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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Will You Kill or Be Killed?

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Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057


Greetings Chris

I wanted to say, as someone who falls into the turn the other cheek group:-) I understand what you have shared. I think that we have come to a place in this thread where maybe we can just leave this now in the hands of the Lord. As you have mentioned you have studied and have a clear conscious in walking out what Father has shown you, and so have I(and others I believe) so now lets us walk together in Him and pray for each other that if there is anything in our hearts or attitudes that are not of Him we might see that and die to it:-)
God Bless you dear brother

 2009/10/7 15:45Profile

Joined: 2009/4/24
Posts: 280


Thank you all for your contribution to this thread,

Would that professing Christians would try more to purge their own hearts, and bring this solemn precept into their daily lives, instead of discussing whether there are cases in which it does not apply!

There are great tracts in the lives of all of us to which it should apply and is not applied; and we had better seek to bring these under its dominion first, and then it will be time enough to debate as to whether any circumstances are outside its dominion or not.

Alexander Maclaren

My prayer to the Lord is that we will all hear, receive and become doers of our Lord’s precious word and example.


Lee Chapel

 2009/10/7 18:31Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1263



chapel wrote:
ccchhhrrriiisss wrote:

I don't agree with every tenant of the "non-resistant" perspective...and I don't believe that a believer should come on here and dismiss those who don't embrace his views as part of a "false Christianity" that embraces "damnable heresy."

As far as I can see from your multiple post is that you do not agree with any of the tenants of nonresistance. In fact Ccchhhrrriiisss there is a prevailing theme in everyone of your post and it simply has to do with your rights, it is all about you, though you make pretense of actually caring about others, the underlying theme is Ccchhhrrriiisss and his freedom.


When I first read what you have written to Chris, judging him in the way that you did. I was stunned. I was really thinking why you would speak like that to him. When I saw how Chris responded to your post then it is clear to all that he really showed nonresistance to your personal attack on his character because he believes that the Lord is the real judge.

I don’t know you Chapel and you don’t know me but I was really wondering how you got the authority to judge Chris the way that you did. Where is the love that Christ talked about concerning your brother and not to judge your brother?

We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ one day and how you feel about something will not matter as much as what you did about something. The truth of the matter is that you, Chris, nor anybody else on here can change the world we live in but we can submit to God’s transformation in our own life and not be so quick to judge others. Jesus said until he comes back and takes over we will have wars and rumors of wars. The authorities are set up and ordain of God even though there are unrighteousness in governments and some much worse than others. This will not be changed until there is a new heaven and a new earth. We will have people in law enforcement and people in the military until then.

In a more humorous light, if I was somehow caught in a foxhole with anyone on this thread I would sure want it to be Chris.

God bless you brother Chris I can see Christ in your writings as much as anyone else on here.

Grace to all!

 2009/10/8 0:40Profile

Joined: 2009/4/24
Posts: 280


Mr. rbanks,

You are absolutely right, we are living in a world that will be at war until Jesus comes, but nowhere did Jesus or his disciples tell us we were to be a part of it. I will not go into all the scriptures regarding this but I will say that we have every right to judge our brothers as long as we judge righteous judgment.
John 7:24
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

That is, judge by the words of Christ, just as he is going to do.

John 12:48
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Anyone who claims that Jesus told us to follow our governments into war are teaching false doctrine no matter what your reasoning may be.

Since you find humor in being in a foxhole shows you have never been in one, I have and I find no humor in your comment.
Watch your buddies die as you lay in a foxhole critically wounded and thus unable to do anything to stop it and then find yourself one of a few who survived and I doubt if you will find any humor either.

If the two of you continue to teach that Christians should go to war you may possibly get your wish of you and ccchhhrrriiisss in a foxhole fighting for anti christ.

I can do something Mr. rbanks, I can continue to point to the word of our Lord and not stop even though you and others tell me not to expose false doctrine.

His peace to all

Here is the testimony of a military chaplain who saw the light of Jesus Christ and gives
His reasons for why he is repenting.

A Military Chaplain Repents

by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

In August of 1945 Rev. George B. Zabelka, a Catholic chaplain with the U.S. Army Air Force, was stationed on Tinian Island in the South Pacific. He was assigned to serve the Catholics of the 509th Composite Group. The 509th Composite Group was the Atomic Bomb Group. He served as a priest for those who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After 22 years as a military chaplain he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. What follows is an interview with him by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy. Rev. George B. Zabelka went to meet his God on April 11, 1992.

Fr. McCarthy: Father Zabelka, what is your relationship to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945?

Fr. Zabelka: During the summer of 1945, July, August and September, I was assigned as Catholic chaplain to the 509th Composite Group on Tinian Island. The 509th was the Atomic Bomb Group.

Q: What were your duties in relationship to these men?

Zabelka: The usual. I said Mass on Sunday and during the week. Heard confessions. Talked with the boys, etc. Nothing significantly different from what any other chaplain did during the war.

Q: Did you know that the 509th was preparing to drop an atomic bomb?

Zabelka: No. We knew that they were preparing to drop a bomb substantially different from and more powerful than even the “blockbusters” used over Europe, but we never called it an atomic bomb and never really knew what it was before August 6, 1945. Before that time we just referred to it as the “gimmick” bomb.

Q: So since you did not know that an atomic bomb was going to be dropped you had no reason to counsel the men in private or preach in public about the morality of such a bombing?

Zabelka: Well, that is true enough; I never did speak against it, nor could I have spoken against it since I, like practically everyone else on Tinian, was ignorant of what was being prepared. And I guess I will go to my God with that as my defense. But on Judgment Day I think I am going to need to seek more mercy than justice in this matter.

Q: Why? God certainly could not have expected you to act on ideas that had never entered your mind.

Zabelka: As a Catholic priest my task was to keep my people, wherever they were, close to the mind and heart of Christ. As a military chaplain I was to try to see that the boys conducted themselves according to the teachings of the Catholic Church and Christ on war. When I look back I am not sure I did either of these things very well.

Q: Why do you think that?

Zabelka: What I do not mean to say is that I feel myself to have been remiss in any duties that were expected of me as a chaplain. I saw that the Mass and the sacraments were available as best I could. I even went out and earned paratrooper wings in order to do my job better. Nor did I fail to teach and preach what the Church expected me to teach and preach – and I don’t mean by this that I just talked to the boys about their sexual lives. I and most chaplains were quite clear and outspoken on such matters as not killing and torturing prisoners. But there were other areas where things were not said quite so clearly.

Q: For example?

Zabelka: The destruction of civilians in war was always forbidden by the Church, and if a soldier came to me and asked if he could put a bullet through a child’s head, I would have told him absolutely not. That would be mortally sinful. But in 1945 Tinian Island was the largest airfield in the world. Three planes a minute would take off from it around the clock. Many of these planes went to Japan with the express purpose of killing not one child or one civilian but of slaughtering hundreds and thousands of children and civilians – and I said nothing.

Q: Why not? You certainly knew civilians were being destroyed by the thousands in these raids, didn’t you?

Zabelka: Oh, indeed I did know, and I knew with a clarity that few others could have had.

Q: What do you mean?

Zabelka: As a chaplain I often had to enter the world of the boys who were losing their minds because of something they did in war. I remember one young man who was engaged in the bombings of the cities of Japan. He was in the hospital on Tinian Island on the verge of a complete mental collapse.

He told me that he had been on a low-level bombing mission, flying right down one of the main streets of the city, when straight ahead of him appeared a little boy, in the middle of the street, looking up at the plane in a childlike wonder. The man knew that in a few seconds the child would be burned to death by napalm which had already been released.

Yes, I knew civilians were being destroyed, and knew it perhaps in a way others didn’t. Yet I never preached a single sermon against killing civilians to men who were doing it.

Q: Again, why not?

Zabelka: Because I was “brainwashed”! It never entered my mind to publicly protest the consequences of these massive air raids. I was told it was necessary; told openly by the military and told implicitly by my Church’s leadership. To the best of my knowledge no American cardinals or bishops were opposing these mass air raids. Silence in such matters, especially by a public body like the American bishops, is a stamp of approval.

The whole structure of the secular, religious, and military society told me clearly that it was all right to “let the Japs have it.” God was on the side of my country. The Japanese were the enemy, and I was absolutely certain of my country’s and Church’s teaching about enemies; no erudite theological text was necessary to tell me. The day-in-day-out operation of the state and the Church between 1940 and 1945 spoke more clearly about Christian attitudes towards enemies and war than St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas ever could.

I was certain that this mass destruction was right, certain to the point that the question of its morality never seriously entered my mind. I was “brainwashed” not by force or torture but by my Church’s silence and wholehearted cooperation in thousands of little ways with the country’s war machine. Why, after I finished chaplaincy school at Harvard I had my military chalice officially blessed by the then Bishop Cushing of Boston. How much more clearly could the message be given? Indeed, I was “brainwashed”!

Q: So you feel that because you did not protest the morality of the bombing of other cities with their civilian populations, that somehow you are morally responsible for the dropping of the atomic bomb?

Zabelka: The facts are that seventy-five thousand people were burned to death in one evening of fire bombing over Tokyo. Hundreds of thousands were destroyed in Dresden, Hamburg, and Coventry by aerial bombing. The fact that forty-five thousand human beings were killed by one bomb over Nagasaki was new only to the extent that it was one bomb that did it.

To fail to speak to the utter moral corruption of the mass destruction of civilians was to fail as a Christian and a priest as I see it. Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened in and to a world and a Christian Church that had asked for it – that had prepared the moral consciousness of humanity to do and to justify the unthinkable. I am sure there are Church documents around someplace bemoaning civilian deaths in modern war, and I am sure those in power in the church will drag them out to show that it was giving moral leadership during World War II to its membership.

Well, I was there, and I’ll tell you that the operational moral atmosphere in the Church in relation to mass bombing of enemy civilians was totally indifferent, silent, and corrupt at best – at worst it was religiously supportive of these activities by blessing those who did them.

I say all this not to pass judgment on others, for I do not know their souls then or now. I say all this as one who was part of the so-called Christian leadership of the time. So you see, that is why I am not going to the day of judgment looking for justice in this matter. Mercy is my salvation.

