[The following is a post in which I am writing about Christian support for a doctrine of "Just War". Our friend, Rick Frueh, has written a similar post, in support of Biblical Pacifism.]

I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell. – William Tecumseh Sherman

We support and extend the ministry of the Church to those persons who conscientiously oppose all war, or any particular war, and who therefore refuse to serve in the armed forces or to cooperate with systems of military conscription. We also support and extend the Church’s ministry to those persons who conscientiously choose to serve in the armed forces or to accept alternative service. As Christians we are aware that neither the way of military action, nor the way of inaction is always righteous before God. – The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2004

War and Peace[Please brace yourselves - this is going to be a long article. My dear friend, Rick Frueh, has requested that he and I write opposing papers on the acceptability of Christians supporting a doctrine of "Just War", with me supporting this doctrine, and him rejecting it. I would like to thank Rick for this 'challenge', and apologize in advance for so thoroughly trouncing him, here on the field of battle. :) ]

At Issue

Before embarking on this long road, I think it is probably best to indicate our areas of agreement and disagreement. Both Rick and I agree that war, in and of itself is abhorrent, and is something to be avoided. It is not something that we, as individuals should seek to cause, nor something that our nations should actively seek. Where we disagree, is whether or not acts of violence can be supported by Christians – on an individual or a national scale. Specifically, our disagreement is whether or not Christians should support their country in a war, or serve in that war.

Keeping this in mind, I will examine three basic concepts, which build upon one another, in regards to Christian and the use of deadly force: 1) Self-Defense; 2) Civil-defense; and 3) National-defense. As a backdrop to this, I will also quickly discuss the first century Jewish view of human life that Jesus supported, sometimes referred to as Pikuach Nefesh.

Before moving on to the meat of this article, I’d like to also make one more caveat: My purpose in laying out the case for the doctrine of just war is not to provide/denounce justification for any conflict unfolding in current events. Rather, it is to lay out the rational and theological underpinnings in such a way as to be able to have rational discussions and criteria on whether or not a conflict might be considered just or unjust.

Theological Placement of This Debate

As we begin, I believe it is important to place this issue, theologically, where it belongs – in the realm of personal convictions, and not of moral absolutes.

The Hierarchy of Values Borrowing the diagram to the left from Steve Carter at Mars Hill Bible Church, in the hierarchy of values, there are (A)bsolutes, (C)onvictions, and Personal (P)references. Absolutes are cross-cultural and well-defined as such in Scripture (ex: Theft is a sin, so I do not steal). Convictions are moral values that are held by an individual as something they have been personally “convicted” they cannot or that they must do (ex: I choose not to drink out of personal conviction, but I recognize that other Christians can do so with clear consciences). Personal Preferences are those things which we prefer, but are not commanded/prohibited in Scripture (ex: I prefer worship music that is stylistically modern). In this hierarchy, when we move items higher than they belong (ex: treating a personal conviction as a cross-cultural absolute), we engage in Phariseeism. When we move items lower than they belong (ex: treating cross-cultural absolutes as personal preferences), we engage in Hedonism.

In this hierarchy of values, one’s belief about whether or not he/she, as a Christian, “should or should not support the use of physical violence in limited circumstances” has historically been, and should still be, treated as a personal conviction and not a moral absolute. As such, those who make accusatory statements to the effect of “those who know Jesus and call themselves his Body do not make war or justify its use – period” are simply modern Pharisees. Likewise, any who would make statements like “you cannot truly be a Christian if you do not support America in this war” would be Pharisees, just as well. They are two sides of the same legalistic coin.

Methodology

In examining the theological questions around “Just War”, we will – like most theological questions – follow the historical grammatical heremenutic, used by most modern scholars in examining Scripture. We will examine the relevant Scriptures to the question, doing our best to first discern the context in which they were understood by their original audience, in particular the First Century AD view of these Scriptures. Then, we will examine Jesus’ and his apostles’ commentary, support and/or clarifications in this same context. Then, having gleaned the relevant principles, we will translate these to our culture for the appropriate contextual ruling.

The sources most helpful and applicable for this exercise are, obviously, the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, along with contemporary documentation from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other First Century writings – particularly those that were observed and supported by Jesus and his Apostles. In this particular case, we will not rely on the later church writers for justification/refutation of Just War doctrine (as opinions can be found across the spectrum for which we have much lest appropriate contextual detail), other than to note their definitions of “Just War” for declaration, prosecution and ending of “just war” conflicts.

Thou Shall Not Kill

Exodus 20:13 states, “You shall not murder”. The Hebrew word used here is thrtzch, which specifically refers to a premeditated, deliberate act by an individual to kill an innocent person. The Greek word used in the Septuagint version of Exodus 20:13, is phoneuseis, which has an identical meaning to the Hebrew – a premeditated, deliberate act of killing an innocent person. This is also the word Jesus uses in Matthew 5:21-22 (and elsewhere), and that Paul uses in Romans 13:9 (and elsewhere).

One popular misconception of this command comes from the King James translation of Ex 20:13, which says “Thou shall not kill”. This is not an accurate translation, though, as demonstrated above, because there words available in both the Hebrew and Greek that refer to all killing, and not just premeditated murder. This is also apparent from the later allowances for the use of deadly force, and the judicial provision of capital punishment.

Of Yokes and Pikuach Nefesh

As we have discussed previously, one of the key aspects of a Jewish Rabbi, like Jesus, was his yoke – the means by which he determined which laws were more important than others – specifically if these laws came into conflict. Jesus identified his yoke for a Torah student thus:

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

All of Jesus’ teachings, parables and rulings interpret Torah in this light.

One of the biggest “hot button” topics within Judaism during Jesus’ time was “who is my neighbor?” – with the primary focus of whether or not Samaritans and/or Romans fit within the definition of ‘neighbor’. Beneath this was the controversy of whether the basic doctrine which is the basis of the Christian view of “the sanctity of life”, called Pikuach Nefesh, applied to the Samaritans and Romans, because it would only apply if these enemies of the Jewish people were considered ‘neighbors’.

Pikuach Nefesh, “saving of human life”, taught that a God-fearer (Jew or Gentile) must break all laws save those of blasphemy, murder, or sexual sin in order to save innocent human life. Thus, Sabbath laws, cleanliness laws, honesty, etc. must all be subjugated when in direct conflict with saving the life of your neighbor. Additionally, Pikuach Nefesh contains a caveat that if a person is being assailed by a rodef (”pursuer”) bent on killing them, any bystanders have a moral obligation to stop the rodef from killing them, even if it requires killing the rodef. Stopping a rodef – one who appears to be intent on physically harming another person – is the only form of extrajudicial killing allowed within Jewish law.

Just to complicate things, Pikuach Nefesh was a doctrine that was explicitly present in the Oral Torah (referencing Exodus 20, 22 and other related passages in the Written Torah), which pious Jews believed was handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai at the same time as the Written Torah was given to him. The Oral Law was basically a ‘concordance’ to help explain the Written law. The pious Jews, primarily led by Hillel (the Jewish teacher with which Jesus was most theologically aligned) believed that they should read the written Torah as interpreted by the oral Torah. The Sadducees and priests, though, believed that only the literal Written Torah needed to be followed [of course there are no modern parallels to this]. Most Jewish Christian scholars can find no evidence that Jesus ever broke Oral Torah, in addition to his never breaking Written Torah.

And so it was that Jesus was asked to rule on “who is my neighbor?“, and he answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In Jesus’ answer, Brad Young (of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research) notes, he clearly rules in favor of Pikuach Nefesh (which the Priest and the Levite did not believe in, since it was Oral Torah, and thus followed the admonition against becoming unclean by touching a dead or dying body, because they placed the laws of ritual cleanliness above loving one’s neighbor) – and Jesus also identifies that even the reviled Samaritans must be considered “neighbors”.

Jesus affirms this doctrine again in Matthew 12:1-14, where he references the story of David and his men who ate the consecrated bread to sate their great hunger (1 Samuel 21). Here, Jesus uses this doctrine (specifically, in this case, that human life is more important than ceremonial observances) as justification for following “heavier”, ‘life-saving’ commands over “lighter” commands (that were often legalistically observed). Jesus’ ruling here, as with his story of the Good Samaritan, is an affirmation of Pikuach Nefesh.

It is this concept – the “saving of human life” – Pikuach Nefesh – that is based in the Hebrew Scriptures, and carried on into the Christian Scriptures – which we must also apply in consideration of whether or not we can defend ourselves, personally, with lethal force; whether we, as a society, can defend the innocent with lethal force; and, ultimately, whether our governments can utilize lethal force in our own protection, or in protection of others.

It is via this concept, and the ancient technique used by Jesus in weighing ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ laws against one another when in conflict, that Christian Germans who lied to authorities in protecting Jewish neighbors could be considered righteous. It is also via this concept that my own Quaker ancestors (who were pacifists) could honor God while operating a stop on the Underground Railroad in southeast Indiana, helping slaves escape to freedom in Canada.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Self-Defense

[Jesus] said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, it has been well accepted that the individuals have a God-given right to self-defense, and a responsibility to defend one’s family and/or the weak. This includes the potential use of deadly force. In Exodus 22, we read:

“If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if he strikes him after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed.”

Here, using deadly force in defending one’s self, one’s family and one’s property from an immediate threat is allowed, but vengeance (i.e. killing the thief after he has left) is not. In a similar vein, in Leviticus, we read:

Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened.

This teaching has traditionally been considered as the basis for Jewish laws compelling individuals to come to the aid of individuals who are being unjustly attacked, even if deadly force is required. This is one of the laws to which the concept of Pikuach Nefesh, that we discussed above, is referenced in the Hebrew Scriptures, and it is one of the laws supported by Jesus in his story of the Good Samaritan.

Go ahead, make my daySpeaking of Jesus – as noted in the above quote, just prior to his arrest, Jesus instructs his disciples to acquire swords – tools for which the only use is self-defense. As such, it is apparent that Jesus is not opposed to personal defense from harm using deadly force. Now – it might also be pointed out that, several verses after this, Jesus admonishes Peter for using a sword to strike off the ear of a Temple servant. In this case, though, Peter is not using the sword for self-defense or in defense of a weaker party (he knows Jesus is perfectly able to take care of himself – he’s seen it first hand!). Rather, Peter is using it in insurrection toward legitimate authority, and Jesus rightly denounces its use for such purposes. The purpose for which Jesus had his disciples get swords is indicated by the other items he referenced – a purse and a bag, implements of travel. The swords were to protect the disciples on the roads (which were known to be frequented by common criminals), not to foment insurrection!

One common misconception in the area of self-defense arises from Jesus and Paul’s allowance of personal injury from persecution, and Jesus’ blessing on those who are persecuted. In this area, Jesus and the Apostles do suggest that we, as Christians, should endure persecution (harm inflicted in direct opposition to our religious beliefs) rather than assert a right to lethal defense against it (though Paul does assert his right to legal defense on occasion). I would readily agree that abdicating self-defense for the glory of God in persecution is something Christians should be willing to do (I Peter 2:19-21). However, nowhere does Jesus or Paul extend this to self-defense from common crime – nor do they extend this to defense of one’s family or the weak. In fact, Paul’s instructions to Timothy (I Tim 5:8) requiring individual provision for one’s family would contextually include the provision of physical protection for them in addition to economic provision of food, clothing and shelter.

Gun ControlNone of this, though, is to suggest that deadly force is a first option (which Torah indicates it is not), but rather it is an option of last, but allowable, resort. [Paradoxically, as we observe today, simply having the ability to defend one's self is often enough of a deterrent to prevent one from needing to defend one's self in the first place!]

One additional caveat to make, regarding self-defense, is in light of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”

All of the cases Jesus mentions in this passage involve an affront to personal honor – not self-defense. The Ancient Near East was (and in many ways, still is) an honor-based culture, in which losing face was often considered justification for war and blood atonement. Jesus clearly supports the doctrine of Pikuach Nefesh here, in the case of dishonor, by affirming that the only acceptable responses to a loss of honor require maintaining a state of shalom with the one dishonoring you and not seeking revenge. One cannot use deadly force in defense of his or her honor, because the adversary is not considered rodef – a “pursuer” intent on causing harm or death. Revenge is never an option (Lev 19:18).

The Government

Before continuing to examine the just uses of deadly force, it is important to take a brief foray into the topic of government. To begin with, the requirements of government in Scripture differ somewhat from those of individuals, even if many of the principles remain, in some form. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the initial governmental structure is provided by “judges” (Deuteronomy 4:41-43; 19:1-13), who were to sit as literal judges in their city gates and to organize protection for the people of the city. Over time, though, the people of Israel desired a king – a more formalized governmental structure – and God provided this for the people (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

The purpose of government fits with the primary aspect of God – order. In Genesis 1, when we are introduced to God, He is identified as a Creator who brings order from chaos, which we’ve discussed in depth as tohu u’vohu. As such, the opposing ‘force’ to God is chaos and disorder.

The purpose of government is to provide order, as God provides order, through (1) a system of justice, (2) civil order and (3) common defense. Peter and Paul both affirm the government’s role in providing order, and the Christian’s role in submitting to the civil authority provided by it. [The only right of the Christian in disobeying this authority comes if he/she is given an individual order by that authority to act directly in opposition to God (Daniel 3; Acts 5:27-32).]

In short – the government is a stand-in for God’s authority in preventing chaos, injustice, destruction and anarchy – all of which are opposed to the very nature of God. Government is a way for the people to collectively organize, under God’s authority, to keep shalom – within their own nation and between them and the other nations.

Civil Defense

As we covered earlier, Pikuach Nefesh – the “saving of human life” – is a doctrine in which the protection of life is held as more important than almost all other laws – with the exceptions being: Blasphemy against God, Murder and Sexual Purity. Also within Pikuach Nefesh, we have the concept of the rodef – a “pursuer” who means to bring harm or death to an individual – who innocent bystanders are compelled to stop, using the least amount of force possible, up to and including lethal force.

Please - go ahead and rob meIn light of the government’s role in providing order and justice, and under the constraints of Pikuach Nefesh, it is necessary that the governmental authorities provide a means by which to prevent anarchy, chaos and lawlessness. This entails providing a means by which to prevent the rodef from carrying out violence against the innocent. Following the principles of Pikuach Nefesh, this is to be done using the least amount of force possible. If rational discussion can prevent harm, there is no need for physical restraint. If physical restraint can prevent harm, there is no need for lethal force. If there is no other means by which to prevent the harm of the innocent, it is lawful under God for the civil authorities to utilize lethal force as a means of last resort.

Lethal force can only be used as a preventative measure against immediate harm, not as a means by which to enact justice outside of the judicial system. The punishment of the individual is to take place in the system of justice, though, and not through vigilante action. Vigilantism – the enacting of mob justice – is not supported by any Jewish or Christian teaching.

Without systems of civil defense and justice, chaos would rule. The government provides this Biblical structure by which it maintains shalom. [And again, as with the individual, simply having the option to use physical force (a police presence) is often enough to prevent deadly violence from happening in the first place. Without knowing such and option exists, thieves and murderers could operate with impunity.]

Bad boys, bad boys...Keeping this in mind, there is no Biblical proscriptive measure against a Christian, preventing them from becoming a police officer or any other type of civil defense officer who might, in the course of their duties, be required to use deadly force in preventing immediate, grave injury. There is also no Biblical prohibition against a Christian becoming a prosecutor or judge who might, in the course of his or her duties, be required to ask for, or provide, a sentence of death upon a criminal. All such roles are within the Judeo-Christian bounds of government in providing law and order – which results in a society living in greater shalom with one another, and a society in which the Gospel may be more easily shared and lived out.

Military Might

While we can see that the results of war are regrettable, evil and chaotic, we also cannot deny that God, in the Hebrew Scriptures, commanded its use in preventing other evils. Thus, we cannot say that war is ontologically evil in any and all circumstances, lest we accuse God of pursuing evil – or of being double-minded from the time of Moses to the time of Jesus. Still, though, we also know that these wars were not His original desires, and that they were brought about by the sin of man. They were not God’s actions of first recourse. Because we cannot reliably claim direct revelation from God in conducting modern war, His use of war in the Hebrew Scriptures is not alone justification for its usage today.

Conversely, one would expect that the subject of war – particularly as it pertains to professional soldiering – would have been addressed in the negative (as an outright prohibition) if God’s stance on such a sweeping issue had changed during the intertestamental period. However, we do not find this, but, in fact, we are confronted with a silence on the matter when dealing with soldiers and military officials.

Aside from Jesus’ active recommendation to the disciples to buy swords for self-defense, we have an instance where John the Baptist is directly answering questions about different professions & how they should live:

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”

Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Conspicuously absent is any denunciation of their profession, or the need to use deadly force (a key component of their work).

We also have Jesus’ encounter with the Centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), where no negative comment is made about the man’s profession.

Even more conspicuously, we have Peter’s encounter (Acts 10) with “a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” Cornelius – who had 100 soldiers that reported to him – sent two servants and another God-fearing soldier to request that Peter visit him. Nowhere in the encounter does Peter advise Cornelius to leave his military service.

But what about Paul?

Paul lists soldiering as an appropriate profession (I Cor 9:7), and – even more strangely, if a military career (and therefore the use of violent force) is something that cannot be carried out by a Christian – Paul takes his own name from Sergius Paulus, the military governor of Cyprus, changing it from Saul to Paul. After his encounter with Saul/Paul, Sergius Paulus continued on in his military position before returning to Rome in a high-level political position. And yet, despite his profession – both military and political – he, and his family, were devout Christians. Surely, if such things were completely incompatible with Christian teaching, we would know of Paul’s objections.

So, at the very least, being in a professional role which inherently requires the application of deadly violence is clearly – from John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul – not at odds with being a member of the Kingdom of God.

A Regrettable Necessity

With apologies for taking so long getting here, all of the items we’ve talked about to this point are underpinnings of the God-given responsibility of governments to – in incredibly limited circumstances, and in incredibly limited means – with great regret, use war as an option of last resort.

So when, if ever, is war a “just” or “acceptable” option?

Governments do not exist in isolation, but in community with other similar entities – even more visibly so in this age of rapid, global communication. In this community of governments, they keep their primary roles – maintaining order and preventing chaos – and they are responsible for maintaining shalom – peace – in their dealings with other nations. Governments, like individuals, have no God-given right to make war for the purposes of conquest (theft, envy), or in response to an affront to their honor (pride) – or even for the purpose of ’spreading the Gospel’ (i.e. forced proselytization).

Even so, this does not prevent other governments from becoming a rodef – a “pursuer” of governments perceived as weaker, or dishonorable, or in possession of resources desired by the rodef. It is also possible that a government becomes a rodef to subsets of its own people, pursuing a course of theft, murder and genocide.

Never again...Following the principles of Pikuach Nefesh – the “saving of human life” – it may become regrettably necessary, if all other reasonable, non-violent avenues of recourse have become exhausted, for another government – or group of governments – to act as innocent bystanders witnessing a rodef attacking another innocent party, and to use lethal force in preventing that injustice, particularly if leaving it unchecked would result in much greater evil than if no war was waged to stop it.

It is only in this particular instance – in preventing a lasting and grave ill upon a nation or a set of nations – that a war can be considered ‘just’ and be fully supportable by Christians.

The Precepts of Just War

Because of the potential necessity for governments to defend themselves or others, and the desire of the church to prevent wars that do not fit within the moral bounds of “saving human life”, it was deemed necessary that some sort of precepts be developed, based on Scriptural principles, in which a war might be considered an act of governmental justice, rather than tyranny or chaos.

There are a number of summations available on the requirements for “just war”, most of which were first fully-developed in the church to provide objective criteria by which to weigh the ‘just-ness’ or ‘unjust-ness’ of wars, and how they should be fought, should they become unavoidable. While I will not delve into these in vast detail, the primary criteria were first proposed by Saint Augustine, and later refined by St. Thomas Aquinas. These criteria, some of which are part of the Catholic Church Catechism, include:

  1. The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain: This particular bar exists to prevent the rationalization of trifles and non-rodef-based rationales (similar to honor- or conquest-based killings) as legitimate reasons for war.
  2. All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective: This means that diplomacy, sanctions and other non-violent means must be used to prevent the conflict, if possible. At some point, though, the non-violent means of avoiding war are no longer means of providing peace, but simply means of avoiding responsibility which exacerbate the cause of the innocent and do nothing to abate the grave pursuit of the aggressor (stereotypically, when it becomes obvious that the 100th “strongly worded memo” from the UN is going to be as effective as the 99th one, which is to say not at all.)
  3. There must be serious prospects of success: If there is little realistic chance of success in preventing the damage inflicted by the aggressor, particularly if the attempt at stopping it would be suicidal or would simply make the atrocities worse, then the attempt should not be made.
  4. The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated: The ultimate goal of war is to establish a more humane state of shalom between men. Specifically, the state of shalom established after the war should be preferable to the state of shalom that would have existed without the war. Additionally, the force used to prevent the war should be proportionate to the evil it prevented, with the minimal amount of force provided in order to effectively prevent the greater evil.

These criteria have been further refined in the doctrines of Jus ad bellum (the right conduct in going to war), Jus in bellum (the right conduct within a war), and Jus post bellum (the right conduct in ending war). I will not be delving into these in deep detail, other than to note that they exist and can be studied/debated in detail as they apply to the overall “just war” framework.

Regardless, because it may be necessary to conduct a war in order to prevent a much graver, and more lasting, evil, it is also necessary that we have a means, based upon Scriptural principles, on how to best pursue this course of a “lesser of two (or more) evils”. If, however, one wishes to act upon a conviction that war can never be an acceptable option, then it should not be surprising or or unacceptable that they have no seat at the table in determining the appropriate course of action, since – like a potential jurist that cannot in good conscience declare a legal verdict can be summarily dismissed from a jury pool – they would be required to act against their own conscience in selecting all morally and legally available options for society at large. In fact, it would be of best course for them to excuse themselves from any and all such formal deliberations, as a prolonged course of inaction without an appropriate threat of force may be the most immoral action of all.

This is also why it may be a best course of actions for governments to keep on hand a credible enough threat of force so as to prevent the precursors that might compel a war from occurring in the first place.

A Brief Case Study

While most, if not all, modern wars can be debated as to whether or not they fit within the “just war” model, the war by the Allies against Germany in World War II is probably the most cut-and-dried case.

1) The damage being inflicted by the Germans against its European neighbors, and against Jews, Gypsies and other minorities were grave, lasting and certain. In fact, their levels of atrocity were likely exacerbated by the dithering and appeasement of the west; speaking of which:

2) All other means of preventing war with Germany were attempted, beyond the point of which it was obvious that the only reason German was engaged in preventative talks was to stall/prevent greater opposition while their plans were being implemented, hopefully to the point at which it would be impossible to stop them; speaking of which:

3) There was a serious prospect of success, which required the US to join forces with Canada, the UK and its allies in stopping the German aggression. This capability was actually higher in 1939 – 1941, prior to the injection of Japan, which ultimately brought the US into the conflict in 1941.

4) In Germany, at the very least, the use of arms significantly prevented much more serious evils. While there has been a good deal of revisionist historical debate about the ending of war with Japan, there is little question that the peace that existed after the war was much more morally preferable to the peace that would have existed had Hitler (and Hirohito) been allowed to complete their desires for conquest and domination.

This is not to say, though, that many other wars fought by America – including its own founding revolution, and especially its expansionist wars against the native peoples in the western US – would have fallen under the definition of “just war”. In fact, it would be quite accurate to say that most wars fought by “Christianized” countries (or decreed by the Roman Catholic Church, as with the Crusades) have not been “just wars”. Even so, to say that “just war” doctrine, itself, is unwise, unbiblical and un-Christian is naive, at best.

This is not to say, though, that many other wars fought by America – including its own founding revolution, and especially its expansionist wars against the native peoples in the western US – would have fallen under the definition of “just war”. In fact, it would be quite accurate to say that most wars fought by “Christianized” countries (or decreed by the Roman Catholic Church, as with the Crusades) have not been “just wars”. Even so, to say that “just war” doctrine, itself, is unwise, unbiblical and un-Christian is naive, at best.

Loose Ends: Conscientious Objectors

If I believe that a Christian can support the notion of a just war, does that mean that I believe that it is illegitimate for a Christian to take the position of a Conscientious Objector? By no means. Paul teaches that if one sins against his or her own personal convictions, even if they are not morally absolute sins, he/she is committing a sin. As such, if one truly holds the conviction that all killing – even in a justly declared war – is forbidden to them, they should take the position of a CO, even if that means they are compelled to serve in a non-combat job/position at the behest of the government.

Loose Ends: Abortion

I have heard it said that “if you do believe in violence and killing to defend others, you MUST believe in killing abortion doctors“. Aside from the fact that this is a false dilemma, the specific instance of abortion doctors in the US, and the morality of killing them and/or bombing their clinics is a question we might consider, as it is tangentially related to the topic of Pikuach Nefesh.

In the case of abortion, our fallen society has created a number of bad trade-offs between evils. First, if we are to consider someone in the case of a woman seeking an abortion as being rodef – a pursuer trying to cause the death of an innocent person – the person in this case who is the “pursuer” is not the abortion doctor, but the mother. In the case of murder-for-hire, it is the instigator, not the instrument, who is guilty for the situation of murder. The most prominent example of this in Scripture is that of David and Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. In this case, Joab did David’s bidding by having Uriah placed in a situation where he was killed, yet David was declared to be the murderer.

So it is with the woman seeking an abortion.

Paradoxically, if the mother is rodef to her child and if we were to use lethal force to stop her, we would also be using lethal force against the child. Because of this, and because the abortionist is not rodef, we are required to seek justice against both of them in the system of justice provided by our government, and not by vigilantism – which is never Scripturally justified. Because, on this point, our justice system is not aligned with God’s justice (yet we are required by God to be humbly subject to it), our only recourse is to ask God to provide appropriate justice for endangered children and to work within the system provided by our government in which to seek redress (i.e. the voting booth). But that’s another discussion entirely.

Regardless, neither killing abortion doctors nor bombing abortion clinics would be Scripturally justified by the same rationale as by war might be justly declared. In fact, the same rationale, following the same doctrine of ’saving life’ that Jesus upheld, would declare murdering an abortionist as an unjust action and the appropriate declaration of a just war as an appropriate action. There is no contradiction.

Loose Ends: Capital Punishment

The final ‘loose end’ is that of capital punishment. The typical canards used with capital punishment tend to be a) “How can you be against murder in the case of abortion, but not in capital punishment?” or b) “How can you be opposed to capital punishment but agree with the concept of a ‘just war’?” These also fall into the realm of the ‘false dilemma’.

Capital punishment does not fall within the realm of Pikuach Nefesh, because we’re no longer talking about protection of an innocent victim. Rather, we are now talking about the system of justice and its dealings with guilty individuals, of which governmental authorities are the sole biblical owner. As we discussed previously, vigilante justice is never deemed acceptable in Hebrew or Christian Scriptures; provision of earthly justice is the responsibility of the authorities (be they judges or kings), whom God has put in place for this purpose (Romans 13:1-7). As such, they are responsible for determining what punishments befit which crimes.

Capital punishment is neither non-Biblical (see Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy), nor non-Christian. While some point to the instance of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) as an instance where Jesus supposedly does away with capital punishment, as we’ve covered here before, Jesus’ response indicates that 1) he does not have the proper authority in the civil system to which he was submitting to make such a ruling; and 2) his response is based upon the inherent injustice of the situation. Some might contend that capital punishment is a form of revenge, but this does not wash, either. The purpose of justice, as given to earthly governments, is both to punish individuals for their crimes against society, and to protect society from further crimes perpetrated by that individual. Neither of these is revenge, and both are inherent responsibilities of government.

Now – where I do quibble with the modern justice system and its application of the death penalty is that it is not always consistent with the biblical minimum evidentiary requirement of two eyewitnesses for allowance of capital punishment (Deuteronomy 17:6). While I might be convinced that DNA evidence could constitute one “eyewitness”, I’ve seen too many cases where men/women were wrongly convicted without reliable eyewitness evidence, only to be set free years later. Without a truly solid case of proven guilt, I would not be in favor of a capital sentence.

In Conclusion

To summarize: The Bible clearly provides grounds for the use of lethal force in self-defense, civil defense and national defense. This doctrine is more thoroughly described in the Hebrew doctrine called Pikuach Nefesh, which Jesus both affirms and shows consistency of thought. Jesus and his disciples do provide a caveat in the case of self-defense in response to persecution, giving blessing to those who persist under persecution and immediate threat of death without exercising lethal force in their own defense. However, they do not expand this caveat beyond the limited case of persecution.

In the case of governments, God has given them the moral authority to exercise lethal force in maintaining a system of justice, a system of civil defense and a system of national defense. Without this authority, they would be unable to fulfill their purpose of maintaining order and preventing lawlessness and chaos – both on a local and national scale.

Because the view of the right to use lethal force in limited circumstances is a personal conviction and not a cross-cultural absolute, we must be tolerant of differing views, avoiding the Pharisaical trap of declaring one position a moral absolute against which no Christian can legitimately disagree. As such, those who hold a view of “just war” cannot morally discriminate against those who conscientiously object, nor can those who hold a conscientious objection to “just war” declare that no Christian can hold a different view without being morally compromised.

In related, but non-central matters, I’ve also shown that, biblically, one may hold a positive view of “just war” while being equally opposed to the use of lethal force against abortionists. I’ve also shown that Christians may hold views of capital punishment that differ (in human outcome) from their views of “just war”, because the two issues, while they involve human life, are not based upon the same Scriptural precedents – since one deals with innocent victims, and the other with guilty criminals.

If you read everything to this point, thank you for your patience. If you just skimmed, shame on you ;)

Blessings, grace and peace

Chris L

  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted on Monday, December 28th, 2009 at 11:23 am and is filed under Church and Society, In Tone and Character, Original Articles, Theology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
+/- Collapse/Expand All

702 Comments(+Add)

1   nathan    
December 28th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

great article.

still don’t agree, especially about War in the nuclear age, but it’s still a great article.

thanks, Chris L!

2   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Thanks Chris for the comprehensive point of view. Part of the problem, of course, is that those who insist upon complete pacifism do so to the extent that those who believe differently are made to be sinners for doing so. Clearly this is not the case.

There are different ways of thinking about issues. This is not to say that civil governments always make the right decisions about war and violence (perhaps Vietnam is a good example; maybe Iraq to an extent). But it is to say that civil governments are given that authority by God himself.

I have personally struggled with this because I find it hard to believe Jesus would want me to stand by and do nothing or ‘turn the other cheek’ if one of my sons or my wife were being assaulted and/or wounded. For that matter, I don’t think he would be pleased with me if I stood by while someone assaulted your wife or children or anyone’s.

It’s not entirely cut and dry and mistakes will be made, but in the end those of us who believe that God has established governments for his purposes can rest knowing that when they do their job correctly we have not sinned in supporting them.

jerry

3   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

In this hierarchy of values, one’s belief about whether or not he/she, as a Christian, “should or should not support the use of physical violence in limited circumstances” has historically been, and should still be, treated as a personal conviction and not a moral absolute. As such, those who make accusatory statements to the effect of “those who know Jesus and call themselves his Body do not make war or justify its use – period” are simply modern Pharisees. Likewise, any who would make statements like “you cannot truly be a Christian if you do not support America in this war” would be Pharisees, just as well. They are two sides of the same legalistic coin.

What are your justifications for making this “universal” claim?

What if I said, “Loving your neighbor as yourself is a personal conviction, not a moral absolute as far as following Christ is concerned. Those who suggest otherwise are Pharisees.”?

4   John Hughes    
December 28th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Excellent articles guys!

5   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

The fact is, people have all sorts of messed up ideas about what it means to follow Jesus. I disagree with the presuppositions you are assuming all are agreed upon – namely, that there are “personal convictions” that can be radically different between 2 people and yet be reconciled as “under God.”

6   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

What if I said, “Loving your neighbor as yourself is a personal conviction, not a moral absolute as far as following Christ is concerned. Those who suggest otherwise are Pharisees.”?

Then you would be wrong, because Jesus specifically states it as a moral absolute:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

It is direct commandment from Scripture which determines whether something is a moral absolute, particularly when emphasized by Jesus and his Apostles, and viewed in its historical context.

There is no Scriptural prohibition which states anything close to “those who know Jesus and call themselves his Body do not make war or justify its use – period”

7   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

But that is just the point, Chris L. One can derive certain moral absolutes from Scripture – and non-violent resistance is one of them.

To lay claim to that as a tenant of Scripture and to call Christians of all stripes to that calling is not akin to being a Pharisee but perhaps being prophetic.

8   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Oh, and nice touch to begin with a quote from the B.O.D. of the UMC.

I must be growing on you :D

9   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I disagree with the presuppositions you are assuming all are agreed upon – namely, that there are “personal convictions” that can be radically different between 2 people and yet be reconciled as “under God.”

There are some that believe that, as a Christian, they can drink alcohol in moderation, and others who believe that, as a Christian, they should completely abstain. Paul references this type of disagreement in a number of places, including:

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

So Paul does indicate that there are personal convictions that can be radically different between two people, yet be reconciled under God. When these convictions are elevated as universal absolutes, that, by definition, is Phariseeism. When universal absolutes are lowered to the status of ‘conviction’ or ‘preference’, that is hedonism. Scripture, alone, must be the determinant of whether something is cross-culturally an absolute, or simply a conviction.

In the case of using lethal force to prevent a greater injustice, there is no universal prohibition in Scripture.

10   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

But that is just the point, Chris L. One can derive certain moral absolutes from Scripture – and non-violent resistance is one of them.

Not by any stretch of the imagination – Rick’s article is almost entirely opinion with a good deal of moralistic stretching with little Scriptural basis. While I have seen Christians who are convicted that they cannot be involved in the police or the military for reasons of conscience, I’ve never seen a definitive Scriptural case for absolute non-violence. Usually, it comes down to misapplication of passages dealing revenge, resistance of persecution, or honor defense, not self-defense from random violence.

It is also clear that Jesus had his disciples arm themselves with swords – whose only clear Scriptural purpose is defense against human violence. It cannot be argued this was to defend against wild animals, because they were a) not going to the wilderness; and b) the appropriate weapon to defend against wild animals is a staff, not a sword. The disciples were headed north, through Samaritan and Gentile territory known for robbery and random killing.

11   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

And that is your a priori assumption – and a convenient one for you! :D

Essentially you are setting the table so as to say anyone who disagrees with you is a Pharisee and can therefore be dismissed. It’s called “begging the question” since you are already convinced your position of “personal conviction” is irrefutable. Anyone who suggests otherwise is branded a legalist. Convenient, but not very tenable.

But given your heavy dependence on Jewish law and custom (and how right they got it!) one has to wonder what need there ever was for Jesus!

12   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Oh, and nice touch to begin with a quote from the B.O.D. of the UMC.

Apparently the UMC doesn’t see a definitive moral absolute in a total pacifism, but that Christians can serve in armed conflict (as soldiers or as policemen/women)…

13   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Essentially you are setting the table so as to say anyone who disagrees with you is a Pharisee and can therefore be dismissed. It’s called “begging the question” since you are already convinced your position of “personal conviction” is irrefutable.

Not at all – I actually make the case that Christians can be Conscientious Objectors – which would not be a form of Phariseeism. Rather, it is only if they take that conscientious objection beyond themselves and declare that ALL Christians MUST BE C.O.’s that they become Pharisaical.

I do not argue that ALL Christians MUST support “just war”…

14   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

…If I did argue that ALL Christians MUST support “just war”, that too, would be Pharisaical.

15   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Well, I don’t believe a person loses their salvation because they serve in the military or police force. However, I do believe there is a higher good. I believe it is the ignorance (and falleness) of humanity that argues for redemptive violence and that is unfortunate. I will continue to call Christians to a higher, cross-carrying calling.

If you wish to call that being a Pharisee, I guess that is your perogative.

16   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I believe it is the ignorance (and falleness) of humanity that argues for redemptive violence and that is unfortunate.

I’m am not arguing that violence brings about any sort of spiritual ‘redemption’ – but rather that it is sometimes a necessity to prevent much greater ills.

Just wondering – if your family was being attacked in the middle of the night, would you call 911?

17   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Essentially this is about ethics. And ethics is, IMO, more to do with the sort of person we are becoming rather than simple “fork in the road” choices (as argued by MacIntyre and Hauerwas and Sam Wells and others).

As ethics pertain to this subject, I see like this:

We are either becoming the sort of people who refuse to see violence as a means to an end

OR

We are becoming the sort of people who are convinced that life is a “right” and to be fought for at all costs. IOW, our very lives become sort of idol.

Scripture is clear that life is a gift and it is from God. Yes, we are to be good stewards of this gift but Scirpture is also quite clear that the way of God’s kingdom is not the way of the world. The way of the world is obviously one that believe violence is acceptable under certain conditions (or even all the time).

18   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

“Rick’s article is almost entirely opinion with a good deal of moralistic stretching with little Scriptural basis.”

A generous and magnanimus dismisal. I had determined not to engage you or your article in the threads, but if I had, I would hope I would have concealed my disdain much better than that.

19   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

if your family was being attacked in the middle of the night, would you call 911?

It’s funny, but any conversation I have ever been involved in about this topic ALWAYS divulges into an series of hypothetical questions aimed at me ranging from what I would do if my wife were being raped and my kids held at gunpoint to whether I would call the police for aid. It never fails.

If I may deploy one of your favorite Jewish techniques allow me to answer your question by posing my own:

If someone catches you acting in an unloving manner towards someone else does that make God’s universal command to love our neighbor null and void?

20   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

We are either becoming the sort of people who refuse to see violence as a means to an end

OR

We are becoming the sort of people who are convinced that life is a “right” and to be fought for at all costs. IOW, our very lives become sort of idol.

A false choice. We are not simply talking about our own lives, nor have they been made an idol when placed in a proper Biblical context. There are specific instances where we should not defend our own person – specifically when we are defending ourselves from persecution. There are also numerous unjust uses of force – conquest/theft, honor, etc. The preservation of life, though, and particularly the lives of the innocent, is not placed on some magical spiritual hierarchy below “violence” just because we’ve declared for ourselves that all violence is evil in all cases.

It seems to me this is little more than making pacifism an idol, since it places non-violence above any other value, including life.

21   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Rick, in the future you need to throw in more Hebrew words and Jewish law. In this way you can claim a more historical position while paradoxically making the Incarnation seem like overkill.

22   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

If someone catches you acting in an unloving manner towards someone else does that make God’s universal command to love our neighbor null and void?

So, if you were unwilling to live out your stated belief in “non-violence” by calling the police to protect your family, would that mean that you are a hypocrite, or that perhaps you have created extra-Biblical hedges – or both?

23   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Rick, in the future you need to throw in more Hebrew words and Jewish law. In this way you can claim a more historical position while paradoxically making the Incarnation seem like overkill.

You’re right – our own opinions and whatever we want “the Incarnation” to mean certainly mean miles more that what Jesus actually believed, practiced and taught.

24   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

So, if you were unwilling to live out your stated belief in “non-violence” by calling the police to protect your family, would that mean that you are a hypocrite, or that perhaps you have created extra-Biblical hedges – or both?

What does it mean when you act unlovin towards a neighbor? That you are a hypocrite or a Pharisee? Or both?

Or, perhaps the answser is C – none of the above….

25   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

“Rick’s article is almost entirely opinion with a good deal of moralistic stretching with little Scriptural basis.”

A generous and magnanimus dismisal. I had determined not to engage you or your article in the threads, but if I had, I would hope I would have concealed my disdain much better than that.

I’m still trying to decide where to start, Rick. However, your tossing out the entirety of Hebrew Scripture at the outset as meaningless has thrown me a bit. That has much wider implications than simply a conversation on when/why war might be morally justified.

26   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

23- Not sure what you mean by that.

My point is that your dependence on Jewish Law and custom, which you seem to think is spot on, makes Jesus’ life, death and resurrection seem arbitrary at best.

Why did Christ come if things were going so well? But that is perhaps for another discussion….

27   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

It is statements like the following that really serve no purpose, Chad, other than to set yourself up for dismantling of anything valid you might otherwise write:

But given your heavy dependence on Jewish law and custom (and how right they got it!) one has to wonder what need there ever was for Jesus!

If this were a conversation about say, helping the poor, you would have no problem quoting from the OT and supporting an exegete who makes his argument from the OT–say a Claiborne, or Bell, or Wright.

It is so strange to me that you so often have to resort to hyperbole. And it is sad.

28   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Jerry – helping the poor is a constant theme from Genesis to Revelation. War, as part of God’s Kingdom, is not.

Surely you can see the difference.

And I am not being hyperbolic in the least. I think it a fair assesment of the facts. One really does have to wonder what need there was for Jesus when you look at Jewish law and custom through Chris L’s lens.

29   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

In the end, I believe like all of you believe that the Church is comprised of those who are “called out.” We are “in” the world but not to be “of” the world. We all acknowledge that violence is sinful and contrary to God’s plan for all of creation. The Church ought to be a sign-post to the redemptive vision of God for Creation. When the Church gives voice or credence to violence we are in essence saying to the world that God’s ways are the world’s ways and so endorsed. This should not be our message.

I am sorry for the many times the Church has made good citizens but not so good disciples.

30   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

If one sees the Old Testament as a life template, then you must parse it subjectivly. I have always said the after Christ the Old Testament, although literal, has given way to Jesus and now serves as a metaphorical looking glass into the redemption and Person of Jesus.

