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Author Topic: Did Jesus really teach us to use violence in self defence?  (Read 1667 times)
David_james
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« on: February 09, 2010, 04:53:25 AM »

Matthew 5

38"You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.'

 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.

 40"If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.

 41"Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

 42"Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Jesus is basically saying don't fight back but to show love. He doesn't want us to kill intruders.
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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 09:18:44 AM »

Here is an article that I wrote on this sometime ago about the teachings of pacifism and going to war as a soldier. It also applies in the areas of self defense and/or defending others from bodily harm.


I have been asked numerous times if it is right for a Christian to be a combat soldier, to kill in combat. In fact this is a question that I had to ask for myself before I decided to join the military.

Nehemiah, a great prophet of God said, "Neh 4:14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. "

Some people support the belief that as a Christian we are to be pacifists. Using scripture such as "Mat 5:39 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." and " Luk 6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. " to support their belief. Based on these verses and others such as Luk 3:14 and Mat 26:52 they stand by the belief that the New Testament teachings are of pacificism.

When the verse (Mat 5:39 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.)is taken by itself it does appear that Jesus is teaching complete pacifism. If we look at this verse and study its complete meaning we find that He is talking about civil matters between two individuals. The statement "smite thee on thy right cheek" was used in that time as an indication of an applied insult between two people. Not a physical threat to do bodily harm.

Reading further into the next verse (Mat 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.) we can see that Jesus is talking about civil matters, matters of the legal process and how to avoid staying out of courts.

If we are to apply this to matters of war then is when we have people saying that the Bible contradicts itself or that God has changed. There are no contradictions in scriptures there are misunderstandings in mans mind of them. We know that neither are true because God never changes:

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

In regards to Luk 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

John is telling the Soldier to be a good soldier, not one that is using unnecessary force or wrongly accusing someone. After all he did not tell the soldier to quit being a soldier which is evidenced by his statement "be content with your wages". The soldiers at that time were being offered a bounty in addition to their wages for each person that they brought in that was in defiance of the laws. Many of them were beating up and wrongly accusing individuals in order to collect this extra money. This is what John was talking about, not pacifism.

In the verse "Mat 26:52 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." it was in reference of going against the local authorities and in reference to stopping the soldiers from taking Jesus. Jesus knew what was required of Him and that such an action would prevent His going to the cross as is evidenced in the verses that followed this one.

Mat 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
Mat 26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

Complete pacifism is a non biblical position. Although being able to appeal to superficial arguments of conscience and quote the odd verse out of content - the whole spirit and thrust of pacifism is anti Christian. Pacifists may be sincere - but they are sincerely wrong.

A Christian, by definition, must be active - with his or her sleeves rolled up, being willing to get his hands dirty protecting the innocent, defending the defenceless and saving lives from unprovoked aggression. Christian love is not mere words and sentiments. True love shows itself in action. (1 John 3:18). If all Christians refuse to fight then it will leave the battle fields in the hands of men without a conscience.

Pacifism finds it's rots in HUMANISM. Despite some impressive but superficial Christian pretension, pacifism is humanism. In common with humanism, pacifism shares a false idea of man. It sees man as basically good. To the pacifist all people are just too good to kill. Neither rapists, murderers nor terrorists deserve to be stopped, in the view of the pacifist.
In contrast to this notion of people being basically good, the Bible teaches us that the heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful;that they are quick to hurt and kill; they leave ruin and destruction wherever they go... everyone has sinned and is far away from God's saving presence. (Romans 3:15,23) Pacifists often display more concern for the aggressor than for the defender, more sympathy for the criminal than for his victim.

Our Lord Jesus may have been meek but He was never mild! His teaching was powerful, dynamic, direct and uncompromising. This tough carpenter from Nazareth was able to survive forty days fasting in the desert and forty lashes from the brutal Roman whip. He could walk hundreds of kilometers in the blazing heat of Palestine's inhospitable terrain and He could walk through a murderous mob with such a presence that no-one dared stop Him (Luke 4:28-30).
When Jesus saw how corrupt men were desecrating the temple with their money-grabbing greed, He made a whip, overturned their tables and drove them forcibly from God's House (Matthew 21:12-13).

