SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Looking for free sermon messages?
Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video

Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : AN INQUIRY INTO THE ACCORDANCY Of War With The Principles Of Christianity Chap. 2 Pt. 6

Print Thread (PDF)

PosterThread
pastorfrin
Member



Joined: 2006/1/19
Posts: 1406


 AN INQUIRY INTO THE ACCORDANCY Of War With The Principles Of Christianity Chap. 2 Pt. 6

AN INQUIRY INTO THE ACCORDANCY
OF WAR WITH THE
PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIANITY

by Jonathan Dymond

Chapter 2 Part 6

We have seen that the duties of the religion which God has imparted to mankind require non-resistance; and surely it is reasonable to believe, even without a reference to experience, that he will make our non-resistance subservient to our interests – that if, for the purpose of conforming to his will, we subject ourselves to difficulty or danger, he will protect us in our obedience and direct it to our benefit – that if he requires us not to be concerned in war, he will preserve us in peace – that he will not desert those who have no other protection, and who have abandoned all other protection because they confide in his alone.
And if we refer to experience, we shall find that the reasonableness of this confidence is confirmed. There have been thousands who have confided in Heaven in opposition to all their apparent interests, but of these thousands has one eventually said that he repented his confidence, or that he reposed in vain? “He that will lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall find it.” If it is said that we take futurity into the calculation in our estimate of interest, I answer: So we ought. Who is the man that would exclude futurity, or what are his principles? I do not comprehend the foundation of those objections to a reference to futurity which are thus flippantly made. Are we not immortal beings? Have we not interests beyond the present life? It is a deplorable temper of mind that would diminish the frequency, or the influence, of our references to futurity. The prospects of the future ought to predominate over the sensations of the present. And if the attainment of this predominance is difficult, let us at least, not voluntarily, argumentatively, persuade ourselves to forego the prospect, or to diminish its influence.
Yet, even in reference only to the present state of existence, I believe we shall find that the testimony of experience is that forbearance is most conducive to our interests.

Integer vitae scelerisque purus
Non eget Mauri jaculis neque arcu,
Nec venenatis gravida sagittis,
Fusee, pharetra. [69] – Horace.

