Jesus and the Case for War

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Revmitchell, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    ...........First, “loving your enemies,” like “turn the other cheek,” is a command for individuals in personal relationships. It is not a command for governments or for individuals put in grave bodily harm. As individuals we should pray for our enemies and “turn the other cheek” instead of returning insult for insult. Such behavior demonstrates supernatural love aimed at securing the offender’s conversion to Christ. But those commands do not mean that we have no right to personal self defense, nor do they mean that a nation shouldn’t protect its people from other hostile nations. .....


    More Here
     
  2. JustChristian

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    I agree that Biblical precepts have no bearing on what a nation decides to do. Nations act in their own self interest not to fulfill Christian standards. But a Christian is instructed to treat their neighbors and even their enemies with love. Individuals don't have to support or even go along with the direction of the state. Of course some times this might result in punishment by the state.

    What was the fate of the disciples?

    Peter's life ended when he was crucified upside down. He claimed that he was unworthy to die in the same manner as his master.

    Andrew was martyred on an x-shaped cross (the saltire) he apparently lasted for two days before finally succumbing to death, during which time he reputedly continued to preach the word of God to passers-by.

    Bartholemew met a very sticky end, being 'flayed alive and beheaded' under the instruction of King Astyages of Babylon either in Albanopolis, Armenia, or possibly in Derbend on the Caspian Sea.

    Thomas, in keeping with the now almost de rigueur grisly ending that befits an Apostle, died after being stabbed with a spear.

    Jude was 'battered to death with a club' and then beheaded, somewhere in Persia.

    Philip was also martyred, but the exact details of his demise are not to be found.

    Mathew, after preaching in Judea carried the Gospel to Ethiopia where he was subsequently murdered.

    James was martyred in Jerusalem, stabbed with a sword by King Herod Agrippa .

    James the Lessor was reputedly 'thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, then stoned and beaten with clubs, including fuller's mallets, while praying for his attackers in Jerusalem'.

    Simon was crucified in Samaria (according to the Abyssinians); sawn in half at Suanir, Persia; or martyred at Weriosphora in Iberia.

    John was perhaps the only disciple that wasn't martyred.

    The early Christians were thrown to the lions or killed by gladiators in the Roman Coliseum. Clearly, none of these believers took up arms to kill their tormentors. What's different today? Well, Christianity has become the acceptable religion in America. Something like 77% of Americans claim to be Christians (declined from 86% in 1990 to 77% in 2001). But as the declining numbers and the number of people in prison as well as the general decay of morality shows, not many of them are really very committed to the faith. I believe that's what we're talking about here, commitment to the faith.
     
  3. Allan

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    They were being persecuted for their faith which is where scripture speaks of turning the other cheek and such. We are not to fight or take up arms for the sake of the gospel but we are not admonished either for fighting for safty, protection, freedom, ect.. for ourselves, family, friends, and nation(s).

    Even Jesus told his disciples to up the sword but it was for their protection not to fight for their religion or the gospel.
     
  4. Crabtownboy

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    Nations are made up of individuals ... Individuals are responsible to God for their decisions and actions ... Thus nations are responsible to God.

    Israel as a nation was held resposible for its action.

    The ultra-modern belief that nations are not responsible to God is simply an extension of the hyper-individualism of our culture and it is wrong.

    Amen and amen.
     
  5. Marcia

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    To tell the truth, I struggle with this issue. Should Christians support their country going to war unless it's clearly self-defense? I am not sure any of the recent wars have been for self-defense. I love my country and think we have the most freedom of any country, but I can't wholeheartedly support our war efforts, or at least I'm torn about them.

    And the idea of a "just war" seems man-based. Wars in the OT were fought at God's command and in his power, and I don't think are applicable today.

    I see war more as just another part of fallen man and his continual destructive cycle that he cannot get out of (until there is the new earth).
     
  6. just-want-peace

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    Marcia, I share your ambivalence re:this issue, BUT, I strongly lean to the "action" side simply because of how it may impact others.

    For instance, suppose you are a firearms carrier and you come across a rape in-progress behind the hedges at the edge of the mall parking lot.
    Do you pull out your FA out and attempt to stop the assault and hold the perp till the police can get there, or refuse to get involved since it means you have to actually physically confront someone?

    WWJD?

    I think this same reasoning can be applied to nations, even though there will be different limits that may be defined as to the "intervention" point.

    No cut & dried answers that I'm aware of, so I guess each individual needs to define for himself the "action" point, if any, when getting involved with defending other than himself; or maybe even including himself!!
     
  7. Marcia

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    I appreciate your thoughts but don't think there is a valid analogy here. I think the individual situation is quite different from an international one, at least in the cases of recent wars.

