Jan 1, 2008

A response to "resistance" and pacifism. (Part I)

A sister in the Lord has posed a question, this question has been a slightly ongoing discussion between her and I. Consideration of our presuppositions should always be laid out beforehand and set aside in lieu of scriptural authority. I hope to attempt and succeed at avoiding frivolous personal preference in favor of presenting accurate descriptions of the nature of our Lord and His direction in warfare and justice in the Old Testament. To further refute the notion that warfare is not biblical, I hope to illustrate the presence of direction, instruction, and reasonable justification of war through the citation of war, the sword, or action against an enemy (of God) in the New Testament.

This by no means will be exhaustive, but thorough in its description. It is purely a survey of findings thus far and I pray to do it justice. I merely hope to provide an answer to a question that requires an answer, and further promotes a proper biblical view of the precepts our Lord has given in scripture.

(all scripture quotations will come from the NASB unless otherwise noted)

First the pacifist position states that the Christian is to renounce and separate themselves from any participation in war, murder, or violence toward any other person. No matter the catalyst or consequence, the Christian must abstain from any such practice. Common citations of scripture include the verse in Mat. 5:39 "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." There is also the immediate thought of all Christians (at least I would hope) of Murder being profoundly ruled against through the commandment of our Lord given to Moses in Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder." I have also heard the citation of Luke 3:14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."

Now I have based the initiation of this examination on just a few of the scriptures utilized to abrogate Christian participation or view of war and further remove the unchanging nature of God from a position of tolerance of war (OT) to pacifism (NT). I would also like to further point out the need to clarify the error based on this position. This does not just cause one to become antagonistic toward war, be it just or unjust, but also furthers a misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and bad hermeneutic when reading the Word of our Lord and living out His commands in our life. This error can also present a severe stumbling block when approaching the Word of God and rightly dividing the truths contained within.

Because I have elected to respond to this question I will bear the burden of proof and provide answers to the selected scriptures above. If there are others that any of you would like to present for explanation, I humbly accept any commentary and/or proof to be examined. But for now, the discussion will be limited to these particular texts.

In Closing for this installment, please consider the notion needed to understand the presentation and need for clarification on this matter. The opposition to conflict by way of war or battle is a contradiction to the truth of God's unchanging nature/being. To state that Jesus did away with war/violence etc., in the NT is to say that God somehow changed His ways in how He dealt with the world, most notably the wicked. That said, the next post will include some clarification on the cited scriptures, a treatment of the nature of God's dealings with men in war and peace, and a remedy to the idea posed by my arguments "War contradicts the teachings of Jesus." I do not believe in any way whatsoever that war and civil justice dealt by the authorities given by God and placed by God (Romans 13) conflict with the nature Jesus admonished us to exhibit in loving our neighbor or our enemy.

See you then....

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Please keep your posting clean. Comments, free-thought, and otherwise contradictory remarks are definitely welcome, just be considerate with your language. Oh yeah, I also reserve the right to completely eradicate your comments from any of my posts, but seldom do. Just so you know...