And the same truth is delivered by much higher authority than that of Horace, and in much stronger language: “If a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
The reader of American history will recollect that in the beginning of the last century, a desultory and most dreadful warfare was carried on by the natives against the European settlers; a warfare that was provoked, as such warfare has almost always originally been, by the injuries and violence of the Christians. The mode of destruction was secret and sudden. The barbarians sometimes lay in wait for those who might come within their reach on the highway or in the fields, and shot them without warning; and sometimes they attacked the Europeans in their houses, “scalping some, and knocking out the brains of others.” From this horrible warfare, the inhabitants sought safety by abandoning their homes, and retiring to fortified places, or to the neighborhood of garrisons; and those whom necessity still compelled to pass beyond the limits of such protection, provided themselves with arms for their defense. But amidst this dreadful desolation and universal terror, the Society of Friends, who were a considerable proportion of the whole population, were steadfast to their principles. They would neither retire to garrisons, nor provide themselves with arms. They remained openly in the country, while the rest were flying to the forts. They still pursued their occupations in the fields or at their homes, without a weapon either for annoyance or defense. And what was their fate? They lived in security and quiet. The habitation, which to his armed neighbor was the scene of murder and of the scalping knife, was to the unarmed Quaker a place of safety and of peace.
Three of the Society were, however, killed. And who were they? They were three who abandoned their principles. Two of these victims were men, who, in the simple language of the narrator, “used to go to their labor without any weapons, trusted to the Almighty, and depended on his providence to protect them, it being their principle not to use weapons of war to offend others or to defend themselves. But a spirit of distrust taking place in their minds, they took weapons of war to defend themselves. The Indians – who had seen them several times without them, and let them alone, saying they were peaceable men and hurt nobody, therefore they would not hurt them – now seeing them have guns, and supposing they designed to kill the Indians, they therefore shot the men dead.” The third whose life was sacrificed was a woman, who “had remained in her habitation,” not thinking herself warranted in going “to a fortified place for preservation; neither she, her son, nor daughter, nor to take thither the little ones. But the poor woman after some time began to let in a slavish fear, and advised her children to go with her to a fort not far from their dwelling.” She went, and shortly afterwards “the bloody, cruel Indians lay by the way and killed her.” [70]
The fate of the Quakers during the rebellion in Ireland was nearly similar. It is well known that the rebellion was a time, not only of open war, but also of cold-blooded murder – of the utmost fury of bigotry, and the utmost exasperation of revenge. Yet the Quakers were preserved even to a proverb; and when strangers passed through streets of ruin and observed a house standing uninjured and alone, they would sometimes point and say, “That, doubtless, was the house of a Quaker.”
It is to no purpose to say, in opposition to the evidence of these facts, that they form an exception to a general rule. The exception to the rule consists in the trial of the experiment of non-resistance, not in its success. Neither is it to any purpose to say that the savages of America or the desperadoes of Ireland spared the Quakers because they were previously known to be an unoffending people, or because the Quakers had previously gained the love of these by forbearance or good offices. We concede all this; it is the very argument that we maintain. We say that a uniform, undeviating regard to the peaceable obligations of Christianity becomes the safeguard of those who practice it. We venture to maintain that no reason whatever can be assigned why the fate of the Quakers would not be the fate of all who should adopt their conduct. No reason can be assigned why, if their number had been multiplied ten-fold or a hundred-fold, they would not have been preserved. If there is such a reason, let us hear it. The American and Irish Quakers were, to the rest of the community, what one nation is to a continent. And we must require the advocate of war to produce (that which has never yet been produced) a reason for believing that, although individuals exposed to destruction were preserved, a nation exposed to destruction would be destroyed. We do not, however, say that if a people, in the customary state of men’s passions, should be assailed by an invader, and should suddenly choose to declare that they would try whether Providence would protect them – of such a people, we do not say that they would experience protection, and that none of them would be killed. But we say that the evidence of experience is that a people who habitually regard the obligations of Christianity in their conduct towards other men, and who steadfastly refuse, through whatever consequences, to engage in acts of hostility, will experience protection in their peacefulness,and it matters nothing to the argument, whether we refer that protection to the immediate agency of Providence, or to the influence of such conduct upon the minds of men.
Such has been the experience of the unoffending and unresisting in individual life. A national example of a refusal to bear arms has only once been exhibited to the world; but that one example has proved, so far as its political circumstances enabled it to prove, all that humanity could desire and all that skepticism could demand in favor of our argument.
It has been the ordinary practice of those who have colonized distant countries to force a footing, or to maintain it, with the sword. One of the first objects has been to build a fort and to provide a military. The adventurers became soldiers, and the colony was a garrison. Pennsylvania was, however, colonized by men who believed that war was absolutely incompatible with Christianity, and who therefore resolved not to practice it. Having determined not to fight, they maintained no soldiers and possessed no arms. They planted themselves in a country that was surrounded by savages, and by savages who knew they were unarmed. If easiness of conquest or incapability of defense could subject them to outrage, the Pennsylvanians might have been the very sport of violence. Plunderers might have robbed them without retaliation, and armies might have slaughtered them without resistance. If they did not give a temptation to outrage, no temptation could be given. But these were the people who possessed their country in security, while those around them were trembling for their existence. This was a land of peace, while every other was a land of war. The conclusion is inevitable, although it is extraordinary: they were in no need of arms because they would not use them.
These Indians were sufficiently ready to commit outrages upon other states and often visited them with desolation and slaughter; with that sort of desolation, and that sort of slaughter, which might be expected from men whom civilization had not reclaimed from cruelty, and whom religion had not awed into forbearance. “But whatever the quarrels of the Pennsylvanian Indians were with others, they uniformly respected, and held as it were sacred, the territories of William Penn.” [71] “The Pennsylvanians never lost man, woman, or child by them, which neither the colony of Maryland, nor that of Virginia could say, nor could the great colony of New England claim such.” [72]
