IS CHRISTIANITY LOGICAL

by Jon Kauffman

I have heard and read several arguments from the new atheists about why it does not make sense to be a Christian. But, based on the evidence, I have found their reasons to be unconvincing.

Reasons New Atheists give:

  1. Science proves God is unnecessary.
  2. . Genesis creation story contradicts our scientific knowledge, therefor Christianity is invalid.
  3. The archeological evidence does not match the Exodus story in the Bible, therefor the Bible is a fraud.
  4. Moses could not have written the Torah, therefor the Bible is a fraud.
  5. The Resurrection did not happen.
  6. David Hume has shown that Miracles do not occur.
  7. The physical world is all that exists.
  8. Christianity is too violent.
Peace Dove

REASON # 1, SCIENCE PROVES GOD IS UNNECESSARY.

CREATION

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. What if as scientists say, the beginning of creation (Big Bang) happened 13.7 billion years ago?

I have read a few books concerning the history of the universe and the history of life, including “Evolution, The Whole Story” by Steve Parker, “Darwin’s Doubt,” by Stephen Meyer, “Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism,” Edited by Andrew Petto, “Undeniable,” by Douglas Axe and “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME BY STEPHEN HAWKING

About 25 years ago I read “A Brief History of Time,” by Stephen Hawking. As I read, I kept thinking that the universe God created was so amazing. Then Hawking began discussing the theory he had developed to avoid the Big Bang and a beginning of the universe. He claimed his theory proved that there was no need for God, I was amazed. I thought to myself, how could Hawking know what he knows and not be amazed with the universe and see God?

I’ve read other scientists who claim that Hawking’s theory fails to prove that the universe does not have a beginning.

Perhaps Hawking developed his theory to avoid a beginning for the universe because he thought the Kalam cosmological argument is valid if the universe has a beginning?

 “EVOLUTION, THE WHOLE STORY” BY STEVE PARKER

In the book “Evolution,” as I read, I saw the history of God creating life. I had feelings similar feelings as I felt when I read Stephen Hawking. How could someone know all these wonderful things about nature and the history of life on earth and not be amazed by God. 

Alice Roberts wrote the forward for “Evolution”. She said, “The concept of humans as a special creation made by an intelligent designer, stands in direct opposition to the idea we are a product of unthinking natural selection.” In this statement Roberts is making untenable claims.

Roberts untenable claims:

  1. Unthinking natural selection:”

    Roberts claims unthinking natural selection. I did not see anywhere in the book where Parker claims to be demonstrating unthinking natural selection. Parker’s book in no way proves unthinking natural selection. God can use natural selection to create animals if he so desires. He could guide each step of evolution and we would not be able to prove scientifically that he did or did not.
  2. Creation by an intelligent designer is in opposition to natural selection.”

    If God is God, he can create however he wants even if he uses natural selection to create.
    God could use natural selection to create animals if he so desires. If God guided natural selection, then natural selection is not unthinking. Perhaps God planned each step and each step is a miracle. Humans could very easily be very special to God.

What if all animals ever created are special to God?

What if we will find all animals that ever lived in heaven when we get there because God wants to enjoy his wonderful creation forever?

As I read the book, I felt Parker was simply showing the history of life. He was not attempting to make a statement about God. If as Roberts contended, Parker was attempting to prove that God is unnecessary, Parker failed miserably.

SCIENTISTS CONFRONT INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND CREATIONISM, EDITED BY ANDREW PETTO

The authors of the book made many excellent points. They helped me understand better the science behind paleontology. I felt they did demonstrate the great age of the earth, (4.5 billion years) and age of the universe, (13.7 billion years) by using current standards for measuring time. I felt they did demonstrate that young earth creationism is questionable. However, many young earth creationists claim that God created the earth 6,000 years ago, but made it appear to be much older. They are not arguing from a scientific point view at that point.

The authors of Petto’s book failed to deliver on their promise to Confront Intelligent Design as a failed theory. These authors failed to prove that life was not created by God and they failed to prove that natural selection is not guided by God.

The authors of Petto’s book try to demonstrate that Meyer and Axe are not defending a valid scientific theory of “Intelligent Design” and they failed

This book was extremely interesting, and I learned a great amount about paleontology.

 “DARWIN’S DOUBT,” BY STEPHEN MEYER AND “UNDENIABLE,” BY DOUGLAS AXE

In these books Meyer and Axe argue for the theory of Intelligent Design.

Meyer successfully shows some of the problems of current theories in paleontology concerning the Cambrian Explosion.

They certainly made a good case demonstrating problems of evolution creating life without a God. I think they demonstrated that it is quite reasonable to study the history of life and believe in God. Intelligent Design seems to be a logical and valid, but unproven theory.

Atheists are incorrect, science has not proven that God is unnecessary.

REASON #2, GENESIS CREATION STORY CONTRADICTS OUR SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, THEREFOR CHRISTIANITY IS INVALID

GENESIS DOES NOT MATCH CURRENT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE

Genesis was written by Moses in about 1450 BC. Paleo-Hebrew written alphabet was developed at about the time of Joseph 400 years earlier. Any scientific claims made by Moses would align with the scientific knowledge of his time. He was raised and educated in the palace of the Pharaoh of Egypt therefor his scientific knowledge would come from Egyptian science.

Moses may have had written sources from the time of Joseph to include in Genesis. However, stories before Joseph are word of mouth stories.

These stories are based on fact. The Stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob appear to be based on stories of those who lived the experiences.

We can see in the story of Adam and Eve that man turned to sin and violence. In the story Noah we see that God hates evil. We see God began revealing himself to man before Abraham.

Genesis is about the history God reaching out to man and is not a scientific text.

REASON #3, MOSES AND THE EXODUS

We have archeological evidence in Egypt, the Saini Peninsula, Midian and Israel which show that the exodus, the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, and the conquest of Canaan occurred as recorded in the Bible.

Many archeologists claim that the exodus took place about 1250 BC. In the “Patterns of Evidence, The Exodus” documentary by Tim Mahoney, Mahoney demonstrates that the archeological evidence shows that the exodus place about 1450 BC. When the timeline is corrected, the evidence in Egypt and Palestine line up perfectly with the Bible stories. Mohoney’s Documentary Series includes “The Exodus,” The Moses Controversy’,” “The Red Sea Miracle,” Part 1, and “The Red Sea Miracle,” Part 2.  

Archeologist David Rohl studied Egyptian history timeline extensively and has shown how Egyptian archeological evidence relates to the Biblical story. See David Rohl’s book “Exodus, Myth or History.”

Atheist’s such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have used the lack of evidence for the Exodus as part of the foundation for their atheism. We can see from the Mahoney films and Rohl’s book that this is no longer a valid argument supporting their position.

REASON #4, JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD

Many authors have demonstrated very convincingly that Jesus has risen from the dead. If he has risen from the dead, then it is reasonable to believe that Jesus is God. Several authors that have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt from the evidence that Jesus is risen from the dead. Books include “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” by Josh MacDowell, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.

