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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Does the new covenant teach non-resistance and non-participation in government?

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Leo_Grace
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Joined: 2009/6/14
Posts: 703


 Re:

Quote:

appolus wrote:
I think if we stick to solely what Jesus taught, including the Sermon on the Mount, then it remains simple. If a child was to read what Jesus taught about our enemies, I wonder what conclusion he would come to? We look to the early church, prior to Constantine, and we see a pacifist church. We look to post Constantine and we see the "just war, war emerge. Obviously the Catholic church had no problem with killing, as they killed men down through the centuries in the name of God. Calvin seemed to have little problem with this either, as witnessed by what happened to the Anbaptists and others. The modern church seems to have no problem either with this as they have sanctioned, prayed for and blessed soldiers as they go into battle. So, it seems that for the majority of church history, the church has not been a pacifist church. This speaks volumes to many. Thoughts and opinions formed over 1700 years are the prevailing thoughts of today within what is called the church.

There seems to be two broad categories of thought. There is the prevailing thought of the majority that war is neccecary at various times for Christians to fight, and there is a small minority who do not hold to this. Both sides claim careful thought and prayer. Lincoln was once asked whose side was God on in the Civil war and I believe that he replied that the question was wrong and that "let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side."

The majority and minority views on this subject will never find common ground, they are fundamentally and diametrically opposed. Like David and Saul or the prodigal son and his brother, there is definately a spiritual element to the two opposing sides. So, whose side is God on? "let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.".........Frank



I just had to respond: Very well said. Thank you, Frank.

 2009/10/10 16:54Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4517


 Re:

Hi Sister MaryJane...

Thank you for your kind reply. In fact, I don't see anything that your wrote that would require any sort of forgiveness. I appreciate words...even rebukes...that are spoken in the tenderness that comes from belonging to the family of Christ. I hope that I didn't come across as being pretentious with my post.

I do hear what you are saying too. I have prayed about and studied and considered this issue for a long time. I certainly am encouraged by those who choose to lay down their lives for the Lord. In fact, I am very much opposed to any use of physical action unless a situation might warrant it. And, of course, I certainly believe that Christ is our eternal king and our eternal citizenship is in Heaven. However, I am mindful that I am still here in the land and nation to which God placed me. Like Paul, I acknowledge that temporary citizenship, resolved to the understanding that my eternal citizenship is vastly more crucial than the temporary one.

I agree that we must be careful with our words. Our tongues can be just as deadly and eternally harmful as a physical sword. In fact, our tongues can be rudders that serve to turn an entire ship in the wrong direction.

Knowing this, it is difficult to discuss many issues that are prone to debate. For many centuries, people have debated divisive topics without reaching a consensus of view (such as the merits [or lack of merits] of Calvinism, the gifts of Spirit, the timing and manner of the Lord's return, the best translation of Scripture, etc...). Often, these discussions end with brethren in sharp disagreement and lacking the patience to overlook a difference of opinion. As such, I believe that the most dangerous portion of such discussions comes when we act in a manner that forgets the search that we ourselves went through before arriving to an opinion.

In issues like this, there is room for disagreement. There is no final consensus or established tradition of the Church (or even within the SermonIndex community) in regard to this matter...even if we try to argue that it is so. We can try to "argue our point" until the "cows come home," but it is meaningless if the underlying purpose of our discussion is not centered in the love of Christ. My biggest concern is that such love is forgotten in an effort to merely prove a point that we think is correct.

Anyway, I appreciate your comments, sister. I think that nearly all of us can agree that we need to show the same patience to one another with our words and views as the Lord has shown with us.


_________________
Christopher

 2009/10/10 17:07Profile
MaryJane
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Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057


 Re:

Greetings Leo
Thank you for your response to me. I appreciate your willingness to allow Father to work in each of our lives as He deems best on this matter.I want you to know brother that I did not mean to come off critical of you for posting this new thread...it was simply that the last thread left with me such a heavy heart that I dreaded seeing another one go the same way. I understand that things were said in the other thread and I pray that for all those concerned each will examine their hearts and attitudes before the Lord and make right with their brothers so that the enemy would not be given a foot hold.

