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

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


[i]Hi everyone. Want to reiterate before continuing that my contributions here are not intended to encourage or pursade anyone to participate in war or civil governments.[/i]

Continuing from the article titled [i]Resist Not Evil--Jesus Commanded It--How Far Does It

Question: How can a Christian participate in acts of war without defiling the Temple of God; using their bodies to kill and mutilate human beings, and also putting their own bodies in jeopardy of severe injury or death, therefore defiling the Temple of God? How can it be even imaginable that the holy Temple of God be involved in acts of war?

What comes to mind from these questions is the presence of the Ark of the Covenant in battle, for instance at Jericho(Joshua 6:1-21). If the objection here is that every war is inherently evil and any participation in it is unholy - yet God is seen in the Bible so closely connected with it.

And as was pointed, the Preacher wrote that there is a time for both war and peace(Ecc 3:8). I do not think he meant by that a time to be unholy.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/12/18 9:12Profile


Should Christians - Or Ministers - Run For Office?
John Witherspoon
Today's critics assert that Christians should not be involved with politics or government, and especially that ministers should not be involved. Such opposition is not new. In fact, two centuries ago, Founding Father John Witherspoon delivered a sagacious rebuttal to these same objections.

Courtesy: Independent National Historical Park
John Witherspoon (1723-1794) was a distinguished Founding Father - the president of Princeton University, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a ratifier of the U.S. Constitution. He served on over 100 committees in Congress and was head of the Board of War (essentially, he was the congressional "boss" for Commander-in-Chief George Washington). But John Witherspoon was also a minister of the Gospel - he was the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon! In fact, Dr. Witherspoon was the Billy Graham of his day - one of the most famous American ministers of that era, with volumes of published Gospel sermons.

A provision in the 1777 Georgia constitution reflected the belief that ministers should not be involved in politics. Supporters of this provision asserted the ministry of the Gospel was so important that ministers should not be distracted from their duty. (For example, the 1777 New York Constitution explained, "Whereas ministers of the Gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function; therefore, no minister of the gospel . . . shall be eligible to . . . any civil office within this State.") Following this same logic, the Georgia constitution declared, "No clergyman of any denomination shall be allowed a seat in the legislature."

When Dr. Witherspoon learned of this prohibition, he penned the following tongue-in-cheek piece exposing the absurdity of that position. Interestingly, when Georgia wrote its third Constitution in 1798, a strong declaration of the rights of religious persons was inserted - a vast change from its first Constitution.


Following is Dr. Witherspoon's writing on why ministers should be able to serve in State legislatures:


In your paper of Saturday last, you have given us the new Constitution of Georgia, in which I find the following resolution, "No clergyman of any denomination shall be a member of the General Assembly.'' I would be very well satisfied that some of the gentlemen who have made that an essential article of this constitution, or who have inserted and approve it in other constitutions, would be pleased to explain a little the principles, as well as to ascertain the meaning of it.

Perhaps we understand pretty generally, what is meant by a clergyman, viz. a person regularly called and set apart to the ministry of the gospel, and authorized to preach and administer the sacraments of the Christian religion. Now suffer me to ask this question: Before any man among us was ordained a minister, was he not a citizen of the United States, and if being in Georgia, a citizen of the state of Georgia? Had he not then a right to be elected a member of the assembly, if qualified in point of property? How then has he lost, or why is he deprived of this right? Is it by offence or disqualification? Is it a sin against the public to become a minister? Does it merit that the person, who is guilty of it should be immediately deprived of one of his most important rights as a citizen? Is not this inflicting a penalty which always supposes an offence? Is a minister then disqualified for the office of a senator or representative? Does this calling and profession render him stupid or ignorant? I am inclined to form a very high opinion of the natural understanding of the freemen and freeholders of the state of Georgia, as well as of their improvement and culture by education, and yet I am not able to conceive, but that some of those equally qualified, may enter into the clerical order: and then it must not be unfitness, but some other reason that produces the exclusion. Perhaps it may be thought that they are excluded from civil authority, that they may be more fully and constantly employed in their spiritual functions. If this had been the ground of it, how much more properly would it have appeared, as an order of an ecclesiastical body with respect to their own members. In that case I should not only have forgiven but approved and justified it; but in the way in which it now stands, it is evidently a punishment by loss of privilege, inflicted on those, who go into the office of the ministry; for which, perhaps, the gentlemen of Georgia may have good reasons, though I have not been able to discover them.

