Should A Christian Be a Pacifist?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Ulsterman, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Ulsterman

    Ulsterman
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    It is a fact of church history that many great Christians were pacifists, men such as Justin Martyr, Menno Simon and D.L Moody. These and others felt that Jesus was a pacifist and that through His life and ministry He taught pacifism.

    Since ultimately Christians struggle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness, they are instructed to fight with the full armour of God, not with weapons that destroy human life. Christians enjoy the privilege of being ambassadors for Christ to the world (2 Cor. 5:18-20). Just as ambassadors today do not become involved in the wars declared by their host nations, so also Christians should not participate in wars carried out by the nations in which they live.Furthermore Scripture teaches that, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (2Tim 2:4)

    So what do you think? Is pacifism Scripturally justified?
     
  2. steveo

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    This is something I have been studying latley, especially with all the wars and attacks on people.
    The Old Testament is full of war. I mean we see God tell Israel to attack the other nations and destroy women and children.
    The New Testament tells us to be peacemakers and turn the other cheek so did God change his view?
    It seems to me the key is balance. We should be quick to forgive and we shouldn't retaliate based on anger etc.. I mean look at what Jesus went through(beatings,whipped,etc).
    But there are verses in the NT that give us the right to defend.
    1 Tim. 5:8 says we are to provide. Provide includes food, clothes, love, and protection.
    If a burglar broke into my home at night and had a gun would it not be right to provide protection for my kids and wife?
    Also, Jesus never told the soldiers to give up their professions.(Acts10:1, Matt 8:5).
    Finally, when Paul said that we fight against spiritual wickedness that we cant see, the wickedness manifests itself into physical things (physical sickness, people physically attacking,etc), so it seems that the defenses Paul gave are not only spiritual but physical. I mean prayer, spreading the gospel, salvation, etc, is spiritual and physical right? Paul says to work out or salvation with fear and trembling. So I see think the point is that we need to know whats behind it, satan and his indivisible ways, but they do manifest physically.
     
  3. HankD

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    I believe Genesis 9:6 allows for what is commonly called "war" or "retribution" on a governmental level against those who murder:

    Genesis 6
    5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.
    6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

    Hitler and Hirohito learned this the hard way.

    HankD
     
  4. Jkdbuck76

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    Pacifism is a good way for your culture to die and for you to die personally.

    Pacifism means that you wouldn't participate in violence NO MATTER WHAT.
    So, if someone breaks in and beats your spouse and children to death, you as a pacifist would have to let them since you believe in pacifying.

    The bible is chock-full of instances where violence is commanded by God Himself. And Jesus is God Himself. Yes, Jesus is a God of mercy, but He is also a God of Wrath and Justice. He even commanded the disciples to carry a sword!
     
  5. DHK

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    The truth is, that he commanded Peter to put away his sword and rebuked him for even thinking of using it at a time when it was His Father's will for Him to endure the full cup of the suffering of the wrath of God for the sin of the world.
    He told Peter that he could have called 12 legions of angels (72,000) if he had wanted to defend himself. He didn't need a sword. His will was to go to the cross and suffer and die. This he did willingly. He was going to lay his life down, and take it up again. Throughout the whole ordeal Christ was never a victim; he was always the victor. He was always in control. However, he never needed a sword, nor advocated its use.
    When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, it was Jesus that stepped up to the plate and asked them: "Whom seek ye?" They answered Jesus of Nazareth. Christ said: "I am he" And they, at that answer fell backward. The scene was repeated again, as Jesus asked them a second time "Whom seek ye?" And then, as if he was asking for an arrest warrant with his name on it, he pointed to his disciples, and said, "But let these go." In fulfilling his own prophetic prayer, that he would lose none, and in demonstrating his love for his own disciples, he was negotiating for their release. It was at that time that Peter lopped off Malchus's ear. What a commotion that could have caused, and very quickly caused each and every one of them to be put under arrest. But Jesus very quickly restored his ear to him. And the disciples were let go.
    "Put up thy sword Peter!"
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    Where's all the Calvinism discussions? jk. Been Awol for awhile..lurking again.

    Christians shouldn't be pacifists...and they should become suicide bombers either..
     
  7. Ulsterman

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    Sorry - double post (see below)
     
    #7 Ulsterman, Nov 27, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2007
  8. Ulsterman

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    We have had a lot of opinion opposed to pacifism, but very little Scripture - I thought this was the Theology & Bible Study forum?

    What do we do with, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4). Or how about, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39). Shouldn't we "Love our enemies?' What does that mean?

    Jesus:
    1. Never once incited rebellion or war against the Roman authorities.
    2. Taught us to suffer evil treatment and not to resist it - Matt 5:38-40
    3. Taught us to love, bless and do good to our enemies - Matt 5:44-45
    4. Described Christians as “sheep in the midst of wolves.”
    5. Told his disciples to lay down their swords - Matt 26:52
    6. Taught us to practice the golden rule - Luke 6:31
    7. Taught His disciples to endure insults gracefully - Luke 9:51-56
    8. Said believers should flee rather than fight an enemy - Luke 21:19-21
    9. Taught that saints are not to fight for earthly kingdoms - John 18:36

    Is the believer's arsenal carnal (2Cor 10:4)? Aren't we to resist on the spiritual battlefield purtting on the "whole armour of God"? (Eph 6:10-18)

    Doesn't James condemn war? War is based on the evil of greed. (James 4:1-2)

    Enough rhetoric. Where's the pro war Scriptures?
     
