A Biblical apologetic for Christian Pacifism
Copyright © 2004
by Alan Bane
Jesus, the Son of man, said, "… Love your enemy …"
Table of Contents
Chapter One: The Old Testament And The Wars Of The Jews
Genesis, The Book Of Beginnings
Isaac, Jacob, And Moses
Israel, The Kings, And The Prophets
Questions And Answers
Chapter Two: The Coming Of Jesus The Word Made Flesh
The Sermon On The Mount And The Sermon On The Plain
More Contentions From Just War People
Some Review Questions
Chapter Three: The Gospels Of The Apostles
Questions In The Book Of The Acts Of The Apostles
Questions From The Epistles Of The Apostles
Some Review Questions
Chapter Four: From The Early Church Fathers To The Present
Further Discussion Questions
Even Further Questions
Alan's Radio Interview
Jesus, God in the flesh, said, "… Love your enemies …" This is livable. Because it is based on the Bible - it is alive. Even though in Matthew 5:48 Jesus the Perfect said, "… Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect …", He also said in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." And in 1 John 5:3b the Apostle John says, "… His commandments are not burdensome." By the grace of God, this is livable.
One of the purposes of this book is to determine just exactly what is His command so that we can know just what is livable. We should let God decide what is livable, not the World (the devil's establishment over our fallen human nature) or our Flesh (our own personal fallen human nature). What the Bible says is livable and will be lived by Christians. The Bible says that walking with Jesus the Travelor is the most livable, no, the only livable way. In Matthew 16:24 & 25 Jesus our Living Leader said to his disciples, "If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. …" Let us follow Him to life even if through death, even the suffering death of the cross. "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
The Apostle Paul in Romans 12:18 said: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." We can do this; yes, we can live this - even if it kills us. Yes, it is true that the World or our own Flesh will not let us live in peace. We do not have control of the World, but Jesus the Almighty does. We do have control of ourselves and our own Flesh through Jesus the Crucified.
Our relationship with the World is not a relationship with an abstract concept or distant institution. It is a relationship with the policeman who gives us a ticket, the person who sends us a summons to jury duty, the judges, attorneys, office holders, and soldiers of all the nations on the planet. They're trying to establish and protect the property and institutional ownership of the other people of this World. Our relationship is also with the liars, thieves, and murderers of the World who wish to take our possessions, our minds, and our lives. It may also be with our wife, children, neighbors, and the people we stand in line with. All our relationships with this World are personal relationships. So it is a false distinction to say that our relationship with an institution is not a personal relationship. It is also false to say that in dealing with an individual, you are not also dealing with that person's institution, race, and whatever group they may belong to. So to say a scriptural injunction applies only to an institution but not to the people in that institution is false. Also to say that a scriptural command applies to a person within an institution, but not to the institution can also be found to be false.
There are two ways, the narrow and the broad; and there are two kingdoms. Jesus the Shepherd divides between the sheep and the wolves, between the Church and the World. Though we are to accurately discern the World, we are not to judge, discipline or punish the World; Jesus the King will do that Himself in His own good time. We are to judge and discipline ourselves. Paul said in I Corinthians 5:12 & 13, "… For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? … God judges those who are outside. …" Again Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:5, "… Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the 'Time' (Judgment Day), but wait until the Lord comes Who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motive of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God."
The motive of anyone who speaks or justifies other than this (what Jesus the Word, and Paul who was sent with the Word, have said) is to force Christian morals, ethics, and justice on an unbelieving World by his own strength and without Jesus the Judge. In effect, they want to use the Devil's methods to enforce God's ways, but thereby justify and join the Devil and the World's ways and not the wisdom and patience of God. They want to keep their life and possessions in this World, its property and institutions. They are refusing to serve God and His Kingdom. Jesus our Employer said in Matthew 6:24, "… You cannot serve God and Mammon."
It is disturbing to see evil men prosper and have their way on the earth. But the way Jesus the Prince and Ruler of Peace has commanded the church to fight the Devil and evil in the World, and establish the Kingdom of God, is to "… not resist him (human) who is evil …" (in Matthew 5:39), but "… Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you …" And then, Lo, He will be with us always, even to the end of the age, confirming His Word with signs and wonders. (Matthew 28:19 & 20, Mark 13:20) He told us what to do (publish the Gospel), and what not to do (force men to observe it against their will).