In reading these and other similar books, I conclude that the new atheists have a lot of work to do to defend their position against this evidence.

REASON #5, DAVID HUME AND MIRACLES

Some atheists base their position on the writings of David Hume. Lee Strobel in “A Case for Miracles,” discusses David Hume’s arguments. Mr. Strobel conducted a survey about miracles in the US. About 94,000,000 Americans believe they have experienced miracles. This contradicts the claims of Hume. Strobel demonstrates that Hume’s arguments are based on presuppositions and circular reasoning.

REASON #6, SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OF A NON-MATERIAL WORLD.

Probably the argument I have heard the most often in favor of atheism is the lack of scientific evidence for a non-material world. I recently read John Burke’s “Imagine Heaven.”

Many blind people when they have near death experience describe colors they have never seen before.

One girl during a near death experience observed a tennis shoe on the outside windowsill of a hospital window. The girl had no previous knowledge of the tennis shoe. Later the doctor who heard her story, went from window to window around the hospital until he found the tennis shoe.

Many other stories include facts verifiable by a third party, that cannot be explained by physical knowledge of the person experiencing the near-death experience.

Burke’s book does not scientifically prove the existence of heaven or hell described in near death experiences, but it does convincingly demonstrate a spiritual world or parallel spiritual universe to our material world.

Once again, atheists have some explaining to do to defend their position.

REASON #8, CHRISTIANITY IS TOO VIOLENT

Many Atheists claim Christianity is invalid because Christians are too violent.

In a discussion with one atheist, I mentioned that Lenin, and Mao as atheists killed more people than any two Christians ever killed. He rightly pointed out it is against his own personal standards to kill people.

Many of the people killed by these regimes died of unnecessary starvation, caused by Socialist central planners following the guidelines of atheist Karl Marx. “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism.” By Kevin D. Williamson.

Today atheist leaders still impoverish and use violence against their own people in such places as North Korea, China and Cuba.

My friend’s claim that Christians are the most violent and pro-war people in the USA may be true. However, Jesus taught and demonstrated non-violence as the best way to live as a Christian. It is impossible for my atheist friend to claim that because many Christians are violent, then Christianity is invalid.

Many Christians fail to follow the teachings of Jesus concerning violence. That does not prove that God does not exist.

My friend’s case that Lenin and Ma

 o do not represent atheist philosophy is very weak. The violence of Lenin and Mao certainly show one valid possible outcome for following atheism where it logically leads.

Atheists also appear to be more prone to violent suicide than people with a religious affiliation.

Recently a study of “Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt “was undertaken. The study was published December 1, 2004 in “The American Journal of Psychiatry.” RESULT:Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.” CONCLUSION: “Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients.”

Based on the facts, with violence as a criterion for a valid belief system, atheism fails.

I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST

Faith is belief that something is true based on the best evidence we have. With that definition of faith, then I would say in agreement with Frank Turek, “I don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist.”

JESUS CAME TO SAVE

One atheist asked sarcastically, “What did Jesus save us from?” He does have an excellent question. Who did Jesus come to save?

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

Who are these healthy people who do not need the healing of Jesus?

  1. Anyone who is righteous and is not a sinner.
  2. Anyone who can avoid illness and death.
  3. Anyone who can feed all the hungry.
  4. Anyone who can prevent all homelessness.
  5. Anyone who can cause human flourishing without damaging the environment.
  6. Anyone who can prevent all alcoholism and drug addiction.
  7. Anyone who can change the heart of a human so that he no longer kills and steals but loves his neighbor and turns the other check.
  8. Anyone who does not need to experience the rebirth explained in John 3.
  9. Anyone who can prevent all child abuse.
  10. Anyone who can prevent all spousal abuse.
  11. Anyone who can prevent all child slavery.
  12. Anyone who can prevent all child sexual abuse.
  13. Anyone who can take away the fear of death.
  14. Anyone who can prevent all wars and conflicts.
  15. Anyone who can bring friendship between God and man.
  16. Anyone who can heal the death and violence in the environment so that Lions eat grass and wolves lie down with the lambs.
  17. Anyone who can heal the universe, so it never dies.

These are things that Jesus has promised. If he can raise himself from the dead, I think he can fulfill his other promises also.

19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:19-21

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10

To us humans, this healing that Jesus is giving us seems to be taking a long time. But if the universe is 13.7 billion years old and God is eternal, then the healing Jesus is giving us is taking only the blink of an eye.

Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

SERMON OF SUBVERSION: SERMON ON THE MOUNT

by Jon Kauffman

“it’s a dangerous world out there, and pacifists depend for their safety and security on the generosity and good will of non-pacifists. Prior to the Christianization of the Roman empire, many Christians were not faced with the responsibility of defending the public and ensuring public order.” Were the Early Christians Pacifist, by Jimmy Akin

What if the Sermon on the mount is a sermon of subversion? What if Jesus is teaching poor people the proper way to rebel against an abusive and enslaving government and society? What if the United States is an abusive and enslaving government?

JIMMY AKIN

Jimmy Akin attempts to make a case that Christians began to use violence and the military to control people because they became responsible for protecting the public. When Christians obtained political power, it became their responsibility to run government using the violence of government.

Jimmy spends a great deal of time trying to defend his position of violence by demonstrating that the early Christians were not pacifist.

The real question is not whether Christians were pacifist, but is it possible for a Christian to join the military or to use violence to ensure public order while following the teachings of Jesus.

Peace Dove

ST AMBROSE

St Ambrose was Roman Governor in Milan. The people loved him, and he became Bishop of Milan by popular acclamation. St Ambrose was government man. Most likely he would agree with Jimmy Aiken that maintaining the peace and governing the people is one of the most important tasks of a Christian. As Bishop, St. Ambrose advocated killing the pagans. Jesus taught going into all the world, baptizing and teaching people to follow everything Jesus commanded.

St. Ambrose’s approval of killing pagans by Roman soldier is similar to our country using the Doctrine of Discovery. The Doctrine of Discovery stems from the papal bull which gave Europeans the right to kill and conquer. Pope Alexander VI issued the Papal Bull ‘Inter Caetera,” on May 4, 1493.

THE UNITED STATES

The United States foreign policy from the beginning has followed the Doctrine of Discovery, where a “Christian” country of greater power has the right to kill and destroy weaker peoples in order to take what belongs to the conquered for the conquerors. Using the Doctrine of Discovery, the United States stole land from the Native Americans and Mexico.

In 1899 the Philippine-American War was fought to enslave the Philippines as a United States colony. The War Prayer, By Mark Twain.

The United States has sent Marines all over the world to protect American financial interests. The Marines have been sent to protect American Banana companies and keep banana plantation worker working at a low wage.

The United States military protects American oil wells in the Middle East. Throughout its history the United States has used its military to obtain wealth and power by killing and enslaving people.