I am glad we can come together brother in Christ and walk this out, even in this there is room for us to grow in His likeness as we seek to share and care for one another. May be Jesus be lifted up and glorified in this and all things.

God Bless you:-)
maryjane



 2009/10/10 17:17Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4517


 Re:

Hi Frank...

Quote:
I think if we stick to solely what Jesus taught, including the Sermon on the Mount, then it remains simple. If a child was to read what Jesus taught about our enemies, I wonder what conclusion he would come to? We look to the early church, prior to Constantine, and we see a pacifist church.


I can't say that I agree with this part, Frank. You might point to what little written evidence is available in regard to the early Church, but I'm not sure that it is accurate to say that they were "pacifists" or that this modern understanding of it was the indisputable, prevailing view of the early Church. Likewise, I read the Sermon on the Mount as a physical child and as a spiritual babe in Christ, but I never saw a particular brand of "non-resistance" to the extent that it is sometimes preached here on SermonIndex. Again, this could be a matter of perspective.

I'm not certain that this discussion can merely broken into two categories since there appears to be differences of opinions in regard to if, when and how a believer can physically "resist." I don't think that it is a majority/minority debate. Personally, I think that it is an issue of seeking God in order to ascertain His thoughts and view of this matter. Consequently, I do agree with the rest of your post. We should endeavor to be on God's side of this discussion. I am confident that this is the prayer and motivation of all of us. Ultimately, I think that we should be mindful of this...and determine ourselves to treat one another accordingly.


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Christopher

 2009/10/10 17:20Profile
ChrisJD
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Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

Hi again everyone,


In continuing to read here and to also read through some of the article called "Linclon and the Church", I noticed some things that might at least give us some helpfull perspective in rembering what a difficult postion the leaders of Goverment have(2Sa 23:3).



One portion from the article follows:


[i]The President found it hard to be patient with some clergymen, especially with those who were perfectly certain that they knew exactly how the nation should proceed. Prime examples of such certitude were provided by both the clergy who belonged to the peace party and those who were extreme Abolitionists. "I am approached," said Lincoln, "with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will."16 The Chaplain of the Senate, the Reverend Byron Sunderland, clearly irked the President by his tendency to turn his prayers into lectures, informing the Almighty on subjects of all kinds. In one prayer, for instance, he alluded critically to Lincoln's having been at the theater the night before. The Chaplain's performance led Senator Willard Saulsbury of Delaware to offer a resolution requesting the Chaplain "to pray to and supplicate Almighty God in our behalf, and not

Page 108

to lecture Him." When the President was trying with all his might to bring the war to an end, he did not appreciate the cruel attacks of a few preachers who supposed they understood the situation better than he did. Even the famous Henry Ward Beecher said, in reference to Lincoln, "Not a spark of genius has he; not an element of leadership. Not one particle of heroic enthusiasm."17 We know now, of course, that this cruelly judgmental stance hurt Beecher more in the long run than it hurt the man against whom it was directed, but at the time it was not easy to bear.[/i]



The entire article can be found [url=https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=10824]here[/url]


_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/10/10 17:45Profile









 Re:

The Chaplain of the Senate, the Reverend Byron Sunderland, clearly irked the President by his tendency to turn his prayers into lectures, informing the Almighty on subjects of all kinds. In one prayer, for instance, he alluded.....

Yea turning prayers into lectures. Very important that when praying in public to not preach in the prayer.

 2009/10/10 18:10
Leo_Grace
Member



Joined: 2009/6/14
Posts: 703


 Re:

Dear ChrisJD,

I want you to know that I very much appreciate your posts about Lincoln and the "spiritual leaders" of his day. It appears that problems arise when sinners redeemed by grace reach a point in their spiritual walk where they feel that they have attained something that others have not, and begin to look upon themselves as one of God's gifts to mankind.

The bloodiest and longest spiritual battle we will ever face will be always be the one against ourselves, for though we may subdue the beast today, it wakes up refreshed with us each and every morning.