The Father gave all power in heaven and earth to Jesus the Resurrected. By patiently believing the Father, fulfilling all His will, and taking the maximum judgment and punishment that the World and the Devil can inflict, Jesus the Righteous has received, earned, captured, overcome, and possessed all power over them. The Father has determined and fixed a time when Jesus the Soon Returning One shall return in the flesh, and the Devil, the Prince (Ruler) of this World, shall be bound and restrained from having any say on this planet. When man first listened to and obeyed what the Devil has to say, the Devil became and remained the Prince of this World. The Ruler of this World offered to give the World to Jesus the Son of Man in Luke 4:5-7, "I will give You all this domain and its glory, for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours." However, as Jesus the Holy One said in John 14:30, "… the Ruler of this World … has nothing in Me. …"
As long as the ruler of this dark World remains, he is established by God, he and his get to have their way, as in Romans 13:1 & 2, "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and God establishes those that exist. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves."
Why does God who is LOVE permit and use the Devil to rule the World? Paul continues in Romans 13:3-7: "For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore, it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience's sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor."
Should we who are God's children and in God's Kingdom pay taxes and obey the World? Yes, so that we don't offend them, so that we can witness to them as in Matthew 17:25-27: "… Jesus spoke to him (Simon Peter) first, saying, 'What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?" And upon his saying, 'From strangers,' Jesus said to him, 'Consequently the sons are exempt. But, lest we gave them offense, go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a stater (a unit of the money of the day). Take that and give it to them for you and Me.'"
And again Paul writes to Timothy saying (in 1 Timothy 1:8-10), "… But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching. …."
But what if the World wants us, the church, to sin? It's not a sin for the sake of peace to give the money that is extorted from us, but it would be a sin for us to use extortion on others. Again, when the Devil or the World destroys a man or his family or his property, God has given it to the Devil and the World to humble that man, to bring him under submission or death. But until Jesus the Just comes, He has not given it to us, the church, to destroy men and property. This has been called Christian Pacifism.
There is no nation or government more established by God than the nation of Israel. When the government established by Jesus the Authority, the Council of the Sanhedrin, and the elders and priests of the God of Israel commanded the Apostles (in Acts 5:28 & 29) to cease teaching in the name of Jesus the Rabbi, saying, "… 'We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.' But Peter and the Apostles answered and said, 'We must obey God rather than men.' …" Which God ordained authority should they obey? Why were the Apostles so stubborn and obnoxious? Why didn't they just spare their lives, cease preaching in this town, and say to themselves, "Jesus the Persecuted said, 'When they persecute you in one city, flee to the next' and also Jesus the Refugee said, 'Go to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth', or '… Give not that which is holy to the dogs …'"? So then: we don't resist God's Authority and guidance from the World, but we also don't sin when that authority is misused by the World. Because for us, the Church, the Body of Christ, there is a higher Authority Who must be obeyed.
In Jude 3 it says, "… contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." But in II Corinthians 10: 3-6 Paul says, "… For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war (contend) according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete." And to the Ephesians (6:12) he says, "… For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world-forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places …"
Where and when did Jesus our only Commander, or Paul say to the Church, "The way of peace has to give way to the way of justice; when peace will no longer work, the use of just force becomes a moral obligation as well as a God-given right"? There is no answer to this question but a multitude of non-scriptural 'Just War' theories and misinterpretations. Just War people can't do just peace, they just do war. Be a Just Peace person.
This book is dedicated to Jesus our Messiah, the Lamb of God who loved His enemies and mercifully offered Himself up to our sins (our violence, our own stubborn self-will), and for our sins, that we might obtain mercy, grace, and repentance. As it is written in Romans 5:8-12, 15b: "… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners (sinning violently against God), Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned … much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many."
"… Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ …", Romans 5:1.
My prayer is for this book to strengthen those who wish to follow and obey Jesus, those whose warfare against God and men (who are made in His image) is over. Those whose hearts receive and dwell in a Spirit and a vision for one World and one Church family ruled and inhabited by one Father, those who have proven their ability and trustworthiness to live in the next life by living it in this life.
Now let's answer some questions as to how these Scriptures fit in with the rest of Scripture, and the Church, and history.