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ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4499


 Re:

Hello all…

This topic has been discussed many times in the past here on SermonIndex, and with little consensus ever being reached other than that infamous “[i]we can agree to disagree[/i]” formula. It is certainly a “touchy” issue for some believers.

Someone once mentioned that God never changes. I often ponder any precedent in which God has ordained [i]war[/i]…[i]killing[/i]…or [i]resistance[/i]. Well, we certainly know that He has done so in regard to His chosen people under the old covenant. Yet, there are also instances in which God “raised up nations” for His purpose (even against Israel).

Someone mentioned that there is often a civic argument in regard to a “just [u]war[/u].” While the merits of this argument can be countered by those who deplore any sort of involvement whatsoever, I think that there is a stronger argument in regard to a “just [u]cause[/u].” Is there EVER any just cause or reason for which a person would “resist” another?

In such a discussion, someone will inevitably bring up the question, “[i]Would you defend your wife or children from an attacker[/i]?” Even the most ardent non-resistance brethren will often question their prerogative in such cases. One brother might ask if it is a “sin” to resist an attacker in this case. Another brother might ask if it is a “sin” to NOT resist someone who is attacking their wife, children or anyone else under their care.

This, of course, is a rather extreme hypothetical scenario. Yet the principle remains. The underlying question often revolves around any sort of Scriptural prohibition to “righteous” defense, or limitations or prohibitions of any sort of government involvement whatsoever.

One of the issues that I have with the “non-resistant” or “non-involvement” teaching is that most of the advocates are guilty of resisting…but not in a physical sense. Words can be just as powerfully effective as a weapon – or even worse. I have seen arguments where the “non-resistant” party almost became rhetorically brutal with those brethren who disagreed with their perspective.

I am also disheartened by many of the charges against those who feel a liberty to serve in the military, to vote, to serve in a government job, or to even petition the government in regard to a matter. Some have gone so far as to consider it “bowing down” to the governments or patterns of the world (or even Satan). Yet those of us who feel such a liberty are doing this with a clean conscience before God.

I was thinking about this last night. Remember the parable of the unjust judge? In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a story about a widow who petitioned a judge who did not fear God or really care about men. This woman persistently petitioned this judge to answer her request. In the KJV, she asks the judge to “avenge me of mine adversary” (verse 3). The NASB words the widow’s request as, “[i]Give me legal protection from my opponent[/i].” The NIV words the widow’s words as, “[i]Grant me justice against my adversary[/i].” Regardless of the wording, the point is that the woman is petitioning a non-believing judge who sits in a secular government.

We have other instances in which believers also are involved in government. The Old Testament is filled with individuals who were involved or attempted to exert influence in government…including secular governments. Moses, Joseph, Esther, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and others were involved in one way or another. In the New Testament, we read of men who were also involved with or attempted to influence government process or government leaders. John the Baptist was arrested for telling Herod, an unbelieving gentile king, that his divorce and subsequent remarriage was “unlawful.” In the book of Acts, we read about Paul the Apostle invoking his Roman citizenship in order to avoid a beating (Acts 22:25). Later, Paul used the Roman legal system via his “appeal unto Caesar” in order to take the Gospel to Rome and to Caesar’s household (Acts 25:10-12; Philippians 4:25).

While these were civil liberties that were taken by John and Paul, we could also examine whether or not a believer has any [i]obligation[/i] to a secular government. Paul, living during a godless empire governed from Rome, stated in Romans chapter 13 that government is “ordained by God” (Romans 13:1). Going further, Paul writes, “[i] Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. [/i]” (Romans 13:2). Those are tough words for a people who are supposed to be “non-involved.” In fact, in this same passage, Paul calls secular leaders “God’s ministers” explaining this is WHY we pay taxes (Romans 13:6). Jesus echoes this same thought when he instructs us to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21). Was Jesus talking about money? I don’t think so, because Rome already owned and printed all of the money. It is possible that Jesus was talking about the provisions necessary to keep the government operating.

Peter continues this sort of instruction. Immediately after instructing us to live as “strangers and pilgrims,” Peter tells us to “submit” ourselves to EVERY ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake – including those from kings and governors (II Peter 2:13). Why? “[i] For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men : As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God[/i]” (II Peter 2:15-16). He finishes by admonishing believers to “[i]Fear God. Honor the king[/i]” (II Peter 2:17).

This sentiment is echoed throughout the New Testament. Colossians 1:16 states that all authorities were “created by Him and for Him.” In Titus 3:1, we are instructed to be “subject to principalities and powers” and to “be obedient.” Now, this doesn’t mean that we, as believers, are not permitted to petition a government. We already have seen that believers such as Joseph, Moses, Esther, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul attempted to exert influence upon government and/or rulers. In addition, this isn’t an instruction to obey a government that tells us to partake in matters of sin.

So, what about military service (the central dilemma in this thread)? Are believers prohibited to join the military or serve as soldiers in a nation’s defense? Now, we know that one of the Ten Commandments states, “[i]Thou shalt not kill[/i]” (Exodus 20:13). In Hebrew, the word used for “kill” is [i]ratsach[/i]. This is translated as “murder.” This invokes a question of [i]intent[/i]. Is this a prohibition for [i]self-defense[/i]. Well, in the years following the Ten Commandments, plenty of people continued to serve in the military…and even defend their families, homes and nations. Never once is it hinted that such a “righteous” defense made such individuals guilty of breaking this commandment. In fact, the same God who commanded men not to “kill” also instructed men to kill by the sword. God instructed people to kill men, women, children and even babies! In fact, God even raised up secular armies against His own chosen people. Now, the Old Testament Law contained specific “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” instructions. Yet this law was not applied to soldiers or those who acted in defense. Yet, as is often pointed out, this was under the Old Covenant.

So, is it possible for a person to be a “good soldier” under the new covenant?

In the New Testament, there are many instances of soldiers coming up to men of God. Yet, in no instances are they told to stop serving in the armed forces or to “conscientiously object” to service. When the soldiers asked John the Baptist, “[i]What shall we do[/i],” John didn’t tell them to quit serving. He instructed them, “[i] Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages [/i]” (Luke 3:14 NASB). When a certain Roman centurion came to Jesus on behalf of one of his servants, Jesus didn’t tell the man to choose another profession. Rather, Jesus said, “[i] Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel [/i]” (Matthew 8:10) and then told him, “[i] Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee [/i]” (Matthew 8:13).

Likewise, there is another centurion mentioned in the book of Acts. In Acts chapter 10, Cornelius, an Italian centurion, was called a “devout man, and one that feared God with all his house” and one who “prayed to God alway” (Acts 10:2). The Bible continues by saying that Cornelius had a soldier under him who was also “devout” (Acts 10:7). This centurion was given a vision in which an angel of God told him, “[i]Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God [/i]” (Acts 10:4). The angel told him to go to Simon Peter [b]“[i]he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do[/i]”[/b] (Acts 10:6). What did Peter say to Cornelius? More importantly, what did Peter NOT say to Cornelius? He didn’t tell him to leave the armed forces of Rome.

In other words, there didn’t seem to be any instruction from John the Baptist or any of the apostles (or even Jesus for that matter) regarding a prohibition of military service. This wasn’t limited to military service either. Jesus met several members of the government – such as tax collectors. Our Lord proclaimed that salvation had come to the house of Zacchaeus (that wee little man). However, it wasn’t because Zacchaeus had quit his government job. Rather, Zacchaeus was simply going to make restitution for any theft that he had been guilty of.

Many of the non-resistant brethren base their stances upon Jesus’ instructions to turn the other cheek when they are struck by an evil person (Matthew 5:38-40). This is often seen as a primer for Christian conduct. Yet, this seems to be more about “self defense” in regard to the persecution of believers for their faith than other forms of resistance. Remember, the Lord told us to “resist not EVIL” (Matthew 5:39). Furthermore, Jesus didn’t stop there. He instructed his listeners to “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:42). Now, is this a mandate in EVERY circumstance? Or are there circumstances in which we are not supposed to give? The New Testament indicates that one of the highest callings of a man is to provide for his family. If an evil person were to ask for the food by which we are to feed our families, are we supposed to give it (and let our families go hungry)? No, our responsibility is to our families [u]first[/u] – or we are “[i]worse than an infidel[/i]” (I Timothy 5:8). Is it possible that our call to not resist an evil person is also limited to SELF defense rather than in defense of a higher calling (such as our families or the weak and helpless)?

There are plenty of things to consider in this matter. Like I said, it has been discussed at length (many times) in the past here on SermonIndex. I, for one, do not think that it is “cut and dry.” Yes, we know that our “weapons” against the enemy are not “carnal.” We know that, in our spiritual struggles are not against “flesh and blood.” Yet I think that it would be futile to argue that this amounts to a complete prohibition against military service or the physical defense of someone else. After all, even though God promises to take care of us, we are still required to work and provide for ourselves, our families and the work of God.

Anyway, these are simply a few things that we might want to consider in this type of discussion.

