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Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate

By Jon Kauffman

I have been asking Christians why they feel it’s acceptable for Christians to use violence. Listed below are reasons I have been hearing. I have provided a link to my response. I am planning to post responses to more of the reasons.

In the Sixteenth Century at least 1500 Anabaptists were tortured and killed because they insisted on living by the teachings of Jesus. An Anabaptist, Dirk Willem was imprisoned to be killed.

Dirk escaped prison and was fleeing for his life. He crossed a pond covered by a thin layer of ice. His pursuer fell through the ice. Dirk turned back and saved his enemy from drowning. The man he saved, grabbed him and held him for arrest. On May 16, 1569, Dirk Willem was executed by fire.
  1. Protecting your family when violent people come. See my response: “Neutering Male Courage.”
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  2. Protecting your country when violent armies come. See my response: The Flag and Daniel. See Also: What About Hitler?
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  3. Protecting religious freedom. See my response: Should a Christian Fight for Freedom?
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  4. Protecting vulnerable neighbors when violent people come. See my response: “Neutering Male Courage.”
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  5. They feel like they are doing the right thing. See my response: Hiroshima and Mass Murder?
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  6. Some say we have the right to self-defense. Keith Giles wrote a Christian Bill of Rights. See it here: “Christian Bill of Rights.” Pastor Giles did not include self-defense and I agree.
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  7. Soldiers have good medical benefits. Should a Christian put medical benefits as higher priority than following the teachings of Jesus?
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  8. Soldiers have good educational opportunities. Should a Christian put education as higher priority than following the teachings of Jesus?
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  9. The military teaches discipline. It takes great discipline to follow the teachings of Jesus. Which is a higher priority?
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  10. Veterans are recognized as heroes. See my response: Why I Can’t Thank Veterans.
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  11. Theologians such as St. Augustine and Martin Luther have justified Christian use of violence. The issue is settled and we don’t need to talk about it anymore. See my response: St Augustine’s Mistake.
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  12. Paul used the Armor of God (Military references) as a metaphor for Christian spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:11-17. Because Paul referenced military equipment, that means he approved of Christians participating in military violence. See my response: The Armor of God, Ephesians 6:11-17
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  13. Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant and did not ask him to leave the military. Matthew 8:5-13. See my response: Jesus and the Roman Centurion, Matthew 8:5-13
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  14. Romans 13 teaches that Christians are to be subject to the state. See my response: Does Romans 13 Justify Christian Participation in Violence?
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  15. John the Baptist gave the soldiers advice and did not ask them to leave the military. See my response: Does John the Baptist Say Christians may Use Violence?
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  16. Christian’s must use violence to protect their constituents when they become involved in politics. See my response: Jesus’ Kingdom, The Kingdom of God.
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  17. Christ himself said, If a man does not own a sword, let him sell his cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36. I follow Micheal Snow’s blog. Michael has written an excellent response to this argument. See Two Swords: Enough. See also “No More of This!” (Why Jesus Armed and disarmed Peter) by Brian Zahnd.
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  18. The sixth commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” should read, “Thou shalt not murder”. If you are killing at the request of the state, it is not murder. See my response: Hiroshima and Mass Murder
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  19. God commanded Israel to war against the inhabitants of the Promised Land. See my response: Seven Reasons the Old Testament Cannot be used to Justify Christian Violence See also: Mary, Warrior of God. See Also: Does Isaiah 2:3-4 Teach Christian Non-Violence? See Also: God Is Not Violent: Korah’s Rebellion
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  20. Most churches and their leaders support the Christian use of violence. See my response: St. Augustine’s Mistake
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  21. Pacifism is not safe and secure. Pacifists must depend on non-pacifists to defend them physically. See my response: “Neutering Male Courage.”
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  22. 1 Peter 2:13-17 justifies Christian military service. See my response: Does 1 Peter 2:13-17 Justify Christian Violence?
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  23. 2 Timothy 2: 3 & 4 justifies Christian military service. See my response: Does 2 Timothy 2:3 & 4 Justify Christian Military Service
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  24. Evidence of Pacifism in Early church is too fragmentary to know what they thought. See my Response: Does Isaiah 2:3-4 Teach Christian Non-Violence?
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  25. “Pacifism is a satanic belief system designed to hurt innocent people and neuter male courage.” See my response: “Neutering Male Courage.”
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  26. “But for me,the strongest evidence that Christians can join the military in good conscience is God’s command to protect the innocent.” See my response: Brandon Adams, Veteran, Teacher
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  27. If Christians did not fight as soldiers, the whole world would fall apart. Christianity would be destroyed and civilization would end.
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  28. To prevent future terrorist attacks. Terrorists would destroy our country if Christians did not fight. See my response: “Neutering Male Courage.”
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  29. It is foolish for Christians to depend on evil people for protection.
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What arguments for violence have I missed? Please feel free to point out any errors in my thinking.