Q: You said the atomic bombing of Nagasaki happened to a Church that “had asked for it.” What do you mean by that?

Zabelka: For the first three centuries, the three centuries closest to Christ, the Church was a pacifist Church. With Constantine the church accepted the pagan Roman ethic of a just war and slowly began to involve its membership in mass slaughter, first for the state and later for the faith.

Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, whatever other differences they may have had on theological esoterica, all agreed that Jesus’ clear and unambiguous teaching on the rejection of violence and on love of enemies was not to be taken seriously. And so each of the major branches of Christianity by different theological methods modified our Lord’s teaching in these matters until all three were able to do what Jesus rejected, that is, take an eye for an eye, slaughter, maim, torture.

It seems a “sign” to me that seventeen hundred years of Christian terror and slaughter should arrive at August 9, 1945 when Catholics dropped the A-Bomb on top of the largest and first Catholic city in Japan. One would have thought that I, as a Catholic priest, would have spoken out against the atomic bombing of nuns. (Three orders of Catholic sisters were destroyed in Nagasaki that day.) One would have thought that I would have suggested that as a minimal standard of Catholic morality, Catholics shouldn’t bomb Catholic children. I didn’t.

I, like that Catholic pilot of the Nagasaki plane, was heir to a Christianity that had for seventeen hundred years engaged in revenge, murder, torture, the pursuit of power and prerogative and violence, all in the name of our Lord.

I walked through the ruins of Nagasaki right after the war and visited the place where once stood the Urakami Cathedral. I picked up a piece of a censer from the rubble. When I look at it today I pray God forgives us for how we have distorted Christ’s teaching and destroyed His world by the distortion of that teaching. I was the Catholic chaplain who was there when this grotesque process, which began with Constantine, reached its lowest point – so far.

Q: What do you mean by “so far”?

Zabelka: Briefly, what I mean is that I do not see that the moral climate in relation to war inside or outside the Church has dramatically changed much since 1945. The mainline Christian Churches still teach something that Christ never taught or even hinted at, namely the Just War Theory, a theory that to me has been completely discredited theologically, historically, and psychologically.

So as I see it, until the various churches within Christianity repent and begin to proclaim by word and deed what Jesus proclaimed in relation to violence and enemies, there is no hope for anything other than ever-escalating violence and destruction.

Until membership in the Church means that a Christian chooses not to engage in violence for any reason and instead chooses to love, pray for, help, and forgive all enemies; until membership in the Church means that Christians may not be members of any military, American, Polish, Russian, English, Irish, et al.; until membership in the Church means that the Christian cannot pay taxes for others to kill others; and until the Church says these things in a fashion which the simplest soul could understand – until that time humanity can only look forward to more dark nights of slaughter on a scale unknown in history. Unless the Church unswervingly and unambiguously teaches what Jesus teaches on this matter it will not be the divine leaven in the human dough that it was meant to be.

“The choice is between nonviolence or nonexistence,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, and he was not, and I am not, speaking figuratively. It is about time for the Church and its leadership in all denominations to get down on its knees and repent of this misrepresentation of Christ’s words.

Communion with Christ cannot be established on disobedience to His clearest teachings. Jesus authorized none of His followers to substitute violence for love; not me, not you, not Jimmy Carter, not the pope, not a Vatican council, nor even an ecumenical council.

Q: Father Zabelka, what kinds of immediate steps do you think the church should take in order to become the “divine leaven in the human dough”?

Zabelka: Step one should be that Christians the world over should be taught that Christ’s teaching to love their enemies is not optional. I’ve been in many parishes in my life, and I have found none where the congregation explicitly is called upon regularly to pray for its enemies. I think this is essential.

I offer you step two at the risk of being considered hopelessly out of touch with reality. I would like to suggest that there is an immediate need to call an ecumenical council for the specific purpose of clearly declaring that war is totally incompatible with Jesus’ teaching and that Christians cannot and will not engage in or pay for it from this point in history on. This would have the effect of putting all nations on this planet on notice that from now on they are going to have to conduct their mutual slaughter without Christian support – physical, financial, or spiritual.

I am sure there are other issues which Catholics or Orthodox or Protestants would like to confront in an ecumenical council instead of facing up to the hard teachings of Christ in relationship to violence and enemies. But it seems to me that issues like the meaning of the primacy of Peter are nowhere near as pressing or as destructive of Church credibility and God’s world as is the problem of continued Christian participation in and justification of violence and slaughter. I think the Church’s continued failure to speak clearly Jesus’ teachings is daily undermining its credibility and authority in all other areas.

Q: Do you think there is the slightest chance that the various branches of Christianity would come together in an ecumenical council for the purpose of declaring war and violence totally unacceptable activities for Christians under all circumstances?

Zabelka: Remember, I prefaced my suggestion of an ecumenical council by saying that I risked being considered hopelessly out of touch with reality. On the other hand, what is impossible for men and women is quite possible for God if people will only use their freedom to cooperate a little.