Does Jimmy really approve of Christians joining a military who upholds these values?

THE SUBVERSIVE SERMON

I think the Sermon on the Mount is a great place to start to determine if Jimmy Akin’s premise that Christians should violently defend to the public and ensure public order really follows the teachings of Jesus.

Some claim that the Sermon on the Mount only applies to our personal lives, maybe at the level of social interactions in a small village, but not on a larger scale, especially when it comes to government.

Many people in the time Jesus were enslaved and controlled by the Romans. At the same time wealthy Jews took advantage of their fellow Jews to gain great wealth.

But what if the Sermon on the Mount applies to how the poor are to treat the rich and the oppressor. What if the Sermon on the Mount is the way the poor are to deal with superpowers like Rome and Great Britain and the United States with their great militaries and great wealth?

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. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42

Many feel that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is asking us to take the violence like a doormat. But Jesus is showing us how to nonviolently fight for freedom and justice for the weak, the vulnerable and the poor.

Walter Wink explains the Greek word in Matthew 5:39 and suggests a better translation “Do not retaliate against violence with violence.”

Wink says, “Jesus was no less committed to opposing evil than the anti-Roman resistance fighters. The only difference was over the means to be used: how one should fight evil.

There are three general responses to evil: 1) passivity, 2) violent opposition, and 3) the third way of militant nonviolence articulated by Jesus. Human evolution has conditioned us for only the first two of these responses: flight or fight….

Neither of these alternatives has anything to do with what Jesus is proposing. It is important that we be utterly clear about this point before going on: Jesus abhors both passivity and violence as responses to evil. His is a third alternative not even touched by these options. The Greek word “Anistenai” cannot be construed to mean submission.

Jesus clarifies his meaning by three examples. “If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Why the right cheek? Try it. A blow by the right fist in the right-handed world would land on the left cheek of the opponent. To strike the right cheek with the fist would require using the left hand, but in that society the left hand was used only for unclean tasks. Even to gesture with the left hand at Qumran carried the penalty of exclusion and ten days penance (The Dead Sea Scrolls, 1QS 7) The only way one could strike the right cheek with the right hand would be with the back of the right hand. What we are dealing with his unmistakably an insult, not a fistfight. The intention is not to injure but to humiliate, to put someone in his or her “place”. One normally did not strike a peer thus, and if one did, the fine was exorbitant…. Masters backhanded slaves; husbands backhanded wives; parents backhanded children; men backhanded women; Romans backhanded Jews. The only normal response would be cowering in submission.

It is important to ask who Jesus’ audience is. In every case, Jesus’ listeners are not those who strike, initiate lawsuits, or imposed forced labor, but their victims….

Why then does he counsel these already humiliated people to turn the other cheek? Because this action robs the oppressor of the power to humiliate. The person who turns the other cheek is saying, in effect, “Try again. Your first blow failed to achieve its intended effect. I deny you the power to humiliate me. I am a human being just like you. Your status does not alter that fact. You cannot demean me.”…

The second example Jesus gives is set in a court of law. Someone is being sued for his outer garment… Only the poorest of the poor would have nothing but an outer garment to give as collateral for a loan. Jewish las strictly required its return every evening at sunset, for that is all the poor had in which to sleep…the poor debtor has sunk even deeper into poverty, the debt cannot be repaid, and his creditor has hauled him into court to try to seize his property by legal means….

Why then does Jesus counsel them to give over their inner garment as well? This would mean stripping off all their clothing and marching out of court stark naked! Put yourself in the debtor’s place and imagine the chuckles this saying must have evoked. There stands the creditor, beet-red with embarrassment, your outer garment in one hand, your underwear in the other. You have suddenly turned the tables on him….

Nakedness was taboo in Judaism, and shame fell on one causing the nakedness.

Jesus’ third example, the one about going the second mile, is drawn from the very enlightened practice of limiting the amount of forced labor that Roman soldiers could levy on subject peoples.

To this proud but subjugated people Jesus does not counsel revolt. One does not “befriend” the soldier, draw him aside, and drive a knife into his ribs. Jesus was keenly aware of the futility of armed revolt against Roman imperial might and he minced no words about it., though it must have cost him support from the revolutionary factions.

But why walk the second mile? Is this not a rebound to the opposite extreme: aiding and abetting the enemy? Not at all. The question here, as in the two previous instances, is how the oppressed can recover the initiative, how they can assert their human dignity in a situation that cannot for the time being be changed. The rules are Caesar’s, about how one responds to the rules- that is God’s, and Caesar has no power over that.

Imagine then the soldier’s surprise when, at the next mile marker, he reluctantly reaches to assume his pack, and now you do it cheerfully and will not stop! Is this a provocation? Are you insulting his strength? Being kind? Trying to get him disciplined for seeming to make you go farther than you should? Are you planning to file a complaint? Create trouble?

From a situation of servile impressments, you have once more seized the initiative. You have taken back the power of choice…

Jesus’ Third Way:

  • Seize the moral initiative
  • Find a creative alternative to violence
  • Assert your own humanity and dignity as a person
  • Meet force with ridicule or humor
  • Break the cycle of humiliation
  • Refuse to submit to or accept the inferior position
  • Expose the injustice of the system
  • Take control of the power dynamic
  • Shame the oppressor into repentance
  • Stand your ground
  • Force the Powers to make decisions for which they are not prepared
  • Recognize your own power
  • Be willing to suffer rather than to retaliate
  • Cause the oppressor to see you in a new light
  • Deprive the oppressor of a situation where a show of force is effective
  • Be willing to undergo the penalty of breaking unjust laws
  • Die to fear of the old order and its rules

Quoted from “Christian Peace and Nonviolence” by Michael Long. Chapter 4. “Walter Wink”

Would Jesus want us to join a military that causes the very poverty, injustice and enslavement that he is overcoming? Does Jesus want us to join the government and become the oppressor?

Maybe we Americans don’t like the teaching of Jesus because we are the wealthy in the world, enslaving others with our military? What if we are the goats Jesus discusses in Matthew 25?

What if the whore of Babylon in Revelation 17 is any superpower who accumulates great wealth and military power through enslaving the poor and calling it self-defense and national interest?

Perhaps to be a pacifist who follows the teaching of Jesus is far more dangerous than depending on the government for our safety and security?

Perhaps Jesus would only want us to be involved in government if we refuse to do anything that is contrary to his teaching?

Perhaps if St. Ambrose had seen the Sermon on the Mount as a call to fight against the injustice of the Roman government, he would have used these principals to preach the gospel and bring justice to the pagans? Perhaps he would have refused to endorse the Roman Military?

Linda Lee/Lady Quixote shared this website: The Miracle of 9/11 World Trade Center Bible

Christian Peace and Nonviolence, A Documentary History, by Michael Long.

Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way by Walter Wink

“America’s War for the Greater Middle East.” By Retired Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich

Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

THE HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

By Jon Kauffman

CREATION

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

There was war in heaven and Satan was thrown from heaven.