The security and quiet of Pennsylvania was not a transient freedom from war, such as might accidentally happen to any nation. She continued to enjoy it “for more than seventy years,” [73] and subsisted in the midst of six Indian nations, “without so much as a militia for her defense.” [74] “The Pennsylvanians became armed, though without arms; they became strong, though without strength; they became safe, without the ordinary means of safety. The constable’s staff was the only instrument of authority among them for the greater part of a century, and never, during the administration of Penn or that of his proper successors, was there a quarrel or a war.” [75]
I cannot wonder that these people were not molested, extraordinary and unexampled as their security was. There is something so noble in this perfect confidence in the Supreme Protector, in this utter exclusion of “slavish fear,” in this voluntary relinquishment of the means of injury or of defense, that I do not wonder that even ferocity could be disarmed by such virtue. A people, generously living without arms, amidst nations of warriors! Who would attack a people such as this? There are few men so abandoned as not to respect such confidence. It would be a peculiar and an unusual intensity of wickedness that would not even revere it.
And when was the security of Pennsylvania molested, and its peace destroyed? When the men who had directed its counsels and who would not engage in war, were outvoted in its legislature; when they who supposed that there was greater security in the sword than in Christianity became the predominating body. From that hour, the Pennsylvanians transferred their confidence in Christian principles to a confidence in their arms; and from that hour to the present they have been subject to war.
Such is the evidence derived from a national example of the consequences of a pursuit of the Christian policy in relation to war. Here were a people who absolutely refused to fight, and who incapacitated themselves for resistance by refusing to possess arms, and this was the people whose land, amidst surrounding broils and slaughter, was selected as a land of security and peace. The only [76] national opportunity that the virtue of the Christian world has afforded us of ascertaining the safety of relying upon God for defense has determined that it is safe.
If the evidence that we possess does not satisfy us of the expediency of confiding in God, what evidence do we ask, or what can we receive? We have his promise that he will protect those who abandon their seeming interests in the performance of his will, and we have the testimony of those who have confided in him that he has protected them. Can the advocate of war produce one single instance in the history of man, of a person who had given an unconditional obedience to the will of heaven, and who did not find that his conduct was wise as well as virtuous, that it accorded with his interests as well as with his duty? We ask the same question in relation to the peculiar obligations to non-resistance. Where is the man who regrets that, in observance of the forbearing duties of Christianity, he consigned his preservation to the superintendence of God? And the solitary national example that is before us confirms the testimony of private life, for there is sufficient reason for believing that no nation in modern ages has possessed so large a portion of virtue or of happiness as Pennsylvania before it had seen human blood. I would therefore repeat the question: What evidence do we ask, or can we receive?
This is the point from which we wander: WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD. When this statement is formally made to us, we think, perhaps, that it is not true; but our practice is an evidence of its truth, for if we did believe, we should also confide in it, and should be willing to stake upon it the consequences of our obedience. [77] We can talk with sufficient fluency of “trusting in Providence,” but in the application of it to our conduct in life, we know wonderfully little. Who is it that confides in Providence, and for what does he trust him? Does his confidence induce him to set aside his own views of interest and safety, and simply to obey precepts that appear inexpedient and unsafe? This is the confidence that is of value, and of which we know so little. There are many who believe that war is disallowed by Christianity, and who would rejoice that it were forever abolished; but there are few who are willing to maintain an undaunted and unyielding stand against it. They can talk of the loveliness of peace, yes, and argue against the lawfulness of war, but when difficulty or suffering would be the consequence they will not refuse to do what they know to be unlawful, they will not practice the peacefulness which they say they admire. Those who are ready to sustain the consequences of undeviating obedience are the supporters of whom Christianity stands in need. She wants men who are willing to suffer for her principles.
It is necessary for us to know by what principles we are governed. Are we regulated by the injunctions of God or are we not? If there is any lesson of morality that it is of importance to mankind to learn, and if there is any that they have not yet learned, it is the necessity of simply performing the duties of Christianity without reference to consequences. If we could persuade ourselves to do this, we should certainly pass life with greater consistency of conduct, and as I firmly believe, in greater enjoyment and greater peace. The world has had many examples of such fidelity and confidence. Who have been the Christian martyrs of all ages, but men who maintained their fidelity to Christianity through whatever consequences? They were faithful to the Christian creed. We ought to be faithful to the Christian morality, for without morality the profession of a creed is vain. No, we have seen that there have been martyrs to the duties of morality, and to these very duties of peacefulness. The duties remain the same, but where is our obedience?
I hope, for the sake of his understanding and his heart, that the reader will not say I reason on the supposition that the world is what it is not; and that although these duties may be binding upon us when the world shall become purer, yet that we must now accommodate ourselves to the state of things as they are. This is to say that in a land of assassins, assassination would be right. If no one begins to reform his practice until others have begun before him, reformation will never be begun. If apostles, martyrs, or reformers had “accommodated themselves to the existing state of things,” where would Christianity be now? The business of reformation belongs to him who sees that reformation is required. The world has no other human means of amendment. If you believe that war is not allowed by Christianity, it is your business to oppose it; and if fear or distrust should raise questions on the consequences, apply the words of our Savior: “What is that to thee? Follow thou me.”
Our great misfortune in the examination of the duties of Christianity is that we do not contemplate them with sufficient simplicity. We do not estimate them without some addition or abatement of our own; there is almost always some intervening medium. A sort of half transparent glass is hung before each individual, which possesses endless shades of color and degrees of opacity, and which presents objects with endless varieties of distortion. This glass is colored by our education and our passions. The business of moral culture is to render it transparent. The perfection of the perceptive part of moral culture is to remove it from before us. Simple obedience without reference to consequences is our great duty. I know that philosophers have told us otherwise. I know that we have been referred, for the determination of our duties, to calculations of expediency and of the future consequences of our actions, but I believe that in whatever degree this philosophy directs us to forbear an unconditional obedience to the rules of our religion, it will be found that, when Christianity shall advance in her purity and her power, she will sweep it from the earth with the broom of destruction.
The positions, then, which we have endeavored to establish, are these:

