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theophilus

Was Jesus really a pacifist?

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Jesus is perceived by many as being a pacifist who never practiced or advocated violence of any kind. He commanded us to turn the other cheek when someone hits us and to love everyone, including our enemies. On the basis of these commands some Christians have concluded that a Christian must never engage in any kind of violence. They believe it is wrong for a Christian to serve in the military, even if his country is at war.

 

If we consider only these teachings of Jesus this seems to be a logical conclusion. But Jesus also did and said some things that are inconsistent with pacifism.

 

His reaction when he saw what was going on in the temple wasn’t that of a pacifist.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Matthew 21:12-13 ESV

When he was arrested Peter tried to defend him.

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

John 18:10-11 ESV

At first this seems to confirm the belief that Jesus advocated pacifism. He said that Peter was wrong in attacking. But then Jesus told Peter to put his sword back in its sheath. Wouldn’t a true pacifist have told Peter to throw his sword away because he would never need it again?

 

Earlier he had given his disciples a command that was even more inconsistent with pacifism.

He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”

Luke 22:36 ESV

He not only told Peter to keep his sword but he also said the the disciples who didn’t already have swords should buy them. But what is the point of having a sword if you are commanded to respond to an attacker by turning the other cheek? This appears to be a problem because we misunderstand what Jesus meant by the command.

Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:39 ESV

Jesus said that if someone slaps us on the right cheek we are to turn the other cheek. Most people are right handed. If you are facing someone and hit him on the right cheek with your right hand you will hit him with the back of your hand. You might cause some pain but you can’t do any real physical harm.

 

The purpose in striking someone this way is to insult him and express contempt for him. There have been cultures in which this act would be considered a challenge to a duel. Today it is possible that the person being slapped will try to kill the other without bothering with the formalities of a duel. Jesus has forbidden us to respond in this way. This command does not prohibit us from defending ourselves if someone attacks with the intention of hurting or killing us.

 

Swords can be used for other reasons beside self defense. Jesus said that one of the two great commandments was to love our neighbor as ourselves. If a neighbor is being attacked love demands that we defend him if possible even if it means hurting or killing the attacker. (I have heard objections to this on the grounds that it isn’t showing love for the attacker, but this is a situation that calls for justice as well as love.)

 

The things Jesus taught while on earth were only the beginning of his teaching. After he was taken up into Heaven he continued to teach and direct his disciples through the Holy Spirit.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8 ESV

Acts chapter 10 tells how the Spirit led Peter to preach the gospel to a Gentile named Cornelius.

And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”

Acts 10:19-20 ESV

Peter obeyed and the Holy Spirit came on Cornelius and the people who were with him just at he had come on the Jews earlier.

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.

Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Acts 10:44-48 ESV

Cornelius was not only a Gentile but he was also an officer in the Roman army.

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.

Acts 10:1-2 ESV

If Jesus taught pacifism surely Cornelius would have quit his job and found a new occupation when he became a believer but there is no indication that he did anything like this. Chapter 11 of Acts describes the opposition of some believers to the conversion of Cornelius, but their objections were based on the fact that Cornelius was an uncircumcised Gentile, not that he was a Roman soldier.

 

Jesus acknowledged the authority of human government. When asked whether it was right to pay taxes to Caesar his response was, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” We are not only required to pay our taxes, but the choice of Cornelius as the first Gentile convert shows that we may also serve as soldiers in Caesar’s army. Jesus never taught pacifism so there is no reason a person cannot be both a professional soldier and a Christian.

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Also, Jesus had not called for repentance from the office of soldier. Soldiers asked, "what shall we do?"

 

Luke 3:14:

 

Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

 

God bless,

William

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Jesus didn't come to teach rebellion against worldly authorities. Neither a slave, a soldier, nor any wife is following God of they leave their position or repent of their obligation. But, still, we have the divine obligation not to sin even if those in authority over us order us to do something that is a sin.

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Hmmm... Jesus didn't really preach pacifism, from what I've understood. I mean, he is the prince of peace and one day, he'll bring peace to this world. But like you've already posted, lots of situations and scenarios in the bible oppose the thinking that he is a pacifist. For instance, Jesus' disciples owned swords as well. Jesus even instructed them to bring their swords on the night that he was betrayed. And when Peter wounded one of the soldiers, Jesus healed the man and commanded Peter to keep his sword.

 

Interpreting this situation, it means that our usage of weapons or violence must be justified. Yes, violence must be used at times, the bible has lots of accounts of that when God used war for cities or people who disobeyed him. But it is never without reason, it is always because the people had become too disrespectful and has forgotten about Him. He would never hurt an innocent person especially a child.

 

And I think it's the same way with Jesus, he doesn't promote war but knows that at times, it is necessary. And for those serving in the military, as long as they are protecting the people from the terrorists, I don't think they will be condemned for it.

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Such a tough topic to discuss and even more difficult to accept Jesus' principle of absolute nonviolence.

 

So many scriptures and examples in New Testament related to nonviolence, nonresistance, absolute loving enemies, self-sacrifice, putting others before ourselves

 

It's not a matter of opinion or choice. God has been clear regarding this issue and if we choose to follow Jesus then it doesn't matter what we think or desire, the decision has been made for us. We are to regard others as more important than ourselves. We are to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us. We are to follow Jesus' principles as when he was reviled, abused, falsely accused, & murdered yet did not revile in return, did not sin, spoke no deceit, and uttered no threats. Jesus is our example as He suffered therefore we should be prepared to suffer. We are not to return evil for evil. We are to sacrifice our life by turning the other cheek, allowing others to sue us to take our possessions and voluntary give them more than they request without retaliation, allow people to force us to do something and we not only oblige them yet do even more than what they request. We are to LOVE our enemies. All of these things are backed by biblical scripture, not man's thoughts and desires. Justifiable harm has no foundation in scripture. The principles of Jesus are clear and do not come close to justifiable harm, physical defense, or retaliation.

 

 

We know God forgives us to the extent that we forgive others, Matthew 6:14-15. God's love for us is unconditional regardless of the wrong we commit against Him, Romans 5:8. The theme of love is prevalent in the NT through Jesus' principles. There's no getting around God's expectations of His people towards others especially those we may judge as unworthy of our kindness, love, and forgiveness, Matthew 22:39, Matthew 25:34-46, Luke 6:27-28. We are not to judge the value or worthiness of others, Luke 6:37-38.

 

Romans 12:19-21 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

We are to regard others as more important than ourself, Philippians 2:1-8. We are to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us.

 

We are to follow Jesus' principles as when he was reviled, abused, falsely accused, & murdered yet did not revile in return, did not sin, spoke no deceit, and uttered no threats. Jesus is our example as He suffered therefore we should be prepared to suffer.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Do not treat others with evil even if they treat you evil

 

 

1 Peter 2:18-24 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

 

Luke 6:31-36 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

 

We are to treat others the way we want to be treated, love our enemies.

 

 

Make no mistake we are at war and are to fight; yet it is Spiritual, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Ephesians 6:10-20. 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul,who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience; once your obedience is complete

 

All of these things are backed by biblical scripture, not man's thoughts and desires. Justifiable harm has no foundation in scripture. So called “Just War Theory” is manmade and completely full of holes and subjective when it comes to being valid; even philosophers and experts agree with this. The principles of Jesus are clear and do not come close to justifiable harm, physical defense, or retaliation. If we believe something contrary to this then it comes from man not principles of Jesus.

 

Some may site the account of Jesus going into the temple with a whip. This is simply a stretch, there is absolutely no statement or example that Jesus harmed anyone. The whip reasonably would have been used on animals. Jesus' statement to apostles to purchase swords is explained by Jesus in the very next statement: Luke 22:36-38

 

And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” Jesus references a prophecy from Isaiah 53:12. And again Jesus no where says for anyone to use a sword against anyone. He also doesn’t say it’s wrong to possess a sword/gun. In fact He rebukes Peter when Peter attacks the soldier as they were arresting Jesus, Luke 22:49-51, Matthew 26:51-54.