Gone are the bears that kill children because of a prank; gone are the mass killings of men that confronted church leaders(Moses); gone is the annihilation of entire cities; gone is the destruction of cities that practice sexual sins; gone is the divine death angel that kills firstborn males;

It’s all gone. Jesus has come; breathe in the new and breathe out the old because in the end, the old has died due to the weakness that God had implanted in it and the death of that covenant has risen in a new and more glorious and eternal covenant.

That is my conviction. Here I stand; may God have mercy on my soul.

31   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

And I am not being hyperbolic in the least. I think it a fair assesment of the facts. One really does have to wonder what need there was for Jesus when you look at Jewish law and custom through Chris L’s lens.

It is not my lens – it is the lens of the culture to which Jesus originally spoke, and the context of his words.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

If we don’t bother to understand why he said what he said and how it fit into his religious and cultural context, we’re just making it up from our own context.

32   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

My point is that your dependence on Jewish Law and custom, which you seem to think is spot on, makes Jesus’ life, death and resurrection seem arbitrary at best.

paraphrasing Brad Young, all too often we, as modern questions, spend so much time on belief in Jesus that we completely forget the beliefs of Jesus. Jesus’ only purpose was not to die on the cross and be resurrected, but also to help us understand how we should live. If we don’t bother to understand his beliefs and teachings, and their moral underpinnings, we miss the overall picture he has created for us in his incarnation.

33   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Why did Christ come if things were going so well?

According to Paul, he came when the time was right. This is not to say that ‘things were going so well’, but rather that things were going “right” in that his teachings would be properly understood, and that his prophetic import would be met. Hillel had a number of things right, but was short/wrong on many. There was an increase in religious fervor for understanding and the coming of a Messiah, per Daniel. When he came, Jesus sided with Hillel on a number of religious arguments, more often than not, but also took his ruling farther than Hillel was willing to go. He also sided completely against Hillel on other issues, most notably on divorce. However, the entire context of first century Judiasm was the “right” backdrop for Jesus’ teaching to be understood and accepted – first by a few, and later by many.

34   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Chris L, no response to #24?

It is not my lens – it is the lens of the culture to which Jesus originally spoke, and the context of his words.

Maybe, maybe not. In the end, it is still your lens.

If we don’t bother to understand why he said what he said and how it fit into his religious and cultural context, we’re just making it up from our own context.

Agreed. But this does not mean that the given Jewish context of the day was God’s context in Christ.

You seem to assume that Jesus had nothing critical to say to the way Israel lived into their vocation as God’s chosen. As if “fulfilling the Law” is akin to placing his seal of approval upon it. If that were the case, than there is no need for Jesus, really.

Context is good and having a bearing on the culture of the day is useful. But to argue that that culture is the norming norm for God’s culture is to nullify the scandal of the cross and the Incarnation as a whole. If Jesus were just another mouthpiece endorsing the status-quo of the Temple culture than he never would have been killed.

35   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Jesus’ only purpose was not to die on the cross and be resurrected, but also to help us understand how we should live.

I agree.

36   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

One of my all time favorite books is Athanasius’ On The Incarnation of Christ.

In it he ponders the meaning and purpose of the Incarnation. I write extensively on it HERE but his main thrust is that something was terribly and deeply amiss in the way creation (and by extension, Israel) was displaying the Imago Dei. Therefore it was necessary for Jesus to come to, as you say above, teach us how to live.

It was because of our “sorry state” that God became human. My fear of your heavy reliance on Jewish law and custom as though it were “right” is that it minimizes the “sorry state” we were in and thus the need for Incarnation.

37   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Jesus’ only purpose was not to die on the cross and be resurrected, but also to help us understand how we should live. If we don’t bother to understand his beliefs and teachings, and their moral underpinnings, we miss the overall picture he has created for us in his incarnation.

In other words, he came to be Israel, the True Son of God. This is very much the work of Bell, Wright, Claiborne…there is nothing wrong with the OT (which some here so easily dismiss as extra-curricular).

I also find it interesting, brother Rick, that normally Jesus’ words in the Gospels do not carry that much weight with you. Now all of the sudden, they do?!?

The whole point of Wright’s book Justification is that Paul was writing out of a certain context and understanding the OT within that context.

Chad, your ‘fear’ is unfounded because the OT doesn’t minimize our conduct or our situation at all. The Law, writes Paul, points to Christ. And Christ points to what Israel was supposed to be and failed to be in God’s plan to redeem the entire world. Even Paul writes that it is not the Scripture that was flawed, but the people. That seems fairly obvious too.

Finally, Chad, I’m not sure which Bible you have read, but war is a constant theme in the OT. It’s in Genesis. Exodus. Joshua. Numbers. Kings. Chronicles. Samuel. Daniel. It is all over the place. And Revelation 12, which I wrote about last week, seems to suggest, rather plainly, that we are still at war.

We may not like war. War does suck. And Chris is not advocating that war should be the norm or that we should enjoy it and pursue it. He is suggesting that war is a reality in this world and that standing by idly while evil runs rampant is not a godly idea.

jerry

38   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

“I also find it interesting, brother Rick, that normally Jesus’ words in the Gospels do not carry that much weight with you.”

I will charitable attribute those words as an inadvertent lie not actually meant to substantially misrepresent my position. The gospels are God’s written Word and carry eternal weight.

I might suggest another moratorium from my comments since you seem aggressively combative including some self serving misrepresentations, brother Jerry. :cool:

39   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Oh, Rick. It’s just a little joke and you should know that.

I’m sorry if I offended you. I should have added more smiley faces. :-)

40   nathan    
December 28th, 2009 at 5:26 pm

can we try to avoid painting peacemaking as always in the extreme?

most pacifists do not reject our right to fly from threat or to restrain it…the issue is about methods..

also, the issue for many xian pacifists is about whose role it is to perpetuate state violence/force.

i.e. the state may exercise force, but the CHURCH (the people) may not. this is rooted in a nuanced view of roles and the eschatology/telos of humans ID”d as “church”.

just as we should eschew questioning the genuineness of faith in those who hold to just war theorym we should also refrain from crappy comments about how peacemakers are basically cowards who only exercise their convictions by virtue of the benevolence of those with the courage to fight.

41   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

#39 – OK Jerry. It’s alright now, in fact it’s a gas!

42   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 5:35 pm

just as we should eschew questioning the genuineness of faith in those who hold to just war theorym we should also refrain from crappy comments about how peacemakers are basically cowards who only exercise their convictions by virtue of the benevolence of those with the courage to fight.

I agree, Nathan…

43   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Nathan – I concur. And at this point I want to publicly admit that I would not be able to obey my own convictions in certain situations, especially concerning my family.

44   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

i.e. the state may exercise force, but the CHURCH (the people) may not. this is rooted in a nuanced view of roles and the eschatology/telos of humans ID”d as “church”.

I suppose if everyone here believed this, Nathan, there would be no need for this conversation to go any further. As it is, some do not even accept the simple fact that the civil government (who is responsible to protect it’s citizens) and the church (who are the citizens) are two distinct entities.

But if that is your contention, then you and I do not disagree at all on this point.

45   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

But this does not mean that the given Jewish context of the day was God’s context in Christ.

You seem to assume that Jesus had nothing critical to say to the way Israel lived into their vocation as God’s chosen. As if “fulfilling the Law” is akin to placing his seal of approval upon it. If that were the case, than there is no need for Jesus, really.

Christianity was not invented out of whole cloth. In fact, the underlying principles of Christianity are identical to those of Judaism – the Torah. Jesus’ purpose was not to abolish Torah, but to interpret it correctly, so that all men could live as God desired them to.

There are a number of Jewish doctrines that Jesus affirmed, others he opposed, and still others that he gave a “yes, and…”. Every one of Jesus (and Paul’s) instructions is based in Torah. If we do not bother to figure out where they came from, and what nuances they were affirming or condemning, we are just making it up as we go – injecting our own culture and opinions into the Text, instead of deriving them from the Test. In reality, much of the early church understood this until the anti-Semitism of the 200’s and 300’s drove a wedge between the Jews and Christians, and many Christians began to pretend that Christianity was a complete and utter rejection of the Jews, and that its precepts and doctrines were invented ex nihilo by Jesus.

In the case of Picuach Nefesh, the basis of the doctrine is solidly throughout the Hebrew Scripture, and is affirmed consistently throughout Jesus’ ministry, and in the words and actions of his apostles. Rather than create an idol out of life, it puts “life” in its proper perspective – by not devaluing it (like the Priest and the Levite did to the injured man) and by not idolizing it above other commands (like blasphemy and sexual impurity).

Again, examining the Jewish context is to see how Jesus treated the subject and its cultural & religious teachings, and to apply those principles to today. It is not to transplant first century Judiasm to today – which this does not do, since Jesus was actually choosing sides in this debate (with Hillel and against the Sadducees), as he did in others.

46   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

As it is, some do not even accept the simple fact that the civil government (who is responsible to protect it’s citizens) and the church (who are the citizens) are two distinct entities.

Jerry…..who???

47   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

…because, no one here (least of all Chris) has suggest that the church should be the perpetrators of violence or the ‘myth of redemptive violence.’

But neither, for that matter, does this argument preclude the idea that individual members of the church may participate in such wars.

but I’ll also concede that there may be a difference of opinion on this matter too.

48   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

well, Chad…uh…you?

49   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

And please don’t tell me you do, because if you did, this conversation would not be taking place.

50   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Jerry – I do not.

I have been clear from the outset on any discussions concerning this.

Why are you being so combative?

51   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Chris L – do you wish to respond to #24?

52   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Jerry,
My position has consistently been a concern for what the Church does and says in response to a nations actions. I have never stated a gov’t should act in this or that way. I am under no delusions that they are going to act “justly” in the way of Christ (though they may stumble on it at times).

My voice is from one within Christ’s church. I care about how Christians respond and what they give consent to. I do not feel it is the place of Christ’s church to “justify” war or to be part of war. What the nations do, the nations will do.

53   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I see how it is with you and Rick whenever someone calls you on your ‘difficulties’: combative, aggressive, or utterly hypocritical.

But this is your point Chad. Seriously. As long as the government espouses ideas that you agree with and desire to see perpetuated, you have no problems with them: Yes to universal health care! (for example.)

But that government better dare not go to war to protect the citizens within those borders. If you had said, at the outset of this conversation, that you support the right of the civil government to protect those people who live in its borders, you and I would not be talking about it right now. But that’s not what you did. You said something about the ‘myth of redemptive violence’ which is precisely beside the point since that is not what Chris is suggesting at all.

I’m not being combative so please so accusing me of being so. Instead, act and respond to my points that I raise with a valid, Scriptural argument that supports, carte blanche, your pacifism.

jerry

54   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Jerry _ I will openly admit I cannot consistently understand you.

55   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Jerry-

Have a merry New Year!

56   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

That is to say, the government doesn’t have a moral obligation to assume a position of pacifism and the church is under no moral or biblical obligation to speak out against it when war is inevitable and necessary.

But if the government has that right and obligation, then it is not the church’s place to speak against it (any more than it is Shane Claiborne’s place to apologize on behalf of those Christians who do not speak out against it.)

And as Rick stated, (I’m paraphrasing), it is utterly impossible to sustain in real life what you argue in a blog. And if you can, I’d hate to be married to you. :-) (*not that there’s anything wrong with that. ;) )

57   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

55: “I can’t, so I’ll quit.”

Rick, what is so difficult to understand? That I am willing to admit that I am a hypocrite and follow through with my contradictions?

58   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

But if the government has that right and obligation, then it is not the church’s place to speak against it

What sort of logic is this?

That is like saying: Since abortion clinics have the “right” and “obligation” of aborting babies the Church has no place to speak against it.

Violence/war etc. is sin, Jerry. The Church has every right to speak against it. In fact, it MUST speak against the powers of evil in this world or else we might as well cease to exist.

it is utterly impossible to sustain in real life what you argue in a blog.

ain’t faith in Christ a bitch?

59   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

#57 – See, again I am confused. Perhaps it is me, but I’m being honest.

60   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

#55 was my way of not wanting to watch you continue to act like an ass towards your friends.

Nevermind.

61   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Violence/war etc. is sin, Jerry.

Not universally, it is not.

62   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Just wondering when Chad will confront the local Police station to ask them not to use violence in carrying out their duties, since it is a sin to do so…

63   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Chris L – do you wish to respond to #24?

Sorry – I missed it while I was out… ran to Kokomo (Ok, drove…) to get my daughter…

Let’s see…

1) If I was a prostitute, and you were following the golden rule (to do unto me, as I would have you do unto me), would you A) give me money for services; B) give me money sans services; or C) look for a way to get me out of my current profession?

2) If you were in the process of beating an innocent person to death, and you were not responding to requests to stop, which would be my most loving response: A) To allow it to happen, since all violence is wrong; or B) to use whatever force is necessary to get you to stop?

64   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:40 pm

60–like I said, you and rick continually say i’m being combative and things like that…rick says I haven’t offered a substantial and reason argument to his points. yet, neither of you seem willing to interact with the points i’ve made. truth is, neither of you can fully justify your pacifist position.

and Rick’s argument/position is based on outright dismissal of the OT. Nice. That’s a nuanced and solid argument.

so, you quit. why don’t you stop dismissing me and argue your case?

65   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Rick,

If you tell me what you don’t understand, I’ll be happy to spell it out in Greek or Russian. :-)

jerry

66   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Jerry – I admit to being on guard with you as you seem to be with me. I am willing to begin again. Your description of my arguement in #64 was generous.

My entire case is made by suggesting the Old Testament is now used as support for the New by shadows and types that point to Christ. As I attempted to introduce that perspective I used Dickens’ intro in “A Christmas Carol”.

If Chris is correct, and the OT is viable as life templates in cases of certain wars and violence, then my position is inaccurate and the teachings of Jesus in this area are limited to personal interaction and not bound to international conflicts.

67   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Rick,

My point, and I think Chris’s point, is that neither Jesus nor Paul dismissed the OT. In fact, Paul’s work in the NT is based entirely on the OT–which is far from a dismissal.

Surely there are ‘parts’ of the OT that are no longer applicable to our situation. For example, sacrifices and the prohibition against mixing our corn and beans in the same plot. But that doesn’t mean that we can just dismiss the OT out of hand as if it has no moral bearing upon our lives.

I agree, shadow. Yes! School master. Yes! And I agree that Hebrews 1-1,4 is a great passage pointing to Christ. Yes! I disagree that it has nothing to teach us about how to live since Jesus himself lived his life based on those books. If he was the True Son of God, ‘Out of Egypt I called my Son’ (which was Israel to the prophet), then it is imperative, as Chris has noted, that we pay close attention to the way he lived: We are true Israel.

I am guarded with you Rick because my experience with people from your generation has not at all been positive. And if I am difficult to understand at times it is because I am thinking my way through this. My answers are not yet settled, nor are my questions.

Frankly, I am not certain we are even asking the right questions here. But it is difficult to ask this question because the ideas of ‘civil government’ and ‘church’ has been conflated, mixed, and confused so that they are indistinguishable. This is my problem with Chad’s argument. He seems to think that there is no difference between the two except when it is an idea he opposes–like just war.

Maybe that doesn’t make sense, but i appreciate that you are willing to give me the benefit of the doubt to explain myself.

**my comment about ‘your generation’ is an issue I am currently working on and is not intended to be a personal affront to you. as I continue to be confronted by my prejudice, i realize i am extremely biased against people of certain generations. i am genuinely sorry if i have offended you or cast that ugly shadow on your good will. please forgive me if you will. please understand it is difficult for me. i make no excuses, just repentance.

68   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Since you wish to understand my generation, let’s get together around a water pipe and smoke some Acapulco Gold and listen to some Hendrix and Dylan. :lol:

“Coming into Los Angeles
Bringing in a couple of keys
Don’t touch my bags if you please
Mister Customs Man”

69   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Some folks are born
made to wave the flag,
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue.
And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”,
they point the cannon right at you.

It ain’t me, it ain’t me.
I ain’t no senator’s son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me.
I ain’t no fortunate one.

Some folks are born
silver spoon in hand,
Lord don’t they help themselves.
But when the tax man comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale.

It ain’t me, it ain’t me.
I ain’t no millionaire’s son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me.
I ain’t no fortunate one.

Some folks inherit
star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war.
And when you ask them,
“How much should we give?”
They only answer “More! More! More!”

It ain’t me, it ain’t me.
I ain’t no military son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me.
I ain’t no fortunate one.

It ain’t me, it ain’t me.
I ain’t no fortunate son.

(John Fogerty)

70   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

http://www.crosstalkblog.com/2009/12/mother-murders-newborn-cant-be-charged/

Wondering what Chad feels about this being non-violent and all, likely believing that the baby is also in hell.

71   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 8:18 pm

PB – At the risk of detouring the thread, but having some connection to violence, I ask this:

Would God have approved of murdering Hitler, and if so, would He have approved of aborting him before he was able to do what he did? In effect, a pre-emptive strike.

72   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

PB – The report you link to is disgusting, horrific, and pagan. But I still do not get why violence is right to bring democracy to Iraq but not right to defend the unborn.

73   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 8:45 pm

But I still do not get why violence is right to bring democracy to Iraq but not right to defend the unborn.

IF Iraq were a just war (and I’m not arguing that it IS or IS NOT), then it would be justified based on clear international criteria, including that”damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations would be lasting, grave, and certain”. In this case, it is the governmental authority determining that such criteria have been met, not individuals involved in the conflict.

In the case of defending the unborn, it is in the bailiwick of the justice system and not a case for vigilantism (which is never justified)…

74   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

And if the United Nations passed an international law that no country could go to war unless approved by the security council, would that preclude the US from going to war when they deemed it necessary? Would it be right to break international law?

And then there is the “what should the church do” bailiwick.

75   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Chris L –

Still no response to #24 then?

76   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Re #61 –

Says who?

Will there be war and violence in God’s eternal kingdom? Was there war and violence in Eden?

Both are products of the Fall. Prove otherwise.

77   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

And if the United Nations passed an international law that no country could go to war unless approved by the security council, would that preclude the US from going to war when they deemed it necessary?

And if the moon were made of green cheese… The chances of the US Senate ratifying such a treaty obligation (which would require 67 votes) is less than nil. So, I guess we’ll just wait and cross that bridge if we ever get there.

78   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Still no response to #24 then?

I did respond – with two additional questions which get to the point I was making.

79   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Jerry, no response to 58?

Do you not think the Church should speak out against sin when and where she finds it?

80   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 9:07 pm

78 – how is that a response? That is utter nonsense.

Once again: If you act unloving towards your neighbor does that action or inaction render God’s universal law to love thy neighbor null and void?

It’s a simple yes or no question.

81   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:08 pm
Violence/war etc. is sin, Jerry.

Not universally, it is not.

Says who?

It is not up to me to prove it. You must prove via positive revelation, not negative inference, that all violence is sin. In logic and science, one does not prove a negative – the onus is on the one making the positive assertion.

Will there be war and violence in God’s eternal kingdom? Was there war and violence in Eden?

This does not infer sin – it only infers that war is a product of the fall. So is pain in childbirth, but this is not a sin. So it toil in work, but this is not a sin.

God specifically commanded wars and that specific death sentences be carried out via violent means. So, unless you want to argue that God made a mistake, you cannot argue that violence is ontologically evil.

82   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

78 – how is that a response? That is utter nonsense.

If it is utter nonsense, then you will have no problem answering it.

83   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:21 pm

OK, so you will not engage a hypothetical. Would it have been acceptable for Germans to kill SS men who were actively killing Jews at Treblinka?

84   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

While I’ll let Jerry answer #58 himself, as well, I’ll make a couple of observations:

But if the government has that right and obligation, then it is not the church’s place to speak against it

What sort of logic is this?

That is like saying: Since abortion clinics have the “right” and “obligation” of aborting babies the Church has no place to speak against it.

Not at all – abortion clinics have no God-granted purpose, unlike governments (for whom, both Judges and Kings are given biblical authority and restrictions). Abortion clinics are not governing authorities.

Violence/war etc. is sin, Jerry.

B+. Fail. Nowhere in Scripture is violence ontologically categorized as sin.

The Church has every right to speak against it. In fact, it MUST speak against the powers of evil in this world or else we might as well cease to exist.

So let’s see. Health care? No right to speak – lay back and enjoy being raped. War? The church MUST speak out against it, regardless of its justification.

Bizarreness.

In our system of government, members of the church have the right and responsibility to hold the government accountable for its actions. If it prosecutes a war that we feel is unjust, we should speak against it. If it seeks to enslave its people and make them dependent on it for every need – either directly or gradually, we should speak out against it. Either way, if our concerns are not heard, so long as we are not ordered to commit sin, then we should submit to its laws. That does not argue for silence or insurrection.

85   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

“In our system of government”

What if you do not like your system of government (i.e.colonies), is violent insurrection a Biblical option?

86   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:35 pm

OK, so you will not engage a hypothetical. Would it have been acceptable for Germans to kill SS men who were actively killing Jews at Treblinka?

Would this hypothetical meet all four criteria for just war?

1) The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain? Yes.
2) All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective? We know of a number of SS guards who refused orders to commit atrocities and who were either killed or put in camps, themselves.
3) There must be serious prospects of success? It sounds like what you are suggesting is suicide (self-murder) in its planning, in which case it would not meet this criteria. If there was a plan that had a serious prospect of success (liberating Treblinka, for instance), then yes (for example, the Sobibor uprising, which was discovered too soon to be completely successful, but likely saved the lives of 70+ Jews).
4) The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated? I would assume this would be met.

87   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

What if you do not like your system of government (i.e.colonies), is violent insurrection a Biblical option?

I don’t know that I could have supported a violent insurrection in this case. It does not appear to meet the criteria for ‘just war’.

88   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:48 pm

#86 – Earlier you suggested my post was nothing more than opinion and not based upon Scripture. What Scriptures do you base those “criteria” upon?

89   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 9:59 pm

#87 – And that illustrates one of my points. The assessment of whether a war is “just” is subjective and reliant upon the facts given to us by subjective and agenda driven motives from the entire political spectrum.

You are unsure about the Revolutionary War while millions of believers have absolutely no doubt it was just. I long for the days when I was so sure about everything. :cool:

90   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:02 pm

#86 – Earlier you suggested my post was nothing more than opinion and not based upon Scripture. What Scriptures do you base those “criteria” upon?

I did not delve into the basis of the criteria (or do a whole lot of in-depth study on them. One of the references I was working from (based on St. Thomas Aquinas’ work) had a number of Scriptural references for each of these criteria. I know that one of the references for the #3 criteria was the biblical prohibition against self-murder (suicide).

The primary purpose of my article was to show that one could reasonably support being a Christian as a policeman or a soldier, and that wars could be determined to have a “just cause” – though most causes of wars would fall into the “unjust” category. Also, most of my OT references were not based on narrative comparison, but on application of instruction from Torah (Genesis – Deuteronomy). Jesus’ teaching integrated observations from all three portions of OT Scripture, but he and Paul’s legal rulings were most obviously/logically related to their linkages to Torah.

91   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

You are unsure about the Revolutionary War while millions of believers have absolutely no doubt it was just.

Well, it certainly would be easy if every judgment were cut-and-dried, but many of the issues we face daily as Christians have so many nuances that a simple black/white answer is usually the exception and not the norm. Why should we expect that issues of much more import (like war) are not equally difficult. Since I was not living in 1776, I cannot make a fully-informed judgment as to the “just-ness”. I have the luxury of about 230 years of 20/20 hindsight and a plethora of historical views of it, so whether or not I think it was justified here in 2009 is of no import…

92   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:16 pm

“a good deal of moralistic stretching”
“There must be serious prospects of success?”

So if a GI dives upon a grenade to save his platoon he is wrong? And there are many instances where there seemed to be absolutely no reasonable expectation of success and it turned out to be just the opposite. In fact, the Revolutionary War was one example.

The justness of a war is entirely subjective and cannot be Scripturally evaluated. And the pre-emptive just wars are a real stretch.

93   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

“Since I was not living in 1776, I cannot make a fully-informed judgment as to the “just-ness”.”

And yet you live in 2009 and have the benefit of a colossal amount of information about the Iraq War but you still seem uncommitted as to its justness.

94   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

And yet you live in 2009 and have the benefit of a colossal amount of information about the Iraq War but you still seem uncommitted as to its justness.

Actually, I do have an opinion on the Iraq War, but that’s not the topic of this thread, and I’d rather deal with the overall philosophical underpinnings of ‘just war’ before trying to determine whether or not a politically-charged war fits into that category or not.

95   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:34 pm

The justness of a war is entirely subjective and cannot be Scripturally evaluated.

When evaluating what is the lesser of two (or many) necessary evils, it is nearly impossible to be fully objective, so some level of subjectivity always exists. It is this way in the justice system, as well, yet God clearly called out the need to judges and justice. Scripture is the primary place to go for determining the principles by which to evaluate our decisions. Not every specific situation is directly 1:1 covered by a scriptural pronouncement, but the underlying principles should guide us. Just because something is difficult to do does not make it the wrong path to be on. In fact, Jesus represented the more difficult path, in numerous cases, as the one to follow.

96   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:37 pm

“In fact, Jesus represented the more difficult path, in numerous cases, as the one to follow.”

Exactly. :cool:

97   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

So if a GI dives upon a grenade to save his platoon he is wrong?

Actually, I read an Christian ethics paper on this specific topic. Where they ended up was that, if the soldier was close enough to throw himself on the grenade, his life was already in serious, if not mortal, danger. So, throwing himself on the grenade, thus saving his companions, is – in balance – saving more lives than it cost. Should he decide not to throw himself on it, and survive, he should not be condemned, either, as he was making a split-second decision, weighing the risks as he deemed possible.

98   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

“In fact, Jesus represented the more difficult path, in numerous cases, as the one to follow.”

Exactly. :cool:

Which is why the simplistic answer “violence is never the solution” is about the simplest cop-out to such situations I can think of.

99   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

that should be “most simplistic”…

100   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Well, Chris L, I’ll assume you refuse to answer my question in 24 that I have posed numerous times now.

This does not infer sin – it only infers that war is a product of the fall. So is pain in childbirth, but this is not a sin. So it toil in work, but this is not a sin.

apples and oranges.

Pain in childbirth or toil in work are curses imposed by God as a result of transgression. Violence and war are sinful acts perpetrated by humans on one another. Violence and war is sin.

Jesus couldn’t be more clear on this.

101   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 28th, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Well, Chris L, I’ll assume you refuse to answer my question in 24 that I have posed numerous times now.

I didn’t refuse to answer your question – I answered it with a question (just as you answered my initial question with a question) – actually two questions – neither of which have you answered.

Pain in childbirth or toil in work are curses imposed by God as a result of transgression. Violence and war are sinful acts perpetrated by humans on one another. Violence and war is sin.

Jesus couldn’t be more clear on this.

II Opinions:Chad 3:14

apples and oranges.

No, apples and apples. You’ve conjured up a sin based on absence in Eden. There are a whole lot of things that are not “sin” that were absent in Eden.

You’ve got nothing other than what you just made up. Pure and utter opinion. There is absolutely no Scripture – OT or NT – which says a) all violence is sin; b) all war is sin; or c) there is never justification for war.

None.

God must be a sinner, because He required war, and gave death as punishment in the justice system He established.

Jesus told his disciples to sell some of their things to go buy swords. I guess Jesus was a pretty twisted guy for commanding his disciples to sin.

Get over it, you’ve made up your universal “violence = sin” “doctrine” from whole cloth. Even your left-wing denomination agrees that there is a case for just war. I guess their UMC B.O.D. believes we should sin, as well. What a crock of skubala you shovel.

You’ve yet to provide an iota of Scriptural evidence that all lethal force is sinful. None. (aside from your foray into II Opinions).

102   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:05 am

Wow. Talk about being defensive!

Sheesh. You can’t talk to me without being insulting or demeaning, can you?

Hey, feel free to justify war and violence all you like. Nothing surprises me here anymore.

Bottom line: Is war and violence bringing us closer to the heart of God or further away? Obviously you feel violence and war is either morally neutral (which is a crock) or it brings us closer to the heart of God.

I’ll say again – it’s sin.

103   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 1:30 am

Is war and violence bringing us closer to the heart of God or further away? Obviously you feel violence and war is either morally neutral (which is a crock) or it brings us closer to the heart of God.

I would say that it is ontologically neutral (which is not a crock, since both God and Jesus give situational justification for its usage), though it is misused more often than not.

I’ll say again – it’s sin.

I could care less how often you say it, but you’re little more than a two-bit Pharisee, making it up as you go.

You cannot give any Scripture which declares that lethal force is ontologically evil. None. All you can do is engage in your typical BS sophistry that deals in generalities and “overarching narratives” but is woefully short on anything that even resembles solid detail.

The use of lethal force is not, in and of itself, sinful. You cannot prove it is, and your vague pronouncements are about as useless as your “everybody gets saved” load of crap theology.

104   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:34 am

When the Church gives justification to war or violence of any kind it becomes impotent and loses her prophetic voice in the world. It is perhaps the height of hypocrisy to endorse a so-called “just war” and then stand from the pulpit and invite your congregation to affirm

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

as God’s holy word. Unless, of course, you wish to footnote Jesus’ sermon and suggest that “love your enemies” is only in play so long as your enemies are not threatening your way of life, your nations security or even your family.

105   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 1:34 am

1) Does God ever command the use of lethal force on the part of the nation of Israel, or in its system of justice?

2) Does Jesus tell his disciples to sell some of their possessions in order to buy swords?

3) If I was a prostitute, and you were following the golden rule (to do unto me, as I would have you do unto me), would you A) give me money for services; B) give me money sans services; or C) look for a way to get me out of my current profession?

4) If you were in the process of beating an innocent person to death, and you were not responding to requests to stop, which would be my most loving response: A) To allow it to happen, since all violence is sinful; or B) to use the minimum amount of force necessary to get you to stop, even if that force results in your death?

These questions are all rooted in Scripture (and I can point them out for you). Your sophistry is nothing more than Pharisaical dust in the wind.

106   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:35 am

re #103 – tis a convenient thing for you that violence, even with words, is justifiable :)

107   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:41 am

I’ve struggled and gone back and forth on the issue of violence. Because of sin (and the prophecy of Jesus), I do not believe there will ever be peace between all peoples and nations until the King returns. Nations going to war is not my struggle. The use of personal force is. If I can find a way to protect and bring about justice without causing further harm, then I will. When Jesus calls us to live radically for him, I don’t think that can include passivity. Self-sacrifice is anything but passive.

Where’s the line when it comes to force/violence? Recently an airline passenger jumped a man attempting to set off a bomb on an airplane. Did he sin?

108   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 1:41 am

When the Church gives justification to war or violence of any kind it becomes impotent and loses her prophetic voice in the world.

II Opinions 3:14

It is not the church, but the governing authorities who determine if war is justified. The church can agree or disagree, but it is not within her authority to declare war.

It is perhaps the height of hypocrisy to endorse a so-called “just war” and then stand from the pulpit and invite your congregation to affirm

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

We’re not talking about religious persecution. Additionally, it follows that you would “love your neighbor as yourself” if you would expect someone to stop you from killing an innocent person, were they in your place. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not an invitation to aid or abet their sin through your inaction. There is no hypocrisy in defending the innocent, or protecting the people of your country from danger, or to enforce its laws and protect its people via a police force. If you’ve got any policemen in your congregation, you’d best tell them to stop sinning and find a moral line of work.

“Love your enemies” is not a blank check to allow them to perpetrate gross sins against humanity. Jesus never said, nor implied that. “Love your enemies” is a call to abstain from vengeance and conquest, not self-defense. If you bothered to understand what Jesus believed, you’d have a clue what “love your enemies” meant, rather than supply it with a meaning of your own making.

109   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 1:44 am

Where’s the line when it comes to force/violence? Recently an airline passenger jumped a man attempting to set off a bomb on an airplane. Did he sin?

He sure did. He should have let the guy take down the airplane if he wanted to, instead of hurting that poor fella. What a shame he sinned by using violence against the terrorist peace-loving tourist.

110   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 1:46 am

If I can find a way to protect and bring about justice without causing further harm, then I will. When Jesus calls us to live radically for him, I don’t think that can include passivity. Self-sacrifice is anything but passive.

I completely agree, Christian. We should strive to resolve disputes and crisis situations with the minimal harm possible. Sometimes, though, harm cannot be avoided, and causing that unavoidable harm is not sin, no matter what words some folks might put in Jesus’ mouth…

111   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:47 am

It is not the church, but the governing authorities who determine if war is justified

I’d don’t care WHO is doing the justifying. The point is the CHURCH should not be justifying or endorsing or writing posts that give allowance for war and violence. Period.

There is no hypocrisy in defending the innocent, or protecting the people of your country from danger, or to enforce its laws and protect its people via a police force.

Violence is still sin, no matter how pretty of a dress you want to put it in, Chris.

“Love your enemies” is a call to abstain from vengeance and conquest, not self-defense.

Turn the other cheek.

If you bothered to understand what Jesus believed

I know. If only we were all enlightened like you and thought as you thought. Then I guess i’d be a writer on your blog, eh? :D

112   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:50 am

Recently an airline passenger jumped a man attempting to set off a bomb on an airplane. Did he sin?

Christian,
I wouldn’t call restraining someone who is about to harm others a “violent” act.

I am talking strictly of violence and war. There are plenty of creative, imaginative ways to resist evil and restrain evil without being violent – where there is intent to harm another.

113   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:55 am

When Jesus calls us to live radically for him, I don’t think that can include passivity. Self-sacrifice is anything but passive.

Christian, I agree. However, not being passive need not mean being violent.

I do not like the word “pacifism” for that reason. I believe in non-violent resistance. That is not easy. The easy (or lazy) thing to do is to resort to what our human nature so easily and readily avails us – violence. Even if we say we use violence as a “last resort” we are setting ourselves up for trouble. At least from a Christian standpoint.

114   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 1:55 am

I’d don’t care WHO is doing the justifying. The point is the CHURCH should not be justifying or endorsing or writing posts that give allowance for war and violence. Period.

And you’re welcome to your personal conviction, but you’ve got no basis or right to suggest it is a universal pronouncement. Cry me a river, but you’ve been unable to answer anything I’ve asked you to this point.

Violence is still sin, no matter how pretty of a dress you want to put it in, Chris.

Sorry, Chad, but II Opinions is not in my Bible, and you’ve not given any Scriptural backing for your position, yet. So, unless God is a sinner and Jesus is an abetter of sin, you’re spouting nothing more than the Book of Chad (which still has no resemblance to anything biliary).

Turn the other cheek.

In context, “turn the other cheek” is a response to dishonor, not a threat upon one’s life, or that of an innocent person. You’re grasping at straws now.

How about answering these questions before piling on any more sophistry from the Book of Chad?

1) Does God ever command the use of lethal force on the part of the nation of Israel, or in its system of justice?

2) Does Jesus tell his disciples to sell some of their possessions in order to buy swords?

3) If I was a prostitute, and you were following the golden rule (to do unto me, as I would have you do unto me), would you A) give me money for services; B) give me money sans services; or C) look for a way to get me out of my current profession?

4) If you were in the process of beating an innocent person to death, and you were not responding to requests to stop, which would be my most loving response: A) To allow it to happen, since all violence is sinful; or B) to use the minimum amount of force necessary to get you to stop, even if that force results in your death?

115   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 1:58 am

The easy (or lazy) thing to do is to resort to what our human nature so easily and readily avails us – violence. Even if we say we use violence as a “last resort” we are setting ourselves up for trouble.

*Yawn* Perhaps you’d best call your local sheriff’s office and tell them to disable your address from their 911 system…

116   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 1:58 am

*yawn*

#24

117   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 2:01 am

Chris, what is so hard for you to understand here? I don’t expect the police force to operate under the Lordship of Jesus. I don’t expect them , or the government, to have the same ethics as the Church.

so all of this sort of stuff:

Perhaps you’d best call your local sheriff’s office and tell them to disable your address from their 911 system…

is meaningless to me.

118   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 2:04 am

#24: What does it mean when you act unlovin towards a neighbor? That you are a hypocrite or a Pharisee? Or both?

If I were truly being unloving and in opposition to what I teach, I’d likely be both.

Of course, in this case, it depends on how you define “unlovin”. If it is “loving” to allow him to carry out crimes against others when you are capable of stopping him, then let me be “unloving” every time, as “loving your neighbor” is subservient to “love the Lord your God”, and it would not be displaying love for God to allow the innocent to be unjustly harmed by my inaction. In this case, I would not be a hypocrite or a Pharisee.

There you go. How about answering my questions now:

1) Does God ever command the use of lethal force on the part of the nation of Israel, or in its system of justice?

2) Does Jesus tell his disciples to sell some of their possessions in order to buy swords?

3) If I was a prostitute, and you were following the golden rule (to do unto me, as I would have you do unto me), would you A) give me money for services; B) give me money sans services; or C) look for a way to get me out of my current profession?

4) If you were in the process of beating an innocent person to death, and you were not responding to requests to stop, which would be my most loving response: A) To allow it to happen, since all violence is sinful; or B) to use the minimum amount of force necessary to get you to stop, even if that force results in your death?

119   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 2:06 am

And, while you’re at it, you can answer the original question that prompted #24:

if your family was being attacked in the middle of the night, would you call 911?

120   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 2:07 am

Chris, what is so hard for you to understand here? I don’t expect the police force to operate under the Lordship of Jesus. I don’t expect them , or the government, to have the same ethics as the Church.

Then you’d best go out and preach against Christians being policemen, or soldiers, or holding public office.

I’m sure there’s something in the Book of Chad to back that up, since the Bible doesn’t.

121   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 6:23 am

*Rick’s article is almost entirely opinion with a good deal of moralistic stretching with little Scriptural basis.
*one has to wonder what need there ever was for Jesus!
*In this way you can claim a more historical position while paradoxically making the Incarnation seem like overkill.
*You’re right – our own opinions and whatever we want “the Incarnation” to mean certainly mean miles more that what Jesus actually believed, practiced and taught.
*I see how it is with you and Rick whenever someone calls you on your ‘difficulties’: combative, aggressive, or utterly hypocritical.
*#55 was my way of not wanting to watch you continue to act like an ass towards your friends.
*If it is utter nonsense, then you will have no problem answering it.
*II Opinions:Chad 3:14
*What a crock of skubala you shovel.
*I could care less how often you say it, but you’re little more than a two-bit Pharisee, making it up as you go.
*All you can do is engage in your typical BS sophistry that deals in generalities and “overarching narratives” but is woefully short on anything that even resembles solid detail.
*I know. If only we were all enlightened like you and thought as you thought. Then I guess i’d be a writer on your blog, eh?
*Cry me a river, but you’ve been unable to answer anything I’ve asked you to this point.
*How about answering these questions before piling on any more sophistry from the Book of Chad?
*I’m sure there’s something in the Book of Chad to back that up, since the Bible doesn’t.

I was sure we could have a reasoned and respectful conversation. At least that is why I suggested this dialogue. I was wrong and I made a mistake.

If our Christianity cannot be seen even in a blog thread, what do we really have?

I don’t know, but I do know we don’t have Jesus, either the non-violent one or the sometimes violent one. We seem to only have ourselves. We have little evidence to tell others that Jesus makes a difference. Perhaps He does, but at this point we’ve yet to put Him to the test.

122   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 8:24 am

Rick, you are right.

And if my comments came even close to being on the same level as Chris L’s, I would apologize.

123   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 8:52 am

Does God ever command the use of lethal force on the part of the nation of Israel, or in its system of justice?

There are a number of things that can be said on this topic alone. In the past when this topic came up I posted 7 mitigating factors that must be considered when looking at violence in the OT. I don’t have them with me now, but several of them deal with a sense of progressive revelation and a look forward to a time when things will be very different.

So rather than rehashing that, I will simply quote Jesus: You have heard it said…..but I say unto you….

Does Jesus tell his disciples to sell some of their possessions in order to buy swords?

Yep. So what? We could both assume what the purpose behind that purchase really was. What I have going on my side, however, is the overwhelming tenor of non-violence throughout the NT and by the early church. No early Christians, either in the NT or after, were concluding that since they disciples went and bought a few swords that all Christians should be armed.

As for #24, I apologize. In the all the smoke drummed up in your dodging of that question the real purpose of it got lost. I had asked initially if your acting unloving towards another person makes the universal law of God to “love thy neighbor” null and void. For the record, I don’t think your messing up makes you either a hypocrite or a Pharisee. I think it makes you human. The real issue is whether or not your mess up nullifies God’s laws. I don’t believe it does. Do you?

124   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 8:57 am

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.

- Jesus

Here, Jesus puts in stark contrast the ways of the world and the way of the Kingdom. One way resorts to violence to achieve their ends, the other a cross.

The question for Christians is, which kingdom are you living in? Are you citizens of (insert country here) or of heaven?

125   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 9:05 am

I do not expect anyone to re-examine their perspectives. What is astonishing to me and took me completely by surprise, is that the other side cannot even admit that their seems to be a Scriptural basis for my post, even if they vehemently disagree with it.

Anyone who claims that the Bible does not seem to project certain paradoxes and even some seemingly incongruous teachings within itself is being disingenuous and probably is exhibiting a form of spiritual fear.

