Reformed Christian Pacifism

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TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Show me a Reformed Christian who is a pacifist... and I'll show you someone who isn't really Reformed!

The Puritan was going to church in Colonial America with a musket on his shoulder. The scoffer said "If you believe your time is in the hands of God, then why are you carrying the musket? The Puritan said "Just in case I meet an Indian who's time is up.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Well out of respect for Pacifists, principled or otherwise, I would like to offer some theoretical ideas to see where they take us. Violence is not part of the original creation, which is good. Violence is is a post-fall condition, now I am not a pacifist but I have deep respect for their P.O.V., which raises the question of whether or not it has become a normative part of each and everybodies lives.

I agree that war and violance are not "right" in a metaphysical sense, not being in original creation, but perhaps "right" in a post-fall world in which we find ourselves. To me it seems that these knotty issues are at the heart of the whole debate. I would like thank Particular Baptist for bringing this up because some of us may disagree with him but none of us can fault him, or anyone who agrees with him, for having a high respect for human life.
 

PuritanZealot

Puritan Board Freshman
I would like thank Particular Baptist for bringing this up because some of us may disagree with him but none of us can fault him, or anyone who agrees with him, for having a high respect for human life.

Totally agree.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
In personal relationships, turn the other cheek.
In an act of the government, let the punishment fit the crime.

I would say that you are right, in that Christ is dealing with individuals when he discusses the beatitudes. However, to many on this board, a Christian is to behave differently in a governmental role than he is to as an individual Christian. I find this absurd. You cannot serve 2 masters. You cannot have one set of morales in one capacity and others in another capacity. We serve one Lord and our allegiance is to him and him alone, not to him on our own time and to the government if we are elected to political office or taking part in some civic activity!! We are not believers in one arena and apathetic or secular in another part of life. I refuse to believe that our allegiance should be divided.

So then are you suggesting that the Old Testament proposed two sets of morals when it said, on the one hand, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" and on the other "feed your enemy"? The two commands aren't mutually contradictory; they're dealing with different situations. The first is dealing with a judicial context; the second is dealing with an interpersonal context.

I'm curious as to whether or not you would agree that Jesus' commands were a reiteration of/clarification of the Mosaic Law, clearing away the Pharisees' misinterpretations and twisting of Scripture.

If that's the case, then to say that punishing evildoers is inconsistent with Jesus' words is to say that the Mosaic Law was inconsistent with itself, since it prescribe punishing evildoers and clearly permitted self-defense. (I will provide references if you need them, but I'm sure you've already found them if you've done any serious study of pacifism.)

If not, then to what was Jesus referring when he said "You have heard that it has been said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy"? (Loose Paraphrase Translation) I have found the first half (love your neighbor) in the Old Testament, but not the second.

Most, if not all, of the passages cited in support of pacifism actually have their roots in the Old Testament--the "love your neighbor" passages, for example, or the "vengeance is mine" passages. This being the case, biblical "pacifism" is equally practicable under the civil portions of the Mosaic Law as it is today. It should, therefore, be defined with this in mind. Right?

Skyler, we must first make the distinctions between the Mosaic Law, which was given to ethnic NATIONAL Israel, and the Law of the Spirit or Christ, which is given to the Church. The Church, the Israel of God, is not a national, governmental, or civic organization therefore, I would hope that you can see that the Church does not have the same authority that a government would have to wield the sword. The Church is strictly a spiritual community of disciples. I would then ask those on this board if they can separate their lives between governmental roles and their roles as disciples of Christ? If so, please tell me how you can serve two masters.

Of course I recognize the limitations of the Mosaic Law. I'm not a theonomist. But would you say that the Mosaic Law contradicted, in any point, the moral law which God has revealed in the Old Covenant?

Let me restate some things that I have, admittedly, not made clear.

1.) I am not against using force in helping other individual(s) who are being attacked. I agree that this is biblical.

2.) I am against using violence to protect one's self, I find it no where in Scripture that the New Covenant Church or its members are to use force to protect itself.

Agree with the first point; a little shaky on the second. It's true, the Bible nowhere commands it (that I know of, at least explicitly) but neither, in my opinion, does it forbid it. So, lacking Biblical authority, it's not exactly something that can be imposed on others.

3.) I believe it unscriptural for believers to be engaged in any form of violent revolution (such as the Revolutionary War in America) against the governments above them.

I don't disagree. In fact David (in the Old Testament) is a perfect example of this.

4.) I believe that the overwhelming majority of wars are fought on unjust grounds and therefore most Christians who advocate the just war theory have a hard time in finding examples of just war. World War II would be the only example that I can think of in this instance, and even then I myself object to actions taken in that war such as the dropping of the Atomic Bomb.

Any war fought by unbelievers will be unjust to some extent. In my opinion.

Another thing that most peope don't know is that both Tertullian and Origen wrote tracts against Christians joining the military. The "pagan philosopher Celsus criticized Christians for shirking their civic duties by not participating in the armed forces, which he feared would lead to barbarian conquest and therefore the end of civilization and the pax romana if too many Roman men became Christians, and ironically destroy the Christian religion itself." Also, why weren't any of the apostles in scripture in the military or in any governmental posts? If Christ wanted Christians to persue such political change, as well as military change, why didn't he be the Messiah that the Jews desired him to be and throw off the chains of Rome? It appears to me that there is an inconsistency in a Reformed tradition that critisizes the Jews who desired a political Messiah when most in the Reformed tradition, including Calvin and others, see such a religious political order as almost Orthodox. If Christ's kingdom was of this world then why didn't his disciples take up arms and fight for it?

That may be more of a critique of theonomy than anything else. I don't think that Christ's kingdom was of this world, nor that we are commanded to pursue political change.

Lastly, to those of you who think that I'm going against some confession as if that confession were infallible I respond by saying that you might very well be right, that I could be very wrong and in error on this issue and I pray for you're guidance if I am in error. But please do not use the confession as some sort of sacred writing which cannot be deviated from.

