helped inform and flesh out my thinking about biblical nonviolence as a whole.

The first 4 chapters were much more statistical and pragmatic in pursuing jus
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The populace must be made to believe that there are two alternatives and only two [to injustice]: flight or fight...Jesus abhors both passivity and violence as responses to evil. His is a third alternative...Instead of the two options ingrained in us by millions of years of unreflective, brute response to biological threats from the environment, Jesus' Third Way marks a historic mutation in human development: the revolt against the principle of natural selection. With Jesus a way emerges by whi ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It’s my first time reading anything by Walter Wink and now I want to read his books about the “powers.” In this short book on non-violence Wink helpfully disambiguates non-violence from total pacifism. He gives clear, helpful explanations of Jesus’ sayings about non-violence as well as numerous historical and contemporary (to 2003) examples of violence or non-violence used to overthrow oppressive governments. I found this book inspiring not only for social engagement but also h ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I honestly don't know how I would react to violence. As a special needs mom I feel like I'm ultra-sensitive to bullying as I've heard such hard situations. Even this week one of my friend's special needs kid was unnecessarily arrested and treated harshly. In this type of situation, I'm afraid my mama bear instincts would rise up and I’d fight possibly with force and do everything I could for my kids. I’m not saying violence is the right way, but I think wherever violence or not, it's ones heart ...more
Helgi Gudnason
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A concise book on non-violence based on the teachings of Jesus.
My favourite chapter was the one where Jesus' teachings were put into context.
The chapters which cover some historical examples of non-violence were very informative.

The book is a great read, for such a short book the insight it contains is enormous.
Pam Herbert
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful short read on the subject of nonviolence, not to be confused with pacifism. The Third Way of Jesus is deliciously subversive and that is why it does work most of the time. It does require courage and it may come at a price but we are called to stand with the oppressed.
Aline P Carvalho
precious read on both nonviolence and christian studies

the book is short, to the point and very insightful in showing the teachings of Christ nor as victimization but as a way to exercise a new, resilient and firm kind of power. highly recommended.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Foundational exegesis for arguing Jesus' position of nonviolence - not of passivity or violence, but of the oppressed regaining power and dignity through reminding the violent / oppressor of their humanity. Great short read.
Samantha Ham
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great primer on nonviolent direct action. Recommended for people curious about this philosophy and lifestyle, particularly from a faith perspective.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quick read that gives new insight to Jesus' view of "Turn the other cheek". A wonderfully thought provoking book!"
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If anyone should ask you to explain Jesus turning the cheek , give them this book. Short, easy to follow.
Perhaps the best sub-100-page treatise on Jesus' engagement of conflict and violence one can find, and what we should do as followers of Jesus to see His Kingdom and His shalom brought to bear on the planet.

Wink offers a phenomenally compelling argument against the use of violence, revenge, and retaliation of any sort that both demeans the victim and the one perpetuating the violence, and in turn calls for humanization - both of the oppressed, and, hard to stomach, the oppressor, whose humanity
Tristan Sherwin
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
A gem of a book.

Walter Wink, in the space of only one hundred pages, does a great job of explaining the power of non-violence protest, and why it shouldn't be confused with being passive.

The way of nonviolence is not about turning a blind eye to injustice, nor avoiding conflict. It's about creatively engaging with Powers and oppressive regimes in a way that doesn't just perpetuate the problems and the means of the things we are against.

As Wink himself states;

"Violence s
Noah Schumacher
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Phenomenal book on the importance of nonviolence for one professing Christ. Wink wades the muddied waters of nonviolence with clarity and wisdom. He brings to light the many misunderstandings of pacifism and nonviolence. I. E. pacifism is not passive and spineless. Jesus advocated nonviolence that was aggressive and bold; not cowardly and weak. These topics and many more are thoroughly treated. Great for anyone seeking to follow the teachings of Christ as they pertain to nonviolence and peace ma ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a brilliant little book. It fills out some of the cultural and historical context of Jesus to make an extremely persuasive case that Jesus was a political leader, advocating nonviolence in the face of oppression. The highlight is when he deconstructs "turn the other cheek." That's not about being passive; it's about nonviolent defiance.

Nonviolence is about lovingly humiliating oppressors, refusing to play your role as victim, thereby robbing them of their role as oppressor and f
Steve Bedford
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short and "sweet", but packs quite a punch. While I had the main thrust of the argument "spoiled" for me at a Q&A with Rob Bell, this is very much a must read. It was quick, took only several hours, which might be my one complaint. It focused mostly on Jesus' teaching on turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, etc, as well as many examples from history. I would have preferred a bit more rigorous examination of the biblical text (or at least the NT, or at the very least more on how the ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A short, strong book. Mixes together the history of nonviolent movements with the Biblical background and the practical means. Nothing is covered in depth - it's a short book - but that's great for someone who isn't ready to read the subject in depth yet.

I debated between a 3 and a 4, and could have only given it a three. Some of Wink's arguments about Jesus are ones that I don't quite buy. But to really degrade it for that would be picking around the edges - the core of each aspect
Amos Smith
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-books-other
This is a classic of Nonviolence in Christian tradition. Whereas some books on Nonviolence from a Christian perspective often stray from the mark, Walter Wink brings us back over and over again to the Nonviolent core of Jesus' message. He also shows us how that message has been watered-down and misunderstood. Wink writes with conviction, passion, and personal experience as an international proponent of Nonviolent resistance. Highly recommended!! -Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recover ...more
Joshua Lawson
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonviolence, theology
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Hands down, it is the best stuff I've yet to read on non-violence from the Christian perspective. Walter Wink displays a penetrating insight into the "third way" of Jesus that can only come from personal experience. From his exegesis of certain problematic gospel passages (e.g. "Do not resist evil"), to his compare-and-contrast of the message of Christ with Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, to the many real-life examples he gives of successful campaign ...more
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Dr. Walter Wink was Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. Previously, he was a parish minister and taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 1989-1990 he was a Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.

His newer works include:

The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man
“...Jesus did not advocate non-violence merely as a technique for outwitting the enemy, but as a just means of opposing the enemy in such a way as to hold open the possibility of the enemy's becoming just as well. Both sides must win. We are summoned to pray for our enemies' transformation, and to respond to ill-treatment with a love that not only is godly but also, I am convinced, can only be found in God.” 23 likes
“Neutrality in a situation of oppression always supports the status quo.” 6 likes
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