But besides the uncertainty of the principle on which this resolution is founded, there seems to me much uncertainty as to the meaning of it. How are we to determine who is or is not a clergyman? Is he only a clergyman who has received ordination from those who have derived the right by an uninterrupted succession from the apostles? Or is he also a clergyman, who is set apart by the imposition of hands of a body of other clergymen, by joint authority? Or is he also a clergyman who is set a part by the church members of his own society, without any imposition of hands at all? Or is he also a clergyman who has exhorted in a Methodist society, or spoken in a Quaker meeting, or any other religious assembly met for public worship? There are still greater difficulties behind: Is the clerical character indelible? There are some who have been ordained who occasionally perform some clerical functions, but have no pastoral charge at all. There are some who finding public speaking injurious to health, or from other reasons easily conceived, have resigned their pastoral charge, and wholly discontinued all acts and exercises of that kind; and there are some, particularly in New England, who having exercised the clerical office some time, and finding it less suitable to their talents than they apprehended, have voluntarily relinquished it, and taken to some other profession, as law, physic, or merchandize[sic]--Do these all continue clergymen, or do they cease to be clergymen, and by that cessation return to, or recover the honorable privileges of laymen?

I cannot help thinking that these difficulties are very considerable, and may occasion much litigation, if the article of the constitution stands in the loose, ambiguous form in which it now appears; and therefore I would recommend the following alterations, which I think will make every thing definite and unexceptionable.

"No clergyman, of any denomination, shall be capable of being elected a member of the Senate or House of Representatives, because {here insert the grounds of offensive disqualification, which I have not been able to discover} Provided always, and it is the true intent and meaning of this part of the constitution, that if at any time he shall be completely deprived of the clerical character by those by whom he was invested with it, as by deposition for cursing and swearing, drunkenness or uncleanness, he shall then be fully restored to all the privileges of a free citizen; his offence shall no more be remembered against him; but he may be chosen either to the Senate or House of Representatives, and shall be treated with all the respect due to his brethren, the other members of Assembly."

(Source: John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon, (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, Parliament-Square, 1815), Vol. IX, pp 220-223.)

 2009/12/18 9:20

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


The governments of the world are "ordained" by God, but ordained simply means appointed; that doesn't mean they are holy and righteous.

Strong's say the word [i]ordained[/i] here means:

A prolonged form of a primary verb (which latter appears only in certain tenses); to arrange in an orderly manner, that is, assign or dispose (to a certain position or lot): - addict, appoint, determine, ordain, set.

While it can be agreed that no earthly kingdom is righteous or holy as the Kingdom of God, yet each has its own measure of conformity to His will, so more some less, and they are all righteous, or 'right', in that they derive their power from God, and retain it, whether they excercise it rightly or not, untill such time as He sees fit to dispose them of it.

And any institution of God is Holy in an external sense, being that it is of or unto Him.

The censers of Korah and his party were taken as holy(Numbers 16:37-38), and the Lord even calls the foreign king Cyrus, His shepherd(Is 44:28) and His annointed(Is 45:1), who was to be the earthly means of the restoration of His people. [b]A very Holy Purpose[/b].

As for the Christian, we do not nescessarily become unholy by relation to things in this world as it was under the Law.

The Lord Jesus was not defiled by coming into contact with a dead body(Lev 21:1-4, Num 9:6, Luke 7:12-15), because He is Life, and One greater than the Temple was there.

