Today I would like to point you to two different posts from Scot McKnight on this issue. He too takes a Christian pacifist stance. The first post is from a handout he prepared to use in his church entitled, "Why I am a pacifist". It is worth a read, or at least a look. Here is an excerpt from it:
A Practical reality: How can a Christian “put to death” in the name of “Caesar” a non-Christian who needs to be evangelized and whose death would lead that person to hell? Or, how can a Christian “put to death” in the name of “Caesar” a believer when that believer’s allegiance ought to be more to “Christ and his Church” than to “Caesar”?The second post, "Paul and war", may be especially fun to grapple with. Here it is in full:
Had the Apostle Paul lived to see the war of Rome with Israel in 66-73 AD, what would he have done? Here are some considerations:As usual, Scot's posts are both enlightening at least to challenge us in our thinking from Scripture. And I think you would find the comments interesting, particularly on the "Paul and war" post.
I ask this consideration: Paul was not a soldier, but let’s put him either in that position or in the position, which is far more likely, to have been advising new Roman citizen Christians or Christians living in the Land of Israel.
1. Would he have fought on Rome’s side against Israel? (Citizenship duty.)
2. Would he have fought on Israel’s side against Rome? (Faith over citizenship.)
3. Would he have chosen not to fight because he was torn between two nations? (Pragmatics.)
4. Would he have chosen not to fight because he thought Christians should be concerned with the kingdom of God and the preaching and living out of the gospel? (Some kind of Christian pacifism.)
What do you think? And give a brief reason. This could be enlightening, and don’t be afraid to say what you think. We can’t be right or wrong about Paul in this specific question; we can only guess. But we guess with what we think Paul teaches.
Of course on this last post I would opt for #4.
In the discussion it has been questioned whether or not a Christian pacifist would defend their family under attack. For myself I would certainly try to get my family out of harm's way. And I would try to get the instigator out of the way of causing harm, not with a gun, nor with intent to injure, but with intent only to stop them. Others I've known take a stance that they would pray, but one only knows for sure what they would do if such a crisis would occur. If you know martial arts don't let someone rape you. Get them out of harm's way (they'll be glad you did after you're done with them). But I don't look at this in the same way as serving in the military where you take up weaponry to kill.
I'm not sure that this post ends this series, but it does for now. Thanks to all for the more than civil and good discussion.
Any thoughts here?
Christians and war (part one)
Christians and war (part two)
Christians and war (part three)
Christians and war (part four)
Christians and war (part five)
Christians and war (part six)
Christians and war (part seven)