Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Can Christians take up the sword? - Conclusion

It is all about trust

This is the concluding post on the topic "Can Christians take up the sword?". For the first three posts, click below:

Can Christians take up the sword? - Intro

Can Christians take up the sword? - The pro-sword view

Can Christians take up the sword? - The anti-sword view

As I said, it is all about trust. Who do we trust?

We are not called to overcome the world by means of violence. If we believe in the One we say we do and if we believe what that One has said, then there is nothing that we truly own. Not our stuff, not our house, not our family and certainly not our lives. We are called to be His witnesses in the world, to live in the world but not as the world. We are not called to defend our country, to defend our stuff, not even to defend our own lives. Our very lives are to be witnesses to the world and sometimes that means making great sacrifices, perhaps even our lives.

The world looks at this idea of non-resistance and says “that is crazy!”. Unfortunately as Christians in America we often reflect that same attitude. Sure Christ went meekly to the cross. Sure the early martyrs went to their deaths praising God. Sure missionaries today still go to take the Gospel to the world knowing that they are putting their lives on the line. Even in spite of the witness of Scripture and of martyrs who have gone before us, the idea of non-resistance is met with our old friend "Yeah, but..."

You can make all sorts of very practical, reasonable, pragmatic reasons why using the sword makes sense. You can roll out all sorts of progressively more extreme examples where it seems logical to use the sword to prevent something bad from happening. All of them at their heart exhibit a troubling worldview that views the Bible as malleable. We believe what it says except when we don't. We will defend our pet doctrines to the end of the earth but when we come across something troubling in Scripture, it is easier to pretend it says something different or even pretend it isn't there at all. Where do we stand, on our own decisions based on a hypothetical situation or on what Christ has said and there and there alone we stand?

"Yeah, but..." nothing.

Do you trust Christ? Do you believe what He said? Jesus says: "Do not resist the evil person". "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God". "For all who take the sword will perish by the sword". "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.". Don't we see the truth of this all around us? Are we His people or not?

I am coming to the conclusion that taking up the sword, in defense of self or others, is evidence of a distrust in God. Christian non-resistance is not a political movement. It is not found in protest marches or “sit-ins” or in nuns chaining themselves to nuclear missile silos. It is found in simplicity and meekness. It is based in a trust of God, that He in control. If God is sovereign, then we should trust Him to protect us.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." -
Jim Elliot



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6 comments:

Steve and Paula said...

I guess I have only one "yeah but..."
What does one do in the face of a home invasion?
I have heard far to many husbands say that they would do nothing to stop the intruder, even if the intruder was to kill his wife and kids.
Huh?!?!?!

Is this taking the argument to far?
Is it being passive agressive, or just plain stupid?

Ur Man CD said...

Yeah but ... nothing. Priceless. Thanks for sharing your observations on an interesting piece with relevance for all of us whether we live in America and their 'right to bear arms' or even on this side of the pond and those pragmatic arguments that often leave aside the whole biblical counsel.

Katie said...

Amen, brother. My husband and I were just talking about this thing of nonresistance and then I ran across your blog the following morning. Definitely a wink from God.

Thank you for researching and posting on such a controversial topic.

Arthur Sido said...

Katie

How tragic is it that this is even considered a contoversial topic among followers of Christ? Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words.

Arthur Sido said...

Christopher,

I think your persepctive is key. It can be hard as Americans to distinguish between what is Christianity and what is American cultural religion. The two get blurred far too often.

Katie said...

Arthur,

I thought the same thing as I was writing that.. :)

Hey, I'm posting a little bit of a study on righteousness and would welcome your thoughts. Stop by if you have time.