 

And using the Old Testament and Old Law as justifiable examples of war, killing, & violence is not at all applicable to Christians on how to live our lives as Jesus established a New Law and fulfilled the New Covenant which was not the Mosaic or Prophet's Covenant, Hebrews1:1-2, Mark 9:2-8. Our life as Christians is not founded upon the Old Law: physical circumcision, animal and grain sacrifices, sanctuary cities for criminals, observing the sabbath, the Levites have a higher standing, stoning disobedient children, leaving the corners of your grain fields for the poor, cannot eat rabbits, hogs; no fish without fins and scales; can't eat eagles, vultures, buzzards, kites, falcons, ravens, ostrich, owls, seagulls, hawks, heron; Leviticus 11. Women offering sacrifices for atonement after childbirth, Leviticus 12. And hundreds of other laws that are not applicable to Christians, including war.

 

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

 

Luke 3:10-14 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?” And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “[d]Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” 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.”

 

Again a valid argument cannot be made from something not said. John did not say to commit violence and many versions of situations in the Bible do not account exactly the same things said and done. It is fallacious to reason a point based upon an assumption of something not said. This also applies to Cornelius and Jesus telling the disciples to buy swords.

 

The foundation of Jesus' principles is love which culminated in his unjustifiable murder and forgiveness of His killers for all of man who are unworthy of His sacrifice. My encouragement is to maintain patience with your beliefs and truly know why you believe what you believe. It took me several months to realize this unconditional love God expects from us and then about 15 years of deep study to better understand God's ultimate message. Jesus' principles are my guide. If it were up to me I would not want to exhibit unconditional love and forgiveness to my enemies, it's just not in my nature; however I have chosen to follow Jesus. It’s like Paul said he has a constant battle within him between the spirit and flesh. What we naturally want is not necessarily what God has instructed as what He expects from us. I hope you come to the same decision through meditation and study. God bless in your study of God's word to learn the truth.

 

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Such a tough topic to discuss and even more difficult to accept Jesus' principle of absolute nonviolence.

 

So many scriptures and examples in New Testament related to nonviolence, nonresistance, absolute loving enemies, self-sacrifice, putting others before ourselves

 

It's not a matter of opinion or choice. God has been clear regarding this issue and if we choose to follow Jesus then it doesn't matter what we think or desire, the decision has been made for us. We are to regard others as more important than ourselves. We are to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us. We are to follow Jesus' principles as when he was reviled, abused, falsely accused, & murdered yet did not revile in return, did not sin, spoke no deceit, and uttered no threats. Jesus is our example as He suffered therefore we should be prepared to suffer. We are not to return evil for evil. We are to sacrifice our life by turning the other cheek, allowing others to sue us to take our possessions and voluntary give them more than they request without retaliation, allow people to force us to do something and we not only oblige them yet do even more than what they request. We are to LOVE our enemies. All of these things are backed by biblical scripture, not man's thoughts and desires. Justifiable harm has no foundation in scripture. The principles of Jesus are clear and do not come close to justifiable harm, physical defense, or retaliation.

 

 

We know God forgives us to the extent that we forgive others, Matthew 6:14-15. God's love for us is unconditional regardless of the wrong we commit against Him, Romans 5:8. The theme of love is prevalent in the NT through Jesus' principles. There's no getting around God's expectations of His people towards others especially those we may judge as unworthy of our kindness, love, and forgiveness, Matthew 22:39, Matthew 25:34-46, Luke 6:27-28. We are not to judge the value or worthiness of others, Luke 6:37-38.

 

Romans 12:19-21 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

We are to regard others as more important than ourself, Philippians 2:1-8. We are to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us.

 

We are to follow Jesus' principles as when he was reviled, abused, falsely accused, & murdered yet did not revile in return, did not sin, spoke no deceit, and uttered no threats. Jesus is our example as He suffered therefore we should be prepared to suffer.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Do not treat others with evil even if they treat you evil

 

 

1 Peter 2:18-24 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

 

Luke 6:31-36 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

 

We are to treat others the way we want to be treated, love our enemies.

