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Is all violence against Jesus' teachings?

Discussion in 'Questions by Non-Christians (Archived)' started by Chris†opher Paul, May 31, 2002.

  1. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    I know there were holy warriors in the Old Testament, but since Jesus came and taught us the new covenant, is all violence evil? If someone is trying to kill me, does Jesus really teach not to resist?
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  2. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    No. Violence is not taught against in the New Covenant. Otherwise Jesus would not have instructed his disciples to carry swords, or would never have overturned the tables in the Temple. Jesus also says that the Kingdom of Heaven advances by violence in the spiritual realm.

    Oh, the New Covenant is certainly all about violence! When Jesus says to turn the other cheek, he is refering to the times when one is persecuted for the sake of making a point: love your enemies, do not hate them. Give them the extra mile, the benefit of the doubt, the chance to see that you love them, but stand up for yourself; unless there is a divine reason not to.
  3. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    Thanks brother!
  4. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    This is a place where I think I disagree with Josephus. I will just state my view...but no need to argue it... :holy:

    In the OT, the Jews were instructed by God to use violence to cleanse certain evils.

    Likewise, Christ, who is God, also cleansed the temple.

    Swords? Did Christ instruct them to carry swords, or did they just do it? Did not Christ tell Peter to stop fighting? Perhaps I'm wrong.

    Turn the other cheek, however, is more about allowing God to protect you. Its a step in faith, to recognize that death cannot harm you, and that "vengeance is the Lord's", as the Scriptures say.

    But...does that mean if somenoe's trying to kill you, you shouldn't run away? I doubt it...though Christ hardly ran...but again, He's on a different playing field in some respects...Paul escaped without violence, and so did Peter.

    I think a lot of it has to do with our perspective. As fallen creatures, what we think might be an unjust action against us that deserves retaliation, may really be just, only we are blinded to it. Many times God's discipline comes in such ways, and if we respond in violence or anger we may miss the learning experience, or hurt the person we are called on to minister to.

    Remeber, "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?...For the foolishness God God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." 1 Cor 1:20b, 25
  5. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild Sheep in Wolf's clothing

    In this matter I find myself in accord with Josephus. I think ( stress!! and re-iterate STRESS!! that this opinion does not have scriptural support sufficient to even think about accepting it as a doctrine) that what Jesus teaches against is not so much violence as against aggression.
  6. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." Matt 26:27

    Scripture seems to imply that God will protect us without our help if we simply ask Him to do so. Resorting to violence (which is really either vengeance or sheer aggression) does not give Him the chance to act, and would seem in the disciples case, to be because of lack of faith.

    Yet, to say this and to live it are two different things.

    I heard another cool thing about the turn the other cheek thing though:

    It seems that back in that time, to strike someone on the cheek once as a rebuke was to rebuke them, but to leave them their honor. Kind of like, "You're wrong, but I still respect you." But, if someone was struck twice it was meant a loss of honor. So Christ was saying to humble oneself, to give up honor...all the good selflessness that He always preached. :D

    Even so, in the same section, he says that if someone steals from you, to let them have it. That's been one I've put into practice recently, and it feels good...like all his commands! :holy:

    Peace to all who seek it,
  7. papakapp

    papakapp a waterdrop going over niagra falls

    Luke 22:36 Then He said to them he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword let him sell his garment and buy one.

    Luke 22:38 So they said to Him'Lord, look, here are two swords.' And He said to them "It is enough"

    It is rather important to note that the NIV records Jesus as saying "That is enough" Implying that two swords are enough.
    Wheras the new king james says "it is enough" Which I am told is a more accurate translation.

    It refering to the preocupation with gathering swords.
    That wrongly implies the actual number of swords.

    If you read Luke 22: 35 It is pretty clear that Luke 22:36 refers to being mentally prepared for Jesus' earthly departure. Not actually having a knapsack and sword and that other stuff.

    Interesting to note, The word of God is refered to as a sword. We are to be armed with that.