Many times the use of violence seems logical and right, but Jesus taught non-violence and gave us the example of a life and death of non-violence. Nowhere in the teaching of Jesus is violence taught as an acceptable alternative to non-violence.

Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman

How Would Jesus Tell the Story of “The Good Samaritan” Today?

By Jon Kauffman

Peace Dove

Perhaps it would go something like this?

Jesus came for a visit at the campus. The expert in Biblical Theology went to the microphone to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Bible?” Jesus asked.

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus said: “A man from the suburbs lost his job. He was unable to make house payments and was thrown on the streets, and homeless, he was attacked by robbers. They took his car, clothes, cell phone, credit cards, and cash, then beat him and went away, leaving him in the gutter, half dead, unidentifiable and unconscious. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he turned his head and drove on. So too, a mega church pastor, when he came to the place and saw him, drove quickly away. But a Muslim, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He took out his first aid kit and bandaged the man’s wounds. Then he put the man in his own mini-van, brought him to emergency room and waited as the doctors took care of him. The next day he took out two thousand dollars and gave it to the hospital accountant. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who was beaten and robbed?”

The expert in the Biblical Theology replied, “The one who helped him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and follow his example.”

Wind Chill Already Below Freezing

We Are Homeless, Not Invisible

We’re all bundled up and trying to stay warm. Wouldn’t be so bad if the wind weren’t howling. The rain I could deal with. The cold I could deal with. It’s the wind.

They activated the cold weather shelters and the process has changed. We would have to go downtown and wait for a lottery process. You go where you’re told to go. They also give preferential treatment to those without cars first. I get that. We have “shelter”, but we’re just as at risk.

This brings me to my next gripe about the system. No pets. Not a single one. They will not allow you emergency shelter if you have a pet. We don’t, but we know people who do. It absolutely sucks that my city doesn’t have any kind of shelter for people with pets. I know some cities do and that trend is starting to grow.

If…

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God Is Not Violent: Korah’s Rebellion

by Jon Kauffman

Death of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, Gustave Doré, 1865

Understanding the violence in the Old Testament is very important to a pacifist. Jesus is compassionate and loving. God is Love. Jesus is the exact replication of the Father. How can we reconcile the character of Jesus with the violence of the Old Testament?

If we blindly accept violence attributed to God as actually committed by God, we must believe God would tear unborn children from their mother’s womb and slaughter infants.

Origen saw a problem with all that violence.

If we cannot accept a loving God killing infants then as Origen could not accept a loving God killing infants, we must look for alternative explanations of Old Testament violence attributed to God. If we follow Origen’s example we must remember that the Bible is infallible and we must find an explanation that reveals Jesus and God as loving us. We must read the story and interpret it as Jesus would interpret that story.

Korah’s Rebellion

27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.

28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”

31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.

35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

Numbers 16:27-35, NIV

Greg Boyd has written a book “Crucifixion of the warrior God.” Pastor Boyd tells us we must look and see if there is an interpretation of this story that shows a different source or agent for the violence.  

We have Jesus to show us a true picture of God.  God is not violent. Pastor Boyd tells us that in the Old Testament when violence is attributed to God, almost always the violence was caused by a different agent. God has allowed the violence as a consequence of disobedience to God.

Korah’s Rebellion is a violent story of death. We can assume an agent different than God is causing this violence.

10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 1 Corinthians 10:10, NIV.

Most scholars think that this verse is referencing Korah’s Rebellion. Korah’s Rebellion is one of 6 incidences that this verse could be referencing. None of these incidents have a destroying angel in the story and yet Paul shows us that a destroying angel is the agent responsible for the death of the people in this story.

In Korah’s Rebellion, the destroying angel or demon wanted to kill these people. God pulled his protection away from these people because they refused to obey God. The destroying angel killed the rebelling people.

Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

My Name Is MUD

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

I don’t collect a paycheck for my work as a street minister.  I get no money at all.  In fact, the work costs me instead.  It costs me money, time, and energy with practically no compensation and very little encouragement.