And so also Paul writes of those who, being Christians, were not defiled though they were eating in a place among things being sacrificed unto devils, though they themselves had liberty of conscience to eat it, so long as they did not give others the impression that they appoved of it, or ate as unto those devils also(1Co 10:19-33).

And so also he says, that the children and unbelieving spouse of the believer are sanctified [i]by the believer[/i](1Co 7:14).

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/12/18 9:55Profile

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


Christians are to obey the laws and pay taxes, they are to be good citizens; going about their lives in simplicity and meekness. Christians are to be of low estate, they are not to seek high positions; Paul made that clear in Romans 12:16. "Be of the same mind one toward another, mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits."

A few things here:

There is no lower position in life than to be a slave, and from what others have written, it would appear that the Roman soldier could have been considered a slave to the Roman Goverment.

Yet Paul the Apostle writes elsewhere:

"Art thou called [i]being[/i] a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use [i]it[/i] rather." -1Co 7:21(KJV)

[i]if thou mayest be made free, use it rather[/i]

If the admonition in Romans 12 is that Christians should always and only be of low estate, why then should they ever care to be free, and other than slaves?

But Paul says, [i]use it rather[/i]. An intersting phrase.

The admonition in this passage is not [b]to always and only be of low estate[/b], but to condescend to those who are. Not to think highly of ourselves, or to seperate ourselves from others who are low.

I have for years now spoken with many people that are homeless, and on more than one occasion I have been told how hurt a person has been by the way they have been recieved going into some Church buildings, having to sit in the back, or being made to feel isolated, because of their appearance and conditions.

No, but Paul rather says here before this:

"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called."

An interesting word to have been read perhaps by someone like Cornelius, who recieved and accepted his invitation to the Kingdom of God while being a servant to the Romans and their armies.

And so, as I read it, the exhoration to "mind not high things" is not to say that we should never have any desire to any place of significance in life nor that we should only desire to be as low and lowly in position as possible. But rather that this applies to the dispostion of our hearts. That these things should not be the focus of our affections and ambitions, especailly so that they make us to forget others, especially those that are low. But rather we should do all things, as he says elsewhere:

as unto God, and to the Glory of God.

If men should not have any desire to anything High, they should not want to be Christians(1Co 6:3, Php 3:14, Rev 1:6, 2:26-27).

But Paul says if a man has [b]an opportunity[/b] to be free, that he should [b]use it[/b].

And so it is that Christians now and at this time may have a great variety of opportunities in this world, and all of which they may possibly use to serve God.

While it may not have been possible, or was more difficult for Chrsitians or Jews to have many high postions in life during the first century, yet people of God have used them for God's purposes before. Esther, or Nehehmiah the king's cupbearer, or such a man as we have read about as William Wilburforce.

I hope that no one will say that his labor and service in British goverment to end slavery there was devilish.

Or made him an infidel.

I hope not. Then again, maybe I'm wrong, and he and otehrs like him were really unbelievers?

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/12/18 10:39Profile

Joined: 2009/4/24
Posts: 280

 Re: Concerning the Sword

“Concerning the Sword”: A Hutterian Apologia of 1577
[Article IV of the Great Article Book]


This translation first appeared in the January 2009 issue of the
Mennonite Quarterly Review.

The government is an outward servant of law, of vengeance. “The
servant does not continue in the house forever,” says Christ (Jn. 8:[35]),
and cannot participate in the joy and inheritance of his master, and be
saved unless he become one of the children. “Cast out this slave woman
with her son,” says the Scripture, “for the son of this slave woman shall
not be heir with my son Isaac” (Gen. 21:[10, 12]; Gal. 4:[30]). Hence they
cannot boast of anything more than citizenship on earth. With the rich
man they are receiving good things here, and have their portion and
their reward in this life,31 and cannot look forward to the hope of heaven
unless they turn away from the slavery of the law and become children
of light and the Gospel, yes, from the worldly to the Christian. For two
heavens they will not be able to have.