To be honest, there are many things Scripturally about which we would do well to admit an incomplete understanding. That kind of honesty may provide a bridge of humble honesty to those in darkness who sometimes believe we have the Rosetta Stone to all Biblical truth.

(And we sometimes manifest a knowledge arrogance that says “We will share our unabridged Biblical knowledge with you as long as you meet certain requirements.)

“We know much less than we think we do, and we practice much less than we do know.”

Rick Frueh circa A.D. 2009

126   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 29th, 2009 at 9:50 am

I guess I have a hard time seeing the practical application of Just War doctrine. Has there ever been throughout a history a nation that quit fighting a war because it came to the realization that conflict it was engaged in wasn’t just? At best, nations decide to disengage after getting bogged down in situations where they realize they are sustaining too many casualties without “progress”. It seems to me that the purpose of the doctrine is really to assuage the consciences of Christians who are in the military.

Personally, I do not think it is God’s will for humans to be killing each other period. Yes, in a fallen world, there are times when it is probably inevitable, but I do not think it’s the ideal. So I guess that’s my sticking point with Christians serving in the military and such. Does a Christian soldier point to the new creation? Is he living as the new humanity in Christ? I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but I do think that when a soldier kills someone, the effect is something that will linger with him for a long, long time.

My other comment is this. If you look at the history of the church – even starting at the Reformation – the church’s problem has not been that it’s been too slow to enter conflicts. In fact, the Church at many times has been just as bloodthirsty as any secular government. I’ve been reading Alistair McGrath’s book on the Reformation, and I have to say, there’s a lot of violence that took place that doesn’t get talked about that often. It seems to me that we have violence in our blood, and I think Christians do need to take pause about their acceptance of it and even how much they condone it.

As far as police forces, of course they are necessary, and I think that in many ways the way they typically use lethal force is something that can be lined up with Scripture more easily. It’s always as a last resort (well at least in theory). Also, there are many advances being made in non-lethal weapons as well. I don’t think using non-violence as a principle of resistance means inaction. It simply means that are responses are measured against the standard that says the goal is getting rid of violence completely, instead of the standard that says responding with more force is always better.

127   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 10:00 am

You are correct, Rick – I’ve jumped in to vehemently and unrespectfully.

My apologies to you and to Chad.

128   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 29th, 2009 at 10:00 am

Here’s an interesting interview with Stanley Hauerwas by Jim Wallis from 2001 about non-violence. It’s of course a little dated, but there are some good things in it. This exchange from the end sums it up pretty well:

Wallis: I’m there with you, Stanley. This is different than anything I’ve seen in 30 years-Central America, Vietnam. But how do you confront this evil? What do you with the face of evil that we saw on Sept. 11?

Hauerwas: When people say, “The world changed on Sept. 11, 2001,” we have to say “No, the world changed on 33 A.D.” The question is how to narrate what happened on Sept. 11 in light of what happened in 33 A.D.

Wallis: Narrate that for me.

Hauerwas: The sacrifice to end sacrifices was made by God through the sacrifice of his son, and the ending of sacrifice means that we don’t continue to sacrifice other people to make the world come out all right. Justice has been done. We’ve been given all the time in the world to announce that God would not have God’s kingdom wrought through violence. That’s good news. It’s hard news, but it’s good news.

129   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 10:16 am

#122 I would like to apologize for Chris L’s comments, Rick and Chad. I would never make comments like that and it is totally wrong and un Christian. This is not how Christians are supposed to behave. Jesus NEVER argued or started fights. Again, I humbly apologize for Chris L. Thank the Lord I am not like Him.**

**Satire, laid on pretty thick.

130   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 10:16 am

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.

This is, again, a reference to armed rebellion against authority, not self-defense. There is no Scriptural justification for Jesus’ followers to fight against the Jewish governmental authorities, because 1) Jesus is not in immediate physical danger; 2) Jesus is not a weaker party that needs their protection – he has protected them up to this point; and 3) armed insurrection against government officials is not something Jesus supported (since he spoke several times against the philosophy of the zealots.

Here, Jesus puts in stark contrast the ways of the world and the way of the Kingdom. One way resorts to violence to achieve their ends, the other a cross.

Apples and oranges. Jesus’ point was that he was not establishing a physical kingdom by overthrowing the Romans. He is not making a universal statement on the use/non-use of violence by earthly authorities (to whom we are to submit).

The question for Christians is, which kingdom are you living in? Are you citizens of (insert country here) or of heaven?

We are in the world, but not of it. Therefore, we are both citizens of (insert country here) and citizens of heaven. It is not an either-or choice. We are to submit to our earthly authorities, which means that we must function as a citizen under their protection and authority.

What is astonishing to me and took me completely by surprise, is that the other side cannot even admit that their seems to be a Scriptural basis for my post, even if they vehemently disagree with it.

Rick – I was actually disappointed in your post because I couldn’t find some Scriptural reason to agree with its core premise. It began by tossing out the OT. Then, the one citation from the OT (”You shall not commit murder”) was dismissed via a bit of logic which says “God made a mistake, because He really meant all killing, and not just murder”. The rest was a treatise on anti-nationalism (which I can agree with, to a point), which then assumes that one must be nationalistic in order to justify a nation’s use of violence in war time – a false assumption. So, the only agreement I have, Scripturally, is that we should not put our allegiance to our nation above that of the church. That has nothing to do with justification of lethal force.

131   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 10:38 am

Anyone who claims that the Bible does not seem to project certain paradoxes and even some seemingly incongruous teachings within itself is being disingenuous and probably is exhibiting a form of spiritual fear.

I believe that there are paradoxes (for instance, the support of both free will and (at least, limited) predestination), but I think that it is somewhat lazy to take what you don’t like in Scripture and call it a “paradox”, rather than do the hard work of digging in to trace its thread through Scripture – even if it leads to a conclusion you don’t like. In this case, it seems to me like you’ve chosen the easy way out by calling God’s obvious use of violence and declaration of capital punishment a “paradox”, and moved on.

BRIEF SIDEBAR: I do not want to derail the thread by dealing with specific wars, but (with the request that we NOT start debating individual wars to death) I think my answers might likely surprise you. You asked earlier about Iraq. I believe that, of the wars fought in the past century, the only war which was clearly, almost undebatably viable under “just war” doctrine is WWII. I believe this was clear years before America entered it, and that (on the part of the UK) Chamberlain’s dithering actually lead to 2-4 million more innocent lives lost and an extension of the war by 2+ years, and likely Japan’s entry into the war. I believe that the limited conflict we are in with Al Quaida is likely justifiable, though I am doubtful about our justification in entering Iraq (recognizing the 20/20 hindsight available around WMD’s, etc.), in the first place (though I would say we are bound to ‘fix’ what we ‘broke’, and that we are responsible to leave Iraq in better shape than when we entered it). Afghanistan? Only for the purpose of helping them fight off the Taliban and al-Quaida. Vietnam? Doubtful. Korea? I don’t know enough detail (I’ve never been curious enough to study it), but from what I do know, I’d probably say “no”.

132   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 29th, 2009 at 10:46 am

Here’s another link that may add to the discussion. This is an essay by Greg Boyd. Regarding Romans 12 and 13, I like his take:

Now, in the next several verses, Paul specifies that sword-wielding authorities are one means by which God executes vengeance (13:4). Since this is the very same vengeance disciples were just forbidden to exercise (12:19, ekdikeo) it seems to follow, as Yoder argues, that the “vengeance” that is recognized as being within providential control when exercised by government is the same “vengeance” that Christians are told not to exercise. (2) In other words, we may acknowledge that in certain circumstances authorities carry out a good function in wielding the sword against wrongdoers, but that doesn’t mean people who are committed to following Jesus should participate in it. Rather, it seems we are to leave such matters to God, who uses sword-wielding authorities to carry out his will in society.

133   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 10:56 am

Phil: I guess I have a hard time seeing the practical application of Just War doctrine. Has there ever been throughout a history a nation that quit fighting a war because it came to the realization that conflict it was engaged in wasn’t just?

If we, as a church, are doing our part, we should be using “just war” doctrine to question/demand a higher standard of evidence/proof from our government when it is considering war as an option. I do believe that this forestalled/prevented conflicts during the “Cold War” – particularly an invasion of Cuba. I don’t recall where I read it (though if I do, I will post it), but I recall reading that the Catholic church and other churches exerted pressure on the Johnson administration to not invade Cuba, and it ended up siding against it (though there was some question as to where this was a pragmatic decision, rather than the administration listening to the voice of the church on an issue).

Personally, I do not think it is God’s will for humans to be killing each other period. Yes, in a fallen world, there are times when it is probably inevitable, but I do not think it’s the ideal.

I agree. Rather, though, than assuming inevitability, is it not a better course to at least prepare for when it is truly an option of last resort and when it is an option of convenience? It is not God’s will for humans to be killing humans – which is why the only justification for the use of lethal force is to prevent a wider, unjust killing of innocents by parties who are (literally) hell-bent on killing them.

If you look at the history of the church – even starting at the Reformation – the church’s problem has not been that it’s been too slow to enter conflicts. In fact, the Church at many times has been just as bloodthirsty as any secular government.

I agree, as well. Just because the track record is poor doesn’t mean that the objective (limiting the use of lethal force to the bare minimum of what is required for the purpose of justice, locally and globally) is wrong. Even St. Thomas Aquinas, the author of much of what is in “just war doctrine” stated that the purpose of the doctrine was not to justify war, but to prevent it from being used for unjust purposes. It should still be so.

As far as police forces, of course they are necessary, and I think that in many ways the way they typically use lethal force is something that can be lined up with Scripture more easily.

A police force, though, is philosophically little different than an army. In fact, separating the civilian police force from a national army is a fairly new invention which had little to do with the morality/immorality of war, and more to do with expediency and efficiency.

Also, there are many advances being made in non-lethal weapons as well.

Which are not only being implemented in civilian situations. We’ve used a number of sound/light-based non-lethal weapons in current conflicts to limit injuries to both combatants and civilians.

I don’t think using non-violence as a principle of resistance means inaction. It simply means that are responses are measured against the standard that says the goal is getting rid of violence completely, instead of the standard that says responding with more force is always better.

I fully agree – the use of force should be the least common and last (and regrettable) resort. That’s not what Rick and Chad (particularly Chad) are arguing. Instead, it is a ontological declaration of “all violence is sin” – something not found in Scripture.

Perhaps you can answer the questions Chad will not:

1) Does God ever command the use of lethal force on the part of the nation of Israel, or in its system of justice?

2) Does Jesus tell his disciples to sell some of their possessions in order to buy swords?

3) If I was a prostitute, and you were following the golden rule (to do unto me, as I would have you do unto me), would you A) give me money for services; B) give me money sans services; or C) look for a way to get me out of my current profession?

4) If you were in the process of beating an innocent person to death, and you were not responding to requests to stop, which would be my most loving response: A) To allow it to happen, since all violence is sinful; or B) to use the minimum amount of force necessary to get you to stop, even if that force results in your death?

None of these questions suggest that lethal force is a first, or most desirable option, but they do show that a) it is not ontologically “sinful” when all viable non-violent options have been exhausted; and b) that “loving your neighbor” can very well mean using lethal force to prevent him from causing a greater harm.

134   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 11:06 am

Phil – even Hauerwas agrees, though, that there are times (at least in police actions) that violent confrontation is the only option, even if he could not be the one to ‘pull the trigger’. The standard isn’t “lethal force is never justified”, but rather “we do not pursue nonviolent options far enough before opting for the easy-out of violent means”. The latter view recognizes that, in the end, violence isn’t “never the option”, but that it truly should be the last resort, though a viable resort, nonetheless.

135   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:10 am

104 demonstrates, adequately, that you are unable to separate commands Jesus gave to the church/individual Christians and the state.

Chad, the state is not the church.

And, as to whether or not the church should speak out against what is wrong, well, yes, of course we should. Problem is, I don’t happen to think that war is necessarily or always wrong. I don’t think Scripture does either–after all, again, Revelation 12 at least describes our very existence as people who ‘hold to the testimony of Jesus’ as war.

So yes, we should speak out. I speak out all the time against tax-payer funded abortions; tax payer funded ‘universal’ ‘health’ ‘care’; I speak out against tax payer funded senators and representative criminal behavior, and plenty more.

But I think Rick hit it on the head above when he challenged Chris on the issue of Iraq–because that’s really what this is all about isn’t it? You don’t like that we are in Iraq; you think it is unjust and so does Rick. It may well be, but that is beside the point. Just because IT might be, doesn’t mean that it always is.

And I’ll ask this question again, Chad: If your family was in danger would you stand by and pray and wring your hands over the philosophical idea of just war or would you protect them? At least Rick has the nerve to admit he would fail his philosophy at this point.

And this question is not beside the point either because Jesus’ words and commands about peace and love and happiness were for the church/individual believer and not for the state which he, by his own authority, establishes.

So there’s my answer; there’s my question. And just to be sure, I have asked this question with all the gentleness and humility and love that I possess–just so you don’t think I’m being combative and hostile.

jerry

136   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 11:13 am

Phil, with Boyd, I’d agree with his distinction between the government wielding the sword for justice purposes rather than individuals, but I would not agree that Christians should not be in the government.

That is very little from the Jewish position (in the first century and today) that Jesus criticized (via his comments to and treatment of Zaccheus), in which a class of people were allowed to do the “dirty work”, but they were automatically determined to be “sinners” by the very nature of the work they are required to do. Therefore, if a Christian should not be in government, then nobody should be in government. If a Christian should not be a policeman, nobody should be a policeman. If a Christian should not be a soldier, then nobody should be a soldier.

137   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:14 am

111-I cannot envision a scenario where you would be a writer on this blog. And there was a time when I would have endorsed it. It’s not the difference of opinion that prevents you from writing here (as evidenced by Rick’s post); it’s your attitude Chad.

138   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 11:15 am

FYI – so that it does not get lost in the comments above – I overreacted and used combative and dismissive language in some of my earlier responses on this thread. I am sorry, and apologize to both Rick and Chad for this use of language on my part.

139   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:19 am

Phil,

Careful, now. Haurerwas is at Duke Divinity. Anything he says should be read very suspiciously. :D

140   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:23 am

Jerry – the thought of Iraq and our involvement there has never crossed my mind once during this conversation.

I don’t expect the State to act like the Church – and vice versa.

Sorry my “attitude” offends you so much. I guess I should be more like Chris L, huh?

With that said – Chris L, thank you for the apology. It is appreciated. I hope we both can be civil even in disagreeing.

141   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:36 am

Chad, your attitude doesn’t offend me. It just stinks. And no, you shouldn’t be more like Chris. You should be more like Jesus.

How’s that for combative and hostile?

142   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:39 am

Chris L –

I think I see where all the confusion is, and perhaps it is my fault for not being more clear. Time has been sparse as of late and I may be more brief than I normally care to be when dealing with such hot-button issues.

When I say that all violence and war is sin I am not saying that those who use violence for the ends you suggest (self-defense where lethal force is not the object or some sort of force to help save someone innocent) are “sinners” or that they are in some way estranged from God.

Rather, I am acknowledging that we live in a fallen world and often times our attempts to bring justice fall very short of the perfect will of God – a will that I believe envisions a world of non-violence and peace (weapons into plowshares and all that jazz).

SO, the difference here is that where violence is used to bring the sorts of justice you speak of I would still lament. I would still confess that this is our frail, fallen attempts at living in a world that has yet to realize what God has already done in 33 AD (Hauerwas). I would confess that this violence, no matter why it is used, is contrary to the heart of God and I will yearn for the day when the “myth of redemptive violence” is forever defeated when the “first things” pass away.

This is why I don’t answer your hypotheticals. It really doesn’t matter what I would or would not do in this or that situation. It does not alter what I believe to be the universally true about God and God’s Kingdom – it is non-violent. My successes or failures at living up to that ideal do not add to or detract from that rule, no more than your failure to love thy neighbor perfectly at all times adds to or detracts from the rule. All it proves is that I am imperfect (something no one debates).

My beef is primarily with Christians trying to justify violence or war. Rather than justifying it we should be lamenting it. We should name it for what it is – sin. It is a condition of the fallen creation, not of redeemed creation. The Church ought to be a foretaste of that redeemed creation.

143   Phil Miller    
December 29th, 2009 at 11:39 am

I just got on the ferry back to the mainland, and I’m typing on my phone, so I apologize that I won’t be able to write a long response. I was in a coffeeshop on my laptop before.

I’d say that non-violence is the ideal, but that doesn’t mean we condemn everyone for not living up to that ideal. For one thing we are not in the position to judge anyone. I do think we can serve as a prophetic voice for the world, but I don’t think that means we are the accusers.

My concern is less about Christian soldiers and policemen and more about the acceptance or even glorification of violence by the Church in general.

I’m not trying to avoid your questions, Chris, it’s just hard to interact well with them on this screen. Hopefully I will have time this evening when I get home.

144   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:47 am

Chad, your attitude doesn’t offend me. It just stinks.

That’s nice, Jerry. So when someone disagrees with you and wishes to not engage you because they sense your tone is hostile and combative it is they who have the problem, not you.

Got it.

145   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:50 am

Right, and when you won’t answer questions people ask or engage them it is because they are combative and hostile. It is they who have the problem, not you.

Got it.

146   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

when you won’t answer questions people ask or engage them it is because they are combative and hostile.

Correct.

Which is my perogative. I sort of expect (and sometimes look forward to) the ribbing and pushing by Chris L. From you, however, it is unexpected. It seems when subjects that have a political connotation to them come up you get a bit hostile. It is my prerogative to interact or not. My wishing you a merry New Year was a desire to put our friendship before what was turning into a caustic conversation. By your persistent jabs, I think I was right.

Have a merry New Year.

147   John Hughes    
December 29th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Chad: Jerry – helping the poor is a constant theme from Genesis to Revelation. War, as part of God’s Kingdom, is not.

Ummm. That is an odd statement. War was a part of the establishment of physical Israel from the get go and will be integral to the establishment of the millenial kingdom. We may currently be in a parenthesis in this Age of Grace, but war, from Genesis to Revelation, has been a part of the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. (albeit God directed or self-performed war). When the Lord Jesus returns to earth at the End of the Age with His saints to wage war against His enemies are you going to stay home?

When Jesus said “my Kingdom is not of this world else my followers would be up in arms” He was refering to the kingdom within and rule of men’s hearts. Certainly not His millenial Kingdom which is established by war.

148   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Chad,
To put a clean face on Jesus, I would like to apologize on behalf of Jerry. You are always right, and he is always wrong. I hope that, through this apology, you will be able to now follow Jesus.**

Jerry,
Please accept my apology for apologizing for you. I just want to look better than you and make Jesus look better to Chad. **

All:
Isn’t it a bit bizarre on a thread that talks about just war and violence that those christians that are opposed to war are getting a bit violent?

**Satire.

149   John Hughes    
December 29th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Chad and Chris L. This is not the first round-delay you guys have participated in and they always — ALWAYS — end up in ad hominem attacks. Chris, I could be wrong but you seem to be the one to start this downward spiral.

(I know I’m perceived as being “negative” and a kill joy all the time but I do try to refrain from the ad hominem attacks.)

I enjoy a good debate, but come on guys. It always ENDS UP with apologies, but the damage is done so why START over each time with the insults?

150   nathan    
December 29th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

149:

hear, hear…

151   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

John H,

re 147- There is a lot more to be said about Revelation, and I would argue that violence is the least of it. In any event, it is Jesus who does the “fighting,” not us. I’ll trust God to know how to wage a “just” war far more than I would a nation-state.

Furthermore, you do believe there will be no more war in God’s redeemed creation, right? Why should it be so crazy for the Church to assume that posture in the present?

re 149 – I agree. I don’t like the ad homs, either. If I have made any, I apologize.

152   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 5:28 pm

The entire just war view lives or dies with nationalism. A believer in England and his brother, a believer in Argentina, argue about the Faulkland War.

The English man says it is rightfully British while the Argentinian says it should belong to Argentina. Both men’s views are tied to the nation innwhich they live. Neither man can claim any Biblical authority because asessing “justness” is completely subjective and significantly affected by patriotism and upbringing.

153   nathan    
December 29th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

152:

hear, hear…

154   Eric    
December 29th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

“The entire just war view lives or dies with nationalism.”

Rick,

That is frankly not true. Go back to the question of supporting the British actions in WWII before American involvement.

In the narrow scenario that you paint with the Faulkland War it is clearly the case that nationalistic ideals help form the opinions. But, that need not necessarily be the case. Just because many people do judge the justness of wars based on nationalistic ideals does not mean that it follows that there then can be no such thing as a just cause for war.

Besides, didn’t you stipulate as much in the comments section of your pacifist defense? I believe your words were as follows:

“Eric – I follow you and you have rightly identified that God has “ordained” governments to execute justice (just war) on some level. I agree.”

The Bible does provide guidelines (some specific, some general principles) whereby causes can be judged to be just, without any lens of nationalism. Admittedly it is hard to remove the lens of nationalism, and many of us fail at that, but that does not negate the idea of a just cause for war (or violent police action).

155   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Our support of the British was directly as a result of our friendship with Britian, our fear of Hitler, and the Japanese attack on Peral Harbor.

My comment you quote means that I agree, nations go to war based upon their own interests, and other nations support them (or join them) based upon their own interests as well.

Which nation goes to war when it is not in their best interest (in their mind)?

156   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

But I suggest that our nation’s interests are not the same as our God’s interests.

157   Eric    
December 29th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Rick,

I don’t see how your quote could possibly mean what you say it means in #155, since it says nothing about national interests, etc, but I will take you at your word that that is what you meant.

Just because a just cause is also in the best interest of a nation, that does not make that cause automatically unjust. There is no Biblical directive that nations cannot take actions that are in their best interest. National defense against aggressors that would kill your civilians is just and in the nation’s best interest.

As to the British example, I am speaking of an individual Christian or a body of Christians in the US speaking in support of British efforts to stop Hitler from ransacking Europe and destroying every human life that he deemed unfit to live (combatant or noncombatant). Clearly this can be viewed on those merits alone without any lens of nationalism Adding the lens of national interests may cloud judgment, but it does not change the merits of the just cause.

158   Eric    
December 29th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Rick,

RE: #156 – I could not agree more.

159   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Perhaps my comment should have read:

“I follow you and you have rightly identified that God has “ordained” that governments are allowed to execute justice (just wars as they see them) on some level. I agree.”

In other words, God allows governments to go to war, just as Jesus said the Father gave the Romans the power to crucify.

160   Eric    
December 29th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Rick,

Fair enough; I see the distinction you are shooting for.

161   Eric    
December 29th, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Oops, my bad. “Shooting” denotes violence. I should have said aiming…no, maybe gunning…no, I’ll go with “getting at” instead of “shooting for”. :)

162   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

you do believe there will be no more war in God’s redeemed creation, right? Why should it be so crazy for the Church to assume that posture in the present?

There will be no giving and taking of marriage in God’s redeemed creation, as well. Why should it be so crazy for the Church to assume that posture in the present?

The root cause of Phariseeism was creating new rules and regulations not contained in Scripture in order to please God. They did it out of the best of motives, as I’m sure you’re doing right now, as you invent new “sins” and rules that Christians must follow. The thing is – they are not contained in Scripture, and not explicitly stated by Jesus or his Apostles. YES, by all means we should do what is possible to avoid the necessity of using deadly force in the resolution of conflict – in civil and international matters. The problem is, there will be those times when no number of embargoes, sanctions and “strongly written letters” will be sufficient to maintain peace, at which point the use of force is the last resort – and not a “sin”.

The problem in this debate, and others, is that we’re not content with the basic direction and examples that we’ve been given in Scripture, and we’re willing to toss out what we have been given in exchange for the fruits of our own extrabiblical logic. Case in point – #123.

Your response to the OT?

I don’t have them with me now, but several of them deal with a sense of progressive revelation and a look forward to a time when things will be very different.

So rather than rehashing that, I will simply quote Jesus: You have heard it said…..but I say unto you….

The thing with progressive revelation is that, when used, it does not make God a sinner at any point in time. In the case of declaring war, ontologically, a “sin” is that it does just that.

Jesus’ formula of “You have heard it said …, but I say unto you …” is never a nullification of the Torah, but an interpretation of it. It was a common rabbinical formula from about 200 BC to 300 AD for authoritative (s’mikah) rabbis to challenge a previous scriptural interpretation. It is never a nullification of Scripture, but a change to previous interpretations of Scripture. What you’ve proposed is a nullification of God ever have used violence, in exchange for a paradigm (”all violence is “sin”") that is contained nowhere in Scripture.

Does Jesus tell his disciples to sell some of their possessions in order to buy swords?

Yep. So what? We could both assume what the purpose behind that purchase really was. (emphasis mine)

So what? If we’re going to ex nihilio declare that all lethal force is sinful (which, by the way, would include any and all capital punishment), then Jesus telling his disciples to purchase swords deserves far more than a “so what?”. There is absolutely no “non-violent” reason for the purchase of swords, unless you want to argue that Jesus was looking for them to create a cool mantle-piece. However, from the context (that he told them that two were enough, and that they were paired with traveling gear), we can determine that the purpose of the swords was not to foment insurrection (which would have required one sword per person), but for the purpose of protection on the roads – which were incredibly unsafe between Jerusalem and Galilee.

I am making no argument that Jesus was trying to start a war, but, simply that it is quite evident that he did not condemn self-defense against random violence. There is no problem with this anywhere in Scripture, but it doesn’t jibe with the new law you’re creating (”all violence is sin”), so it has to be explained away with a “so what”. I’m sorry, but I don’t toss any Scripture away as “so what”, whether it is this single verse, or the first 39 books of the Bible.

No early Christians, either in the NT or after, were concluding that since they disciples went and bought a few swords that all Christians should be armed.

Even though Tertullian and some others disagreed with military service (which, in the case of Rome, would result in Christians as instruments of the government persecuting other Christians), their pacifism did not extend to suicide in the face of random, non-persecutory, violence. Trying to argue for an “overwhelming tenor” when there are no specifics to support such a broad claim is ludicrous and simply arguing from a generalist position because the specific evidence does not support one’s desired outcome.

When I say that all violence and war is sin I am not saying that those who use violence for the ends you suggest (self-defense where lethal force is not the object or some sort of force to help save someone innocent) are “sinners” or that they are in some way estranged from God.

I have to say that this is confusing, then. If all violence is sin, then those who use it for any purpose are sinners… If there are exceptions to the “all violence is sin” rule, then we ought to know what those are. As I (think I) stated above – the key purpose of “just war doctrine”, from St. Augustine to St. Thomas Aquinas to the modern day church, is not to justify war, but to prevent its use for unjust ends.

I am acknowledging that we live in a fallen world and often times our attempts to bring justice fall very short of the perfect will of God – a will that I believe envisions a world of non-violence and peace (weapons into plowshares and all that jazz).

I agree. However, you put the use of “just war” where it belongs – as part of a system of justice (i.e. in response to injustice), and not as a tool of rule, revenge or conquest. In the same way that there is a very high Scriptural bar set for capital punishment (high enough that no innocent should be falsely executed), the bar for the use of lethal force should be equally high and difficult to meet (so as to prevent “unjust” violence).

SO, the difference here is that where violence is used to bring the sorts of justice you speak of I would still lament.

As would I. Dispensing justice is not something that should bring satisfaction, but rather lamentation – whether it is sentencing someone to 30 hours of community service, or determining that war has become the only means by which to prevent a much greater injustice.

My beef is primarily with Christians trying to justify violence or war. Rather than justifying it we should be lamenting it.

These are not opposing actions (justification and lamentation). One may justify something, even if they lament its need.

We should name it for what it is – sin.

And now you’ve gone too far. Sometimes it is a just response to sin, and this is clear in Scripture. As Christians, when faced with simple persecution or a loss of honor or a national spirit of covetousness, we should resist attempts to justify the use of violence. When it is a response to an exiting evil that refuses all reasonable nonviolent means of peacemaking, though, it may become a lamentable necessity. In such cases, it is not sin. It is simply a lamentable dispensing of justice as a result of the sins of the aggressor.

163   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Understanding each other is a battle…uh…I mean a peaceful challenge. :)

164   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 7:18 pm

An interesting and nationally (even globally) popular take on things in 162. I disagree with it, but it is interesting.

165   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Little by little the church has been gobbled up by its surroundings until we fit in nicely within our culture without any real distinctiveness that would substantiate our theological claims and draw sinners to the light.

In short, the Jesus on our doctrinal paper and within the pages of our beautiful Bibles is much more powerful and brilliant than the one we claim to carry inside of us. I used to think that was what the emergent church was addressing, but many of them changed the Jesus in the Bible.

I actually wonder if there could be an orthodox emergent; someone who was orthodox in his “systematic theology” but was willing to cut the ropes and walk dangerously out of the muti-colored evangelical box and live way below his means and minister Jesus to people outside the normal parameters?

That is why I find parts of Claiborne’s thoughts so challenging and convicting. Perhaps:

* The non-violence of Gandhi
* The servanthood of Mother Theresa
* The sacrifice of Livingston
* The love of John
* The theology of Paul
* The humility of Graham
* The passion of Ravenhill
* The boldness of Elliot

And taken all together – the Person of Jesus.

It seems I am faced with so much more of me than I am of Jesus. What a profound understatement.

166   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 29th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

An interesting and nationally (even globally) popular take on things in 162.

When it is followed and not paid lip-service to, it is not all that popular, nationally or globally (ex. see “Cold War”)…

167   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 9:49 pm

One of the haunting questions asked by my Ethics prof, Sam Wells, is this:

What would make us a people worth torturing?

Nonviolence is a position that above all makes ethics an ecclesial practice. It is not a “universal” ethic but one rooted in a place, tradition and community committed to the discipline, practice and imagination of living into God’s reality. i.e. Christ’s Church, or Body.

The Church is full of people today who are of no threat to anyone or anything. They are not worth the time or effort for anyone to torture. Why? They do not really declare that death is defeated and live as though they have been freed from the powers of death. Rather, they listen to the rationale of the state and give their consent to violent actions, calling war “just.”

The State is no doubt happy to have the Church on her side.

What makes us a people worth torturing?

168   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Rick, it’s a nice thought except that Claiborne is not orthodox.

169   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

A sincere question:

What sort of witness would be made to the world if the Church of Jesus Christ took an unflinching non-violent stand on all matters national or otherwise? What if Christ’s Church were opposed to violence of all kinds and refused to give it any justification….ever?

Can anyone imagine such a world and if so, how might that world look when compared to the other worlds that compete for one’s loyalty?

170   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 12:25 am

What makes us a people worth torturing?

[blah, blah, nonviolence, blah, blah, imagination, blah, blah]

What makes us a people worth torturing?

Maybe we should go ask Ken and Igrid about that one, since they’ve been pissing and moaning up a storm with the exact same question for years about the lack of persecution in a country that the church had a hand in founding. And absence of persecution isn’t an indication of failure of the church.

Two sides of the same coin – one moaning that the church’s heart isn’t bleeding enough for temporal needs, and planning a Luddite utopia that will never arrive before Jesus does. The other one crying to the heavens that the church isn’t legalistically honed to the literal letter of the laws they’ve written as roadsigns on the razor-thin road to heaven. Both entirely miss the point, which is that we are simply to live in the situation God gives us, to be thankful for its blessings and its curses, and to seek His kingdom, which will likely disappoint every extremist from all corners of the faith who are dead-sure they’ve got it right and everybody else is a sell-out: A sell-out to the state, a sell-out to legalism, a sell-out to every new cockamamie idea that is branded “new” and “deep”.

The truth is far more likely to lie apart from the extremes, doing what we were commanded to do: to act justly (which just might involve supporting a war of necessity) and to love mercy (by doing all we can to seek the truth and patiently seek peaceful means by which to provide justice) and to walk humbly with your God (which might mean that He doesn’t need our extrabiblical commands to “help Him out”).

171   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 12:34 am

What sort of witness would be made to the world if the Church of Jesus Christ took an unflinching non-violent stand on all matters national or otherwise? What if Christ’s Church were opposed to violence of all kinds and refused to give it any justification….ever?

Can anyone imagine such a world and if so, how might that world look when compared to the other worlds that compete for one’s loyalty?

Who cares? It’s not the world we’re commanded to live in, and it basically thumbs its nose at God for the role He specifically gave to governing authorities: Justice.

I can imagine a world where the church gets all sorts of misguided ideas apart from Scripture and runs with them: Like that God wants us to be rich, and that if we have enough faith He will give us all the material wealth we desire. Of course, every extremist and misguided idea – like Word-Faith, Universalism, Total Societal Withdrawal, etc. – has somewhere in it a grain of truth: Yes, God blesses us so that we will bless others (but that doesn’t imply we will be blessed with material riches). Yes, God desires that all would choose him (even if they choose to reject Him via the free will He gave them). Yes, God does not want us to be completely indistinguishable from the world (but He didn’t tell us to completely withdraw). Yes, God desires that all men would get along peaceably (but sometimes there are evil men who will not stop their destruction without being stopped, so God gave allowance for that).

Every misguided idea in the church is built on a grain of truth, but taken so far to the extreme that it is a lie.

Just like the myth of “violence = sin”…

172   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 12:39 am

Odd.

Acting justly = supporting a war

Yet “loving mercy” has nothing to do with a posture of non-violence.

Very convenient.

So, Chris L, should I assume that your answer to the question, “What makes us a people worth torturing?” is, “nothing”?

173   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 12:41 am

And Chris L’s answer to 169 is “Who cares?”

Anyone else?

174   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 12:51 am

So, Chris L, should I assume that your answer to the question, “What makes us a people worth torturing?” is, “nothing”?

Were the state to demand that we worship someone/something other than God, like ancient Rome did, we’d be worth torturing. Otherwise, the church has not been worth torturing en masse in the Western world since about 325 AD. Sadly, they flipped to the other extreme for a long time (torturing unbelievers), before arriving where we are today – which is a degree of tolerance for people to worship God.

Rather than see this as a failure of the church, I see it as a victory of the church, in that it has had a significant enough affect on society that people are not being killed en masse for worshiping God. The absence of persecution is not de facto evidence that the church is in the wrong place on whatever your pet issue happens to be. We’ve written about that here before.

Acting justly = supporting a war

Yet “loving mercy” has nothing to do with a posture of non-violence.

Here is what I wrote:

to act justly (which just might involve supporting a war of necessity) and to love mercy (by doing all we can to seek the truth and patiently seek peaceful means by which to provide justice)

So not, neither characterization fits what I said. Acting justly does not equal supporting a war. Acting justly includes an entire spectrum of outcomes, only one of which might, lamentably, be a war. And in “loving mercy”, I chose the positive expression of “non-violence” – to seek peaceful means.

So no, your characterization of my answer is completely incorrect.

175   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 12:53 am

And Chris L’s answer to 169 is “Who cares?”

I stopped caring once I got to bullet point #1, which was asking all police officers, soldiers and government officials to either leave the church or leave their professions…

176   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:00 am

I stopped caring once I got to bullet point #1, which was asking all police officers, soldiers and government officials to either leave the church or leave their professions…

So one’s profession is of greater importance than one’s allegiance to the way of Christ?

Interesting.

What other things are more important than seeking first the kingdom of God?

177   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:03 am

So no, your characterization of my answer is completely incorrect.

I don’t think so. You depicted seeking justice as something that can possibly lead to supporting a war and made “loving mercy” something we do so long as everyone else plays along (i.e. don’t make me use violence on you, or I will).

If you truly love mercy you have no business supporting a war of any kind.

178   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:04 am

Intriguing.

The idiosyncrasies and the wrangling of verbiage about war and violence.

Maybe tomorrow we can talk about God’s sovereignty as juxtaposed to the sovereignty of Nations.

Have a good night I’m gonna go and pound my sword into a plowshare.

179   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:06 am

There’s an old adage that works here:

Whenever you have a hammer in your pocket (just war theory) everything begins to look like a nail.

180   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:08 am

re 178: Dont be silly chris. That was a just a spiritual metaphor not meant for our temporal world. Since we live in a fallen world we Christians can and should live by the same rules as the world. Plowshares can wait.

181   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 1:20 am

So one’s profession is of greater importance than one’s allegiance to the way of Christ?

No, but Jesus & his apostles showed with Zaccheus, Corneilus, Sergius Pallus, the Centurion, and others that excluding people from the kingdom, based on our narrow political beliefs (like nonviolence and anti-governmentalism) is not a principle supported by the kingdom. If they were willing to accept tax collectors and professional peacekeepers into the kingdom, we’ve got no business excluding them.

182   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 1:25 am

You depicted seeking justice as something that can possibly lead to supporting a war

Yes – which is not to say that justice equals supporting a war. It only includes it in the realm of possibility. Thus to categorize my position as “justice = supporting a war” is incorrect.

and made “loving mercy” something we do so long as everyone else plays along (i.e. don’t make me use violence on you, or I will).

No – it is seeking peaceful solutions, and granting mercy where it might be warranted. I had no implied threat as part of “mercy”.

If you truly love mercy you have no business supporting a war of any kind.

And now we’re back to opinion, rather than biblical truth. There is no biblical support for such a pronouncement.

183   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 1:27 am

Whenever you have a hammer in your pocket (just war theory) everything begins to look like a nail.

The purpose of just war theory is not to help justify a war, but to prevent wars that would be unjust. Once you find a universal pronouncement in the Bible which declares that “violence is sin” you’ll have a leg to stand on. Until then, it’s just pithy comments and sophistry.

184   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 1:28 am

FYI – 178 was the other Chris, not me…

185   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:33 am

we’ve got no business excluding them.

lol – you are arguing with a universalist about exclusion! ha!

I’m not excluding anyone. I’m naming a higher way.

Seek first the kingdom of God.

And now we’re back to opinion, rather than biblical truth. There is no biblical support for such a pronouncement.

Sure there is, you just refuse to accept it.

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.

By definition, loving mercy excludes the support of war.

prevent wars that would be unjust.

From the get-go I have denied your presuppostion that a) any war is “just” and b) we humans have the capacity to determine what wars are “just”.

There is no such thing as “just war.”

g’night.

186   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:34 am

184 – I know.

187   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 1:46 am

I’m not excluding anyone. I’m naming a higher way.

If you are suggesting that the church denounce any form of lethal force, then you are excluding professions that Jesus & his apostles explicitly included within the church.

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.

The purpose of a just war is not vengeance – it is to prevent great evils from continuing. Vengeance is acting out of revenge. Two different things.

By definition, loving mercy excludes the support of war.

Not in the Bible, it doesn’t.

Mercy is being shown in the deliverance of those who were under the oppression of the aggressor. It’s amazing that you’re all about showing “compassion” (quotes intended) to an oppressor, but giving the middle finger to the oppressed. Seems your kingdom is upside down from what Jesus taught.

There is no such thing as “just war.”

Certainly there is – to this point, you’ve given no evidence from Scripture to the contrary. Once you provide the Scripture that says that all violence is sin, I’ll accept your premise. Until then, I’ll go with Jesus, Peter, Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Luther, and the Methodist Church (among a lot of others) in seeing it as a viable, but lamentable, option of last recourse.

188   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 8:37 am

If you are suggesting that the church denounce any form of lethal force, then you are excluding professions

Yes, I am suggesting that. And no, I’m not excluding anyone.

Vengeance is acting out of revenge

So God acts out of revenge?

189   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 8:43 am

As for denouncing professions, neither Jesus or Paul denounced the system of slavery yet I don’t hear you claiming slavery is “just” or not a sinful enterprise.

Or are you?

190   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 9:12 am

I’lll be on the road most of the day heading back home but have a few other questions…

If the OT offers us some norming norms, what of polygamy? If God allowed polygamy in the beginning was God wrong? Did God sin?

Also, Jesus said the Spirit would lead the Church into truth. Is that still happening? Or did that end with the closing of the canon or with Augustine’s theory of just war?

191   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 9:25 am

Chad – Once you delve into the Old Testament you have now entered the Twilight Zone because you MUST parse it subjectivily without any directions from the Word itself as to how to choose which comes into the NT and which stays in the OT.

Capital punishment comes along.
Murdering church rebels (Korah) stays.

Divorce comes along.
Polygamy stays.
(Remeber the church “hates” divorce but allows divorced peeople to serve and even preach, but not polygamists)

Tithing comes along.
No borrowing with usury stays.

Death to rebel children stays.
Death to homosexuals stays.
Death for murder and treason comes along.

The Feast of Tabernacles stays.
Christmas is born.

OK, I hope you see.

192   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 9:35 am

And the classic extra-Biblical teaching is the categorization of parts of the law including the moral law, the ceremonial law, the religious law, the justice law, etc., etc..

Now based on that man made segmenting, you can now pull the parts of the law you wish into the New Testament and when questioned as to why you left the “picking up sticks on the Sabbath” law you can say it is part of the religious law which God said was OK to leave.

Well why did you bring the tithing law? Because we need it for the mortgage payment. :cool:

193   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 9:48 am

#192
Actually, tithing was also rejected, the new standard, by Jesus- Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and give to God what is God’s

And By Paul: Give what you have purposed in your mind to give, without compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver

In Acts- we see people selling all they have and giving to those as they had need.

Back to the non-violent (LOL) comment stream about just war.

194   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 9:53 am

Rick, it seems Rick Warren is all about the government and the most important thing? ‘get people back to work’.

Now back to the war.