Many scientists tell us the universe is 13.7 billion years old. What if Satan was thrown from heaven 13.7 billion years ago? Did Satan’s fall from heaven cause the universe to begin dying, as the universe expands it grows colder. The beginning of violence?

Scientists tell us that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. What if as God created animal life at each step of what scientist call evolution. Satan interfered and introduced death and violence each step of the way. Dinosaurs killed dinosaurs.

Peace Dove

THE FALL OF MAN

Then God created Adam and Eve. They lived in the Garden of Eden as equals. They sinned and because of man’s stronger physic, man protected woman from the dangerous animals and evil men and used his greater strength to provide food and shelter. Man abused his strength and power over women.

Cain killed Abel. God protected Cain from revenge, but Cain and his descendants created cities and government and used the power of violence to protect thenselves. The sin of men brought about great violence.

THE FLOOD

God repented of creating man because of their violence. He started over with Noah and promised never to wipe out mankind again. God would find a way to overcome the sinfulness and violence of man without using a flood.

Man built violent and evil empires such as Sumer, Egypt and the Akkadian Empire. These empires used war and violence to control and enslave people.

GOD REVEALS HIMSELF

God began revealing himself to man and bringing about the salvation of man by becoming a friend to Abraham.

God sent Joseph to Egypt to save his family and Egypt. Joseph became vizier of Egypt during the reign of Amenemhat III. 1,2 Pharoah gave Joseph and his family a home in city of Avaris in the land of Goshen.

God blessed the Israelites, they had many children and there was a great multiplication of their numbers.

A pharaoh (Sobekhotep III)1. who did not know Joseph, enslaved the Israelites.

Then Dedumose II1,2 is confronted by Moses. God through many miracles convinces pharaoh to let his people go. 600,000 men, their wives and children leave Egypt. The pharaoh changes his mind and pursues the Children of Israel to the Red Sea. God fights for Israel and defeats Egypt, casting the pharaoh’s army into the sea.

God is leading his people to a way of nonviolence and love of enemy as he protects his people in weakness and they win a great victory.

God fights for Israel and they defeat Jericho and many other fortified cities. God is the protection of Israel.

THE TIME OF THE JUDGES

Often the Children of Israel refuse to depend on God and take their defense into their own hands. Sometimes they depend on God and win great victories in weakness, such as in the time of Gideon.

Through the law of Moses and the prophets, God teaches his people that he wants them to care for the widow and orphan, the poor and the helpless and to show compassion to the foreigner. God wants his people to trust him for protection.

FALLING INTO VIOLENCE LIKE THE NATIONS

In Deuteronomy 17: 14-20 Moses gives guidelines for a King.

Often the people take detours and do not depend on God for protection.3.

The people take a major detour and against the advice of Samuel crown Saul King.

The Kings do not follow the guidelines set by Moses.

Saul begins to depend on his own strength like the nations and loses his Kingdom to David.

David, a man after God’s own heart, defeats Goliath.

For hundreds of years during the time of the Judges, Israel did not maintain a standing army. The Israelites did not know war.

David, as King becomes a man of great violence. He depends on his own strength. Instead of depending on God, David hired foreign mercenaries to fight for Israel and to train soldiers for Israel.

David displays the sword of Goliath. Was he displaying his own great military prowess?

Because of his great violence, God does not allow David to build the Temple.

Solomon builds the temple. He also does not follow the guidelines set by Moses for a King. Solomon worships idols and has many wives. Solomon accumulates great wealth.

The Kingdom divides after the death of Solomon, some Kings allow God to fight for them and they are successful. Some Kings depend on themselves and end in defeat.

GOD PUNISHES ISRAEL

With the Babylonian capture of Judah, the King experiment ends.

God is showing his people that they will live in the nations and be a blessing to the nations.

With Ezra and Nehemiah, the people return to Israel so that the messiah can be born in Bethlehem and die and raise from the dead in Jerusalem in fulfillment of prophecy.

Alexander the Great conquers Jerusalem in 332 BC.

The Jews rebel in violence.

In 63 BC Pompey conquers Jerusalem for Rome.

The Jews rebel in violence.

God does not allow the Jews to win against their oppressors. God is leading them to be a blessing to all the nations and to live out among the nations, he does not allow the return to the rule of earthly kings of Israel.

JESUS, KING OF PEACE

Jesus is born.

He is tempted in the desert by the devil to take political power. The Kingdom of God on earth is not an earthly kingdom, but a Kingdom with members living in every nation.

Jesus preaches the Kingdom of God. He teaches us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the prisoner to love our brother and sister and to love our enemy so that they can become our brother and sister.

Jesus sent out his 72 disciples representing the 72 nations of the earth as mentioned in Genesis. Jesus sees Satan fall like lightening from heaven. See Luke 10.

The zealots wanted to fight violently for freedom. Simon the zealot is Jesus disciple. But Jesus teaches peace.

Jesus died without resistance to conquer his enemies when he had 12 legions of angels at his disposal.

50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend. Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:50-54

After the resurrection Jesus sends his people to preach to every nation. His Kingdom is a part of every nation. Jesus allows persecution in Jerusalem to push the Christians into all the world.

Even when Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples were asking when he would restore the earthly kingdom of Israel:

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1 6-8.

Jesus said we must be willing to die in the same way:

Jesus said: 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

Paul continues the idea of a Kingdom of God that does not include a earthly kingdom. Paul tells us Christians do not fight with weapons of the world such as guns and knives and swords, but put on the armor of God. Ephesians 6.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6: 11,12

The Ephesians passage is reminiscent of Luke 10. Demons rule the nations.

The Jews rebel violently against Rome and suffer great defeat in 70 AD, just as Jesus predicts.

The church depends on God for protection.

Prostitutes, tax collectors and soldiers become followers of Jesus.

CHRISTIANS TURN TO VIOLENCE

Most Christians were pacifist but as time passed soldiers began to remain in the military. In 170 AD, the first soldiers to become Christian and to remain in the military are confirmed historically.

Christians in the military became a problem for the church.

The 300 Bishops in the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) addressed this problem and called Christians to leave the military.

“Those who endured violence and were seen to have resisted, but who afterwards yielded to wickedness, and returned to the army, shall be excommunicated for ten years.” 
Excerpt from Cannon 12 of the Council of Nicaea.

Then St. Ambrose, a master politician, was made bishop by popular demand. Ambrose called for the killing of pagans by Christians. The preaching of the gospel was put on hold and earthly power was grasped by Christians. Romans and Christians discriminated against pagans.

Soon only Christians could become soldiers in the Roman Army.

The military was used to force people to become “Christian.” Instead of preaching the gospel and teaching people to choose Kingdom of God through love, Christians turn to the violence of the world.

St. Augustine wrote about just war. Even his watered-down teachings concerning violence were twisted and ignored.