1. That the general character of Christianity is wholly incongruous with war, and that its general duties are incompatible with it.
2. That some of the express precepts and declarations of Jesus Christ virtually forbid it.
3. That his practice is not reconcilable with the supposition of its lawfulness.
4. That the precepts and practice of the apostles correspond with those of our Lord.
5. That the primitive Christians believed that Christ had forbidden war, and that some of them suffered death in affirmation of this belief.
6. That God has declared in prophecy that it is his will that war should eventually be eradicated from the earth, that this eradication will be effected by Christianity, and that it will be effected by the influence of its present principles.
7. That those who have refused to engage in war, in consequence of their belief of its inconsistency with Christianity, have found that Providence has protected them.

Now, we think that the establishment of any considerable number of these positions is sufficient for our argument. The establishment of the whole forms a body of evidence, to which I am not able to believe that an inquirer, to whom the subject was new, would be able to withhold his assent. But since such an inquirer cannot be found, I would invite the reader to lay prepossession aside, to suppose himself to have now first heard of battles and slaughter, and dispassionately to examine whether the evidence in favor of peace is not very great, and whether the objections to it bear any proportion to the evidence itself. But whatever may be the determination upon this question, surely it is reasonable to try the experiment of whether security cannot be maintained without slaughter. Whatever might be the reasons for war, it is certain that it produces enormous mischief. Even waiving the obligations of Christianity, we have to choose between evils that are certain and evils that are doubtful, between the actual endurance of a great calamity, and the possibility of fewer calamities. It certainly cannot be proved that peace would not be the best policy; and since we know that the present system is bad, it is reasonable and wise to try whether the other is not better. In reality, I can scarcely conceive of the possibility of greater evil than that which mankind now endures; a moral and physical evil of far wider extent and far greater intensity than our familiarity with it allows us to suppose. If a system of peace does not produce less evil than this system of war, its consequences must indeed be enormously bad; and that it would produce such consequences, we have no warrant for believing either from reason or from practice – either from the principles of the moral government of God or from the experience of mankind. Whenever a people shall pursue, steadily and uniformly, the pacific morality of the gospel, and shall do this from the pure motive of obedience, there is no reason to fear for the consequences. There is no reason to fear that they would experience any evils such as we now endure, or that they would not find that Christianity understands their interests better than themselves and that the surest and the only rule of wisdom, safety, and expediency is to maintain her spirit in every circumstance of life.
“There is reason to expect,” says Dr. Johnson, “that as the world is more enlightened, policy and morality will at last be reconciled.” [78] When this enlightened period shall arrive, we shall be approaching, and we shall not until then approach, that era of purity and of peace when “violence shall be no more heard in our land, wasting nor destruction within our borders” – that era in which God has promised that “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all his holy mountain.” That a period like this will come, I am not able to doubt. I believe it because it is not credible that he will always endure the butchery of man by man, because he has declared that he will not endure it, and because I think there is a perceptible approach of that period in which he will say, “It is enough.” [79] In this belief I rejoice. I rejoice that the number is increasing of those who are asking, “Shall the sword devour for ever?” and of those who, whatever may be the opinions or the practice of others, are openly saying, “I am for peace.” [80]
Whether I have succeeded in establishing the position that WAR OF EVERY KIND IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIANITY, it is not my business to determine; but of this, at least, I can assure the reader: that I would not have intruded this inquiry upon the public if I had not believed, with undoubting confidence, that the position is accordant with everlasting truth – with that truth which should regulate our conduct here, and which will not be superseded in the world that is to come.


________________________________________
[69] Loosely translated: An upright man, free of guilt, needs no weapon to defend himself.
[70] See Select Anecdotes, etc., by John Barclay, pp. 71-79. In this little volume I have found some illustrations of the policy of the principle that we maintain in the case of a personal attack. Barclay, the celebrated Apologist, was attacked by a highwayman. He made no other resistance than a calm expostulation. The felon dropped his presented pistol and offered no farther violence. Leonard Fell was assaulted by a highway robber, who plundered him of his money and his horse, and afterwards threatened to blow out his brains. Fell solemnly spoke to the robber on the wickedness of his life. The man was astonished. He declared he would take neither his money nor his horse, and returned them both. “If thine enemy hungers, feed him, for in so doing thou shall heap coals of fire upon his head.”
[71] Clarkson.
[72] Oldmixon, in the year 1708.
[73] Proud.
[74] Oldmixon.
[75] Clarkson, Life of Penn.
[76] Transcriber’s note – The only national example known to the author prior to 1823.
[77] “The dread of being destroyed by our enemies if we do not go to war with them, is a plain and unequivocal proof of our disbelief in the superintendence of Divine Providence.” The Lawfulness of Defensive War Impartially Considered by a Member of the Church of England.
[78] Falkland’s Islands.
[79] 2 Samuel 24:16.
[80] Psalm 120:7.

