Friday, October 19, 2007

Jesus The Christ & Weapons/Self-Defense

Jesus the Christ sent his disciples out without any possession to spread "The Good News" (Luke 22:35). Upon their return and (Can we assume?) because of what they experienced on that earlier expedition on the dangerous roads and among the contentious people of Israel and surrounding areas, He had other instructions and commands for them.

Among those other commands was that they should do every thing possible (Including selling their most basic garments) to obtain swords. When his disciples presented him with the two such weapons they had, He said: "They are sufficient" or "They are enough" (Variation by translation for the balance of Luke 22:35). Since the Christ was NOT sending out armies to reestablish an independent Israel (A disappointment to some of his followers), two swords appeared to be "sufficient" to protect his law-abiding followers on their travels.

Now--I have read a variety of interpretations of these verses which all appear to be pathological pacifists' misreadings of plain text. Some have claimed that Jesus was being sarcastic or ironic or using a parable--Without any proofs of that and in opposition to the most direct statement and the usual parable-style of His other teachings.

Others have claimed that Jesus, the "Prince of Peace", would not support the arming of his followers with swords (The AK-47s or AR-15s of that era), conveniently forgetting his whipping out of the money changers in the Temple, his words about child abusers and Judas and the frequent Words about the punishment of evil doers and unworthy servants.

Yes--He did teach peace and "turning the other cheek"--To insults. However, there is nothing in the Gospel teaching that anyone should submit to such criminal attacks as murder, rape, robbery, genocide (The use of which are supported by the Koran, Nazi ideology and practices and the injustices inflicted by other tyrants now and throughout history),

We should also remember: The advice of St. John the Baptist to the soldiers, which was NOT to give up their swords and profession; The writings of St. Paul as to the State's authority to use the sword to punish wrongdoers; And, the very clear advise of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (In his De Laude Novae Militae) as to waging war against those who attack Christians (Muslims in his time and, as likely as not, in our time).


Anonymous said...

So are you saying that Jesus' bottom line was that they (followers) would at some point, have the right to kill?

jasonbryant said...

you said christ meant insults are what we to turn the other cheek for. but i say to you this, by christs example when he was struck, he turned the other cheek. his words and actions are his gospel.

Anonymous said...

How do pacifists reconcile Jesus
whipping traders and disciples
carrying swords? They cannot.
They use turning the other cheek, without understanding it, to justify cowardice and the obviation of personal responsibility. Would you just stand by preaching world peace while witnessing abuse, rape, or murder?

Ashley Vowles said...

Personally I am a pacificist, violence should only be resorted to when all other peaceful options have been exhausted in self-defense or defense of others.

I must align myself with the pacifists on this one. Jesus was a man of peace. The evidence otherwise has little solid ground in my opinion. 2 swords will defend 12 men, I think not. As for the cleansing of the temple, the synoptic gospels make no mention of the whip or the exact process of driving out the merchants. In John it is stated "So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables." John 2:15 NIV Here we see that he was only using it to herd out the animals. He even took time to make a whip, likely out of harmless reeds. He was patient and methodical in expressing his disapproval. Further explanation can be found at these sites, among others:

Ashley Vowles said...

Peace be unto you, my friend!

Anonymous said...

"...violence should only be resorted to when all other peaceful options have been exhausted..."
Of course, all rational people are
in accord, but is that still true
pacifism? Perhaps it is a question
of how soon one acts? One example
is the 1990s Balkan War. Observers
for the UN ran around in white
coats while militant thugs laughed,
and EU forces present were ordered
not to act, allowing numerous acts
of evil (Srebrenica and Markale
among the better known) until
a NATO force with a mandate to
actively suppress Milosevic and his
henchmen took action years later.
Was it right to wait so long while
all other peaceful options were
supposedly being exhausted? It was
clearly a horrifying example of
political and spiritual cowardice.

Anonymous said...

No Guns for Jews