I would summarize Yoder as follows. God is the one who fights for us; followers of Jesus do not fight for themselves, especially not through violence. Violence is never appropriate for a Jesus-follower. The structures of the world, the powers of the world, are usually full of evil. Our task as Christians is not to fight against the worldly powers but to give a witness by our voluntary submission to the hierarchies of a fallen world.
Yoder answers a number of objections to using the model of Jesus as a model for us to follow. He of course also argues for a certain model of Jesus (thus Jesus didn't use his whip against the money changers but to drive the animals out of the temple).
- The objection that Jesus' ethic was limited to his years on earth, an "interim" ethic before a kingdom that was going to come in force later.
- The objection that Jesus' model was for a situation in which it was not conceivable to change the system.
- The objection that Jesus only provides a model for individual response, not for government, which more appropriately turns to God the Father as a model.
- I accept the basic principles of Just War theory laid out by Augustine.
- I believe that Jesus' earthly ministry was phase one and that in the second coming phase he will not be so meek and mild
- I do believe we should work for change more vigorously and engagedly with worldly powers when we can, although not usually with violence (I support Bonhoeffer's deviation in regard to Hitler). I do accept reasonable force to protect the lives of others and, in some cases, in self-defense.
- I do think that God the Father provides a better model for governance and justice rather than Jesus when he was on earth.
But what do you think?