Christians & Violence by Preston Sprinkle

Preston Sprinkle has some more sane posts regarding Christians and Violence. I would highly encourage you to read the entire series. I personally think far too few Christians are thinking through this important issue. The Scripture is clear.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 5.5
Part 6
Part 7

Some excerpts to wet your appetite:

"Fundamental to the Christian faith is that we love—not kill—our enemies, since Christ loved his enemies (i.e., us) and was unjustly killed for them (Rom 5:8-11). He served his enemies, loved his enemies, died for his enemies. The point seems very clear: love,and not violence, should be the church’s posture."

"Moreover, the sermon is the first of five speeches in Matthew (chs. 5-7, 10, 13, 18, 23-25), which constitute the content of the phrase “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” of the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). The point: non-violent love of one’s enemies is fundamental to the church’s discipleship and its mission to disciple the nations. Somehow that’s been lost in the post-Constantinian church."

"For now, it’s fitting to end with two points that as far as I can see aren’t subject to much debate: (1) Jesus reacted non-violently, which lays down a pattern for his followers, and (2) violence is everywhere prohibited and never commanded for the church in the New Testament. All arguments that support the use of violence by Christians must wiggle it out of indirect implications from the text in the face of clear, direct commands of the text."

"Violence for the early Church was viewed as contrary to the cross of Christ, and there really wasn’t much of a debate about it."

"For pre-Constantine Christianity, non-violence was a fundamental Christian ethic."

"And we see this in Revelation 17-18—follow me here—where God ruthlessly condemns and pronounced judgment upon the same Roman Government that he told the church to submit to in Romans 13. The
apostle John would be quite shocked, I think, at the contemporary Church’s affectionate love for and unconditional allegiance to the Babylons of their day."

"The church is never commanded or even allowed (explicitly) to act violently, but to “love our enemies,” “turn the other cheek,” “never repay evil for evil,” “overcome evil with good,” and to “never avenge yourself” (Matt 5 and Rom 12). So the difference between Israel as a theocracy and the church as a dispersed group among many nations necessitates that we viewnational warfare differently."

"Vengeance by Christians is everywhere prohibited and nowhere allowed in the New Testament. That’s God’s business, not ours."

"Situations regarding uncle Bob who served in Nam and was a good man who fought for our freedom must be considered after the words of the King have been considered, meditated on, and digested. If you haven’t been stunned by the radicalness of Jesus’ ethic in Matthew 5, and by Paul’s counterintuitive demands of Romans 12, and the shameful road we are to follow according to 1 Peter 2, and if you haven’t begged God for waterfalls of grace to be able to love your local rapist who is also your enemy and desperately needs Jesus just as much as you do, if you haven’t been bewildered by the outrageousness of turning the other cheek and never retaliating evil for evil—against all human logic, against all cultural norms, against our innate sense of justice—then I would dare to suggest that you have not meditated on the scandal of the cross long enough. Calvary and the Garden Tomb are the hermeneutical lenses through which followers of the slaughtered Lamb must view violence."

"(I’m still quite shocked when Bible believing Christians immediately dismiss Pacifism as weird and unbiblical, using only the “killer at the door” argument devoid of any scriptural backing.) "

"Such discontinuity between the Old Covenant and the New can already be found in Jeremiah 31:31-34, where the New is “not like” the Old (not that it’s completely different, but that there will be some discontinuity). Ezekiel 16:61-63 hints at this as well, and Galatians 3, 2 Corinthians 3, and many other statements in Paul (Rom 6; 10:4; and others) suggest that there is discontinuity between the Old Covenant and the New. In short, the biblical drama unfolds as a dynamic, not a static, story."

"Now, what about the Just War theory? The problem with this view is immediately exposed when you look at their own criteria and ask the question: has there ever been a just war? Has there ever been a war that has adhered to non-combatant immunity? The answer is no, by the way."
"So when we talk in terms of “us” invading “them,” which citizenship are we referring to with the pronouns?"

"I believe that we should love our enemies and not kill them."

" I believe that Jesus established a non-violent kingdom, and his followers should be known as being against violence in the same way that they are against homosexuality, fornication, and drugs."

"At the end of the day, I would love it if Christians would stop having a knee-jerk reaction against non-violence (cough, cough, “pacifism”) and would be honest with that fact—and I do think it’s a fact—that the promotion of non-violence and peace has a good deal of New Testament support."

(most of these pics are from his posts)