Who knows what could happen if the Pope, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the President of the World Council of Churches called with one voice for such a council? One thing I am sure of is that our Lord would be very happy if His Church were again unequivocally teaching what He unequivocally taught on the subject of violence.

Q: Fr. Zabelka, why after 39 years did you now decide to return to Japan and join in a peace pilgrimage that will culminate for you in Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, 1984?

Zabelka: I am old now. Soon I will go to meet my God. When the invitation came to join this peace pilgrimage, I felt that God had offered me “a great grace,” as we used to say. So, I accepted.

Q: What do you mean, God has offered you “a great grace” by an invitation to join a peace walk?

Zabelka: I do not mean to quibble about words but I did not experience the invitation as a request to join a peace walk. The invitation entered into my soul as “pilgrimage” not “walk.” A pilgrimage is a journey one undertakes to holy places for holy reasons.

Q: But what holy places are you going to visit in Japan? My understanding was that you were going to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Zabelka: Calvary, the place where Christ suffered and died at the hands of the civil and religious politicians of His day, is the holiest shrine in Christianity. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are Calvaries. For here, Christ in the bodies of the “least” was again tortured and put to death hundreds of thousands of times over by exactly the same dark and deceitful spirit of organized lovelessness that roamed Jerusalem two thousand years ago.

Q: But Calvary is where Christ suffered. He did not suffer in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Zabelka: God, Christ, lives in every human being. Our Lord tells us that what is done to the “least” is in fact now done to Him (Mt 25). I believe that! That is the only kind of God that I could adore and love, a God who lives in human history and suffers with people. I could only fear a god that sat as a depersonalized king above the anguish of humanity. This is part of what the Incarnation is all about. Christ suffers and dies at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Therefore to condone or support war is to condone or support the call to “Crucify Him.” To kill in war is, in fact, to be a “Christ-killer.” I’m sorry I can say nothing else – if Calvary is a holy place, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are holy places.

Q: You said that a pilgrimage must not only be to a holy place but for holy reasons. What are your reasons?

Zabelka: Peace! Peace is the fruit of communion with God. It is obvious to me that I, as well as humanity in general, are not in full communion with God, that we need to be reconciled with God. Jesus tells us that the condition now for reconciliation with God is reconciliation of human beings with each other. The Christian is explicitly called to be an agent of reconciliation. The first step in the reconciliation process is repentance for one’s sins, for what one has done to separate people from each other and thereby separate humanity from God. The reason I am going to Hiroshima and Nagasaki is to repent and to ask the forgiveness of those living and dead whom I have damaged by my failure to love Christically.

Q: But you were not actually on the planes that dropped the atomic bombs on those cities, were you?

Zabelka: No, but that is irrelevant moral thinking in the 20th century. Modern war and oppression are carried out by a long chain of individuals, each doing his or her job meticulously while simultaneously refusing to look at the end results of his or her work. There is no state or corporate evil that is not the result of personal sinfulness. In August of 1945, I, as a Christian and as a priest, served not as an agent of reconciliation but as an instrument of retaliation, revenge and homicide. My explicit and tacit approval of what was being done on Tinian Island that summer was clearly visible for anyone to see. Beyond this, I was the last possible official spokesman for the Church before the fire of hell was let loose on Hiroshima on the Feast of the Transfiguration 1945 – and I said nothing. I was the officially designated Catholic priest who by silence did his priestly patriotic duty and chose nationalism over Catholicism, Caesar over Christ, as the “Bockscar,” manned by Christians in my care, took off to evaporate the oldest and largest Christian community in Japan – Nagasaki. No, the fact that I was not physically on the planes is morally irrelevant. I played an important and necessary role in this sacrilege – and I played it meticulously. I am as responsible as the soldier who stuck the spear in the side of Christ on Calvary. I come to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to repent and to ask forgiveness from the Japanese people, from my faith community at Nagasaki and from God.

Q: Isn’t it a bit of rhetorical exaggeration to say you were a priest that played a role in a sacrilege?

Zabelka: Not at all. I mean it literally. If someone walks into a church and destroys the altar and statues, etc., it is called a sacrilege. A sacrilege is the desecration of what is considered holy. But for the Christian, the ultimate place of the holy is the human person. We are the “temples of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, every act of violence toward a human being is an act of desecration of the temple of God in this world. War for the Christian is always sacrilege. There is no such absurdity as a Christian ethic of justified sacrilege. I am a priest who played a role in a sacrilege and that must be said by me and others like me without equivocation or else the future is a nightmare.

Q: What do you mean that the future is a nightmare unless you and others like you acknowledge your role in the sacrilege of war?

Zabelka: Look, I am a Catholic priest. In August of 1945, I did not say to the boys on Tinian, “You cannot follow Christ and drop those bombs.” But this same failure on the part of priests, pastors and bishops over the past 1700 years is, I believe, what is significantly responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki and for the seemingly unceasing “Christian” blood-letting around the globe. It seems to me that Christians have been slaughtering each other, as well as non-Christians, for the past 1700 years, in large part because their priests, pastors and bishops have simply not told them that violence and homicide are incompatible with the teachings of Jesus. On the contrary, I would say that the average priest, pastor and bishop communicates that violence and homicide can be compatible with Jesus. After all, a machine gun is no more lethal than a broomstick without the will to kill and the fact is that we so-called Christian “leaders” by commission and omission, for 1700 years, have been guilty of supplying a significant piece of the motivational apparatus necessary to execute the mass slaughter of war. Let’s be honest, to justify an evil is to promote an evil. And let’s face it, we priests, pastors and bishops have been justifying the butchery of war in the name of Christ for a long time. I might also add here that where more is required priestly silence is sinful, because silence gives consent and consent motivates toward the evil.

