Matthew 4:8-10 NIV
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.”
If we are pursuing the power and money that comes from politics and protecting that money and power with the military, are we worshiping God?
Matthew 5:9 NIV
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:10 NIV
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:23,24 NIV
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.
Seldom is conflict one sided. Usually both sides have committed wrongs they need to make right. Should this apply to foreign policy as well?
Matthew 5:38-41 NIV
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.
In verse 38, Jesus quotes the law of Moses and then. Jesus has the authority to change the law of Moses. Do we have the authority to change the teaching of Jesus? Verse 41 is referencing the enemy Roman soldier’s right to request the help of any person walking on the same road to carry their pack for 1 mile.
Matthew 5:43-48 NIV
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 6:14-15 NIV
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The US military often kills Christians living in foreign lands. Is it possible to forgive them and kill them at the same time? And what about those who would have become followers of Jesus if we hadn’t killed them?
Matthew 7:1 NIV
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Is it safe to judge that our enemy is worthy of death?
Matthew 7:12 NIV
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 8:13 NIV
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
Jesus heals his enemy!
Matthew 10:28 NIV
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Are we afraid that Jesus will not protect us or our families if we use only nonviolent means to protect ourselves?
Matthew 26:51-53 NIV
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?
Mark 8:34-37 NIV
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Mark 12:28b-31 NIV
…he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Luke 4:17-21 NIV
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus is quoting Isaiah 61:1 & 2. I find it interesting that Jesus did not quote: “and the day of vengeance of our God. Perhaps his mission was to offer mercy and Is that now our mission? Can we offer mercy to our enemies when we are killing them?
Luke 6:27-29a NIV
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.
Luke 6:35-36 NIV
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:37 NIV
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 10:17-20 NIV
17 The seventy-two (70) returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The sending of 72 may be in reference to the 70 nations of Genesis 10. Jesus is demonstrating that he has power over the nations and that he is King. This could also be a reference to the fact that he will send his disciples to all nations through the great commission. Either way, when we go to foreign lands to kill for our country, we are killing citizens or potential citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Luke 10:36,37 NIV
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The story of the good Samaritan show that people or enemies from foreign lands are our neighbors.
Luke 11: 29 NIV
29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
God forgave the enemies of Israel living in Nineveh!
Luke 14: 26-27 NIV
Jesus said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 17: 3-4 NIV
3 So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
Luke 23: 32-34 NIV
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
John 2: 13-17 NIV
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Some use the pulpit as a platform to promote the violence of the state.
John 18: 36 NIV
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
Romans 12:17-21 NIV
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 13:1-5 NIV
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 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. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Note: Paul says rebelling against authority is wrong. Fighting the Revolutionary War was contrary to the teaching of Paul. Nowhere in this passage does Paul suggest that we should act contrary to the teaching of Jesus. However, we can see that evil men will control evil men with violence. Paul does not say that Christians should participate in that violence. We can see from the actions of the early church, that they would rather die than disobey the teaching of Jesus.
Romans 13:8-10 NIV
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 16:20 NIV
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Ephesians 4:2 & 3 NIV
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 6:12 & 13 NIV
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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Phillipians 1:21 NIV
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV
15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
Hebrews 12:14 &15 NIV
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
2 Timothy 3:12 NIV
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
James 3:17 & 18 NIV
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
1 Peter 2: 20-23 NIV
20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin,and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 3: 8 & 9 NIV
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3: 17 NIV
17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1 John 4:18 NIV
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Those who wish to defend the position that Christians can follow the teachings of Jesus and kill their enemies at the same time have assigned themselves a very difficult challenge.
Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate
5 thoughts on “A Few New Testament References That Support A Nonviolent Position:”
I am curious how you would defend Christian violence from the teachings of Jesus?
Fair points, Jon. Unpopular opinion: most of American foreign policy is based in greed. Though we are not individually responsible for our country’s actions, I do not know that we won’t be held accountable to these things on Judgement Day…especially those who indulge in toxic patriotism (being so patriotic that you won’t acknowledge your country’s faults).
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You are right Lily, this is a very unpopular opinion.
Since St. Augustine wrote about just war the church has taught that violence is acceptable. Churches and Seminaries do not teach the theology of nonviolence. Christians have not been taught nonviolence and are ignorant of the teachings of Jesus on this subject.
There were three great persecutions during those three centuries when Rome tried to destroy Christians like Hitler tried to destroy the Jews. For the first 3 centuries of the Christian Church there is not one written word by Christians to justify violence. Not for self defense. Not to defend your family. And certainly not to defend our country.
Jesus taught us to fight evil without violent resistance. However if we are aware of evil we must speak out against it wherever see it. We must speak out against the violence and evil of the state. But there are many other violent evils we must resist by speaking out and calling evil what it is, evil. We must speak out against abortion, capital punishment, child abuse, wife abuse, sex slavery, injustice against the poor in other nations, injustice against the homeless and so many other evils.
When we speak out and do what we can without using violence we are fighting evil as Jesus fought evil. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 as he died at the hands of power hungry murderers.