 

 

Make no mistake we are at war and are to fight; yet it is Spiritual, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Ephesians 6:10-20. 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul,who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience; once your obedience is complete

 

All of these things are backed by biblical scripture, not man's thoughts and desires. Justifiable harm has no foundation in scripture. So called “Just War Theory” is manmade and completely full of holes and subjective when it comes to being valid; even philosophers and experts agree with this. The principles of Jesus are clear and do not come close to justifiable harm, physical defense, or retaliation. If we believe something contrary to this then it comes from man not principles of Jesus.

 

Some may site the account of Jesus going into the temple with a whip. This is simply a stretch, there is absolutely no statement or example that Jesus harmed anyone. The whip reasonably would have been used on animals. Jesus' statement to apostles to purchase swords is explained by Jesus in the very next statement: Luke 22:36-38

 

And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” Jesus references a prophecy from Isaiah 53:12. And again Jesus no where says for anyone to use a sword against anyone. He also doesn’t say it’s wrong to possess a sword/gun. In fact He rebukes Peter when Peter attacks the soldier as they were arresting Jesus, Luke 22:49-51, Matthew 26:51-54.

 

And using the Old Testament and Old Law as justifiable examples of war, killing, & violence is not at all applicable to Christians on how to live our lives as Jesus established a New Law and fulfilled the New Covenant which was not the Mosaic or Prophet's Covenant, Hebrews1:1-2, Mark 9:2-8. Our life as Christians is not founded upon the Old Law: physical circumcision, animal and grain sacrifices, sanctuary cities for criminals, observing the sabbath, the Levites have a higher standing, stoning disobedient children, leaving the corners of your grain fields for the poor, cannot eat rabbits, hogs; no fish without fins and scales; can't eat eagles, vultures, buzzards, kites, falcons, ravens, ostrich, owls, seagulls, hawks, heron; Leviticus 11. Women offering sacrifices for atonement after childbirth, Leviticus 12. And hundreds of other laws that are not applicable to Christians, including war.

 

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

 

Luke 3:10-14 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?” And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “[d]Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” 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.”

 

Again a valid argument cannot be made from something not said. John did not say to commit violence and many versions of situations in the Bible do not account exactly the same things said and done. It is fallacious to reason a point based upon an assumption of something not said. This also applies to Cornelius and Jesus telling the disciples to buy swords.

 

The foundation of Jesus' principles is love which culminated in his unjustifiable murder and forgiveness of His killers for all of man who are unworthy of His sacrifice. My encouragement is to maintain patience with your beliefs and truly know why you believe what you believe. It took me several months to realize this unconditional love God expects from us and then about 15 years of deep study to better understand God's ultimate message. Jesus' principles are my guide. If it were up to me I would not want to exhibit unconditional love and forgiveness to my enemies, it's just not in my nature; however I have chosen to follow Jesus. It’s like Paul said he has a constant battle within him between the spirit and flesh. What we naturally want is not necessarily what God has instructed as what He expects from us. I hope you come to the same decision through meditation and study. God bless in your study of God's word to learn the truth.

 

G'morning CompleteAgape,

 

And what of servants of God working for the government? The office of solider or police officers etc? And what about magistrates that may be faced with warranting equal force to save lives in either neutralizing deadly force or capturing criminals? Should these such persons "turn the other cheek" and allow others to be victimized?

 

The other thing that makes me curious, you seem to suggest that the above should not pay back evil for evil. But contrary to that belief God ordained government (good) to combat evil, to actively seek it out and to use the sword.

 

If you haven't noticed, I'm using Romans 13. I believe government should not become an obstacle to the righteous, and to the unrighteous the government should not only become an obstacle but strike fear in the unjust.

 

They are to be "agents of wrath", so my question to you is whether there's a place in government for Christians?

 

God bless,

William

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G'morning CompleteAgape,

 

And what of servants of God working for the government? The office of solider or police officers etc? And what about magistrates that may be faced with warranting equal force to save lives in either neutralizing deadly force or capturing criminals? Should these such persons "turn the other cheek" and allow others to be victimized?

 

The other thing that makes me curious, you seem to suggest that the above should not pay back evil for evil. But contrary to that belief God ordained government (good) to combat evil, to actively seek it out and to use the sword.

