Sunday, July 22, 2012

Is pacifism Biblical?


I realize that the bulk of Christendom does not support pacifism, but if you knew my background, you would understand why I am including it among the false doctrines.
Pacifism is an ideal, which we trust will attend us in our future life.  It is impossible to imagine what the sociological world would look like today if all good people were pacifists.
The Nazis would have overrun the world and all the Jews would have been exterminated.  The terrorists in the world today would have free sway to destroy all the world’s democracies and economics.  Women’s and children’s rights all around the world would be extinct and all decent religious groups would be condemned and executed.
Pacifism stems from an unreal dream world.  Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament teach that doctrine.  Most significantly Christ did not teach it either!  It is true that Isaiah spoke of a world, in which peace abounds, but even to him, that was an idealistic dream, which will be coming in the future.
One needs only read the Old Testament to notice that the Lord blessed His chosen people, when, or should we say, because, they killed their enemies.  Many times the Lord told His people to kill them.  Many of the songs of the Jews thank the Lord for victory over mortal enemies.  In fact, in the Sanhedrin 72 are found these, straight to the point, words. If someone comes to kill you, anticipate him and kill him first.  
In the New Testament, Paul frequently uses word pictures that portray war.  Not only that, but nowhere do the New Testament writers teach that Christians do not have a right to protect their possessions and country by using force.  What they do teach is that we are not to be the aggressor, the one who starts a fight. 
In Romans 12:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 1 Peter 3:9, and other verses like this, the thought is concerning seeking revenge against someone who has wronged us; these verses do not have any reference to pacifism.
Christ, also had very little to say in that regard.  On the night in which Christ was betrayed He said to Peter, Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Matthew 26:52 This statement has absolutely nothing to do with non-resistance.  Christ was merely stating a fact: Peter, do you think that, with one sword, you can withstand the Roman army?  Peter, if you try it, you will die .
To insist that Christ was a pacifist is to overlook that Christ said, Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. Matthew 10:34.  Christ also told His disciples to purchase some swords; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. Luke 22:36
In the Sermon on the Mount Christ said, Thou shalt not kill. Matthew 5:21.  This statement is used to teach that Christ taught pacifism.  Christ, however, was quoting Exodus 20:13 (the sixth commandment), which means that He was using the Hebrew language.  In Hebrew, the word for kill (ratzach) means, premeditated murder.  This is what Christ was warning against.  If Christ would have been preaching pacifism He would have needed to use the Hebrew word, kill (harug), which means justifiable homicide, manslaughter, accidental killing, to taking the life of an enemy soldier in war.  The commandment very precisely prohibits murder, but not the taking of a life in defense of oneself or others.
Having been brought up as a pacifist and having heard many sermons and all the arguments for it it was actually a huge relief for me to learn the truth about this issue.  Pacifism, in the world in which we are living, is just not tenable or even desirable.