About

My name is Jon Kauffman. I graduated from Goshen College, earning a BA in Religion. I attended a Mennonite Church while growing up and currently attend the Salvation Army Church. I work as a drafter at TrueNorth Steel, Fargo, ND.

The underlying assumption of this blog: Jesus and his teachings are the final authority on the best way to live on this earth. The Bible is the word of God. We have the responsibility to determine if our interpretation of the Bible and the teaching of the Church is in line with the teaching of Jesus. If our interpretation contradicts the teaching of Jesus, we must question our own interpretation of the Bible.

The premise of this blog: If Christians follow the teachings of Jesus, they will not engage in violence against their enemies.

A person cannot follow Jesus’ way of non-violence without a change on the inside; help from other followers of Jesus; and partnership with the Holy Spirit.

Why I am writing this blog: I am writing this blog because I would like to better understand both sides of the issue of Christians and violence. I am very interested in learning why people disagree or agree with me.

When I was a freshman in college, one of my professors, a Christian and a Vietnam Veteran often told about his service to the US Military. I asked him how the Bible supported his decision to enter the military. He laughed at me for asking such a crazy question. He did not answer my question.

For over 40 years I have been asking people why they feel it is acceptable for Christians to join the military. Over those 40 years I have not heard a reason that I felt was faithful to the teaching of Jesus.

I invite you to comment below if you are aware of legitimate arguments from the teaching of Jesus that would allow violence against enemies.

I have been reviewing literature written by early Christians. I have found many quotes of Christians who opposed violence against enemies. I have found zero Christian quotes Pre-Constantine that argued in favor of Christian violence against enemies.

Please comment below if you are aware of quotes I have missed.

Since 1981 I have felt very strong feelings that I should write about pacifism and non-violence. After many failed attempts I began writing this blog.

Definitions:

In most cases these are the definitions of words used on this website.

Non-Resistance: Christian refusal to resist wrongs brought against them by others. For example turning the other cheek instead of striking back when someone strikes out.  Non-Resistance is not resisting or taking action to hurt someone who takes advantage us, for example someone lies to get you fired. Matthew 5:38 flows into the verses about love of enemy. Jesus’ teaching about Non-Resistance includes resistance to enemy soldiers.

Non-Violence: Christian refusal to kill others for defense. For example: the early church taught that if one became a Christian he should not join the military. If he was was already in the military when he became a Christian, he should refuse to carry a sword. Many Roman soldiers held a job similar to today’s policemen.

Pacifism: Refusal to join or fight with the military, especially when the motive is to follow the teachings of Jesus and the Bible.

28 thoughts on “About”

  1. I don’t know how long this invitation for a counter argument from Scripture or Pre-Constantinian Christians or which takes basis there has been posted publicly or how many people have seen it and had the opportunity to respond, but I do notice none are published here.

    Does that mean you have no takers?

    Would you accept a biblical/theological argument which does not adhere specifically to your conditions?

    I am curious.

    Like

  2. 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.

    I have been married to my wife for 18 years and we have two children, a daughter and a son. I love them with all my heart and I will protect them out of that love. Defending my family does not make me violent. I protect my family out of love. I will not allow someone to hurt my wife or children.

    In middle school I witnessed a boy punching and shoving a girl. I ran over to him, pulled him away from her, and put him on the ground. He was the attacker, not me. He was being violent, not me. I defended the girl because that is what was right and I did it out of love, not violence.

    When our daughter (our firstborn) was only 7 months old or so (back in 2008), my wife and I were sitting watching TV one night around 9 p.m. when several men ran up our front steps and began trying to kick in our door. I told my wife to go upstairs with our daughter and lock herself in our bedroom and call 911 while I ran to our closet to get my Glock 19 9mm pistol. The men were still kicking the door as I came downstairs with the gun ready as I was trained (my trainer was a 25 year SWAT trainer). I had the gun pointed at the door, but thankfully the men were not able to get through and they gave up. Police showed up about 10 minutes later with their guns drawn sweeping our property inside and out.

    If those men had come through our front door, it would have been over in seconds. If they had come through the door and I wasn’t ready to defend my family, then my wife and daughter could have been hurt or killed. Would you rather your family be killed or would you protect them? I sure hope you would man up and protect them. I sure was ready and my wife was very thankful that I was downstairs ready to protect her and our beautiful little baby girl.

    I have a duty to protect my wife and children and to put myself in harms way and even die for them if necessary. I am not violent. I love my family. I also thank God for our brave police and military who keep us safe every day. Praise God for men and women who are not afraid to stand up to evil and protect the country and people they love. Love always protects and God wants us to be strong and courageous for our families.

    Grace and peace to you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. Do you think we should have concerned for the innocent men, women, and children killed by our military over the last 200 years? As we read 1 Corinthians 13:7 are we as Christians responsible to do anything for them? Peace to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Jon. Yes, we should definitely have concern for innocent people in war. That unfortunately happens in war and war is a horrible part of this fallen world. Our country and every country does everything they can to prevent innocent deaths, but it still happens. We do help the people of war torn countries and many of them live here. I wish there was no war and I look forward to Jesus’ return. God bless.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ryan, in World War II, Japan attacked a military target in the United States. The United States killed 1.2 million innocent men, women and children bombing Japan. Many of them after Japan was suing for peace. There are many other examples of the US military killing innocent “enemies”. Should a Christian support a military that does these things? If it sometimes includes killing innocent “enemies,” should a Christian join such a military and participate in that violence?

        Like

  3. God commanded the Israelites to use military force against their enemies. How can something that God commanded be wrong today? And Jesus once commanded his disciples to buy swords. Why would he do this if they were not allowed to use them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments.

      Michael Snow has written an excellent post about the command of Jesus to buy swords. Two Swords: Enough. https://nonviolentchristians.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/two-swords-enough/

      I have several blog posts addressing Old Testament violence. I am planning to write more. See reason 19.
      “Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate”
      https://nonviolentchristians.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/12-arguments-for-christians-to-legitimately-use-violence/

      Like

  4. Jesus says, Take up a cross and follow me or you cant be my disciple. You lose your life to gain it. He does not say take up your 9mm and save your life and follow me. I cant find a single text that even remotely lends itself to that twist.

    In the wake of so many mass shootings, and the nifty catch phrase that pays these days – “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”… I want to challenge that.

    It’s not true. Not at all. That is in fact NOT the ONLY thing that stops a bad guy with a gun.

    Now… depending on what your values and beliefs are about Jesus, you might get away saying it is the most effective way to stop a bad guy with a gun, but it is not the only way, nor is it necessarily the best, and certainly is NOT THE JESUS way.

    I would ask you to google Nurse Joan Black. Those three words should get you there. Nurse Joan Black, an ER nurse (if memory serves me) back in the 1980’s in LA, faced an active shooter in her hospital and disarmed the assailant with a hug.

    WITH A HUG!

    Stopped a bad guy with a gun with a HUG!

    STOPPED.

    Hmmm…

    Very humanist of Nurse Joan Black. Not exactly the Jesus way, but very interesting. She did not infact lose her life to save it. She did not take up a cross and follow, but she disarmed an active shooter with a hug!

    As Christians who believe in resurrection from the dead, we have a DUTY to imagine such things. To ponder such things. To spend TIME meditating on such things.

    Let me tell you MY Story of an intruder. I will tell the short version. I have a much longer version with far more details and rich drama, but when making a simple point, I have a short version.

    I was in high school when a young man broke a window and came into our house uninvited. He was scary and menacing. He was high on drugs.

    In those days, my dad kept two BB guns, a pellet gun, and I think we had a .22, but it might have been a shotgun. Not sure. We almost never used them. But we did have them at our disposal when this young man committed the classic case scenario at our house. We could have shot him, and no court in the land would have found us guilty. We would have been completely justified on anyone’s judgment.

    But we didn’t. We didn’t shoot him, and it didn’t occur to us that we would or could for a very long time after.