I think the motive behind that limitation is not because the confession is considered "sacred" or "infallible" so much that the admins wanted a set of clearly defined limits for discussion on the Board to preclude heated controversies, and the confessions provide a great starting point for that. It's not so much a moral issue--i.e. "You shouldn't discuss this"--as it is "This runs contrary to the purpose of this board".

---------- Post added at 08:01 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:41 PM ----------

Finally I think the OT has it in Leviticus 19:16, 'do not stand by your brothers/neighbours blood'. Some of the abominable translations like that heretical travesty the NIV have it as 'do not cause your neighbour trouble', which is insane given the original hebrew context. But that scriptures says it all, we are commanded not to stand by whilst our brother is murdered or harmed. Jesus would have mentioned that being changed if he wanted it to be.

First off, that's not the NIV's rendering of it. I'm not sure where you get your Bible translations. :)

The NIV says "Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour's life."
Other translations, such as the N/KJV, NASB, and ESV are unanimous that it says "do not stand against your neighbor's blood". There's enough of a difference there for your argument to fail unless you first disprove the assertion that the New Testament forbids defending others (which isn't really in question anyway). What translation were you using?

I'm not defending the pacifist position here, but as an advocate for accuracy from all positions (even right ones), I had to comment. :)
 

N. Eshelman

Puritan Board Senior
It looks like the Westminster Divines had a thing or two to say about pacifism... not only is it a wrong philosophical position, it is also unbiblical, unconfessional, and MAY have 6th commandment violations written all over it:

Question 134: Which is the sixth commandment?
Answer: The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

Question 135: What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.

Question 136: What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge;all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and: Whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.

I agree! (bump)
 

PuritanZealot

Puritan Board Freshman
The King James (which is the only version I use or recognise, alongside Geneva Study) has it as "neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD." In the Geneva Study Bible the notes has the verse commentary "a) do not go about slandering your neighbour and b) do not consent to his death or conspire with the wicked". This fully supports what I was saying, we are not stand by an consent to our neighbours murder, how are we not stand by? Surely by stopping it. And also God never punished Moses for slaying the Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and that was technically murder, because the Law hadn't been given yet and he didn't go through the correct procedure. Was Moses wrong for protecting his brother?
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
And also God never punished Moses for slaying the Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and that was technically murder, because the Law hadn't been given yet and he didn't go through the correct procedure.

a: Did Egypt have a legal system that dealt with murder? If so, then there was a law in place. Unless
b: None of us are responsible to obey civil laws that differ from the Bible, so it would be right for you and I to kill homosexuals outside our legal structure.
 

Particular Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello again everyone!!

Last night I began rereading Bonhoeffer and I must say that any doubts that were created within myself about my position were put to rest once I read his chapter on Revenge in 'The Cost of Discipleship'. I would encourage everyone to read the book if they haven't, as it has been one of the most influential books I've ever read. I'll be back soon to answer some of your objections after I get out of class, but for now I'm going to post a link to the chapter on Revenge in Bonhoeffer's book for anyone who would like to read it.

http://http://books.google.com/books?id=druZyeBp30gC&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&dq=bonhoeffer+cost+of+discipleship+revenge&source=bl&ots=nMQsxB2X6Z&sig=hU2rE8_pV58LjpFLHtTJLSt4hZI&hl=en&ei=TCB8S6SFHIuQNvWbrbQF&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The King James (which is the only version I use or recognise, alongside Geneva Study) has it as "neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD." In the Geneva Study Bible the notes has the verse commentary "a) do not go about slandering your neighbour and b) do not consent to his death or conspire with the wicked". This fully supports what I was saying, we are not stand by an consent to our neighbours murder, how are we not stand by? Surely by stopping it. And also God never punished Moses for slaying the Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and that was technically murder, because the Law hadn't been given yet and he didn't go through the correct procedure. Was Moses wrong for protecting his brother?

1) Your reply didn't address the basic failure of your original post, which was a misquote of a translation you don't like. So, the criticism of your carelessness stands, unless you now provide the accurate documentation, regardless of whether you only approve of one or two Bible translations.

2) You should specify whose and which comments you are engaging. Otherwise, it just sounds like a blunderbuss-rant. You ignored the constructive criticism of a poster who essentially agrees with you, and defended an interpretation of Lev.19:16 which no one thus far brought into dispute.

3) Did God never punish Moses? I would like to know how you know this point, or its contrary. I know one thing, God did not defend Moses, either against the Egyptian Pharaoh or with the recalcitrant Israelite the next day. Should Moses have killed the abusive Israelite as well? Were both abusers worthy of death? Who should decide? Apparently the Israelite abuser thought his situation was analogous to the Egyptian's who was slain. Was Moses a "respecter of persons" in those situations?

It is right to come to the defense of one's neighbor, to save him from the murderer, even if the murderer must die at the savior's hands. But that blood must be judged by the law as well. It is not our right to be "law unto ourselves." The law will judge as to whether that action was justified, or not. The latest abortion-doctor murderer (like all the others) is a moral failure, not an example for us to follow. Most people who take the law into their own hands do not see themselves properly as subject to the law of God. They are lawless.

4) Your statement: "the law wasn't given yet" is abhorrent as an apology for slaying. Murder is a violation of the moral law of God, written on man's heart from the beginning. Cain was a murderer from the beginning. Moses is most often defended as the prototypical Israelite Judge (which would give him sanction and authority from God). But even so, his action was precipitous and foolhardy, even if it passed muster before God.

Moses' fault was that he intended to deliver his people by the arm of flesh, to rally Israel to an open revolt. This, however, was neither the right timing nor the right means. Moses got half of what he needed in preparation for his deliverer-task in his first 40yrs, being schooled in all the wisdom of Egypt. He got the remainder of his preparation in the next 40yrs, in the school of humiliation. To be a fit Mediator for the people, he needed not only wisdom, but to become "the meekest man" on the face of the earth.

