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Greg explains why Christians are not obligated to be pacifists.
Posted by Gregory Koukl on April 14, 2014 at 03:00 AM in :Greg Koukl, Christianity & Culture, Ethics, Miscellaneous, Video | Permalink
I'd like to better understand the context here, to be sure we're not "going off the rails." Recently on STR we've seen these topics:
1. Arguments opposing same sex marriage.
2. Lamentations that we're losing the same sex marriage battle.
3. Arguments for why we should not retreat.
4. Arguments for why we don't have to be peaceful.
Do you see how, from afar, this begins to look a bit concerning?
cal ronklin |
April 14, 2014 at 06:05 AM
Whoa! Take it easy. Greg's personal point was the use of violence in self-defense, not an organization of a jihad against GLAAD. I appreciate your feelings of nervousness in these uncertain times, and I can agree that Greg's video presentation was not on an issue I would usually expect. But I refuse to be alarmed at the hinting you're proposing.
Consider: Political party A accuses political party B (presently in power) of tyrannical actions, imperial policies, draconian thuggery, and installing an oppressive governmental machine to inflict the masses. What is to be the reaction? To those who espouse the platform of PPA, agreement, for those who side with PPB, claims of the usual political rhetoric. For those who are independent? Here is where the media can do some driving of ideas, but I would at least hold fast to one idea: those who conceive of such ideas are fully capable of performing such. All the much more when you perceive that tyrannical actions, imperial blah blah blah has NOT been typical of PPB.
This is my view of your post. You would suppose that the Christian should resign their position and allow culture to guide all things. That would lead to peace. Hardly. Your post would accuse Christians of being the problem in all this, and that we would resolve this all with violent gun play. Again, hardly. But proponents of SSM have been less than gracious in dealing with opposition. Remember the passing of Prop 8 and the violent backlash, the vulgar denigration of Christianity at gay rights festivities, Duck Dynasty and Mozilla ousters. If vicious activities could be noted, let them be noted on both sides.
What Greg has stated is that extreme pacifism is not the teaching of Christ. He who allowed the soldiers to arrest Him on Thursday left a pile of mercantile debris in the Temple courtyards earlier that same week. Extreme pacifism is not the answer, as if we could define what actions would be involved in this present case. Actually, how can both sides practice such pacifism and not forfeit guiding principles?
We have reason to be nervous in these times if there is no real dialogue between parties. STR offers these opportunities, but rancorous fear-mongering and baseless claims won't help the matter.
April 14, 2014 at 09:45 AM
@ Cal Ronklin
What a disgusting (and ridiculous) attempt to accuse STR and Christians in general of advocating for violence against homosexuals.
"Do you see how, from afar, this begins to look a bit concerning?"
Perhaps to someone with an agenda, like yourself. To regular folks, nothing of this sort would even come to mind.
Now, anything to say on the content of the video?
April 14, 2014 at 09:56 AM
Thank you for speaking out on this topic! For some reason, Christians have adopted the extreme pacifism preached by the liberal culture. It drives me insane to hear it. What Bible are they reading? It's not the one I have!
No wonder so many men are not interested in church or in Christ! They are being told Christianity is a religion that teaches you to sit there and take it if you're being assaulted or if your family is threatened.
As a related thought, this post by Matt Walsh is a must-read for any Christian:
Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant
April 14, 2014 at 09:57 AM
"...I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
I always thought that verse was hogwash...
April 14, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Your comments are well taken and appreciated. I regret the negative implication of the post, but thought the association would be noted eventually.
I am a long-time fan and supporter of STR, and like you, thought Greg's video presentation was not in the typical STR "slipstream"; thus, given the recent topics on the site, I thought it worthy of discussion to throw out a perspective among 'friendlies' noting the eerie collection of topics when viewed from afar, out of context.
When viewed in context, with the appropriate detail, these topics are well-reasoned and timely.