:-)


_________________
Christopher

 2009/9/18 15:31Profile
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re:

Quote:
We are not called to be non-resistant, we are called to be faithful and to do whatever that faithfulness entails. This could mean actively resisting evil men and false teachers. It could mean "overturning the tables of merchants" who have turned God's temple into a marketplace.



its true, faithfulness may meen any of those things, but Jesus never shot or killed anyone who disagreed with his beliefs, teachings or his government. We are called to follow HIM. We ought walk like HE walked. And when i look at his life, and I admit my light and understanding only goes so far, but i can never see Jesus pick up a gun and shot anyone for a disagreement in religion or how nations should be behaving. I think of what Zac Poonen says in one sermon, he speaks about what kingdom we belong to, and he says when we fight for any earthly thing, with our wifes, neighbours or a brother or sister in church we are of this worlds kingdom, when ever we fight for earthly things, we are of this worlds kingdom.

Jesus was plain when he said, "if my kingdom was of this world...."


_________________
CHRISTIAN

 2009/9/18 15:32Profile









 Re:

ccchhhrrriiisss, very good post. I am glad you have the patience and capabilty to print longer posts with balanced look at the subject.

Me i always try to say more with less which dosen't always work. Again, Good Job!

 2009/9/18 15:48
Leo_Grace
Member



Joined: 2009/6/14
Posts: 703


 Re:

Quote:

thingsabove wrote:
ccchhhrrriiisss, very good post. I am glad you have the patience and capabilty to print longer posts with balanced look at the subject.

Me i always try to say more with less which dosen't always work. Again, Good Job!



I agree, Chris, that was a very good post. Thanks.

 2009/9/18 17:31Profile
rainydaygirl
Member



Joined: 2008/10/27
Posts: 742


 Re:

Hey
I read this article and it gave me a some things to really, seriously, think about. Thought I would share some of the parts that stood out most to me.

with care
rdg

____


God said that we are to “have nothing to do with civilian affairs” because our only goal is to please God. There is nothing in common between 1) killing the daddies of young children, or the sons and daughters of parents, and sending most of them straight to hell without the Good News…and 2) “turn the other cheek when you are struck on one.” These two are totally incompatible, of course.

I’m not suggesting some “militant” anti-anything prudish obsession, as you WELL know. But, great caution with our young ones, as well as exercising wisdom with our OWN hearts is very much in order. When someone gets “killed”—even in a movie—we really OUGHT to protect our own hearts and “identify” for a millisecond that any real death is another soul in hell in most cases (“FEW will be those who find Eternal Life”). WE must not allow our own hearts to be hardened by violence or death, either. We need to take charge of our own hearts and minds to RECOGNIZE what is happening, and what death means, rather than being sucked into the violence and hatred and emptiness of the world.

 2009/9/18 17:58Profile
HeartSong
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Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3156


 Re:

I was just reading in Amos and ran across this:

Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever: But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah. - Amos 1:11-12

 2009/9/18 18:34Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4499


 Re:

Hi rainydaygirl…

Quote:
God said that we are to “have nothing to do with civilian affairs” because our only goal is to please God.


Actually, I don’t think that this is what the Lord actually said. II Timothy 2:3-4 addresses the issue: “[i]Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [b]No man that warreth[/b] entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier[/i].” Notice the emboldened portion of this passage. In my view, this particular verse is in regard to the duty to which the Lord called us. The NASB calls it “active service.” There is no prohibition about being a soldier. It doesn’t even say that a soldier [i]never[/i] entangles in the affairs of this life – but only while actually “warring.” In fact, the Scriptures say that a believing husband WILL concern himself with the affairs of this life (I Corinthians 7:32-35).

Interestingly, that same passage in II Timothy 2 actually continues with two more anecdotes, including a runner who must run in a way to win the prize…and a farmer who must obtain his crops first. Now, does this say that a runner MUST always run to win a prize? Must a farmer always try to get his crops before everyone else? Rather, I think that these anecdotes are meant to serve as examples for endurance by focusing on the guidance of the Lord during times of trouble. In fact, that same chapter lists some traps and snares that can derail us – and most of them have to do with the tongue (silly arguments, debates, godless chatter, etc…).

Quote:
There is nothing in common between 1) killing the daddies of young children, or the sons and daughters of parents, and sending most of them straight to hell without the Good News…and 2) “turn the other cheek when you are struck on one.” These two are totally incompatible, of course.


