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 for 40 years. 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.

Arguments people have given me to suggest that it is acceptable for Christians to us violence:

  1. Protecting your family when violent people come.
    See my response:

    Agent X, Blogger, “Intruder”.

    How Jesus Fights Wars
    .
  2. Protecting your country when violent armies come.
    See my response:

    The Flag and Daniel.

    What About Hitler?
    .
  3. Protecting religious freedom.
    See my response:

    Should a Christian Fight for Freedom?

    How Jesus Fights Wars.
    .
  4. Protecting vulnerable neighbors when violent people come.
    See my response:

    SERMON OF SUBVERSION: SERMON ON THE MOUNT

    Violence and Responses.
    .
  5. They feel like they are doing the right thing.
    See my response:

    Hiroshima and Mass Murder?
    .
  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.
    .
  7. Soldiers have good medical benefits. Should a Christian put medical benefits as a higher priority than following the teachings of Jesus?
    .
  8. Soldiers have good educational opportunities. Should a Christian put education as a higher priority than following the teachings of Jesus?
    .
  9. The military teaches discipline. It takes great discipline to follow the teachings of Jesus. Which is a higher priority?
    .
  10. Veterans are recognized as heroes.
    See my response:

    Why I Can’t Thank Veterans.

    What Do We Owe Veterans? Or The Last Native American
    .
  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.

    Greatest Heresy of All Time? Just War Doctrine?

    Does Just War Exist?

    The Authority We Follow
    .
  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
    .
  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

    OUR FRIEND TALKS PACIFISM
    .
  14. Romans 13 teaches that Christians are to be subject to the state.
    See my response:

    Does Romans 13 Justify Christian Participation in Violence?

    Can Christians Join the US Military?


    .
  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?
    .
  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

    Why I Won’t be Voting in 2020.
    .
  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.

    Two Swords: Enough. By Michael Snow.

    “No More of This!” (Why Jesus Armed and disarmed Peter) by Brian Zahnd.
    .
  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

    Who is God? Thou Shalt Not Kill
    .
  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

    Mary, Warrior of God.

    Does Isaiah 2:3-4 Teach Christian Non-Violence?

    God Is Not Violent: Korah’s Rebellion

    Jason Potterfield discusses Violence in the Old Testament:

    New Series: Violence In The Old Testament by Jason Potterfield
    Violence In The Old Testament. Part 2: The Problem by Jason Potterfield
    Violence In The Old Testament Part 3: Filter The Bible Through Jesus by Jason Potterfield
    .
  20. Most churches and their leaders support the Christian use of violence.
    See my response:

    St. Augustine’s Mistake
    .
  21. Pacifism is not safe and secure. Pacifists must depend on non-pacifists to defend them physically.
    See my response:

    “Neutering Male Courage.”
    .
  22. 1 Peter 2:13-17 justifies Christian military service.
    See my response:

    Does 1 Peter 2:13-17 Justify Christian Violence?
    .
  23. 2 Timothy 2: 3 & 4 justifies Christian military service.
    See my response:

    Does 2 Timothy 2:3 & 4 Justify Christian Military Service
    .
  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?

    SERMON OF SUBVERSION: SERMON ON THE MOUNT
    .
  25. “Pacifism is a satanic belief system designed to hurt innocent people and neuter male courage.”
    See my response:

    “Neutering Male Courage.”

    How Jesus Fights Wars.
    .
  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
    .
  27. If Christians did not fight as soldiers, the whole world would fall apart. Christianity would be destroyed and civilization would end.
    .
  28. To prevent future terrorist attacks. Terrorists would destroy our country if Christians did not fight.
    See my response:

    “Neutering Male Courage.”
    .
  29. It is foolish for Christians to depend on evil people for protection.
    See my response:
    .
  30. Jesus is violent in the book of Revelation and uses violence to bring justice. If Jesus is violent we also can be violent.
    See my response:

    Does Revelation 19 Justify Violence by Christians?

