The Kingdom of God is Within You

From Academic Kids

The Kingdom of God is Within You is a non-fiction work written by Leo Tolstoy and was first published in Germany in 1894, after being banned in his home country of Russia. In it, Tolstoy speaks of the doctrine of non-resistance as the reply to violence propounded by Jesus:

"And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also" (Luke 6:29).

Tolstoy presented excerpts from magazines and newspapers relating various personal experiences, and gave keen insight into the history of non-resistance as being professed by a minority of believers from the very foundation of Christianity.

Tolstoy recounted challenges by various people of all classes that his views on non-resistance were wrong, but argued that no matter how the challengers tried to attack the doctrine, its essence could not be overcome, as illustrated by the biblical illustration of perhaps the first occurrence of non-resistance:

"And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out [his] hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matthew 26:50-52).

Gandhi wrote in his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth that this work left an abiding impression on him. Many consider this text to be the founding document of anarchist Christianity in general and Tolstoyan movement in particular.

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