    No. We were caught surprised by the uninvited guest, and put on a pot of coffee. Tried to serve the guy coffee.

    That actually freeked the guy out, and he ran away.

    It was a small town, but it took me over a year to find out who the guy was and confront him about it. At that point, he was in the church getting his life turned around. When I did confront him about it, he remembered me and made amends. And a year after that, I went to his wedding.

    Think about what we would have missed if we had justifiably killed that man.

    Look. I will call a cop if I have an intruder, most likely. But we really must get off this idea that the ONLY WAY to stop a bad guy with a gun is to be the good guy with a gun. Guns are not as powerful as love. But we must imagine it. We must set our imaginations free from this slavery to guns and death! And yes, this kind of reaction really might get me killed. But do you think shooting back has no risk??? Ha! Think again!

    If I shoot at a bad guy with a gun, you better hope my aim is good! You better hope I don’t accidentally kill bystanders or mistake a good guy with a gun for the bad guy with a gun in the fog of war!

    There is RISK either way. But we never talk about that. We just think we can take up a gun and follow Jesus, but that is not what he says.

    Think about this in the big picture. When God looks at all the worlds problems… all the fear, disease, death, mayhem, sadness, crime, dictators… you name the problem… When God looks at all that, he sends his Son to die on a cross.

    And somehow in His great mysterious wisdom, THAT is the answer. That stops the DEVIL with his gun.

    Hmmm…

    We really must contemplate this stuff carefully.

    Like

    1. I hear what you are saying Agent X. I am a man of peace. Losing your life to gain it has to do with giving your soul and life to Jesus Christ. That is not saying let someone attack your family and do nothing about it. I am not twisting anything and of course the Bible doesn’t say anything about guns. It does however say love always protects and I stand by what I said. I love Jesus with all of my heart and He is my Lord and Savior. I serve Him and follow Him and I have for the last 23 years. I take up my cross and follow Jesus every day and you have no idea what I have suffered. You may disagree with me, but don’t go attacking my faith in Jesus.

      I love my family and I will protect them and that is completely Biblical. Read 1 Corinthians 13:7, that is your single text that tells us to protect those we love. Don’t tell me I’m twisting anything. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I am one of His evangelists out here preaching the Gospel every day.

      You would call the cops if an intruder broke into your house because cops have guns and they can help protect you. I hope and pray I never have to use my gun and it is the absolute last resort I would ever use to defend my family. That is great a hug stopped that guy. The guys who were trying to kick in our door that night would not have been stopped with a hug or a cup of coffee. I know God can do miracles and He has sent angels to help me in the past, but I will not test God. I must be ready to protect those I love just as the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:7.

      Grace and peace to you,

      Ryan Callahan

      Like

      1. Thanx for your reasoned response.

        AND…

        I am sorry you sense I am attacking your faith. Such is not my desire. I would rather encourage your faith, not attack it.

        However, I do rebut your case. It doesn’t hold water with the Bible, as I see it. I looked at I Cor. as you have cited it three times now, but I don’t see “protect your family” in it. Certainly not with a 9mm gun. That is a twist on the Bible. And you are the very first I ever heard do it.

        These days we have whole churches (mine included) employing armed security to “keep us safe.” But “safe” is not the Gospel. Jesus is a dangerous man to follow. If you follow, expect to lose your life. If you kill your enemy, then you are violating Christ’s commands to love them. You just can’t love an enemy with the working end of a Glock. However, you can die at their hand blessing the hand that harms you. And THAT is to display the very image of the one we follow who was bearing the image of God when he did it.

        If you want to be biblical, the Bible is not a self preservation manual. It’s a crucify your flesh manual instead.

        If you chicken out on following Jesus, you are in good company. St. Peter rebuked Jesus for this stuff too, and still he found grace. But you can’t change the Gospel.

        “Safety” is a myth anyway. A myth we spend all kinds of money to indulge. We kill people all over the world so we can have the illusion of safety.