Jesus told His disciples, "Luk 22:36 Then said he 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."

cont'd
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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 09:19:13 AM »

When Jesus returns to this world it will be as the conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Bible teaches us that the first time Jesus came as a Saviour - and all who turn from their sin and trust in Christ, following Him in obedience, are saved. But when Jesus comes again it will be as Judge - and all who have not repented and obeyed will be condemned and eternally punished. The Scripture warns us that when Jesus returns He will annihilate the forces of the false church and the Antichrist. We are told that rivers of blood will flow from the carnage of mankind's rebellion against Christ (Revelation 14:19-20).

"....... and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11,15,16).

Pacifism also has an unrealistic view of society. The reality of this world is that it is a fallen world, inhabited by sinful mankind in rebellion against the Creator. Idealistic fantasies about a world of peace and Utopia without war are cruelly false and dangerously deceptive. In the Bible we are warned that those who say 'Peace! Peace!' when there is no peace are 'loathsome' false prophets (Jeremiah 6:!4; 8:11). Jesus warned us that 'wars and revolutions' would increase (Matthew 24:6,7; Luke 21:9,10). We are warned in the scriptures that 'While people are saying 'Peace and Safety', destruction will come on them suddenly.' (I Thessalonians 5:3)

'PEACE' seems to be the modern equivalent of Baal worship. There is an irrational worship of peace. This selfish materialistic age has made an idol out of peace. 'Peace at any price' inevitably leads to tyranny and destruction - the peace of a graveyard.

People say that war is hell - but often peace is worse. More people died in the peace following the revolution in CAMBODIA than died in the entire war before it. Three-milion Cambodians (40% of the population) were slaughtered by Pol Pot's Marxist Khmer Rouge in the 'peace' following 1975. In fact, more people have been tortured, maimed and massacred in times of peace than in times of war during the last century!

Have we become so soft, decadent and self-seeking that we are no longer willing to risk our lives for anything? Is nothing worth fighting for? Do we have nothing worth defending? Do we care so little for others that we're unwilling to risk anything for their protection? Are we so engrossed in watching videos, in 'wine, women and song' that we can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong? Or don't we even care?

For centuries Christians have believed that there were worse things than war. For our ancestors death in battle was not the worst thing that could happen to them. An eternity in hell was. They did not fear death. They feared God. They realised that death for the Christian is not fatal. They had a clear belief in eternal life. Principles were more important then personal safety. Duty, honor, country, family and God meant more to them than selfish desires for peace and safety. And thank God for that because the faith and freedoms we enjoy were won and preserved by their blood, sweat and sacrifices.

The wise Christian does not seek to selfishly avoid the problems of this world, but courageously steps out in faith to be part of the solution. We should recognize that sinful man needs to be restrained by laws and by force, that liberty needs to be defended, that our freedoms came through, and often need to be maintained by hard fighting.

If all Christians became pacifists, would all non-Christians also become pacifists?
Not likely.

It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism - while the wolf remains of a different opinion (-W. R. Inge). The Bible declares: 'Blessed are the peacemakers' - Matthew 5:9. NOT blessed are the pacifists! You have to make peace. It takes action. For the pacifists hoping for worldwide peace - Jesus said: 'Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.' (Matthew 10:34)

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David_james
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 09:51:23 AM »

I was meaning in terms of an intruders and being attacked somewhere. Do you fight back or no? Do you kill him or let yourself be killed?
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 10:21:08 AM »

There is such a thing in our written earthly laws called 'minimum force required.' If a person is a threat they need to be subdued but it should be done with the minimum force required in order to accomplish that. If I am able to stop a person without killing them then that should be the action taken. If it calls for killing in order to save one self or others from bodily harm then yes that is the necessary action. This is exactly what is being said in the article I posted above.

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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 01:35:45 PM »

I guess I will never in this life be what God wants if it means makkng a punching bag of myself. If someone hits me and I'm able to, I will defend myself. Usually, I strike back out of pure reflex and has nothing to do with thinking, "He just hit me so I will hit him."
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2010, 05:20:16 PM »

I told someone that God said to fight in old testament and that God never changes.
They said God just changed what he wanted us to do.
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 07:57:06 PM »

Those who trust God should also make adequate provision for their own defense even as we are instructed in the passages cited above. For a man to refuse to provide adequately for his and his family's defense would be to defy God. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us: "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." For a man to provide shelter, food, clothing, money, and so forth is quite fine, but the man who refuses to defend his family and his community is a man in sin!


