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Christianity and the Martial Arts - Biblical Propriety

Updated on January 29, 2013

Old Testament not New Testament ... or both

We have covered Psalm 144 and believe that God created the martial arts and ordained their use for the Old Testament people. But what about the New Testament? Does God approve of their use in our present age? We strongly believe the answer is "Yes."

We, in the Christian Martial Arts Fellowship, have a creed based on Isaiah 1:17. Though this verse is Old Testament, we believe it to be a cross-over verse which has equal application to the New Testament.

Isaiah 1:17 begins with "Learn to do well;"

There is a lot of wisdom here in four words. The underlying meaning is "If it's worth doing, its worth doing well." The verse then goes on to list of 4 items we should all "learn to do well". The following definitions are extrapolations using Strong's Concordance.

1. Seek judgment - Deal in a righteous manner with people.

2. Relieve the oppressed - Defend the innocent.

3. Judge the fatherless - Be a good example for others to follow.

4. Plead for the widow - This would include orphans, helpless, etc.

God is DEMANDING these of everyone, believer or not. It is not an elective, it is a directive.

These all fit into our training format, from the first to the last. Simply put, as a member of CMAF, students train hard and "Learn to do well", in class and for the outside world. Anything short of this is not acceptable.

Now we come to the New Testament. Is the a conflict?

1 John 3:17; "But he who hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his compassions from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

There are times in our society where we must become involved. To better analogize, you can't help a drowning man if you don't know how to swim.

1 John 3:16; "By this we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (Romans 5:7-8 is also appropriate.)

Jesus willingly gave all a man could give in "spiritual" defense of mankind. The verse above is directed to us today and includes both the spiritual and physical realm.

Many are stuck on Matthew 5:39, the "turn the other cheek" reasoning. We present two points in opposition to this theology.

1) Jesus is giving instructions as to how to react when some becomes abusive to your doctrine. This is not a physical battle per se. In Matthew 10:14, Jesus expands on this issue. "Shake the dust off" and move on.

2) We cannot pick and chose which verses of the Bible. So in response to the "turn the other cheek" folks that are against the martial arts, we would ask "Do you follow the next 8 verses in the same manner.

And, further, in support of New Testament self-defense, we present two of the many verses avaiable.

Note in Matthew 26:51, Peter draws his sword and strikes off the ear of Malchus, one of the group which came to arrest Jesus. (The sword is a martial arts weapon and the first weapon mentioned in the Bible.)

Note, Jesus does not say to Peter, "Get rid of that thing." He says "Put it up again," put it away, this is not the time or place. There is a certain humor here also. Peter either practiced a lot and took off that small target, the ear, or he was aiming at the neck but for lack of practice missed it.

But more telling and applicable is Luke 22:36. This is before Jesus arrest in the Garden and Peter is involved again. It is hard to interpret this verse in any other way than Jesus saying to his followers, "Times will be getting tougher. You have a right to defend yourself. But a sword and learn to use it."

A situation may require you to call the authorities or take direct action. Direct action may be just verbal intervention. Or it may require physical action. The decision is yours to make. But if you do take proper called-for physical action, what good would you be to others or yourself ...... without training?

"Learn to do Well." It's Scriptural.

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