 2007/9/16 14:43Profile
theopenlife
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Re: AN INQUIRY INTO THE ACCORDANCY Of War With The Principles Of Christianity Chap. 2

Thanks for posting this. Lately I've been considering where the Lord would have me to stand. I love Puritan literature, yet they held so tightly, many of them, to the sword. That has had an influence on me, though not one I necessarily approve of. I see none of Paul's friends using violence to defend him from marauding persecutors. The difficulty is in knowing if the Lord will hold me accountable for not using available force to protect my loved ones. I note in Hebrews 11 that the faith of some was shown by "waxing valiant in fight." In Acts, however, I see as many as 10,000 Christians fleeing Jerusalem in the persecution, rather than organizing under the Apostles to defend themselves physically.

 2007/9/16 16:30Profile
pastorfrin
Member



Joined: 2006/1/19
Posts: 1406


 Re:

Hi theopenlife,

You are more than welcome. There is much truth to be found in our study of the early church and non-resistance.

In His Love
pastorfrin

 2007/9/16 19:22Profile









 Re: AN INQUIRY INTO THE ACCORDANCY Of War With The Principles Of Christianity Chap. 2

moe_mac:In response
In all three of these post if I counted right I found 2 scriptures.
2 Samuel 24:16
16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
KJV

and this one.

Ps 102:7
7 I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
KJV

Pastorfrin most of the people who are saying redeploy, seek peace, give up are also in favor of
abortion, homosexual rights and other unGodly acts. It would be great if this would work. The Bible tells us they hate the Christians and the Jews.

I do not believe for a minute you agree with this, but you are alining with them on this issue. If they hold such Godly values in one area why are they so corrupt in others? As I said you have choice to make stand with abortion, homosexuality and what has God got to do with it people and surrender to the enemy, vote to fight against the terrorist, or not vote at all, because if Jesus don't come back first you have one of the two. We can preach Jesus to others and stand with either but which one would HE be most pleased with do you think?

It is true that are eternal hope is in the Lord alone. Jesus is way the truth and the life. Not by works but unto. These unto works will be manifested in this time on earth. The things that will be judged in are happening right now.
It's interesting only two scriptures are given on this subject on this post thus far.

We find Samson pulling down the building on the enemy the philistines.
In Psalms we find King David killing Golaith.

We find Jesus assurring us of the Old Testament prophets in heaven did they fight evil or kill any enemy forces. How did they get to heaven. Was God pleased with Joshua, Gideon. As a matter of fact who did God tell Gideon to pick to go with HIM. The ones that did not want to fight against evil or the exactly the ones that got cut from Gideon's Army or God's Army? You know that don't you.

We find Jesus commemding the soldier in Luke 7:8-9
2 And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.

3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:

5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
KJV
8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
KJV

We can see the difference many scriptures were used in the post on government vs
individual responsibility by Lazarus 1719.