Christians fought for land and power and safety and did not trust God for protection.

THE CRUSADES

Christians fought the Crusades to conquer Jerusalem and kill the Muslims. Christians are not loving their enemies and preaching the gospel to Muslims, they are killing their enemies like the nations of the earth.

EUROPEAN VIOLENCE

Christian governments prove they are no better at peace than were the Empires of Rome and Egypt. The Holy Roman Empire, France and England fought constantly, Christian slaughtering Christian.

Thomas Aquinas refines the Just War theory.

Nations continue to ignore the teachings of Jesus. Nations and Christians alike refuse to follow Aquinas’ Just War theory.

Protestants and Catholics fought and killed each other. In the 30-year war 1/3 of the population of Europe died as this religious and political conflict raged. Were Christians becoming more violent than the world?

VIOLENTLY CONQUERING THE WORLD

Pope Alexander VI issued the Papal Bull ‘Inter Caetera,” on May 4, 1493. This came to be called the “Doctrine of Discovery” used by “Christian” European Empires such as Spain, England and France to conquer foreign lands in North and South America, Africa, Australia and India for profit. The Doctrine of Discovery allowed the United States to legally and with the blessing of the church steal land from the Native Americans.

AMERICAN VIOLENCE

The Unites States has fought many wars with Christian nations. Fighting for land, resources and power.

The United States became a nation as a result of the Revolutionary War in direct disobedience to Paul:

2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:2

Today many of the most vocal war mongers in America call themselves Christian.

In 1918 after Germany signed the peace treaty, Germans were starving. The US Congress voted not to send wheat to Germany. Nearly 1,000,000 Germans starved to death as a result. Because to the starvation Germans elected Hitler. If we had feed the hungry as instructed by Jesus could we have prevented World War II? And with that one act perhaps we could have prevented the Cold War? And the Korean and Vietnam Wars? See What about Hitler.

Jimmy Carter submerged the US in endless war in the Middle East to ensure large quantities of cheap oil for America. Military contractors make huge profits from the war in the Middle East. Soldiers protect oil wells to ensure profits of oil companies and the war continues. See America’s War for the Greater Middle East.”

Can we in America be saved from God’s judgment for our violence?

SLAVERY

Europe and America brought slaves from Africa. America fought the Civil War in direct disobedience to the teachings of Jesus. Christian brother killing Christian brother. This war was about power and greed. The south rebelling against unfair taxes and refusing to free their slaves. The North demanding taxes and politicians using the end of slavery as a means to gain political support. Great Britain ended slavery without war. Why not America?

We can see through history how true are the words of Jesus: Live by the sword die by the sword. America’s war and death continues in the Middle East as Christians fail to follow Jesus’ words of peace.

HAS SATAN WON?

Today Satan still seems to rule the Christian nations, as Christians fail to resist the temptation to rule through worldly politics. The same temptation Jesus overcame in Matthew 4: 8-10.

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Matthew 4: 8-10. NIV

Jesus and Paul gave us a way to defeat Satan if we only take it. See Luke 10 and Ephesians 6.

Today Jesus still calls us to love our enemies and preach the gospel to all creation. Our brothers and sisters, our fellow members of the Kingdom of God live in every nation.

How can we feed the hungry, house the homeless and give water to the thirsty when we join the military and kill the hungry and thirsty? Or join the military make more people hungry and thirsty? How can we love our brothers and sisters in Christ if we join the military and kill them? How can we love our enemies when we join the military and kill them?

Jesus will continue to build his Kingdom even when Christians do not follow his gospel of peace.

Remember that Jesus saw Satan falling when he sent out the 72. Jesus defeated evil on the cross and has won the victory even if Christians do not follow his teaching. Whatever our sin, we can all expect Jesus to work in our lives as he teaches each of us to become more like him.

Jesus will have the victory.

Coming soon: A new heavens and a new earth without death and violence.

Notes:

  1. Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest by David Rohl.
  2. Patterns of Evidence, The Exodus, Documentary by Tim Mahoney
  3. The Politics of Yahweh, by John Nugent

Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

How two Iroquois boys settled a quarrel

PeaceGarret

A Native American story transcribed in 1917.

(Click to enlarge.)

Note: This is from Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children, published in 1917 by Mabel Powers. I acknowledge there may be issues of cultural appropriation when European Americans tell Native stories; but I think it’s better to have this story known, albeit retold by a white woman, rather than forgotten; also, six Iroquois leaders endorse the book in a forward. One of them is Edward Cornplanter, who is well-known enough to have a Wikipedia entry. The entire book is online at Project Gutenberg.

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I’m a little overwhelmed…

Is it just me, or is the world insane?

Hello everyone! I’ve been working on a piece to put together what I have been blessed to see regarding what God has to say about the treatment of the poor and needy. This is a little overwhelming, and yet I know that the good Lord will walk me through it! As for myself… I’ll be kicking and screaming all the way through it! Yet… I know that this is what I am called to do! For the wretchedness… the broken hearts… the scandal that is the church today… and for God’s sake! He loves the poor so much!! I write this with tears filling my eyes as I was the elderly homeless man who was told to move on down the road this morning in the rain by a minister . It wasn’t the fact that he did this act of unkindness towards me personally so much. It was the…

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QUESTIONS FOR OUR FRIEND

By Jon Kauffman

On September 30 I published a blog post called OUR FRIEND TALKS PACIFISM.

Our friends statements seem illogical to me. I am trying to understand his point of view and I have a few questions? I have asked our friend to respond and hopefully he will. He appears to be quite productive as an author. I am sure he is very busy and likely does not have time to address my questions.

If you agree with our friend and would like to answer the questions, I would be delighted. Please comment below.

POINTS OF THE VIDEOS

Our friend made several points while discussing pacifism. Here are his points about pacifism and the military as I think I heard them. I am repeating them from the previous blog and adding questions I have for him.

  1. Romans 13 demonstrates that Jesus would approve of the state using violence and would approve of the Christian killing enemies for the state.

    Where in Romans 13 do you see statements that suggest it would be acceptable to Paul for a Christian to join the Roman military?

    Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego worked in the Babylonian government, but they were willing to refuse the governments request to the point of death in order to remain true to God. Do you think Paul would ask us blindly follow the requests of our government?

    Romans 13:2 says we should not rebel against governing authorities and author Ron Sider tells us that before a single shot was fired in the Revolutionary War, nine of the colonies had already won de facto independence by nonviolent means. Do you think it was acceptable for Christians to fight in the Revolutionary War for Independence?

    How do you explain that it’s really OK to our neighbors in foreign lands when the US military is invading their land and killing them? Is verse 10 irrelevant for a US Christian?

    10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10 NIV.

    In the 16th century, Protestant city government officials executed Anabaptist “heretics” using reasoning similar to yours. Were they right?

  2. Matthew 8 demonstrates that Jesus approves of Christians joining the United States Marines and killing enemies of the United States Government.