195   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 9:53 am

Well, I’m back from New England, so I’ll try to answer your questions now, Chris.

1) Does God ever command the use of lethal force on the part of the nation of Israel, or in its system of justice?

Of course He did, but Israel was His chosen people with a leader who heard directly from God. There’s no other nation that can claim that status at present. Additionally, I find it interesting that David was prohibited from building the temple specifically because he was a man of war. He was a man after God’s own heart, but he was still operating in the flawed system of violence on the earth.

Also, it’s interesting that once the Jews were in their land that they did take through violence, Jesus did not come and allow them to take it back through violent means.

2) Does Jesus tell his disciples to sell some of their possessions in order to buy swords?

I have talked about this before. There are two things I believe point to the fact that Jesus didn’t intend the disciples to use these swords in self-defense. First, this is right before Jesus was arrested, and I believe it was an attempt for him to ensure His arrest.

Secondly, if Jesus rebukes Peter for cutting off the guards ear, which he would undoubtedly see as self-defense, I cannot see that the disciples would see it as OK to defend themselves later in time. In fact, legend tells us that most of them died martyrs.

3) If I was a prostitute, and you were following the golden rule (to do unto me, as I would have you do unto me), would you A) give me money for services; B) give me money sans services; or C) look for a way to get me out of my current profession?

Perhaps I missed the context of this question, but I don’t see how it fits in this conversation. Of course C is the best answer.

4) If you were in the process of beating an innocent person to death, and you were not responding to requests to stop, which would be my most loving response: A) To allow it to happen, since all violence is sinful; or B) to use the minimum amount of force necessary to get you to stop, even if that force results in your death?

I do not think that resisting a wrongdoer is wrong. I think there can be discussion on what actually is violence and what is not. In the case of someone beating another person, there are of course other things to consider. There are times when the party doing harm is simply egged on when encountering violent resistance from the oppressed party. So non-violent resistance may actually limit the loss of life on both sides many times. I think there is a human instinct to protect the ones we love, and I don’t think I’d call that in and of itself sinful.

The make or break idea in all of this for me is Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44 – “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. I do not see personally how you can square killing someone with loving them. Perhaps there are some who can do it, but it simply seems like a near-impossible thing to do for me.

Also, as far as not fighting for oppressed people groups, wouldn’t Jesus Himself be guilty of not fighting to end the actual physical oppression of His people when He was alive. I believe He certainly could have had He wanted. But He chose not to. I just wonder if sometimes it gets down to our hubris as people to think that our actions have the ability to bring about real justice.

196   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am

Why is the “buy a sword” statement germaine to the just war conversation, but the turn the other cheek statement is only personal or metaphorical?

Did they hunt with swords?

197   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 10:39 am

Why is the “buy a sword” statement germaine to the just war conversation, but the turn the other cheek statement is only personal or metaphorical?

Rick – I addressed both.

1) Jesus telling the disciples to go buy swords was a mundane instruction given in the same way as me telling my son to go buy a gallon of milk at the store – it is an indicator of basic action. The phrase Jesus uses right after this instruction is an indicator that he (Jesus) will no longer be with the disciples for awhile (which is why they would need physical protection, and why two swords would suffice).

2) “Turn the other cheek” (along with “give him your cloak”, and “walk an extra mile”) is an admonition against aggressive response to an affront to one’s honor, not self-defense. When someone slaps your cheek, your life (or anyone else’s) is not in danger. If someone wants to sue you for your tunic, your life (or anyone else’s) is not in danger. When someone tells you to talk a mile, your life (or anyone else’s) is not in danger. I did not say this was only personal or metaphorical. Each of the three examples Jesus gives is an example of nonviolent resistance to degrading/dishonorable stimuli.

This is an instruction that armed resistance toward a personal affront to your honor is unacceptable. That is a completely different ballgame than self-defense from common crime – or (at a larger level) national defense from an aggressor nation. I did not dismiss this passage as metaphorical – I said it was part of pekuach nefesh – the saving of life, and a criteria for preventing war. The same goes for the root motives of revenge (which is similar to responding to dishonor) and conquest (which is taking something that does not belong to you).

Did they hunt with swords?

Swords are not a hunting implement. Spears, slings, arrows and similar thrown/launched objects were the primary hunting implements in the Ancient Near East, also noting that hunting was not a common method of gathering food, since game animals were scarce, and many non-kosher. Staffs were the primary instruments of protection from wild animals, not swords, and the road between Jerusalem and Galilee didn’t have a wild-animal problem – you had to go to the wilderness (east and south-east of Jerusalem) to encounter them (the opposite direction from which the disciples’ traveled after Jesus’ death).

198   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 10:53 am

Secondly, if Jesus rebukes Peter for cutting off the guards ear, which he would undoubtedly see as self-defense, I cannot see that the disciples would see it as OK to defend themselves later in time. In fact, legend tells us that most of them died martyrs.

That was rebellion against an authority, not self-defense.

Perhaps I missed the context of this question, but I don’t see how it fits in this conversation. Of course C is the best answer.

I was getting to the point that “love your neighbor” is not an instruction to submit to your neighbor’s sinful desire.

The make or break idea in all of this for me is Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44 – “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.

Which is, again, a response to persecution, not common crime. And yes, the minimum force necessary should be used in preventing such crime (on a personal or national level), with lethal force only as a last resort.

Also, as far as not fighting for oppressed people groups, wouldn’t Jesus Himself be guilty of not fighting to end the actual physical oppression of His people when He was alive. I believe He certainly could have had He wanted.

The people in Israel were not being subjected to genocide, and the only thing about them that brought a violent response from Rome was an insistence that Caesar was not Lord. Thus, the violence against them was specifically religious persecution (which we are to bear under), not an ethnic or genocidal motive.

I just wonder if sometimes it gets down to our hubris as people to think that our actions have the ability to bring about real justice.

Yet, the provision of justice is a responsibility God has given to our authorities. The difference between a policeman shooting a mad gunman (like at Fort Hood) and an army confronting a genocidal nation (like with Hitler) is only a matter of scale. In each case, justice demands a swift response with the minimal force required to end the situation. It is not the governing authorities acting out of hubris, but them fulfilling their role in maintaining order until Jesus returns.

199   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 11:04 am

Chad – Once you delve into the Old Testament you have now entered the Twilight Zone because you MUST parse it subjectivily without any directions from the Word itself as to how to choose which comes into the NT and which stays in the OT.

To quote Col. Sherman T. Potter: “Horse-Hockey”

Actually, the OT is rather clear about which laws are for whom. The laws given at Mount Sinai are specifically given to the Hebrews. There are several within there that are either a) expanded to include both Jews and resident aliens; or b) narrowed to only include specific groups (like the priesthood) or individuals (like the High Priest). The primary difference between what was given at Mount Sinai and what was given before Moses often gets referred to as “ceremonial law”, or “sacrificial law” and/or “festival laws” – as shorthand for what is actually contained within the text.

Paul’s comments against Gentiles having to follow the laws given specifically to the Jews, and not the Gentiles, in the OT are a direct response to Jewish missionaries who preceeded him (by up to 100 years), who taught that one must convert to Judiasm to be saved by God. Paul’s teaching was that Gentiles need not become Jewish (nor did Jews have to abandon the laws directed at them) in order to be Christian.

The only reason it becomes “subjective” is that we treat the Bible as an instruction manual, where each verse is a single instruction and the section-headings are buried within earlier portions of text that we’re too lazy to go find.

200   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 11:13 am

Chris L,

I admire your patience and persistence despite having to respond the the same questions (or permutations thereof) many times over. The discussion has become very cyclical, and that can be a frustrating thing.

201   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 11:14 am

If the OT offers us some norming norms, what of polygamy? If God allowed polygamy in the beginning was God wrong? Did God sin?

Ah – now you have picked up on a legitimate case of progressive revelation. God did not command anyone marry a second wife, but over time the norm of one-man-one-wife was established. I know missionaries who deal with people who come to Christ in polygamous marriages, and their instruction isn’t to divorce all but one, but (wisely, and biblically) that them must provide for all of them and take on no more. God did not sin – and God did not command anyone to sin. You are mistaking passive allowance for active command. God actually commanded His people to use lethal force on certain occasions (including adding it to their system of justice, which allowed them – only when two eyewitnesses could confirm the crime – to carry out capital punishment).

202   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 11:15 am

That was rebellion against an authority, not self-defense.

That seems to be a rather fine and arbitrary line. When Stephen was stoned, would he have been correct to fight back against those who were stoning him?

You seem to be advocating a position that says if a government official is doing the persecuting than it is wrong to fight back. If it’s a random act committed by an individual, then fight back. I don’t see where there’s a clear line. There are certainly plenty of times when governmental authority is used wrongly against its own citizens.

I was getting to the point that “love your neighbor” is not an instruction to submit to your neighbor’s sinful desire.

I understand that, but what I’m getting at is for the majority of human beings, it seems like it is impossible for us to separate are emotions from enforcing justice. We are not machines. It does not take long for us to start seeing those we are resisting against as people who are less than us. That is why I think there is a lot of value in non-violent resistant methods. It prevents us from dehumanizing those on the other side.

Yet, the provision of justice is a responsibility God has given to our authorities. The difference between a policeman shooting a mad gunman (like at Fort Hood) and an army confronting a genocidal nation (like with Hitler) is only a matter of scale. In each case, justice demands a swift response with the minimal force required to end the situation. It is not the governing authorities acting out of hubris, but them fulfilling their role in maintaining order until Jesus returns.

I do agree that government authorities do have a role to fulfill as far as keeping a baseline of order. What I am not sure of is the role that Christians should play in civic authorities. While I do agree they should not be excluded from the Kingdom, I also think that Christians in these roles really need to do some serious soul-searching as what being a Christ-follower looks like in these positions. Perhaps it will mean they resign, or maybe they won’t. What I see more often, however, is that Christians in these simply start playing the game by the rules everyone else does. I’m not saying this to condemn anyone, but it just seems like a very hard thing to do well. I guess I’m not sure of how much I agree with this statement you made earlier:

Therefore, if a Christian should not be in government, then nobody should be in government. If a Christian should not be a policeman, nobody should be a policeman. If a Christian should not be a soldier, then nobody should be a soldier.

It seems to me that the issue isn’t so much whether a Christian can be those things, but rather what is our identity. To a non-Christian, simply being a soldier may be their primary identity. To a Christian, however, our identity is no longer just our profession – it’s that we follow Christ. And we cannot follow Christ and continue to follow the systems that govern the Domination System. So a Christian police officer should look very different than a non-Christian one.

203   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 11:19 am

As for denouncing professions, neither Jesus or Paul denounced the system of slavery yet I don’t hear you claiming slavery is “just” or not a sinful enterprise.

“Holding slaves” is not a profession. Being a tailor is a profession.

204   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 11:24 am
Vengeance is acting out of revenge

So God acts out of revenge?

From the dictionary:

venge·ance (ven?j?ns) noun
1. the return of an injury for an injury, in punishment or retribution; avenging of an injury or offense; revenge

So yes…

205   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 11:36 am

That seems to be a rather fine and arbitrary line. When Stephen was stoned, would he have been correct to fight back against those who were stoning him?

You seem to be advocating a position that says if a government official is doing the persecuting than it is wrong to fight back. If it’s a random act committed by an individual, then fight back. I don’t see where there’s a clear line. There are certainly plenty of times when governmental authority is used wrongly against its own citizens.

Persecution is specifically an act of violence enacted towards a person out of a motive to discredit their religion/God, or to show the superiority of their own god (or lack thereof). That is not arbitrary, but rather apparent in each situation. The guy holding hostages at the local 7-11 isn’t trying to persecute Christians – he’s trying to take something that isn’t his out of greed.

That is why I think there is a lot of value in non-violent resistant methods. It prevents us from dehumanizing those on the other side.

I agree. I’ve said all along that lethal force is the last line of defense, after all practical nonviolent methods have been tried. Do we need to be more creative in our nonviolent methods? Certainly – “strongly written letters” from the UN have become a punchline, not a deterrent.

Therefore, if a Christian should not be in government, then nobody should be in government. If a Christian should not be a policeman, nobody should be a policeman. If a Christian should not be a soldier, then nobody should be a soldier.

It seems to me that the issue isn’t so much whether a Christian can be those things, but rather what is our identity. To a non-Christian, simply being a soldier may be their primary identity. To a Christian, however, our identity is no longer just our profession – it’s that we follow Christ. And we cannot follow Christ and continue to follow the systems that govern the Domination System. So a Christian police officer should look very different than a non-Christian one.

I agree – it should be that way with any profession. I am an engineer, by profession, but my identity should be that I am a Christian. As such, I should likely practice engineering differently than a non-Christian. Even so, that does not negate the purpose of having police officers, judges, government officials, or soldiers. If these professions are ontologically sinful, nobody should hold them. If these professions are not ontologically sinful, then we should not tell Christians that they should not hold such professions.

206   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 11:38 am

I admire your patience and persistence despite having to respond the the same questions (or permutations thereof) many times over. The discussion has become very cyclical, and that can be a frustrating thing.

Thanks Eric. Sometimes, I wish I could just say “did you even read the article”, but I’ve come to realize that maybe restating something in a different way will *click* in a way it did not the first (or fifth) time…

207   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 11:55 am

Once you find a universal pronouncement in the Bible which declares that “violence is sin” you’ll have a leg to stand on.

I believe that Rick and Chad both answered/responded to this but let me say that this can be used of so many things that we prohibit or allow in the church today.

Slavery, polygamy, woman in authority, circumcision, etc…

And just so I’m not vague. I’m with Rick and Chad on this debate. Violence in the whole testament of God was ordained/ordered by God. The nation of Israel was protected and commanded by God to do God’s will. As Phil pointed out this is a tough claim to make today. If you were to do that it would be tough to make without the Nationalistic appeal of “God is on our side” and/or “We always operate in the interest of true/complete Justice” both claims are difficult to make in a fallen, sinful world.

208   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 11:59 am

“Holding slaves” is not a profession. Being a tailor is a profession.

Well according to most history books the act of slave trading was a business and a profession. An act that was sanctioned by the church in many areas.

Additionally most farmers were business men who considered slaves a “tool” of the trade.

This is tangential to the OP however.

209   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

“Violence in the whole testament of God was ordained/ordered by God.”

Therein lies the crux of Chris L’s argument. Since this statement is true, how then can it be held that violence is ontologically evil, or sinful in and of itself as Chad is asserting. Certainly if that is the case then God is guilty of ordering or commanding sin.

Chad (especially) and Rick frame their argument by saying that overwhelming theme of the Bible is love and peace. Yet without justice, there can be no love and peace, because sin is present. As for over-arching themes in the Bible, you would be hard pressed to find a more prevalent theme than justice. After all, God said that in the day that Adam and Eve eat of the fruit, they shall surely die. Why did God have to say that? Clearly because God is just, and His justice demanded a payment for sin. Why would Jesus have had to come to Earth and die at all except for God’s justice?

Interestingly, Chris, you note that you are with Rick and Chad on this debate, yet Rick and Chad are not in agreement on this issue. In the other thread concerning war (Rick’s thread), I asked Rick the following:

“Do I understand correctly that you really don’t have a problem with Chris’ defense of a just war theory or defense of the use of force (violence) in civic police powers, but separate from Chris by saying that a Christian is duty bound not to enter into such a vocation or express support for the government effort in any way?”

Rick’s response to that question is as follows: “Exactly”.

Chad is arguing much more than just church and individual Christian removal from involvement in violent acts of justice or their support. Chad has asserted that there is absolutely no place for violence in justice, and has repeatedly stated that all violence is sin without providing any Biblical basis for this assertion short of his argument about broad or over-arching themes in the Bible. So, Rick and Chad are not really holding the same position on this matter.

210   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

The “Chris” in my quoted question to Rick is Chris L.

211   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Therein lies the crux of Chris L’s argument. Since this statement is true, how then can it be held that violence is ontologically evil, or sinful in and of itself as Chad is asserting. Certainly if that is the case then God is guilty of ordering or commanding sin.

I understand that but there is a huge difference between in my mind “God prophetically/verbally told me to defend myself/country” and “Because God ordained violence then we have a right to revenge/protect using violence”

Chad is arguing much more than just church and individual Christian removal from involvement in violent acts of justice or their support.

As I read Chad I don’t get that at all. What I think Chad is saying is that to claim we are allowed to use any force necessary to protect or in act justice, as a country, is historically arbitrary. When men determine what is Justice and who is evil it gets a little dicey. Only God has the full vision on that.

If God’s desire is for violence to be a means to an end or for peace then I really don’t know what to do with all the verses that tell me to “Bless those who curse me” “Pray for your enemies” etc…

212   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Chris,

No one here has argue for a “right to revenge”. In fact, just the opposite. Revenge and protection cannot be equated.

213   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Therein lies the crux of Chris L’s argument. Since this statement is true, how then can it be held that violence is ontologically evil, or sinful in and of itself as Chad is asserting. Certainly if that is the case then God is guilty of ordering or commanding sin.

I don’t necessarily see the issue as so much as God commanding sin, as I do simply realizing that we aren’t God. There is only one being in the universe who can perceive things as they are correctly, and it is God.

In a sense, striving to have the rights of God to judge gets to the heart of what Adam and Eve’s sin was about. When they ate from the forbidden tree, they did get the ability to perceive something which God did not want them to have. So we now have this ability to judge, but yet it is imperfect. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t instinctively fight back someone who was attacking me, but I do think that there are better course of action. For one thing there are many methods of self-defense that use the attacker’s own violence against him. This prevents the escalation of violence that often happens once forceful retaliation is used.

Why did God have to say that? Clearly because God is just, and His justice demanded a payment for sin. Why would Jesus have had to come to Earth and die at all except for God’s justice?

Justice for and to whom? I don’t believe Christ’s death was a payment that God necessarily demanded as much as it was an act of war directed towards God’s enemies. It wasn’t so much that God needed to be appeased, as it was that He Himself absorbed all the violence that the world and the Powers that oppose God could dish out.

The Cross was a demonstration of God’s justice, but I don’t think it was in the same way that you are describing it. What you are describing is God demanding satisfaction of some sort, which is a very medieval concept. The way I see it as an act of justice is that was God acting on behalf of His people. It was an act of justice in the sense that rescuing an oppressed people group from the hands of the oppressor is.

So I guess I will not go so far as Chad in calling people sinners, I do pretty much agree that all violence is sinful. At best it is a necessary evil in a fallen world – but it is still evil. That doesn’t mean God can’t use it for His purpose. There are many things which He uses for His purposes which did not originate from His will, though.

214   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

#206 _ Me too. If only I could make people see the truth, but until then, I will exhibit the patience for which I am so famous. But thank you for noticing. (Eeyore)

215   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Chris,

Chris L has repeatedly addressed the verses such as “Bless those who curse me”. Me being cursed does not place my life or anyone else’s life in danger. Being cursed may hurt my pride, but nothing more. In this case, yes, we ought to bear the insult and no violence against the offender can be Biblically supported.

216   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

The God of the Old Testament is nothing like Jesus.

A man dives into the water to resuce a drowning 10 year old girl. He violently grabs her around the neck and begins to drag her painfully to the surface. The girl is kicking and resisting, but the man slaps her in an attempt to make his rescue attempt successful. As they get to the surface the girl is beaten, bruised, and completely shaken.

After she is recessitated and has come to her senses, she meets the man who saved her life. He is kind and gentle and strokes the same hair he was just pulling. It is the same man, only now his mission had been accomplished.

God of the Old vs. God of the Mission Accomplished New.

217   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Chris L has repeatedly addressed the verses such as “Bless those who curse me”. Me being cursed does not place my life or anyone else’s life in danger. Being cursed may hurt my pride, but nothing more. In this case, yes, we ought to bear the insult and no violence against the offender can be Biblically supported.

How do we exactly know when are life is in danger and when it is not? If someone is cursing you out, how do you not know if they are about to pull out a gun and shoot you?

This is why I say the lines seem to be blurry and rather arbitrary. There are instances where someone is in the midst of shooting spree or something where it is very clear that the perpetrator needs to be stopped, but there are other instances that seem to be harder to discern.

My concern is that many Christians do not see violence as the last resort, but rather the first resort.

218   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

“In a sense, striving to have the rights of God to judge gets to the heart of what Adam and Eve’s sin was about.”

Phil,

Who is striving to have the rights of God to judge. No one here is judging hearts and damning to hell. God has specifically given authority to government to execute justice in this world, as Chris L has demonstrated from the Bible. That is not trying to assume God’s right to judge, it is carrying out the role assigned by God.

219   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Who is striving to have the rights of God to judge. No one here is judging hearts and damning to hell. God has specifically given authority to government to execute justice in this world, as Chris L has demonstrated from the Bible. That is not trying to assume God’s right to judge, it is carrying out the role assigned by God.

I feel like we’re sort of talking about different issues here. To what role are you referring exactly? Are you talking about capital punishment? Waging war?

220   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Chris,

Read back through the comments and see how many times Chad asserts that all violence is sin.

Phil,

The thought that many Christians may see violence as a first resort does not negate any argument that Chris L has made. He has clearly argued repeatedly against such a thought.

221   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

“God has specifically given authority to government to execute justice in this world, as Chris L has demonstrated from the Bible.”

Yes, and they have horribly abused that God given right, including the government that calls itself America. The American government commits many murders, both inside and outside the womb. That is not God.

222   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

God has specifically given authority to government to execute justice in this world, as Chris L has demonstrated from the Bible. That is not trying to assume God’s right to judge, it is carrying out the role assigned by God.

Are you equally going to support Governments role (obey all the laws of man) when they enact laws to counter your Christian convictions?

223   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Phil,

RE: #219: I guess I’m referring generally to the government’s responsibility and moral ability to use violence in the execution of justice, whether that be civil (police) or broader (military).

224   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Read back through the comments and see how many times Chad asserts that all violence is sin.

I read it. I don’t think he’s saying what you think he is. I agree that violence is sin. Chad is arguing from a motivation position not an outcome position.

Men (all men) are sinful, flawed, and arrogant about their decision making. I’ve yet in my lifetime seen a war/conflict/police action that was entirely just.

225   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Chirs,

RE: #222 – We are called to obey God above man.

Rick,

RE: #221 – I agree. But that does not negate Chris L’s argument. Blind devotion to a nation is certainly abominable.

226   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Being cursed may hurt my pride, but nothing more. In this case, yes, we ought to bear the insult and no violence against the offender can be Biblically supported.

Being punched in the face only hurts my face and I shouldn’t respond.

At what line am I allowed to retaliate. Chapter and verse please?

227   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Chris,

RE: #224 – When you say “police action” do you mean “war that is softened to be called a police action” or are you referring to the local police force?

228   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Chris,

RE: #226 – Where did I argue for retaliation? Post number please?

229   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

We are called to obey God above man.

So we trust the government to make decisions about when to “protect” us. But we then decide when the God ordained institution is no longer able to do that.

Makes sense. Again at what point does that happen? Chapter and verse.

230   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

#227 war reduced to police action

#228 It seemed to be implied with your response in #215. Retaliation was a wrong word choice. At what line am I allowed to “protect” myself? Only when my life is threatened? When exactly is that?

231   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

“The God of the Old Testament is nothing like Jesus.”

Rick,

I’m not sure how you can make that statement, as Jesus is very God and God is immutable, unchangeable.

232   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Chris,

RE: #229 – I did not say that. Obeying God above man means that I cannot be bound by a government to act in ways contrary to God’s commands. When a government commands that I cannot worship God or speak His name, then I disobey the government.

233   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

When a government commands that I cannot worship God or speak His name, then I disobey the government.

Thou shall not kill.

234   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Chris,

RE: #230 – I’m not sure that I can lay out all the scenarios wherein one could justify violence in defense of life, as the various situational aspects would be innumerable. The difficulty of examining specific instances and determining an exact moment of justifiable violence does not negate the principle of justifiable violent action.

Have you thought about the principle that Chris L introduces that violent action by civil forces and military forces are married? Have you ever observed (or known of) a just (local force) police action that involved violent action?

235   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Chris,

RE: #233 – I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

236   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

#231 – I didn’t say it wasn’t God, I said He’s nothing like Jesus. And Jesus is the highest and ultimate revelation of the Triune God.

Would you like to see the clearest view of YHWH? It’s Jesus. The Old Testament divine methods were schoolmasters to bring us to Jesus. We must view them as that, not as life templates for today.

237   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Rick,

I think I see what you are getting at, but I cannot agree with the introductory statement. It is impossible for Jesus to be nothing like Himself.

238   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Sometimes methods are necessary but they do not accurately portray the core of a person. And as I illustrated in my drowning story, God, from our perspective, is more like Jesus than He is like a baby killer.

239   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

216, Rick, and you say you can’t understand me?!?

So now the God of the Old and New are different gods?

240   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I’m sorry about 239. I forgot I gave up on this hopeless mess.

241   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

#233 – I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

When do we get to chuck out the command that says “Thou shall not kill”?

Because if there is clear scriptural mandate on when we can then I’m not sure why it even makes the Top 10.

242   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Chris L addressed ‘thou shall not kill’. He pointed out to us that the word is actually ‘murder’.

243   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

When do we get to chuck out the command that says “Thou shall not kill”?

Wasn’t this adequately addressed in the op?

The God of the Old Testament is nothing like Jesus.

That is inaccurate. Interesting observations:

1. the moral law has not been done away with: for example, in Ephesians Paul makes reference to the 5th commandment as the first “commandment with promise”. The principle still holds though ceremonial law (which Galatians deals with) is done away with.

Jesus also mentions the commandments himself.

2. We are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the keystone holding everything together. While Paul mentions that ceremonial law was like a tutor, he doesn’t see the OT and NT as diametrically opposed.

3. It is arguable that the God of the OT IS Jesus. For example, wasn’t it Christ that spoke to Moses in the burning bush or accompanying the Israelites through the wilderness?

4. Violence, though without evil motive, will be used as this age draws to a close.

It is arguable that God uses a form of violence in 2 Thessalonians “because they receive not a love for the truth, God will give them over to strong delusions that they may believe a lie and be damned.”

244   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Chris,

RE: #241 – I imagine you would stipulate to the fact that God both gave the sixth commandment and prescribed capital punishment. Were they not both clear scriptural mandates? So, they must be examined and understood in a way that they do not contradict one another. I believe Chris L has previously provided an examination of that, as pointed out by Jerry and Paul C.

245   Zan    
December 30th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Question:

If our government and our leaders are ordained/placed by God, what does that mean about GWBush? I believe him to be a Christian…not perfect, but a brother in Christ nonetheless. IF he shouldn’t be in the business of “nationalism” or being a part of this government that is used by God but we aren’t to have a part of, why did God put him in that position?

246   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

RE: #219: I guess I’m referring generally to the government’s responsibility and moral ability to use violence in the execution of justice, whether that be civil (police) or broader (military).

I would not say that the government has a responsibility to use violence – that implies that it is being irresponsible if it doesn’t. I would say that it has the capability, and it has been given the capability (I guess one could say that all humans through the gift a free will have been given the capability), and governments certainly have used that capability. It is hard to think of an act of war, though, that I could classify as purely good. Even wars that resulted in what we would call a net good have all sorts of evil consequences during and after.

The way I think of violence is this. It’s like radiation therapy in cancer treatment. The therapy itself is destructive and actually harms the body, but it’s a lesser evil than the cancer itself. Sometimes we are at the place where there is no other means but that in dealing with disease. So in a sense, the treatment can be seen as good, but in another sense it’s not good because of it’s destructive effects.

So that’s why I don’t have trouble saying that all violence is evil. Even if it’s used in a way that God may have made way for, it’s still not what He originally intended. I do not believe it was part of Creation when He called it “good”, and it will not be there when Christ returns.

So as far individual Christians who find themselves in a position where they may have to resort to violence go, I’d say I’m not going to judge them. They need to search their conscience. I’ve seen God provide people with jobs miraculously who were in a position before that they didn’t think was God-honoring.

247   Zan    
December 30th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Have we ever considered war like divorce? God abhors both, but in the case of divorce, He make certain allowances for it. Can’t war be the same way, since it isn’t strictly forbidden in the text?

248   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

The way I think of violence is this. It’s like radiation therapy in cancer treatment. The therapy itself is destructive and actually harms the body, but it’s a lesser evil than the cancer itself.

When it comes to war, outside of WWII, can you provide an example of this?

GWBush? I believe him to be a Christian…

Why him and not Obama who also claims to be a Christian? Or do you see both as “brothers in Christ”?

249   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Zan,

I appreciate where you are coming from with that question, but I don’t think that we can use that line of reasoning to justify anything. The reason I say that is because God can and does bring about good from evil all the time, but that does not justify the evil (ref: Joseph).

I am not making a case one way or another as to whether or not George Bush should have been President and made the decisions he made given his Christian confession, but I don’t think that line of reasoning (was placed and used by God) can be used to justify it.

250   Joe    
December 30th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

#233 and #241. Are you saying that the Israelites were breaking the law when they killed as commanded by God to do so in the OT?

251   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

If our government and our leaders are ordained/placed by God, what does that mean about GWBush? I believe him to be a Christian…not perfect, but a brother in Christ nonetheless. IF he shouldn’t be in the business of “nationalism” or being a part of this government that is used by God but we aren’t to have a part of, why did God put him in that position?

I would address that this way. In Romans 13 it says, “The authorities that exist have been established by God”. I don’t believe this necessarily means that God put the specific people in that position, but rather He ordained the concept of human government in general as the holder of a certain authority.

252   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

The way I think of violence is this. It’s like radiation therapy in cancer treatment. The therapy itself is destructive and actually harms the body, but it’s a lesser evil than the cancer itself. Sometimes we are at the place where there is no other means but that in dealing with disease. So in a sense, the treatment can be seen as good, but in another sense it’s not good because of it’s destructive effects.

I can agree to that, as well. That is the purpose of pikuach nefesh – to determine the “lesser of evils” when there is no choice that is completely nondestructive.

One thing I was going to add earlier re: persecution – pikuach nefesh states that one cannot blaspheme to prevent the taking of innocent life (it is one of the three primary exceptions in saving an innocent life). Persecution is an attempt to prove domination over the god(s) of the persecuted. In the case of Roman persecution, many of the accounts we read of the martyrs and their deaths include attempts to get them to recant (sometimes with a promise of living – or sparing the lives of their loved ones – if they will only declare Caesar as lord). Refusing to fight back against such persecution is preventing yourself from blaspheming, even if it costs you your life.

Random violence against you, on the other hand, is not an effort to attack your God, but simply a matter of greed/envy/etc. on the part of the aggressor. We are not commanded to accept random violence as something we will not use force to prevent.

253   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Phil,

Re: #246 – I see where responsibility may not have been the best choice of words. I would argue, however, that there are many times that a government or government official would in fact be irresponsible in failing to act violently to prevent injustice. Case in point: A police officers uses lethal force to stop a student killing other students in a school after having exhausted all methods of nonviolent interaction. To not do so would be irresponsible, in my opinion. So, in that sense I do believe they have a responsibility, just not as a first or preferred option.

As to the rest of your point in #246, I don’t know that I would disagree substantially with anything you said except when you say that “all violence is evil”. I cannot see how something can be just and evil at the same time, if by evil you mean tantamount to sinful.

254   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

#241: When do we get to chuck out the command that says “Thou shall not kill”?

Because if there is clear scriptural mandate on when we can then I’m not sure why it even makes the Top 10.

I covered that in the article, as Eric and Paul note. The word used (in both Greek and Hebrew) indicates premeditated murder, not all types of taking a life. There are several words available in both Greek and Hebrew which God could have used if he wanted the Sixth Commandment to be “You shall not kill (anyone, ever)” but He did not.

255   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 3:01 pm
The way I think of violence is this. It’s like radiation therapy in cancer treatment. The therapy itself is destructive and actually harms the body, but it’s a lesser evil than the cancer itself.

When it comes to war, outside of WWII, can you provide an example of this?

When it comes to war, it’s pretty hard to think of an example, honestly. Even in WWII, there was the dropping of the two atomic bombs that needless killed hundred of thousands of Japanese citizens.

I’d say there are probably examples of some individual operations that have gone relatively smoothly, but it seems there’s always unintended consequences even with the most surgical of strikes.

256   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

#227 war reduced to police action

Up until fairly recently, in the history of man, war was usually a police action. The soldiers who enforced the local laws were the same ones who defended the cities/countries. The principle governing both is the same. Local action, though, is simply on a smaller scale.

At what line am I allowed to “protect” myself? Only when my life is threatened? When exactly is that?

When your life, or the life of an innocent is in danger of an active rodef (pursuer), and then only the minimum required to protect the life of the innocent person.

257   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

#255: I agree (in fact, there is a ton of evidence that the US dropped the nukes to send a message to the USSR – nothing to do with Japan still continuing the war).

SO… this begs the question. Why is there even a “just war” doctrine when there is really no such thing in our world.

Can anyone come up with just one scenario? For example, I could come up with Joseph Kony & the LRA (in Uganda, now Congo/Rwanda).

I believe in self-defense and protecting your family and theoretically don’t see murder and killing in the same light (though these lines can be blurred of course).

258   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Paul,

It does not necessarily follow that if a war contains individual acts of injustice in it, that the war campaign or cause as a whole is unjust.

259   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

#258: example?

260   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

This is why I say the lines seem to be blurry and rather arbitrary. There are instances where someone is in the midst of shooting spree or something where it is very clear that the perpetrator needs to be stopped, but there are other instances that seem to be harder to discern.

I can see all sorts of commands (like “love your neighbor” and “love the Lord your God”) which, when we have to apply them to real-life situations, end up with lines that seem blurry and/or arbitrary. That doesn’t make these commands wrong – it just means that we need to pray for the right judgment when faced with such situations, and to try and think out our principles ahead of time, rather than in the heat of the moment.

My concern is that many Christians do not see violence as the last resort, but rather the first resort.

And mine, as well.

One of the guys I talk to back stage on Sunday morning is a Christian policeman (in uniform – he helps direct traffic after we let out from services, and he escorts the collected offering to the safe deposit box). He was talking a few weeks ago about all of the training and prep he is constantly going through in learning how to diffuse situations with the minimal force possible. In 10+ years on the force, he’s only had to draw his gun on a handful of occasions, and he’s never had to shoot a suspect. He said that without that training, things would likely be much different, because you don’t have enough time to think through all the available options when lives are on the line.

I think our leaders should (and some do) go to that level of preparation.

261   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Paul,

RE: #259 – Chris L has previously requested that this discussion not devolve into a case study in individual wars, and I would like to honor that request. I do not think that an example is necessary for the principle to be true.

262   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

When your life, or the life of an innocent is in danger of an active rodef (pursuer), and then only the minimum required to protect the life of the innocent person.

So in war who is the just one? Is it the soldier on a “clearing” mission, after an air raid, in a village who shoots civilians. Or is it the father who to defend his family from such action shoots the soldier?

263   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Chris L has previously requested that this discussion not devolve into a case study in individual wars, and I would like to honor that request. I do not think that an example is necessary for the principle to be true.

Well there goes all my arguments then. Dang it.

264   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I’m off to visit Christian P., so I’ll be back l8r tonight.

FYI – Paul – do a Google search on Jus ad bellum, Jus in bellum, and Jus post bellum – Those should get to some of your answers…

265   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Is it the soldier on a “clearing” mission, after an air raid, in a village who shoots civilians.

No – but you’re now getting into jus in bellum (right conduct within the framework of war), whereas we’ve been primarily dealing with jus ad bellum (the right to initiate war). So, in short, no the soldier’s actions are injust, and the father’s actions are just.

266   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

As to the rest of your point in #246, I don’t know that I would disagree substantially with anything you said except when you say that “all violence is evil”. I cannot see how something can be just and evil at the same time, if by evil you mean tantamount to sinful.

I understand the confusion, and it’s honestly something I’m still grappling with, too. I’d say a parallel I think of is the Exodus story where we are told God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Now I don’t believe God made Pharaoh do something he didn’t want to do – I believe He simply saw the will that Pharaoh already had and gave him more of a sense of resolve to do it. In other words, God took what was already there and used it to His advantage. Pharaoh was still culpable for his actions, though.

So that why I say violence in and of itself is evil. It’s something that will always exist in human society prior to Christ’s return. God in some sense works with the raw material and within the context that is at His disposal. So if that means using our tendency towards violence sometimes to accomplish His desired end, than He will do it. That doesn’t mean He always approves the violence, though.

267   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

It does not necessarily follow that if a war contains individual acts of injustice in it, that the war campaign or cause as a whole is unjust.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that if in business some of the employees are dishonest it doesn’t make the business dishonest. Unless of course the dishonest ones are the one who founded the business.

So if the unjust start a war what does that make the war?

268   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

One other thought to chew on (that I mentioned several times in the article) – having the clear ability, and potential willingness (as a last resort) to provide an adequate defense, is often the most effective form of nonviolence available. Simply having an armed officer at the entrance of an establishment is often enough of a deterrent that he (or she) never has to unholster a weapon.

269   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I followed Chris L’s advice and did a search on “jus ad bellum” and one of the first that came up was justification for war after 9/11. Interesting. :)

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center andPentagon (9/11), the U.S. government declared that it would take the lead in waginga new “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).

So, going into Afghanistan where the alleged terrorists trained is an example? Or perhaps Iraq? Or maybe the upcoming plans for Yemen and/or Iran?

#261: Eric. Truth be told, there are ZERO examples. However, before declaring war, the US system REQUIRES you to feel good about it (hence all the propaganda leading up to any invasion).

I agree that in this world, in order for it to function, the threat of violence is 100% necessary. But let’s not pretend that justice has anything to do with any decision to go to war. It doesn’t.

270   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Paul,

Chris was merely trying to help you make the distinction about rationale for war and action within a war. Just because you see a case where you feel someone has misused rationale for war, does not negate the distinction.

You may be of the opinion that there has never been a just war cause which was carried out imperfectly, but that does not make it the case necessarily.

As to your question of why have a just war theory, Chris L has explained that the purpose for having the just war theory was and is to avoid wars that are not just.

271   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Chris L has explained that the purpose for having the just war theory was and is to avoid wars that are not just.

And my point is simply this: how has having this theory done anything at all to avoid unjust wars?

Every government that goes to do war primarily, first and foremost, goes because of interests. Period. How they package and sell it to their people can be in the wrapping of “Just War” (ie: Iraq), but the desire for war is due to interests – never justice.

You may be of the opinion that there has never been a just war cause which was carried out imperfectly, but that does not make it the case necessarily.

I would simply take an example of a just war, whether carried out imperfectly or not. Just one.

Do you see that without a single example to consider, it is impossible to validate the merits of the doctrine at issue?

272   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Since Eric can’t provide an example… Here’s an interesting quote referencing the war on drugs in Mexico:

“If you don’t fight the cartels frontally you have less violence but a lot of corruption. If you fight them frontally, as is happening now, you have a lot of violence. The decision is not easy.”

The biggest benefactors are the funeral parlors.

It appears to me that some here might suggest that though the cartels are violent and are evil, fighting them is a violation of God’s will.

Others here would see the ongoing plight, though distasteful, as necessary if the problem is going to be rooted out (though this will never likely happen due to the dollars at stake).

We live in a complex world.

273   Eric    
December 30th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

“Since Eric can’t provide an example…”

Paul,

Can’t and won’t (for the reason stated) are not the same thing.

274   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Christian “Just War” advocates, who claim, who claim to hold a superior view of Scripture (at least on this site) would be hard pressed to show that Israel’s wars fall under the purview of “Just War.” After all, preemptive strikes and the slaughter of every woman, child and even animal hardly qualifies for “Just War.”

So in an ironic twist, the very Scriptures “just war” advocates claim to derive their principles from do not even describe an actual “just war”!

275   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Eric said:

Can’t and won’t (for the reason stated) are not the same thing.

and:

You may be of the opinion that there has never been a just war cause which was carried out imperfectly, but that does not make it the case necessarily.

and:

Chris L has previously requested that this discussion not devolve into a case study in individual wars, and I would like to honor that request. I do not think that an example is necessary for the principle to be true.

I have to ask, if a principle (biblical) has no merit or precedence then what’s the point?

While Chris L. has made a compelling case I don’t find it convincing. Now of course the same could be said for any of our arguments but I’m inclined to look at history and see that there is no verifiable evidence that the claims put forth by Chris L., using scripture, have real world application.

We’ve talked about just war, threat of violence preventing violence, and a myriad of other subjects and yet no real world concrete examples. Just one…give me one example where violence for protection or otherwise was to the benefit of those using it.

276   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

“Just war” is by definition “just” because one nation feels justified to go to war. Most supporters of America’s just wars do so as Americans, not Christians.

And after you outline the elements of a just war, who is the final authority in deciding which war is just?

In the cases of both Iraq wars, even in the congress they were divided. Will the Holy Spirit illuminate believers as to which wars are just, and if so, why have “tenants of a just war”?

In the end, nations send millions to a Christless eternity purely based on their own national interests. Our interests should never be national; they should always be kingdom oriented.

BTW – Unless you are a Calvinist, you are suggesting God allows people to be “killed” and sent to hell over national interests. I personally find that disturbing and incongruous with what I know of Jesus.

277   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

And if I were a Palestinian, I would feel justified in killing Israelis because I was unceremonially removed from my home; the only home I ever knew.

And if you fight a “just war” and lose, does God want you to leave it at that? If the Nazis had taken over America, would it be God’s will for us to make the best of it and accept it, or would He allow us to have a vibrant resistance movement?

