The question revolves around the seeming incongruity of Christians being known for their love and the fact that Christians participate in war against other Christians and non-Christians.
First, it is important to note that the Bible is very specific about the fact that Christians are to respond to persecution for their faith with love (turn the other check, bless them which persecute you for your faith, love one another). This does not apply to direct physical threats to property, person or family. Nowhere in Scripture can you find an injuction against protecting yourself and your family from criminal activity or defense of home in times of war.[/quote]
Matthew 5:38-40 (King James Version)
38Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
I think that’s pretty conclusive IrishSteel?
I was hoping someone would cite that passage - Thanks!
Very important to begin that passage from verse 20: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
And then he goes into explaining for the rest of the passage that merely fulfilling the letter of the law was not sufficient - you had to fulfill the spirit of law. That was the basis for all of the statements that followed - “you have heard it said - but I say unto you”
BUT IRISH THAT MEANS BEING PERFECT ENTAILS DOING THOSE THINGS!?! - yep, exactly right. to avoid failing at not keepong the law (the only other means of going to heaven) means that you have to have kept the letter and spirit of the Law of Moses.
SO DON"T WE STILL HAVE TO DO THOSE THINGS? - most certainly, see the last verse in that chapter. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” A lofty goal to be sure.
DOES THAT MEAN THAT CHRISTAINS CANNOT PROTECT THEIR LIFE / FAMILY OR BE A SOLDIER IN DEFENSE OF HIS NATION? Romans 13 settles the soldier/state action question - Governments do not bear the sword in vain, but use it to punish evil - thus evil acts deserving of death are able to be dealt with by the sword (death). If the government can punish evil by death from a military arm, then it must have a military to effect the punishment of evil men, thus serving in the military to protect the homes and lives of your fellow countrymen from evil threats is not only good but as part of the God-given responsibility of a government - a virtuous act of the citizen called to military service.
Luke 22:35-38 - the twelve disciples are sent out without money, or even extra shoes, but they do take 2 swords for protection and Jesus tell them to leave the swords? No, he states, “it is enough” - directly allowing for the disciples to take and use these swords for their own personal defense.
Now, i am running out of time for posting today - so I’ll have to close here - but the point is this - the Bible does not forbid war, being a soldier (just be content with your wages) or having weapons for self-defense.
Thus there has to be some kind of connection between the Sermon on the Mount and personal defense of one’s life and family. here it is - Just because I love you, doesn’t mean I will let you kill or injure myself or my family - nowhere in the Sermon on the Mount is there a requirement to allow someone to rape your wife or kill you, or harm your children to prove your righteousness - what is required is this:
you do not allow petty insult to lead to violence based on your pride
you do not hold a grudge for a lost judgements from a lawsuit - if you lost - give even more, because you were in the wrong.
you demonstrate more than the legally required service to your nation - roman law allowed for soldiers to compel civilians to carry their equipment exactly one mile - the Christian should be willing to go farther.
you should give your coat to someone in need and see what else you can provide as well - charitable in your dealings with the less fortunate.
the last part of that passage is self-explanatory, but let me know if you are having trouble with that. Bototm line - the sermon on the mount does not prohibit one from defending his life, his family, his property or his nation from the deeds of evil men.