Monday, May 13, 2013

Replay: Christians and the sword

I thought it was about time to post this series again, especially since someone yesterday posted something on Facebook  about why non-resistance was naive and invited conversation about his post only to get mad when I very gently suggested some alternatives to his theories, unfriended and blocked me. I am afraid I don't understand why someone would post something, invite comment and then get mad when comments come in but I have seen this before on the topic of the sword and followers of Christ.

Why the anger at the suggestion, from Scripture, that Christians should not take up the sword and commit violence toward others? Do we love bloodshed so much? It is not a difficult case to make from the Bible, a case made from the teachings of Christ, the manner of His life and His death, the testimony of His apostles and the witness of His people throughout the ages who have gladly laid down their life for the sake of the Kingdom. Nevertheless I get more backlash from this topic than almost any other.

I would hope that I would not be misinterpreted as saying that those who take up the sword are not Christians, I simply ask if we should not seek the way of the towel and basin rather than the way of the sword and not just when it is safe and convenient but especially when it is not safe or convenient. It is easy to talk about loving our enemies in theory but many of the teachings of Christ are easy in the abstract. It is when we are faced with a situation where following Christ means great cost to us that we find out where our allegiance lies and who our trust is in.

The sword is the tool of the world, a tool that wields the power of finality by taking the life of another. That is what it is made for and that is what the powers of the world have always used it for. It is what the Jews expected from their Messiah, that He would lead them in overthrowing their oppressors. Jesus showed them a different way, a way that makes no sense to the world. He showed them and the Romans and His sheep throughout the ages that love of enemy can overcome the sin of the world.

Anyway, here is the series presented for your enjoyment and consideration.....


The state, the sword and Christians

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

Can Christians take up the sword? - Conclusion

1 comment:

Robert Martin said...

The only caution I make is this: for some folks, dealing with issues of violence and retaliatory violence is a critical struggle in their lives and is something to be addressed... for others, they may have more pressing matters to deal with. While I agree that it seems rather contrary to the walk of Christ to use violence in any way, I stop far short of saying that you can't be a Christian and carry a gun (either as a law enforcement officer or a soldier). To the folks in positions that require the use of violence, it may very likely be that God is working in different areas of their life that needs greater attention than that.

However, on the lines of the absolute allegiance demanded of those who are in the military, for me, personally, that is the stronger argument. Dual allegiance gets very tricky in that situation and, more so than violence, I find Jesus followers refusing to join the military for that reason than for any notion of peace.