        I once heard a sermon analyze this. In all our prayers at church, we never fail to include a petition for “safety” as if we are quite neurotic about it. “Please keep us safe”, “keep our soldiers safe”, “keep our children safe”, and on and on it goes. But right when James is hauled off to jail and executed, Peter gets arrested and it looks grim for him too, and others are under threat of their whole families being rounded up and hauled off to jail and/or executions, if ever there was a time in all of church history when Christians might be expected to ask God for “safety” this would be it. But instead, when the pray they ask God to MAKE US BOLD!

        I only hope I can be so bold.

        It is far more important that you see God when you look at me than it is that I get to survive until tomorrow. It’s the weight of Glory, and it crushes me to just think of it. But IF a gunman burst in to the church I attend, the honor goes to those who lay down their lives, not to those who shoot back. And it’s sad to see people die, alright, but it’s more glorious to see God.

        Btw, I would encourage you watch the movie Beyond The Gates (over seas it has the title Shooting Dogs). It is historical fiction about the genocide in Rwanda, but there is a scene where the priest finally gathers the church for Eucharist so that they can die at the Table with the Lord. What a stunning thought. Crucifying your flesh is about THAT, not some esoteric metaphor, but real dying, real laying down your life. Jesus gets REAL when you meet him THERE.

        I would encourage you to have that faith. And I have no desire to attack yours in the slightest.

        Like

      2. The Bible says what it says. Love always protects, always, not sometimes, always. If you love your family, protect them. It doesn’t need to say “protect your family.” Paul tells us to protect those we love. Again, for the second time now, I am not twisting God’s Word, so stop accusing me of doing so. I am not the only Christian man who is ready to protect his family either. There are millions of us out here. Brave men willing to protect and even die for our families.

        You are speaking of being martyred for Jesus. If that happens to me for my faith in Jesus, so be it. It would be a great honor to die for Jesus and I am ready and willing. Protecting my wife, daughter, and son from a violent intruder has nothing to do with that. Are you seriously telling me that you would let someone attack, hurt, or kill your wife and kids and you would just stand there? That is not love. Love always protects. It’s just that simple and straightforward. I can love the attacker as well and forgive him and possibly have the chance to share Christ with him, after I stop the attack. There is nothing loving or godly about letting a criminal attack your loved ones or anyone else. Plus, I didn’t say anything about killing anyone. I would just stop the threat as I was trained. I love my family, my neighbors, and my country and I protect them and there is nothing twisted about that. That is love and love never fails.

        Grace and peace to you,

        Ryan

        Like

      3. I Corinthians 13:7

        7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

        I will not argue this further. Anything I say now, I suspect just sounds petty to you. But I will quote your verse here. And I gotta say, I ain’t seeing your case in it.

        Bowing out now.

        God bless…

        Like

      4. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (NIV 1984)
        It’s right there in God’s Word, so not sure how you are not seeing it. Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians is God’s definition of love.

        Furthermore, we pray for safety every time we pray “deliver us from evil.” It is God’s will that we pray that. God protects us because He is love and He loves us. We should do the same for each other. If somebody attacks my family and I defend them and the attacker gets hurt, that is God’s discipline on the attacker. God will not be mocked. A man will reap what he sows.

        If a man wants to attack women and children, then he will reap God’s discipline and be punished. Of course there is forgiveness through Jesus, but the criminal behavior must be dealt with. Even the authorities in power are called “God’s agents of wrath to punish the wrongdoer” in the Bible (Romans 13:1-5).

        In any case, we will probably agree to disagree, but I bless you in peace as your brother in Christ. Nothing you have said sounds petty to me. It has been good talking with you.

        God bless you too.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think a lot about these matters you blog about frequently Obviously, not enough to create my own blog on them, but I think much all the same. I very much appreciate your emphasis on them.

    I have read several of your posts. I intend to get around to reading a lot more as time permits.

    I sense your views on these things are not too different from mine. However, I have seen where there are some differences.

    That said, I highly value what you are doing here, AND I respect your offerings enough to reconsider my own thinking based on what I find here.

    Thanx for this.

