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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
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.