Moses' act against the Egyptian was mixed. It was noble in one sense, but it was also driven by pride. He was not equitable in judgment the next day, nor did he have the strength of character to withstand the Israelite's stubborn face, or the fear of what should happen, when "the thing was known." He fled from Pharaoh.

Righteous courage comes from God. Standing in nothing but the power of God, chastened and guileless, when he was 80yrs Moses faced down the most powerful man on the planet.

The lesson of Moses is a lesson in properly acquired and properly exercised judicial power. It is not a license to kill.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Curious, would you say if "latest abortion-doctor murderer (like all the others)" were killing 4 year old's in their clinics would they be "moral failures"? Of course this assumes it were legal and accepted in the eyes of the "law".
 

Particular Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Or, to use the words of Jesus, the law requires mercy AND justice. (Matthew 23:23 cf. Luke 11:42) Seeking to punish another human being according to God's direction (i.e. the law) is not a contradiction of the command to love one's neighbour. Both are commands from God and both must be followed. Wisdom will seek to apply the one in the right context and right balance but, nevertheless, they will continue to exist side by side until our Lord returns again. If we fail to exact justice by the proper means (government) we will all lose out, even Christians.

You are correct in that it is government who has been given the authority to execute justice. It is not the church's role to execute this task, but secular governments. This is so because "Christ removes the Church from the sphere of politics and law… the church … is different: it has abandoned political and national status, and therefore… must patiently endure aggression.”-Bonhoeffer. “At this point it becomes evident that when a Christian meets with injustice, he no longer clings to his rights and defends them at all costs.”

“The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match…..Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren.” “There is no deed on earth so outrageous as to justify a different attitude. The worse the evil, the readier must the Christian be to suffer; he must let the evil person fall into Jesus’ hands.”-Bonhoeffer
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Or, to use the words of Jesus, the law requires mercy AND justice. (Matthew 23:23 cf. Luke 11:42) Seeking to punish another human being according to God's direction (i.e. the law) is not a contradiction of the command to love one's neighbour. Both are commands from God and both must be followed. Wisdom will seek to apply the one in the right context and right balance but, nevertheless, they will continue to exist side by side until our Lord returns again. If we fail to exact justice by the proper means (government) we will all lose out, even Christians.

You are correct in that it is government who has been given the authority to execute justice. It is not the church's role to execute this task, but secular governments. This is so because "Christ removes the Church from the sphere of politics and law… the church … is different: it has abandoned political and national status, and therefore… must patiently endure aggression.”-Bonhoeffer. “At this point it becomes evident that when a Christian meets with injustice, he no longer clings to his rights and defends them at all costs.”

“The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match…..Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren.” “There is no deed on earth so outrageous as to justify a different attitude. The worse the evil, the readier must the Christian be to suffer; he must let the evil person fall into Jesus’ hands.”-Bonhoeffer

No one here is advocating personal vengeance against someone who wrongs us. We are talking about (a) defending an innocent party from someone trying to kill them and with the means to do so, and (b) the government carrying out its responsibility to bear the sword. Personal revenge is not relevant to the discussion.

It is problematic to assert that God would give a task to the "secular government" to the exclusion of Christians. Since when do unbelievers obey commands from God? If God commands something concerning proper governing, it must be expected that he expects a Christian in that role to behave in that way. Also, there is no such thing as a "secular government." Every government has religious beliefs that form the basis of its decisions. The fact that our government thinks it is neutral makes it especially dangerous.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Curious, would you say if "latest abortion-doctor murderer (like all the others)" were killing 4 year old's in their clinics would they be "moral failures"? Of course this assumes it were legal and accepted in the eyes of the "law".
Of course it would be a moral failure. All vigilantism is a shocking horror against God, and it is moral poverty to raise it any higher on the scale of affronts to God's law than the equally horrific abortionist.

The fact is, if abortion were illegal, it would still be an unjustifiable homicide to attack the wicked practitioner in the foyer of his church, outside his home, or in the vestibule of his abattoir/abortuary. It would be equally wrong to attack an infanticide (or greater) practitioner, on the suppositions that 1) the practice was either legal/regulated or illegal, 2) that you knew he was responsible for previous sins (were you an eyewitness?), and 3) that you knew he was getting ready to do another.

That last is the most egregious and sinful breach, because unless a man is God, claiming to know the future is a form of blasphemy.

Finally, the accessory-before-the-fact keeps getting left out of this equation. Are YOU in favor of killing the mom? Or executing her after the fact?


On the one hand, it's really easy to throw out emotive "hard-cases" to try to get people to waffle on the issues. Instead of trying to bait me, how about dealing with the fundamental fact that most of us are in no God-ordained position to Judge in the matter?
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Curious, would you say if "latest abortion-doctor murderer (like all the others)" were killing 4 year old's in their clinics would they be "moral failures"? Of course this assumes it were legal and accepted in the eyes of the "law".
Of course it would be a moral failure. All vigilantism is a shocking horror against God, and it is moral poverty to raise it any higher on the scale of affronts to God's law than the equally horrific abortionist.

The fact is, if abortion were illegal, it would still be an unjustifiable homicide to attack the wicked practitioner in the foyer of his church, outside his home, or in the vestibule of his abattoir/abortuary. It would be equally wrong to attack an infanticide (or greater) practitioner, on the suppositions that 1) the practice was either legal/regulated or illegal, 2) that you knew he was responsible for previous sins (were you an eyewitness?), and 3) that you knew he was getting ready to do another.

That last is the most egregious and sinful breach, because unless a man is God, claiming to know the future is a form of blasphemy.

Finally, the accessory-before-the-fact keeps getting left out of this equation. Are YOU in favor of killing the mom? Or executing her after the fact?


On the one hand, it's really easy to throw out emotive "hard-cases" to try to get people to waffle on the issues. Instead of trying to bait me, how about dealing with the fundamental fact that most of us are in no God-ordained position to Judge in the matter?

No bait intended....just showing that unless you are a total pacifist, which it appears you may be, the "bait" was intended to show you that if they were 4 year olds you would justify killing the clinic killers. You may not agree with me here but the "bait" is the devise I am using to counter your arguements. So far as saying "who knows if they are going to kill in the future" is rather inane if you ask me....and you know it. ;)

PS. I am not going to advocate the killing of abortionist today, but I would inject their veins with poisen if the law allowed it after a trial. So far as mommy I would tend to be a tad more merciful.... at least for a while.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
....just showing that unless you are a total pacifist, which it appears you may be
Are you sure you've even read his posts? :scratch: Particularly this one: http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/reformed-christian-pacifism-58434/#post756472

How you can think he's a "total pacifist" is beyond me.


Good point.:up:

You are correct...he probably would be OK with activaly defending 4 YO children being systematcally killed in clinics, if that was happening.
 

PuritanZealot

Puritan Board Freshman
The lesson of Moses is a lesson in properly acquired and properly exercised judicial power. It is not a license to kill.
In response your whole reply (not worth quoting the whole thing), I agree with your first three points, well I agree with all of them, and I admit I was ranting-blunderbuss.
I'm not looking for a licence to kill from scripture, far from it, and I don't really think what Moses did was determined as right of wrong by God or by Scripture. And the point I made about the Law not having been given yet I'm not saying that it made it OK I'm just saying maybe Moses would have been more repentant of what he did or wouldn't have done it had the crime of the Egyptian been witnessed post-Sinai. What I meant by that phrase was that there was no crime committed against the Law as Moses would eventually see it because the Law hadn't yet been given. In the same way Paul says "for where no law is, there is no transgression" Romans 4:15.
Does that make sense? I hope so.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
On the one hand, it's really easy to throw out emotive "hard-cases" to try to get people to waffle on the issues. Instead of trying to bait me, how about dealing with the fundamental fact that most of us are in no God-ordained position to Judge in the matter?

No bait intended....just showing that unless you are a total pacifist, which it appears you may be, the "bait" was intended to show you that if they were 4 year olds you would justify killing the clinic killers. You may not agree with me here but the "bait" is the devise I am using to counter your arguements. So far as saying "who knows if they are going to kill in the future" is rather inane if you ask me....and you know it. ;)

PS. I am not going to advocate the killing of abortionist today, but I would inject their veins with poisen if the law allowed it after a trial. So far as mommy I would tend to be a tad more merciful.... at least for a while.

Of course I recognized exactly what you were doing, which is why I called it "bait." You thought it possible to entrap me or show inconsistency, because I would oppose ambushing an abortionist but be caught on the horns of a dilemma re. legalized (your term) toddler-cide.

Do you admire the killers of the abortionists? Are they simply bolder than you? Do you think, in the event of Moloch-like, legalized, 4yr-old-snuffing, Christians should ambush the Tophets?

Apparently you think that "all reasonable Christians" would agree to the latter course of action; hence, by a minor extension of the same principle, assaults on abortionists are fine. And anyone who disagrees with you must be a "total pacifist" of some kind.

Your reading comprehension is matched by your ability to exegete my position from the written material: poor. You offered exactly zero effective "counter" to my arguments: since your reductio ad absurdam interpretation not only heads in the wrong direction (toward exaggeration, rather than reduction), but it also fails a fortiori, because it clearly rests (as presented) on the assumed legitimacy of the previous case--a classic petitio principii (begging the question).

First prove the former, or if you prefer, the latter from Scripture. The "emotional appeal" of your argument is an ignoratio elenchi, an irrelevant conclusion.

As for the "future" question, that is precisely the defense used by the vigilantes in the news. How many of these people have used the defense, "I was executing him for his previous offenses"? Of course, in such a case, the killer must produce his evidence in a court of law, as well as his credentials as an Avenger. They have only here-say, boasting of the killers, etc.

The insurmountable obstacles in conducting such a defense is why these folks justify themselves on the basis of "SAVING LIVES." If you have missed this, then read or watch more news. Calling me "inane" is just spewing more emotive language.

Preemptive-strikes, beside being difficult to prove in a court of law, are typically most blasphemous. It's one thing to be watching the fist rare back to strike, and execute the first-strike jab. It is another to lie in wait for your "enemy" and strike him down--the "I hit him back first!" defense.

As for your vengeful attitude exhibited toward the killer (the hired hit-man) and the mothers-not-to-be, you speak most eloquently of your general disposition toward them.

Here are my attitudes:
"Love your enemies."

"Open thy mouth for the dumb, In the cause of all such as are left desolate.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, And minister justice to the poor and needy."

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.​
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Are they simply bolder than you?

That's what it normally comes down to. "I'm braver than you since although I'm too chicken to spend the rest of my life in jail by doing what is right at least I support those who are braver then myself by praising them, but not to the point of taking any personal risk".
 

N. Eshelman

Puritan Board Senior
Self-defense against unlawful violence is always legitimate. It is more than legitimate, it is a moral obligation. Our life is not our own; it belongs to God, and therefore as stewards of God's possessions we are under obligation to preserve our own lives and the lives of others, from destruction by criminal violence.
JG Vos on self defense.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
On the one hand, it's really easy to throw out emotive "hard-cases" to try to get people to waffle on the issues. Instead of trying to bait me, how about dealing with the fundamental fact that most of us are in no God-ordained position to Judge in the matter?

No bait intended....just showing that unless you are a total pacifist, which it appears you may be, the "bait" was intended to show you that if they were 4 year olds you would justify killing the clinic killers. You may not agree with me here but the "bait" is the devise I am using to counter your arguements. So far as saying "who knows if they are going to kill in the future" is rather inane if you ask me....and you know it. ;)

PS. I am not going to advocate the killing of abortionist today, but I would inject their veins with poisen if the law allowed it after a trial. So far as mommy I would tend to be a tad more merciful.... at least for a while.

Of course I recognized exactly what you were doing, which is why I called it "bait." You thought it possible to entrap me or show inconsistency, because I would oppose ambushing an abortionist but be caught on the horns of a dilemma re. legalized (your term) toddler-cide.

Do you admire the killers of the abortionists? Are they simply bolder than you? Do you think, in the event of Moloch-like, legalized, 4yr-old-snuffing, Christians should ambush the Tophets?

Apparently you think that "all reasonable Christians" would agree to the latter course of action; hence, by a minor extension of the same principle, assaults on abortionists are fine. And anyone who disagrees with you must be a "total pacifist" of some kind.

Your reading comprehension is matched by your ability to exegete my position from the written material: poor. You offered exactly zero effective "counter" to my arguments: since your reductio ad absurdam interpretation not only heads in the wrong direction (toward exaggeration, rather than reduction), but it also fails a fortiori, because it clearly rests (as presented) on the assumed legitimacy of the previous case--a classic petitio principii (begging the question).

First prove the former, or if you prefer, the latter from Scripture. The "emotional appeal" of your argument is an ignoratio elenchi, an irrelevant conclusion.

As for the "future" question, that is precisely the defense used by the vigilantes in the news. How many of these people have used the defense, "I was executing him for his previous offenses"? Of course, in such a case, the killer must produce his evidence in a court of law, as well as his credentials as an Avenger. They have only here-say, boasting of the killers, etc.

The insurmountable obstacles in conducting such a defense is why these folks justify themselves on the basis of "SAVING LIVES." If you have missed this, then read or watch more news. Calling me "inane" is just spewing more emotive language.

Preemptive-strikes, beside being difficult to prove in a court of law, are typically most blasphemous. It's one thing to be watching the fist rare back to strike, and execute the first-strike jab. It is another to lie in wait for your "enemy" and strike him down--the "I hit him back first!" defense.

As for your vengeful attitude exhibited toward the killer (the hired hit-man) and the mothers-not-to-be, you speak most eloquently of your general disposition toward them.

Here are my attitudes:
"Love your enemies."

"Open thy mouth for the dumb, In the cause of all such as are left desolate.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, And minister justice to the poor and needy."

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.​

I enjoyed your post and appreciate the time it took you to write it. Thank you.

I assure you my "bait" was just simply to exemplify what would be correct in the eyes of God IF we take the position that justifiable force can be used against someone who will PROBABLY hurt a neighbor. The "inane" was not directed towards you PERSONALLY, but is based on the extreme probability that an abortionist will kill a child the next day he goes to work, or that the sun will rise up in the morning. Of course we "don't know" that will happen the next day but I think you understand why I believe the argument that "you don't know what will happen tomorrow" is assuming The Lord may intervene before that moment in time. We may hope so, but in the mean time we should act like He will not and do what is correct in His eyes. This you point out correctly in that scripture it is the civil magistrate to act as they are ordained to do (which we both will agree they are not doing in the case in abortions). I agree to all your points here and will take a tad of selfish delight there is a hell, and The Lord of the universe will do what is right at the time He chooses.

This is an interesting area because I have read convincing articles that present both sides of people resisting governments and establishing their own country. Do we say the ones that succeeded were the apple of God's Eye?

For myself on the issue of justifiable force against 4 year old child killers (yes an extreme example) is based solely on principle that in God's eyes it may be no different as those that kill babies in the womb or people during the holocaust. "All vigilantism is a shocking horror against God" is correct and one must decide, or rather let the state do so, whether it was justified or not. Of course I assume you might not want to trust our judges to do so now a days, If you get my drift Vern. ;)

I wonder aloud here...what of Robin Hood (fiction I know)? What of William Wallace? Were those that resisted the Nazi's in Germany doing good? What about people that resisted blatantly evil dictators? Were these all resisting the ordinance of God?

---------- Post added at 05:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:14 PM ----------

Are they simply bolder than you?

That's what it normally comes down to. "I'm braver than you since although I'm too chicken to spend the rest of my life in jail by doing what is right at least I support those who are braver then myself by praising them, but not to the point of taking any personal risk".

Great point. In time ministers of the entire council of God will be looked on with suspect eyes by our government sooner or later.
 
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Particular Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Self-defense against unlawful violence is always legitimate. It is more than legitimate, it is a moral obligation. Our life is not our own; it belongs to God, and therefore as stewards of God's possessions we are under obligation to preserve our own lives and the lives of others, from destruction by criminal violence.
JG Vos on self defense.

So you have established that J.G. Vos was in favor of someone using violence to defend themselves, have you established that from the New Testament? Christ apparently didn't think that it was right for even him to defend himself in the most UNJUST of circumstances. This was more unjust than any genocide or abortion could even think of being, the Sovereign, Most Holy God of the Universe came to earth, took upon himself our sins and bore our sinful flesh for 33 years before being crucified. Now, I say that if Christ did not defend himself, are servants greater than their masters? (John 15:20) Of course not! As true disciples we have left all to follow Christ, including our rights and our liberties that even our own founding fathers thought they were guaranteed by God. We leave everything because the master has called, we can do nothing but follow in single-minded obediance.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Spencer: How do Bonhoeffer/Barth/etc. respond to the criticism I put forth earlier, that is, the "pacifism" in the New Testament is identical to that commanded under the Old Testament? Or do they?

---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:23 AM ----------

To say that Christ never defended himself once in his life is an argument from silence. Technically.
 

Particular Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Or, to use the words of Jesus, the law requires mercy AND justice. (Matthew 23:23 cf. Luke 11:42) Seeking to punish another human being according to God's direction (i.e. the law) is not a contradiction of the command to love one's neighbour. Both are commands from God and both must be followed. Wisdom will seek to apply the one in the right context and right balance but, nevertheless, they will continue to exist side by side until our Lord returns again. If we fail to exact justice by the proper means (government) we will all lose out, even Christians.

