Should we be pacifists?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by bound, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. bound

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    Been in a long conversation with a friend about pacifism. He argues that we should be pacifists like Christ. What is your opinion?

    Thanks.
     
  2. steaver

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    Being a total absolute Pacifist would be immoral. There are too many circumstances were engaging in fight would be not only called for, but also demanded by moral conscience. Would a father stand by and watch his daughter be raped?
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    I would like to be shown the passage that shows where Jesus was confronted with going to war or not.
     
  4. TrevorL

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    Greetings Revmitchell,

    I would not use the word pacifism, but I believe that the disciple of Christ should not be involved with the past, present and future conflicts of the nations.
    Perhaps the following are some indication of why we should not participate and the first of these could be used in part to your request where Jesus did not fight when he could have done so, nor his disciples, though Peter at first attempted to defend Jesus with the sword:
    John 18:36 (KJV): Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
    Matthew 26:51-54 (KJV): 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
    Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV): 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


    Kind regards
    Trevor
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    Jesus did not fight because He had other plans, namely to go to the cross.

    Jesus did not need a sword He could call down a legion of angels anytime.

    There will be a time in the future when He does engage in a fight.
     
  6. TrevorL

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    Greetings again Revmitchell,

    Yes and we are called to take up our cross and follow him in this present life.
    Yes, but he did not as he was setting the example for us to follow.
    Yes, that is why I prefer not to use the term "pacifist". There will be a time to fight when Jesus returns to set up his kingdom upon the earth. Until then his servants will not fight.

    Kind regards
    Trevor
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    Uh, this is not the same thing and misses any intended application

    How many times have you cast demons into pigs?

    I can appreciate your position. I just do not find biblical support for it being a must.
     
  8. steaver

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    And what about fighting to defend another who is being tortured or abused? Should we stand by and watch a child be raped? should we just say "please don't do that sir"?
     
  9. TrevorL

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    Greetings again Revmitchell and steaver,
    I personally think that it is applicable. Discipleship to Jesus involves a whole way of life, where the disciple has first responsibility to Jesus, and not to the present rulers of the kingdoms of men. He is like a pilgrim passing through his present country.
    Matthew 16:24-25 (KJV): 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    Galatians 2:20 (KJV): I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    Relevance?
    I think it is a very personal thing, each man according to his conscience. The word “pacifist” has a different range to another term “conscientious objector”. My fellowship has had a history of having a conscience against fighting in the American Civil War, WW1 and WW2 and other conflicts. They have been granted exemption once the individual conscience has been verified, sometimes under duress.

    This is a typical question that is asked by the tribunals when one is seeking exemption. To argue from this to a full participation in war is a typical line used, but is not valid. I have a large amount of documentation on these matters, but this is private.

    I believe that war is ordained by God as a means to bring judgement upon the nations, and also to outwork his purpose in the earth. A number of OT incidents are interesting, with Jehoshaphat, with Hezekiah, and Jeremiah’s counsel to submit to Babylon, and even AD70, especially the Jewish believers in the gospel of Christ. My view of prophecy is that the military of the nations will be overthrown in the battle of Armageddon, and I believe this could be the next major battle between the nations.

    Kind regards
    Trevor
     
  10. steaver

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    The OP is about Pacifism. It did not specify between national war and personal domestic self defense. So I never said anything about arguing for war. Are you a pacifist Trevor? A true pacifist would be one who never engages in physical offense or defense towards any adversary. So would you use physical force against a person in the act of raping a child or not?
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    I agree with everything you said here except it is applicable. In that passage this issue is not even in view. It never was during Christs ministry. Scripture just does not address it.


    You seem to apply the idea of following Jesus to apply to absolutely everything He did. So it is relevant.
     
  12. TrevorL

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    Greetings again steaver,

    My electronic Webster says the following:
    pacifism
    1 : opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes specif : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
    2 : an attitude or policy of nonresistance — pacifist
    ———————
    pacifist
    1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of pacifism or pacifists
    2 : strongly and actively opposed to conflict and esp. war —

    so the subject of war is related to Pacifism.

    Concerning your question, I imagine if faced with that circumstance that I would in the heat and necessity of the moment do everything possible to stop the offender. But I do not believe in self-defense. I also believe in the Providence of God and sometimes this will lead to being subjected to personal evil circumstances as per some of the faithful.
    Hebrews 11:36-40 (KJV): 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy, they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

    Kind regards
    Trevor
     
  13. steaver

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    It is related, I didn't say it wasn't. But as the definitions say, it is not exclusive to war.

    That would make you as most of us are which is Pacifist depending on our circumstances.

    I also believe the Providence of God has inspired many of His children to step up and fight, either by war or by domestic situations where the fighting is to defend the weak and defenseless.

    There are far too many situations which morally call for action on our part to stop an aggressor for any of us to be called a true Pacifist. It will always default to just what is the situation at the time.
     
    #13 steaver, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2013
  14. TrevorL

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    Greetings again steaver,

    I agree that it is not exclusive to war, but relates to all circumstances in life. The term pacifist has a particular range of ideas and I do not believe that Jesus calls on his disciples to be pacifists (and this is the topic of the OP). My aim was to suggest that Jesus does teach that we should not be involved in conflict between the nations, nor in any form of violence in other circumstances.
    Even though you do not want to discuss war in particular, I cannot agree with the idea that I would have chosen to fight in say the American Civil War, WW1 and WW2. I consider it abhorrent the possibility of fighting against people of my own belief if they were placed in a similar circumstance on the other side of the conflict. For Catholic to fight against Catholic, Episcopalian against Episcopalian, Baptist against Baptist to me also seems abhorrent. The order of loyalty to me is firstly to God and Jesus, then to our brethren in the faith, then to our neighbours, and then at a very low level to the country in which we reside. The full reason for many of the conflicts seem obscure at least and motivations on both sides are very questionable. To be brought under the power of such systems is to me not what Jesus would endorse.

    The scriptures I have quoted and many others are to me an indication that Christ’ servants will not fight in the conflicts of the nations. God will deal with aggressors in His own good time, but actually uses them to achieve His purpose. For example Assyria and then Babylon were used by God to effect His purpose, and then He judged them. To fight against Assyria and Babylon at that time, even though they were aggressors would be to fight against God.

    Kind regards
    Trevor
     
    #14 TrevorL, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2013
  15. go2church

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  16. Sapper Woody

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    I don't think making a bull-whip and driving people out of the temple while throwing their tables around is very pacifist. But that's just me. IMO (and I stress opinion) it is a sin to be a complete pacifist. To stand idly by while others get hurt is wrong. I'll admit that self defence is debatable, but I stand firmly that is isn't wrong to act in self defence.

    There is a difference between not being a pacifist and being aggressive. You don't have to belong to one extreme or the other. I pray to God that I will never again have to take a human life. But put in the situation, I will.

    I don't go looking for fights. I won't say I don't run from them, because I'd rather avoid them. But I will participate if I have to.

    A few years ago, a guy "mugged" me. Sort of. He held a knife towards me and demanded my wallet. I tried to avoid a fight, but as I reached for my wallet, he lunged towards me and cut my face. At this point there was no more choice but to fight. I did not kill him. In fact, he got away. But I did what I had to do to neutralize him.

    To have let him kill me that night I believe would have been sin. I would have left behind a wife and three toddlers. They'd have had monetary compensation from my life insurance, sure. But the girls would have grown up without a father. I couldn't live with that (pun? maybe).
     
  17. steaver

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    I believe this issue is one of those which falls under the "Liberty in Christ" to follow as the Spirit leads. It could be right and it could be wrong depending on the prompting of the Holy Spirit towards each individual in each circumstance.
     
  18. TrevorL

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    Greetings Sapper Woody,

    I appreciate your comments. I find it difficult to communicate with someone in the armed forces, especially if their sole aim is to help others. I can sympathize with some of the things that you have stated. One experience that has coloured my attitude is that I used to work next to a Captain in the Australian CMF (part-time civilian). He was in the Signals side of things, but had a visit to inspect the American equipment and operations in Vietnam. He did speak to me on his return against some attitudes of some of the troops and some of the activities that were occurring in Vietnam.
    This reminds me of an incident. One of my friends brought up in a similar environment to me started to learn karate or similar. I questioned this in my mind, and hoped that she would not need to use this in self-defense, and hoped it was only as a form of exercise and activity. She is a secondary schoolteacher and one day two of her pupils were fighting and one had the other’s head locked and his opponent was choking. The boy refused to respond to her command and with her training she was able to quickly remove the boy’s grip and then help the other boy who needed some help to recover. To me this was in effect an act of pacifism, but how to expand this up into the larger picture I find difficult.

    I still stand by my comments on the need to see the overall picture from the Divine point of view, and that God raises evil men to use them temporarily for judgement on the nations. In my opinion we are acting against God if we fight against them.
    Isaiah 10:5-7 (KJV): 5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
    I believe that the Assyrian invasion in the time of Hezekiah is a pattern or typical of the events soon to happen in the Middle East in the Battle of Armageddon. Those that oppose this invasion at the first will be swept aside and destroyed, even though the latter-day Assyrian will be an oppressor. I believe only after this force is successful that Christ will intervene.

    Kind regards
    Trevor
     

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