  9. Steven2006

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    My answer to your question is yes.




    Mar 12:31 "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these."


    Rom 13:9 For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
    Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of {the} law.


    Mat 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.'
    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.
    Mat 5:40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
    Mat 5:41 "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
    Mat 5:42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
    Mat 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.'
    Mat 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
    Mat 5:45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil and {the} good, and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous.
    Mat 5:46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
    Mat 5:47 "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing {than others?} Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
    Mat 5:48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.



    Luk 6:35 "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.}



    1Jo 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.



    Mat 26:52 Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.



    Mat 6:14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.



    Jhn 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."



    2Cr 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
    2Cr 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.



    Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
    Mat 16:25 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
     
  10. npetreley

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    Christians should be pacifists. Anyone who disagrees with me is invited to step outside with me to settle it.
     
  11. steveo

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  12. Palatka51

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    Romans 13:1-7
    1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
    2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God:
    and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
    4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
    5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
    6For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
    7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    Looking at verse 4 there are times when an evil regime has usurped the Godly authority and there is no other choice but for a righteous nation to rise up and bring that regime to justice. Our forefathers wrestled with this question as they were petitioning King George.
    If the nation calls for a defense who are they going to call to minister the sword to the evil doer another malefactor? It is the duty of a citizen to answer the call for national defense.
    Should a Christian be a Judge? Yes
    Should a Christian be a Policeman? Yes
    Should a Christian be a Politician of a city, county, state or national? Yes
    Should a Christian serve on Jury duty? Yes
    These are not pacifists positions and if your answer is no then who is going to minister Godly justice?
     
    #12 Palatka51, Nov 27, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2007
  13. DHK

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    Yes he did, as a matter of fact. In the OT, God had called out the nation of Israel and given them a Promised Land which they were to go and conquer. He commanded them to drive out idolatrous nations, and they were to inhabit that land instead.

    There is no such command in the NT. Instead we are commanded to obey those that in authority over us, i.e., the government. Every command of Christ points to turning the other cheek, loving your neighbor as yourself, putting down your sword, and sacrificing yourself, the denial of oneself, etc. It speaks of spiritual warfare not carnal warfare.

    I note that all the Scripture that you used was from the OT, and the one NT passage that you did use was a parable that you took way out of context. It had no bearing on whether a Christian ought to take up arms or not. In fact it was speaking of a heathen king (in context), not a believer. It was simply a parable.
     
  14. Palatka51

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    So if Canada were to call its citizens to arms you would not submit?
    Romans 13:1-3
    1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
    2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
     
  15. Steven2006

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    That is not a good argument because if a Christian believes that the government is requiring something that goes against their Godly convictions, they are instructed to obey God. I could ask you a hypothetical, say you were a doctor, and the government chose to require all doctors to commit abortions, would you do so based on your same argument?


     
  16. steveo

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    Yes dhk I know he is not saying to take up arms, but why would he reference war if it was something that he changed his mind about? The verse you just quoted about obeying authority then answers the question if we should be pacifist or not. We are to obey are government and since we go to war, then we should go. Why didn't Jesus tell Peter not to carry swords anymore? He did cut off a mans ear. I do agree we should be peacemakers and not look for fights or wars but God never says anywhere to not defend yourself or others. Jesus said in Luke 22:36 "Then he said unto them, But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one"
     
  17. Palatka51

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    The Forefathers of these US wrestled with this question as well and decided that justification for rebellion was in order if government was in opposition to Providentially given rights.
    These should be common sense answers. Please see post #12 on this thread.
    It is the duty of a citizen to answer the call for national defense.
    Should a Christian be a Judge? Yes
    Should a Christian be a Policeman? Yes
    Should a Christian be a Politician of a city, county, state or national? Yes
    Should a Christian serve on Jury duty? Yes
    These are not pacifists positions and if your answer is no then who is going to minister Godly justice?
     
  18. steveo

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    Abortion is sin. Where does it say war or protecting your family or country is sin?
     
  19. Steven2006

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    Luk 22:37 "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."
    Luk 22:38 They said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, "It is enough."



    You didn't quote the rest of Jesus' statement. He goes on to say they would be transgressors because of carying the swords. This was the beginning and partial fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. 53:12 which He quotes. He also said that the two swords were enough for that purpose. He didn't instruct them all to go out and carry weapons. His point was not that we should arm, but to fulfill prophecy. The same prophecy that was completely filled later (see mark 15:28).
     
  20. Steven2006

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    What I am saying is that argument is flawed, because if someone believes it goes against their Godly conviction they are to listen to God, not man.
     

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