Self-Defense and the Early Church

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think the early church should be our main go to, but rather the Bible and then if we are confessional, our own confession. It is my opinion that Westminster were better exegetes than many of the early church men (not all). The early church is worth checking on, but as others have mentioned they had A LOT of errors too. One of the biggest ones in this realm was the fact that they purposely tried to get themselves killed. This is likely because they struggled with the same works righteousness errors that many still do today and wanted to prove their faithfulness. I believe there were church leaders during that time period that had to actively discourage this seeking of death (and more than once).
 

TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't think the early church should be our main go to, but rather the Bible and then if we are confessional, our own confession. It is my opinion that Westminster were better exegetes than many of the early church men (not all). The early church is worth checking on, but as others have mentioned they had A LOT of errors too. One of the biggest ones in this realm was the fact that they purposely tried to get themselves killed. This is likely because they struggled with the same works righteousness errors that many still do today and wanted to prove their faithfulness. I believe there were church leaders during that time period that had to actively discourage this seeking of death (and more than once).
To be clear, by "early church" in the title of the post, I meant the church of the NT (Stephen, Paul, Peter, etc.), but I was also interested in how the church immediately after them responded in similar situations (Polycarp).
 

lifelong_sinner

Puritan Board Freshman
Theres a few verses that pop up in my mind about this, in exodus 22:2, it talks about killing a thief in the night is self defense. In 1 timothy 5:8, it talks about taking care of your own household and relatives, and i cant remember the book, but i seem to remember the Bible saying it is worse to kill someone inside their home than it is outside the home. But i feel like all of these were talking about non govt people attacking. I do more context is needed to answer the question though.

When i think of david koresch killing FBI agents, that wasnt self defense. A more current issue would be of ashli babbit killed on jan 6 at the capital building. I personally think she was murdered and her death was not in self defense by the capital police.
 

NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
Two disparate thoughts here:
1) Does Christian just war theory factor in here at all? For example, that one should not use violence if there is no legitimate chance of victory, one should use minimal amount of force possible, one should only match the level of force being directed at himself (i.e. no killing if you’re just being arrested) etc?

2) What, if anything, does our heart attitude have to do with how we think through this? We know that death is gain and that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but we also know that we have a duty to preserve life, and especially the lives of our families. So how does the hope we have, if at all, inform our self defense?
 

Before

Puritan Board Freshman
I'd hate to see this topic wither on the vine, so...
do verses like this assume the absence of armed governmental resistance?...

And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: (Luk 12:11)
 
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