    See how Jesus fights: “Holy War.” video by Greg Boyd
    .
  31. Christians can fight in any war. The war does not need to be just. The only requirement is that the Christian must fight heroically.

    Can Christians Join the US Military?
    .
  32. Ryan Callahan has written one of the best defenses for Christian violence than I have heard or read over the last 40 years of asking. Ryan said, “Good to meet you Jon. I agree that as followers of Jesus we should be men of peace. The Bible is also clear in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that love always protects. Defending your family is not a matter of violence. It is a matter of love.” Closely related is Phil Robinson’s defense of Christian violence.
    See my Response:

    Protecting Our Families Like Jesus

    See the very interesting conversation between Ryan and Agent X.

    Ryan Callahan, Author, Blogger and Everyday Minister
    .
  33. My friend, Mark Netum told me a story that he felt demonstrated the need of Christians to fight.

    Mark Nettum, Veteran, Retired. Does Matthew 13:24-29 Teach Nonviolence?
    .
  34. “I have no problem with people Christian or otherwise for that matter choosing not to defend themselves ( particularly if doing so would involve violence) I do have an issue with people who refuse to defend OTHER people and/or tell people that it is wrong to use their legal right to self defense.” I found this quote on Christian Forums.

    See my Response:

    Can Christians Join the US Military?


    .
  35. Philippians 2:25 and 2 Timothy 2:3,4 clearly justify serving as a soldier.
    See my response:

    Do Philippians 2:25 and 2 Timothy 2:3,4 Justify Violence by Christians?
    .
  36. In Numbers 32, two tribes of Israel wanted to stay in Gilead and discontinue fighting. Moses spoke severely to them therefor we also should fight in war.
    .
  37. One friend said, “Jesus often saves people in the military so it must be alright to work in the military.” Jesus saves people who once were prostitutes and thieves. That does not indicate that is acceptable for people to remain prostitutes and thieves.
    .

What arguments for violence have I missed? Please feel free to point out any errors in my thinking.

A Few New Testament References That Support A Nonviolent Position:

What arguments for violence have I missed? Please feel free to point out any errors in my thinking.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dirk-willem-2.jpg
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.

I absolutely agree with you that war is not compatible with Christian belief. It’s the reason I long ago ceased to call myself a Christian. I believe that there are circumstances in which war is justified and would cite the activity of Adolf Hitler and his followers. Had the rest of the world permitted the Nazi’s to continue with their programme, which included unspeakable violence against large numbers of our fellow humans based on their ethnicity/religious beliefs/failure to meet a supposed ideal of physical and mental perfection, neither you nor I would be alive today. Frank Parker

I find Frank’s honesty refreshing. I remain a Christian and believe it is wrong for Christians to participate in war.

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.

Jesus as the Son of God has the right to ask his followers to live lives of non-violence if that is what he wants to do.

40 years and I have not found any reasons that Christians use to justify violence, that I felt is convincing.

When We Disagree.

Contact me: jonkauffman01@gmail.com.

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.

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Author: Jon

Jon Kauffman graduated from Goshen College, earning a BA in Religion. Jon attended a Mennonite Church while growing up and currently attends the Salvation Army Church. Jon works as a drafter at TrueNorth Steel, Fargo, ND.

5 thoughts on “Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate”

  1. I still remember my infantry days and deployed, we did have what is the equivalent in the U.S to a Chaplain. We in Spain just called him by his name as he wanted us and told him everything. From the embarrassing things to sex to everything. I think that is why we all love the man. But after our Little confession to him, we where back to being the tough guys.
    Jesus said no violence, I´m not Jesus. I lived out of violence and still can be violent if need be. Yet Jesus seems to pardon me, I do good things also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that Jesus’s message is one of non-violence.

    I choose not to judge other people’s choices. I do this imperfectly.

    We live in a violent world. There are a few Peters amongst us, even if one soldier’s ear was his only violent act.

    Liked by 1 person

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