The topic of war and capital punishment has come up lately on campus and I thought I would share my quick thoughts on it.We must make a proper distinction between individual relations and governmental relations. This is vital to a proper understanding of the issue. Failure to make a distinction between individual relations and governmental relations would result in total anarchy and chaos.Individual relations:Mt 5:39 - But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.Mt 6:14-15 - For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Governmental Relations:Romans 13:1-6 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves d**nation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.As individuals, we must overcome all vindictiveness, bitterness, hatred, revenge, etc. But the government has a God ordained ministry to execute the wrath of the sword upon evildoers. The government is responsible for the protection of the community and so it passes good laws. And it is responsible for upholding those good laws. The purpose of punishment is to declare the value of those laws; thus the punishment must fit the crime. The punishment of law breakers is to uphold the laws that they broke. And those laws serve the purpose of protecting the community.So on an individual level, we absolutely must forgive everyone. We will not be forgiven by God if we ourselves do not forgive others. But the government has a God ordained ministry to protect the community, which includes passing laws and then upholding laws through punishment.And so protecting the community requires sending criminals to prison as well as capital punishment for more serious offenses. A serious offense requires a serious punishment as a public declaration of the value of the law that was violated.And since the government has the God ordained ministry of protecting the community and executing the sword, that includes going to war when absolutely necessary for the public good. If our relational responsibility as individuals are at odds with the governments' relational responsibility, can a Christian be involved in the Government? That is a great question Josh.As loving Christians, we of all people should support the government which is responsible for the welfare and well-being of the community. As Christians we are not lovers of anarchy and chaos, but lovers of peace and order.The government is a God ordained ministry, and as Romans 13 says, to resist the government is to resist God Himself! But we are in favor of God and therefore in favor of everything that God is in favor of!That does not men that all the laws that a government passes are good (abortion, homosexual marriage) But rather, that we must uphold and support all the good laws that the government passes. (don't rob and steal, don't murder, don't sell drugs, etc)I believe that the more Christians we have in government the better. None but the godly are ultimate fit to make proper judgments when it comes to passing laws and prison sentences, etc.But the point is that the execution of punishment is not personal but governmental. For example Josh, suppose someone robs your house. They get caught and face a judge. They do not face the judge as someone who has sinned against Josh. Rather, they face the judge as someone who has violated the governmental law. The prosecution is governmental and not personal. And so when that person goes to prison, it is not out of personal vindictiveness or as personal revenge, but it is solely governmental. They are put in prison because they cannot be trusted in the community, not because they have individually sinned against one individual.So we as Christians must support good government, good judges, good laws, etc. But our support is not out of personal delight in punishment or out of personal vindictiveness. But out of love for peace and order, out of love for the community. (This could also help us to understand how even God's wrath is governmental, being a governmental necessity and not merely a personal vindictiveness or a personal unwillingness to forgive on the part of God.)Quote: Wow, a thought just came to mind.Was it illegal to be a heretic in Calvin's day? If so, you just justified his actions did you not? I think that this applies to that situation:"That does not men that all the laws that a government passes are good (abortion, homosexual marriage) But rather, that we must uphold and support all the good laws that the government passes. (don't rob and steal, don't murder, don't sell drugs, etc)"So we are suppose to support good laws and are suppose to be against bad laws. A good law is that which protects the community, a bad law is that which is harmful to the community.Quote: Josh said: Well, this is my delima. If we use the Bible to dictate what are good laws vs bad, the Bible says that we must love our enemies. Would any law that violates that be "bad?" This would involve all wars, right? Again, we must distinguish between the personal and the governmental. We are to personally love our enemies. But personal love for enemies does not exclude the necessity of government.But do you want your enemies to live in a society where it's ok for others to steal from them, rape them, and murder them? Does not love for everyone require personal support of government?If we love everyone, we wouldn't want anyone to live in a lawless society where anarchy and chaos reigns, where crimes against humanity can be committed without punishment.When we establish laws like don't steal, rape, and murder, we are subjecting EVERYONE to these laws, including ourselves, and not just our enemies. Everyone is subjected to the law, including judges and police officers, including those who issued the law.But if we love our enemies, we wouldn't want them to live in a society that had no government, where people could steal from them, rape them, and murder them without any fear of punishment.The community would not be save if the government did not pass laws and uphold laws through punishment; and the community would not be save if the government did not protect the community through war from foreign threats.
Revelation 11:5 - And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.It seems to me that they were given authority from God to kill their enemies with fire.Likewise with Romans 13, the government has been given authority from God to execute the wrath of the sword.And the same God of love also said: Luke 19:27 - "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."I hope that we can all agree that our loving God will be holding public executions on Judgment Day.The extend of my argument would be that it's the governments responsibility to protect the country and it's a Fathers responsibility to protect his family.
The topic of war and capital punishment has come up lately on campus and I thought I would share my quick thoughts on it.

We must make a proper distinction between individual relations and governmental relations. This is vital to a proper understanding of the issue. Failure to make a distinction between individual relations and governmental relations would result in total anarchy and chaos.

Individual relations:

Mt 5:39 - But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Mt 6:14-15 - For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Governmental Relations:

Romans 13:1-6 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves d**nation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

As individuals, we must overcome all vindictiveness, bitterness, hatred, revenge, etc.

But the government has a God ordained ministry to execute the wrath of the sword upon evildoers. The government is responsible for the protection of the community and so it passes good laws. And it is responsible for upholding those good laws. The purpose of punishment is to declare the value of those laws; thus the punishment must fit the crime. The punishment of law breakers is to uphold the laws that they broke. And those laws serve the purpose of protecting the community.

So on an individual level, we absolutely must forgive everyone. We will not be forgiven by God if we ourselves do not forgive others.

But the government has a God ordained ministry to protect the community, which includes passing laws and then upholding laws through punishment.

And so protecting the community requires sending criminals to prison as well as capital punishment for more serious offenses. A serious offense requires a serious punishment as a public declaration of the value of the law that was violated.

And since the government has the God ordained ministry of protecting the community and executing the sword, that includes going to war when absolutely necessary for the public good.

The community would not be save if the government did not pass laws and uphold laws through punishment; and the community would not be save if the government did not protect the community through war from foreign threats.


I respectfully disagree with this position and interpretation but I still love you brother.