    Eph. 6:17
  8. papakapp

    papakapp a waterdrop going over niagra falls

    That said, If you read Revelation seems blatantly obvious that violence is not just reserved for the Old Testament.

    Ecc 3:3
    A time to kill,
    A time to heal;
    A time to break down,
    And a time to buid up;
  9. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story


    A man punches a pacifist in the face.
    The pacifist turns the other cheek.
    The man punches him in the face, hard.
    The pacifist turns the other cheek.
    The man punches him in the face, harder.
    Repeat this scenario.

    At some point you have to defend yourself, don't you?
  10. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    To use this one verse to dissuade all else that is said about the violence and vengeance of man is unwise. The Bible must be looked at whollistically.

    Violence ordained by God is certainly one thing, while violence ordained by man is another.

    The Luke verse could very easily be referring to the following verse about transgressors. Or, he could be warning them that they will face violence against them and to be prepared for persicution.

    Furthermore, keep in mind that only 15 verses later, when the disciples use those swords in defense not even of themselves, but of one they love, Jesus rebukes them and goes peacefully with his captors, putting it into His Father's hands.

    As to Ecc 3:1-8, simply because there is a time to kill does not make it right. Every time the there is a suicide bombing in the Middle East, or a reprisal, it was " a time to kill." (and let us remember that both sides are claimbing defense!) The same section also says their is "a time to hate." Would any Christian teach that this is true of Christians? 1 John 3:15 tells us explicitly that "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." Let us not forget that murder is the fruit of violence. In this we can see that while there is a time for many things, it does not make those things necessarily godly.

    As far as the OT goes...there certainly was a time to kill...when God came down and face to face said, "Go purge the land." Ironically, even that was disobeyed!

    Even so, using OT verses to support violence by Christians is a call to a return to the "eye for an eye" mentality, which Christ clearly abolished. It also ignores the OT places which explicitly state that man's violence is not what God desires:

    Jonah preached to wicked Ninevah: "Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence ." (3:8)

    Isaiah's promise of the Messiah is met with the promise of peace: "No longer will violence be heard in your land." (60:18)

    And the very reason God sent the flood was violence: "Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and full of violence." (Gen 6:11)

    When paired with NT teachings which are clear:

    Paul repents of his past violence:
    "Even though I was once a blasphemer and...a violent man, I was shown mercy." (1 Tim 1:13)

    When describing the godly attributes required of an overseer, Paul insists that he be "not violent but gentle". (1 Tim 3:3) In this context and in the context of Titus chapter one, violence is on the same level as: polygamy, gluttony, recklessness, rudeness, drunkeness, quarrelsomeness, greed, being overbearing, quick-temperedness, and dishonesty.

    For the fruit of the Spirit of God is:

    love (violent?)
    joy (violent?)
    peace (the opposite of violence! )
    patience (prevents violence)
    kindness (not violent)
    goodness (violent?)
    faithfulness (violent?)
    gentleness (not violent)
    and self-control (prevents violence)

    But the acts of the sinful nature are:

    hatred (leads to violence)
    discord (can be violent)
    jealousy (leads to violence)
    fits of rage (violence)
    selfish ambition (leads to violence)
    dissensions (leads to violence)
    factions (leads to violence)
    envy (leads to violence)
    drunkenness (can definitely be violent)
    and the like...

    God said to David, "You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood." (1 Chron 28:3)

    Can we not see that violence is not what God desires?

    Christ will come in glory, but it will be the glory of a returning conquerer who has defeated the world through His mercy, not by hateful violence. When He does come, He will punish those who have refused to hear His message. But God is Righteous and Just and make His judgments, whereas we are commanded only to rely on Him.

    How often in Scripture do we see a story of one who takes the present time into their own hands, rather than waiting on God?

    "Man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" James 1:20

    and again, "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." Matt 26:27 (talking about the same swords as He was in Luke)

    Peace to all who seek it,
  11. papakapp

    papakapp a waterdrop going over niagra falls

    Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    I see a pretty big difference between defending yourself and attacking back.
  12. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    Do you have legs? Then run.
    What's the worst that can happne? You die and go to heaven.