"Although difficult for modern men to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold Godís gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach oneís duty to oneís community." (Nation of Cowards, Accurate Press, 2001, page 16.)


Psa 82:3  Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Psa 82:4  Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

Let's also look at Mat 25: 40-46 when Jesus explains what will happen to those that stand idly by and refused to assist those in need of help.

I know that all of this is not just in regards to self defense but rather also incorporates the defense of others also but it still applies to those that want to claim pacifism.
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2010, 01:49:54 PM »

Those who trust God should also make adequate provision for their own defense even as we are instructed in the passages cited above. For a man to refuse to provide adequately for his and his family's defense would be to defy God. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us: "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." For a man to provide shelter, food, clothing, money, and so forth is quite fine, but the man who refuses to defend his family and his community is a man in sin!


"Although difficult for modern men to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold Godís gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach oneís duty to oneís community." (Nation of Cowards, Accurate Press, 2001, page 16.)


Psa 82:3  Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Psa 82:4  Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

Let's also look at Mat 25: 40-46 when Jesus explains what will happen to those that stand idly by and refused to assist those in need of help.

I know that all of this is not just in regards to self defense but rather also incorporates the defense of others also but it still applies to those that want to claim pacifism.

AMEN! - I agree completely.
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 08:17:27 PM »

AMEN! - I agree completely.

+1 good post
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2011, 06:05:51 PM »

I serve in the millitary. As the head of my family, it is my job to ensure that they are safe from intruders or those that would seek to harm them...by any means necessary. I have no problem shooting someone who has committed themselves to disobeying the law by breaking and entering as a last resort if they cannot be subdued. On the seperate subject, there is great discipline in one that uses minimal force instead of just shooting the intruder. Just my two cents.

Josh
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2011, 11:52:53 PM »

I serve in the millitary. As the head of my family, it is my job to ensure that they are safe from intruders or those that would seek to harm them...by any means necessary. I have no problem shooting someone who has committed themselves to disobeying the law by breaking and entering as a last resort if they cannot be subdued. On the seperate subject, there is great discipline in one that uses minimal force instead of just shooting the intruder. Just my two cents.

Josh

Hello Josh,

It's nice to hear from you, and it has been a long time. I hope you are well and doing good. I'll give you a hint about who I used to be (bep). I agree with your statement completely. In my case, my home looks lived in and active all the time, so anyone breaking into my home is prepared to deal with me - so I'm prepared to deal with them. I certainly agree with using minimum force, but I doubt the intruder in my case will do the same. So, an intruder will have a very short time to do exactly as told or be carried by 6. I understand what you mean by discipline because I lived by that discipline for 25 years.

You are still in our prayers.

Love In Christ,
Tom
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 09:09:09 PM »

Hi there,

I know you used to be BEP. Haha. I was looking through my e-mails the other day and saw the folder with your name on it. It has been a very long time...I've been...away for a bit. Travelling will do that to you and life has a habit of carrying one around and about. We're doing well, just doing the military thing, by the end of it, i'll have been in Europe for 6 years. Great culture and great opportunities around here. There's a quote from a Josh Thompson song that I think fits here:

Our houses are protected
By the good Lord and a gun
And you might meet 'em both
If you show up here not welcome, son


We got a fightin' side a mile wide
But we pray for peace
'Cause it's mostly us
That end up servin' overseas



Just my thoughts.
Joshua
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2011, 11:33:03 PM »

Hello Josh. It's good to see ya. I still stand by the minimum force required statement but then too there is some advice from an old farmer that Sister Yvette was passing around. 'Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight he'll just kill ya.'

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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 11:35:22 AM »

Hello Josh,

It sounds like you've had a good tour. So, are you going to make a career out of it?

My son did 6 years in the Navy, and the Navy gave him the education they promised. He served aboard the Nimitz as a nuclear engineer, and he went to work immediately after getting out for a nuclear power company. Yes, I am a proud Navy dad.

Love In Christ,
Tom
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