Q: What do you think must be done to begin to address this situation, Father Zabelka?

Zabelka: Unless the legitimate successors to the apostles proclaim fearlessly what the apostles proclaimed fearlessly, that is, that Christ’s teachings are teachings of nonviolent love and mercy – and unless they unequivocally repent of their failure and the failure of their predecessors to explicitly teach this, then a long night of high-tech terror, torture and desolation is assured all humanity – first world, third world, East and West. What has to be done is that we Christian “leaders” have to admit openly that we have been engaged in propagating a bloody moral blunder for the last 1700 years: the Just War Theory.

Q: Specifically, how does your pilgrimage to Japan for this August 6th and 9th in1984 respond to this need?

Zabelka: If my priestly silence spoke for the Church in 1945 to the fellows on Tinian, perhaps my priestly request for forgiveness at Hiroshima and Nagasaki can speak for the Church in 1984.

You see, I want to expose the lie of “Christian” war.

The lie I fell for and blessed.

I want to expose the lie of killing as a Christian social method, the lie of disposable people, the lie of Christian liturgy in the service of the homicidal gods of nationalism and militarism, the lie of nuclear security.

I want to expose it by looking into the faces of the hibaksha and saying, “Brother, forgive me for bringing you death instead of the fullness of life. Sister, pardon me for bringing you misery instead of mercy.
I and my Church have sinned against you and God.” It is hope in the Power of that small moment of truth, repentance and reconciliation that moves me to pilgrimage East by the grace of God.

Lee Chapel

 2009/10/9 14:41Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1263



chapel wrote:
Mr. rbanks,

You are absolutely right, we are living in a world that will be at war until Jesus comes, but nowhere did Jesus or his disciples tell us we were to be a part of it. I will not go into all the scriptures regarding this but I will say that we have every right to judge our brothers as long as we judge righteous judgment.
John 7:24
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

That is, judge by the words of Christ, just as he is going to do.

John 12:48
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Anyone who claims that Jesus told us to follow our governments into war are teaching false doctrine no matter what your reasoning may be.

Since you find humor in being in a foxhole shows you have never been in one, I have and I find no humor in your comment.
Watch your buddies die as you lay in a foxhole critically wounded and thus unable to do anything to stop it and then find yourself one of a few who survived and I doubt if you will find any humor either.

If the two of you continue to teach that Christians should go to war you may possibly get your wish of you and ccchhhrrriiisss in a foxhole fighting for anti christ.

I can do something Mr. rbanks, I can continue to point to the word of our Lord and not stop even though you and others tell me not to expose false doctrine.

Dear Chapel,

Why I have even posted on this thread only the Lord really knows. I really do hate war and have told my son when I saw him playing a war game or watching a war picture not to, because war is horrible. I am sorry for the comment concerning the foxhole because I really was not thinking about it the way you took it. I have often spoken against humor at the expense of another. It would be alright with me if the Lord really did come quickly and put an end to all the horror in this world. The only reason why he hasn’t come must be because of his longsuffering that none should have to perish and the restitution of all things.

You can judge me all you want because I don’t really deserve the grace of God anyway, but I will never advocate war, but consider myself to be an ambassador for Christ. I have been given the ministry of reconciliation. I also believe in church and state separation because the church is not of this world. I desire that Christ use me to win souls to God. I believe God wants me to respect all those in authority and that he desires all men to be saved.

Chapel, I pray God’s best in your life and will admit that I don’t know all the things you are speaking of and have never before given it much thought. I will pray now more concerning what you have mentioned but I will only be promoting the Lord and his gospel. I believe there are some things better left unsaid because we don’t have all knowledge. I don’t want people to get the wrong understanding when I really don’t know what to do about a situation that I have no control over.

In Christ Love.

 2009/10/9 22:36Profile

Joined: 2009/6/14
Posts: 703


Dear rbanks,

There was a good reason why God had you post in this thread, because you said things that needed to be said. I was blessed by your post and those of Chris also. They show you both to be Spirit-filled with a love for others that can only be from God. Despite what others may say, nothing in your posts show you to be a war-monger, so there was really no reason for you to defend yourself on that point. I wish to thank you for your contribution to this thread, because I was blessed by your posts, as I believe many others will also be.

There is a raging ogre wearing a "peacemaker" T-shirt in this thread who has done nothing but bludgeon the heads of all those who disagree even the slightest with him, using a war club with the words "turn the other cheek" written on it. He calls war-mongers those who are not war-mongers so he can teach them a lesson with his war club. He has also called them heretics and anti-Christs because they don't share his view, which is not Scripturally sound to begin with. He appears too proud to listen to correction or rebuke, and too blind to see the hypocrisy of his actions.