“My kingdom is not of this world,” said Christ to Pilate, “otherwise
my servants would stand and fight and contend for me” (Jn. 18:[36]).
Thus, our King, Jesus Christ, is a spiritual king and has a spiritual realm.
Therefore his sword must not be physical but spiritual. A spiritual
kingdom cannot employ a physical sword. For worldly rulers wield a
physical sword, since their realm is also physical. Therefore all who
would defend themselves with force and the sword are certainly not of
the realm of Christ. For his servants do not position themselves thus, as
he himself says here. And because his reign is not of this world, but the
government is worldly, the two can neither merge nor be alike. And
those who quarrel, battle and fight for the kingdom of this world
indicate clearly that they are not Christians, for the kingdom of this

30. Jn. 17:18; 20:21.
31. Lk. 16:25.

world is the devil’s realm; he is a prince of this world, as Christ says (Jn.

When they led Jesus to the brow of the hill, and intended to throw
him down headlong, he passed through the midst of them and went
away (Lk. 4:[29-30]). It does not say he attacked them, even though he
often had many people with him, 5,000 and 7,000; he could even have
annihilated them with a word and dried them up like the fig tree. But he
offered no resistance. Paul also tells how he had suffered much at the
hands of those who refused to believe him, namely, five times he
received lashes, and was beaten with rods and stoned. It does not say
that he defended himself even once, or that the churches, some of which
were large, arose and defended or protected themselves with the sword.
Oh no! If the apostles had precipitated an uproar and violently struck
out at Christ’s enemies with the sword and conquered Jerusalem,
compelling everybody to accept their faith, what would that have been
but damnation to their souls. It is therefore a devilish defense and

The Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove,32 sent upon the believers
(Acts 2:[4]) not in the form of a griffon or other beast of prey. A dove
(which has no gall or bitterness) does not fall upon a falcon or hawk or
eagle, nor does it attack any other bird. The dove is among birds what
the sheep is among animals, which has no wish to injure any animal, but
is attacked by them—persecuted, attacked and killed by eagles, hawks,
ravens and additional birds of the falcon family and other hostile birds.

The Apostle Paul writes that we should not be conformed to this
world, but be transformed by the renewal of our mind (Rom. 12:[2]).
Now the most common characteristic of the world is to bear and use
swords and other weapons of death, which no member of Christ should
do. But government must be conformed to this world if it wants to
govern, and it does whatever is the practice in this world and leads the

32. Mt. 3:16 and elsewhere.

course of the world. Therefore it has the status of temporal power. It is of
the world, yes, the summit of worldly power, of which it is the chief
expression. To this, Christians should not be conformed, as Paul says.
Therefore a Christian cannot be a worldly ruler.

“Repay no man evil for evil,” says Paul (Rom. 12:[17]). But it is the
office of government to repay evil for evil.33 “Do not be haughty but be
humble” (Rom. 12:[16]). But the government is very haughty and must
be in a lofty position because it is the government of the world. That is
another reason why no Christian can rule. If possible, so far as it depends
on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, avenge not yourselves, but
leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will
repay, says the Lord” (Deut. 32:[35]).34

But worldly authority must avenge itself if it wants to be the
government of the world. That is never the duty of the Christian. On the
contrary, as Paul says further:35 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he
is thirsty, give him drink” (Rom. 12:[20]). Thus God permits the
Christian no sword or vengeance. For if servants quarrel among
themselves and do not respect their masters but make bold to avenge
themselves even after their masters have pled with them, their masters
not only refuse to accept them but become angry and rebuke them as
disgraceful and dishonorable rogues and tell them what they ought to
have known.

Thus, if your servant undertakes to avenge himself, you, his master,
will be harsh with him. So much the more God, who admonishes us, will
say that we should give all that over to him. For what could be more
unreasonable than that we, if we demand such modesty of our servants,
refuse to render it to our Lord God? Therefore, if someone has grieved
you, you are not to try to grieve him in return, or you will be like him
and gain nothing.