 

If you haven't noticed, I'm using Romans 13. I believe government should not become an obstacle to the righteous, and to the unrighteous the government should not only become an obstacle but strike fear in the unjust.

 

They are to be "agents of wrath", so my question to you is whether there's a place in government for Christians?

 

God bless,

William

 

I believe God through Jesus spoke His will to each of us individually. It is clear that God uses the state (earthly government). I just don't see a Christian wanting to be a judge, police officer, military employee. I don't see God giving His people an exception because of who our boss is or who we are employed by: The State. I see non-Christians filling those roles. I just don't believe that we are justified simply because we work for the government and God makes reference in Romans 13 as it being a minister for Him. I believe the point God is making in Romans is Christians need to be aware of obeying the laws and being in subjection to the government. I agree with what you said "I believe government should not become an obstacle to the righteous, and to the unrighteous the government should not only become an obstacle but strike fear in the unjust." The book "A Change of Allegiance" is a great example, non-fiction. If you're not familiar a husband and wife are in the military and come to the conclusion that they are transgressing against God and ask for and receive a discharge from the military. Yes it seems God ordains the government to administer punishment: however that is of no consequence to Christians as we should follow the government's law to the extent we don't disobey God in doing so.. I don't hold the belief that Christians should not vote or should not be employed at all by any government, I see no problem with that. What matters is how one treats another. Main point: no matter what, a Christian should not put themselves in a position to administer violence. Very good questions. The whole topic of non-violence/non-resistance is difficult to study and it is a struggle to come to conclusions as to what God wants from us. I appreciate your interest and desire in Christianity.

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We are to follow Jesus' principles as when he was reviled, abused, falsely accused, & murdered yet did not revile in return, did not sin, spoke no deceit, and uttered no threats. Jesus is our example as He suffered therefore we should be prepared to suffer.

 

What would you do if you see one person attacking another with the intent to harm him and you can stop the attacker by hurting him? If you stop him you harm the attacker but if you don't you allow the one attacked to suffer harm. Either way you are responsible for someone suffering harm. Isn't it better to hurt the attacked than to allow him to hurt someone else?

 

 

I just don't see a Christian wanting to be a judge, police officer, military employee.

 

You might not see it but many Christians do follow these occupations.

 

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I just don't see a Christian wanting to be a judge, police officer, military employee.
The Quaker medics are well remembered for saving lives on the battlefield, and were military employees. The role of Military Chaplain also disproves your statement. People do not have to want to perform the roles, they simply have to think it is necessary that someone does and be willing to take up that burden.

 

Your views of absolute pacifism are interesting, but I would ask what do you think society should have done many years ago when Christianity was almost universal? Should there have been no one in these roles? What would have happened when attacked by non-Christians or other less pacifistic societies? Had the Christians not taken up the sword, Christianity in Britain may well have been wiped out in the 800's, and Alfred the Great had to recruit monks from overseas while he trained new churchmen.

 

 

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The Quaker medics are well remembered for saving lives on the battlefield, and were military employees. The role of Military Chaplain also disproves your statement. People do not have to want to perform the roles, they simply have to think it is necessary that someone does and be willing to take up that burden.

 

Your views of absolute pacifism are interesting, but I would ask what do you think society should have done many years ago when Christianity was almost universal? Should there have been no one in these roles? What would have happened when attacked by non-Christians or other less pacifistic societies? Had the Christians not taken up the sword, Christianity in Britain may well have been wiped out in the 800's, and Alfred the Great had to recruit monks from overseas while he trained new churchmen.

 

 

I didn't say it was wrong to be in the military, I believe it is not wrong. What is wrong is harming others.

 

God had the power to protect the first disciples when they spread the gospel yet He didn't. He allowed them to be killed. Why did He not let them live a much longer life to tell more people about Jesus? Even though the disciples were prematurely killed Christianity has survived 2000 years, think about that. Just a few followers starting out and today Jesus' message is throughout the world. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of Christians have been killed over history yet here we are still a major theology. From first century to fourth century writings it is clear that the vast majority of Christians did not believe in fighting yet Christianity flourished and grew. Presuming that all of Christians or most of Christianity might be wiped out if they don't fight does not in anyway nullify or exempt us from Jesus' principles. This is situational justification and if we believe in that then who is to say which situations are justifiable in not living a life following Jesus? I just go where Jesus' principles take me, even if I don't want to follow them.