    More to come…

    X

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I didn’t mention this before because I didn’t think I could quote it right and feared I would not find it, but today I have. Another story… a vignette… copied from an old book I obtained when I was young. Turns out it’s and old Tony Campolo story, though I found it quoted in someone elses book. Nevertheless, I think your blog should have this story linked to it. It features an argument between Mennonites about whether they should fight in a war or not.

    Here is the link:

    https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/living-in-two-worlds/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Another tidbit I think is helpful/useful for the conversation(s) had here. Let’s see if I can paste this one in. It’s not THAT long……

    Evangelical Gigolo by Mike Yaconelli
    The Wittenberg Door June 1980
    He stood in front of the television camera,
    his eyes ablaze with conviction,
    his voice charged with emotion,
    with every hair in place, and
    not a wrinkle in his three piece
    baby blue suit.
    And, he shouted to anyone who was listening:
    “We are not losers,
    We are winners!”
    I turned my television off
    and sat quietly in the room
    disturbed by an unknown source of anxiety.
    It was not until a few days later
    that I discovered what was bothering me.
    What frightened me then
    and what scares me now,
    is the sin of power;
    not the power of sin,
    but the sin of power.
    I believe
    that modern Christians
    have sold their birthright
    for a “mess of power.”
    We have been seduced
    by the glitter
    and the temporality of power;
    and we have gone “a-whoring” after it.
    We have sold out
    our worship of a crucified Savior
    for the worship of Power!
    We have exchanged
    the ministry of sacrifice
    for the ministry of domination.
    We have decided
    to “be strong”
    instead of meek,
    “the majority”
    instead of “the few,”
    “the conqueror”
    instead of the “slaughtered all the day long,”
    “the winner”
    instead of the loser.
    We are determined
    to be from “the right side of the tracks”
    and to “look good.”
    The modern church has been reenergized by “power.”
    We stand in awe of–
    the Beauty Queen,
    the pro-ball player,
    the wealthy businessman
    and we shy away from the foot of the cross.
    It was at the cross–
    where the ancient Roman legionnaire,
    a man that was intimate with power,
    a man who daily held the power of life and death
    in his hands,
    a man who was a leader in the world’s
    most powerful and victorious army–
    Yes, it was there
    where that man saw Jesus die
    like a lamb led to the slaughter
    like a traitor to his people
    and an outcast without friends
    yet so authentically
    while heaven and earth convulsed.
    So, he–
    being impressed
    with vulnerability,
    sacrifice,
    authenticity,
    and humility,
    cried out,
    “Truly this man was the Son of God.”
    Yet, we–
    pay millions to anyone,
    who will take our money to prove
    that we are the majority,
    that we are respectable,
    and that we shall be successful.
    We suffer–
    these persons of power and prestige
    to travel in executive private jets
    with platoons
    of executive assistants
    and press secretaries.

    We give until it hurts–
    to vicariously share with the great ones
    as they wine and dine with presidents,
    scurry from one TV studio to the next,
    whisk in and out of airports
    in long black limousines.
    And, it isn’t their fault,
    it’s ours,
    we need these super-heroes.
    We want–
    in the worst way
    to believe
    that we are right
    and that our side is going to win!
    Instead of faith,
    we ask for success.
    Instead of discipleship,
    we want entertainment.
    Instead of a godly life,
    we will settle for a good rating in the polls.
    As one put it:
    “In this ‘dog eat dog’ world everyone wants to be–
    a wolf,
    and no one is called–
    to play the part of the sheep.
    Yet, the world can’t survive
    without this living sacrifice.
    Jesus came to be
    transparent,
    open,
    vulnerable,
    loving,
    to serve mankind
    and suffer death sacrificially
    that we might be saved.
    And that we might follow
    that same example ourselves
    in ministry to others!

    Like

  8. I wonder if you have posted or will post on the A Bomb the US dropped on Japan. In recent times I keep finding that moment to be significant for all manner of other discussions. Your thoughts tend to be enlightening AND challenging. I would like to discuss it further… maybe get some help developing thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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