No one can overcome one evil with another; on the contrary, evil is
overcome by good.36 For it is not suffering insult that is an evil, but offering
insult, or the inability to endure it. Therefore David says: “The helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan” (Ps. 10:[14]). Thus,
the ungodly man has his judge without you,

33. Rom. 13:4.
34. Text reads: Deut. 12.
35. Rom. 12:20.
36. Rom. 12:21.

and you, man of God, shall not want to wantonly ascribe to yourself the
honor of the only-begotten son (1 Thess. 4).

Vengeance and judgment are reserved for this Judge alone. But if you,
out of ambition to judge, should want to be a judge, I will show you a
judge’s seat. On it is seated your spirit and mind, a judge over your soul
and conscience: why did you dare to do this and that, and why did you
neglect this and that? Then punish yourself, and you will have enough of
the office of judgment.

“Let every man,” says Paul (and he does not exclude the believers to
whom he is writing), “be subject to the authorities” (Rom. 13:1 ff). He
does not say that they should or could be authorities of power but says
to be subject. “For there is no government except from God. But the
authority that exists everywhere” (note, everywhere—thus he refers not
only to the Roman and supposedly Christian, but to all authority and
government in the world) “is ordained by God. Therefore he who resists
it resists God’s order, and those who resist it will incur judgment.”
Therefore, as Paul writes, a Christian cannot, under God and in good
conscience, resist a government, the Turkish as little as the Roman,
because he is speaking of authority that is everywhere.

The powerful are not to be feared by those who do good but by the
wicked. For since the world does not fear God’s coming judgment and
does not avoid evil-doing, therefore the present judicial authority of the
government has been instituted that men may at least fear it and avoid
judgment, since the world always sees only the present and is little
concerned about what is coming on that Judgment Day.

The wicked rogues of this world say, “If God grants me borrowed
time until the Judgment Day I still have a long time.” Therefore they do
not desist from evil deeds for fear of the coming Judgment; but for fear
of the present government and temporal condemnation they must put on
a false and worldly piety.

“Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is
good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your
good. But if you do wrong, be afraid (Job 19:[29]), for he does not bear
the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the
wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject” (note that he speaks simply
of being subject, not of being lords, governors, mayors and rulers) “not
only to avoid wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For the same reason
you also pay taxes” (that is to their office) “on land and possessions, such
as interest, taxes and tithes,” because they cannot perform labor but must
attend to their office.37

Just as God has ordained that the ministers of the Word and Gospel in
Christendom should be supported by the Gospel and receive the dues
for their office and service from the church, so God has also ordained
that the worldly rulers receive their dues from their subjects so that they
can be supported and carry out their office. “For they are God’s servants
attending to these things” (that is, preserving worldly peace and order).
Otherwise no one would be safe from another, and if each took what
belongs to someone else, no one could walk or travel through the
country. Therefore in this respect they serve men for their good, those
who believe as well as those with worldly piety, so that the wicked are
made to fear and so become obedient and wear a bridle like a horse or
mule, yes, a bit by which they are restrained.38

“So let each one of you give what you owe, taxes to whom taxes are
due, revenue to whom revenue is due, and respect to whom respect is
due.”39 He says we should pay what we owe. But in anything that is
contrary to God, faith and conscience (where God alone wants to dwell),
God-fearing Christians do not owe anything. For he adds, “Respect to
whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due”—that is, we should
fear, reverence and honor God above all in those things and keep
ourselves unspotted from the world in whatever is against him (Jas.
1:[27]). For Christ also says, “Give to everyone who begs from you” (Lk.
6:[30]). He does not mean to give indiscriminately, or that I should give if
someone should ask me for money to spend in loose living and gambling
or to buy a gun, spear or sword in order to kill or lay to ruin his enemy.
Oh no! In this we are always to make and keep a Christian and godly