    Would you agree with me that the Jews saw Roman soldiers as their enemies?

    Please explain how it is logical to assume that if Jesus healed the servant of a Roman soldier that means he approves of an American entering the Marine Corps.

    If the Centurion was considered an enemy soldier by Jesus, how should we have treated Osama Bin Laden if he had come to us asking for a Kidney dialysis machine?
     
  3. The sermon on the mount pertains only to our private lives or perhaps that of interactions between friends and neighbors of a village. The sermon on the mount does not pertain to our interactions with the military or the government of our empire whether it be Rome or the United States.

    Why do you think the Sermon on the Mount does not apply to government servants?

  4. If someone is chasing a woman with a knife, we must do something about it. We must not be involved in feuds.

    Do you think it is appropriate to look for alternatives to violence in this situation?

    Do you think it is wrong for us to take risks of our own lives in order to stop a violent man without killing him when we can kill him with no risk to ourselves?

    I can see how it feels safer just to shoot the evil man. But is it really safer? Jesus said if you live by the sword you die by the sword. How does that fit in?

  5. It is acceptable for a Christian to join the military and kill the enemy if the state is fighting a just war.

    Has the US ever fought a Just War? If so which one? How do you define Just War?

Many early Christians refused to compromise and do anything the state requested that was contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Why is it different today?  

Many Christians today claim they agree to Just War because of the teachings of St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Do these scholars have the authority to contradict the teaching of Jesus?

  1. A Christian can join the US military and easily follow any commands given them to kill their enemies, because the US only fights just wars because the President and congress are doing their jobs. However we cannot do something unjust such as kill civilians or participate in sexual immorality.

    Why do you think congress and the President always do their jobs?

    If a Christian can kill anyone the President tells them to kill, how are we different from people who do not follow Jesus?

    There are many scriptures in the New Testament which say we must love our enemies and passages which claim our battles and weapons are spiritual. Why is that not a problem for you?

    I do not know of any New Testaments scriptures which positively instruct us to join the military or kill our enemies. Why is that not a problem for you?

    I do not know any statements by Christian leaders before the 4th century that would condone violence by Christians Why is that not a problem for your?

    I know of many statements by early Christian leaders which call for nonviolence and forgiveness and which claim Christians cannot join the military. Why is that not a problem for you?

    Why is it acceptable for a Christian to kill Christians living in foreign lands at the request of Congress and the President?

    Was the president correct when he approved the Banana Wars where the military further impoverished already poverty stricken people? How would killing poor people to ensure United Fruit Company profits fit in with Matthew 25:40-45?

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25: 41-45 NIV

What evidence do you have to demonstrate that the Just War theology of Thomas Aquinas is correct and it is possible to join the US Military?

Do you believe in a less stringent version of Just War theology?


Reasons to Kill

Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

OUR FRIEND TALKS PACIFISM

By Jon Kauffman

Today I listened to two  you tube videos about pacifism. I found the gentleman’s arguments less than persuasive. I will call him our friend.

As I listened, many questions came to mind as well as many facts which to me seem to contradict his position.

See also QUESTIONS FOR OUR FRIEND.

Peace Dove

St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and C.S. Lewis wrote that Christian participation in violence is justifiable. They are all smarter than me and our friend has authored many books and also appears to be smarter than me.

I will disagree with all of them anyway. I have found that the more I try to put these issues in perspective to the teachings of Jesus, the greater my disagreement becomes.

POINTS OF THE VIDEOS

Our friend made several points while discussing pacifism. Here are his points about pacifism and the military as I think I heard them. I summarized his salient points in my own words.

  1. Romans 13 demonstrates that Jesus would approve of the state using violence and would approve of the Christian killing enemies for the state.
  2. Matthew 8 demonstrates that Jesus approves of Christians joining the United States Marines and killing enemies of the United States Government.
  3. The sermon on the mount pertains only to our private lives or perhaps that of interactions between friends and neighbors of a village. The sermon on the mount does not pertain to our interactions with the military or the government of our empire whether it be Rome or the United States.
  4. If someone is chasing a woman with a knife, we must do something about it. We must not be involved in feuds.
  5. It is acceptable for a Christian to join the military and kill the enemy if the state is fighting a just war.
  6. A Christian can join the US military and easily follow any commands given them to kill their enemies, because the US only fights just wars because the President and congress are doing their jobs. However we cannot do something unjust such as kill civilians or participate in sexual immorality.

ADDRESSING THE ABOVE STATEMENTS.

POINT ONE:

Romans 13 demonstrates that Jesus would approve of the state using violence and would approve of the Christian killing enemies for the state.

Does Romans 13 allow Christians to use violence? Romans was written in 57 or 58 AD. Paul was in prison. Nero, one of the bloodiest emperors of Rome and a great persecutor of Christians was emperor of Rome at the time. Jews considered Rome a deadly enemy. When I read Romans 13, I see no evidence that Paul thought it would be acceptable for a Christian to be a member of the Roman military. Why would Paul approve of Christians joining a military that is killing Jews and Christians? That would be like an American pastor telling his congregation to join ISIS or Boko Haram.

From the time of Alexander the Great, Jews had been rebelling against Greece and in the 30’s BC with the Romans in power, Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire. When I read Romans 13, I see Paul telling the Christians that they should not join the Jews in rebellion against the Roman Empire.

2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:2. NIV

And Paul was correct. In 70 AD, as a result of the rebellion, a million Jews died at the hands of the Romans in Jerusalem. Most Christians avoided the slaughter because they fled to the mountains as Jesus commanded them in Matthew 24:16.

In Romans 13:1, Paul says Christians should be subject to the governing authorities. The governing authorities of Rome are the Christian’s enemy. This reminds me of Assyria capturing Israel or Babylon defeating Judah as God punished his people. God used Assyria and Babylon to bring about good. This does not mean that it would have been good for an Israelite or Jew to join the Assyrian or Babylonian Armies to fight Jews!

Romans 13 also brings to mind Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” NIV. Jesus would want everyone to follow him and live nonviolently. But evil men do evil things, including men in the military. God turns that evil to good just as he turned the evil of Assyria and Babylon to good. Just because God turns the works of evil men into good does not mean that we as Christians are to participate in that evil. Christians live in every country around the world and are members of the Kingdom of God. When we kill Christians in foreign lands, we are killing our brothers and sisters. We are fighting against our own true King.

The Jewish Christians of Rome to whom Paul was writing this letter, certainly would not have seen the Roman army as instruments of God nor would they have seen them as agents that God uses to work for the good of those who love God.

Verse 8 says we must love our neighbor as ourselves. Even if that neighbor is a member of the evil Roman military.

When Nero drug Christians off to be burned as lights for the games the Christians did not die because they ran out of swords. They died because Jesus asked them to Love their enemy and turn the other cheek.

Nero hated God and Christian and yet God made Nero his servant.