By all means, let us pray for him.

 2009/10/10 0:55Profile


Here's my view:

God help the man who tries to hurt my babies. He had better pray HARD that the police get to him before I do.

 2009/10/10 1:54

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3172


God bless you chapel - for standing in the light of His truth. Oh that I would learn to stand so fearlessly in such an onslaught of adversity. Oh that I would learn to stand so continuously in Him. May the glorious light of His truth unlock the hearts of those that do not yet see.

"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." - Revelation 22:20

 2009/10/10 3:24Profile

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


He has also called them heretics...

One of the things I have come to understand about heresy is that it sets others against each other.

You may have a group of people that are altogether as one and at peace with each other and one from among them stands up and begins to voice his opinion. Suddenly everyone around him is being put in the postion of making a decision on how they view what he is saying.

And if he continues to do so, he may not stop untill everyone is thoroughly divided along differing lines.

Strong's defines the word this way:

From G138; properly a choice, that is, (specifically) a party or (abstractly) disunion. (“heresy” is the Greek word itself.): - heresy [which is the Greekord itself], sect.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/10/10 9:13Profile

Joined: 2009/4/24
Posts: 280

 Re: Will You Kill or Be Killed?

Christian Century, 12/14/66

A Theology of Nonresistance

Man's ultimate liberty cannot be defended by war; indeed, the very act of going to war marks its loss.

by Vernard Eller

This article was originally published by The Christian Century Foundation, Chicago, IL, in The Christian Century, on December 14, 1966. It is reproduced here with their kind permission.
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I propose to set before you a theology of nonresistance. Let me insist at once that a theology of nonresistance is not the same thing as the case for nonresistance. Rather, what I have to say proceeds from the profound conviction that the only adequate basis for a truly Christian pacifism must come from a committed reading of the New Testament, must signify obedience to Christ's teaching and counsel. Theological explanations come later. But since the human mind seeks to understand that which it is called on to obey, it is proper to set forth a theology of nonresistance and use rational constructs to fill in behind first-order convictions of faith.

I. The "Scale of Liberties" Approach

Having relegated theological arguments to a second place, I now relegate arguments of prudence to no place at all. More often than not, pacifism is sold as a social and political technique. It is asserted that ways of peace would be more effective in attaining our national goals than ways of war could ever be, that love can do everything war can do and do it better. This may very well be true in most if not all situations. But for a Christian to propose this as the ground of his position is to betray his own intention. For he has thus moved the question into the realm of casuistry, has sacrificed any ultimate appeal to religious principle in the interest of arguing cases. He has, in effect, deserted his religious authority and given the matter over to the political scientists and statesmen. And although these gentlemen's findings today should support the view that nonresistance is the more effective technique, there always remains the live possibility that under the altered circumstances of tomorrow the findings might honestly point to a different conclusion. Considerations of expediency well may recommend a policy of peace, and Christian pacifists of course are happy when competent social scientists come to this view. But such a finding is in no sense the basis for a specifically religious, or Christian, position.

In this connection, the term "nonresistance" seems preferable to "pacifism." "Nonresistance" has biblical rootage in Jesus' "Do not resist one who is evil" (Mt. 5:39); and the very word "pacifism" has come to suggest the argument of expediency, the use of love as a calculated technique for achieving social and political goals.

Having then, for present purposes, disavowed all prudential arguments, I proceed to theology proper. Actually, the distance between a Christian pacifist and a Christian nonpacifist is not so great as might appear. ("Nonpacifist" is an awkward enough term, to be sure; but on the other hand, it is manifestly unjust to refer to all who are not pacifists as "militarists".) No Christian takes joy in war; the nonpacifist is as much "against" war as is the pacifist. In extreme cases, however, the nonpacifist feels bound to affirm that liberty--which itself is just as much one of God's good gifts as is peace--is of such value that it must be preserved even at the cost of war. And the Christian certainly will figure the "cost of war" as much in terms of the damage he will be forced to inflict as in terms of that he will have to suffer.

The theology I propose steals a march on the nonpacifist (to use a military metaphor) by building upon the very same principle; namely, that liberty is of such value that it must be preserved whatever the cost. This statement can only mean that there are certain liberties which must be preserved; for it is obvious that liberty in the abstract is so vague as hardly to be defendable, and equally obvious that men are quite willing to sacrifice certain liberties precisely that they may defend certain others. In reality, then, each man holds to a scale of liberties (perhaps, or probably, without being aware of it), and is willing to sacrifice any and all the liberties below a given point in order to preserve those that lie above. Thus--to use an illustration that contrasts a very low liberty with a very high one and so makes the distinction easy--during World War II we were willing to forego the liberty of indulging our taste for sugar in the interests of preserving the higher liberty of national existence. Toward the top of any person's scale surely would lie the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Probably most Christians would be willing to sacrifice their liberty' to vote if this were the only way they could present freedom of worship; and so on.

