Sunday, February 19, 2006

Are Christians Ever To Fight?

This question is highly debated among many Christian denominations. Some, like the Mennonites, who use the teachings in Matthew 5, believe that Christians should be at all times, non-resistant.

The following is my argument, using the Word of God and simple logic, that there are indeed certain times when a Christian must stand up and fight.

To start off, let's look at Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

This passage states that there is: "A time to kill" and "a time for war" Obviously, there are times when fighting is necessary.

Throughout the Old Testament, we see the Lord leading the children of Israel into battle. The Lord, Himself, fought against the Israelite's enemies:

And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.- Joshua 10:30

....Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.- Judges 7:15

And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.- Joshua 10:14

And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.- Joshua 10:42

And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.- 2 Chronicles 20:29

Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.-Zechariah 14:3

So we get to the main issue at hand- are Christians today ever to "draw swords"? Are we ever called on to fight? Are we ever to defend ourselves, our homes, or our loved ones?

To delve into this some more, I'm going to go ahead and set up a scenario:

There is a Christian named Steve. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Cindy, and three kids. One night he comes home from work and finds his house broken in to. His wife is being attacked by a thug.

Now what should he do, as a Christian?

A. Stand there and watch the proceedings, being totally non-resistant.

B. Go attack the criminal and defend his wife.

Let's go to the Scriptures to figure this out....

But he.. [ David]...stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory. - 2 Samuel 23:12

David defended his land, and GOD WON A GREAT VICTORY. Did God condemn David for this act of defense? Did God punish David for fighting? No! The exact opposite happened. God wrought a great victory.

Jesus while teaching His disciples in Luke 11:21 said: When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace.

Why will the strong man's goods be kept in peace? Because the strong man defends his house.

In John, Jesus tells the disciples to arm themselves in order to defend themselves if necessary:

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.-John 22:36

( Note: The only reason the disciples didn't use the swords to defend Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane was that it was God's plan for Jesus to be arrested and put to death: But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled..... Matthew 26:56)

But obviously the disciples were to use the swords elsewhere when necessary. ( If they were not to be used, then why did Jesus tell the disciples to carry swords in the first place?)

In one instance, Jesus defended the tabernacle from the wicked: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables. -John 2:15

Did Jesus sit back and wait for the money changers to leave? No, he forced them out of the temple.

Did Jesus hold the scourge (whip) and say: "Knock it off, or I'll hit you?" No, He didn't! He "drove" the money changers out. He "cast them out" of His temple ( Matthew 21).

Zechariah speaks of the House of Judah fighting against evildoers:

And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them.... Zechariah 10:5

THE LORD IS WITH THEM.

Now, the Scripture does speak out strongly against revenge, murder, and needless violence. We are taught to turn the other cheek, for if we didn't, our lives would be full of violence and "getting even". But nowhere in the Bible are we called to be cowards. Nowhere are we commanded to be sissies.

In Numbers 32, the men of the tribe of Rueben are told by Moses to fight and not be cowards:

Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?-Numbers 32:6

God defended the Children of Israel against their enemies. Why? Because He loved them and cared for them. Jesus defended His temple, by driving out the traders and money changers. Great men of God like David and Joshua fought against evil doers and were commended by God.

There is NO passage in the Scriptures that says it is a sin to defend one's home or loved ones.

We are to be like Jesus: patient, loving, merciful, forgiving, and when NECESSARY a fighter/defender. Yes, we should not fight for revenge, blood-lust, or any other wicked desire, but sometimes, through love, we must stand up and fight.

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I wrote this article while arguing the topic with Unconformed, go ahead over and visit the site if you want to read more.

10 Comments:

  • Awesome, awesome post! Very clearly presented, and you have great Scriptural evidence. I totally agree with you! Wonderful job!

    By Blogger Lindsey, at 6:00 PM  

  • thank, zach! after school today i'll get this wrapped up...:-)

    By Blogger Unconformed, at 12:44 PM  

  • Steve and Cindy?....cute :-) Later this week, I'm going to try and have my dad's first two sermons of Biblical Ethics up. I think that it kind of relates.
    Good post by the way.

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 3:58 PM  

  • Well...Steve and Cindy were the first names that popped up in my head when I was writing this. :)

    Thanks everyone for the compliments!

    By Blogger MVB, at 4:48 PM  

  • Oh really MVB?? :-)

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 5:44 PM  

  • Yes, really! :) Why?

    By Blogger MVB, at 5:44 PM  

  • Great post and argument Zach!!!

    By Anonymous Vevy, at 6:05 PM  

  • Amen Zach!

    most people see Christians as the type of people that should just sit there. But no, we are called to Stand up for our beliefs! There is a time and a place to turn the other cheek, but on the same token, there is a time and a place to fight!

    Ditto
    -Kp

    By Blogger Kierstyn Paulino, at 8:51 PM  

  • No reason, I just thought it was kind of......er, um.......diferent! That's all.

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 7:25 AM  

  • Thank you for posting this. I thought it was well written, and I appreciated the illustration of "Steve" protecting his family in contrast to revenge or needless violence.

    By Blogger Elizabeth Ellen Moore, at 6:55 PM  

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