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The waters get muddy when people fail to read the texts properly. They take an instruction that was given regarding interpersonal relationships and apply it across the board, including he realm of the state. Following the logic os some, a police officer should, "turn the other cheek" if he catches me speeding.

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The waters get muddy when people fail to read the texts properly. They take an instruction that was given regarding interpersonal relationships and apply it across the board, including he realm of the state. Following the logic os some, a police officer should, "turn the other cheek" if he catches me speeding.

 

I just can't find where a person's occupation or employer somehow changes how God expects them to live when it comes to following the principles' of Jesus. Unfortunately there are unbelievers that fill the government's role. There is no expectation that God has for His people to be involved in jobs where they are required to harm people. God is clear that this earthly government is His minister; yet His people do not belong to this earthly government therefore should not do anything that contradicts Jesus' principles. Christians belong to a Spiritual government/kingdom. We live in this physical kingdom and are expected to obey it; yet God's will always overrides the government's will when it comes to how each Christian lives their life. This includes the job we may have in this physical world. I doubt there will be a shortage of people to fill the violent role for the state, I wish it weren't true. A Christian should not be that person that may contradict the example and expectation of Jesus. I get a sense from some people I talk to that differ from the belief of absolute nonviolence that those of us who follow the nonviolent teaching are somehow wrong or are looked down upon because we won't fight; and this boggles my mind. Jesus is clear regarding how he expects His followers to live as it relates to treating others with love.

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God is clear that this earthly government is His minister; yet His people do not belong to this earthly government therefore should not do anything that contradicts Jesus' principles.

But if God's people refuse to take part in the government that he has established that will be that ungodly people will control it and it is less likely to serve God's intended purpose. At least one of the early Christians worked for the government. Romans 16:23 mentions Erastus, the city treasurer of Corinth, as one of the believers who joined Paul in greeting the Christians in Rome.

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I just can't find where a person's occupation or employer somehow changes how God expects them to live when it comes to following the principles' of Jesus. Unfortunately there are unbelievers that fill the government's role. There is no expectation that God has for His people to be involved in jobs where they are required to harm people. God is clear that this earthly government is His minister; yet His people do not belong to this earthly government therefore should not do anything that contradicts Jesus' principles. Christians belong to a Spiritual government/kingdom. We live in this physical kingdom and are expected to obey it; yet God's will always overrides the government's will when it comes to how each Christian lives their life. This includes the job we may have in this physical world. I doubt there will be a shortage of people to fill the violent role for the state, I wish it weren't true. A Christian should not be that person that may contradict the example and expectation of Jesus. I get a sense from some people I talk to that differ from the belief of absolute nonviolence that those of us who follow the nonviolent teaching are somehow wrong or are looked down upon because we won't fight; and this boggles my mind. Jesus is clear regarding how he expects His followers to live as it relates to treating others with love.

 

So, a Christian judge should, "turn the other cheek", and let criminals off? A Christian cop should not arrest drunk drivers? A Christian town tax official should not foreclose on someone who has failed to pay his property taxes for 20 years?

 

I can forgive a person who stole my TV, but the police still will (and should) arrest him, and a judge should sentence him. The two are completely different things.

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But if God's people refuse to take part in the government that he has established that will be that ungodly people will control it and it is less likely to serve God's intended purpose. At least one of the early Christians worked for the government. Romans 16:23 mentions Erastus, the city treasurer of Corinth, as one of the believers who joined Paul in greeting the Christians in Rome.

 

 

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I'm not at all saying Christians shouldn't be involved in government. The point is simple. Our actions are what matters in this context. God wants His people to be about peace and forgiveness, not violence or resistance. The end doesn't justify the means. What happens to this earthly government is of no eternal consequence to a Christian.

