The Avengers: Vengeance is mine?

Posted: May 3, 2012 by Josh Kwasny in Action
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Whether you are a Marvel comic book junkie (not me) or just a love a good action film (me), The Avengers promises to be be your flick. Check out the trailer…

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Captain America…Check. The Hulk…check. Iron Man…Check. Thor…Check. Hawkeye and Black Widow…Check?

Okay…well even if the Avengers team seems a bit random to me, they look poised and ready to take on Loki – who is bent on dominating the Earth with his evil ways (and his sweet hair).

Since he has already seen the film, Emilio will wax eloquently on the Avengers tomorrow – giving you a much more well-developed perspective on this film. Today, I will merely stir the pot a bit.

Watching that trailer again got me thinking. In the midst of the many explosions, Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) says, “If we can’t protect the earth…you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it.” (cue…awesomeness)

Violent action films (violence in general) have been the subject of debate for Christians over the years. Just how should Christians think about violence – especially the concept of vengeance? Some read the gospels and would like to say that Jesus was a pacifist. Violence is simply off limits for Christians. Others prefer to point to Revelation 19 – Jesus, the Rider on the white horse, bringing war upon his enemies. So which is right? WWJD?

Let’s focus on the concept of vengeance for a moment?

In the book of Romans we read, “17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary,“if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21 – emphasis mine)

Seems pretty clear, right…no vengeance. If Iron Man becomes a follower of Jesus, he needs to find a new career. Or does he?

In the next chapter Paul discusses the role of the governing authorities. “1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer (Romans 13:1-4 – emphasis also mine).

I said I would stir the pot a bit. Here goes…

  • What do you do with these passages?
  • Is it okay for the Avengers to “protect” the earth, but not to “avenge” it?
  • Shouldn’t Nick Fury’s crew just leave vengeance to God or are they “God’s avengers” – acting on behalf of the governing authorities?

Oh…and…

  • Why do you and I love watching evil people like Loki get what’s coming to him?

I recently discussed these kinds of questions with some friends. It was interesting to hear the varied perspectives among Christians. So where do you land? Maybe you prefer to ignore these questions and would rather watch Avengers in blissful peace. It is just a story after all, right?

Yes, The Avengers is just a story, but every story must still come under the reign of Jesus Christ. Christians should be able to converse about these difficult things.

Well, consider the pot stirred…enjoy!

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Comments
  1. Come one Josh, what do you mean this formation of the Avengers is random? This os the classic formation! We need to work on your geek credentials. Thanks for the thoughts, I’m finishing writing my material for tomorrow. I will have a non-spoiler and a spoiler section.

  2. […] Yesterday Josh considered several important issues. I will deal with some issues first without spoilers and then go on to spoil everything, but I will let you know when spoilers begin. […]

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