In His Love
moe_mac


 2007/9/17 0:22
pastorfrin
Member



Joined: 2006/1/19
Posts: 1406


 Re:

Hi Moe,
If you have the time you may want to go back to the beginning of this series of articles, which start with Chapter 1 Part 1 and so far up to the current one, Chapter 2 Part 6. They are all posted under Articles and Sermons in order.
Much scripture is used and commented upon. Here are just a few of the scriptures used and there are many more.

Have peace one with another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Walk with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love.
Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another. Love as brethren, be pitiful, [30] and be courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing.
Be at peace among yourselves. See that none render evil for evil to any man. God hath called us to peace.
Follow after love, patience, and meekness. Be gentle, showing all meekness unto all men. Live in peace.
Lay aside all malice. Put off anger, wrath, and malice. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Avenge not yourselves. If thine enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Overcome evil with good.
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;’ but I say unto you that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also… Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy;’ but I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, for if ye love them only which love you, what reward have ye?” [31]
“It hath been said, ‘Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment;’ but I say that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

“Shall we smite with the sword?”
“Put up thy sword again into its place,” said his Divine Master, “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

“My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews,but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

“Whence come wars and fighting among you?”
“come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong holds, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”



Yes moe,
You are right that there is a difference between individuals and government. These articles in no way speak against government but to the fact that a Christian is to be separate from this world and the wars that this world is involved in.
Romans 13 does not mean we the church should be the sword bearer, any more than we are told to go to law against each other. We are told to be salt and light just as our savior, the disciples and the early church were a witness for us to follow.



