“You Can’t Ignore Them”


Clarence Jordan (1912 – 1969) founded Koinonia Farm, an agrarian Christian community, in 1942 near Americus, Georgia. For decades, its members suffered threats, boycotts, shootings, fire bombs, church expulsion, and other harassment from those who disapproved of the farm’s tolerant, multi-racial character. The “Koinonians,” however, were determined to live out the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus, and the group still endures today (as Koinonia Partners). In the following excerpt from his book-length commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, Jordan talks about the uncomfortable impact that living “Christianly” can have upon those who do not.

It is difficult to be indifferent to a wide-awake Christian, a real live son of God. It is even more difficult to be indifferent to a whole body of Christians. You can hate them, or you can love them, but one thing is certain—you can’t ignore them. There’s something about them that won’t let you. It isn’t so much what they say or what they do. The thing that seems to haunt you is what they are. You can’t put them out of your mind any more than you can shake off your shadow.

They confront you with an entirely different way of life, a new way of thinking, a changed set of values, and a higher standard of righteousness. In short, they face you with the kingdom of God on earth, and you have to accept it or reject it. There’s no washing of hands. These people must be crowned or crucified, for they’re either mighty right or mighty wrong.1


1 Clarence Jordan, Sermon on the Mount (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1952), 32.

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.


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