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So, a Christian judge should, "turn the other cheek", and let criminals off? A Christian cop should not arrest drunk drivers? A Christian town tax official should not foreclose on someone who has failed to pay his property taxes for 20 years?

 

I can forgive a person who stole my TV, but the police still will (and should) arrest him, and a judge should sentence him. The two are completely different things.

 

 

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Y'all can pose the same sceneries in slightly different ways and it doesn't change what Jesus taught. I've already addressed your questions. Christians should not put themselves in ANY situation where they will disobey God; therefore why in the world would a Christian want to be a police officer or some type of combatant? The judge and tax collector I admit are not as black and white. When it comes to that each person must work out their own faith. I would choose not to be either one.

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But if God's people refuse to take part in the government that he has established that will be that ungodly people will control it and it is less likely to serve God's intended purpose. At least one of the early Christians worked for the government. Romans 16:23 mentions Erastus, the city treasurer of Corinth, as one of the believers who joined Paul in greeting the Christians in Rome.

Also, God's intended purpose is to be carried out by Christians not the earthly government

 

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Y'all can pose the same sceneries in slightly different ways and it doesn't change what Jesus taught. I've already addressed your questions. Christians should not put themselves in ANY situation where they will disobey God; therefore why in the world would a Christian want to be a police officer or some type of combatant? The judge and tax collector I admit are not as black and white. When it comes to that each person must work out their own faith. I would choose not to be either one.

 

Wow! You sound VERY gnostic. Are you?

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Wow! You sound VERY gnostic. Are you?

 

Not completely clear on what characteristics you're referring to regarding gnosticism. What little I know, and it is little, I am knowledgeable about God's word, nowhere close to an expert just been studying for 30+ years. My only authority is the Bible; not any church, man, tradition, visions, etc. Not all of what Jesus taught is absolute; however when it comes to loving others, retaliation, nonresistance I read clearly in His teachings, actions, and the disciples as being absolutely against violence, with no exceptions. My answer would be no, I consider myself a simple follower of Jesus, a Christian.

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Every individual, every family is under the protection of the law of the land. The government provides security, protection, law and order for the legal citizens of our country. It's our civil and Christian duty and privilege to participate in the government processes. Our goal is of attaining peace, security, prosperity and economically generating money, with hard work, with our fellow men, fellow women and familiies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not completely clear on what characteristics you're referring to regarding gnosticism. What little I know, and it is little, I am knowledgeable about God's word, nowhere close to an expert just been studying for 30+ years. My only authority is the Bible; not any church, man, tradition, visions, etc. Not all of what Jesus taught is absolute; however when it comes to loving others, retaliation, nonresistance I read clearly in His teachings, actions, and the disciples as being absolutely against violence, with no exceptions. My answer would be no, I consider myself a simple follower of Jesus, a Christian.

 

What do you call your religion?

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Not completely clear on what characteristics you're referring to regarding gnosticism. What little I know, and it is little, I am knowledgeable about God's word, nowhere close to an expert just been studying for 30+ years. My only authority is the Bible; not any church, man, tradition, visions, etc. Not all of what Jesus taught is absolute; however when it comes to loving others, retaliation, nonresistance I read clearly in His teachings, actions, and the disciples as being absolutely against violence, with no exceptions. My answer would be no, I consider myself a simple follower of Jesus, a Christian.

 

By Gnostic, I mean that you view the physical creation as bad, and the spiritual realm is good. You have a very dualistic worldview, which Christianity does not go along with. God created the physical world, and we will live eternally in new bodies. He also created and gave authority to states (governments) so that they would govern the people of the earth. He also called, gifted and gave authority to leaders of His church who are to be obeyed and followed. All things which your religion discounts, as far as I can tell by your posts.

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Verses that mention peace in the NT :)

 

Romans 12:18

 If possible, so far as it depends on you, llive peaceably with all.

 

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God

 

1Peter 3:11

let him turn away from evil and do good;

 

let him seek peace and pursue it.

 

1Thessalonians 5:12-13

 

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves

 

James 3:18

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

 

Hebrews 12:14

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

 

2 Timothy 2:22

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

 

2 Corinthians 13:11

 

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

 

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