Yes, and there is also a big difference between being purposed for the “killing the daddies of young children” and serving in the armed forces of the nation into which God has placed us. Contrary to popular thought, the ultimate goal of the US military is NOT to go around KILLING innocent men, women and children. In fact, it is quite the opposite! A soldier is meant to DEFEND. He is not supposed to “shoot first, ask questions later.” Rather, whenever possible, a soldier is supposed to detain the enemy (and NOT to kill them). In fact, the US military has a reputation around the world in regard to their treatment of enemy combatants. While there were a few suspected terrorists who were interrogated using questionable methods of possible torture, the US has historically treated prisoners of war very well. In fact, many historians believe that this helped many German soldiers quickly surrender to the United States during the [u]First[/u] World War. The Germans reasoned that if they surrendered to the United States forces, they would remain safe and have their physical needs met.

Anyway, I just wanted to interject this. I have heard many good brothers and sisters quote the aforementioned verse as a clear cut directive from God to avoid military service (or ANY sort of involvement with the “things of this world” for that matter). As a newly married man (well, for about two years), I know what it means to be “concerned with the affairs of this world” (I Corinthians 7:32-33). Just like there is no prohibition to marriage simply because I must concern myself with looking after the needs of my wife and future children, I don’t see a prohibition toward military service either. I hope that this makes a little sense.

Like you, I am praying for clarity in this matter (like other matters). Right now, I do feel a "clear conscience" in such things. I trust that the Lord will direct me (and all of us) as He sees fit.

:-)


_________________
Christopher

 2009/9/18 18:56Profile
rainydaygirl
Member



Joined: 2008/10/27
Posts: 742


 Re:

Hey Chris

Actually for me personally God has already settled this in my mind and heart that I am not to be about the things of this world, whether it be voting or military service. Not using any scripture to avoid anything, just know from what He as shown me in the Word that is not for me. On that issue we will just have to disagree:)

When I mentioned I was thinking over some things I was thinking about the part "that people being killed and sent to hell." and this part, "WE must not allow our own hearts to be hardened by violence or death, either. We need to take charge of our own hearts and minds to RECOGNIZE what is happening, and what death means, rather than being sucked into the violence and hatred and emptiness of the world."

I was thinking that its kind of strange that today I might be sending letters to a person in china trying to share the good news with them of Jesus, but tomorrow if the country I live in decides to go to war with China then I might find myself pointing a gun at that same person ready to kill them? Just thinking about how those two things reconcile themselves one with the other??
Also was thinking and wondering if we really do realize what death means? In today's world of so called entertainment violence is no big deal.
Anyway that's probably a topic for a whole other thread:)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and allowing me to do so also.

with care
rdg

 2009/9/18 20:00Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7471
Mississippi

 Re:

This subject was discussed at length, led by the late Pastorfrin. It can be found here:
http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?forum=35&topic_id=15338&viewmode=thread&order=1

ginnyrose


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2009/9/18 21:10Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7471
Mississippi

 Re:

Quote:
What follows is the testimony of one Mennonite
{Mennonite Church U.S.A.)

Quote:
I am a pacifist because I am a Mennonite.



Pacifism is NOT Biblical non-resistance. Pacifism is secularized non-resistance. The fact that this declaration was written by a member of the Mennonite Church, USA proves the point, exactly.

Pacifism as practiced by the Mennonite Church USA will have them organizing protest rallies at military bases; they will work to influence government policies; they will work to bring about political peace between countries while ignoring the spiritual dimension. They will work to bring about 'justice' for oppressed people apart from the gospel. They work hard to fight prejudices while practicing it in gross ways on the other hand. Yes, the Mennonite Church, USA practices pacifism.

(Many years ago "Christianity Today" printed an article detailing the VORP (Victims - Offenders- Reconciliation Program) - program. It sounded very good and interesting. I called VORP in CA and talked with a lady about it and asked about the spiritual dimension of the program. She let me now quick they do not minister to the spiritual needs of the victim or offender although she did admit that could happen but that is not the goal of the program. AT that point in time VORP was operating under the liberal segment of the Mennonite Church.)

Mennonite Church,USA will also have within their ranks practicing homosexuals; denying the virgin birth. In short, it is a terrible disgrace, to equate that pacifism with Biblical non-resistance.

So, I adhere to Biblical non-resistance. I must say that among the conservative 'peace churches' there is a wide variation in how it translates to everyday living. Some folks will vote, serve on juries while others will shun it completely. The discussion among 'peace church' adherents is similar to the discussion that follows Calvinism/Arminianism - lots of discussion, but little agreement. However, folks know there is wiggle room in the non-specifics but it is in the context of serving in the military in which agreement occurs.

Pastorfrin wrote a lot about non-resistance in the "Let's Talk About Peace" thread. I strongly urge any, all, to carefully study that thread.

ginnyrose


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2009/9/18 22:10Profile





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