Christian and war

Gert-Jan van Zanten,  first positive

Proposition: “The Scriptures forbid Christians to use any lethal force in military service”. It is my pleasure for me to affirm the proposition that is before us. I believe with all my heart that any killing or participation in killing is against our calling as Christians. I will set forth my reasons in this debate.

Doing good unto all, passions that have been killed and Galatians 5- 6: 10.

The last few decades there has been much debate on Galatians 6: 10. Many have used it wrongly in order to prove that the church, collectively, can relieve non-saints from the treasury. However, this passage means a lot to us as we are thinking of whether a Christian can be a participant in military warfare. The passage tells us that we are to “do good unto all and especially to them that are of the household of God”. There are two groups of people in this world, those who are of the household of God and those who are not, and we are to “do good” towards both groups.

Then we ask the question: What is the “doing good” in this passage?

Well, the context helps us to understand this. When we start in chapter 5 we get a contrast of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the spirit.

Among others the works of the flesh include: hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, these things are called sin and whoever practices these will not inherit the kingdom of God. So a Christian, among other things, cannot murder his fellow-believers who are in the household of God nor those who are outside of this group. 

When we consider what it means to “do good unto all and especially to them that are of the household of God” we come to understand that we are to shower the fruits of the Spirit upon others. (Gal. 5: 22) We also see how “those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh and it's passions”, (Gal. 5: 24) the passions that are crucified are the works of the flesh.

So, a Christian cannot hate and cannot kill. These passions have been killed. And what has been killed does not live anymore, so murder cannot abide in the life of a Christian.

The Christian pursues the fruit of the Spirit, the Christian is to live His life as a light in this world of darkness, he is to let his light shine. (Phill. 2: 15) We are to expose, not to engage in the works of darkness. (Eph. 5: 11) Our conduct towards them outside of Christ and Romans 12: 9- 21 We learn from this chapter how we are to walk with them that are outside of Christ.

We are to bless those who persecute us (verse 14) and we are not to return evil for evil (verse 17) we need to have regard for “good things” for all men (verse 17) We are to live peaceably with “all men” (verse 18) we are not to avenge ourselves (verse 18) we have to “give place” for vengeance. God will do the avenging. All that we, Christians, have to do is to “overcome evil with good”. This certainly does not include that Christians can go to war and fight human battles.

How are we to conduct ourselves to them that are on the outside? With wisdom, not in war, not with guns, we are to conduct ourselves with wisdom. (Coll. 4: 5; 1 Tess 4: 12)

We are given a perfect example. Peter introduces the Christ and His example to us.

Christ and His example and 1 Peter 2: 22- 23

From Peter's epistle we understand how we are to act towards those outside: “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously”.

This is what Christ did and we are to follow His example. There are things that He did not do and there are things He did do. What did He not do? He did nothing in return when they reviled Him and when they threatened Him. What did He do? He committed Himself to Him who judgeth rightfully. And that is what we need to do. God is the avenger of all evil in this world. (1 Thess. 4: 6) Christians do not have to avenge themselves, God is the one who does that. God has build a better kingdom then to have His servants fight. What is His kingdom like?

A kingdom not of this world and Joh. 18: 36 God is building, through Christ, a spiritual kingdom. God, through Christ, established a kingdom that is not of this world. It is a heavenly kingdom (Daniel 2: 44) No more national borders but now people all over the world make up His Kingdom. In this kingdom there would be no fighting on a human level, there would be spiritual warfare. (2 Kor. 10; Eph. 6)

A kingdom divided and Matthew 12: 25, 26 In the proposition that my opponent has to defend he has Christians fighting against his own brothers. When one nation goes against war against another nation and both sides have Christians fighting in this battle we see a kingdom divided against itself. This can never be!!! Christ taught that a kingdom divided against itself would not stand. And that is what my opponents position brings forth. He has children of light fighting children of light in a human battle! Isaiah foreshadowed something much better than this.

No more war, the Prince of peace and Isaiah 2: 2- 5 and Isaiah 9

In the new covenant Gods people do not have national borders anymore.

That is one of the reasons why Christ followers do not fight. And it was prophesied through Isaiah: “And he will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”. In Christ's kingdom there would be no war. In the kingdom of Christ there would be peace. Christ as their king was the Prince of peace. (Isaiah 9: 6) So is our leader the “prince of peace” and His followers peace-seekers (Matt. 5: 9; Rom. 14: 17) And so began Christ His teaching in the sermon on the mount. Love and peace for our enemies and Matthew 5: 38- 44

In the “sermon on the mount” we see how Christ taught about principles concerning the new kingdom that was prophesied through Isaiah. He taught that we are to be peace-seekers (Matt. 5: 9) Christ told us that we are not to resist an evil person and we are not to retaliate (verse 39)

We are to be givers, not takers (verse 40- 42)

We are to bless those who curse us, we are to do good to those who hate us, we are to pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. (verse 44) Is that not how Christ, our “Prince of peace” acted? Did he not pray to forgive those who persecuted Him? That is what we need to be.

This we do so that we may truly be sons of God. God showers upon the good and the evil (verse 45) and is our task to shower good upon the good and the evil. (1 Kor. 13: 4- 7) Doing good does not know any distinctions. (Gal. 6: 10)

Peace and Hebr. 12: 14

We are to follow the Prince of Peace.

What is the example that He left us? Peter tells us that when He was beguiled He did not threaten. What are we to do, we need to bless and seek for peace with all men. Without seeking peace with all men we will not see that Lord!!!!

Conclusion All we owe to our fellow-men is that we love one another. (Rom. 13: 8)

We do not have to fear them that can kill the body, we are to fear Him that can kill both body and soul in hell. God in His providence has promised us that we will suffer for righteousness sake, but also that we will gain the victory if we abide in Him, the Prince of peace. God in His providence has promised us that He will look after us. He will lead us and He will guide us. We have a three-fold scriptural responsibility towards them that are outside of Christ, love them with the love of Christ, pray for them and teach them the gospel. We are never to shoot them down. The soldiers of Christ are the best soldiers for they are praying soldiers. (1 Tim. 2: 1- 4) Christ soldiers are the BEST we can get, for prayer is stronger then a gun.

Copyright © 2019 Gert-Jan van Zanten · Webdesign by BinR
All Rights Reserved ·
Hosted by VDX


Naar boven