278   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

After all, preemptive strikes and the slaughter of every woman, child and even animal hardly qualifies for “Just War.”

But suppose the Israelites, say throughout the book of Joshua, refused to follow God’s commands. Wouldn’t they be in violation of God? And doesn’t God act justly – even if it doesn’t mesh with our reasoning?

For example, was God acting justly when dozens of people started banging on the door of the ark to be let in, after they realized judgment was coming?

Consider that, in the sight of God, ALL men are unworthy of the breath they breathe. We are sinners and death is the wage of sin. So I would contend that the wars fought in the OT were indeed just, as they were led by God. They were waged for a purpose.

You manage to paint God in an unjust light because you are more righteous than He.

But “shall not the judge of all the earth do right” and (as per Rom 9) isn’t it His prerogative to show mercy on whom He will? Who is worthy? None. Hence grace.

no verifiable evidence that the claims put forth by Chris L., using scripture, have real world application.

Correct (outside of the OT accounts which don’t apply today).

279   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Paul – I would again suggest a difference between the OT and the NT. In the OT God directed the death of His enemies and pagans. In the New Testament God directs us to preach the good news to His enemies.

If that isn’t a difference I don’t know what is.

280   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Rick, I am just responding to Chad’s above comment that the wars waged in the OT were unjust. That is to call God unjust.

But God, even in NT times, is not adverse to using violence to judge rebellion.

Look how he dealt with Jerusalem in AD 70 – retribution for the Jews rejecting their Messiah. And if someone wants to blame it all on the Romans, consider the clear warning in Matthew 22 and the Parable of the Wedding Supper:

“The king [God] was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.”

But again. When it comes to “Just War” I can’t think of a practical example when this has been waged (outside of the OT).

281   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Paul – I understand. God can do what He pleases and I believe in a coming violent judgmet to this earth. But I cannot see where we believers are ever supposed to be violent.

282   chris    
December 30th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

But I cannot see where we believers are ever supposed to be violent.

Neither can I. Well I can’t see how one would determine that their motive is pure (without revenge or retribution being the motivating factor) and just. It certainly can’t be proven about the U.S. and wars.

283   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 9:11 pm

America was born through an unjust war over taxes. Does that still make it alright for the American government to decide which wars are just, even though their existance was built upon an unjust war?

284   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 30th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Rick, I am just responding to Chad’s above comment that the wars waged in the OT were unjust. That is to call God unjust.

Actually, I just think the point Chad was making was that when you compare the battles in the OT to the criteria listed for a “Just War”, none of them seem to qualify. It is rather ironic, actually.

As far as the explanation of why Israel was commanded to do what it did militarily, there are several different schools of thought. There is one line of thought that says God was simply working through what the people who were alive during that time understood. He was cultivating a small nation for Himself, and it was surrounded by violent tribes. Without being proactive, Israel would have been decimated. Once Israel was more established, it seems that God began to ween them away from their violent tendencies.

Another line of thought says that the wars were based on Israel’s imperfect understanding of who God was. This is based more along the lines of higher criticism, though, and I have harder time accepting this reasoning.

One of the weirder one, although oddly convincing in a way, is that the people groups that Israel was commanded to destroy were offspring of the Nephilim. The Nephilim are actually described as having survived Noah’s flood, so the theory goes these creatures who were demonic offspring continued to mate with humans and populate the earth with their demonic seed. It is weird, and almost sounds like it requires too much suspension of disbelief, but on the other hand, there are plenty of weird things in Scripture.

285   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Actually, I just think the point Chad was making was that when you compare the battles in the OT to the criteria listed for a “Just War”, none of them seem to qualify. It is rather ironic, actually.

Sure. In that case I agree.

Another line of thought says that the wars were based on Israel’s imperfect understanding of who God was

I get a sense that this is more in line with Chad’s reasoning, though he can correct me. It’s obviously wrong, and the people who believe this are taking liberties beyond measure to say the least (thwarting the Word of God).

These are probably the same people who say David and Jonathan were gay. Dismissed.

If a country thinks it ought to go to war (ie US), what is sickening is the lengths they go to to justify it and actually make their population feel rather good about it. Hence the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. There is simply no such thing as a “Just War”.

It’s a paradox, like “Family Vacation” :)

Americans, in general, seem to lap this kind of stuff up. Makes other kind of nauseous.

286   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 30th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Paul – I cannot stand idley by and let you bad mouth America. :cool:

287   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Sorry Rick!

288   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Phil,
re: 284…

exactly

289   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Chris L,

It doesn’t matter if you think slavery is a profession or not (though chris makes a good point about slave trading and the market economy).

The point is, if you wish to argue from silence and say since Jesus didn’t tell the soldier to leave his job than he is by default saying his job is OK, than you must also allow for any number of other things that Jesus did not say that are therefore OK.

Since Jesus didn’t tell Pilate to pass a law banning child exposure does this mean Jesus thought that was an OK practice?

Since Paul didn’t denounce the system of slavery does this mean slavery is not sinful and should practiced today?

290   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 30th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

re 204-

So we have “injured” God? Really?

And because we have so injured God, God is seeking “revenge”?

What was the point of Jesus then? What about ALL things being “reconciled” to God?

291   Neil    
December 30th, 2009 at 11:57 pm

re 286:

I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen! – Otter

i love the imdb…

292   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 1:00 am

The point is, if you wish to argue from silence and say since Jesus didn’t tell the soldier to leave his job than he is by default saying his job is OK, than you must also allow for any number of other things that Jesus did not say that are therefore OK.

That is only one piece of evidence, though, not the complete argument. With soldiers and taxpayers, you have them specifically asking what they need to do in order to be ready for the kingdom:

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”

Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Nothing about a) leaving government service; or b) leaving their professions. Rather, they are given instructions on how to go about acting in their profession. The answer they were given was one that assumed they would not leave those professions.

With Paul, you have him taking on the name of his first convert – a government official with control over one of the Roman legions. This isn’t simply a passive silence.

Since Jesus didn’t tell Pilate to pass a law banning child exposure does this mean Jesus thought that was an OK practice?

Pilate had no authority over (and likely no knowledge of) child exposure (a problem primarily in Ephesus, the home of the Artemis fertility cult which offered “divine protection in childbirth”, and thus had an inordinately large number of babies born there). Child exposure would not have been tolerated by the Jews in Palestine, particularly with their sensitivity to the abomination of child sacrifice after the Babylonian Captivity.

Since Paul didn’t denounce the system of slavery does this mean slavery is not sinful and should practiced today?

Paul actually wrote a plea to a slave owner to grant freedom to his runaway slave, Onesimus. So Paul did speak against slavery…

293   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 1:09 am

Actually, I just think the point Chad was making was that when you compare the battles in the OT to the criteria listed for a “Just War”, none of them seem to qualify. It is rather ironic, actually.

Actually, the ones that God declared did not need to meet those criteria, since He defines what is ‘just’. Ones that He did not declare, or give blessings to through the prophets, match up with the criteria (which was partially how they were developed by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas).

One of the weirder one, although oddly convincing in a way, is that the people groups that Israel was commanded to destroy were offspring of the Nephilim. The Nephilim are actually described as having survived Noah’s flood, so the theory goes these creatures who were demonic offspring continued to mate with humans and populate the earth with their demonic seed. It is weird, and almost sounds like it requires too much suspension of disbelief, but on the other hand, there are plenty of weird things in Scripture.

Actually, I would somewhat agree with this (since, by all indications) Goliath and some of the other inhabitants of Palestine had the traits associated with the Nephilim. Later, though, God gave blessings to some military actions and prophecy against others, through his prophets.

America was born through an unjust war over taxes. Does that still make it alright for the American government to decide which wars are just, even though their existance was built upon an unjust war?

Yes, because children are no longer responsible for the sins of their fathers.

294   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 1:26 am

And if I were a Palestinian, I would feel justified in killing Israelis because I was unceremonially removed from my home; the only home I ever knew.

An example of war that is simply revenge, which does not meet the criteria for just war.

If the Nazis had taken over America, would it be God’s will for us to make the best of it and accept it, or would He allow us to have a vibrant resistance movement?

If “ifs” and “buts” were beer and nuts…

If the Nazis were acting as they were in Germany (killing off minority groups they didn’t like, and demanding the citizenry assist them), then likely yes, but who knows what the actual situation would be since this is now an exercise in revisionist history.

Most supporters of America’s just wars do so as Americans, not Christians.

Conjecture.

While Chris L. has made a compelling case I don’t find it convincing. Now of course the same could be said for any of our arguments but I’m inclined to look at history and see that there is no verifiable evidence that the claims put forth by Chris L., using scripture, have real world application.

They have a rather clear day-to-day application in personal self-defense, protection of the innocent, and in civil police actions.

The problem you’re having with “just war” doctrine, is that you’ve conflated all of the issues involved: Jus ad bellum, Jus in bellum, and Jus post bellum.

In the case of WWII, I think there is a rock-solid case of Jus ad bellum on the part of the Allied powers – justified reason to go to war.

In terms of Jus in bellum – just prosecution & tactics within war – there is ample evidence that the Allies acted justly during most of the war’s prosecution, and with its rules of engagement (which sought to limit civilian casualties in most instances). However, there are some specific incidents (the firebombing of Dresden, and Hiroshima/Nagasaki) which could be debated as to whether they were “just”. It is possible to have a just cause for war, but to prosecute that war in an unjust fashion. This does not negate Jus ad bellum, but should result in consequences to those involved in the unjust portions of the prosecution.

In terms of Jus post bellum, the proper way in which to end and lead the recovery from war, again the Allies in WWII were mostly responsible in the peace established after the war and the reparations made in Germany and Japan, in particular.

Where the doctrine of “just war” seems to lack applicability in real world situations is when we conflate all three portions of just war doctrine (declaring, prosecuting and ending), and then assume that a war meets none of the criteria if there were errors made in any one (particularly Jus in Bellum) of its facets.

295   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 1:38 am

And my point is simply this: how has having this theory done anything at all to avoid unjust wars?

In the 20th Century, there were a number of conflicts avoided during the “Cold War” period via application of “just war” theory. The problem with “avoided conflicts” is that they never make headlines specifically because they were avoided. (Kind of like the conundrum in manufacturing industries who are required to measure “accidents avoided”, when – if you’ve done the job properly – the people involved in an “avoided accident” likely never knew it was “avoided” in the first place.)

Every government that goes to do war primarily, first and foremost, goes because of interests. Period. How they package and sell it to their people can be in the wrapping of “Just War” (ie: Iraq), but the desire for war is due to interests – never justice.

Interests and justice need not be separate issues. Our involvement in the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was far more in the interests of justice than of self-interest – something that Bill Clinton was (wrongly) criticized by much of the right-wing for engaging in.

296   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 8:05 am

That is only one piece of evidence, though, not the complete argument.

Bad evidence, at that. Arguments from silence don’t hold any water. They should be dropped.

You would not argue that every person with money (rich man) should go and sell all their possessions to have eternal life, would you? So even if Jesus did tell a particular tax collector or a particular soldier to go find a new profession you would apply that in the same way you apply the instructions Jesus gives the rich man.

And the child exposure being confined to Ephesus only is baloney. This was a common Roman practice and one that was built into their laws. Besides, are you suggesting the 2nd person of the Trinity did not know of the unjust treatment children, especially females, received? Yet he said nothing? By your logic we should assume that this was acceptable practice, then.

Paul actually wrote a plea to a slave owner to grant freedom to his runaway slave, Onesimus. So Paul did speak against slavery…

That is not speaking against the system of slavery. There were plenty of slave owners throughout history who granted freedom to a slave or a slave’s family for all sorts of reasons. They never would have considered undoing the entire system, though.

If this is your argument then I would simply say that Jesus said “turn the other cheek” (or a number of other things which intimate non-violence) and say that Jesus has in fact spoken against violence and war.

Neither Paul nor Jesus denounced the system of slavery yet no sensible Christian today would argue that the institution of slavery is not sinful.

Chris L, should we resurrect the institution of slavery and devise a theory of “just” slavery practices (i.e. pass laws that ensure our slaves are treated fairly, unless, perhaps, they really deserve it) since obviously no one in the Bible called the practice of owning slaves “sin”?

297   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 8:28 am

I have made the claim that violence and war is sin – all of it. I stand by that claim. Chris L, you have said that this would make those who commit violence or work in those professions that may require it (police, soldiers, etc) “sinners.” Apparently that is problematic for you.

Perhaps there is some truth to Luther’s conclusion that we are both righteous and sinner simultaneously. I, however, prefer the language of Paul and would say “carnal Christian.”

Chris L, perhaps your experience is different from mine and every person I know, but for most of us when we first meet Christ we have been blind for so long that it can take us an entire lifetime (and longer) for our eyes to adjust to the light. Perhaps this is in part why Paul says we see now only through a glass dimly.

I do not expect a baby Christian to “be perfect” as our Father in heaven is perfect. I don’t expect them to know fully at the moment of conversion just how enmeshed in systems of sin we really are. When someone first comes to know Jesus I don’t tell them EVERYTHING they must now do on our first meeting. I don’t expect Jesus to do the same when he meets a tax collector or soldier along the road. He told them enough for today. Who knows what that led to? Our baptisms are not the end of the journey but only the beginning.

I am sure all of us can look back at our post-Christian existence and name things that the Spirit brought to light over time that we have abandoned, realizing it was “sinful” and just one more thing that was holding a piece of our heart in bondage. Gradually, over time, by God’s grace, we release those things as our minds are renewed and we are being more and more conformed to the image of Christ.

Violence and war and our attitudes about those sinful things is just one more example of all that.

I am grateful for Just War theory in this way: I see it as a respite, a rest stop, along the way. It is certainly better than a mind hostile to the things of God and it does try to minimize the evils of violence and war, but it is not the destination. It is one stop along the way.

What Just War advocates claim they are doing, even if lethal force is necessary, is bringing justice to the oppressed, releasing the captives, etc. Jesus said this was his mission as well (Luke 4). And yet Jesus never mobilized an army. In fact, Jesus said his kingdom will not come in the same way kingdoms of this world are brought about. Did Jesus fail in his mission? I don’t think so. Yet the way Jesus brought about release of the captives and justice for the oppressed is a very different way than Just War advocates claim peace must sometimes be wrought.

For Christians, our battle is not against “flesh and blood.” I don’t think it an accident that Paul takes what is readily identified as articles of violence (a soldiers uniform) and subverts them into tools for bringing about God’s kingdom – tools the Christian is to use. Our weapons are not swords, guns and bombs but faith, Scripture, prayer, worship, singing, servant-hood, sacrifice, etc.

The world will continue to declare an enemy that is “flesh and blood” and try to convince us to use its weapons to overcome them. The Church ought to be a voice that speaks against these “cosmic powers of evil” that seek to steal our hearts with myths of redemptive violence. We ought to be naming those powers what they are – SIN – and encourage fellow Christians how and why they should resist it.

298   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 8:47 am

Chad – Good thoughts. I still contend that the platform for many, if not most of our views, is tainted by a nation-view of the world. It is the same for racism when we have an ethnic-view of the world. Without the conjoining of people in a structered nation/govrenment, and without believers seeing themselves as a part of that earthly kingdom, we would and could read the Scriptures differently.

I hated the Soviet Union. I felt nothing when 1000 Chinese died in a monsoon. I watched documentaries on Hiroshima and I felt the Japanese deserved it. And as recently as 1990 I heard believers say, “We should have gone in and gotten Saddam” and I agreed.

Now all those perspectives and others are not wrong when processed through a nationalistic format. But if we read and interpret the Scriptures completely separate from anything but a global view, we msut see things differently.

However, with a life time of nationalistic education, it is almost insurmountable.

299   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 8:54 am

Rick,
I agree.

I remember vividly the moment things began to change for me. In 2003 I was still contemplating rejoining the Navy in the wake of 9/11 because I wanted to do my part and go exact some sort of justice on people who inflicted pain on my people. While sitting in a chapel service listening to an Egyptian Christian who was a missionary to Arabia I was shocked to hear his plea to the American Church to pray for the salvation of Bin Laden rather than be filled with desires for revenge. He asked us to consider how much greater an impact a Christian Bin Laden could have on the world over a dead one.

And like everything else in this journey we call faith, I felt just one more scale fall from my eyes. I was by no means a pacifist at that time (and today I resist that term!) but the tides began to change as my loyalties began to shift…little by little.

300   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 9:34 am

Phil, you said:

So I guess I will not go so far as Chad in calling people sinners,

I hope my comment in 297 clears that up a bit. I never called anyone a “sinner.” Chris L deduced that himself after I called all violence and war “sin.”

301   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 9:49 am

Actually, the ones that God declared did not need to meet those criteria, since He defines what is ‘just’.

Chris L, the above doesn’t make any sense but only proves my point. Are you conceding that “Just War Theory” is not “just” in the same way God defines “just”?

Ones that He did not declare, or give blessings to through the prophets, match up with the criteria

Examples?

As I read this I hear: Wars that God did not bless match “Just War” criteria.

Sounds like quite a pickle for Just War advocates. The wars God DID bless don’t line up with today’s Just War criteria and the ones God did NOT bless do.

Hmmm.

302   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 10:30 am

I am openly calling everyone a “sinner”.
Everyone! Pacifists and warmongers!

Everyone!! (Embrace the truth – it will set you free!)

303   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 10:42 am

In the 20th Century, there were a number of conflicts avoided during the “Cold War” period via application of “just war” theory. The problem with “avoided conflicts” is that they never make headlines specifically because they were avoided.

Which President decided NOT to get involved in a conflict because of “Just War Theory” and not because of interests?

Go through each decade of the Cold War and you find wars of proxy being fought with the USSR all over the place – interests, above all, (not justice) were at stake.

You say that interests and justice need not always be at odds, but what I am saying is that justice is simply a “nice-to-have”, whereas interests carry the day.

Unlike Chad and Rick, I do believe that force can and should be used at times while we live in this worldly system. Personally, I want no part of it and will not get involved as a Christian, but the gov’ts of this world can. REMEMBER, in scripture, every symbolism of a nation is an animal of prey: self-interest, aggressive, opportunistic, etc.

Where I differ from you is that I don’t believe we should hide behind the thin guise of JUSTICE. It is a mirage.

304   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 10:50 am

“Personally, I want no part of it and will not get involved as a Christian, but the gov’ts of this world can.”

That is my perspective as well.

305   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 10:52 am

Rick,

302 is indeed true. But Paul also calls those in a post-Christian state “saints.” The question is: Do saints sin? Sure we do. Are saints perfect? nope.

I must say I am enjoying the irony this conversation brings about. In many a thread Chris L characterizes my theology as laissez-faire, anything goes, “you are OK, I’m OK, we are all OK” and so forth. In this conversation, however, I am a Pharisee who shouldn’t be calling something “sin.”

And the world goes round and round and round….

:)

306   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 10:55 am

Personally, I want no part of it and will not get involved as a Christian, but the gov’ts of this world can.

Paul C, that is my position. I have never said the “kosmos” should not do this – I expect them to because they are still blind. Their minds are hostile to God.

The Church, on the other hand, should have a very different perspective on these things.

So in this it would seem we agree. Happy New Year!!!

307   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 10:57 am

In fact, to add to my 297 comment, I am grateful for Just War theory for that very reason – it in some ways keeps the “kosmos” in check and has (arguably) at times kept evil from running rampant. But like I also said, for Christians, “just war theory” is hopefully just a stop on the journey. Hopefully those who preach and teach within the Church exhort disciples of Christ to continue on to a position of non-violence. I believe that is the way of Christ and his Kingdom.

308   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:23 am

Arguments from silence don’t hold any water. They should be dropped.

Unlike the examples you cited (where you were arguing from complete silence and no textual evidence), like with petitioning Pilate about a social situation over which he had no authority or control, this was not an argument from silence. In the case of government officials and soldiers, we have at least four figures (John, Jesus, Peter and Paul) who accept them into the kingdom, and – in at least two of the figures – are asked what they should do in response to the kingdom, and they are given responses directly related to their professions (which, in itself, is a level of positive affirmation of their profession). It is not an argument from complete silence, but an argument of logical inferral.

You would not argue that every person with money (rich man) should go and sell all their possessions to have eternal life, would you?

Not from the context given in the gospel. Especially since we also have counterbalancing evidence from Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea.

So even if Jesus did tell a particular tax collector or a particular soldier to go find a new profession you would apply that in the same way you apply the instructions Jesus gives the rich man.

No, ontology does not work that way. The better example is of the prostitute dragged in front of Jesus, whose parting instruction was “go and sin no more” (an ontological judgment on the line of work she had been pursuing). With tax collectors, who specifically asked “what should we do”, the response was not “leave your sinful occupation” (a negative ontological ruling) but “do not take more than what is owed” (which is an ontological affirmation of the need for tax collectors, and a moral differentiator from their unbelieving fellow tax collectors. With soldiers, who specifically asked “what should we do”, the answer was not “set aside all violence” (a negative ontological ruling), but “do not extort” and “do not bear false witness” (an ontological affirmation of the need for physical protection and reliable witnesses from the system of justice, and a moral differentiator from their unbelieving fellow soldiers).

And the child exposure being confined to Ephesus only is baloney.

Please give me a citation of the practice of child exposure being allowed in Palestine. The only possible place would have been in Tiberias, where Jesus never traveled.

Besides, are you suggesting the 2nd person of the Trinity did not know of the unjust treatment children, especially females, received?

Your logic does not wash at all on this – you are making an argument from utter lack of context and silence (which is not at all what I’ve done). [And, rather than get snitty here, I will just point this out as an example of why arguing with you often escalates. You completely misapply the laws of logic, and then do so in the most offensive manner to suggest that I (or someone else who disagrees with you) would then support child exposure, slavery, racism, etc. when that is, by any reasonable application of logic, obviously not the case. In this particular case, I am not making an argument from ex nihilio (like child exposure), but one of contextual inference.]

That is not speaking against the system of slavery.

True, it is not a systematic polemic – it was never meant to be. It was a personal communication which, rather than simply asking Philemon to accept Onesimus back as his slave (his basic ‘right’ as a Roman slave-owner), asked Philemon to accept Onesimus as he would Paul (a free man with no obligation). This is not a tacit acceptance of the system, but a break from the system.

I would simply say that Jesus said “turn the other cheek” (or a number of other things which intimate non-violence) and say that Jesus has in fact spoken against violence and war.

Which would violate a number of hermeneutical principles by conflating unrelated concepts (honor and self-defense) in contradiction of other actions/statements made by God, Jesus and/or his Apostles. Paul directly contradicts this in Romans:

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

This is not simply inference, but positive affirmation of the God-given authority to earthly rulers and their role, as a servant of God, in wielding the sword. You cannot draw a hermeneutical trajectory to complete nonviolence, because Jesus, his disciples and Paul all speak and/or act to its specific necessity.

Neither Paul nor Jesus denounced the system of slavery yet no sensible Christian today would argue that the institution of slavery is not sinful.

Again an argument from ex nihilio, with no contextual support of tacit approval.

I have made the claim that violence and war is sin – all of it. [...] you have said that this would make those who commit violence or work in those professions that may require it (police, soldiers, etc) “sinners.”

One logically follows from the other.

What I will give you is this: Violence, by itself, with no mitigating factors, is sin. The Bible is clear on this. However, the Bible is also clear that mitigating factors can make this undesirable action not sinful. Example: “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed”

Apparently that is problematic for you.

It is problematic for me because it treats an entire class of people in lines of work ordained by God as “sinners”, in exactly the same way that the religious Jews of the first century treated tax collectors, by class, as “sinners”. This is not an issue of “it’s OK for a baby Christian, but they will be convicted of it when they mature”, but an ontological issue that is in direct contradiction of God’s decrees as to the role of earthly authorities. Nowhere does God create a role and then declare that the role is ontologically “sinful”.

What Just War advocates claim they are doing, even if lethal force is necessary, is bringing justice to the oppressed, releasing the captives, etc. Jesus said this was his mission as well (Luke 4). And yet Jesus never mobilized an army.

Jesus’ mission in the First Century AD, he made clear (even though the disciples were not listening), was not to establish his physical kingdom on earth, but to begin his Father’s kingdom, which will culminate in a physical kingdom upon his return. As such, this does not nullify the purpose of earthly rulers, nor our submission to them, nor their role in providing earthly (albeit imperfect) justice. The role of the government is defined by God to be different from the role of the individual in at least one key regard: Its ability to provide justice, even if that justice is imperfect.

309   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:27 am

And as recently as 1990 I heard believers say, “We should have gone in and gotten Saddam” and I agreed.

As did I, until I learned more about jus post bellum, in which I would say that GHWB acted correctly in limiting the aim and scope of Desert Storm and ending it when he did. This avoided the mistakes of his son, whose forethought to jus en bellum and (especially) jus post bellum were incredibly lacking.

310   Neil    
December 31st, 2009 at 11:29 am

i am late for the discussion and still catching up… i agree way to much nationalism has saturated the american churches, and i am more on the fence regarding christians in the military than i used to be…

but i do not understand the implication that christians should not belong to safety forces or enjoy their protection.

our church employs an officer on sunday mornings to direct traffic after and between our multiple hours. instead of him just sitting in is car during the hours he walk around the building.

is that wrong? should i have advised our young adults who were considering the police academy that they would be setting themselves up for a career in sinning?

311   Neil    
December 31st, 2009 at 11:34 am

again… picking bits and pieces here – i would not write off the whole palestinian issue as wrong simply because it is revenge.

that is a component, to be sure, but it’s way too simplistic to just say it’s wrong because it’s revenge… as if it might be right if it fit other criteria.

312   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:34 am

Jus post bellum is a man made theory which to me personally carries the same weight as its father, the JWT. But like sola scriptura, it sounds better in Latin.

313   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 11:36 am

Chris L – what are your thoughts on the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex and how this plays into your frame of thinking?

314   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 31st, 2009 at 11:39 am

Jus post bellum is a man made theory which to me personally carries the same weight as its father, the JWT. But like sola scriptura, it sounds better in Latin.

I suppose if you get down to it all of our theological constructs and doctrines are “man made theories”. Even the language we use to talk about these things is “man made”. There’s no such thing as a pure doctrine simply dropped from heaven.

315   Eric    
December 31st, 2009 at 11:39 am

Pacifism is a man made theory that doesn’t sound good to me at all, and I’m not sure how to say it in Latin. :)

316   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:42 am

Jus post bellum is a man made theory which to me personally carries the same weight as its father, the JWT. But like sola scriptura, it sounds better in Latin.

Just because some have made sola scriptura into an idol and taken it beyond its application and intent does not make it irrelevant. The same goes for jus post bellum.

317   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:43 am

what are your thoughts on the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex and how this plays into your frame of thinking?

I don’t know – perhaps I’d best go read the Warren Commission report over again…

318   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 11:45 am

Should i have advised our young adults who were considering the police academy that they would be setting themselves up for a career in sinning?

Neil,
I am receptive to the approach Yoder and his tradition takes in this regard. If someone in their faith community desires to embark on a career in the military or police force where violence is not just a possibility but inevitable, they faith community will help him or her discern whether this is truly a call from God. If they feel it is, they ask the person to articulate to them how and why they feel God is calling them into a vocation which will most likely require them to inflict violence on another person. If they are able to articulate such a call from God then they have the church’s blessing moving forward. Yoder claims that not many are able to do that, however.

Chris L seems to think I am excluding people from the Kingdom because I name violence and war as “sin.” Nothing could be further from the truth (and again, it’s odd he would accuse me of this when at other times he lambasts my universalism). Just because a soldier remains a soldier does not make him or her apostate. It simply means they have yet become convinced that being a citizen of heaven (even now) is their primary vocation and they have not yet come to grips with how that might impact every facet of their lives -even their professions.

I don’t judge such people. I have plenty in my own congregation. I love them and affirm them as children of God. But I also speak of the powers and forces that still hold us in bondage and encourage all of us (self included!) to recognize, name and repent of those things that lay claim upon our lives – i.e. The Myth of Redemptive Violence.

319   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 11:51 am

317: so I take it you don’t believe it exists in any capacity. Interesting and explains a ton about your thoughts on matters like Just War.

320   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 31st, 2009 at 11:51 am

It be interesting to hear the opinion of people who aren’t American on this subject (Canadians don’t count, sorry Paul :-) ).

I’ve talked a little about war and pacifism with some of the international students at my Bible Study, and I was surprised that many of them were more hawkish than I’d expect. They definitely have seen power and authority abused, but they also think that having a strong force to keep the order is better than a corrupt one. They were not what you’d call pacifists by any means.

321   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:54 am

#320 – Phil, if non-American believers have a different perspective what would that tell us?

322   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:57 am

#319 – To suggest that money, military contracts, politics, re-elections, and power are not the driving force of wars is naive.

323   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 11:59 am

And let us not be blind to this fact:

One of the reasons Americans are more willing to go to war than say, Mexico etc., is because we are powerful and we win a lot of wars.

324   Neil    
December 31st, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Yoder claims that not many are able to do that, however. – #318

no doubt they cannot. i find this difficult to accept given the fact that we would not expect young adults to justify being called into finance or marketing – for example… i guess i question the call of god into any vocation (even though that goes against the etymology of the term).

i’m just not convinced that being a police officer and/or calling upon them my self is counter-christian.

325   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Phil, if non-American believers have a different perspective what would that tell us?

What I’m getting at is that for most of us, we can have opinions on this stuff, and it’s little more than an abstraction. We don’t live in fear of soldiers or po breaking down our door to haul us or our family members off to some hell-hole of a prison. So it’s pretty easy for me to say I support non-violent resistance when I never have to live it out.

Even Ghandi said that he would rather a man pick up sword to defend himself or his family than simply be a coward and refuse to fight. To me, I wonder how much of the support of non-violence Americans claim would be there if it were really tested.

I’m not saying that as a condemnation of anyone, but rather just as an honest question.

326   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Neil – funny you should say that because I was tempted to say the same thing myself. Perhaps the method Yoder puts forward could extend to a whole host of vocations.

327   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:06 pm

322: Rick, don’t say that too loudly. You might be considered a “conspiracy theorist”

Chris L points to the First Gulf War: I wonder if he sees any relationship between Bush’s decision to pull out and an upcoming election in ‘92.

In our present age, it is impossible, literally impossible with ZERO exception, to have a war fought for just cause. There are too much profits to be made, too much at stake politically, too many messages to consider internationally for anything to ever be just.

We are naive, nay ignorant, to believe that a gov’t will ever act with just intentions. It is interests.

“If there is some justice to be had in the pursuit of interest, well OK, we’ll take that too, but let’s not let justice be our goal.”

It’s kind of funny. Ever seen a BP or Shell Oil ad touting their “green” credentials? They spend 0.0000001% of their profits on little projects they can then create a PR campaign around and put ads in magazines and on TV. But what is their pursuit? Their sole reason for being? Profits for the benefit of their shareholders. Period.

Likewise the relationship between interests (ie profit) and justice (ie green program). Makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.

328   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:06 pm

317: so I take it you don’t believe it exists in any capacity. Interesting and explains a ton about your thoughts on matters like Just War.

To be less flip – I think there are levers that work between Military, Industry and Congress, but I believe these are much less formal and/or conspiratorial than most folks who refer to is as the Military-Industrial complex tend to believe. It is similar to why I believe the MSM tends to be far more left of center than the public at large – it is not the result of a conspiracy, but of a mindset. Even so, I believe some of the changes to the Military Procurement process, along with additional scrutiny in the past 10-15 years have weakened some of the ties that were the most strong in the 1960’s and 70’s…

329   Neil    
December 31st, 2009 at 12:07 pm

It simply means they have yet become convinced that being a citizen of heaven (even now) is their primary vocation and they have not yet come to grips with how that might impact every facet of their lives -even their professions.

I don’t judge such people

the last statement is contradicted by the longer statement that preceeded it. you are judging them, you are judging that they have yet to…

i’m not say’n you are wrong in your judgment.

i’m not say’n it’s wrong to judge them thus.

but it is judging.

330   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:07 pm

You have made my point, which was that all of us see things through different levels of different national perspectives.

331   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:10 pm

To me, I wonder how much of the support of non-violence Americans claim would be there if it were really tested.

A very good point.

332   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Chris L-
You are too smart to not get my point of hypothetical conversations between Jesus and Pilate or Paul and others.

The main point is that to deduce a principle from something NOT said in a momentary, brief conversation between two people is not tenable. It adds nothing to your case.

For all we know the soldier Jesus spoke with later resigned because of his brief encounter with the Prince of Peace and the later leading of the Holy Spirit. Who knows?

Plenty a person has done any number of things after an encounter with Christ.

333   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Neil – perhaps the better thing to say is: I don’t condemn such people.

All of us judge certain behaviors or ethics as closer to or further away from the heart of God.

But I consider them saints all the same.

334   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Even so, I believe some of the changes to the Military Procurement process, along with additional scrutiny in the past 10-15 years have weakened some of the ties that were the most strong in the 1960’s and 70’s…

All you need to do is take a look at how many ex-military enter into corporations manufacturing weapons or providing military services. The relationships don’t just go away.

Attend a tradeshow. It’s ridiculous.

Business is always about relationships – the more so, the higher you get.

Outside of the military, take a look at a company like Monsanto and the kinds of execs and directors they hire. Pretty much all ex-bureacrats. Why?

Please don’t be naive.

335   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:15 pm

An interesting article in today’s FrontPageMag (sent to me by a good friend). A couple of quotes:

Like many left-leaning evangelicals, Taylor is a disciple of the late Notre Dame teacher and Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder, who claimed that the demand for non-violence was the central message of Christ’s crucifixion. Yoder’s devotees, most prominently Duke Divinity School teacher Stanley Hauerwas, insist that pacifism should be Christianity’s defining tenet.

and

The Evangelical Left, so ashamed of the patriotism of traditional religious conservatives, believes that its own brand of absolutist pacifism will cleanse the American’s church of its warmongering sins and ultimately, perhaps, redeem America from its supposed thirst for bloodshed. Taylor’s website claims that if “Christians everywhere were to return to their pre-Augustine heritage of non-violence as a way of life, then the social impact of the church would be greater than that of the Protestant Reformation.”

Such utopian pacifism may appeal to seminary campuses, book fairs, and religious online chat rooms. But mainstream Jewish and Christian ethics have always chiefly addressed the real world, not an imagined ideal. Historic Christianity empowers the state to repress, where possible, crime and terror, not surrender to chaos. But for many on the Evangelical Left, contempt for America, and for Israel, override fidelity to historic Christian beliefs.

336   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Outside of the military, take a look at a company like Monsanto and the kinds of execs and directors they hire. Pretty much all ex-bureacrats. Why?

Please don’t be naive.

I’m not naive at all – I’ve done some rather intense evaluation of Monsanto (since, in full disclosure, my company purchased a portion of Monsanto’s manufacturing capacity in the past few years), and while relationships can get you some traction (or at least notice) in the business world, there are too many other factors which prevent the conspiracy theorists’ dreams from having any basis in reality.

337   Neil    
December 31st, 2009 at 12:21 pm

All of us judge certain behaviors or ethics as closer to or further away from the heart of God. – chad

i’ll buy that. i’m unconvinced that police officers are necessarily farther. now, if someone joined the force just to bust heads – sure.

338   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:22 pm

You are too smart to not get my point of hypothetical conversations between Jesus and Pilate or Paul and others.

No, I’m too smart to fall for the sophistry involved. I believe that what was included in the Bible was put there for a reason, and all fits together if we allow it to. Jesus’ treatment of the “sinner” professions is consistent with John’s, and Peter’s is consistent with Jesus’, and Paul’s treatment (along with his explicit treatment of earthly rulers) is consistent with all three of these predecessors. Your lack of logic, in conflating argumentum ex nihilo with logical inferrence is baseless sophistry.

339   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:30 pm

while relationships can get you some traction (or at least notice) in the business world, there are too many other factors which prevent the conspiracy theorists’ dreams from having any basis in reality.

Chris, I work on the business side (as opposed to engineering like yourself) and see, firsthand, the power of relationships. There is NO doubt that companies recruit execs based on their relationships. I can look at my own employer as an example, but this is how big business works.

Take a look at Wall St. It is astounding and next to impossible to deny (though you’re doing a good job).

Monsanto is an easy target. Have you heard of Halliburton? Lockheed Martin? Rand Corporation? Look at their board of directors and execs.

The higher you get, the tighter the circles.

Yes, there are many that go overboard with conspiracy theories, but naivete is even more dangerous.

340   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Chris L, Eric or any other Just War advocates:

Do you believe the institution of slavery was/is a sinful one?

341   Eric    
December 31st, 2009 at 12:41 pm

“All you need to do is take a look at how many ex-military enter into corporations manufacturing weapons or providing military services.”

Paul,

Do you think that could possibly be because that is where their expertise lies? Isn’t it a normal progression for people leaving one place of employment to seek further employment in the same field, and isn’t it natural for companies to hire experienced and competent employees with knowledge in the area of that business?

342   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:45 pm

But mainstream Jewish and Christian ethics have always chiefly addressed the real world, not an imagined ideal.

Yes, you will have to forgive us “Leftist evangelicals” for proclaiming the “ideal” that “the Kingdom of God is at hand – repent!”

I will, by the grace of God, seek to be faithful to the leading of the Spirit rather than maintain rigid “fidelity” to historic “theories” about “just war.”

But for many on the Evangelical Left, contempt for America, and for Israel, override fidelity to historic Christian beliefs.

Yeah, as if questioning a human’s (Augustine, Aquinas, et.al) conclusions on “just war theory” renders one in “contempt” of America or Israel.

This sounds like nationalism run amok and the fear that one’s “idol” will be unveiled.

343   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Chad – I support William Webb’s examination of slavery via the trajectory hermeneutic in determining that slavery (as experienced in America) is an institution we should not support. The trajectory hermeneutic, however, does not fit (as I believe Web notes) with the topic of nonviolence/pacifism.

344   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Allegiance to any nation is sin. And with taking sides, the just war theory falls apart.

The last just war ended with “It is finished.” Victory!!

345   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Much of evangelicalism is enslaved to a nation and not Christ. It’s the two masters stuff and all that.

346   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Chris L, so if I hear you correctly, slavery as an institution is “sinful,” yes?

I agree.

Please show me where in Scripture slavery is called “sin.”

347   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:52 pm

All you need to do is take a look at how many ex-military enter into corporations manufacturing weapons or providing military services. The relationships don’t just go away.

Attend a tradeshow. It’s ridiculous.

Business is always about relationships – the more so, the higher you get.

Outside of the military, take a look at a company like Monsanto and the kinds of execs and directors they hire. Pretty much all ex-bureacrats. Why?

Please don’t be naive.

I would say the reason ex-military people enter the defense industry is simply because they are seen as having some expertise in that field. Also, private industry tends to pay much better than even the highest ranks of the military.

Yes, there is certainly somewhat of an incestuous relationship between the defense industry and the federal government, but I don’t think it is conspiratorial in nature. For one thing, if you’ve ever spent any time around politicians or federal workers, you’ll soon find that most of them are far too dumb to engage in anything like a high level conspiracy. Perhaps that just what they want us to think, though… :-)

348   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 12:56 pm

And before it gets lost in the shuffle, I’d like to hear an explanation of the irony I point out in #301.

349   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I continue to find it amusing that the “trajectory hermeneutic” is always in play when it accords with Chris L’s position on a particular issue (slavery) but it is to be rejected outright when it brings into question his tightly held beliefs (i.e. women in ministry and now, non-violence).

350   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Phil: Yes, there is certainly somewhat of an incestuous relationship between the defense industry and the federal government, but I don’t think it is conspiratorial in nature.

Again, just consider some of the leading corporations. We’ve all heard of Halliburton, Rand, and the like.

Why was the F18 made in 50 states? Come on guys.

What happened with the bank bailouts?

Eric: Do you think that could possibly be because that is where their expertise lies?

Not really. For example, a lot of companies possess the expertise they need, but fill their Boards with influential individuals mainly based on relationships. Receiving a call from an ex-4 Star General goes a long way in the procurement process.

351   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Jesus:

Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Chris L (via article he quotes):

That’s nice, Jesus, but mainstream Jewish and Christian ethics have always chiefly addressed the real world, not an imagined ideal.

Sadly, I think Chris L is right about that. On behalf of the Church, I am sorry where we have failed to live up to Jesus’ ideal for his people.

352   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Again, just consider some of the leading corporations. We’ve all heard of Halliburton, Rand, and the like.

Why was the F18 made in 50 states? Come on guys.

What happened with the bank bailouts?

I’m not even exactly sure what you’re arguing anymore. I don’t think anyone would deny that there are certain big companies that have their hands in the taxpayer’s wallets.

If you’re saying I have some sort of idea that Congress acts independently from the interests of these big lobbying interests or something like than, I have no illusions that it does. I just don’t put much stock in conspiracy theories.

353   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Sadly, I think Chris L is right about that. On behalf of the Church, I am sorry where we have failed to live up to Jesus’ ideal for his people.

It’s funny how both the left and the right can turn into condescending moralists given the right issue. I think I’ve heard the same phrase uttered by people on the right when it comes to things like gay marriage or some other issue.

The thing that’s unique about Christ is that He never resorted to guilt and shame to motivate people to do the things they needed to do. In fact, the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount was that only through a change of the heart can people really live the ideals of the Kingdom out.

