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To: Salem
I wrote various parts of this from the discussion that arose from an article I wrote when I was attending seminary and later posted here on Free Republic.

The Gulf War; A Just War Or The Church's Shame?

You don’t have to read the article, but I would just want your opinion on the Scriptures I've posted below and how you believe they relate to the current discussion on war and peace and non-violence, and what our attitude towards peace, espically as followers of Christ, should be.

“Depart from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it.” Ps 34:14

“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Prov 16:7

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” Matt. 5:7

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” Matt 5:9

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Matt 5:38-45a

“And do not fear those who kill the body; but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both the soul and the body in hell.” Matt 10:28

“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Thy bond-servants may speak Thy word with all confidence.” Acts 4:29

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and not curse.” Rom 12:14

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ Says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom 12:17-21

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:12

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:10

“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Heb 12:14

So, how then shall we live? Do we just throw all these verses out the window? Can the desire to pursue a peaceful, Christ-centered resolution to violent conflict really be seen as some lame, utopian, unworkable peacenik ideology? And, if so, what of these verses then? Can they merely be tossed aside under the guise that they are simply for another time, or do we have to just break out our respective exegetical hammer and chisels to carve them into the forms and shapes that we want to see, rather than view them in the light in which they are written?

How, then shall we live? With the Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other? Is that really how the apostle’s lived? While Luke 22:36 is used by some to justify armed force to protect themselves, how many in the book of Acts really lived that out? I would strongly disagree with the author’s statement that, “pacifism has always been a fringe movement in Christianity, and true pacifists, willing to die without defending themselves or their families, have been somewhat rare.”

For instance, look at the Apostle's prayer in Acts 4:23-31. They prayed "And now, Lord, take not of their treats, and grant that Thy bond-servants may speak Thy word with all confidence." (Acts 4:29) Here is an instance where direct threats are being made against the apostles, and as you probably know, they were not just idle threats; there was a very good chance that when the Apostles went out to preach, there would be terrible violence against them. But they do not pray to counter violence with violence, or threat with threat, or force with force. They seek something higher, a trust in God through ALL situations, which is what we, as Christians, should be doing.

How many of the believers in the early Church, or even today, use this particular method of armed evangelism? What of the believers in China, Indonesia, India, throughout Africa (Sudan especially) who are persecuted unto death every single day of the week without taking up arms against their persecutors? "Well", you might say, "I'm not a missionary". However, I would argue, once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we ALL become missionaries. When a person decides to follow Christ, he becomes a representative of the Kingdom, and that commitment to the Kingdom should supercede their commitment as a representative of any particular nation-state. I understand that Paul says that "we are to be in subjection to the governing authorities" (Rom. 13:1). However, he does go on to say that "there is no authoritiy except from God, and those which exist are established by God." Which, of course, means that Nero (that emperor who was sooo tolerant to Christians) during Paul's time as well as Saddam in ours were BOTH established by God, right? What are we to make of this then?

The question only now, after considering all this, becomes, not how are we to live in response to the world around us, for then we would still live like those who are unsaved. Rather, how are we to live in response to the mercy and love and peace and grace that has been given to us? Using the light of God's Word through the Holy Spirit we can understand more about how we should live, and then find out how best to share the gifts of God's mercy, love, peace and grace with others. Are we lights shining upon hills, or trusting in our guns more than our God?

4 posted on 01/12/2003 1:58:56 PM PST by ponyespresso
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To: ponyespresso
"...Are we lights shining upon hills, or trusting in our guns more than our God?"

I read your article and the responses from our fellow FReepers. There's really not a whole lot more I could offer, because it seems most have weighed in on this and many are more eloquent than I. But this might be helpful. I captured this debate on a well-respected law-enforcement email list a few years back. I enlisted the aid of an associate to articulate a response to the people who, well, voiced some of the same views you mentioned concerning self-defense, weapons (guns are just the modern day equivalent of swords in the first century), and the Biblical justification for all. I found it very insightful, and his commentary immediately ended the "debate."

A Biblical Response To Gun Control

And yes, I believe the Apostles conducted their outreaches, when traveling, armed. It was a dangerous world back then, as it is today.

My associate also addressed some of these pacifist and self-defense issues in this debate, which I also captured. It was between him, a high profile Militia commander, and a private company of about seventy people, prior to the turn of the century and in the midst of the Millenium hysteria.

A Debate Between The Warriors

This same gentleman also addresses the issues of self-defense in this article here, on his personal site:

TN Satanic Gun Control

And, I also have an extensive interview with this same gentleman posted on my personal site, concerning the war, and Constitutional and Biblical issues. You might also find that helpful. He addresses some of the concerns you mentioned.

America at War ~ An interview with Lt. Col. Tom Pardue Sr. (USA Ret.)

In the bulk of your commentary, you seem to be mixing up personal and community relationships with international affairs and our nations dealings with rogue nations. (?) We dealt with Tojo, before Japan's tyranny spread worldwide, we dealt with Hitler, before Germany's tyranny spread worldwide, and now we're going to deal with Hussein, before his tyranny spreads worldwide.

No, the US hasn't always been virtuous in her international dealings, and we should hold our leaders accountable, but Iraq and Hussein today, regardless of anyone's opinion of the morality of the Gulf War (yeah, the US thought they could "manage" him; oh well, our bad), is a done deal. I have links to the online resources linking Iraq to the 9/11 assault. The Bush Administration no doubt has the same evidence. That's why the combined forces of the US Military are on his doorstep.

Outside of this, we'll have to agree to disagree. In my opinion, pacifism gets more people killed than defending ourselves, whether on a personal level, or a national one.

7 posted on 01/12/2003 8:57:05 PM PST by Salem (For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded... (Nehemiah 4:19))
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