I recall starting the Bible program at ACU back in the late 90’s and the special banquet the Bible Department hosted for all us incoming students.  The featured speaker that evening was Eddie Sharp, and his topic was “talking us out of this decision.”

Actually, I don’t know if he entitled it as such, but he made no mystery of it.  In the boldest terms he could find, he warned us that a career in Christian ministry would be a cross we bear, one we do not have to take up.  He warned that there would be controversy, low pay, long hours, thankless work, and we would be dishonored time…

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Imagining a Different World

By Jon Kauffman

In his book “Is God a Moral Monster?” Paul Copan says:

What if the world of humans turned out to be different from the way we happen to find it? The philosopher John Hare provides a thought experiment. What if God rearranged the world so that it had different features and thus different ways to apply moral principles? Say that God willed that at the age of eighteen, humans should kill each other but that God would immediately bring them back to life and in robust health. In that case, killing people at this age wouldn’t be a big deal-or that big a deal. Is God a Moral Monster? Page 50.

Meteor n Milky Way. Courtesy Leon Kauffman

Let’s turn that around a bit. What if the world turned out different? What if in this world God told His people to not fight back when evil tyrants came? What if the tyrant killed innocent men, women and children? What if God took those people to heaven immediately and gave them a special place and special reward? What if God gave those people a life of bliss and joy forever?

What if in this world God told His people to turn the other check? What if God told His people to love their enemies? What if God told His people to give their extra coat to the poor? What if God asked His people to feed the hungry? What if God told His people to be the light of the world? What if God sent His innocent Son to die for His people? What if God asked His people to be like His Son and die like His Son? What if God’s Son asked God’s people to take up their crosses and follow Him?

What if in this world God promised great reward to those who followed His Son and were faithful to Him until death?

What if the rewards were so great that only a fool would not to be willing to die?

C.S. Lewis says:

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink, sex and money when infinite joy is offered us. We are like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. The Weight of Glory

What if in this world God’s people die like sheep?

Origen said “Nowhere does He teach that it is right for His own disciples to offer violence to anyone, however wicked. For He deemed the killing of any individual to be against His laws which were divine in origin. If Christians had owed their origins to a rebellion, they would not have adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character. These laws do not even allow them on any occasion to resist their persecutors, even when they are called to be slaughtered as sheep.” Origen, Against Celsus, book 3 Chapter 7, about 250 AD.

Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman

We are Salt of the Earth

By Jon Kauffman

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matthew 5:13 NIV.

Fall colors along Swan Lake. Courtesy Leon Kauffman

How does salt lose its saltiness? In the day of Jesus, the salt from the Dead Sea was used for many purposes in the home and in business. Ocean sea salt is about 85% Sodium Chloride. Dead Sea salt is only 30% Sodium Chloride with a high concentration of ions from several different minerals. When the residents of Judah would save the salt, the Sodium Chloride would sometimes leach out leaving the other minerals and so the salt would lose its saltiness.

The salt can be compared to Christ. The remaining minerals can be compared to the world.

A Christian who has lost his salt is so earthly minded that he is no heavenly good.

A Christian who is following Jesus will have the salt to affect change in himself and those around him.

If we have lost our saltiness we will not have that good affect to those around us. We may very well have the opposite affect and magnify the evil around us.

When we put a small amount of salt on our food, the flavor of the food will be changed and enhanced to make the food taste better. A small amount of salt can be used to preserve food.

If we have the saltiness of Jesus in our lives, our very presence in society will make that society better.

What does this saltiness that changes society look like?

If we are following Jesus, we will let our light shine.

Jesus said, Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV.

Someone who is allowing their light to shine will see the poor and hurting around them and take action to help them. They will show others the way to Jesus and some of them will follow.

If we are following Jesus, we will be reconciled to our brother and sister.

Jesus said, 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23, 24 NIV.

To Jesus peaceful loving relationships are more important than giving money.

We will not look lustfully at women.

Jesus said, 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:27-39. NIV.

If we are following Jesus, we will turn the other cheek.

Jesus said, 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Matthew 5:38-39

Moses allowed an eye for an eye but Jesus does not allow us to take revenge against the evil person. Jesus has asked us in the Church to use no violence. We will not violently resist that evil person.

If we are following Jesus, we will love our enemies.

Jesus said, 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:44-48. NIV.

Pagans use violence when protecting themselves and conquering their enemies. If we use violence, how are we different than them. Jesus calls us to something higher. He asks us to break the cycle of death, violence and evil and love our enemies.

Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman