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2 thoughts on “Did Jesus Mean That Sometimes His Disciples Should Kill Their Enemies?”
In many respects, Jon, we should avoid tangling with our enemies. Scripture says to love our enemies and by doing so it is like putting burning ashes on their heads. Our love can help in many cases. However, I believe that God wants us to protect our lives and our family and friends, and our country…..and if it comes to having to kill an enemy who will kill us or a member of our family, or take over our country, then we must go to war. Also, in personal relationships, if someone is spiritually dark and abusive to our Christian beliefs, we are to part from them. It is the wisdom of God that leads us in this subject about enemies. Knowing when God speaks and gives us solid direction is the key to understanding whether to hold back or fight. Very interesting subject. Your work is appreciated. Your title asks a good question. I believe the answer is not one that is solid black or white. Thanks for allowing me to comment.
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For 40 years I have been asking Christians why they think it is acceptable to join the military. I have not heard a convincing answer. I might be wrong. I am often wrong and open to change. Please demonstrate from the teaching of Jesus why it is acceptable to kill our enemies. Please feel free to point out errors in my thinking below:
Certainly this is not a black and white issue. One compromise made by the early Christian Church was to allow Roman Soldiers who became Christians was to remain in the military if they did not carry a sword. Many soldiers carried out a police role and as such could follow this guideline.
What about an EMT who must wrestle down some one on drugs? And many police work for years and never need draw a gun.
When I was 18, I considered joining the military. I could not join for reasons of conscience. I could not reconcile the command “Love our Brother” with the desire to kill our enemy. ”
In every country followers of Jesus live. Many of our enemies are Christian. What if all followers of Jesus refused to to kill their Christian brother, making war impossible. Even if you kill a terrorist, what if the night before he had a dream from Jesus and accepted him as savior? Wouldn’t it be better to die than chance killing our brother in Christ?
What if all German and British Christians had refused to participate in World War I? Then World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War and the Cold War most likely could have all been avoided.
What if all Christians in the United States had refused to fight in the Civil war. In the Civil War Christian brother fought and killed Christian brother. Blood brother fought and killed blood brother.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
You said, “In personal relationships, if someone is spiritually dark and abusive to our Christian beliefs, we are to part from them.” Perhaps so, but we are to always invite them to join into Christian fellowship. I think Jesus would ask us create a path that can lead to forgiveness and reconciliation.
I have an even more difficult time supporting US foreign policy than I would in participating in war as a soldier. With an unjust foreign policy, certainly Just War is not possible. If I can not agree with my countries foreign policy, how can I die for that foreign policy?
Should we really avoid tangling with our enemies? Perhaps we need more negotiations? The United States often avoids real negotiations with enemies. In 2002 many of the Taliban leaders wanted to unconditionally surrender, the US refused to talk to them. How much war could have been avoided if the US had reached out to those leaders in 2002? If the US had reached out to them, certainly other leaders would have followed and soon, perhaps there would have been no enemies to fight. (I was searching for the reference where I found the information about the Taliban leaders who wanted to unconditionally surrender, but I cannot find them.)
And freedom. If we have freedom of worship and speech but do not forgive our enemies, then do we really have freedom?