    We (as a country) do not intervene every time another people group or nation is in trouble; it's only particular ones. There are cases almost everywhere of some group being assaulted or killed where we do nothing (look at Sudan). And of course I don't think we necessarily should intervene or our military would be around the world fighting all the time.
     
  8. Crabtownboy

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    You are right. There is no way to compare stopping a rape and going to war. And you are right in that we, as do all countries, selectively decide which situation we are going to become involved in ... let's see we have not involved ourselves in:

    Buma
    Zimbabwe
    Sudan
    N. Korea
    East Timor
    Nigeria
    China
    Chechnya

    just to name a few.

    No where do I see Christ saying, "Kill your enemies."
     
  9. canadyjd

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    A little bit more of the quote is "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." Persecution, as already demonstrated, can result in grave bodily harm, even death. Stephen didn't fight those who stoned him, did he? No, he prayed for them.

    What nations do and what Christians do should be considered two different things.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    Which is a big point int he article.
     
  11. JustChristian

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    I think if you carry a weapon you're probably already made that decision. Otherwise, why carry a weapon. How about trying to stop the crime without killing the other person? That takes more courage than carrying a gun.

    Personal responsibility extends into other areas outside of carrying firearms. It's amazing how many people won't even call the police in a situation like you described. With cell phones so common these days most people could at least do that. A lot of people just don't want to get involved.
     
  12. just-want-peace

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    Bolded mine

    No wonder there's so much disagreement on this board.

    It helps to respond to what is actually stated!

    Bolding added
     
  13. Marcia

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    I didn't start this thread but would like to see a discussion on war. The OP is Jesus and the Case for War.

    I hope it doesn't devolve into a discussion on crime, carrying weapons, etc. -- that's really a topic for another thread.

    So don't people out there have views on war from a Chrisitan viewpoint?
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    It is off topic a bit. What I have seen is some inconsistent arguments. There are those who will suggest that we should not be in Iraq, they will draw out the old "love your enemies" like a six shooter from a side holster and then later argue we should have not taken any of our troops out of Afghanistan.

    Yet another inconsistant argument that gets made is that we should not, as a country go to war at all argue "love your enemies" but then also argue separation of church and state. They become outraged, as Christians, when others suggest that the Ten Commandments be hung on court house walls but then work to hold our governement to their perceived scritpual standards of peace keeping.
     
    #14 Revmitchell, Aug 14, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2008
  15. swaimj

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    Waging war in self-defense is justifiable. I think government has a duty to wage war if the country is attacked.

    What about invading Iraq? Prior to the invasion, we were told that terrorists wanted to sneak a nuclear weapon into the US to destroy a major city. We had just experienced 9/11 which showed that there were certainly elements in the world that wanted to destoy us. We were told that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction which they would provide to terrorists to use in an attack. To prevent such an attack on us, an invasion of Iraq was justified.

    Set aside for a moment whether Iraq actually had weapons or whether they were developing weapons. That is another argument. Assuming that the threat was real, I believe the US government had a duty to act as they did in attacking Iraq and removing the threat. If a country was threatening to bomb us with conventional bombs and attack us with tanks, we would be justified in meeting their planes over the water before they are able to reach us and sinking the ships carrying the tanks before they arrive. In the same way, it is just to stop a terrorist threat before it occurs even if it means attacking a sovereign country.

    I know this issue is complicated by the question of whether Iraq actually had weapons of mass destruction. If they did not, and if the US government intentionally misled us to believe they did, then the war is not just. Frankly, I don't know the answer to that question and the historical detail that can decide it may not be fully revealed in my lifetime, so I reserve judgement.
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    The bigger issue of Iraq was they invaded a soverign country and then broke the cease fire agreement.
     
  17. ReformedBaptist

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    I guess that puts me in a certain camp. :laugh: I keep a 9mm in my truck, a .357 and a .22 at the house, and have a rifle with a 9x scope. I would defend my person, family, and property with deadly force if needed. I would prefer the police do it, but if someone tried to take me out or broke into my house, and the Lord enabled me to have my weapon and gave me a shot..I would take it. I would conclude the Lord delivered the evildoer into my hands.
     
  18. swaimj

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    BTW, thanks for opening a thread in the theology section that is not CvA or LS. It's the first interesting thread in this section in months!
     
  19. JustChristian

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    But when Peter used it in defense of Jesus He admonished him and put back on the soldier's ear.
     
  20. JustChristian

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    Certainly God can take actions for or against a nation. I don't know to what extent that has happened throughout history after Biblical times. But only individuals will be judged before Christ. Nations will not be judged. Families will not be judged. We will stand alone to meet our Maker.
     

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