Thursday, August 10, 2006

Discussion on War and the Bible

This was mentioned in another forum (on My Space): "When Jesus told us to "turn the other cheek" He was talking about the individual, not national. The idea of "just war" is seen all over the Bible, and punishment." I'm sorry, I don't remember who mentioned it, but I thought we could talk about it. While I agree that divine war-- not exactly "just" war as spoken of by Christians-- is in the OT, Jesus' and the apostles' ethic is clearly against Christian participation of war. They agreed that governments take part in war, but that Christians, being a part of a heavenly nation does not participate in it. This is why Paul said, "Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual rulers and authorities." and "The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but spiritual". Our war is on the spiritual reality, not the earthly one.Steve K.
We seek to be agents of reconciliation in all relationships, to practice love of enemies as taught by Christ, to be peacemakers in all situations. We view violence in its many different forms as contradictory to the new nature of the Christian. We believe that the evil and inhumane nature of violence is contrary to the gospel of love and peace. In times of national conscription or war, we believe we are called to give alternative service where possible. Alleviating suffering, reducing strife, and promoting justice are ways of demonstrating Christ's love.It is an error to say that God never supports a war. In a world filled with evil people, sometimes a war is necessary to prevent even greater evil. If Hitler had not been defeated by World War II, how many more millions of Jews would have been killed? If the Civil War had not been fought, how much longer would African Americans have had to suffer as slaves? We must all remember to base our beliefs of the Bible, not on our emotions (2 Timothy 3:16-17).Ecclesiastes 3:8 declares, There isa time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. In a world filled with sin, hatred, and evil (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Some wars are more just than others, but all wars are ultimately the result of sin. Christians should not desire war, but neither are Christians to oppose the government God has placed in authority over them (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17). The most important thing we can be doing in a time of war is to be praying for godly wisdom for our leaders, praying for the safety of our military, praying for quick resolution to the conflict. -Mark

We should be pure agents of reconciliation, not compromised ones.I am not saying that God never supports a war. Nor am I saying that we should oppose a government that is participating in a war. I am saying that Christians, if they are following Jesus, will never participate in a human war. Our task is much more effective. We are to focus exclusively on the war in the Spirit realm. Yes, Hitler was defeated on a fleshly level, but the Spirit of racism still exists. Slavery was technically ended, put the Spirit of arrogance over other races still exists. These wars could have been fought in the Spirit, and the outcome would have been much more effective. What has more power, human bombs or God's Spirit? What has more life changing force, armies or God's omnipotent power? What is the better outcome, the destruction of enemy forces (plus a percentage of civilians thrown in) or the repentance of the sinner? This is not naivete, this is faith in God's power which he has proven many times in the past.To participate in the death of our enemies makes us an enemy of God, and ready to be judged. As it was stated in ages past, "He who spills the blood of man shall of man have his blood shed." How will this cycle ever end? By the power of God's spirit. At times, vengeance and violence must be done. But the follower of Jesus gives that right over to God, surrendering to His power of vengeance, to His justice, which is infinately more than we can ever understand or accomplish with our hands. Leave it for God-- "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." Romans 12:19-21Thus, it is not that war is an evil. It is just that if we take war into our own hands that it becomes evil. It is God's justice, it is God's authority to do violence. It is our responsibility before Jesus to "Love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you, bless those who curse you..." And it is our responsibility to destroy the works of the evil one through the power of God, not by our own hands "Heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, preach the gospel." Steve K.

If the government reimplemented the draft and you were drafted would you go?but i agree peaceful resolutions should always be sought before military action.
I wouldn't need to go anywhere. In the U.S. anyone who disagrees with the use of arms as a conscientious objector need not ever take up arms. They can do work in the U.S. as a peaceful agent of service for two years instead. This has been the case since WWII. --Steve K.

I would agree partially with what was said about leaving the vengeance to God, but there are some issues I'm not sure about. First, Eph 6 in context doesn't imply pacifism but speaks simply of the cardinal difficulty of the Christian life: spritual battles. It gives the idea of armor because war was common and Christians should always be on the defensive (hence the armor, even the sword) against the tricks and schemes of the devil in their lives.Romans tends to be a bit stronger in the implication, specifically in the verse before where the Bible tells us "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." The inherent difficulty is the more vague language here in the "if it be possible" and "as much as lieth in you", meaning that there will be times where it is not possible, or where it does not lie in you. You could argue that logical opposites don't necessarily apply in Biblical doctrine, but seems to at least provide some perspective in this case.The reason vengeance is wrong is simply the motivation. Vengeance is not a condoned motivation for any action because vengeance seeks its own, no matter the law, rules, or people in its way. Vengeance views itself above the law. This is why vengeance cannot be in the hands of humans and must be in the hands of the Lord (the One Who wrote the law...).Governments are established as an authority over men to establish justice and maintain such things. We are to submit to our secular authority just as much as our religious authority because we are not above the law nor exempt from it. The law as it applies to salvation has been fulilled, but we cannot simply abolish it (Jesus Himself said that He didn't come to abolish, but to fulfill the law). If our government drafts us into a war, we should obey as much as possible. God uses war, and people in war, to accomplish His goals.I personally would say that a peaceful solution (as much as possible live peacably) should be seeked first, but if it came to the point of defense or no peaceful solution can be found, we cannot back down, we cannot hide, we must fight. Satan will use people, so we cannot hate people, we must hate the one who controls them, but that doesn't mean that we can spare all of them for if we do, we drop our defenses. That is my opinion, hopefully it doesn't inherently contradict itself or the Bible as far as the Lord has shown me. Ya'll have fun.
-Czar Chasm

[QUOTE]Czar ChasmWrote:Governments are established as an authority over men to establish justice and maintain such things. We are to submit to our secular authority just as much as our religious authority because we are not above the law nor exempt from it. The law as it applies to salvation has been fulilled, but we cannot simply abolish it (Jesus Himself said that He didn't come to abolish, but to fulfill the law). If our government drafts us into a war, we should obey as much as possible. God uses war, and people in war, to accomplish His goals.QUOTE]I don't want to respond to Ceaser's whole quote, but just this part. Even if you were to say that a draft is just submitting to the government, as it says in Rom 13, I have a couple issues with that:First, we have the example of the apostles in Acts 4 who refused to obey the established government because it disagreed with the expressed command of Jesus. Submission to government is not greater than submission to Jesus. And Jesus told us to love our enemies, and to bless them, not to kill them.Second, in the case of the U.S. and Canadian governments, even if you are drafted you can be a non-com. In fact, the U.S. govt has established with the Mennonites an opportunity for pacifist draftees to do work in the U.S., such as in hospitals, as firefighters, as forestry workers, etc. This is a legal and completely submissive to government way to obey Jesus, even if you are drafted. So the "submission to government" route doesn't work in the U.S. or Canada. If you believe that Jesus doesn't want you to kill anyone, no one can make you. Steve K.

Interesting points, but I have a question. I've always felt that good fought evil, and should destroy evil (could just be me). So, I'm throwing out a hypothetical: There is a small village of satanists who continually slaughter animals from a nearby Christian farmer and they also occasionally sacrifice their children. Now, a satanist could be saved (as could anyone). Obviously we could pray for the farmer and for the people, but at what point do we simply refrain from taking action? One could easily address the government for grievances (which is what should be done), but if you are against such violence, then addressing said government would be wrong. If this group is sacrificing children, it is a true evil. If we say they've been doing this for 100 years, passing on their corrupt teaching to the kids that do live, and so the process cycles, then what should be done. Now, let's avoid the whole origin and perpetuation of evil in this, but I personally would get to a point where a governmental body or even the church at some point would need to take action simply because we are allowing evil that we know of to continue.Now, this is a completely hypothetical and could possibly be a can of worms, but I wouldn't doubt to think that this is possible in today's world, especially in the thrid world countries where all sorts of evil runs amuck. I'm not trying to argue at this point, but I want to understand your view better (I haven't run into many mennonites). If you don't wanna answer no big, again I'm just curious. Thanks.
-Czar Chasm

I don't think it's a can of worms. It's a good question.In general, just because Jesus told us to love, this is not the same as not taking action against evil. There is a lot of action that we can do that falls short of harming others. For the most part, I think that we need to take action the way Jesus did:1. We need to pray for God's justice to be done2. We need to pray that the people would repent so that they could be forgiven.3. We need to tell people about their sins and the consequences of their sins4. We need to command the forces of Satan to be gone5. We can pray for certain people to be stopped or moved out by God's power (this isn't just words-- I've seen it in action)6. We can stand in the way of the sin to prevent it from happening7. We can sacrifice ourselves in order to save othersThere's other things we can do, but this is a quick list. In this specific instance, we can see the oppressers become sick by God's power to cause them to stop their evil. We could go to the people, invite them to our house, try to care for them, speak to them about the Lord. We could keep an eye on the house and if we see children going there, we can get involved-- even at the risk of our own lives! These are the kinds of things Jesus did, and he was successful-- in the long run. His mission seemed unsuccessful at first, but he was very successful, and evil was curbed overall. We just need to be loving and patient like God. Steve K.

No comments: