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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. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
See some of the reasons I have heard here.
I invite you to comment below or email me (email@example.com) if you are aware of legitimate arguments from the teaching of Jesus that would allow violence against enemies.
Do you feel that it is acceptable for a Christian to join the military? I am interested in how you would answer the following questions.
There is not one word written of the teachings of Jesus or by early Church leaders prior to Constantine that would allow violence by Christians. Why is it different now?
At the council of Nicaea in 325, 300 bishops said, “Those who endured violence and were seen to have resisted, but who afterwards yielded to wickedness, and returned to the army, shall be excommunicated for ten years.”
Excerpt from Cannon 12 of the Council of Nicaea.
Over 25 years later Ambrose wrote about “just war”. What changed?
How would you use the teaching of Jesus to justify Christian use of violence?
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.
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.