From An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of Christianity

Chapter 2 Part 3
“Our Savior inculcated mildness and peacefulness. We have seen that the apostles imbibed his spirit and followed his example, and the early Christians pursued the example and imbibed the spirit of both. “This sacred principle, this earnest recommendation of forbearance, lenity, and forgiveness mixes with all the writings of that age. There are more quotations in the apostolic fathers of texts that relate to these points than of any other. Christ’s sayings had struck them. ‘Not rendering,’ says Polycarp, the disciple of John, ‘evil for evil, or railing for railing, or striking for striking, or cursing for cursing.’” [51] Christ and his apostles delivered general precepts for the regulation of our conduct. It was necessary for their successors to apply them to their practice in life. And to what did they apply the pacific precepts that had been delivered? They applied them to war. They were assured that the precepts absolutely forbade it. This belief they derived from those very precepts on which we have insisted. They referred expressly to the same passages in the New Testament and, from the authority and obligation of those passages, they refused to bear arms. A few examples from their history will show with what undoubting confidence they believed in the unlawfulness of war, and how much they were willing to suffer in the cause of peace.
Maximilian, as it is related in the Acts of Ruinart, was brought before the tribunal to be enrolled as a soldier. On the proconsul’s asking his name, Maximilian replied, “I am a Christian, and cannot fight.” It was, however, ordered that he should be enrolled, but he refused to serve, still alleging that he was a Christian. He was immediately told that there was no alternative between bearing arms and being put to death. But his fidelity was not to be shaken. “I cannot fight,” said he, “if I die.” The proconsul asked who had persuaded him to this conduct. “My own mind,” said the Christian, “and He who has called me.” It was once more attempted to shake his resolution by appealing to his youth and to the glory of the profession, but in vain. “I cannot fight,” said he, “for any earthly consideration.” He continued steadfast to his principles, sentence was pronounced upon him, and he was led to execution.
The primitive Christians not only refused to be enlisted in the army, but when they embraced Christianity while already enlisted, they abandoned the profession at whatever cost. Marcellus was a centurion in the legion called Trajana. While holding this commission he became a Christian, and believing, in common with his fellow Christians, that war was no longer permitted to him, he threw down his belt at the head of the legion, declaring that he had become a Christian, and that he would serve no longer. He was committed to prison, but he was still faithful to Christianity. “It is not lawful,” said he, “for a Christian to bear arms for any earthly consideration,” and he was in consequence put to death. Cassian, who was notary to the same legion, gave up his office almost immediately afterwards. He steadfastly maintained the sentiments of Marcellus, and like him was consigned to the executioner. Martin, of whom so much is said by Sulpicius Severus, was bred to the profession of arms, which, on his acceptance of Christianity, he abandoned. To Julian the apostate, the only reason that we find he gave for his conduct was this: “I am a Christian, and therefore I cannot fight.” The answer of Tarachus to Numerianus Maximus is in words nearly similar: “I have led a military life and am a Roman, and because I am a Christian, I have abandoned my profession of a soldier.”
These were not the sentiments, and this was not the conduct, of the insulated individuals who might be actuated by individual opinions, or by their private interpretations of the duties of Christianity. Their principles were the principles of the body. They were recognized and defended by the Christian writers who were their contemporaries. Justin Martyr and Tatian talk of soldiers and Christians as distinct characters, and Tatian says that the Christians declined even military commands. Clemens of Alexandria calls his Christian contemporaries the “Followers of Peace,” and expressly tells us that “the followers of peace used none of the implements of war.” Lactantius,” another early Christian, says expressly, “It can never be lawful for a righteous man to go to war.” About the end of the second century, Celsus, one of the opponents of Christianity, charged the Christians with refusing to bear arms even in case of necessity. Origen, the defender of the Christians, does not think of denying the fact. He admits the refusal, and justifies it, because war was unlawful. Even after Christianity had spread over almost the whole of the known world, Tertullian, in speaking of a part of the Roman armies, including more than one third of the standing legions of Rome, distinctly informs us that “not a Christian could be found among them.”
All this is explicit. The evidence of the following facts is, however, yet more determinate and satisfactory. Some of the arguments which, at the present day, are brought against the advocates of peace, were then urged against these early Christians, and these arguments they examined and repelled. This indicates investigation and inquiry and manifests that their belief in the unlawfulness of war was not a vague opinion, hastily admitted, and loosely floating among them, but that it was the result of deliberate examination, and a consequent firm conviction that Christ had forbidden it. Tertullian says, “Though the soldiers came to John, and received a certain form to be observed, yet Jesus Christ, by disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier afterwards; for custom never sanctions any unlawful act.” “Can a soldier’s life be lawful,” says he in another work, “when Christ has pronounced that he who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword? Can anyone who possesses the peaceful doctrine of the gospel be a soldier, when it is his duty not so much as to go to law? And shall he, who is not to revenge his own wrongs, be instrumental in bringing others into chains, imprisonment, torture, and death?” The very same arguments that are brought in defense of war in the present day were brought against the Christians sixteen hundred years ago, and sixteen hundred years ago they were repelled by these faithful contenders for the purity of our religion. It is remarkable, too, that Tertullian appeals to the precepts from the Mount in proof of those principles on which this essay has been insisting: that the dispositions which the precepts inculcate are not compatible with war, and that war, therefore, is irreconcilable with Christianity.
If it is possible, a still stronger evidence of the primitive belief is contained in the circumstance that some of the Christian authors declared that the refusal of the Christians to bear arms was a fulfillment of ancient prophecy. The peculiar strength of this evidence consists in this: that the fact of a refusal to bear arms is assumed as well known and unquestioned. Irenaeus, who lived about the year 180, affirms that the prophecy of Isaiah, which declared that men should turn their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, had been fulfilled in his time. “For the Christians,” says he, “have changed their swords and their lances into instruments of peace, and they know not now how to fight.” Justin Martyr, his contemporary, writes, “That the prophecy is fulfilled, you have good reason to believe, for we, who in times past killed one another, do not now fight with our enemies.” Tertullian, who lived later, says, “You must confess that the prophecy has been accomplished, as far as the practice of every individual is concerned, to whom it is applicable.” [52]
It has been sometimes said that the motive that influenced the early Christians to refuse to engage in war consisted in the idolatry that was connected with the Roman armies. One motive this idolatry unquestionably afforded; but it is obvious, from the quotations that we have given, that their belief in the unlawfulness of fighting, independent of any question of idolatry, was an insuperable objection to engaging in war. Their words are explicit. “I cannot fight if I die.” “I am a Christian, and, therefore, I cannot fight.” “Christ,” says Tertullian, “by disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier,” and Peter was not about to fight in the armies of idolatry. So entire was their conviction of the incompatibility of war with our religion, that they would not even be present at the gladiatorial fights “lest,” says Theophilus, “we should become partakers of the murders committed there.” Can anyone believe that they who would not even witness a battle between two men, would themselves fight in a battle between armies? And the destruction of a gladiator, it should be remembered, was authorized by the state as much as the destruction of enemies in war.
It is, therefore, indisputable that the Christians who lived nearest to the time of our Savior, believed, with undoubting confidence, that he had unequivocally forbidden war, that they openly avowed this belief, and that, in support of it, they were willing to sacrifice, and did sacrifice, their fortunes and their lives.
Christians, however, afterwards became soldiers. And when? When their general fidelity to Christianity became relaxed; when, in other respects, they violated its principles; when they had begun “to dissemble” and “to falsify their word” and “to cheat;” when “Christian casuists” had persuaded them that they might “sit at meat in the idol’s temple;” when Christians accepted even the priesthoods of idolatry. In a word, they became soldiers, when they had ceased to be Christians.”

I must say as well brother moe, with all due love and respect to you, I as well see my Lord’s example as the only one I can follow.

In His Love
pastorfrin

 2007/9/17 19:10Profile





©2002-2019 SermonIndex.net
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Privacy Policy