These short anecdotes of Lincoln you posted are precious for they reveal the inner man and how he truly towered spiritually over the "spiritual giants" of his day. I also recall you posted a heart-warming Christian story of sacrifice and deliverance that I quoted early in this thread.

Thank you for your contributions.

 2009/10/10 18:14Profile









 Re:


Chris writes.....

"or that this modern understanding of it was the indisputable, prevailing view of the early Church"

I never said that, and, as most of us know, there is nothing indisputable :)Especially on sermonindex :) It is commonly held that the early church was a pacifist, persecuted church, unless you have something to prove otherwise Chris? So lets agree to disagree on that point.

"I'm not certain that this discussion can merely broken into two categories"

Well I am glad that your not certain :) In the historical context there has been two groups in the last 1700 years. First group is the established church,whether the Catholic church or the established church that came out of the reformation, which came up with the just war theory and sanctioned wars and were the majority. The second group were certainly the minority and were severly persecuted by the first group. The second group would consist of groups like the Waldenses, Bogomils, Cathari, Paulicians, and Donatists, Anabaptists, Quakers, Moravians, Mennonites and Pentecostals and so on. These groups were persecuted by the first group, and the first group seemed to always believe that they were doing their work prayerfully and thoughtfully and that it was the work of God.

And so, broadly speaking, we still have two groups today I would say. The established church which still believes in just wars and sanctions said wars and the second group, a minority, who do not. Is there a hundred sub-groups? Yes, undoubtedly. Is their total consitancy in both of these groups? No. Yet they are here and nothing much has changed in the last 1700 years in how the visible church is split. Still the same broad distinctions..........Frank


 2009/10/10 18:32
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4517


 Re:

Hi Frank,

Quote:

"[i]or that this modern understanding of it was the indisputable, prevailing view of the early Church[/i]"

I never said that, and, as most of us know, there is nothing indisputable :)Especially on sermonindex :) It is commonly held that the early church was a pacifist, persecuted church, unless you have something to prove otherwise Chris? So lets agree to disagree on that point.


Actually, you said that the Church prior to Constantine was a "pacifist church."
Quote:
"If a child was to read what Jesus taught about our enemies, I wonder what conclusion he would come to? [b]We look to the early church, prior to Constantine, and we see a pacifist church[/b]."

You can say that this is a "commonly held" view, but I question just how "common" the view might be. I have not seen any evidence to persuade me toward that end or that such "pacifism" was any sort of absolute mandate from Scripture extended toward things like defending a child from an attacker.

Now, since I wasn't responsible for the original statement that was made without any evidence, I don't see a need to refute the original claim any further. The original claim has not been proven or substantiated by evidence yet; thus, there is no need for a rebuttal that contradicts a claim that has not even been substantiated yet. Moreover, the Church had already been splintered by division before the end of the first century. The epistles of Paul, Peter and John are filled with correction. But yes, we can certainly "agree to disagree." We can disagree on whether or not those comments regarding the views of the Early Church are correct or whether or not those views were universal or even correct in terms of Scripture.
Quote:

Well I am glad that your not certain :) In the historical context there has been two groups in the last 1700 years. First group is the established church,whether the Catholic church or the established church that came out of the reformation, which came up with the just war theory and sanctioned wars and were the majority. The second group were certainly the minority and were severly persecuted by the first group. The second group would consist of groups like the Waldenses, Bogomils, Cathari, Paulicians, and Donatists, Anabaptists, Quakers, Moravians, Mennonites and Pentecostals and so on. These groups were persecuted by the first group, and the first group seemed to always believe that they were doing their work prayerfully and thoughtfully and that it was the work of God.

And this "historical context" is based upon what set of firsthand accounts? While there may have been doctrinal fractions, I can't find any evidence that a supposed "second group" were severely persecuted by other supposed Christians or that they were persecuted based solely upon their embrace of some sort of "non-resistant" ideology.

More importantly, I think that you misunderstood what I am saying. Within those who claim to adhere to strict "Biblical non-resistance," there are still variances of opinion in regard to the extent of application. I know plenty of believers with different opinions in regard to this issue who don't base their own views on a "just war" argument that has been handed down...or even upon past claims of persecution for their non-resistant views.