354   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:24 pm

#352: Phil, basically what I am arguing is that if decisions to go to war are impacted in some way from the benefits that corporate interests will reap (ie: not just gov’t interests), then we’re in a doubly-messy situation.

This is bad for a key reason: while gov’ts may be somewhat beholden to the (gullible) masses, corporations are beholden to their shareholders who are hunting for profit. Period.

This is the undisputed reality for anyone who doesn’t have their head in the sand.

What does this mean? Just War Doctrine is just that – a doctrine or a theory. But it has absolutely no basis in reality – the more so in our present day where interests are the sole consideration, not justice.

The reality on the ground renders taking Just War Doctrine seriously just ridiculous.

But if we believe that Iraq was invaded to set the poor Iraqis free, then what can I say?

355   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Phil, re: 353

Amen.

356   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 1:43 pm

This will probably be my last comment in 2009. Getting ready for guests and a busy few days.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Don’t forget to check out the Rapture Index!
I’ve got my foil hat on, do you?

grace and peace

357   Neil    
December 31st, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Don’t forget to check out the Rapture Index!
I’ve got my foil hat on, do you?

the warning is to fasten your seatbelt… not make a tin-foil hat.

though the two do complement each other.

358   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Chris, I work on the business side (as opposed to engineering like yourself) and see, firsthand, the power of relationships. There is NO doubt that companies recruit execs based on their relationships. I can look at my own employer as an example, but this is how big business works.

Actually, I have been working for several years on the staff HR side (which includes M&A’s and divestitures). I’ve also done a bit of consultation with our Corporate Investment and Financing operations, and have a good deal of understanding on how things do and don’t go down (often contrary to public perception).

The whole conspiracy thing about mass collusion/coordination between the Military, Contractors and Congress is far more overblown than the reality of how things work. A number of the lobbying and procurement reforms from the past 10 years have made this even more difficult/impossible.

359   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 3:10 pm

This sounds like nationalism run amok and the fear that one’s “idol” will be unveiled.

The only “idol” we’ve been discussing at length is obsessive nonviolence… Certainly nationalism can become a problem (and has been a problem) – but even if one is too nationalistic it does not negate whether or not a conflict meets or does not meet “just war” criteria.

360   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Allegiance to any nation is sin.

Zzzzzzt! Thanks for playing “what is sin and what is not sin”. We are called to submit to our authorities (which requires a base level of allegiance), and this only becomes sin when our national identity trumps our Spiritual identity. It is not an issue of “two masters” – it is an issue of One master who put someone below Him in charge until the return of His son.

361   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I continue to find it amusing that the “trajectory hermeneutic” is always in play when it accords with Chris L’s position on a particular issue (slavery) but it is to be rejected outright when it brings into question his tightly held beliefs (i.e. women in ministry and now, non-violence).

Actually, I agree with Webb’s application of the hermeneutic to slavery, and to marriage (monogamy vs. polygamy), and while I disagree with his view of the Pauline context in Ephesus, I would say that the position at which he arrives regarding women in ministry is not “essential” doctrine. Contrary to your assertion, I also agree with his application of the trajectory hermeneutic in regards to nonviolence, as his method finds that there is no trajectory support for an absolute nonviolence/pacifist position. So, in actuality, I agree with his hermeneutic on most all points, but disagree with its application on a single point (Paul and the role of women in Ephesus).

362   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 3:28 pm

This is bad for a key reason: while gov’ts may be somewhat beholden to the (gullible) masses, corporations are beholden to their shareholders who are hunting for profit. Period.

Again, not true. While profit motive exists, corporations who operate on the “profit at any cost” model are more the product of Hollywood and the conspiracy industry. Are there bad apples? Certainly. Are they the rule or the exception? The exception.

Just War Doctrine is just that – a doctrine or a theory. But it has absolutely no basis in reality – the more so in our present day where interests are the sole consideration, not justice.

Actually, it is far more based in reality than the fairies-and-unicorns view of the universal “rightness” of nonviolence. Are government motives for war always just and pure as the wind-driven snow? No. However, I believe that we have avoided far more wars via such an ethic (which included maintaining a strong military – the threat and ability to use force, if need be) than if we’d played Satan’s game of allowing the world to slip into chaos while we pretend that we’re following Jesus’ imagined teaching of “nonviolence at all costs”…

363   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 3:34 pm

When we get into the subject of conspiracy theories involving the US government, I always find myself hearkening back to some comments on the subject by Jonah Goldberg:

I think government is staffed with mostly well-intentioned but incompetent people — not because they’re dumb, but because bureaucracies are dumb. These conspiracy theorists reverse this entirely. They think government is evil-intentioned but supremely, even divinely, competent. That’s crazy-talk, Count Chocula.

364   Eric    
December 31st, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Chris L has just brought this conversation back full circle to something that he said either in the OP or early on in the comments with his use of the word “chaos” in #362. Namely, Chris L pointed out that God is a God of order, not chaos, and that is precisely why He ordained government to execute justice and provide order.

The ultimate outworking of Chad’s “no violence is ever right, just, or moral and is always evil, unjust, sinful, and wrong” position is anarchy. There can be no order on this earth without the use or threat of violent action to restrain evil. No government anywhere can restrain unfettered violence against innocents without the use or threat of violent action. To advocate for a world in this present age that is pacifistic at all levels of local and worldwide society is to advocate for anarchy. That is not to say that we desire violent action or that we don’t speak clearly against unjust violent action.

Were Chad to remain consistent in his stance, he would have to hold that a police officer that used a taser to subdue a criminal who was about to kill an innocent person had committed a sin in so doing. (If you don’t believe that using a taser on an individual is considered a violent act, try using a taser on your wife sometime and see if you don’t get charged with domestic violence.)

Rick has been harder to understand in this matter because some of his statements have been somewhat cryptic (at least to my reading) and he seems to me to have contradicted himself. In the pacifist thread (as I have quoted earlier in this comment thread), Rick agreed that he did not take issue with Chris L’s defense of the just war theory. Since then he has inserted various comments that it would seem continue to argue against the just war theory.

I do respect the individual conscience of both Chad and Rick in that I would fully expect and hope that both would follow their conscience if faced with a situation where violence may be an issue. I believe it to be the Biblical principle that one ought not violate one’s conscience when they believe that conscience to be Biblically informed and Spirit led.

I do not, however believe that that individual conscience in regards to pacifism can be projected onto others. And I would say that categorizing the work of others as a sin without Biblical warrant is in fact a projection of an individual conscience.

I too long for a perfect world where all actions and motivations are pleasing to God – and it will arrive in God’s time. Until then, we deal with sin and death within the framework ordained by God which includes governments punishing and restraining evil, even by violent means in necessary. Anything else would devolve into anarchy.

Fade to black with John Lennon singing “Imagine”…….

365   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 4:31 pm

This is bad for a key reason: while gov’ts may be somewhat beholden to the (gullible) masses, corporations are beholden to their shareholders who are hunting for profit. Period.

This is one of my favorite lines, the evil profit making corporations. Of course we shouldn’t take into account who some of those share holders are. Does anyone have a 401k? Maybe an annuity? Any type of savings account? Maybe even a certificate of deposit. But, those evil companies making profits……..they’re sumthin.

366   Eric    
December 31st, 2009 at 4:43 pm

BTW, Paul,

Didn’t Canada send one of it’s two ships to the Persian Gulf during the Iraq war? :)

Can anyone who thinks that the US is “imperialistic” explain why the US wouldn’t have militarily annexed Canada (sans Montreal) years ago? It’s right there for the picking, and if we’re honest, it does have a few things going for it (can you say oil sands?).

367   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Didn’t Canada send one of it’s two ships to the Persian Gulf during the Iraq war?

I wouldn’t call them ships. The term “canoe” might be more applicable. :)

Can anyone who thinks that the US is “imperialistic” explain why the US wouldn’t have militarily annexed Canada (sans Montreal) years ago?

It’s called the War of 1812. You guys tried but failed.

#365: Scotty (and some others), I am amazed at the level of naivete that exists here. Yes, Exxon-Mobil and Shell-BP are out for the good of Nigerians. That little spat about Chevron sponsoring the Burmese junta to remove indigenous people from the land was all in good fun.

And, Canada’s own, Talisman Energy’s collaboration with the Sudanese gov’t to forcefully remove people from potential oil wells was really for their good.

What I am arguing is that it is foolish to think that a gov’t will ever go to war for anything but selfish interest. I’m actually fine with that – just don’t hide behind justice.

But again, who am I to burst bubbles?

Can’t wait to the next “Freedom” operation! Maybe it’ll be Canada, hey Eric? :)

368   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
December 31st, 2009 at 5:24 pm

To add the #367, in case anyone has any inkling of invading Canada now, be warned: we fight like rabid squirrels.

And you thought Afganistan was bad…

369   Eric    
December 31st, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Paul,

I was going to offer to make a “preemptive” just war case for invading (or freeing) Canada that was going to be based on the heavy French influence in Canada and the fact that France is actually using that influence in North America to subvert American/Christian (they’re synonyms, you know) values and thereby undercut the US government all the while subjecting the Canadian people to the French language and defeatist culture. But, it seems like you may already have an “Operation Canadian Freedom” in mind, so it won’t be necessary for me to make that case.

As to the war of 1812, I guess you showed us.

As a side note, I do have strong ties to Canada myself, so I kid. My Dad was raised in Neerlandia, Alberta (high school) and Winnipeg, Manitoba (college age) and his family settled in Ontario, where his mom and 7 of his siblings still live. Also, my sister lives in Orangeville, Ontario, and my older brother lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, to speak nothing of my hundred or so cousins and many college friends from Ontario. Not that you really care about my Canada credentials, but I thought I would put a little more personal face on it.

370   Eric    
December 31st, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Paul,

After my previous comment, I’m really hoping that the “C” in “Paul C” does not stand for Carpentier – wouldn’t I look the fool (more than normal, I mean).

371   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
December 31st, 2009 at 9:52 pm

To amplify my “cryptic” perspective. I agree with the “just war” perspective as it applies to secular nations; I do not agree that believers should be involved or support war in any way.

372   chris    
January 1st, 2010 at 2:10 am

Can anyone who thinks that the US is “imperialistic” explain why the US wouldn’t have militarily annexed Canada (sans Montreal) years ago?

We’re not imperialistic in the sense that we conquer nations we just assume that if the rest of the world, thought like us, acted like us, and voted like us peace would reign.

Like my Iranian father in law is fond of saying “When the U.S. has a history half as old as Persia then you can tell “us” how to run a country”.

373   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 6:17 am

#372 – That provides another looking glass into the quagmire that defines international interaction. There is no nation who seeks the kingdom of God, and, sadly, when believers get entangled with those interactions they no longer seek the things of God, whether they realize it or not.

And when we believers trust chariots and horses to keep us safe, we have lost faith in our God and we reject the calling of maytrdom that may be God’s will. We have become Americans and have traded in our salt.

374   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 10:40 am

There is no nation who seeks the kingdom of God

It is not the mission or purpose of governments until the return of Christ. Rather, they are the imperfect maintainers of order, and God-appointed arbiters of justice.

, and, sadly, when believers get entangled with those interactions they no longer seek the things of God, whether they realize it or not.

Horse hockey.
You can wail and moan all you want to about governments, but they have a God-given purpose which we, as believers, should be supportive of – whether it is the court system, the police force, or the military – and that we should hold accountable when they are not managing it in a just fashion. We are to submit to our earthly rulers, which implies a level of allegiance at least as much as you apply to football teams up at that school in South Bend.

I agree with the “just war” perspective as it applies to secular nations;

There is no “secular” or “sacred” – everything has a spiritual component to it. There are no “secular” nation-states on earth, nor are there any “sacred” nation-states on earth. Yes, we are citizens of the kingdom, but we are also called to submit to our earthly masters. I would note that nowhere in Scripture is the concept of submission one of begrudging acknowledgment of authority. Rather, it is a desire to see the best come to them to whom you are submitting to.

And when we believers trust chariots and horses to keep us safe, we have lost faith in our God and we reject the calling of maytrdom that may be God’s will.

Again a complete load of horse-hockey. Protection is a God-given role of our earthly masters – whether they were the judges appointed by God after the time of Joshua, the kings beginning with Saul, and even the loathsome Caesars of Jesus’ and Paul’s day. They may fail in providing this – or they may choose to persecute – but expecting them to do their God-appointed jobs, and – if we so desire – to be a participant in that provision, is not anti-kingdom or “rejecting God’s call to martyrdom”.

Esther did not sin in becoming a queen of Persia, and she was put there for “just a time like this”, where she could be of honorable service to him. So to may we be part of the government to which we submit.

We have become Americans and have traded in our salt.

Cue ominous music, sack-cloth, fade to black, roll credits…

You can hate America as much as you want in response to those Christians who have truly placed it above God, but neither extreme response is what God requires.

375   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 10:48 am

Rick,
Perhaps in 2010 you will finally learn that Chris L knows precisely what God requires or not.

Happy New Year!

376   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 10:50 am

Chris L – no response to 301?

Eric, do you believe slavery is a sinful institution?

377   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:02 am

#374 – Different year, same montra. I do find it interesting/confusing that some who are emergent leaning in their theology seem to be so conservative in their political theology.

I need a scorecard.

378   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:10 am

Perhaps in 2010 you will finally learn that Chris L knows precisely what God requires or not.

Don’t trust me on it, ask Paul:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Heck, I’m not all that fond of Paul for writing this, but I can’t strip it out of the Bible because I don’t like it.

Chris L – no response to 301?

No – I have no idea what the issue is, and I think you’ve picked up on something I mis-worded, and I have no clue what you’re getting at. I don’t scour threads to see if I’ve missed any questions along the way. If it’s important, it will likely come up again in a different way. Otherwise, I just consider the thread has moved on.

379   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:11 am

Correction: I do not hate America, unless you can provide a statement from me to the contrary. I do feel the systems of this world are against the kingdom of God.

Just as God used wicked men to crucify Christ and accomplish His will, so does God use governments and nations. But that does not mean we should participate in them.

380   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:15 am

#378 – What a complete strawman!! You present that Scripture with the bold MUST SUBMIT without caveat? And it doesn’t say “MUST PARTICIPATE”!

So you suggest believers should have submitted to Nazi Germany? Quit squaking about abortion and submit.

381   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:17 am

I do find it interesting/confusing that some who are emergent leaning in their theology seem to be so conservative in their political theology.

A) I don’t consider my theology all that “emergent” (which, I believe Chad would agree). I just believe that “emerging” Christians are as much a part of the kingdom as “Reformed” Christians, and “Baptist” Christians, and “Independent” Christians, and “Catholic” Christians, and “Arminian” Christians, and “Eastern Orthodox” Christians, and “Restoration Movement” Christians, and “Pentecostal” Christians, and even label-less Christians. FYI – that view isn’t “emergent” (even if some in the Emergent movement might hold it), but is the historical view of my particular Restoration Movement church (though sometimes it has been more legalistic in its view of other denominations).
B) I don’t consider politics theology (Conservative or Liberal), though I believe our theology should inform our politics, not have us abdicate our responsibilities as citizens, even at the bare minimum of voting.

382   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:19 am

And the funny thing is that many evangelicals interpret the wives submit to your own husbands as “submit to each other” and yet no such mutual submitting when it comes to the government?

I will submit and be a “good neighbor” in my community, but I owe no allegiance to any government because all of my allegiance is to Christ.

383   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:20 am

Chris L – I think you misappropriate Romans 13 – over and over.

Do you accord the same weight to this:

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

As you do to this:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.

As for 301, it’s pretty plain.

Just War Theory has no resemblance to the ways wars were actually done in the Bible. Yet you claim scriptural authority when deriving your “just war” principles.

When I asked about how slaughtering women, children and even animals accords with “just war theory” today, you said:

Actually, the ones that God declared did not need to meet those criteria, since He defines what is ‘just’

.

So then, shouldn’t your standards of what is or is not “just” line up with God’s?

You then said:

Ones [wars] that He did not declare, or give blessings to through the prophets, match up with the criteria

Again, by your own admission, wars God did NOT declare or bless are the wars that line up with the so-called “just war” criteria.

You appear to be admitting that today’s “just war theory” has nothing to do with God.

384   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:22 am

If Rob Bell isn’t emergent who is? From my vantage point you lean emergent, even though you wear the other label. (starts with an “R” but I forget)

385   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:22 am

So you suggest believers should have submitted to Nazi Germany? Quit squaking about abortion and submit

Or all the moaning about health care or anything else. Just submit.

Sorry, Chris L, you can’t have it both ways.

386   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:27 am

So you suggest believers should have submitted to Nazi Germany?

The Christians in Germany should have (and many did), yes. Where submission to an authority ends is where it requires the one submitting to it to violate God’s laws. Many German Christians emigrated, rather than serve under the corrupt Nazi regime. That was a legitimate response. Others stayed behind, but did not participate in the state’s atrocities. That was a legitimate response. Still others stayed behind and helped Jews and other “undesirables” escape almost certain death. That was a legitimate response. A number of Christians who had been in the German military deserted or refused to obey when given immoral orders, and a number of them paid for it with their lives. That was a legitimate response.

Quit squaking about abortion and submit.

I am not ordered to perform an abortion, nor would by wife/daughters be compelled to have an abortion – so using force to stop it is not at all an option.

I am not submitting to a policy – I am submitting to an authority. Fortunately, the authority I live under has created a system that exists specifically for the purpose of creating and altering existing laws – and allows me, as a citizen to take a peaceful part in this process. As such, so long as I act within the system my government has provided, I am not out of submission to it when I seek to use that process to change the laws.

387   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:27 am

By Chris L’s interpretation, John the Seer’s exhortations to “Come out of her!” is all “horse-hockey.”

On Pledging Allegiance

388   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:28 am

“Just war” suggests that God supports it. Who divines God’s will for a war? Without the man made conditions for a “just war”, or with them, who holds the final authority to go to a just war?

Please don’t suggest it’s the secular, lying and cheating, corrupt system run by all kinds of plualistic men and women, many of whom creatively opted out of war when it was their turn. Even the congress itself is always divided.

Jumbo shrimp = Just war

Kind like a just abortion due to a rape pregnancy.

389   chris    
January 1st, 2010 at 11:29 am

Were Chad to remain consistent in his stance, he would have to hold that a police officer that used a taser to subdue a criminal who was about to kill an innocent person had committed a sin in so doing. (If you don’t believe that using a taser on an individual is considered a violent act, try using a taser on your wife sometime and see if you don’t get charged with domestic violence.)

Not, again, that I need to defend Chad but he has never proposed such a scenario. Rather he has said that, paraphrased, violence in response to violence doesn’t create peace. It never has and never will.

Chris L. is arguing for “just” war. I’m struggling to understand but he’s done well to lay out the case. Where this discussion falls apart for me is the seemingly duplicitous nature of the arguments.

Violence to protect the innocent. But don’t kill abortion doctors. God ordains violence/protection. Yet we get to be the arbiters of God’s will. As I’m currently understanding these defenses of violence to protect the innocent I’m left with a logical conundrum.

390   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:33 am

We pay taxes that are used for abortions etc.. If we/me had any spiritual guts we would refuse to pay them, but I guess we just submit. But you never addressed the participate issue with Scripture.

Are we to participate in an antichrist government? Should Christians attempted to be involved with the Nationalist Socialist system in order to bring “change”? Or are we to preach the gospel?

391   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:35 am

Where submission to an authority ends is where it requires the one submitting to it to violate God’s laws.

This is where your argument breaks down, Chris L. You cannot claim so flippantly this:

for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

because THAT, taken at face value (as you do), insists that the authority in power is there because God has so placed it and ordained it. Therefore, what the authority does is an extension of what God does.

IOW, might makes right, if one follows your logic.

This accords with your admitting that the wars God blessed and waged in the OT were “just” because God did them even though you admit that none of God’s wars would line up with “just war” theory today.

This is why I said you can’t have it both ways. You can’t put the sort of weight you put on Romans 13 and then insist that we can resist when that God-ordained authority breaks God’s laws – you can’t do this because you have made them one and the same.

392   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:35 am

A police officer should taze a murderer. A country can go to war. I only have a problem where Romans 13 becomes the government and the church.

393   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:36 am

“Just war” suggests that God supports it.

Not at all. God put the government in place to dispense justice. The government may take actions which are truly just or truly unjust. “Just war” is a set of criteria originally put forth by Christians to prevent unjust wars from happening. Just because a war happens to meet the jus ad bellum criteria does not mean that God supports it, or that the church must support it.

Without the man made conditions for a “just war”, or with them, who holds the final authority to go to a just war?

The government, which God put in place – noting that God putting it in place does not mean that God automatically blesses its actions. “Just war” criteria are not a set of “positive” criteria (if a war meets these criteria, God will bless it), but rather a set of “negative” criteria (if a war does not meet these criteria, it should not be pursued because it is in conflict with one or more Christian principles).

394   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:42 am

if a war does not meet these criteria, it should not be pursued because it is in conflict with one or more Christian principles)

And, once more, can you please show examples of wars in the Bible that meet “just war” criteria?

395   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:46 am

The government is the final authority since God ordained that, but the war may not necessarily be just. And how do we divine which is which? We cannot because we must submit since God ordained it. I’m dizzy.

“set of criteria originally put forth by Christians”

Christians “put forth” a lot of things. :cool:

396   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:48 am

Chris L – before it gets lost in the shuffle, I’m still curious to know that passage of Scripture that names slavery as “sin.”

Thanks.

397   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:51 am

Chad – The Scriptures do not prohibit slavery as such, however Christians have put forth a set of criteria for just slavery. :cool:

398   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 11:52 am

because THAT, taken at face value (as you do), insists that the authority in power is there because God has so placed it and ordained it. Therefore, what the authority does is an extension of what God does.

Incorrect. God has placed the authority there. It does not make every policy the authority implements “blessed by God”. As in all submissive relationships given by God, submission to that authority does not require breaking God’s commands. The earthly rulers are not given carte blanche to change what God has commanded, but rather to provide order within the sphere of authority given to them.

This accords with your admitting that the wars God blessed and waged in the OT were “just” because God did them even though you admit that none of God’s wars would line up with “just war” theory today.

A) God defines what is “just”, so when He determined a religious requirement for war, it is automatically “just”.
B) Just War Doctrine does not allow for religiously-motivated war, because it does not allow for man speaking on behalf of God as to a “correct” religious motivation for war. Only God (either directly, or via His prophets) can give justification for a religiously-motivated war (whether 3000 years ago or in the Last Days). Because this can be all too easily abused (see a number of Popes re: the Crusades), Just War does not allow for religiously-motivated war.
C) See Phil, re: the Nephilim for a possible answer.

You can’t put the sort of weight you put on Romans 13 and then insist that we can resist when that God-ordained authority breaks God’s laws – you can’t do this because you have made them one and the same.

You are making the same mistake as Rick – just because God gives authority to governments does not make their policies all “blessed by God”. However, their God-given responsibility is justice and order (which includes, but is not limited to, making laws, enforcing laws, and protection of society). When they enact unjust laws, or act unjustly, our ability to speak against them is directly related to what rights they have given us to speak against them. When we are compelled to follow a law that would require us, personally, to violate the laws of God – that would require us to disobey the government. Why? Because the authority given by God to the government in ruling us does not compel us to obey the rulers when their decrees are at odds with God. Were we in China, we would be required to submit to all of their oppressive speech and activity laws, but we would not be required by God to submit to aborting all children apart from the first child.

399   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:58 am

Chris L – hogwash.

We have now just entered the “Spin-Zone.”

Who are you to decide what is just or unjust when you have been told that the authority over you is ordained by God himself??? You can’t. You, like the soldier in ancient Israel, must conclude that the slaughter of babies and women and animals is in fact “just” because the ruling authority has declared this to be so. And the authority in place is put there by God.

You are trying to have it both ways and it doesn’t work that way, no matter how much spin you put on it.

What wars in the Bible qualify under “just war” criteria?

400   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:04 pm

When you say that the authorities are over you and ordained by God, and when you suggest that you must submit(support) the government when it doesn’t cross God’s Word, in effect you are not submitting to the government, you are just obeying God.

We are to submit, not support and certainly not participate. The political/national perspective is a deceptive anaconda that continues to choke the life out of the church. I have no real expectation that it will change, the unbringing is too strong.

401   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Were we in China, we would be required to submit to all of their oppressive speech and activity laws, but we would not be required by God to submit to aborting all children apart from the first child.

Fair enough, but this is not something to be concluded by the Scriptures you cite.

Paul also says:

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants,

So all gov’t, if we follow your hermeneutic, is “God’s servants.” This is definitional if we follow your lead. Government = God’s servants. We are to submit to Gov’t. Therefore, what Gov’t does (since it is God’s ordained servant) is what God desires to be done. We must submit.

Even Peter chimes in to say:

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

So, even in a system which you claim is wrong (sinful), and even if you are being treated unjustly, slaves must submit.

So your logic that we must submit unless unjust actions are happening to us is not something you get in Scripture.

402   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Maybe this will help a bit, “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous, but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders, and liars, and perjurers. And it is for whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” (1 Timothy 1:9-11)

The Greek word can mean something like ‘kidnapper’ or ’slave trader’. Either way, it seems rather clear that Paul doesn’t thing slavery a good thing–even if he advised slaves to not rebel against the system of slaver but rather to be in submission to the slave holders.

I suppose it would be a lost cause to note, also, that the slavery spoken of in the Scripture did not resemble the slavery we often associate with the USA.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled arguments.

403   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:11 pm

We pay taxes that are used for abortions etc..

Not until ObamaCare is signed into law, we don’t.

If we/me had any spiritual guts we would refuse to pay them, but I guess we just submit. But you never addressed the participate issue with Scripture.

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.

Caesar did all sorts of awful things with the taxes he collected, but Jesus told the people to pay the taxes to Caesar, anyway.

If governments are God’s servants (per Paul), then there is no prohibition against God’s servants from being God’s servants.

Chris L. is arguing for “just” war. I’m struggling to understand but he’s done well to lay out the case.

Thank you, Chris. I (and other “just war” supporters) would probably do better to characterize our position as being in support of criteria that prevent unjust wars. As such, the criteria to prevent unjust wars cannot be “war is never an option”, because that abdicates the role given by God to governments. Thus, the criteria need to be such that the primary sources of “unjust” wars are all kept “unjust” – this includes “conquest”, “revenge”, “religious fervor”, etc.

Violence to protect the innocent. But don’t kill abortion doctors.

The legitimate use of lethal force by an individual is not a premeditated act, but one of immediate requirement at the scene of a crime (see my notations on Exodus 22). All other uses of lethal force (capital punishment, police, etc.) are the responsibility of the governing authorities.

If an abortion doctor were attempting to abort a child against a mother’s will, lethal force would not be ruled out. As it is, though, it is the mother who is committing the violent act via murder-for-hire. Thus, it is an issue for the system of justice, not vigilante justice.

God ordains violence/protection. Yet we get to be the arbiters of God’s will.

God gives the responsibility for protection to the government, and it is His will that the government would act justly. If “we” happen to be part of the government, then we may have a hand in this greater responsibility, but that does automatically not make our actions in that role “blessed by God”.

As I’m currently understanding these defenses of violence to protect the innocent I’m left with a logical conundrum.

The American system of government has actually made this conundrum much more of an area requiring personal judgment than the Roman system did. With the Romans, it was pretty easy to assume an “us vs. them” mentality (which makes the lines of delineation pretty clear, since to voice dissent with Caesar often meant getting nailed to a stake by the road-side). In America, though, we are cursed with a system where “them is us”, and a voice of dissent is allowed and welcomed by law (unless you’re a Tea Party-er). This makes the decision-making process much harder. Some, like Rick, just toss their hands in the air and wail for the return of Rome. Others, do their best to muddle through by applying the principles explicit in Scripture to guide our own behavior, and to (hopefully) at least inform some of the decisions of the government.

404   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Thus, the criteria need to be such that the primary sources of “unjust” wars are all kept “unjust” – this includes “conquest”, “revenge”, “religious fervor”, etc.

IOW, all the wars narrated in the Bible, the book from which Christian “just war” advocates claim they derive their principles from, are not “just wars.”

405   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I would suggest that those wars God commanded Israel to start or participate in were ‘just wars.’ This would include wars, for example, when Abraham went and rescued Lot from the kings in Genesis, when Joshua ‘fit’ the battle of Jericho, when Samson slew the Phillistines who were ‘upon him,’ and others like it where Israel was God’s sword of justice or protector of innocent life.

I don’t know that Bible specifically defines the term ‘just war.’ That’s probably a modern invention to ease the conscience’s of people who are really glad the government did something to protect us, but preach against war on sunday mornings.

406   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I don’t know that Bible specifically defines the term ‘just war.’ That’s probably a modern invention

No truer words have been spoken on this thread thus far.

407   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Fair enough, but this is not something to be concluded by the Scriptures you cite.

I didn’t claim to have cited all applicable Scripture. I only cited one that directly dealt with the whole “Christians cannot be at all involved in government” canard.

Therefore, what Gov’t does (since it is God’s ordained servant) is what God desires to be done. We must submit.

Insofar as it acts within the bounds of the authority given to it by God, yes.

So, even in a system which you claim is wrong (sinful), and even if you are being treated unjustly, slaves must submit.

Yes.

So your logic that we must submit unless unjust actions are happening to us is not something you get in Scripture.

Wow. That is not my logic.

It is only when the law requires that I act unjustly (not that I am treated unjustly) that I am required to resist. (See the Book of Daniel.)

If I am required by the authority to declare that Caesar is God, I must not submit to it – I would be committing blasphemy. If the authority declares that Caesar is God, but does not require me to do so, I must submit. [However, in America, as a citizen, I am given the right to petition the authorities to change such a law. I am still in submission to the authority, as was Esther to Darius when she begged that he change the law that would kill the Jews.]

If I am required by the authority to kill my child, I must not submit to it, I would be committing murder. If the authority declares that elective abortion is allowed by the law of the land, I must submit to it. [However, in America, as a citizen, I am given the right to petition the authorities to change such a law. I am still in submission to the authority, as was Esther to Darius when she begged that he change the law that would kill the Jews.]

I am not arguing that we should not submit when injustice is happening to us – only when we are required to inflict the injustice.

408   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:23 pm

We are to submit, not support and certainly not participate.

Chapter and verse, please.

409   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:24 pm

No, those are not true words because you didn’t quote them all. They are only true if you include everything I wrote.

Oh, and what about slavery? Is that passage I cited enough or is there a way to explain it away?

410   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I am not arguing that we should not submit when injustice is happening to us – only when we are required to inflict the injustice.

Bravo!!!!!

It took awhile, but it finally came out.

That is the entire point, my friend.

War is not “just.” And any attempts to make it seem “just” or “righteous” are nothing more than our “modern inventions” (thanks, Jerry) to ease our conscious.

Back to my point: Violence and war is sin. Governments often operated in that arena. The CHURCH should not be aligned with that, give voice to it, justify it, sanction it, or anything else that would suggest we our faith is in the mighty sword rather than the slaughtered Lamb.

411   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:29 pm

And that doesn’t mean, furthermore, that principles for a just war cannot be discerned. I’m specifically referring to the nomenclature, the terminology we use to define what is inherently present and true and right.

I think the pressure, actually, is on those who say we should resist to explain away Daniel and Romans and other parts of Scripture where we are specifically told to submit to the governing authorities. The Bible cannot contradict itself, so we are either to ‘come out of her’ or ‘render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s’ or there must be some place in the middle.

I’d go back to taxes though. Talk about oppression! Why not throw off that yoke? If the government cannot be trusted with justice and national defense then why you continue to trust them with your money?

412   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:33 pm

And, once more, can you please show examples of wars in the Bible that meet “just war” criteria?

There are several instances where Israel was being attacked (not making conquest), where the Kings made war that fit within those criteria (Example: I Kings 20). The primary ones that do not meet such criteria are those that occurred when God was having the people of Israel clear out the Promised Land when they entered it. Also, more generally, God’s command in the Torah about kings not creating armies of chariots is generally seen one as condemning conquest (because chariots were rather singularly weapons of conquest, not defense).

413   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I don’t know that Bible specifically defines the term ‘just war.’ That’s probably a modern invention

If by “modern” you mean 400-500 AD, then yes, “just war” is a ‘modern invention’ – just like the Trinity, Sola Scriptura, etc.

414   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:35 pm

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

5And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

I do find it revealing that Jesus said that which is Caesars is not that which is God’s.

415   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:38 pm

IOW, all the wars narrated in the Bible, the book from which Christian “just war” advocates claim they derive their principles from, are not “just wars.”

Incorrect. See my answer above. The wars in the Bible that don’t fit under JWD conventions were the ones God, Himself, decreed in the cleansing of the Promised Land. The ones that his prophets supported during the reign of the Kings generally fit within JW criteria.

416   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I Kings 20 doesn’t really fit because it was religiously motivated (a prophet of God told Ahab to strike) and the battle was initiated by Israel, not the other way around.

The primary ones that do not meet such criteria are those that occurred when God was having the people of Israel clear out the Promised Land when they entered it.

Precisely.

Don’t you find it odd that the wars blessed and ordained by God (which you call “just”) have no resemblance to the so-called Christian theory of “just war” today?

417   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:44 pm

And this:

War is not “just.” And any attempts to make it seem “just” or “righteous” are nothing more than our “modern inventions” (thanks, Jerry) to ease our conscious.

is to miss the entire point of Chris’s post. I didn’t write ‘modern inventions’ to justify Chris, but you Chad and people like you. Because, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson from a few good men, You are happy as hell that there are people with backbone enough to stand up to injustice and protect our borders from those who would destroy us. You are glad there are people who ’stand on the wall’ and guard you so that you can live in your comfortable academic world and talk your philosophical points of view.

But from your closeted world you can come on this blog and spout your line about how war is unjust, and Jesus loves peace, and God is love and in the real world there is no war because all war is bad and we should all lay out our necks and let evil run the world. That’s not reality. And it is not biblical.

Trust me when I say that ‘modern invention’ is not to assuage you, but to point out the flaw of your argument. Peace-niks have never changed. You want the government to protect you when it is convenient for you. You argument is not biblical.

Serious question: What part of the Old Testament is not ‘god-breathed’?

I say today we throw off the yoke of the oppressive and unjust government and condemn ‘universal’ ‘health’ ‘care’ because it is will force many people into a system of legalized financial slavery.

I say today we follow the Jimmy Carter way of doing things and we sit down to a nice cup of tea at a hookah bar with terrorists and work out a nice little arrangement whereby they leave us alone and stop killing people. In return all of America will convert to Islam.

that will make the world a much more peaceful, Jesus-like place to live.

418   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I do find it revealing that Jesus said that which is Caesars is not that which is God’s.

Speaking specifically of taxes. He did not say that the tax-collectors were Caesar’s, even though they were in his employ.

From the NIV (rather than the rather opaque KJV): Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Roman soldiers were not permitted to be involved with civil government, and were thus submitting to their commanding officers in not doing so.

Similarly, an athlete does not win unless he follows the rules (or doesn’t get caught in a blood test…)

This has nothing to do with Christians not being involved in government – it has to do with submitting to the rules and acting fairly.

419   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:45 pm

FYI – Christian P thinks I should start talking about the Salvation Army, just to mix things up…

420   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:45 pm

The wars in the Bible that don’t fit under JWD conventions were the ones God, Himself, decreed

So either God is not just or JWD is not just.

421   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Don’t you find it odd that the wars blessed and ordained by God (which you call “just”) have no resemblance to the so-called Christian theory of “just war” today?

Not at all. And I Kings 20 does fit, because it was a direct response to an attack – where the king gave up his own riches to avoid the war, but then went when the enemy insisted on attacking. Just because God’s prophet commanded it, doesn’t mean that it did not meet JWD criteria. JWD was developed by St. Augustine and other early church figures by examining the wars that God commanded and didn’t command, after the conquest of the Promised Land. I Kings 20 was part of its development.

to paraphrase Jack Nicholson from a few good men,

nice touch, Jerry :)

422   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I loved the movie “A Few Good Men.” It was that movie that inspired me to join the Navy. No joke.

423   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 12:52 pm

#421 did not address the question:

Don’t you find it odd that the wars blessed and ordained by God (which you call “just”) have no resemblance to the so-called Christian theory of “just war” today?

You say “Not at all.” Why?

424   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 12:54 pm

So either God is not just or JWD is not just.

1) God is not bound by the rules of men.
2) The reason JWD does not allow for man to go to war in the case of religious conquest (like God’s clearing out of the Promised Land) is because the entity to which the role of justice and defense was given by God is not an authority that was given God’s authority in determining religious practice and requirements. Thus, it doesn’t have the moral right given by God to declare a religious war.

425   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 1:04 pm

The bottom line for me is that our battle is not, as Paul declares, against “flesh and blood.” Our battle is against the spiritual forces of evil that still lurk about in the world, attempting to undo what God has already done in Christ on Easter morning. It is their last gasp.

The weapons of a Christian are truth, righteousness, proclamation (speaking), faith, prayer, and the word of God.

These are not weapons of war.

The Church should never be in the business of legitimatizing war. That is not our calling. There are more than enough people alive who will do that without us.

426   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 1:07 pm
I am not arguing that we should not submit when injustice is happening to us – only when we are required to inflict the injustice.

Bravo!!!!!

It took awhile, but it finally came out.

That is the entire point, my friend.

If that’s your entire point, then you’ve reached the wrong conclusion.

War is not “just.”

Incorrect – the use of force to maintain order and defense are part of the authority given by God to governments. As such, there are cases where such things are just.

And any attempts to make it seem “just” or “righteous” are nothing more than our “modern inventions” (thanks, Jerry) to ease our conscious.

1) See Jerry’s point.
2) The purpose of JWD isn’t to ease our conscience, but to prevent unjust wars from happening. The purpose of JWD isn’t to say “God ordained this war”, it is to point to the unjust wars that do occur and say “This was is unjust, because …”

Back to my point: Violence and war is sin.

Just as wrong this time as when you said it the first time. Violence and war are tools, not ontologically moral/immoral entities. In the absence of a very narrow set of mitigating criteria, they are unjust. Within that very narrow set of criteria, they do not constitute murder. And even then, once declared, it is possible to fight a just war in an unjust manner – and it is possible to end a just war in an unjust manner. The ballgame isn’t over, and a blank check isn’t signed just because a war falls within the narrow criteria of just war doctrine.

The CHURCH should not be aligned with that, give voice to it, justify it, sanction it, or anything else that would suggest we our faith is in the mighty sword rather than the slaughtered Lamb.

And unicorns, and fairies, etc., etc.

Members of the church supporting the actions of the state, when they meet just war criteria, does not suggest that our faith is in the sword instead of God. It is simply affirmation that we believe that the rulers God has placed over us are acting in a just manner in their rule.

427   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 1:08 pm

God is not bound by the rules of men.

Agreed, but that means nothing here. We are bound to God. If we want to know what is “just” we look to God, not man. So the question still stands – either God was unjust in the OT or JWD is unjust. Which is it?

The reason JWD does not allow for man to go to war in the case of religious conquest (like God’s clearing out of the Promised Land) is because the entity to which the role of justice and defense was given by God is not an authority that was given God’s authority in determining religious practice and requirements. Thus, it doesn’t have the moral right given by God to declare a religious war.

spin, spin, spin.

This makes no sense in light of your earlier insistence that Government is God’s servant and ordained and placed by God. Of course they have every right to wage war on religious authority – THEY ARE PUT IN POWER BY GOD!

428   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 1:12 pm

The Church should never be in the business of legitimatizing war. That is not our calling. There are more than enough people alive who will do that without us.

And if they do it without us (noting that “they” and “us” are not mutually exclusive in the case of America), the chances of unjust wars being waged goes significantly up. The American system of government allows for voices of dissent and voices of support.

But I’ll tell you what, I’m am very comfortable with you and Rick sitting on your hands on the sidelines while Christians who understand the purpose of Government and the purpose of JWD encourage the government (or get involved as part of the government) to use it appropriately. I would much rather have a Christian who understands its appropriate use to assist in it, than one who would naively promote chaos from sowing anarchy.

429   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Violence and war are tools

….and so are those who use them :)

But seriously, where did you learn this?

430   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 1:18 pm

re 428- Thus the reason I have said I an grateful for JWD in that it is a respite, or rest stop. It minimizes (to a degree) the damage of the sinful enterprise.

But it is not the destination. Not for Christians, at least.

So while you and others who understand government seek to maintain the status quo, I’ll hope that pastors and prophets and other church leaders continue to call Christians to a higher calling – one that is non-violent and one that does not care what political system is in “power” at present because they already know who is Lord of both heaven and earth.

431   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 1:24 pm

while Christians who understand the purpose of Government and the purpose of JWD encourage the government (or get involved as part of the government) to use it appropriately

I love the irony! But when the government seeks to extend healthcare to everyone, us good Christians will get involved to be sure the gov’t stays the hell out. Cause obviously this is “inappropriate” behavior!

432   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 1:26 pm

So the question still stands – either God was unjust in the OT or JWD is unjust. Which is it?

Dude, restating bad logic over and over doesn’t make improve over time. Let me try to dissect the logic for you at a more basic level.