In most cases the liberty that stands at the top of the scale, the freedom for which one would be willing to sacrifice every other, is the fundamental freedom of living, of simply staying alive. For many men, however, and particularly for Christians, this top-ranked freedom must be further defined; for these people are willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to preserve the freedom of living for others, whether those "others" be thought of as the nation, the family back home, or the buddies in the foxhole.

Clearly, too, on this scale of liberties each nonpacifist--and, theoretically, each "prudential pacifist" as well--has a point at which he would be willing even to go to war in order to preserve the liberties above that point. Of course, in view of the Christian assessment of the cost of war, that point will be high up indeed.

Positively the only thing wrong with this scale-of-liberties thinking as used by the nonpacifist is that it overlooks a liberty which the Christian must put at the very top; namely, man's ultimate liberty, for which he should be willing to sacrifice all others. But, strangely enough, this is a liberty which need not and indeed cannot be defended by war; and what is even more strange, the very act of going to war marks its loss.

II. The Nature of Man

My argument here builds upon a conception of the nature of man (and of God) that is not uncommon in contemporary theology, but which I have derived most directly from such men as Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Buber, Emil Brunner and Hugh Vernon White. Man fundamentally is to be understood as a spiritual person (or a personal spirit), whereas God is understood as the spiritual Person. "Personhood" (a more awkward but much more accurate term than "personality") is constituted in one's actions as a free moral agent. A person acts within a real, concrete, living milieu, and in his acting he makes choices--not only in the simple sense of deciding between two offered alternatives but in the more complex sense of creating and molding new alternatives and higher syntheses. Therefore the "person" in his actions is, above all, free; he is responsible and answerable. The integrity of his action is such that he must be considered as an entity complete and whole in himself, never as a part or particular within a larger system.

This is not to overlook or deny that man is dependent on God, that he becomes a true person Only as he recognizes and lives within this dependency, even though the acceptance of the relationship is a free act on his part. Just as the baby becomes a human being in response to and imitation of the human beings who confront him, so men become true persons only as they respond positively to the confrontation of the spiritual Person, God. This positive response we call "faith," and in the faith relationship is found a person-to-Person communion, an I-Thou fellowship in which the two spirits coinhere without loss of personal identity. They remain distinct but not separate. On the other hand, a negative response to God's confrontation, in which the human person asserts his freedom in the face of God, in defiance, disobedience and disdain--this response we call "sin." And it results in alienation and disharmony, in "distance" between God and man.

From the foregoing it follows that man's ultimate liberty is precisely this freedom to become a true person--to respond to God in faith, to know even as one is known. If need be, the Christian will relinquish every other liberty in the interests of preserving this one, for "if the Son [i.e., the One in whom the Christian confronts God] makes you free, you will be free indeed" (Jn. 8:36).
III. The "Ultimate Liberty" of Every Person

Observe, in the first place, that this freedom cannot be threatened by evil men and therefore need not and cannot be defended through war. Though a man be imprisoned, tortured, deprived of all his customary liberties, his freedom of access to God is not touched. If he be killed--Paul says that it actually is better to depart and be with Christ, and Jesus assures us that we need not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

In theory at least, there is one way in which a human oppressor could threaten this ultimate liberty. If he suppressed religion so successfully that children grew up without knowledge of the gospel, then their freedom of access to God would seem to be abrogated. Historically, however, things have not worked in this fashion. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." Godless regimes never have proved an insurmountable obstacle to the spread of the gospel. Warfare may be effective in preserving other liberties, but it is neither necessary nor useful in preserving man's ultimate liberty.

Is there, then, any quarter from which this liberty can be threatened? Is it possible for this liberty to be lost? Yes. A man himself, through his own Sin, Can and does destroy his freedom of personal access to God. And there is one manner of sinning through which this loss of freedom becomes acute. Whenever I deny or fail to respect the "personhood" of another man I effectually deny my own personhood. I cannot be in a positive relationship to God while refusing another the possibility of that same relationship. "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen" (1 Jn. 4:20).

To treat another as though he were anything less than a person (in the full meaning of that term) is, of course, a sin against that man. But even more it is (like all sin) a sin against God; for consider the lengths to which God has gone, the price he has paid in enabling that man to become a person. Through creation, God endowed that man (as he did me) with the freedom, the positive capabilities, and all gifts that make personhood possible. And God gave his only Son for that man (as he gave him for me) in order that that man might become a true person. To recognize a man's personhood, then, actually means to recognize him as "a brother for whom Christ died." To fail to respect this identification is to fail to respect God in his greatest act; it is, in effect, to deny the efficacy of Christ in one's own case and thus one's own relationship to God.

So I impair the ultimate freedom of mankind every time I fail to respect the other man as a person, every time I fail to honor him as a brother for whom Christ died. And since military warfare is the human institution in which men are treated least like persons, it follows that war--no matter how effective it may be in preserving lesser liberties--inevitably destroys our ultimate liberty.

IV. The Basic Evil of War

In this view, the final evil of war does not lie specifically in what is done to the enemy. It is quite conceivable that one man could take another's life while still respecting him as a person. Such certainly would be the case in so-called "mercy killings," and it might be argued that gunning down a homicidal maniac ultimately works for his own good as well as society's. No, the basic evil of war lies in the estimate of other persons that it demands from and engenders in us.

"But," the nonpacifist may object, "this is a misunderstanding of war. Hate is not a necessary or even desirable concomitant. The soldier who fights coolly, objectively, doing it as a job that has to be done, is a much better soldier than the recruit who becomes emotionally involved, who sees red and feels hot hatred toward the enemy."

If "hate" is thus narrowly defined, the ultimate evil of war is not even in the hatred it arouses. In fact, from the viewpoint I am developing, hate is less insidious than this "cold objectivity"; for hate is at least a "personal" relationship (though inverted), whereas cold objectivity means precisely to treat the other man as though he were a thing rather than a person.

[A short extract from Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls appeared at this point in The Christian Century article that well illustrated the discussion that follows, however House Church Central could not get permission from the Hemingway estate to reproduce that material on the Internet].

A revulsion toward war must be natural to every Christian--it is a true instinct. The atrocities of war hardly can represent God's will. Those who conscientiously participate in war give way to the voice logic, the psychology, by which Christians overcome their revulsion.

War becomes possible to a Christian only as he considers himself an "instrument to do his duty" and considers the enemy a "target," not a whole man but a point to be shot at. How subtly and yet how inevitably these impersonal thought forms take over is well illustrated by Paul Ramsey's Century article (July 20 issue) in defense of U.S. policy in Vietnam. Whether consciously or subconsciously, I submit that, as a Christian ethicist, Ramsey felt uncomfortable in defending "war" and so shifted his terminology to talk about "arbitration [or even arbitrament] of arms." And what is an arbitrament of arms, for goodness' sake? It is a couple of old-fashioned gallants covered from head to toe with steel mesh, riding at each other with clubs until one of them falls off his horse; whereupon the victor alights to help the vanquished to his feet and lead him to the castle where they can continue their arbitrament over a bowl of mead. "War," everybody knows, is hell; but an "arbitrament of arms"--now there is a concept at which even the nicest Christian need not blanch!

V. Conclusion

But this way of thinking is a denial of that freedom which is worth much more than all the freedoms that may be preserved in consequence. In the first place, men are persons and will remain so regardless of how we choose to view them. Thinking of them as instruments and targets does not make them so. And war is war--nothing else--and getting more that way all the time. But to even greater point: what insult is it to the other man, what damage to my personal relationship to him and to God, what affront to that God who gave his only Son that both I and my enemy might become true persons, when I deliberately suspend my Christian understanding in order to consider men mere things.

Yet this is what war does and must do. In what conflict may come, the only expediency that will enable an American Christian to launch a missile wiping out hundreds of thousands of men, women and children is that he will not have to aim the missile at persons--not even at a city. His aim will be simply to hit a target, only to direct a radar blip to a given set of coordinates. So far can persons be impersonalized.

If our faith is right that God and God alone is the Lord of history, then is it not somewhat presumptuous for man to claim the prescience to recognize the turning points of history, the wisdom to see what must be done at that point, and the authority to take the matter into his own hands? Can it conceivably be the will of God that his holy intentions for history be accomplished by man's renouncing the Christian estimate of persons?

Of course one dare not base an argument on what might have happened if what did happen hadn't; yet it is plain that numerous battles and wars in which Participating Christians considered victory crucial for the future of the race were in fact lost--and lost without jeopardizing the race or frustrating God's purposes for it. The Christian's responsibility is to act in obedience and faith; it is God's responsibility to oversee history and its turning points.

"All of this is well and good," the nonpacifist may reply, "but it overlooks one very painful dilemma. If when one nation overruns another I stand by and do nothing, I actually am treating the victims as less than persons in the interests of treating the oppressors as persons. If, for instance, because of nonresistant principles I allow the Vietcong to take over, I am in effect impersonalizing the South Vietnamese."

This argument is at best only half true. To refuse to come to the military defense of the victim could be a sign of unconcern, but it is not inevitably so. The Christian pacifist is obliged to do everything possible in behalf of the victim--short of treating the oppressors as less than persons. He will bring to bear all appropriate political and moral suasions in the effort to prevent the oppression; he will use every opportunity to minister to the victim in the way of sympathetic concern, moral support, relief and rehabilitation; he will pray unceasingly in behalf of both victim and oppressor. Surely such an attitude and such activity cannot be classified as personal unconcern and irresponsibility. Indeed, the Christian pacifist and nonpacifist part ways only at the point of war and preparation for war; their political and social activity can be in concert up to that point.

War is out of order because of the impersonalization it fosters. But, it might be objected, this impersonalization is the mark of many other institutions as well--business, labor, public education, mass communications, government, etc. True; and the Christian must be alert to the threat wherever it appears in our social life. But the difference is this: these other institutions need not be impersonalizing; the Christian can and will work at reforming them. War, however, is an institution whose very existence depends on man's ability to impersonalize.
Reform of it is out of the question. Thus the Christian is obliged to work for war's abolishment.
And until war is abolished the Christian must refuse to participate in it lest he abet the jeopardy of the one freedom that is infinitely more precious than any and all other freedoms he might defend.

Lee Chapel

 2009/10/10 19:23Profile

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