A Few New Testament References That Support A Nonviolent Position:

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

So watch yourselves.

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 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.

Neowise. Picture: Copyright © 2020 by Leon Kauffman

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

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Do Genesis 34 & 35 Foreshadow the Nonviolence of Jesus?

Peace Dove

Rape of Dinah

In Chapter 34 Shechem rapes Dinah. Simeon and Levi use deceit and trickery to kill every male in Shechem’s city. The actions of his sons cause great concern to Jacob. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” Genesis 35: 30 NIV

Jacob is worried that the residents of the land will kill him and his family because of the great injustice committed by his sons.

Then Jacob recognizes the protection God is giving him in spite of this great injustice: So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” Genesis 35:2,3 NIV

In the time of Jacob, people living in his society resorted to great vengeance against their enemy.

The Meeting of Esau and Jacob (Artist: James Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836-1902. Image: Public Domain, The Jewish Museum, New York)

God reveals himself.

The Bible is the story of God revealing himself to man. As we study history, we can see how God has been revealing himself to man as man is able to understand.

Jacobs sons took great vengeance against Shechem. Yet God shows Jacob that he wants to be our protector.

Moses and the Law

When Moses wrote down the law God gave him on Mount Sinai, he began to address the violence of revenge. God was no longer allowing the injustice of unlimited revenge. Moses taught that justice was an eye for an eye.

23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. Exodus 21:23. NIV

This quelled the violence and revenge that was common when someone was injured.

When the Children of Israel were fleeing Egypt, God opened the Red Sea and protected Israel. They were not required to kill a single Egyptian soldier. Many Christians have reported the protection of God in violent situations.

A bit of snow melt splitting the snow in front of the evening’s Alpenglow. Picture: Copyright © 2020 by Leon Kauffman

Solomon Teaches Nonviolence

Solomon taught the wisdom of living a nonviolent life:

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21 & 22 NIV

The Prophets Teach Nonviolence

And Isaiah told us that Jesus will bring about a time of nonviolence:

Isaiah said:

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Isaiah 2: 4. NIV

Many early Christians quoted these passages and commented on them. They clearly thought that these this passage is for the current church age.

Justin Martyr: (100 AD – 165 AD)

“We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder and everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have traded in our weapons of war. We have exchanged our swords for plowshares, our spears for farm tools…now we cultivate the fear of God, justice, kindness, faith, and the expectation of the future given us through the Crucified One….The more we are persecuted and martyred, the more do others in ever increasing numbers become believers.”
Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 110.3.4

Jesus Teaches Nonviolence

Jesus came. He is the exact representation of the Father. In God’s greatest revelation of himself he was ready to reveal his mercy, his compassion and his love for his enemies.

He taught non-violence. Jesus said: 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. Matthew: 5: 38 & 39 NIV

Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. George Howard’s translation of the Hebrew directly to English Reads:

38 Again you have heard what is said in the Torah: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I say to you, do not repay evil for evil; but he who smites your right cheek provide for him the left. Matthew: 5: 38 & 39 George Howard

On the way to the cross, Jesus refused to resist his enemies and while he was suffering on the cross Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24 NIV.

Jesus said, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27 NIV

Jesus teaches and demonstrates a new way to treat our enemies. We are to love them and deal with them nonviolently. We must now love our enemies and allow Jesus to bring justice.

The Old Testament is filled with great violence and war. Some say that the Old Testament teaches violence, surely Jesus would expect us to continue to protect ourselves through violence. Jesus is God, if he can change the teaching of Moses, he can allow the Old Testament saints to use violence and ask his followers to live nonviolent lives during the church age.

Jesus is our Protection.

Jesus asks that we follow his example. Jesus will protect us but he does not want us to use violence. If we are following Jesus and living lives of nonviolence, it is possible that we and our families will die for him.

But Jesus will often provide a way of escape for his followers. When Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. he told his followers to flee to the mountains and he gave them signs so that they would know when to flee.

The Jews rebelled against Rome. When Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, Josephus suggested that as many as a million Jews died at the hands of the Romans. Many of the Jews killed were peaceful citizens of Jerusalem. Many thousands were taken captive as slaves and taken to the mines in Egypt.

Most of followers of Jesus fled the city and survived.

Many of us like Jacob have lived lives that are less than ideal in God’s eyes. And yet God offers us mercy and forgiveness and protection through Jesus. In the long view, even if we and our families die for Jesus, we will live with Jesus forever.

Jesus offers forgiveness in the rebirth: Born Again

7 Reasons the Old Testament Cannot be used to Justify Christian Violence

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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.

Does Matthew 4: 8-9 Teach Nonviolence?

by Jon Kauffman

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.” Matthew 4: 8-9 NIV

Though not coming in huge amounts, the snow has been pretty persistent the past few days.
Picture: © 2020 by Leon Kauffman

Just War

When the Church began to teach “Just War” did the Church fall to the temptation that Jesus conquered in the desert?

Ambrose of Milan was the first to write about “Just War.” Ambrose was a very political man, bound up in government as Governor of Liguria and Emilia. He became bishop of Milan in 374 at the request of the people.

Did the church bow down and worship the evil one by grasping for and worshiping political power and wealth?

Who do we worship?

Are we worshiping our government when we participate in government and the military and call for safety and security? Are we worshiping the US government (Rome) or the devil when we put our dependence and trust in the military?

There is not one word written in the New Testament or by the church leaders for the first 300 years that would allow Christians to kill another human being.

Martyrs and Love

The early Christians put their total faith in Jesus and refused to worship the Roman Emperor or the Roman Government and did not use violence to protect themselves.

Thousands of Christians died as martyrs for Jesus in the early church. They did not use violence to protect themselves or their children.

They died out of love for their enemies. Three times in those first three centuries of the church Rome tried to wipe out the Christians like Hitler tried to wipe out the Jews. Christians did not use violence to protect themselves.


Do we modern day Christians resort to violence because we have fear?

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. 19 We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19. NIV

Out of fear are we bowing down to the devil and grasping for power, for physical security, for food stamps, for social security?

Instead of loving the poor and the sick and the homeless like Jesus did, are we allowing the government to try to do the job of the followers of Jesus? Are we trying to give the churches job to the devil? Are we trusting the government to be our military security and provider of food and shelter. Are we worshiping the government when we allow government programs to care for the poor and the widows when it is the churches job? Do we worship our Superbowl heroes?

God is love and we can put our whole trust in him and have no fear.

Trusting in God

As St. Paul said:

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 34-39

If there is nothing that can separate us from God, we have no need of fear. We can love as Jesus loved. We do not need violence.

Teaching Violence

If there is nothing in the teaching of Jesus to justify Christian violence, how do we justify teaching violence today?

The Flag and Daniel

Born Again

Living in Two Worlds Credited to Tony Campolo by Mike Cope

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Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post. Anything I write may be used to further the Kingdom of God without credit to me.

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