A) Let us say that there have been 100 wars in the history of mankind that God would see as “just”, and 500 that God would see as “unjust”.
B) Of the 100 ‘just’ wars, 40 of them fit within a somewhat easily-definable set of criteria that man can (with some level of objectivity) define.
C) Of the 100 ‘just’ wars, 10 of them fit within a more difficultly-definable set of criteria which may be much more subjective than men can objectively handle.
D) Of the 100 ‘just’ wars, 50 of them fit within criteria that only God truly knows.
E) Of the 500 ‘unjust’ wars, none of them fit within the criteria determined in (B).

We might then take the criteria from (B) and call it “just war doctrine”. This does not automatically make the wars from (C) and (D) “unjust”, nor the wars in (B) “unjust” (because C and D don’t meet the criteria).

Because JWD is exclusionary (from the standpoint of man), it prevents the 500 wars in (E) while letting the ones in (B) slip through. It leaves those in (C) and (D) up to God – to either run their own course, or to be ended via miraculous means.

that is why your question is baseless – it is a false choice.

433   chris    
January 1st, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Chris L. thanks for the responses. I’ve re read a lot and I’m understanding more fully. :)

Just throwing around some logical fallacy (appeal to authority) so I’m not accused of “peace nikking”.

Other than Scotty, I claim military high man. 11 Bravo, 25th infantry division, Air Assault school, Ranger. I was trained to kill efficiently and quickly. No where in my training did they suggest at any point you can determine when to obey and not to obey your orders to kill. I probably could have and faced Article 15’s up the wazoo or court martial.

434   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Chris L, I’m sorry, but 432 is nonsense.

Let me make it real simple for you.

What is “just” or “unjust” is determined by God, not man.

God waged war or compelled Israel to wage war.

What God does above is “just.”

JWD claims to be “just” and claims to derive its principles from Scripture.

JWD bears no resemblance to the actual wars waged above.

Either God is unjust or JWD is unjust.

I’ll offer you a way out:

You could just admit that if JWD had as one its criteria the slaughter of women, children and animals when making a preemptive strike then it would be more in line with Scripture.

435   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I love the irony! But when the government seeks to extend healthcare to everyone, us good Christians will get involved to be sure the gov’t stays the hell out.

Christians (A) aren’t using force – they are acting within the system provided; and (B) in many case, they see this as an extension of the government beyond its God given bounds (justice and defense), creating dependency by incenting abdication of the God-given individual role of providing for one’s family.

Cause obviously this is “inappropriate” behavior!

Dissent is allowed within the existing American government structure, so it is not a lack of submission to express our opinions. No Christians I know of are advocating armed overthrow of the government in response to ChappaquiddickCare.

I’ll hope that pastors and prophets and other church leaders continue to call Christians to a higher calling – one that is non-violent and one that does not care what political system is in “power” at present because they already know who is Lord of both heaven and earth.

And I will hope that pastors and prophets and other church leaders continue to call Christians to the calling of living in the world, but not of it, and to encourage the government to use its power – whether violent or nonviolent – in a just manner, and to fulfill its role of providing order and physical security for its people until the Lord returns…

Violence and war are tools

But seriously, where did you learn this?

English, Math and my theology classes that included the teaching of logic.

Music is a tool. Teaching is a tool. Force is a tool. Each is something that humans apply, for good or ill. When I have my child sit in a chair for something they have done, I am applying a level of force. When I spank that same child for a different offense, I am also applying a level of force. I could do each of these in a right or a wrong manner.

“War” and “violence” are just extreme levels of force, and incredibly powerful tools. As such, they have to be used incredibly carefully. Phil’s analogy with chemotherapy and cancer was an apt one. Chemotherapy used for anything other than cancer produces horrible results for no good effect. When used to eliminate cancerous tumors, chemotherapy still does some damage to the body, but its overall impact is a net positive – because it eliminates the cancer that would have led to much worse circumstances. Chemotherapy is a tool in the same way that war/violence is a tool. It has no ontology until it is used.

436   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I’m sorry, but 432 is nonsense.

Not at all – it was revealing the ‘nonsense’ in your logic, by showing the mathematical/logical subsets you were pitting against one another.

Either God is unjust or JWD is unjust.

Again – you can state a fallacy as many times as you want, but it does not make it true. JWD makes no claims of authority over God.

Just War Doctrine seeks to eliminate the possibility of men declaring and engaging in an unjust war. (a negative logical test)

Where God declares war – whether it meets man’s criteria or not – it is, by definition, just. JWD claims no responsibility or culpability on the part of God. (a positive logical test).

Because JWD claims no authority over God, it makes no judgments on wars directly declared by God, or his prophets. Rather, it seeks to constrain man from committing unjust war, and makes the assumption that any claims of God declaring a modern war that do not fit within JWD bounds are spurious and uninspired.

It makes no moral claims on God, but seeks to aid the governments He put in place make just decisions, based on the principles He communicated to us via Scripture.

437   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I was trained to kill efficiently and quickly. No where in my training did they suggest at any point you can determine when to obey and not to obey your orders to kill. I probably could have and faced Article 15’s up the wazoo or court martial.

Not having served in the military (though having friends & family who do/have), I believe though, that you, as a soldier per the UCMJ, have the responsibility to disobey an unlawful order. What you’re pointing to now is jus en bellum (just conduct within war), not jus ad bellum (just declaration of war).

438   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Chris L –
I care nothing about rights to dissent or not within gov’t. What I care about is that people will fight to justify the use of violence and war and the gov’ts use of it and call it “just” while also fighting against the gov’ts move to provide healthcare for everyone and do both in the name of Jesus.

Jesus is for “just war” but against healthcare.

Brilliant.

439   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 2:04 pm

whoa, whoa, whoa….

You mean the people who think JWD is not something Christians should rally around have actually served in the military (myself and Chris) while the one’s calling us “peace niks” or quoting Nicholson at us have never served???

hahahaha!

440   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 2:09 pm

You mean the people who think JWD is not something Christians should rally around have actually served in the military (myself and Chris) while the one’s calling us “peace niks” or quoting Nicholson at us have never served???

I believe Scotty is a disabled veteran…

I also have not read Chris as being to your extreme…

441   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Jesus is for “just war”

A) Believing in the need for “just war” doctrine does not imply that “God is ‘on our side’” in such a war.
B) It is not warmongering – its purpose is to prevent needless war.

but against healthcare.

I don’t know of any Christians (save a few extremes that eschew blood transfusions, etc.) that are against healthcare. Most I know are against the government providing everything for us, including healthcare, but that is not opposition to healthcare.

Brilliant.

442   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 2:15 pm

FYI – I would fight for the right of my local animal control officer to be able to euthanize rabid dogs, and I would equally fight against their takeover of my lawn care (if they were so inclined). It is a matter of mission/purpose, not desirability.

443   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 2:18 pm

On the contrary, Chad. I served in the United States Marine Corps, and was stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina. I was an Expeditionary Airfield Technician.

Now, as to your point about fighting against things not flesh, well that may be fine, but unfortunately for you those things are often firmly ensconced in the flesh. So go ahead Chad and fight against the power of evil all you want and never do anything to resist evil in the flesh.

Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. By that he meant that the gates of hell would not stand up against an offensive mounted by the church. Yeah, Jesus was against war and thought in only happened in some magical world of fairies and unicorns. Rather, we are to be light in dark places–and that implies, at least, being on the offensive against the dark.

Still, even that has little to do with whether or not the government is granted authority by God to protect people and serve justice. But you, once again, are confusing the role of the Church and the role of the government.

444   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Here’s a nice happy story about how we should not resist evil by destroying it.

Homicide Bomber Kills 32 at Volleyball Match

445   Joe    
January 1st, 2010 at 2:27 pm

#433, you were a Ranger?

446   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 2:28 pm

And just so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle: What part of the OT is not ‘god-breathed’?

447   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I will never understand.

The government provides for roads and bridges, common defense, social security for old people, medicaire for old people, help for the disabled, insurance for banks, etc, etc, etc, etc, and etc..

But heaven forbid they help with healthcare, even if flawed it just might help a lot of people. It’s all politics. And the constitution says they would promote the general welfare. They owe me!

448   chris    
January 1st, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I also have not read Chris as being to your extreme…

I’ve learned a lot through the dialogue here. My lens for evaluating JWD is a bit eschewed with my beliefs that the U.S. is not the “noble protector” of the world. IOW I don’t by the hype.

I struggle with JWD in that I’ve got my reservations about men enacting God’s will in political affairs. My reservations come because I find some christian arguments for war to be from the perspective of a “we’re right and they’re wrong so bomb them”. That hasn’t been the case with this argument.

449   Joe    
January 1st, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Chris Paytas,
Would you please answer my question, were you a Ranger?

450   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 2:39 pm

The United States has been “right” more than they have been “wrong” in war. I have never questioned that. But all that is irrelevant.

What does God desire from me, a follower of Jesus? That is the issue.

451   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Christians (A) aren’t using force – they are acting within the system provided; and (B) in many case, they see this as an extension of the government beyond its God given bounds (justice and defense), creating dependency by incenting abdication of the God-given individual role of providing for one’s family.

AMEN!!!!
AMEN!!!

ObamaCare is NOT compassion. Compassion is allowing a family the freedom to be employed, make money, and provide for their family. If you cannot afford health care, stop having children until you can get training to get a better job! Otherwise, in desperate situations and emergencies, the CHURCH should be the social service agency.

452   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 1st, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I struggle with JWD in that I’ve got my reservations about men enacting God’s will in political affairs. My reservations come because I find some christian arguments for war to be from the perspective of a “we’re right and they’re wrong so bomb them”. That hasn’t been the case with this argument.

I think that is the danger, but I don’t think that Chris L. is necessarily saying that we should call any war “good”. I guess my whole issue with the JWD doctrine has to do with the word “just”. Perhaps if it were termed “necessary” or some other term, it would come off a bit different. The term “just” simply has a lot of connotation of self-righteousness about it.

But heaven forbid they help with healthcare, even if flawed it just might help a lot of people. It’s all politics. And the constitution says they would promote the general welfare. They owe me!

I’m not against anyone having good health insurance, but I simply don’t think the federal government is well-suited to provide this for everybody.

453   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 3:00 pm

“If you cannot afford health care, stop having children until you can get training to get a better job!”

A revelation of complete ignorance and unchristian spirit.

454   chris    
January 1st, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Other than Scotty, I claim military high man. 11 Bravo, 25th infantry division, Air Assault school, Ranger.

Should read:

Other than Scotty, I claim military high man. 11 Bravo, 25th infantry division, Air Assault school, Ranger unit.

455   Joe    
January 1st, 2010 at 3:19 pm

#454
Thanks for answering my question. Would you mind telling me what unit? I think it’s important as you offered it up for your credibility.

456   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Chris L,

IF violence and war are “tools” than they are certainly tools the NT insists Christians should make no use of.

Our tools are (again), prayer, faith, worship, singing, sacrifice, servant-hood, etc.

457   chris    
January 1st, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Not sure it’s for credibility as I stated it’s a logical fallacy.

But sure; Company F 1/50th.

458   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 3:25 pm

And I would go even further to say that if you don’t like the tools given to us as Christians to resist evil and call for justice, than that’s fine. Just don’t take the name “Christian” for yourself.

459   Joe    
January 1st, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Thanks. I thought the Ranger Battalion was the 75th. Have a good new year

460   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 1st, 2010 at 3:32 pm

And I would go even further to say that if you don’t like the tools given to us as Christians to resist evil and call for justice, than that’s fine. Just don’t take the name “Christian” for yourself.

I feel like you’re arguing against something that Chris isn’t even saying. I tend to agree that non-violence is a Kingdom principle, and I think that Christians should generally be against violence. Chris has more or less said the same thing except that he says that for cases of self-defense or defending a weaker party, violence may be necessary. This is different from saying that the Kingdom advances through violence.

You, on the other hand, seem pushing people out of the Kingdom, which is ironic coming from an universalist.

461   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Phil,
That isn’t so much an argument against anyone but a general statement. Perhaps it comes as somewhat a rejoinder to those who would characterize those of us who are for non-violence as “sitting on our hands” and doing nothing.

Non-violent resistance is not doing nothing. It is using the tools availed to us by God via the Spirit to proclaim the kingdom of God is at hand. It is not through violence or war that this comes to pass.

I’m not pushing anyone out of the Kingdom. How do you suggest I am?

462   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Just as God used wicked men to crucify Christ and accomplish His will, so does God use governments and nations. But that does not mean we should participate in them. – rick

though i have never seen any prohibition either.

463   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 5:03 pm

…the authority in power is there because God has so placed it and ordained it. Therefore, what the authority does is an extension of what God does. – chad (391)

as your like to say – “says who?” i do not think your “therefore” logic necessarily follows.

464   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 5:14 pm

this i do not understand or follow:

1) how someone can categorically oppose police use of force to prevent crime or apprehend those who have committed a crime.

2) what scripture prohibits christian from participating in government.

3) what the relevance of slavery is to this discussion.

4)why submitting to gov’t is a point of argument.

465   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Otherwise, in desperate situations and emergencies, the CHURCH should be the social service agency. – pastorboy

for believers or the whole nation? while i oppose universal gov’t healthcare (based on the feds inability to manage anything efficiently) this logic is really really naive

466   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 5:26 pm

“But I’ll tell you what, I’m am very comfortable with you and Rick sitting on your hands on the sidelines while Christians who understand the purpose of Government and the purpose of JWD encourage the government (or get involved as part of the government) to use it appropriately. I would much rather have a Christian who understands its appropriate use to assist in it, than one who would naively promote chaos from sowing anarchy.”

Another self righetous mischaracterization. We’ve come to expect nothing less from you anarchy avoiding heros. Chris, you consistently agrue in the flesh and present a less than spiritual example for the writers here to follow. You, the adminstrator of this blog, are the most virulent and demeaning of them all.

2010 will be more of the same.

(He said while sitting on his hands and letting anarchy take over. ) :cool:

467   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 6:56 pm

The government provides for roads and bridges, common defense, social security for old people, medicaire for old people, help for the disabled, insurance for banks, etc, etc, etc, etc, and etc..

There are a lot of things the government should not provide that it does. This doesn’t make adding one more ticking-bomb bankruptcy to the mix a good idea.

Besides which – if you don’t want the government providing you with defense, and if it is such an anti-christ enterprise, why should you accept anything it provides?

And the constitution says they would promote the general welfare.

The “general welfare” clause in the Constitution is actually supposed to be a limitation on what the federal government can do in terms of taxation and spending, not a blank check book. From the author of the document, James Madison, on the importance of this limitation:

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.

468   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I think that is the danger, but I don’t think that Chris L. is necessarily saying that we should call any war “good”.

I wholly agree. The words I would use in the extremely rare case that JWD would allow a conflict to occur are “necessary” and “lamentable”, not “good”.

I guess my whole issue with the JWD doctrine has to do with the word “just”.

I am not positive, but I believe, from my research, that this terminology came from St. Thomas Aquinas, and the application of war is a function of the state’s responsibility for justice, and not “justification for war”.

IF violence and war are “tools” than they are certainly tools the NT insists Christians should make no use of.

Opinion, not biblical principle.

Our tools are (again), prayer, faith, worship, singing, sacrifice, servant-hood, etc.

It is not the responsibility of the church to justify war, but members of the church may, in good conscience, be involved in the declaration of war (as government officials) or in executing the war (as soldiers).

What I will give you is this: The church, as an institution (or a set of interconnected institutions) has an institutional voice that is seen by the public as different than the voices of individual members. I do believe that the church should be very limited in any comments it makes on political matters – including the blessing or cursing of individual wars. Individual members of the church, who do not speak on its institutional behalf, though, should be free to speak their minds on such matters.

And I would go even further to say that if you don’t like the tools given to us as Christians to resist evil and call for justice, than that’s fine. Just don’t take the name “Christian” for yourself.

And since those tools include lethal force, when wielded by God’s servant, our rulers, then we may, as Christians claim the name “Christian” in good conscience and be involved in the venture, as supported by Scripture – OT and NT.

469   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I feel like you’re arguing against something that Chris isn’t even saying. I tend to agree that non-violence is a Kingdom principle, and I think that Christians should generally be against violence. Chris has more or less said the same thing except that he says that for cases of self-defense or defending a weaker party, violence may be necessary. This is different from saying that the Kingdom advances through violence.

You, on the other hand, seem pushing people out of the Kingdom, which is ironic coming from an universalist.

Yes, and yes. Thank you, Phil.

470   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I’m not pushing anyone out of the Kingdom. How do you suggest I am?

Let me quote: And I would go even further to say that if you don’t like the tools given to us as Christians to resist evil and call for justice, than that’s fine. Just don’t take the name “Christian” for yourself.

471   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Another self righetous mischaracterization. We’ve come to expect nothing less from you anarchy avoiding heros.

Rick – if your position is that A) Christians should completely avoid any entanglement with the government; B) Christians should not vote; and C) Christians should not support the use of violence in any form; then you have abdicated any say or responsibility in what the government does, or criticism of its actions or outcomes.

When you go through jury selection in a capital murder case, any juror who cannot in good conscience sentence a man to the death penalty for any reason is automatically excused from the jury pool. Why? Because they have indicated that they cannot apply the laws of their state. The same principle is involved here. If you want a voice in how to resolve situations, which may require the use of force, and you state at the outset that force is never acceptable in any case, you should be automatically excused from the proceedings because you are unable to utilize all of the possibly necessary actions necessary to defuse the situation.

472   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 8:18 pm

If [rick] want[s] a voice in how to resolve situations… -chris l.

i don’t think he wants a voice. isn’t that his point?

473   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 8:42 pm

My consistent position has beend clear. I believe God rules in the affairs of men, and that His sovereignty weaves through the actions of nations. But I contend that believers are called to a higher and different calling. That is my point.

““But I’ll tell you what, I’m am very comfortable with you and Rick sitting on your hands on the sidelines while Christians who understand the purpose of Government and the purpose of JWD encourage the government (or get involved as part of the government) to use it appropriately. I would much rather have a Christian who understands its appropriate use to assist in it, than one who would naively promote chaos from sowing anarchy.”

I am not sitting on my hands. I do understand the purpose of government. I do not naively promote chaos. And I do not sow anarchy.

You are a warmonger. You do not understand the purpose of government. You naively promote whatever (war, etc. – whatever mischaracterization is most effective). And you sow governmental legalism (the opposite of anarchy). I guess that is how you wish to dialogue by painting extreme pictures of men who love Jesus and have a different position of a non-redemptive issue.

Remember, my position is all opinion and not based upon Scripture even though there are and were men who took my position. Your aggressiveness wins the day, and I thank you profusely for combating the chaos I promote. I am your servant. :cool:

474   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 8:56 pm

ok guys —

rick doesn’t promote chaotic anarchy anymore than chris l. is a warmonger.

475   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 8:58 pm

My consistent position has beend clear. I believe God rules in the affairs of men, and that His sovereignty weaves through the actions of nations. But I contend that believers are called to a higher and different calling. That is my point. – rick

while i agree with all of this, i don’t see how it prohibits involvement in civics – whether as menial as voting or involved as holding office.

476   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 9:04 pm

rick,

i think i understand the argument – don’t get involved in gov’t b/c it’s evil… right?

but where does this stop? should i not divest myself of all entanglements with any organization that does evil?

477   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 9:17 pm

You raise a valid point and I cannot answer that with any specificity. But I am against involvement with the government, especially with politics, although I admit there are commited believers who serve there.

The post was about war and I have made my perspective known. The government has been given the power by God to make certain decisions, however our mission is much, much different and I believe our mission is compromised when we get involved with or support wars of any kind.

Of course there are questions that seem to present problems to our present understanding, but as I have said, if our walk of faith isn’t at some point remarkable and counfounding to the darkness I believe we have compromised somewhere.

478   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 9:24 pm

O-H-I-O

479   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 1st, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Go Gators! (A second choice)

480   Neil    
January 1st, 2010 at 9:26 pm

RE 477… i think there may be just causes for a gov’t to go to war… but i also agree they are few and far between and most, the vast majority, do not fit.

481   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 1st, 2010 at 11:56 pm

re: 470, I am not pushing anyone out of the Kingdom. Sorry.

But I am naming sin for what it is.

482   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:00 am

Chad: IF violence and war are “tools” than they are certainly tools the NT insists Christians should make no use of.

Chris L: Opinion, not biblical principle

Where are violence and war listed as our “tools” as saints of God?

Read Ephesians 6. Our “tools” are quite clear.

What I will give you is this: The church, as an institution (or a set of interconnected institutions) has an institutional voice that is seen by the public as different than the voices of individual members. I do believe that the church should be very limited in any comments it makes on political matters – including the blessing or cursing of individual wars. Individual members of the church, who do not speak on its institutional behalf, though, should be free to speak their minds on such matters.

Individuals are entitled to all sorts of misguided beliefs.

Funny how you bifurcate the position of the Church as a whole from individuals believers.

No wonder the world thinks we are a bunch of hypocrites.

483   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:03 am

rick doesn’t promote chaotic anarchy anymore than chris l. is a warmonger.

I agree, and my point was being as parabolic as his comments about complete eschewing of anything having to do with government. When it becomes an “woe is me, America is the devil, it would be better for the faith if we were living under Roman-style oppression, etc.”, then I’m going to take my comments as seriously as his.

Remember, my position is all opinion and not based upon Scripture even though there are and were men who took my position.

Historically, I believe that the men who have taken your position (re: personal involvement in government, war, etc. – primarily Mennonite and Quaker) have not extended this view to “no Christians can…”, but rather, “as a Christian I cannot, but it is sometimes necessary that someone does so.”

Now, if you truly propose (and I don’t know that you have) complete nonviolence on the part of government, then – even if you do not personally support anarchy or chaos – the position you hold would result in anarchy and chaos, intentions or not.

484   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:13 am

if our walk of faith isn’t at some point remarkable and counfounding to the darkness I believe we have compromised somewhere.

I remember a long conversation with Rich Mullins where he commented that one of the biggest problems for Christianity wasn’t that the pagan world was so evil, but rather than the pagans in our world have become much too shallow. He later made the observation that Christians have, over time, created many societal norms which mirror Christian precepts, but which have not transformed the hearts of men. As a result, society acts in a much more moral manner, but not as Christians.

The Nazarite vow that some Jews took – even Paul, after he was a Christian (mind you), and John the Baptist – was for the specific purpose of becoming recognizably different from the world, for the purpose of calling additional attention to God, or an aspect of Him. This was not a lifelong lifestyle, typically, but an oath taken for a period of time, after which there was a public ceremony where the person cut their hair, and burned it on the altar in Jerusalem (which Paul did). This was not legalism, because everyone understood it was only being done for a time, and that only the person taking the vow was taking on additional rules to follow.

I wonder if this might not be a practice for some Christians to reexamine. (Perhaps this is a topic for a post, on another day.) What you seem to be looking for Rick, is a difference that would be as recognizable as a Nazarite would have been in the First Century. That is not a bad idea, but I don’t think it is a universal requirement for the church.

485   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:14 am

Go Gators! (A second choice)

Agreed. I’m also hoping my Rams lose on Sunday, thus sealing their first-place position in the Tim Tebow sweepstakes…

486   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:24 am

re: 470, I am not pushing anyone out of the Kingdom. Sorry.

But I am naming sin for what it is.

How very Silva-ish of you! Now who was it in history who created extra rules apart from Scripture, and then condemned these new “sins”, chastising (or looking down on) those who refused to recognize their extrabiblical tomfoolery?

Where are violence and war listed as our “tools” as saints of God?

Read Ephesians 6. Our “tools” are quite clear.

I don’t recall that Paul claims his list is exhaustive. This list is also one exclusively for the church, which logically does not rule out additional tools both within the church and within one’s profession.

By no means in any of your other doctrine have you claimed any sort of Regulative Principle – in fact, almost every position you’ve taken stretches even the Normative Principle. As such, to suddenly claim the Normative Principle as the guiding force behind what tools a Christian can use is ignorant at best, and dishonest at worse.

Individuals are entitled to all sorts of misguided beliefs.

Yes, I’ve read your blog. :)

Funny how you bifurcate the position of the Church as a whole from individuals believers.

Actually, I was noting the world’s perspective, which assumes that an institution has a voice different than that of its individual members. I’ll save that discussion for another post, though.

487   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:46 am

Read Ephesians 6. Our “tools” are quite clear.

Also, I would go back to Phil’s point:

I feel like you’re arguing against something that Chris isn’t even saying. I tend to agree that non-violence is a Kingdom principle, and I think that Christians should generally be against violence. Chris has more or less said the same thing except that he says that for cases of self-defense or defending a weaker party, violence may be necessary. This is different from saying that the Kingdom advances through violence. (emphasis mine)

488   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 7:15 am

tomfoolery

hahaha!

I don’t recall that Paul claims his list is exhaustive….

Then please show where “violence” and “war” are named as tools for the saints of God to use.

Or, if that is too difficult (or impossible), why not just admit that the tools of the Christian are different from the tools of the world or at least they ought to be?

Actually, I was noting the world’s perspective, which assumes that an institution has a voice different than that of its individual members. I’ll save that discussion for another post, though.

So you readily admit that the correct position for the Church is this:

I do believe that the church should be very limited in any comments it makes on political matters – including the blessing or cursing of individual wars.

Which is something I, too, agree with. However, you don’t think the Church should ask the same of her individual members?

Should the Church ever call people UP or should she just affirm everyone where they are?

I find it hard to believe that you would say the Church as a whole should take a stand against abortion but it’s fine if individual members think differently.

Or,

I think the church as a whole should affirm that Jesus was physically raised from the dead but its individual members can have their own opinions on this.

489   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 7:25 am

This is different from saying that the Kingdom advances through violence

I realize this.

And I will give you this: The kingdoms of this world, unlike the kingdom of God, advance through war and violence, sometimes necessarily so.

My question to you is: Of which kingdom are you a citizen?

490   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 7:36 am

“then I’m going to take my comments as seriously as his.”

I have recently not taken your comments seriously. You have shown an inability to engage in a serious dialogue without resorting to “parabolic” and demeaning verbiage as it pertains to the opposing views or even the opposing people. Your satire and hyperbole, along with your clandestine and overt projections of higher Scriptural understanding, continue to render conversations with you unproductive.

I have had aggressive discourse with unbelievers who showed more respect and level playing field humility. Of course I have also had conversations with unbelievers who say, “So God gets joy watching people being tortured forever? That is what spins His wheels??” Recognize the parabolic style and the self serving mischaracterization? Embrace it.

And what you object to most from Ken and PB, their suggestion that Bell’s teachings are all opinion and with no Scriptural basis, you yourself exhibit to others. There is a word for that in the Hebrew/Greek/English.

** To the thread audience: I believe that there are committed believers in government and the armed services. I believe governments have the God given right/ability to wage war. I do not believe a Christian should put himself in a position where he must take someone’s life, and I do not believe politics profits anything. I stand upon the eternal accuracy of my opinions and humbly admit to having a “Baker-Eddyesque” key to the Scriptures my own opinion.

491   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 8:20 am

NT scholar Richard Hays, in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament, sums it up well, I think, when he writes:

The church’s embodiment of nonviolence is – according to the Sermon on the Mount – its indispensable witness to the gospel. Nonviolence is fundamental to the church’s identity and reason for being…for only when the church renounces the way of violence will people see what the gospel really means, because then they will see the way of Jesus reenacted in the church.”

492   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 8:34 am

#491 – Nothing but unicorns and fairy dust, sir. Oh, and chaotic anarchy as well. But thank you for the thoughts, sir.

“We will kill the Germans and grease our tank treads with their guts!”

George Patton executing a just war.

(I am openly confessing a strong desire to spiral down into hyperbole, satire, and a general dismissiveness. I assure you, my flesh is very capable of oscar winning performances in that field.)

493   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 8:44 am

We will kill the Germans and grease our tank treads with their guts!

Rick, while the State as an institution ought to engage in war in a just manner this does not mean that the State’s individual members must share that same belief. *

*cited from Chris L’s forthcoming book, My Autonomy Can Beat up Your Autonomy.

494   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 8:50 am

During the “just war” we call WW II the American president sold entire countries to the Soviets at Yalta. The spoils of a “just war”.

Question: Does a just war have to have a just method, a just behavior, a just ending, or is a just motive enough to define it as “just”.

495   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:06 am

During the “just war” we call WW II the American president sold entire countries to the Soviets at Yalta. The spoils of a “just war”.

WWII was a “just” war because we won the day by dropping an atomic bomb on 2 cities, killing thousands of women, children and animals. Therefore, we acted like God in the wars of the Bible. Not to mention we had a military chaplain bless the bombs before they flew over Japan, which makes everything OK.

From Chuck Campbell’s The Word Before the Powers

We cannot “seek first the reign of God” through violent means. We cannot get to the “new state of peace” by becoming the evil we oppose.

As a number of people have noted, for example, in some ways Hitler won WWII because, in trying to defeat him, the United States took up his methods and became like him. The United States, after all, firebombed German cities and ultimately used the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, becoming what it proclaimed it hated. And the nation has continued down that violent path ever since, leading the way in the arms race at virtually every stage. In contrast, Jesus’ preaching – his refusal to resort to coercion and violence – was itself an embodiment of the “new state of peace.” Preaching was the means that was ethically consistent with the end of God’s Shalom.

Preaching is one of the other tools availed to the Church to address the sins of the world, of which violence and war are but two. It seemed good enough for Jesus.

But I guess Jesus was just a “peace-nik” who sat on his hands and worried about Rome becoming a socialist empire.

496   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:24 am

Here is the prayer offered by Chaplain Downey before the Enola Gay left for Hiroshima with the A-Bomb:

Almighty Father, who wilt hear the prayer of those that love thee, we pray thee to be with those who brave heights of thy heaven and who carry the battle to our enemies. Guard and protect them, we pray thee, as they fly the appointed rounds. May they, as well as we, know thy strength and power, and armed with thy might may they bring this war to a rapid end. We pray thee that the end of the war may come soon and once more we may know peace on earth. May the men who fly this night be kept safe in thy care, and may they be returned safely to us. We shall go forward trusting in thee knowing that we are in thy care now and for ever. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Here is what another chaplain said later:

For the last 1700 years the Church has not only been making war respectable: it has been inducing people to believe it is an honorable profession, an honorable Christian profession. This is not true. We have been brainwashed. This is a lie.

There is no way to conduct real war in conformity with the teachings of Jesus.

As an Air Force chaplain I painted a machine gun in the loving hands of the nonviolent Jesus, and then handed this perverse picture to the world as truth. I sang “Praise the Lord” and passed the ammunition. As Catholic chaplain for the 509th Composite Group, I was the final channel that communicated this fraudulent image of Christ to the crews of the Enola Gay and the Boxcar.

497   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:28 am

Countries go to war. Viewing it horizontally, since Chamberlain acquiesced to Hitler, the world had little choice. They had to stop Hitler and Japan and they did. I have no problem with the world acting like the world.

I am in this world but I am not of it. I live and act according to adifferent Spirit and a different kingdom. (sometimes)

498   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:35 am

I have no problem with the world acting like the world.

Not only do I not have a problem with it, I expect it.

However, I expect the people of God to act differently and proclaim a different sort of world, one that stands in stark contrast with the ways of this world (you know, like unicorns and fairies and like “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” – crazy sort of stuff).

Commenting on the task of preaching, Jacques Ellul reminds us that, “If you see the powers of the world so well disposed, when you see the state, money, cities accepting your word, it is because your word…has become false.”

499   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:35 am

And if Hitler had taken over the entire world, I still must trust my God and in fact believe that my light would increase in intensity as darkness increased. I cannot, I must not make spiritual choices based upon earthly implications and “what ifs”.

When Peter said to Christ that He would never allow Him to be crucified, Peter was looking at the consequences through earthly and selfish and LOGICAL eyes and not the eyes of the Spirit. Being a pcisfist is not the most illogical and fancifal position ever taken; suggesting that a dead Jew on a Roman cross is the only way to eternal life is the most illogical and unicorn fairy tale ever told.

500   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:42 am

When Peter said to Christ that He would never allow Him to be crucified, Peter was looking at the consequences through earthly and selfish and LOGICAL eyes and not the eyes of the Spirit. Being a pcisfist is not the most illogical and fancifal position ever taken; suggesting that a dead Jew on a Roman cross is the only way to eternal life is the most illogical and unicorn fairy tale ever told.

Well, Peter was right. Obviously Jesus wasn’t taught logic in his Master of Messiahship training like some commenters here.

I mean, everyone knows that the things of God are foolishness logical to men.

501   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:53 am

I find Paul’s own understanding of himself post-Christ to be a telling critique on violence.

In Gal. 1:13 he writes, “You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it.”

For Paul, pre-Christ, violence was an acceptable means to an end. As a Jew who kept the law and had great “zeal” and was of the house of Benjamin, etc., he saw Christians as a threat to the world order. Christians were bringing chaos to the world he knew and loved and thought his right to defend.

But after his conversion to Christ all this changed. He looks back on all that as “dross.” Furthermore, he abandons any sort of violent or coercive means to advance the Gospel and even though violence is part of his past resists any attempts to defend his own life or encourage others to defend him even though he is being persecuted.

Violence, it would seem, is a “tool” that Paul does not carry as a Christian.

502   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:02 am

I find it incongruous that believers would accept and participate in violence within the governmental construct, but reject violence in an ecclesiastical construct.

God approves of violence outside the church, butnot within the church. That would mean that if you participate in violence as an American, you must view that as superseding your ecclesiastical parameters. I find that unbiblical.

503   chris    
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:13 am

When Peter said to Christ that He would never allow Him to be crucified, Peter was looking at the consequences through earthly and selfish and LOGICAL eyes and not the eyes of the Spirit.

But later that obedience to the spirit would also take Peter to his death. Presumably he went willingly.

I get what Chris L. is saying, I don’t fully embrace it, but I understand it.

If I may be so bold, both sides of this argument have resorted to hyperbole and mis-characterization but I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I disagree with war, “just” war, injust war, made up fictitious war. I disagree with it. I agree that the way of the kingdom is different and should be different. Plus I believe that war does more harm than good. It gives martyr status to those we fight and turns our allies into enemies when we don’t execute it “justly”.

If someone was breaking into my house to harm my wife I would kill them. If I encountered someone being robbed on the street I would intervene non-violently and use violence if necessary.

I disagree with the death penalty I think it removes the possibility of ‘redemptive’ life that God has given me. I disagree with abortion as birth control but I understand why some people feel that’s there only option.

All that to say, I, we, the earth, all live in the state of “almost but not yet”. I believe that God desires more for his creation and it will get here eventually. I can’t however resort to “short cuts” or “safety nets” that push further away than closer to the life I’ve been called to.

504   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:18 am

#503 – A reasoned position.

505   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:25 am

chris – A question.

Can you name me the moral issues that would be unacceptable within the church but acceptable outside the church? What could a Christian do outside the church but should not do inside the church (as a believer) because it would be wrong?

506   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:29 am

Some of the reasoning for supporting “just wars” is that without them the cost would be too great. We could possibly lose our freedom, our way of life, and even our lives. That is what a “just war” is defending.

507   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:34 am

Then please show where “violence” and “war” are named as tools for the saints of God to use.

Paul says that that the sword is one of the tools available to His servants in government:

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

The question you’re asking (ignoring the point Phil made pretty clear) is “show me where ‘violence’ and ‘war’ are tools for the advancement of the Kingdom”. I’ve never claimed that they should be used in that context (any more than I would claim that the government should compel all people to read the Word). Earthly rulers are not required to be non-Christian, nor (if they are Christian) are they to wield the powers given to them to coerce unbelievers to become believers. Rather, they have a responsibility to act justly and to use the tools given to them by God – which does include the use of force.

Which is something I, too, agree with. However, you don’t think the Church should ask the same of her individual members?

I said I was going to deal with this in another post (but my short answer is “no”).

I think the church as a whole should affirm that Jesus was physically raised from the dead but its individual members can have their own opinions on this.

Straw man argument – I said nothing about matters of essential doctrine, I was referring to matters of preference.

My question to you is: Of which kingdom are you a citizen?

We are called to be in the world, but not of it – citizens of the Kingdom of God who are also physical citizens of our earthly kingdoms, submitting humbly to those masters who are called ’servants of God’. Your question assumes that they are diametrically opposed when we submit to one or the other. In reality, the “reporting structure” that Paul explains is that the leaders are stewards for God for specific purposes – including the sword. When we submit to our earthly rulers, we are ultimately submitting to the One who appointed them. When they exercise the powers and responsibilities given to them by God in a just manner (which includes in rare circumstances, the use of the sword), they are not acting in opposition to God.

508   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:38 am

I believe that there are committed believers in government and the armed services. I believe governments have the God given right/ability to wage war.

Thank you.

I do not believe a Christian should put himself in a position where he must take someone’s life, and I do not believe politics profits anything.

I understand this, though I do not agree, as no such prohibition exists in Scripture, nor are are commanded to turn our backs on the workings of Government.

509   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:40 am

#508 – I realize Zan is using her husbands screen name.

510   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:48 am

NT scholar Richard Hays, in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament, sums it up well, I think, when he writes:

Bible scholar NT Wright, in his opinion piece opposing the Iraq War sums up an appropriate Christian world-view on the use of Just War when he writes:

The doctrine of ‘just war’ was developed in order to emphasize that, though war is always an evil, sometimes it is the lesser of two evils.

Doing justice, in whatever form, is always about anticipating in the present God’s eventual design to put the whole world to rights, to gather up all things in heaven and on earth into Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1.10). Though God will eventually do this completely and fully, he does not want the creation to lapse into complete chaos in the present age, and so calls into being structures of human government and authority to bring about a measure of order, some kind of anticipation of his eventual putting-to-rights of all things.

The problem, of course, is that human authorities themselves are then tempted to become part of the problem to which they are supposed to be an anticipation of the solution, and then you get the double chaos of tyranny – a chaos held in place by an essentially chaotic, because unjust, rule.

Because one of the God-given tasks of authorities in the present time is to protect the weak and vulnerable from oppression, I believe that police action is often necessary, involving physical restraint and sometimes actual violence to prevent wicked and powerful people getting away with their intended ill-treatment of the weak, poor and vulnerable.

As he notes, war is ‘an evil’ (which is ontologically different than ‘a sin’) that sometimes must be chosen to prevent much bigger evils. The purpose of Pikuach Nefesh is to help believers weigh ‘evils’ against one another (when there is no fully ‘good’ option) so that they can choose the lesser one, and thus, not sin.

511   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:48 am

Paul says that that the sword is one of the tools available to His servants in government:

That’s not the point. The point is, where are violence and war listed as tools for THE SAINTS OF GOD?

I realize government will use any means necessary to advance their own interests. That is not what this is about.

Where are Christians called to use the same tools as the world?

Straw man argument – I said nothing about matters of essential doctrine, I was referring to matters of preference.

And I reject your a priori assumption that non-violence is a mere “preference.” It is no more a “preference” than the call to love thy neighbor as yourself.

Why did you ignore the abortion analogy? Do you think the Church as a whole should have a position on abortion but that is a matter of preference for individuals?

What other things can individuals make their own minds up about without the interference of the church?

Your question assumes that they are diametrically opposed when we submit to one or the other.

Scripture is clear they are diametrically opposed to each other.

Yes, we are IN the world (physically), but not OF the world. This means we live by a very different ethic than that of the world.

So since you evaded the question, let me ask it again: Of which kingdom are you a citizen?

512   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:52 am

Question: Does a just war have to have a just method, a just behavior, a just ending, or is a just motive enough to define it as “just”.

Just war is not a carte blanche determination: it is a set of decision-making criteria, not a tool to “bless” a war, its conduct, or its ending. When we try to take an entire war and call it “a just war” or an “unjust war”, we are doing a good deal of conflation (which I’ve probably done myself, along the way) which blurs this. Often, what is meant by someone saying “XYZ conflict was a ‘just war’” is that it passed the criteria for Jus ad bellum at its outset.

513   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:53 am

The pastor at my previous church was pretty much a pacifist, but I never thought he did a very good job of articulating his position very clearly. He said, “I’d rather have you kill me and me to heaven, rather than me kill you and send you to hell”. Well, that’s fine when all you’re dealing with is a one-on-one conflict, but unfortunately, there are many things in life that are more complicated than that.

What if you’re in the middle of a situation similar to what happened at Fort Hood where not stopping a crazy gunmen will ensure the death of many? For situations such as those, I must admit that I am at a loss to see a clear non-violent solution. I’m not saying one doesn’t exist, but just that it isn’t evident to me.

I also feel like one reason it’s hard for supporters of non-violent resistance to be taken seriously be some is that there simply seems like a refusal to be honest and name evil when they see it. There are many that seem to take a “blame the victim” mentality. I’m not saying anyone here is doing that, but I certainly see it places.

Overall, I would say American society is too violent, and the Church should be speaking against this. Rome had the coliseum where they watched gladiators kill each other, and we have huge stadiums where we watch our gladiators pummel each other. We watch people murdered for fun on TV or at the movies.

514   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:59 am

WWII was a “just” war because we won the day by dropping an atomic bomb on 2 cities, killing thousands of women, children and animals. Therefore, we acted like God in the wars of the Bible. Not to mention we had a military chaplain bless the bombs before they flew over Japan, which makes everything OK.