Even if I personally did not want to be an arsonist, yet paid someone
else for that purpose; even if I—to be precise, myself—did not want to do
something, yet paid someone else to do it, and then authorized that
person to go; indeed, if I were an enemy of a magistrate or ruling lord,
yet did not want to strangle him with my own hands, but instead
equipped and sent someone else to carry out this deed; would I then not
be punished as a murderer, as if I had carried out the deed myself?
Indeed, most certainly I would, and with good reason! In this same
manner, and even more so, God will bring punishment upon someone

37. Rom. 13:3-6.
38. Ps. 32:9.
39. Rom. 13:7.

who personally does not shed blood, but allows others to fight in war in
his or her stead, compensating and supporting them. These alternatives
are one and the same, and before God merit the same reward.

“For what have I to do with judging outsiders?” says Paul (1 Cor.
5:[12]).40 This makes it clear once again that no disciple or follower of
Christ may have dominion over the world and no Christian can be a
ruler. But a ruler may indeed become a Christian if with Christ he lays
aside his office, humbles himself, takes on Christ’s mind, lays down his
sword and takes up Christ’s cross and follows him.
Paul says to the Corinthians: “To have lawsuits at all with one another
means something is lacking among you. Why not rather suffer wrong?
But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that, even your own
brethren” (1 Cor. 6:[7-8]). From this it follows once more that no
Christian may have or hold judicial office; law courts and suing at law
are both done away with in the church of Christ.

Paul describes all the offices in the house of God and his church, how
God appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third
teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators,
speakers in various kinds of tongues (1 Cor. 12:[28]; Eph. 4:[11]). But
nowhere does he include the office of force, the sword or the ruler;
nowhere in the entire New Testament does one find that the apostles or
Christians had executioners, police or imprisonment in the church, or
employed them against anyone. Never did they go about in armor. For
all of these things are not proper for Christians. When St. Peter converted
a great crowd of about 3,000 to the faith,41 where did he choose or
appoint them a ruler to lord over them?

Therefore, if there had been—or were to have been in the future—
rulers and force in Christ’s house, the faithful apostle Paul would surely
have described, established and announced it, as well as other offices,
since he did not hold back anything from the church of Christ but
proclaimed all of God’s counsel (Acts 20:[20]).

40. Text reads: 1 Cor. 4.
41. Acts 2:41.


Lee Chapel

 2009/12/18 12:34Profile

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


I hope to be able to write a few more things in response to the article that was posted before.

However I feel it is worth skipping ahead to mention a few things about what was recently posted:

The government is an outward servant of law, of vengeance.

The word according to the greek dictionary for [i]revenger[/i] in Romans 13:4 means [b]carrying justice out[/b].

Further on the author states:

“Repay no man evil for evil,” says Paul (Rom. 12:[17]). But it is the office of government to repay evil for evil.

[i]to repay evil for evil[/i]

It is a strange thing to call the administration of justice, evil.

Whether or not that was the author's intent, it appears to be the effect.

Paul does not say that governments administer [b]evil[/b] [i]for evil[/i]. But that they are the minsiter of God to you [b]for good[/b]. The subtle shift in terms recasts the function of government into something that is at best ambigously given to and permitted [i]by God[/i] to do evil on earth while serving God as an instrument of wrath.

While violence and retribution are described as being evil, it is in the context of [b]personal retribution[/b](Mat 5:38-39).

But God's people have always been kept from administering vengeance on [b]their own[/b](Edit: that is, in their own cause). See Numbers 35:10-34).

The same David, who was persoanlly kept back [b]by God[/b] from taking personal revenge on Nabal(1Sa 25:32-34), wrote also these things in his office of king, and minister of God to the people for good(Psalm 101:1-8)

Solomon, his son, and king over the legacy of his prosperity, and king of the great time of peace in Israel also wrote things like this(Proverbs 20:8,26).

But he did not go so far, under the inspiration of God, to call doing so, rendering evil, for evil.