In fact, I know people who believe in what they think to be complete and utter non-involvement (like Mennonites and Amish brethren). I know some who embrace a limited view of involvement (such as Quakers). I know some who shun any form of physical resistance. I know some who would choose to abstain from military service and personal defense, but who still feel the liberty to vote. I know some who feel the liberty to serve in the military, police and would physically defend someone else -- as long as there is no attempt to kill. I also know people who believe in military or police service as well as physical resistance on behalf of the weak or their families.

Do you see the variance of perception within the broad-stroked grouping of "non-resistance?" Thus, I think that it is difficult to broadly divide believers into two groups when many believers might consider themselves as holding to "Biblical non-resistance," even if it is not considered as "non-resistant" by others. In fact, I believe that I embrace a Biblical form of "non-resistance." I certainly wouldn't place myself in that dreadful "first" grouping, and would be strongly disappointed if someone else would attempt to categorize me as such. Does this make sense?

Besides, I think that we can agree that anyone who would [u]persecute[/u] someone else for their sincere, prayerful views about this matter is obviously in need of a revelation of the love of God. Consequently, this is why I would caution believers from dismissing the faith of those who disagree with them on this matter. I think that some people might not realize that persecution is not reserved to the sword. It can come from a judgmental tongue of well-meaning believers too.


_________________
Christopher

 2009/10/10 19:56Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

Leo,

Can I say that I have also appreciated the way you have conducted yourself since you have been participating on the forums and have appreciated some of the things(of which I have read) that you have posted also. If either of us have offered something good, something lovely, or thankworthy, may God be thanked and get all the glory, always, as is fitting. I'm sure you agree :) Amen.



If I could, I might be able to share a few thoughts that will tie together something that Frank and Chris are discussing, with something that you mentioned here at the first, that is, of Christians being led of God and not of the law.


It may be that one reason why believers have acted differently in regards to participation in civil governments and armed conflicts over the centuries, is that they have found themselves in different situations, in differing lands, among different cultures, and different governments.

Yes, without a doubt, there are hard and fast principles that can be universally applied without checking the time on your watch or the date on the calendar, and yet there are principles that may also be nuetral in their application, without knowing the context to which they are being applied.


So for instance, if the great majority of the early Christians refused any service in the Roman Armies, is it also true that Roman Military service involved pagan idolatries and emporer worship as well?

Was it also true, that those of Jewish descent were not even permitted to serve?

I've read that this was the case. If it was, does that give a somehwat fuller expression as to the reasons why early beleivers would not have had any part with Roman military service?

And isn't that a very different army than say, that of the Revolutionary armies of George Washington, who, I've read or heard said, censured his soldiers that they not blaspheme or curse?

Today, from what I've read, and also hearing a first hand account of a missionary, I would not be surprised if beleivers in North Korea are living much the same way as those in the first century did also.


And yet, I hope that, at least for the sake of this discussion, we might all agree that there are still vast differences between the goverments of North Korea, and of the United States, for instance.


But we need not even go that far. Even though they were both Communist, I would say there was even a difference between the goverment of North Korea, and that of say, Romania, of the 1940s.

In the qoute that Leo had mentioned before from the book Tortured for Christ, in the same section, Pastor Wurmbrand makes the bold statement that the Underground Church had members within even the Communist Goverment and secret police.

I wont pretend that that statement may be difficult for us to understand, but I think it can also be accepted that the challenges that Roman idolatry presented to the early Christians were not the same as say those of Athesitic Communisim of the 20th century and its govermetns that would openly give pretense to religous freedom and tolernace, and that it is not unreasonable that they were and are being met differently?


I understand if some will object to these things for various reasons. But too, it may also give us reason, as has been much pleaded, to be carefull in our open pronouncements about the verity of the faith of others with whom we disagree on this subject.


Wish you all well.




[i]EDIT I remember reading that religous tolerance was also a part of the Roman Empire. The difference I was thinking of is the persecution under the Communists that I've read about has had more of an element of subterfuge, rather than feeding people to lions in an arena because they would not offer a pinch of incense to Caesar.[/i]


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Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/10/10 23:11Profile





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