4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:4. NIV

If we read Romans 13 in context of history and the teaching of Jesus, we actually find that Paul is saying we need to lay down our lives out of love for our enemies. We must follow the example of Jesus dying on the cross.

POINT TWO:

Matthew 8 demonstrates that Jesus approves of Christians joining the United States Marines and killing enemies of the United States Government.

Our friend tells us that in Matthew 8 when Jesus healed the centurion’s servant and marveled at his faith, Jesus was telling us that it is a noble career to be a Marine in the United States Marine Corp.

Let’s think about this logically. As I said above Rome and Roman soldiers were enemies of the Jews. Rebellious Jews on crosses were common sight at the time of Jesus. The centurion and his troops had probably helped put a few of these people on the cross. Simon the zealot and Simon Peter wanted Jesus to defeat Rome militarily. Jesus was not yet ready to preach to the gentiles.

When Jesus was healing the centurion’s servant, he was demonstrating that he loved his own enemies. Jesus was showing us how we should love our enemies. Jesus loved his enemy even before everything was in place for him to love his enemies.

I find it difficult to understand how Jesus showing love for an enemy can be construed as support for joining the Marines and killing enemies of US politicians and the state, including Christians living in foreign lands.

POINT THREE

The sermon on the mount pertains only to our private lives or perhaps that of interactions between friends and neighbors of a village. The sermon on the mount does not pertain to our interactions with the military or the government of our empire whether it be Rome or the United States.

I am not sure how our friend can read the Sermon on the Mount and find it applies only to private matters?

In the sermon, Jesus speaks a great deal about the Kingdom of God. It is clear that we are to pray for that Kingdom and do the will of God. Our final allegiance must be to the Kingdom of God and not some temporal short-lived Empire such as Rome or the United States. Citizens of the Kingdom of God live in every country.

Matthew 5:38-48 clearly references the military. Roman soldiers had the legal right to ask anyone to carry their bag for a mile. Jesus says to carry the bag of the enemy soldier for 2 miles. Clearly if you are helping out your enemy, it is difficult to kill him. Maybe your enemy will be so grateful that he will become your friend. Perhaps because of your witness he will become a follower of Jesus.

Verse 44 says to love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. Who persecuted the Christians? The entity who persecuted the Christians and the Jews the most in the first 3 centuries of the church was the Roman empire. Jews would have considered other Jews their neighbors and would have quickly settled differences to deal with their enemy the Roman Empire.

This is another case where our friend has not taken into account the history and cultural context in which this story occurred.

POINT FOUR

If someone is chasing a woman with a knife, we must do something about it. We must not be involved in feuds.

What about protecting a woman? Our friend seems to have the mistaken impression that the use of violence is the only option when people are committing unjust and evil acts.

One day I was walking home from work. About ½ a block away I noticed a man beating a much weaker man. I began staring at them and walking more quickly straight towards them. The man beating the other turned and quickly walked away.

I could see that the man was far quicker and a better fighter than I could be. Yet he went away. Sometimes men doing evil are cowards.

If we are not afraid to be hurt or die, usually many other opportunities present themselves to nonviolently intervene in violent situations.

Jesus died to save us and did not promise safety for us or our families if we follow him. In fact, he said we are to take up our cross and follow him. Following Jesus might mean we tackle a man with a deadly weapon and using no deadly violence risk our own lives to protect a woman. We might be successful, but we might not be successful. Sometimes the man who shoots first and asks questions later is successful for the short run. Sometimes violence escalates into more violence and failure in the future.

If we assume the only way to protect this woman is to kill the attacking man, we may risk starting a family feud. Then each side of feud will feel justified in killing people they are feuding with.

Perhaps we don’t know the whole story. Maybe the woman the man is chasing with a knife just murdered the wife and 3 small children of that man. When we shoot him, perhaps we are cutting his name off the face of the earth forever.

I agree with our friend that we must not be involved in feuds, but I think he is contradictory because the very action he is proposing could lead to a feud. This is also the type of behavior that causes feuds leading to war between countries.

If we use violence, we continue the cycle of violence. Jesus broke the cycle of violence when he died. The only way wars and feuds can end is if Christians nonviolently break the cycle of violence.

If we use violence we die by violence. If we live by the sword we die by the sword.

Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down our lives for our friends. By friends he meant brothers and sisters in Christ.

POINT FIVE

It is acceptable for a Christian to join the military and kill the enemy if the state is fighting a just war.

Our friend is discussing Romans 13 again. As I mention in Point One, our friend has taken Romans 13 out of context.

POINT SIX

A Christian can join the US military and easily follow any commands given them to kill their enemies, because the US only fights just wars because the President and congress are doing their jobs. However we cannot do something unjust such as kill civilians or participate in sexual immorality.

Our friend’s sixth point has so many errors I hardly know where to begin. Many in government are seeking power and money. Their goal is re-election and they are willing to make oil companies and weapon manufacturers happy in order to achieve this goal.

War is a Racket, by General Smedley D. Butler

Many of those in power have no interest in following the teachings of Jesus or even ensuring that the United States holds to just war principals. I am sure a majority of politicians do a good job holding to their own principals and are very good at keeping their donors happy.

Andrew Jackson knew in advance of plans to drive out the Indians from their homes to steal their land. He bought up the rights to many acres of land and sold for exorbitant prices to settlers.

Now we have the BIA (Bossing Indians Around) controlling the interests of the United States Government concerning the Indians. The New Trail of Tears, How Washington is Destroying American Indians, Encounter Books, 2016. By Naomi Schaefer Riley.

The US government has used the military to fight the Banana Wars to protect American Banana companies and keep low-paid banana workers in line.

The United States used drones to kill “terrorists” in Pakistan from 2004 to 2018. Pakistan is considered our friend. Often these drone bombing do not kill anyone who was a military threat to the US, but sometimes the bombs slaughter innocent men, women, and children.

Who is the terrorist here? How does the US have the right to kill people without trial or without properly identifying who they are? Would Jesus approve? I would argue that the US President and Congress willingly fight illegal and unjust wars.

The Lawfulness Of Us Drone Strikes In Pakistan: An International Perspective By Robert Donaldson

And What About Hitler?

In 1918 after the peace treaty to end World War I, Congress refused to allow the United States to sell wheat to starving Germany. Nearly a million Germans died of starvation, leading to the election of Hitler and World War II. Obviously Congress doesn’t always do the right thing.

They did not know it then, but if in 1918 Congress had followed Just War principals they could have prevented World War II. If they had followed the teachings of Jesus to feed the hungry, they could have prevented the death of 800,000 plus Germans and prevented World War II.

If a person believes that the United States follows Just War principals and that Christians can join the military because the Congress and President are doing their jobs to ensure Just War, they have not been reading their American History.

I could give many, many more examples.

If we use the Just War definition of Thomas Aquinas or the Catholic Catechism to define just war, I think it can be easily argued that the United States has never fought a just war.

And not only in the United States has the church caused war by refusing to follow the teaching of Jesus.