[i]edited to change sentence structure[/i]

[i]edited again to add refrences and correct spelling[/i]

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/12/18 13:17Profile

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


In this same manner, and even more so, God will bring punishment upon someone

37. Rom. 13:3-6.
38. Ps. 32:9.
39. Rom. 13:7.

who personally does not shed blood, but allows others to fight in war in
his or her stead, compensating and supporting them.

So far as I can see, this is a very strong conundrum for those that believe participation in government is always evil, but that they are compelled by God to pay taxes into the coffers of Governments that use the same monies to raise their armies, and to hire those that [i]bear the sword[/i] for their good, and this under the providence of God.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/12/18 13:55Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3171


This morning I was reading Matthew 5 and I do not see how Scripture could be more clear on the matter. Verse 39 states: [color=FF0000][b]resist not evil[/b][/color]

 2009/12/18 14:04Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4594


Hi HeartSong...


HeartSong wrote:
This morning I was reading Matthew 5 and I do not see how Scripture could be more clear on the matter. Verse 39 states: [color=FF0000][b]resist not evil[/b][/color]

It isn't that this particular passage isn't [i]clear[/i], but it is a question of whether this represents a final, ultimate requirement for all believers that is not superseded by any other requirements. Consider another statement from that same passage:

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." - Matthew 5:41

Am I [i]always[/i] required to give everything that I have away to everyone who asks? Or is there another Biblical concept that supersedes the aforementioned? In fact, I Timothy 5:8 says that a man MUST take care of the affairs of his house. It seems that this passage takes preeminence over the other.

Otherwise, are you [i]really[/i] going to give everything that you own away -- in spite of any wife or children that you may have?

This concept is carried over to the military, police, etc... Many of us are non-violent believers who sincerely try to walk before the Lord with a clear conscience. Many of us do not think that this passage is speaking toward those who would defend or preserve the life of someone else...or while serving in the military.

After all, neither our Lord, John Baptist, nor the apostles NEVER told those serving in the military forces of a godless Roman Empire to leave their job (even when they sincerely looked to them for guidance).

I hope this helps with the understanding of where some of us feel in regard to this passage. We also believe that we are fulfilling Biblical "non-resistance."


 2009/12/18 14:20Profile

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


This morning I was reading Matthew 5 and I do not see how Scripture could be more clear on the matter. Verse 39 states: resist not evil

Hi Heartsong, but isn't it important to take the whole verse into us?

Is the Lord saying here that we are not to resist evil?

I don't believe so. I think He is telling us that by retaliating to a personal insult or attack, we are not resisting evil(which we should do, that is we should [stand against] evil) but are contributing to it.

Let me give you an example from my own recent experience.

One night a few weeks ago, right before I stated participating in this thread again(I mean the exact night before), I was walking down the street coming home and I passed three young men.

One of them turned back, and said something as to suggest that I had bumped into him, as if to provoke me into something.

I responed peaceably to him. He continued to do the same so I decided it was best to walk over to a nearby store.

As I went to go that way and he was questioning me about it, the others with him urged him to move on, saying that I was going to get the police.

Before we seperated altogether I told him that God loves him.

Now, if a man that is a Police officer comes across a group of men trying to rob another, is it his duty to tell them about God's love? Whether he would be a Christian or not?

Is that how he should resist the evil that is happening right in front of him, or even how God has permitted for him to act on behalf of others?

Would he be doing evil to use the authority and force he has to stop it? Or would he be rightfully resisting evil, for the sake of good?

Not too long ago a police officer here was responding to an altercation between two taxi hacks(this is how I recall the details of the story anyway).

When he arrived, one of the persons involved shot the officer and killed him.

Not only did that officer risk and give his life to stop something evil, he did it for people that he did not even know and who now could never thank him.

Paul said that scarcely will a man lay down his life for a righteous man.

Yet police officers are called upon to do so, even for their enemies.

Are they resisting evil for good?

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2009/12/18 14:22Profile

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