However, there is a reason Greg must repeatedly caution people to "never read a bible verse" because we are prone to take things out of context.
Please note @DGFischer's response (to a fellow follower of Jesus) for an excellent example of a winsome response to a (potentially frustrating) post.
cal ronklin |
April 14, 2014 at 01:23 PM
My apologies if I misunderstood you. But with such a post, there was no way to tell if you were some sort of activist making silly accusations.
Only a really paranoid/activist sort could read such a thing from this particular video. And only a really paranoid/activist sort would somehow put together the past few posts and conclude from them that this is some sort of call to violence.
Even for the most paranoid types, that's a bit of a stretch!
As Christians we need to stop being oh-so-terrified that anything we say is going to offend someone - especially when there's nothing in the content or the presentation that could be objectively seen as offensive.
The worst thing we can do in regards to those types of people who are ALWAYS offended is to validate them by tiptoeing around them even more. We'll end up basically apologizing for simply existing!
Let's stop that approach already. It's not effective. Just like happens with bullies, appeasing the Perpetually Offended doesn't satisfy them. They WANT to be offended. The more we appease, the more they will complain and try to silence us.
April 14, 2014 at 02:41 PM
I have always been under the impression that this "confusion" about violence and Christianity is based, in large measure, on a mistranslation of the Fifth Commandment.
Traditionally translated "You shall not kill," it is most recently, and more accurately, been translated as "You shall not murder." The Hebrew word ratsach is difficult to directly translate into English, and its translation is also effected by context, but it means, roughly, "You shall not take life unjustly."
That the Fifth Commandment has been used, especially in the modern era, to have a absolutist, pacifist connotation is not in keeping with the Fifth Commandment.
That Jesus taught us to be peaceful with one another as individuals, there is no doubt. What he expected of us as a society, with respect to the defense of the innocent, is, at least to me, not as straightforward as some would like to believe.
April 14, 2014 at 04:24 PM
The turn the other cheek commandment is mixed in with a lot of other commandments that Jesus gave that have this in common: We break them all the time and they are utterly impossible to live by in a fallen world. The point of the saying is to crush you with the law...not to give political advice.
If Christians engage in violence, they sin. If Christians are pacifists, they sin.
Better flee to the Cross.
April 15, 2014 at 07:49 AM
An interesting interpretation!
I've always considered these passages as leading us to that ultimate "WWJD" question. As Christians we're called to be humble, self-less, sacrificing. Our carnal nature for violence and revenge may get in the way sometimes, but that is the road we Christians must seek.
Blessings to all of you this Holy Week!
April 15, 2014 at 11:44 AM
I think Greg oversimplifies the justification for Christian violence. For one, the nations God once punished using Israel are all that are left now that the OT Theocracy is gone.
In another train of thought, I believe the dictates of love coupled with wisdom would sort out when to use violence on a personal level. If you kill an assailant who will very likely kill their victim, it is probably a good thing to intervene.
But what about Jesus telling us not to collect treasure on earth, because it attracts thieves. So if the victim is rich and being robbed, should I jump in since it was an avoidable situation to begin with?
Should I jump in if our government goes overseas and provokes an attack for unwholesome reasons? And become unequally yoked together with unbelievers, defending it? Or should I defend a wicked nation that murders babies and promotes sexually perverted lifestyles????
Just some thoughts that popped up as he was speaking....
April 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Is passive pacifism a straw man? Are there ministries that argue for no engagement whatsoever with aggressors? Or do most pacifists allow for restraining/dissuading violent aggressors (i.e., self-defense) without trying to kill them?
Can we acknowledge that Christian violence has been far worse than Christian pacifism? Thinking of 750,000 lives lost in the American Civil War (when Chhristianity was at its most influential peak in the U.S.), German Christians fighting for Hitler, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, etc.
When Jesus said his servants would fight if his kingdom were of this world (JN 18:36), was he speaking of our day? Or is his kingdom still from another place?
April 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM
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