In a day when many evangelical leaders jump on war bandwagons, most American Christians are oblivious to the fact that pacifism is the conservative position of Christianity. This was the positon for the first three centuries.
Discussions on the subject are pretty fruitless when Christians do not know there own history or the Bible well. It does not mean you have to agree with it, but if you are going to discuss it with some competence, do your homework.
C.John Cadoux's classic, The Early Christian Attitude to War, can easily be found online to read or download for free. Almost free is Christian Pacifism: Fruit of the Narrow Way for PC, Mac or Kindle which gives the Scriptural and theological basis. And there is a new Youtube video that is very good, Biblical Pacifism.
“There has never been a time in my life when I felt that I could take a gun and shoot down a fellow-being. In this respect I am a Quaker.”
― D.L Moody
Charles Spurgeon: “The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army; yet its Captain is the Prince of Peace; its object is the establishment of peace, and its soldiers are men of a peaceful disposition. The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel.”
“If there be anything which this book denounces and counts the hugest of all crimes, it is the crime of war. Put up thy sword into thy sheath, for hath not he said, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ and he meant not that it was a sin to kill one but a glory to kill a million, but he meant that bloodshed on the smallest or largest scale was sinful.”
“Long have I held that war is an enormous crime; long have I regarded all battles as but murder on a large scale.
While I love Spurgeon, if he did say that, then he got it wrong by painting with such a wide brush. We know that there IS such a thing as a "just war". Certainly, the command to conquer the land of Cannan given to Israel was an example. This was, of course, after the giving of the Ten Commandments and was not wrong in the site of God. God is also given credit by David for his prowess in battle. So we have another example.
If you are being attacked and your life, liberty, and family are at risk, then it is the responsibility of the Christian to defend his home, otherwise he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever according to 1 Timothy 5:8.
These "preemptive wars" however, are not just wars in my opinion. The strike against Afghanistan after 9/11 was just, but the extension of the "war on terror" into Iraq was wrong. A similar strike on Iran without anything other than their rattling their saber and using choice threats against Israel is also wrong.
I don't believe that we have the right to tell a country that they cannot build nuclear weapons. If they were to use them, though, we would be justified in acting in kind to prevent further madness.
Yes, Spurgeon said it. See the Spurgeon website where you can look up topics by teh alphabet...W....war.
On the entry to the promised land:
The people of Israel arrived at the border of the new land which had been promised to them and, long before, to Abraham. Here was their chance for a new life, free from a miserable existence and free to live out their lives in fullness. If they would listen to their Lord, nothing would cut short their lifetime (Deut. 5:33, 11:9, 21; Exod. 23:26), not even war. God’s promises provided their armor. As in Egypt, they were to have immunity from any suffering which might befall their enemies. So Moses simply tells them, “The Lord God has given us this land. Go and possess it as he told us to. Don’t be afraid! Don’t even doubt!” (Deut. 1:21 Living Bible).
They had heard the promise before: “Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way… I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”
“I will send my terror before you, and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out Hivite, Canaanite, and Hittite from before you” (Exod. 23:20, 22, 27-28 RSV). Their merciful God would prepare the way: they would know his steadfast love and forgiveness. His terror would keep them safe from the sword even as it had Jacob. They, like this ancestor, would not have to lift a finger against those who might threaten them.
Then it happened again. Instead of obeying, their actions said, “We’ve got a better idea” (Deut. 1:22). The twelve leaders were sent out to scout the land. Though their report confirmed a “land of milk and honey” as God had promised, fear took charge and they refused to enter.
Then Moses encouraged them, saying. “The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just has he did for you in Egypt before your eyes” (Deut. 1:30 RSV). He reminds them of God’s continued fatherly care, experienced in the wilderness. This was no call to arms. It was a call to claim God’s promise for them in its fullness. They did not have to raise the sword and again know the pain and suffering of war. Moses is explicit about that when he calls their attention to miracles “just as... in Egypt.” God would again triumph in His own way, and just as in Egypt, they would be totally immune from any hazards. The people even had an indication of what was to happen. A plague of hornets had been promised, and they knew from their own personal experiences in Egypt the power of a plague. But they refused ...
http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Pacifis … f_dp_p_t_1
Or see Prof. Millard Lind's classic, Yahweh is a Warrior
Referencing the Old Testament as justification for war doesn't really make a lot of sense. From a truly Christian standpoint. That is if Christian means follower of Christ.
As far as pacifism goes, I suppose the Christian should be advised to think about what Jesus did. And, I suppose, what he would do in the world today. I doubt war would ever be an option he would advocate.
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