You are correct in that it is government who has been given the authority to execute justice. It is not the church's role to execute this task, but secular governments. This is so because "Christ removes the Church from the sphere of politics and law… the church … is different: it has abandoned political and national status, and therefore… must patiently endure aggression.”-Bonhoeffer. “At this point it becomes evident that when a Christian meets with injustice, he no longer clings to his rights and defends them at all costs.”

“The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match…..Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren.” “There is no deed on earth so outrageous as to justify a different attitude. The worse the evil, the readier must the Christian be to suffer; he must let the evil person fall into Jesus’ hands.”-Bonhoeffer

No one here is advocating personal vengeance against someone who wrongs us. We are talking about (a) defending an innocent party from someone trying to kill them and with the means to do so, and (b) the government carrying out its responsibility to bear the sword. Personal revenge is not relevant to the discussion.

It is problematic to assert that God would give a task to the "secular government" to the exclusion of Christians. Since when do unbelievers obey commands from God? If God commands something concerning proper governing, it must be expected that he expects a Christian in that role to behave in that way. Also, there is no such thing as a "secular government." Every government has religious beliefs that form the basis of its decisions. The fact that our government thinks it is neutral makes it especially dangerous.

Austin,

Before we begin discussing whether some degree of Christian pacifism is scriptural, we must first lay out the state of the disciple of Christ. This part of my theology has been heavily influence by Bonhoeffer, I'm sure I'm going to be sounding somewhat like him because I read him every night.

When the a sinner becomes a disciple, he becomes one soley because Christ calls him forth, into a new life of obediance and suffering with Christ. The disciple leaves all for the call of Christ. He asks not what his rights are, what is injust towards himself, the disciple sees only his Saviour and the cross he must bear. He has single-minded obediance and cares not about his own rights and liberties.

With that basic understanding of discipleship, we must ask ourselves 'How are we to be true disciples of Christ?'. I say we must emulate our Master. Now maybe some here think that Christ, since he was God incarnate, had some special non-violent role to play that we as his followers are not bound to follow. To this, I firmly disagree. We must become more and more like Christ, not like the Reformers, not like any Reformed theologian, we must seek Christ! And I ask you to point out any place where Christ, the most Holy and Just man ever, ever found violence to be acceptable for even Him to use. Of course, there is no place in the scriptures! This goes hand in hand with the idea that Christians can have different moral values in two separate roles of life, two separate spheres. Christ certainly had no idea of this split person!! You cannot separate the Christian from the office. This is totally alien to the gospel. Once someone has become a disciple, they leave everything! They do not hold onto this world, these governments for their salvation. Our Salvation has come and is coming, it is not to be found within the walls of governments. Now we can see the relationship Christ had with the 'politicians of his era'. When Christ first came on the seen, while he was relatively popular with the people, they wanted to make him king, they wanted him to be their political, governmental Messiah. They thought that's where their salvation lay. Christ fled from these people. His kingdom is not of this world. Now we either believe that statement or we don't. We can't begin theorizing scripture away as if Christ simply wanted us to obey by faith and not by concrete action, or inaction. Christ never took politics upon himself, do we think that we as his followers are somehow different from our Master? I certainly don't believe so. That's why NONE of the apostles were in governmental positions!! You may say that they couldn't get those positions because they were viewed so negatively by the government and peoples of that time. And I say maybe it's about time that Christians become hated again, not because we do wrong, but because we preach the gospel and live the gospel in our daily lives. We think it's okay for us to have a certain amount of this world in us as long as we have this "faith", but I believe that when we do that (including myself who is guilty in the past of making an idol out of politics and this world) we bestow upon ourselves cheap grace, not the costly grace that only Christ can give.

---------- Post added at 09:56 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 AM ----------

Spencer: How do Bonhoeffer/Barth/etc. respond to the criticism I put forth earlier, that is, the "pacifism" in the New Testament is identical to that commanded under the Old Testament? Or do they?

---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:23 AM ----------

To say that Christ never defended himself once in his life is an argument from silence. Technically.
Actually, I would say that Bonhoeffer states that force was consistent when Israel was melded together with the state, the nation, and the military. But now, the church is separate from the state. That is one part of it.

The other side is that which I have gleamed from Bonhoeffer and my own personal reading of scripture (I use the ESV since we like to compare translations). I'm still personally trying to better understand the Biblical covenants in relation to each other, so some parts I'm still a little 'fuzzy' on. But, I believe that when Christ states that he has fulfilled the law, he means it and we should look to him, as our Master, and see how it was that he fulfilled the law. Christ fulfilled the law not by stoning the adulterous woman and not by defending himself against those who came to take him and crucify him, he fulfilled the law by love. He was selfless, he cared not about his own rights, his own liberties, the unjustice against him, all he cared about was justifying sinners. Note: He justified sinners, not the sin. He bought us, he didn't just forgive our sin and give us pardon. Our sin is innately what we are as fallen beings. Christ had to carry us, he had to bear our sinful flesh, that is why we are called the Body of Christ, because Christ did in some literal sense bear us to death. Now, if we have this union with our Lord do we think that we can do that which our Lord stated not to? Do we think that we have special circumstances that our Lord didn't have?

Bonhoeffer uses the example of the rich young ruler. When the rich young ruler came to Christ, asking what he could do to have eternal life, Christ told him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow Christ. Some on this board would say that Christ simply wants us to have 'faith' and that Christ didn't mean that, he simply means that we should hold our possessions as though we had them not. The problem is that the rich young ruler didn't have that option. He went away in tears because the discipleship of Christ is costly, it is real. Faith is not something to mentally ascertain, it is real, it is lived, those who live by faith must suffer because their Lord suffered. If we are the body of Christ, then we should see look to our Master as the standard.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Spencer: How do Bonhoeffer/Barth/etc. respond to the criticism I put forth earlier, that is, the "pacifism" in the New Testament is identical to that commanded under the Old Testament? Or do they?

---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:23 AM ----------

To say that Christ never defended himself once in his life is an argument from silence. Technically.
[/COLOR]Actually, I would say that Bonhoeffer states that force was consistent when Israel was melded together with the state, the nation, and the military. But now, the church is separate from the state. That is one part of it.

The other side is that which I have gleamed from Bonhoeffer and my own personal reading of scripture (I use the ESV since we like to compare translations). I'm still personally trying to better understand the Biblical covenants in relation to each other, so some parts I'm still a little 'fuzzy' on. But, I believe that when Christ states that he has fulfilled the law, he means it and we should look to him, as our Master, and see how it was that he fulfilled the law. Christ fulfilled the law not by stoning the adulterous woman and not by defending himself against those who came to take him and crucify him, he fulfilled the law by love. He was selfless, he cared not about his own rights, his own liberties, the unjustice against him, all he cared about was justifying sinners. Note: He justified sinners, not the sin. He bought us, he didn't just forgive our sin and give us pardon. Our sin is innately what we are as fallen beings. Christ had to carry us, he had to bear our sinful flesh, that is why we are called the Body of Christ, because Christ did in some literal sense bear us to death. Now, if we have this union with our Lord do we think that we can do that which our Lord stated not to? Do we think that we have special circumstances that our Lord didn't have?

I don't see how that argument changes anything. We have many examples in the Old Testament of people not caring for their own rights/liberties/unjustices as well. That's not new to the New Testament. Again, the "pacifism" expounded by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as well as in his life was, I believe, the same as that taught by the Law and the example of the patriarchs in the Old Testament.

If, in the Old Testament, participation in government was permitted, then for it to be forbidden (in distinction to "not required") in the New Testament would require an explicit statement to that effect. I have not seen one. I have seen, from several sources, the argument that being in government is somehow inconsistent with not caring about our own rights/not seeking vengeance/etc. If this is so, though, then those Old Testament figures who were in government were also breaking the Old Testament law, which forbade that as well.
 

Particular Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Spencer: How do Bonhoeffer/Barth/etc. respond to the criticism I put forth earlier, that is, the "pacifism" in the New Testament is identical to that commanded under the Old Testament? Or do they?

---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:23 AM ----------

To say that Christ never defended himself once in his life is an argument from silence. Technically.
[/COLOR]Actually, I would say that Bonhoeffer states that force was consistent when Israel was melded together with the state, the nation, and the military. But now, the church is separate from the state. That is one part of it.

The other side is that which I have gleamed from Bonhoeffer and my own personal reading of scripture (I use the ESV since we like to compare translations). I'm still personally trying to better understand the Biblical covenants in relation to each other, so some parts I'm still a little 'fuzzy' on. But, I believe that when Christ states that he has fulfilled the law, he means it and we should look to him, as our Master, and see how it was that he fulfilled the law. Christ fulfilled the law not by stoning the adulterous woman and not by defending himself against those who came to take him and crucify him, he fulfilled the law by love. He was selfless, he cared not about his own rights, his own liberties, the unjustice against him, all he cared about was justifying sinners. Note: He justified sinners, not the sin. He bought us, he didn't just forgive our sin and give us pardon. Our sin is innately what we are as fallen beings. Christ had to carry us, he had to bear our sinful flesh, that is why we are called the Body of Christ, because Christ did in some literal sense bear us to death. Now, if we have this union with our Lord do we think that we can do that which our Lord stated not to? Do we think that we have special circumstances that our Lord didn't have?

I don't see how that argument changes anything. We have many examples in the Old Testament of people not caring for their own rights/liberties/unjustices as well. That's not new to the New Testament. Again, the "pacifism" expounded by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as well as in his life was, I believe, the same as that taught by the Law and the example of the patriarchs in the Old Testament.

If, in the Old Testament, participation in government was permitted, then for it to be forbidden (in distinction to "not required") in the New Testament would require an explicit statement to that effect. I have not seen one. I have seen, from several sources, the argument that being in government is somehow inconsistent with not caring about our own rights/not seeking vengeance/etc. If this is so, though, then those Old Testament figures who were in government were also breaking the Old Testament law, which forbade that as well.

First of all, your argument that I need an explicit statement to that effect is quite similar to the argument that many paedobaptists use to justify infant baptism.

Secondly, we must again distinguish between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Also, we must understand that there is diversity in the way in which God progressively has revealed himself throughout the ages. Under the Old Covenant the Church was the nation, it was a theocracy. No one is arguing that. But, the church has been stripped of its national and political ties.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Spencer: How do Bonhoeffer/Barth/etc. respond to the criticism I put forth earlier, that is, the "pacifism" in the New Testament is identical to that commanded under the Old Testament? Or do they?

---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:23 AM ----------

To say that Christ never defended himself once in his life is an argument from silence. Technically.
[/COLOR]Actually, I would say that Bonhoeffer states that force was consistent when Israel was melded together with the state, the nation, and the military. But now, the church is separate from the state. That is one part of it.

The other side is that which I have gleamed from Bonhoeffer and my own personal reading of scripture (I use the ESV since we like to compare translations). I'm still personally trying to better understand the Biblical covenants in relation to each other, so some parts I'm still a little 'fuzzy' on. But, I believe that when Christ states that he has fulfilled the law, he means it and we should look to him, as our Master, and see how it was that he fulfilled the law. Christ fulfilled the law not by stoning the adulterous woman and not by defending himself against those who came to take him and crucify him, he fulfilled the law by love. He was selfless, he cared not about his own rights, his own liberties, the unjustice against him, all he cared about was justifying sinners. Note: He justified sinners, not the sin. He bought us, he didn't just forgive our sin and give us pardon. Our sin is innately what we are as fallen beings. Christ had to carry us, he had to bear our sinful flesh, that is why we are called the Body of Christ, because Christ did in some literal sense bear us to death. Now, if we have this union with our Lord do we think that we can do that which our Lord stated not to? Do we think that we have special circumstances that our Lord didn't have?

