Attn. Rev John

If I remember correctly you have said that you are not a complete pacifist in the sense that you would fight to protect your family members and presumably you would fight in the example Chesterton uses where a child is being tortured in front of you. 

My first question is do you think that level of self-defense is warranted in scripture and specifically the teachings of Jesus or do you see it as a personal failure where you simply accept that you aren't strong enough to take it to that extreme even though you do believe it is called for?

Secondly do you distinguish between self-defense and persecution.  I mean would it make a difference if your loved one was specifically being tortured or killed because they were Christian vs. just some random violent attack from a criminal in terms of whether or not fighting back is justified? 

I admit that I would be prone to moral failure in the circumstance of revenge for hurting my wife or child. I hope that I could live in a grace above this, but I do not know that I could.

As to defense, I am not sure. I know I would defend my wife and children, and other weaker ones. But to what extent I would go I do not know, nor do I know that I would be happy about my actions in an unemotional moment later.

I would like to think I would sacrifice my own life in defending anothers, but I do not know if I would feel justified in killing another even in defense.

As to persecution being different from random violence, I again am uncertain.

I am a fallible man, and as such I cannot know exactly where my answers are correct, and even if I did, I do not know if I have the strength of character to carry out my faith in these circumstances. I do believe that God walks this life with me, and can direct me, and even empower me to truly follow him no matter the cost or my weakness.

the rev

Ridge I would like you to answer your own questions just to see what your views are???also

Are you saying its non-biblical to protect those who cannot protect themselves???

Do you think Christ's message is one of a pacifist knowing He is the incarnation of the exact God of the Old Covenant???

just wondering

Are you addressing me now?

the rev

slysir,

Well traditionally I have always believed that a Christian at least is allowed to defend himself and not violate Christ's teachings but the question becomes where to draw the line.  I mean Christians in the US jump on the war wagon without a second's thought and a large part of modern war has nothing to do with self-defense.

 

"Slysir, according to Tolstoy's interpretation of "turn the other cheek," violence is never warranted. Gandhi read Tolstoy and was successful with this interpretation"

I guess King David should have read some Tolstoy before slaying Goliath....same with Gideon.

"I have always believed that a Christian at least is allowed to defend himself and not violate Christ's teachings"

Were in agreement but I would add defending those who cannot defend themselves, wouldnt this be part of that pure and faultless religion James talks about.

"the question becomes where to draw the line."

To many variables in this question. This world is violent doesnt mean we are to seek violence. I believe its not to hard for a follower of Jesus to know how far is to far in the protection of a child or whomever and whatever situation, but being cowardly is labeled right along with the other sins. I guess I dont think there is a actual line.

"violence is never warranted. Gandhi read Tolstoy and was successful with this interpretation."

Im guessing you draw a distinction between Christ and the God of the Old Covenant???? Would you claim the God of the OT was a pacifist???

Exodus 15:3- The LORD is a Warrior; the LORD is His name.

"I mean Christians in the US jump on the war wagon without a second's thought and a large part of modern war has nothing to do with self-defense."

Could you put a little bit more on this???(as an example) Are you saying it was wrong to oust Saddam and his regime, Taliban aswell???

Are you saying a soldier should have the personal right to pick which war they want to support and fight in????

Slysir,

I am pretty bogged down with other things to get into a pacifism discussion.  Let me just say that yes I would include those who are weaker in self defense.  In fact I think a better argument can be made for defending the weak even more so than defending yourself.

Rev. John and Rev. Sherm both consider themselves to be pacifists on some level so why don't you start a thread and have them explain their positions.

Also you can look up "The Kingdom of God is Within You" if you want a comprehensive argument for Christian pacifism (that is the Tolstoy book and free all over the internet).

I find it hard to love my enemies while I am killing them. The old testement was just that, it was the old relationship, the kindgdom of God was not come, it was God's blessing of the kingdoms of man.

Jesus brought us the new covenant, one of being a peacemaker, one of being a lover of our enemies.

Now as for me, and my following Jesus I would say that you should not be a soldier, if you are a soldier, then you go where you are sent. If I was drafted I would be a conscientious objector, I would go and be a non arms bearing servant. I believe that pacifism takes as much courage as fighting does when the push comes to shove. Having someone spit in your face, and call you a pussy, while you stand non violently protecting another, and risking your own personal safety for the sake of love, is courageous.

We are called to follow Jesus, we are Christians, not Jews, the question you have to ask is, would Jesus go to war? And I do not believe he would. He showed us the way as he did not resist his tormentors, forgave and loved them. His early disciples all did the same. They did not fight Rome, and in not fighting they conquered.

the rev

I might add this is my personal beliefs, I think they are correct, but I do not make this a matter of seperation of fellowship, and their will be people in my church that believe the exact opposite and I respect them.

the rev

"I am pretty bogged down with other things to get into a pacifism discussion."

Oh c'mon dude, I was waiting for the four or five paragraph dissertations with big bold pink and purple letters......links and all;)

"Let me just say that yes I would include those who are weaker in self defense. In fact I think a better argument can be made for defending the weak even more so than defending yourself."

I really dont think you have to get into it since I think we agree (can that be right?)

"I find it hard to love my enemies while I am killing them."

Im not really talking about killing anyone, Im more talking about stepping in when seeing someone getting violently abused who cant protect themselves (kids,elderly etc..etc..). Like I said there are to many variables to draw an exact line of how much is to much.

"The old testement was just that, it was the old relationship, the kindgdom of God was not come, it was God's blessing of the kingdoms of man."

Yes but the New does not abolish the Old and both testaments say God/Jesus is one who does not change and is the "Same" yesterday, today and forever. We are grafted into that same relationship, correct???

"Jesus brought us the new covenant, one of being a peacemaker, one of being a lover of our enemies."

I would agree but im not thinking in terms of someone who is my enemy but in the moment to moment reaction of someone looking to harm me or my children or someone again who cant protect themselves.

"I believe that pacifism takes as much courage as fighting does when the push comes to shove. Having someone spit in your face, and call you a pussy, while you stand non violently protecting another, and risking your own personal safety for the sake of love, is courageous."

thats fine so do you draw that line at verbal abuse and spits to the face, perhaps even punches??? I mean what if the abuse came in the form of a gun or knife??? I dont see nothing courageous about getting murdered or maimed when God has enabled me to protect myself and others.

"We are called to follow Jesus, we are Christians, not Jews, the question you have to ask is, would Jesus go to war?"

The way Paul talks in Thessolonians, Im not to sure. As God the Father, the first "person" of the trinity, who is the Hebrew God of the OT, its hard to say with complete certainty since He condoned war for the Jews to the point of complete slaughter. I bring up the trinity because it seems like your saying the nature of Son supercedes the nature of the Father. How can One be labeled a "Warrior" as stated all through out the OT and the other a Pacifist if they are of the same substance and essence who doesnt change???

"He showed us the way as he did not resist his tormentors"

But there was a higher meaning to why he did that, in fact the cross is the reason why he came in the first place, why would he resist???

"forgave and loved them."

That forgiveness and love is found in the OT aswell, I mean its not a new concept simply found in the NT. That is just God's nature.

I dont completely disagree with you Rev, just trying to wrap my head around what your saying, I just think there is a time when violence might be necessary and a time when the integrity of the moment calls for non violence. As to being a soldier, im not decided but surely do appreciate them.