This is an example of the “just war” conflation I described above. Just because a war met Jus ad bellum criteria for its initiation is not carte blanche guaranteeing of its prosecution, or its ending. Individual actions within a war may be “just” or “unjust” via jus en bellum criteria. There is a good deal of debate about the use of nuclear weapons on Japan, the firebombing of Dresden, and (in a different war) Sherman’s March to the Sea. These are all matters of jus en bellum, and – even if any were to fail to meet these criteria, they do not render the other decisions made via jus ad bellum and jus en bellum “unjust” or null-and-void.

Preaching is one of the other tools availed to the Church to address the sins of the world, of which violence and war are but two. It seemed good enough for Jesus.

Thank you Ken – I see you’ve read up on the Regulative Principle, and that you’ve successfully conflated advancement of the kingdom with the just rule of God’s servants in government. Bravo.

515   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 am

From Chris L’s theological dictionary:

Evil and Sin are not the same.

What is “evil” could actually be found in the presence of God and God’s Kingdom and what is “sin” can actually be called good.

Chris L, if you had at any point named war and violence for what it is (evil) rather than calling them mere “tools” that are morally neutral, we would not be having this conversation to the extent we have had it.

516   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:03 am

So now that you have at least admitted war and violence are “evil,” what part should the Church have in “evil”?

Should it justify it or name it for what it is and call people above and beyond it?

517   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:07 am

Here is the prayer offered by Chaplain Downey

Let’s see, going down the lists of defending the creation of a new “sin” (”all violence is sin”)…

1) Scripture? OK – no Scripture to support a universal condemnation of any use of violence. Since that won’t back us up, we’ll go to

2) Logically fallacious “truth by assertion”. If I just say it forcefully and passionately enough, it must be true. No? Hmmm. How about

3) Sophistry. Ok – it certainly looks good, but it’s not fooling anyone. I guess we’ll have to go to

4) Hyperbole. OK – it feels good, but doesn’t work (on either side of the argument). Let’s try

5) Renew, Reuse, Recycle. We’ll just keep recycling earlier refuted points in new ways. Hmmm. Kinda like leftover mealoaf. I guess we’re now at

6) Logically fallacious appeals to authority via random quotes. OK, now it just sounds pretentious and desparate. Where next?

518   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:11 am

Should it justify it or name it for what it is and call people above and beyond it?

Actually, Chad, when you think about it, isn’t this what just war theory when applied correctly is attempting to do. It’s attempting to enforce a standard on military action so a nation cannot just go to war anytime for any reason it pleases. It’s saying that violence may only be used under a rather narrow set of circumstances. When applied correctly, it should be a restrictive principle rather than one that is used to justify a nation going to war whenever the hell it pleases.

I could kind of see it with some parallels to the Torah. Many things in the Torah are there with the purpose of restricting the escalation of violence or preventing retribution to a greater degree. So, I guess when used correctly, just war theory should be something that prevents violence rather than justifies more.

Perhaps the issue is that it hasn’t been used correctly.

519   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:11 am

#515
What difference does it make, in your world view, when they die, they will all go to heaven which is by far better anyway!

520   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:12 am

517 -

I guess being smug is just one more tool in the Christian’s toolbox.

521   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:12 am

Viewing it horizontally, since Chamberlain acquiesced to Hitler, the world had little choice.

Rick – I agree with a number of scholars who believe that Hitler could have been stopped before he started through confrontation (a threat of force, likely not needed to be used) rather than acquiescence. I agree that our leaders should get out in front of potential conflicts by preventing their necessity in the first place. The US totally bungled Iraq decades before the 2003 invasion.

Israel, on the other hand, is a tricky matter, because its enemies’ unwavering and stated aim is that it will be “pushed into the sea”, and no amount of “peace process” is likely to change this. Until Christ returns, I believe that the particular situation in and around Israel is unlikely to reach a true state of peace.

522   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:16 am

Actually, Chad, when you think about it, isn’t this what just war theory when applied correctly is attempting to do.

Phil,

Yes, it is. And if you read all the comments above I have said a few times that I am grateful for “just war theory” for it’s use in doing exactly that.

That is great head-way for a world that is hostile to the things of God.

But I also said I see this as a “rest stop” for CHRISTIANS. We are called to a higher calling than the rest of the world. So where the rest of the world may pat themselves on the back for being “just,” Jesus calls his disciples to an ethic of non-violence. This means we speak out against evil (sin) where we see it and we encourage people to break free from the bondage they are in, particularly the myth of redemptive violence.

So while I can be thankful for just war theory in some ways, I am not going to be content to stay there as one who follows Jesus.

523   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:20 am

Let’s look at the NIV of Gal 1:13:

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

Or the Young’s literal translation:

for ye did hear of my behaviour once in Judaism, that exceedingly I was persecuting the assembly of God, and wasting it,

Most translations (nor the Greek-English interlinear) use the word “violently”. Additionally, Paul’s condemnation here was in trying to advance a religious cause through coercion. You keep arguing against something I’ve never said.

Violence, it would seem, is a “tool” that Paul does not carry as a Christian.

And your straw man wins out again. Paul’s specifically dealing with the use of coercion for advancing the cause of Christ, not with the use of force by God’s servants in maintaining order.

524   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:23 am

I find it incongruous that believers would accept and participate in violence within the governmental construct, but reject violence in an ecclesiastical construct.

I find it incongruous that someone who understands the meaning of ‘incongruous’ would find any incongruity in the activities of one God-created institution acting in one way and the activities of another God-created institution acting in another way, when both have different God-given missions and have no God-given prohibitions from members of one institution being members of the other institution, as well.

525   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:25 am

Paul’s specifically dealing with the use of coercion for advancing the cause of Christ, not with the use of force by God’s servants in maintaining order.

DUH!!

What are WE, Christ’s BODY, concerned with? Advancing the cause of Christ or the kingdoms of this world???

Violence is not in our arsenal as Christians. That is the point. If others desire to use violence, they are certainly entitled to do so. Not us.

526   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:32 am

What could a Christian do outside the church but should not do inside the church (as a believer) because it would be wrong?

A couple of examples off the top of my head:
1) There are principles Paul elicits for order within a corporate worship setting that are not prohibited in a personal worship setting.
2) Jesus encourages brothers with disagreements to work out their issues without the justice system, but he does not prohibit believers from taking other matters before a judge.

Some of the reasoning for supporting “just wars” is that without them the cost would be too great. We could possibly lose our freedom, our way of life, and even our lives. That is what a “just war” is defending.

The high-level just war criteria you’re discussing is:

the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain

‘grave’ is a determinant that goes beyond simple inconvenience. The purpose of war is to prevent a greater evil, not to prevent an inconvenience, and to create a greater stasis of order than one of chaos. There is ’self-interest’ involved on the part of the government and the governed, but that does not negate its necessity, or make it somehow tainted – because the purpose of the government is to maintain order.

527   chris    
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:33 am

What difference does it make, in your world view, when they die, they will all go to heaven which is by far better anyway!

I LOVE that a PASTOR uses bumper sticker hyperbole to make a point.

KILL ‘EM ALL. LET GOD SORT ‘EM OUT

528   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:34 am

#509. Zan has her own screen-name, which does not prevent her, though, from “encouraging” her significant other from time-to-time…

529   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:37 am

You continue to place far too much weight on Paul’s brief discussion on governmental authority in Romans 13. It is as if you are making this the center of your entire theological construct, reducing and evaluating everything else (even Jesus’ words) in light of this.

Paul believed Jesus was returning very soon. He, being a Jew, also had firmly rooted belief that NOTHING existed apart from God. LIfe, death, war, peace, rain, sun, sickness, healthy – it ALL comes from God. So it is no surprise here that Paul puts Caesar under God (both a political slap in the face to Rome and a theological move for God’s sovereignty). Romans 13 is Paul’s way of saying: Look, the Empire is going to do what they are going to do. Don’t rock the boat with them, just stay the course and do God’s will. Jesus is coming.

I think Paul would be horrified that his words are being used to justify mingling between Caesar and the Kingdom of God, as if both worlds are seeking the same end. They ARE diametrically opposed and to say otherwise is akin to blasphemy.

530   chris    
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:40 am

The purpose of war is to prevent a greater evil, not to prevent an inconvenience, and to create a greater stasis of order than one of chaos.

I’m struggling with this statement.

“the purpose of war”. I’m assuming that “war” denotes a war premised upon JWD? Otherwise I would argue that many wars, wars of conquest, were based not on principles for order.

Additonally I think that the results of war, may delay, greater consequences but logically there is no way to measure the “good” or “evil” produced by war. For instance much of the Middle East issue is based on hundreds, if not thousands, of years of “violence”. The military actions/build ups have not created stability. It’s created more anger and more violence. Probably nothing to do with JWD but it’s a question I have.

531   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:41 am

chris L-

If the Church has a particular voice and position about abortion is it OK for individual members of the Church to have their own opinions on the matter, even if those opinions are contrary to what the Church believes and teaches?

532   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:43 am

The purpose of war is to prevent a greater evil

Walter Wink calls this a lie from the pit of hell.

I think he’s right.

It’s a myth we have been handed from the beginning of time. The sad part it, it’s now a myth that has found a voice in the Church (and this blog).

533   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:55 am

Chris L –

I’m curious. What other things are “evil” yet not “sinful”? I’ve been trying to think of some examples but come up empty.

534   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:19 pm

The point is, where are violence and war listed as tools for THE SAINTS OF GOD?

You are conflating two God-created institutions again, as if individuals in one (the church) cannot be individuals within the other (the government). I am not at all suggesting that coercion is an appropriate tool for advancing Christianity. I’ve said that it is not. I’ve said that one God-created one institution (the church) should not assume that that another God-created institution (the government) must only use the toolset available for the mission of the first. God put the sword in the hand of the government, and He did not prohibit people from being members of both of the institutions He created.

And I reject your a priori assumption that non-violence is a mere “preference.” It is no more a “preference” than the call to love thy neighbor as yourself.

You’ve done nothing to prove that nonviolence is a cross-cultural absolute, an “essential” doctrine. zip. Coercion is a tool God made available to government to use, so the church declaring that God was wrong in doing so smacks of more than a little bit of hubris.

Why did you ignore the abortion analogy?

I didn’t. The second one was far more easily an issue completely “in-house” to the church.

Do you think the Church as a whole should have a position on abortion but that is a matter of preference for individuals?

I do not believe that one’s position on abortion is an indicator of one’s salvation. I believe that the church should stand in opposition of abortion, but I do not believe that individuals must hold that position or not be called “Christian” – particularly if they are immature Christians…

So since you evaded the question, let me ask it again: Of which kingdom are you a citizen?

I did not evade – I said that it was not a diametrically opposed relationship when examined correctly. We submit to our earthly masters and encourage them to act in a just manner, but our ultimate allegiance is to the one who established them, God. Thus, we are citizens of both who recognize that one is subservient to the other.

From Chris L’s theological dictionary:

Evil and Sin are not the same.

They are not the same thing. Sin is an ontological ruling on an action, and is a subset of evil, not a synonym for it. Murder is sin, but (per Exodus 22) if you kill an intruder it is not sin. The taking of life is evil, but only murder is sin. If you cannot understand the difference, it is not my fault that your lack of discernment in their basic definitions has led you to run off a metaphorical cliff.

So now that you have at least admitted war and violence are “evil,” what part should the Church have in “evil”?

I admitted that they were necessary evils early on (heck, I opened with the Sherman quote specifically for that purpose). We have to weigh evils against one another on a daily basis. There are inevitable situations where we must weigh one evil versus another. When we choose the lesser of evils we are not committing sin, we are making a lamentably necessary decision. When we choose a greater evil, we are sinning.

Should it justify it or name it for what it is and call people above and beyond it?

The church should call governments and individuals, when faced with multiple evils to choose the lesser of these evils. This may require the use of lethal force. There is no “calling people above and beyond it” if it is the lesser of evils available. The purpose of Just War Doctrine is to rule out the use of force unless it truly is the least of all evils, and is actually calling the government “above and beyond it” when it is not the lesser of available evils.

You continue to place far too much weight on Paul’s brief discussion on governmental authority in Romans 13. It is as if you are making this the center of your entire theological construct, reducing and evaluating everything else (even Jesus’ words) in light of this.

Paul’s summation in Romans 13 is simply a restatement of this principle that is taught in the Hebrew Scriptures, and not contradicted by Jesus. I’m sorry that Paul’s words are inconvenient to your cause.

I think Paul would be horrified that his words are being used to justify mingling between Caesar and the Kingdom of God, as if both worlds are seeking the same end. They ARE diametrically opposed and to say otherwise is akin to blasphemy.

So, then is it blasphemy to expect the government to act as the church in providing benevolence? It seems you expect this “diametric opposition” to only come into play when you don’t like what government does. At least I am consistent in applying what I read the Scriptural purpose of government as being, and NOT being.

Paul believed…

Thank you for channeling Paul, but I’ll just take his written word and its context, rather than your imagination of his “belief” regarding nonviolence.

Chris: “the purpose of war”. I’m assuming that “war” denotes a war premised upon JWD?

Yes – sorry for the short-hand. I should have said “the purpose of the sword (war) as given to government by God”…

If the Church has a particular voice and position about abortion is it OK for individual members of the Church to have their own opinions on the matter, even if those opinions are contrary to what the Church believes and teaches?

I believe that being opposed to abortion is a conviction, not a cross-cultural absolute required for salvation. While I believe that I can strongly make a case from Scripture that it is murder, I cannot declare it an ‘essential’ doctrine of the church. When the life of the mother is truly in danger, and the likelihood is two deaths instead of one, I don’t know that I could declare such an abortion ‘murder’.

535   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:21 pm
The purpose of war is to prevent a greater evil

Walter Wink calls this a lie from the pit of hell.

And Fred Flintstone says “Yabba-dabba-doo”, and I think I agree with him. I’ll go with NT Wright, and the weight of Christian tradition over Wink and his hyperbole.

536   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I’m curious. What other things are “evil” yet not “sinful”?

Being untruthful is “evil”, because God desires truth. However, when Rahab lied to the officials of Jericho searching for Israel’s spies, her actions were credited to her as righteousness. Similarly, when German Christians lied to protect Jews hiding from the German government, they were not sinning – they chose the lesser of two evils and prevented the deaths of those they were hiding.

537   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Guess who said this:

“If you are a follower of Jesus, a middle eastern man living in an occupied country who was crucified by the global military superpower of his day, and the leader of the global military superpower of your day, in celebrating victory and occupation of a middle eastern country, quotes hymns in the military victory speech about Jesus, if you are a Christian, this should make you nervous.

The Bible is a story of people living on the underside of military super powers.
The Bible comes to us from a small minority of peoples, who are conquered peoples.
So when you read this story, and you read this book, as a citizen of the most powerful empire this world has ever seen, you may miss some of it’s central ideas.
Because when it says some trust in chariots but we trust in God and you have 42.8 percent of the worlds weapons, You’re the one with the chariots.
My interest is in how we understand the story of the scriptures, and in some way separate the cross and the flag, just long enough to make sure that we haven’t bought into somethings that are the very type of things that Jesus came to set us free from.”

538   Joe    
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:24 pm

#532. Forgive me if I missed it in the previous 531 comments.

Do you believe we should have allowed Hitler to go unchecked? Would that not be example #1 that some wars prevent greater evil?

539   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:29 pm

When you take the position that all “evil” is “sin”, you are making the same mistake nade by the Levite and Priest who walked by the wounded man on the Road to Jericho. Both the Levite and the Priest were officials in the Temple who were required to avoid all things “unclean”, including blood and dead (or ‘half-dead’) bodies. However, because the Sadducees held all of God’s commands as equal, and considered cleanliness laws as just as important as “love your neighbor”. It was the religious tradition of Galilee, which Jesus used in his teaching and weighing of sins against one another (such as with Sabbath laws), that showed us how we ought to weigh ‘evils’ against one another.

540   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:31 pm

The same person is discussed in this article:

The destruction one nuclear bomb can wreak is more than horrifying, the Rev. (name removed) says. It’s an insult to God.
“Nuclear weapons are a direct affront to God’s dream of shalom for the world,” (name removed) said Tuesday. “Life is beautiful, and nuclear weapons are ugly.”
The pastor of (named) Church has joined other evangelicals to issue an impassioned call for the elimination of nuclear weapons. (name removed) spoke at a teleconference Tuesday to launch the Two Futures Project, a coalition of prominent Christians asserting multilateral disarmament is a biblical imperative.
Christians should be in the no-nukes vanguard, (name) and others said, as they face the choice of “a world without nuclear weapons or a world ruined by them.”
“We must eliminate these weapons, and we can eliminate these weapons,” said Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, 31, a Baptist minister who founded the project.
“Who do we think we are to claim authority over life itself and the welfare of future generations? That power belongs to God alone.”
The project aims to help eliminate nuclear weapons through education and political pressure. Younger evangelicals are leading the way with support from older activists such as Chuck Colson and Ron Sider.

My favorite quote is this one, which no doubt will raise your unicorn and fairy radars…

“I’m part of a generation that believes things can actually change,” said (this unicorn), 38. “Ideas that sound far-fetched and naive can actually become reality.”

Guess who??

541   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:35 pm

FYI – I’ve read JWTSC, and I don’t recall Rob saying “all violence is sin” anywhere in it. I believe that his sermon series on peacemakers got a number of things right – including his take on “turning the other cheek”, which I used in the OP. And – to a point – I would agree with most of his comments on the “myth of redemptive violence”, though I think he took the construct too far in some instances.

542   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I do not believe that one’s position on abortion is an indicator of one’s salvation. I believe that the church should stand in opposition of abortion, but I do not believe that individuals must hold that position or not be called “Christian” – particularly if they are immature Christians…

:D

I never said anything about one’s salvation being in jeopardy. But thanks for admitting that those who think differently from the Church on the issue of abortion may be deemed “immature Christians.”

I believe I called those who justify violence “carnal Christians” above (i think comment 297). I’ll settle for “immature” as well.

543   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:37 pm

And I doubt (name removed) would suggest that a member of his church who disagreed with him on the topic should not use the name “Christian”…

544   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I believe I called those who justify violence “carnal Christians” above (i think comment 297). I’ll settle for “immature” as well.

And I would call them “mature Christians” who understand how to apply Scripture in real world situations.

545   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Do you believe we should have allowed Hitler to go unchecked?

I think we should have just waited and sent him a strongly worded memo to his Washington offices… We could have saved postage that way.

546   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I’ve read JWTSC, and I don’t recall Rob saying “all violence is sin”

*sigh*
How many times have I heard you argue with PB and others who complain that Rob Bell doesn’t use the word “repent” enough or some other thing?

And you are right when you argue with them that he does speak of repentance all the time even if he doesn’t use the words they want to hear.

Try to be consistent.

547   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:48 pm

And I doubt (name removed) would suggest that a member of his church who disagreed with him on the topic should not use the name “Christian”…

Nor would I.

what I said earlier was that those who reject the tools given us in Scripture and/or wish to make fun of them as idealistic or dreamy but justify the world’s “tools” should stop using the name “Christian” to describe themselves.

548   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:54 pm

How many times have I heard you argue with PB and others who complain that Rob Bell doesn’t use the word “repent” enough or some other thing?

In JWTSC, Rob does not propose your thesis – in, or between, the lines. I agree with him that the Church should not be calling for war. That is not the God-given function of the church. I agree with him that the Church should not entangle itself in political parties. I think he takes nonviolence farther than I would, and that some of his comments are unrealistic, but I don’t recall him insinuating that “all violence is sin”.

549   Joe    
January 2nd, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Chad,
Do you believe that we should have let Hitler go? Should Christians just have refused to get involved in that war?

550   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:05 pm

but I don’t recall him insinuating that “all violence is sin”.

Ok, PB.

I guess we should stop calling things that are a “direct affront to God’s dream of Shalom for the world” sin, then. You know, things like violence and war.

Things that are against God’s dream for the world are just “tools” or “morally neutral” or “necessary” in the physical world. If only God could be more logical….

551   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:11 pm

what I said earlier was that those who reject the tools given us in Scripture and/or wish to make fun of them as idealistic or dreamy but justify the world’s “tools” should stop using the name “Christian” to describe themselves.

Actually, you said: if you don’t like the tools given to us as Christians to resist evil and call for justice, than that’s fine. Just don’t take the name “Christian” for yourself.

One can be a Christian and support that God created government to maintain justice, and that one of the tools God made available to governments to use for this purpose is the sword. A Christian can also see other Christians as naive or idealistic if they decide that God was wrong in giving the sword to governments by saying that Christians cannot support the government in using that tool. As NT Wright noted, “[God] does not want the creation to lapse into complete chaos in the present age, and so calls into being structures of human government and authority to bring about a measure of order, some kind of anticipation of his eventual putting-to-rights of all things.” So if this makes Wright unworthy of calling himself “Christian” in the Chad lexionary, I’ll join him.

552   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I guess we should stop calling things that are a “direct affront to God’s dream of Shalom for the world” sin, then. You know, things like violence and war.

Until you can understand that sin is a subset of evil, you will be incapable of understanding the larger issue. God does not desire that there would be wars in the world, but he does not rule out their necessity before His full return.

At this point, you’re just recycling all of the same pap and mischaracterization. So, unless something actually new comes up, I think I’m out of this thread…

553   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Chris L, talk about being moronic. Sheesh.

NT Wright AFFIRMS the tools given the Church to resist evil! As opposed to the tenor on this thread by you and Jerry who call such things “idealistic” and “fairy tales” or “wishful thinking.” If NT Wright scoffed at things like prayer and faith and preaching and worship the way you and Jerry are, then yes, I’d say the same thing to him.

Seriously, are you dense?

I don’t deny the gov’t uses the sword! I don’t deny it is their “tool.” I reject, however that CHRISTIANS are to be using the tools of the world to resist evil! We have our “tools” and they do NOT include violence and war.

I also AFFIRM that goverenment, like EVERY other power, is FALLEN! They are captives to the same bondage all of us are captive to – SIN. They seek their own ends, rather than God’s.

The CHURCH is called to be leaven in the world – LIGHT in darkness. We FAIL in this calling when we seek to appease or justify the powers rather than redeem them for use in the light of Christ and God’s vision for the world.

554   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I think I’m out of this thread…

Good. The less people who bear the name “Christian” yet proclaim the necessity of death, the better.

555   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Do you believe that we should have let Hitler go? Should Christians just have refused to get involved in that war?

I don’t believe Christians should get involved in any war.

Their involvement, however, doesn’t make them apostates, just “immature” (per Chris L).

556   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:35 pm

As opposed to the tenor on this thread by you and Jerry who call such things “idealistic” and “fairy tales” or “wishful thinking.”

*sigh* we really are on the spin-cycle. Neither Jerry, me, nor anyone else have said we should not advocate for the most peaceful resolutions to problems as possible. What is idealistic is to expect that we should demand that it is always sinful to use force for the purpose of individual or societal self-defense. That, in itself, is a demand for chaos and injustice.

I do not scoff at the idea that Christians are to use the tools outlined by Paul for advancing the kingdom. I just believe that conflating those tools with supporting the purpose of government is irrelevant.

I reject, however that CHRISTIANS are to be using the tools of the world to resist evil! We have our “tools” and they do NOT include violence and war.

I would agree, insofar as we are discussing the mission of the church. This does not divorce us from society, nor from individual self-defense, which is not “resisting evil” directed at the kingdom, but is “resisting evil” that is random and unfocused on making a direct challenge to God.

We FAIL in this calling when we seek to appease or justify the powers rather than redeem them for use in the light of Christ and God’s vision for the world.

More false dilemmas.

Good. The less people who bear the name “Christian” yet proclaim the necessity of death, the better.

My apologies – I’ll let you go take your unicorn out for a spin…

557   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Their involvement, however, doesn’t make them apostates, just “immature” (per Chris L).

NOT per Chris L. Per the example given by Paul and eating meat sacrificed to idols, they would be classified (as would NT Wright) as “mature” Christians…

558   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to be a soldier in war, but another man, whose faith is weak, cannot find any justification for death. The man who serves in the police force must not look down on him who does not, and the man who cannot support the use of force must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

559   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:51 pm

NOT per Chris L.

Sure it is. You said Christians who disagree with the Church’s position against abortion would be classified as “immature.”

Per the example given by Paul and eating meat sacrificed to idols, they would be classified (as would NT Wright) as “mature” Christians…

Not even close. Food laws, which in Christ does not make us clean or unclean, is not even in the same ball field as war and violence.

Paul is saying there is freedom in Christ. But make no mistake, this freedom is FOR something and has some parameters. We are free to live under God’s peace (so we can be at peace about the food we eat).

Many of those following Jesus abandoned him after his Sermon on the Mount, saying, “this is a hard teaching, who can accept it?” The path of non-violence is a hard teaching. It confronts us at every level. The easy path, the broad path, is the one the world readily engages in – violence and war.

A”mature” Christian is not one who swears an oath or their allegiance to the government and seeks to find ways to justify his or her violence on others to achieve national, political goals.

The “mature” Christian resists evil by not returning evil (of which violence and war is) with evil. The “mature” Christian puts their entire life and those whom he or she loves in the hands of God and refuses to act violently to protect what is not even their to protect – it is all God’s.

560   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Chad, how do you define the word ‘myth’? You keep throwing it around like the word ‘myth’ equals ‘lie’ and I’m sure you know that is know true.

561   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:54 pm

558: Talk about a heinous, abusive re-writing of Scripture.

wow.

And I thought I’d seen everything from you.

562   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Scripture reading with Chris L:

Accept her whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One woman’s faith allows her to have an abortion, another, whose faith is weak, does not. 3 The woman who has an abortion must not look down on she who does not, and the woman who does not have an abortion must not condemn the woman who does, for God has accepted her.

563   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Jerry, when I use the word “myth” such as in the “myth of redemptive violence” I am saying it is a fairy tale. It may hold a kernel of truth and may appear true to the undiscerning person, but it is in fact a lie that keeps us in bondage.

564   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:04 pm

So now that you have at least admitted war and violence are “evil,” …

i don’t think he used the actual word, but i inferred this from his op.

565   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:08 pm
The purpose of war is to prevent a greater evil

Walter Wink calls this a lie from the pit of hell.

I think he’s right.

It’s a myth we have been handed from the beginning of time. The sad part it, it’s now a myth that has found a voice in the Church (and this blog).

and what is the alternative… i’ll take wright’s well-thought biblical pragmatism over what appears to be wink’s naivete.

566   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Neil – he consistently denied that violence and war are “sin” but are instead mere “tools” that can be morally neutral.

I think such a position is absurd from a Christian POV.

Do you think things that are evil are not sinful?

Do you think sinful things are not evil?

Do you think “evil” things are in line with the heart of God, just not “sinful” things?

567   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:19 pm

this i do not understand or follow:

1) how someone can categorically oppose police use of force to prevent crime or apprehend those who have committed a crime.

2) what scripture prohibits christian from participating in government.

3) what the relevance of slavery is to this discussion.

4)why submitting to gov’t is a point of argument.

5) what abortion has to do with the discussion,

6) how anyone can deny wright’s statement about evil in the prevention of greater evil

7) how anyone can deny wwii was justified

8) why hyperbole is used so much – like siting hitler and/or hiroshima…

for starters

568   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Re 566;

the wright quote in 510 answers it for me…

569   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:27 pm

BTW, NT Wright leans on Wink in his book, “Evil and the Justice of God.”

In that book I like (and have been guided by in this thread) his definition of sin. He writes (while talking about the “powers” (Wink) that,

The height of the satan’s aim is death: the death of humans and the death of creation itself. The means that the satan has chosen to bring the world and humans to death is sin; and sin is the rebellion of humankind against the vocation to reflect God’s image into the world, the refusal to worship God the Creator, and the replacement of that worship and that vocation with the worship of the elements of the created order, and the loss of image-bearing humanness which inevitable results. Death is not an arbitrary punishment for sin; it is its necessary consequence (109).

Feel free to argue that violence and war are not “sin” given the above definition.

570   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:38 pm

chad,

there is nothing in that wick quote to which i would disagree – if i understand him correctly. not sure about loosing the image of god…

i still hold to wright’s take on war as quoted in 510.

not sure why the snarly “Feel free to argue that violence and war are not ’sin’ given the above definition” – i never argued such.

571   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:42 pm

In Wink’s book, Beyond the Powers, he concludes his chapter titled “Beyond Pacifism and Just War” writing,

No doubt the objection may be raised that affirmation of nonviolence by the churches would be simplistic, that ethical judgments in the real world of the Powers are far too complex to adopt a fixed ethical stance. This objection, I must confess, was one of the main reasons I resisted committing myself without reserve to nonviolence for so many years. I have slowly come to see that what the church needs most desperately is precisely such a clear-cut, unambiguous position. Governments will still wrestle with the option of war, and ethicists can perhaps assist them with their decisions. But the church’s own witness should be understandable by the smallest child: we oppose violence in all its forms. And we do so because we reject domination. That means, the child will recognize, no abuse or beatings. That means, women will hear, no rape or violation or battering. That means, men will come to understand, no more male supremacy or war. That means, everyone will realize, no more degradation of the environment.

We can affirm nonviolence without reservation because nonviolence is the way God’s domination-free order is coming.

I say, amen.

572   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Neil,
That quote in 569 you are referring to is from NT Wright, not Wink.

“Feel free to argue that violence and war are not ’sin’ given the above definition” – i never argued such.

I never said YOU did. Chris L has, repeatedly.

573   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Yeah, I see what your saying Chad. But I don’t think that ‘myth’ necessarily equal ‘lie’. It may in your world, but I’m not so sure that is the best way to understand myth.

I can’t debate right now because I have to go to work, but I promise I’ll read a little more on the subject and get back with you. I mean, if you want to say that something is a lie, just call it a lie.

Have a good day everyone. I’m out for the next 9 hours. Grace and Peace.

574   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:50 pm

That quote in 569 you are referring to is from NT Wright, not Wink.

well, i guess that explains why i did not find the two quotes to be in conflict… since they both come from wright.

anyway, 510 settles the issue as far as i am concerned.

575   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Jerry – it’s called a “myth” because it is narrated to the world as truth. The “powers of this world” want us to believe that violence is redemptive – that it can (if used rightly) bring about redemption and peace. War can be our salvation.

In that sense, it is a lie.

576   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:54 pm

re 571 – i can amen that quote.

577   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 2:59 pm

In that sense, it is a lie.

it’s a lie when applied inappropriately or wrongly, but it can also be true when appropriate or correct.

i object to it being ontologically a lie… if what we are talking about is comment 532.

578   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Paul is saying there is freedom in Christ. But make no mistake, this freedom is FOR something and has some parameters.

Exactly, and there is freedom in Christ for the application of force within some very tight parameters, given within Scripture (self-defense from random violence, on the part of the government in maintaining civil order, and on the part of the government in protecting its people).

If an assailant is attacking my family, I have freedom in Christ to use the amount of force necessary to protect them, without sin or guilt. If an assailant is firing into a room full of people, a mature Christian policeman can use lethal force in stopping him, without sin or guilt. If I am a mature Christian and a prison warden, I can fulfill my duties to execute criminals sentenced to death by the state without sin or guilt. If I am a mature Christian, in a high governmental position and an aggressor nation is acting in such a way as to create a certain, grave and lasting injury upon my country, it is my responsibility to use all appropriate means – seeking the least coercive means possible in protecting my country. If this involves the use of lethal force, I can order it without any sin or remorse.

Many of those following Jesus abandoned him after his Sermon on the Mount, saying, “this is a hard teaching, who can accept it?” The path of non-violence is a hard teaching.

So is the path of suicide, or the path of prostitution, or the path of addiction, but I wouldn’t recommend them.

A”mature” Christian is not one who swears an oath or their allegiance to the government and seeks to find ways to justify his or her violence on others to achieve national, political goals.

I would agree. That is not the purpose of ‘just war’ doctrine.

Re: #562 – I would agree, if you specified ‘abortion to save the life of the mother’. For years I have had an absolutist (which is likely an immature) stance on abortion that only recently – specifically dealing with “two-deaths-or-one” circumstances of abortion – changed. So, a mature Christian may come to a different conclusion on abortion in limited circumstances than a more immature one. That said, in the same way a mature Christian would not support war in any & every circumstance, neither would a mature Christian support abortion in any & every circumstance.

We can affirm nonviolence without reservation because nonviolence is the way God’s domination-free order is coming.

And we can affirm the abolition of marriage without reservation because non-marriage is the way of God’s marriage-free order is coming. Wink’s dog doesn’t hunt.

The primary fallacy of absolutist nonviolence is, as Wink identified, its simplistic nature. In all effects, it is the coddler of dictators, tyrants and genocidal maniacs. It cries for nonviolence against the agressors, and – in all effect, save lip-service – offers no mercy or succor to the abused, afflicted and victimized. Like the dismissed juror from a capital case (mentioned above), it refuses to accept the full force of law given to God’s servant, and the voices that espouse it should be ignored by those in power – even mature Christians in such positions – if the only just options remaining include violence. So feel free to preach your conviction of nonviolence as a Christian, and I will feel free, as a Christian, to tell those who utilize force within its God-given bounds that they need not feel guilt for it, as it is not a sin – so long as they do not stray from its legitimate use.

579   chris    
January 2nd, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Some levity:

William Sherman famous for the quote “War is Hell.”

On June 19, 1879, Sherman delivered an address to the graduating class of the Michigan Military Academy, in which he may have uttered the famous phrase “War Is Hell”.[110] On April 11, 1880, he addressed a crowd of more than 10,000 at Columbus, Ohio:

He had no idea the significance of those words, in those places, 100 years later.

And so there is no question about my loyalty. Do you know why all the trees in Michigan bend to the south? It’s because OHIO sucks! :)

580   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Chris L,

Whatever. Someone who will distort Scripture as you did in 558 is someone I can’t begin to reason with. Apparently you’ll stop at nothing to win an argument. I’m not willing to sell my soul like that.

581   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Do you know why all the trees in Michigan bend to the south?

because they no a better thing when they sense it…

582   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 2nd, 2010 at 10:00 pm

What is a “Michigan” or an “Ohio”?

583   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Someone who will distort Scripture as you did in 558 is someone I can’t begin to reason with.

No distortion whatsoever. It is actually a very sound comparison, and it also identifies for me that I have looked down on both you and Rick for your position on this particular matter, which is sin. It is hard for me to see how to disagree and not look down on an immature opinion, when it continues to attempt to cast a matter of conscience into a new Scriptural Law, with all of the accompanying demonization of siding with slavery, abortion, etc., etc. I know it requires a good deal of patience, which is something I’m having to learn in a number of areas in life…

To the topic at hand: As a matter of freedom, it does require a mature Christian to be able to serve – as a policeman, or a soldier, or a general, or a government official – and to be able to make life and death decisions, including the use of force, while still honoring God in doing so. It requires far more complex perseverance and discipline to make the important day-to-day judgments that follow the narrow road required in such a position, than to take the simpler way of giving the responsibility to someone else, who may not use it in a moral manner (while saving your own conscience).

My restatement of Paul’s command is consistent with the church’s historic (and correct) view of Conscientious Objectors – that they would be sinning against their own conscience if they were to fight, even though they would not be sinning in the eyes of God, and thus they should not do so. If agreeing with a traditional stance of the church based on a sound reading of Scripture – across most all denominations, for 1500+ years – defines “selling my soul”, I will continue to do so.

584   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:06 pm

The funny thing about Michigan/Ohio, is that I root for both in bowl games as I do for most Big Ten teams. IU, though, I’ve never rooted for – even when they played the Russians in basketball back in the 80’s. You’ve gotta have some principles :)

585   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:16 pm

…now i see we have become completely melodramatic…

586   Neil    
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:25 pm

You’ve gotta have some principles :)

and i will pull for all the big-ten teams except blue.

587   Chris    
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:30 pm

What is a “Michigan” or an “Ohio”

?

We play this game called “Football”. Have you guys from N.C. ever heard of it? :)

IU, though, I’ve never rooted for – even when they played the Russians in basketball back in the 80’s.

My view of you just went up exponentially Chris L.

588   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 2nd, 2010 at 11:35 pm

…now i see we have become completely melodramatic…

Sorry – I didn’t realize the whole Michigan/Ohio thing was so serious… :)

589   chris    
January 3rd, 2010 at 2:02 am

I didn’t realize the whole Michigan/Ohio thing was so serious

Oh yes you did. Ohio has two things going for it as a state. 1) Cedar Point 2) Skyline Chili.

The downside of Cedar Point (not lying on this one) whenever I pass anybody in the lines (which you pass them about 11 times) who is wearing those terrible colors I feel my blood pressure rise and I imagine terrible things happening to them while on the ride.

590   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 3rd, 2010 at 2:31 am

Skyline Chili makes up for a whole lotta downsides. And, actually, King’s Island isn’t all that bad, either. I used to go there a couple of afternoons a week (free after 4 pm) when I was working for the summer at P&G…

591   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 8:24 am

Sure, Chris L.

I’ll give you this: You are a master at justifying pretty much anything.

Well done.

592   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 8:52 am

It is hard for me to see how to disagree and not look down on an immature opinion

Well, you wouldn’t have to if you didn’t rewrite Scripture to fit your own ideas.

But, we will pray for you that you find the strength and patience to not look down on us “weaker” and “immature” Christians.

I am sure everyone from Jesus, all the apostles, and virtually every Christian thinker, writer, martyr and church member who were firmly committed to the way of nonviolence up until Constantine hopes you can find the humility to not think less of them.

593   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 9:03 am

We play this game called “Football”. Have you guys from N.C. ever heard of it?

Hey, I’m a PA guy originally. I think we know a little something about football around Pittsburgh.

I’m just living in NC for 4 years to become an Imam.

594   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 9:17 am

I am pretty sure this topic has been played out.

595   chris    
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:10 am

Hey, I’m a PA guy originally. I think we know a little something about football around Pittsburgh.

Oh yeah that’s right…Let me see you’ve got/had.

Lamarr Woodley (Saginaw, MI. Uof M)
Jerome Bettis (Detroit, MI. Notre Dame)
Ben Roethlisberger (Lima, OH. Miami of Ohio)
Plaxico Burress (Norfolk, VA. Michigan State. Prison).

And as for Penn State; well I might like them the minute Methuselah retires. :)

596   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:32 am

Afetr 595 comments:

Let us stop the charade.

597   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 3rd, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I am sure everyone from Jesus, all the apostles, and virtually every Christian thinker, writer, martyr and church member who were firmly committed to the way of nonviolence up until Constantine hopes you can find the humility to not think less of them.

There’s no need, because :
a) I don’t need to rewrite history to understand that they did not consider violence ontologically as sin; and
b) they understood, unlike many today, that everything – including “nonviolence” can become an idol.

598   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 8:27 pm

they understood, unlike many today, that everything – including “nonviolence” can become an idol.

You’ve said this before and it still doesn’t make sense.

Let’s play a game. Let’s both surmise what happens when a certain thing becomes an idol.

Idol: Money

A person will do anything to make money, even if it means cheating, lying, stealing. Relationships become soured or broken. God gets robbed as well, since money becomes the person’s primary concern. Giving is non-existent because that would be contrary to one’s love of money.

Now, your turn…

Idol: nonviolence….

599   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 3rd, 2010 at 8:48 pm

When something becomes an idol, it takes on a higher importance than other things deemed more important by God.

Rich Mullins, quite frequently when asked for a “life verse” quoted Ecclesiastes 7:16-18, which he would paraphrase “Be Good, but not too Good.” One time I pressed him on this particular issue, and he quoted verse 16:

Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself?

While righteousness is a thing that we should greatly desire, he explained, it is like any virtue in that it can become an idol unto itself, by taking on a higher level of importance than it ought to, particularly when weighed against the greatest commandments. He then referenced the Parable of the Good Samaritan and gave an explanation much similar to the Jewish-Christian contextual interpretation (which I used in the OP).

In the case of nonviolence, such a virtue (which it no doubt is) becomes an idol when it takes precedence over “love your neighbor” – because in all cases of injustice, both the assailant and the assailed are both neighbors. When one’s idol of “nonviolence” takes precedence over the mercy required for the assailed (if the only viable option to save their life requires the use of force), then “nonviolence” has become an idol – a righteousness you have become more proud of than mercy.

In your simplistic, absolutist stance, nonviolence has become an idol. Thus, one holding such an unjust, immature stance is more to be pitied and counseled and treated as the “weaker brother”, than to be allowed to poison the systems of justice put in place by God.

“Nonviolence” – just like the Pharisees’ righteousness – has become an idol that means more than “love your neighbor”…

600   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 3rd, 2010 at 9:20 pm

[FYI: It doesn't come across well in print, but "life verse" was a phrase that often was accompanied by an eye-roll...]

601   Neil    
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:04 pm

those terrible colors

Roses are Red!
602   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Chris L,

That’s ridiculous.

603   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Chris L –

Here’s a “life verse” you can put next to your Ecclesiastes 7:16:

Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect – by Jesus.

604   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:34 pm

“just like the Pharisees’ righteousness – has become an idol that means more than “love your neighbor”…”

So you kill your neighbor to protect your neighbor? The lesser of two evils, that’s the essence of Christianty.

605   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Rick,
When someone is willing to rewrite scripture to justify their own ideas then it’s easy to pray, “Thank you, God, for not making me like them.”

Let’s continue to keep Chris L in our prayers that he finds the patience to put up with everyone from Jesus to MLK who believed in nonviolence. After all, they are so weak.

606   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
January 3rd, 2010 at 10:46 pm

An