    We are too preoccupied with this life.


    Please don't get me wrong...I am human too. This teaching is as hard for me to accept in certain scenarios as anyone, and I am far from claiming that I would have the strength to obey...but the teaching seems rather clear.

    Peace to all who seek it,
  13. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    Would you let your wife be beaten by someone, while you ran away?

    What if you couldn't run away? What if you were cornered? At what point is it ok to defend yourself and then try and escape"?
  14. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing


    Men decide to kill a Christian.
    Christian stands there, unwilling to resort to violence.
    Men use projectiles and hit Christian in a way which will soon kill him.
    Christian sees His Lord in heaven and says, "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do."
    God answers that prayer.
    Paul changes the world for Christ.

    Check out Acts 7:54-60 again.

    What would have happened if all the Christians there had pulled out swords and killed the Pharisees to save the righteous man, Stephen? Where would our faith be today?

    God is bigger than us. Why are we so eager to forget that?

    Peace to all who seek it,
  15. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    If the Scripture I've quoted doesn't answer that for you, who am I to intercede in this matter? My advice, friend, is that you go to God in prayer with this one. Pray over the many verses which this thread has discussed. Read them again and again, and ask God for understanding on the issue. He will open your eyes to His will, because His will is good and leads to the peace which passes all understanding.

    As to the question about my wife, there it would be my duty to intercede in that matter until I died first...for I must love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...but that does not mean violence. I could with God's help continue to peacefully impede the situation until I were finished off.

    I pray that this is a stiuation I never face. I pray you do not either, friend. I pray that if I did face it, Christ would be my strength and support, because there is a good chance I would fail, and I could never hold it against anyone who did fail in that matter, but neither can I say thatthe Bible condones violence.

    Peace, friend,
  16. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    But Jesus escaped many times when it wasn't His time to die.
  17. papakapp

    papakapp a waterdrop going over niagra falls

    Maybe it's just me... But seems like everybody who posted here lately is in agreement.

    I don't think anybody here would feel convicted for attempting to defend themself against an attacker

    Likewise I don't think anybody here will go out and bomb an abortion clinic in the name of justice.

    As far as Acts 7:54-60
    Stephen did not walk out of the city gate with the pharisees, he was dragged out.

    You can draw one of two conclusions from this
    1)he was so in awe from seing the glory of God that he could not walk on his own

    2)he did not go willingly

    No matter which conclusion you draw, neither one implies that we should chose physical abuse over physical safety
  18. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    Without violence. There is nothing against escape. The Lord promises to protect us. Yet, Christ never escapes with violence. In fact, He sometimes just walks through huge crowds untouched! Think of Shadrach, Meshach and Abendigo, as well as Daniel! Is not God all powerful? Then let us have faith in Him as such.

    Peace to all who seek it,
  19. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story


    Weren't there holy warriors though?
  20. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    Or 3) He was dragged out because the people dragging Him were violent. There were quite a few draggings video taped during the civil rights movement. Peaceful resistance requires dragging.

    Likewise, peaceful resistance does choose physical abuse over physical safety.

    But I am not saying that we should not seek safety. I am saying that nowhere does Scripture tell us that it is ok to seek safety through violence except in the book of Judges, which is full of someof the most ungodly men (and women) in Scripture.

    Yet, if Samuel was dragged out because he refused to walk out, but only stood there, this hardly serves as an argument for violence.

    Even so...it is obvious that we are in disagreement. While you are right that I could not condemn you for violent reaction (because I cannot condemn anyone), neither can I condone it as a godly action as allowed by us in Scripture. We will have to agree to disagree on this point. I am saddened by this state, because to me, simply watching the Middle East conflict is enough to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that violence is a cycle which will not end unless someone refuses to defend themself, and simply goes on with their life. Even more so, peaceful resistance worked for MLKJ and Ghandi...both of whom refer to Christ as the man (God) who gave them the idea.

    Peace to all who seek it,