I don't see how that argument changes anything. We have many examples in the Old Testament of people not caring for their own rights/liberties/unjustices as well. That's not new to the New Testament. Again, the "pacifism" expounded by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as well as in his life was, I believe, the same as that taught by the Law and the example of the patriarchs in the Old Testament.

If, in the Old Testament, participation in government was permitted, then for it to be forbidden (in distinction to "not required") in the New Testament would require an explicit statement to that effect. I have not seen one. I have seen, from several sources, the argument that being in government is somehow inconsistent with not caring about our own rights/not seeking vengeance/etc. If this is so, though, then those Old Testament figures who were in government were also breaking the Old Testament law, which forbade that as well.

First of all, your argument that I need an explicit statement to that effect is quite similar to the argument that many paedobaptists use to justify infant baptism.

Secondly, we must again distinguish between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Also, we must understand that there is diversity in the way in which God progressively has revealed himself throughout the ages. Under the Old Covenant the Church was the nation, it was a theocracy. No one is arguing that. But, the church has been stripped of its national and political ties.

But you are arguing that pacifism is a moral requirement. If that is so, a change between covenants would mean that God's nature had changed - that what he considers moral has changed. That is impossible. God's character does not change, and so if he finds defense of the lives of others morally acceptable (and obligatory) in the OT, then he still does in the NT because his character does not change.

Also, even though the church is not a nation or a government, the New Testament clearly reveals that governments are to remain and should obey God (Rom. 13). Governments are not sinful, they are necessary, and it follows that Christians may and should govern if there is opportunity, and in a manner that pleases God - by carrying out justice.

Now, regarding the need for an explicit statement that God has changed his moral requirements - Jesus himself said in the same sermon that he came not to abolish one iota of the Law and the Prophets.
 

Houston E.

Puritan Board Freshman
Particular Baptist,

If you were being attacked, would it be wrong of a neighbor to come and defend you
from the attacker? Would you reject their assistance?

Blessings,
 

kjat32

Puritan Board Freshman
This seems to be mostly concerned with non-resistance in a personal sense. I wrote an article about Christian non-resistance (somewhat different than what's called pacifism) and whether or not a Christian can go to war:
war26.1.09.php

I'm just linking it cuz I treated most of the OT/NT verses that people disagree on and it's long to just quote.

---------- Post added at 12:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:09 PM ----------

Oh, many of you will find the history of the early church by Cadoux (linked in the article) very interesting.

---------- Post added at 12:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:11 PM ----------

Oh, many of you will find the history of the early church by Cadoux (linked in the article) very interesting, take a look!
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Spencer: How do Bonhoeffer/Barth/etc. respond to the criticism I put forth earlier, that is, the "pacifism" in the New Testament is identical to that commanded under the Old Testament? Or do they?

---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:23 AM ----------

To say that Christ never defended himself once in his life is an argument from silence. Technically.
[/COLOR]Actually, I would say that Bonhoeffer states that force was consistent when Israel was melded together with the state, the nation, and the military. But now, the church is separate from the state. That is one part of it.

The other side is that which I have gleamed from Bonhoeffer and my own personal reading of scripture (I use the ESV since we like to compare translations). I'm still personally trying to better understand the Biblical covenants in relation to each other, so some parts I'm still a little 'fuzzy' on. But, I believe that when Christ states that he has fulfilled the law, he means it and we should look to him, as our Master, and see how it was that he fulfilled the law. Christ fulfilled the law not by stoning the adulterous woman and not by defending himself against those who came to take him and crucify him, he fulfilled the law by love. He was selfless, he cared not about his own rights, his own liberties, the unjustice against him, all he cared about was justifying sinners. Note: He justified sinners, not the sin. He bought us, he didn't just forgive our sin and give us pardon. Our sin is innately what we are as fallen beings. Christ had to carry us, he had to bear our sinful flesh, that is why we are called the Body of Christ, because Christ did in some literal sense bear us to death. Now, if we have this union with our Lord do we think that we can do that which our Lord stated not to? Do we think that we have special circumstances that our Lord didn't have?

I don't see how that argument changes anything. We have many examples in the Old Testament of people not caring for their own rights/liberties/unjustices as well. That's not new to the New Testament. Again, the "pacifism" expounded by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as well as in his life was, I believe, the same as that taught by the Law and the example of the patriarchs in the Old Testament.

If, in the Old Testament, participation in government was permitted, then for it to be forbidden (in distinction to "not required") in the New Testament would require an explicit statement to that effect. I have not seen one. I have seen, from several sources, the argument that being in government is somehow inconsistent with not caring about our own rights/not seeking vengeance/etc. If this is so, though, then those Old Testament figures who were in government were also breaking the Old Testament law, which forbade that as well.

First of all, your argument that I need an explicit statement to that effect is quite similar to the argument that many paedobaptists use to justify infant baptism.

Do you disagree with the principle? I haven't studied the paedobaptists' arguments to any major extent, but from what I understand the credobaptist defense focuses not on that principle but on the paedobaptists' assumption that baptism and circumcision have a one-to-one relationship. That being the case, I don't think I've committed that error here.

Secondly, we must again distinguish between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Also, we must understand that there is diversity in the way in which God progressively has revealed himself throughout the ages. Under the Old Covenant the Church was the nation, it was a theocracy. No one is arguing that. But, the church has been stripped of its national and political ties.

But we need not impose a difference where none exists. In this case, "pacifism" is taught in identical terms under both the Old and New Covenants.

The way I understand it, governmental nonparticipation (i.e., Christians aren't allowed to take government office) hinges upon the New Testament's definition of pacifism excluding government office. Is this a fair estimation of your position? If not, please clarify. Thanks. :)
 

Particular Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
Particular Baptist,

If you were being attacked, would it be wrong of a neighbor to come and defend you
from the attacker? Would you reject their assistance?

Blessings,

Sir,

I have stated before that I do not believe on an individual basis to assist someone else being attacked. That is the only time that I personally can see force being an appropriate measure.

Spencer
 
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