Christian Tutsis fought Christian Hutus and 800,000 were slaughtered in Rwanda. What if the church had taught them the reconciliation and the nonviolence of Jesus instead of Just War theology?

If you think some acts of killing are just and others are not, I’m not sure how you know the difference in the foxhole? Or what if that civilian might have a bomb tied to her chest?

WHO HAS THE AUTHORITY TO LEAD US?

I would argue that if we claim to be Christians, our final authority should be Jesus Christ.  Jesus wants us to voluntarily follow his teaching.

Some argue that St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, Thomas Aquinas, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis and other theologians and writers can change the teaching of Jesus to meet the needs of our culture. These people would argue for a Just War theology.

Others feel that just war theology is too restrictive and that a person’s country can fight whenever the countries leadership feels it is necessary. It is possible that these Christians may say we must obey to the leaders of our country to the point of killing our brothers and sisters in Christ even if our leaders are not Christian and do not follow a just war politics or the follow the teachings of Jesus.

If anyone claims that someone other than Jesus has the final authority as a guide for Christian living, I must agree to disagree.

CAN A MAN OF VIOLENCE BE SAVED?

If a Christian is a man of violence, does that mean he cannot be saved? Certainly he can be saved. King David was a very violent man. He killed many enemies. Before King Saul, Israel depended on God for defense and did not possess great military knowledge or a standing army.

King David hired mercenaries for foreign lands to defeat his enemies and train his troops. It was easy for David to kill. He killed Bathsheba’s husband. But David and Israel suffered greatly because of the consequences of David’s violence. David could not build the temple. Absalom was killed.

And yet David was called a man after God’s own heart.


VIOLENCE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

When I read the New Testament, I find zero statements positively allowing military service by a Christian. I find many statements suggesting we must love our enemies. When I read writings of the early Christians for the first 300 years, I find zero quotes demonstrating that Christian leaders approved of violence. I find many quotes where Christians speak against violence and service in the military.

POSITION OF THE EARLY CHURCH ON VIOLENCE

Even after Constantine came to power in 306 AD the 300 Bishops in the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) called Christians to leave the military and this was the official view of the Roman church at that time.

“Those who endured violence and were seen to have resisted, but who afterwards yielded to wickedness, and returned to the army, shall be excommunicated for ten years.” 
Excerpt from Cannon 12 of the Council of Nicaea.

I probably have not convinced our friend. I hope he has time to address my questions and correct my misunderstandings of his position. One reason for writing this blog is so that I can better understand the position of Christians who approve of Christian participation in violence.

Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Sunday September 27th 2020 is annual day of prayer for human trafficking.

1685 BC.

JOSEPH’S STORY

Joseph is sold by is 11 brothers into slavery in Egypt. Through miracles and blessing from God, Joseph saves his family and Egypt from starvation.

2020 AD

JENNY’S STORY

MY NAME IS JENNY and for most of my life I have been happy. I have been fortunate to have a good education to degree level and have worked for many years as a teacher. As a single parent though there never seemed to be enough money and I was really worried about the bills. I started to look for jobs in the capital then one day I noticed a job being advertised as a maid in a private home in the United Arab Emirates. The pay was a lot more than I was getting here so I was pleased when I got the job. But when I got there I realized very quickly that I had made a big mistake. My employer immediately took my passport and phone and said I could not call my family. I was forced to work long hours for very little money. I had to look after his two sons who saw how badly their parents treated me and thought they could do the same. The boys would fight and often used me as a punching bag. One day I found out that I had been sold to another family and life was even worse. I had to sleep on the floor in an outhouse and was always starving. Often, I would just be given leftovers and felt so weak and tired. I was so embarrassed that I had been such a fool but decided to call my aunty at home. She was so upset but called the embassy who arranged for the police to rescue me and take me to a safe place until they were able to get me home.

Once home I was welcomed into a project run by The Salvation Army. I stayed with a host family whilst I got back on my feet. They didn’t judge me but made me feel valued and like a normal person again. When I left them I was given money to start my own business. I am so grateful The Salvation Army helped to give me my life back.

Quoted from “Fight for Freedom” Part 1 The Salvation Army Guide to Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

MICHAEL’S STORY

I HAD A GOOD LIFE. NOT GREAT BUT GOOD. It was a shock when my wife left me. I started drinking too much and lost my job then my house. Living on the streets I sometimes felt invisible. I thought things couldn’t get worse. Little did I know… Some Salvation Army people used to give out free hot food in the church yard. I was at the end of a long queue when two men came up and offered me work. They said it would be long hours but I didn’t care, it was good money and a chance to turn my life around. After I’d eaten, three of us got in to their van. They took us to a kind of camp where we stayed in an old shed. I couldn’t believe it. We had to sleep on stinking mattresses. There were no toilets and nowhere to wash. You wouldn’t keep a dog in a place like that. Every day we left the camp very early and then knocked on people’s doors asking if they wanted any work doing, mending roofs and digging gardens. We were picked up when it got dark. We were always hungry and afraid. Some got beaten up, punched in the head or kicked. We worked six days a week and were given money for cigarettes and beer. Someone tried to escape but was beaten with a spanner. It was like they had a hold over us.

One Sunday the police raided the camp. Someone must have told them about us. When I looked around, I saw how ill everyone looked; skinny and unwell. I went back to The Salvation Army and told them what had happened, and they have been helping me since. I am still nervous about going out alone but at least I’m free.

Quoted from “Fight for Freedom” Part 1 The Salvation Army Guide to Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

The Salvation Army workers in one city are befriending and witnessing the love of Jesus to pimps. When a pimp becomes a follower of Jesus often 10 to 12 girls also receive their freedom.

For years my wife and I have had a subscription to Netflix. We could occasionally find a good show or documentary. We have always had to be careful to avoid the pornography. When we learned that Netflix is now showing child pornography, we decided that was enough and we have ended our subscription. Netflix.

WHAT HAVE OTHERS DONE?

A variety of awareness activities and materials have been used in The Salvation Army in the past. Here are a few examples:

• Awareness-raising at major sports events or festivals, knowing that the number of victims trafficked increases at such venues often for sexual and labor exploitation.

• Awareness-raising targeting young people in schools, after-school clubs, mentoring programs and youth and children events.

• Campaigns to ensure taxi drivers know that they might be transporting victims of human trafficking.

• An online campaign to challenge manufacturers regarding fair and just working conditions.

• Raising awareness with farmers and rural community leaders to ensure that they know that they might inadvertently have workers on their land who are under the control of traffickers.

• Setting up information stands at job centers and university fairs to raise awareness about risky job offers when migrating.

• Providing training sessions on how to spot signs of modern slavery and human trafficking to healthcare and police enforcement professionals who may otherwise come into contact with victims without identifying them.

What can your church do about human trafficking? Join in the fight for freedom. See the Salvation Army Website.  Fight For Freedom.

Please pray for victims and perpetrators of human trafficking.