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Wrong for Governments to Use Force

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Link, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Link

    Link New Member

    May 30, 2004
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    I have recently read a little about the iconoclast contraversy around 800-900 AD, and it got me thinking about the authority of Christian governments to stomp out idolatry. Another period of history that comes to mind is the time period of Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia.

    Gregory's father had killed a king of Armenia and fled to another country where Gregory was either raised as a Christian or became one. Gregory went back to make ammends for his family and to share the Gospel. He was persecuted by the new king, the son of the old one, and put in a pit, according to legend, for years where a widow fed him. He managed to survive. When one of the king's family members was demonized, Gregory was called for and cast it out. The king was converted. The king, whose name started with a T. fought a war against armies of pagans, and used the sword to get rid of paganism and pagan temples.

    The iconoclasts were those against the use of icons, primarily in the eastern part of the Roman empire around 700 and 800 AD. There were a few iconoclastic emporers who did away with icons and used force against pro-icon bishops and monks. Image worshipping bishops were deposed, and things of that nature.

    Eventually a pro-image emporer took over and did away with the reforms.

    I know the idea of the state doing anything against religion goes against American political philosophy. But I am asking you to set that aside and try to think about this Biblically for a moment. The kings in the OT who used force to kill the prophets of Baal and tear down pagan shrines were spoken of in a positive light. The New Testament says that rulers do not bear the sword in vain, that the ruler is a minister of God to execute wrath on him that doeth evil. Idolatry is evil. If a ruler chooses to use the sword against those who practice the evil of idolatry, is this wrong?

    I am thinking of medeval and ancient kings, here, primarily, not promoting reconstructionism. I am not talking about rulers forcing people to convert to Christianity, but rather punishing those who worship idols. Any opinions?
  2. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    Well that would be interesting, finding out what our worldly Government's idea of what an "idol" is... from one day to the next and from one person in office to the next.

    How about if we have a Roman Catholic controlled Government decide for one year what an "idol" is and let them stomp out heretics and then try it the next year with a Protestant Government?


    Fortunately, people came over here in the first place to escape from such persecution.
  3. Monergist

    Monergist New Member

    Jan 14, 2002
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    I find this an interesting take on the subject:

    Proselytizing for another god
  4. billwald

    billwald New Member

    Jun 28, 2000
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    Bahnsen is (was?) a Reconstructionist. If they gained control then "Christian" would be defined by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church creeds. Only "real" Christians would have the vote.

    see www.freebooks.com
  5. bmerr

    bmerr New Member

    Apr 23, 2005
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    bmerr here. Interesting topic. Just off the top of my head, I'd say the idea of government enforcement of religious rules/violations is pretty scary. The others who have responded made good points.

    The praise given to the few good kings of Judah and Israel is recorded for us in Scripture, but was probably not echoed in the "Washington (com)Post" of the time.

    The Bible gives us God's view of the kings of that period in Israel's history based on their adherence to the Law of God. They either led the people to sin in following idols, or they led the people to righteousness in following Jehovah.

    Another thing to consider is that there are very few monarchies with the power to dictate right and wrong for those they rule over these days.

    In America, as you likely know, it is (or, at least it used to be) a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". The population elects leaders to enact laws that reflect their notions of right and wrong.

    The laws of our nation may change from time to to time depending on the population's adherence to the Bible as the standard of right and wrong.

    Unfortunately, the system of government set in place by the founding fathers has been hijacked by the "Immoral Minority", and laws are now often set according to the 9 "Kings" on the Supreme Court.

    Before I get to rambling, let me just say two words about the Supreme Court: it's not.

    In Christ,