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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 195085  
Subject: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 9:35 AM
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I am torn. Let me elaborate.

I am a pacifist at heart. I want to be completely non-violent, to denounce all wars and all killing, and to preach the virtues of love. I believe that is consistent with Christ's message for humanity. Christ himself never advocated violence in any situation, never condoned any war. When people attacked him, he did not fight back, even to the point of letting himself be killed.

But can that work for all Christians? I wonder (and remain unconvinced), are we right or wrong for doing what we're doing in Afghanistan? Part of me feels dirty on behalf of all the killing we've done of Taliban and Al Quaeda soldiers. But another part of me wonders if there was any other option. If we didn't react swiftly to an attack on the level of the 9/11 bombings, if we didn't go in and crush those who did this, would they not keep doing it? I wonder how pacifist it is to let terrorists have their way, killing who they please whenever they please.

I want peace. But can that be achieved without forcibly stopping men like Bin Laden? I am so conflicted. Any words of wisdom from other would-be or actual pacifists? Any thoughts on how to reconcile violence with Christ's teachings? Any sageful advice at all?

Thanks
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Author: JavaTraveler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78167 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 9:48 AM
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Bon,

This war on terror has scared and depressed me like nothing before. I see our world being sucked into WWIII. I, like you, abhor violence. I see it as a vicious cycle. One only has to look at the events in the Middle East to understnad this.

First Bin Laden's group attacks, then we attack back. It is safe to assume they will attack again, and we will in turn strike back. The longer it goes, I think the more violent it gets.

I am not sure hoe to resolve this. I feel this is a wake up call to our country that we need to change some things in this world. I have never been big on American brauvado(sp). While of course I think this is a great country, I see little need for us to go around the world bragging that we are "the greatest nation on Earth." That seems a bit too prideful, and sets us up for a big fall.

My belief is we need to fight terrorism on two fronts. Sadly, violence is what these people understand, so we need to have a measured response to any acts of violence. We did this perfectly in the aftermath of the attacks in NY and D.C..

We also need to work at being better world neighbors. We need to listen to what our friends tell us, and not just assume we know how to handle everything. We don't. We need to forge a more peaceful attitude in our relations. Not everyone is our enemy.

I will stop, because I think I am rambling. I can not offer a solution to you. I can only tell you I am with you on this.

Peace,
Charlie

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Author: crobinso Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78168 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 9:59 AM
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Bon,

I am no minister, nor am I completely knowledgeable about The Word. Neither do I possess the most eloquent speech. So the following words may not come out sounding quite right. But, the best answer I can give you is that WE ARE HUMAN. By this I mean, since we are not God nor do we possess his Power, we cannot simply wish away terror nor wave our hand to prevent it. Instead, we have governments (kings) to lead and guide us on a natural level, and we are to obey and support them, according to The Word.

Our natural kings send out diplomats to help negotiate peace in order to prevent terror in the first place, or to minimize the terror once it has begun. If those who make terror do not wish to speak to the diplomats, then our natural kings have soldiers, men (and now women) who go out to protect and defend us from terror. Our natural kings MUST deploy soldiers, whether we embrace pacificism or not, so that we may survive.

Charles

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78169 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 10:04 AM
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<<I want peace. But can that be achieved without forcibly stopping men like Bin Laden? I am so conflicted. Any words of wisdom from other would-be or actual pacifists? Any thoughts on how to reconcile violence with Christ's teachings? Any sageful advice at all?
>>


You may want to watch a very old movie "Seargent York" starring Gary Cooper I think.

Even though I should turn the other cheek on apersonal level ... God places the sword in the govenors hand for a reason. I do not feel comfortable with the idea of killing someone to save my own life. I hope it never happens but I do not think I would have the same problem killing someone in order to protect other people. I consider the war on terrorism to fall in this category.


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Author: TycoonGamer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78170 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 10:08 AM
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I am torn. Let me elaborate.

I am a pacifist at heart. I want to be completely non-violent, to denounce all wars and all killing, and to preach the virtues of love. I believe that is consistent with Christ's message for humanity. Christ himself never advocated violence in any situation, never condoned any war. When people attacked him, he did not fight back, even to the point of letting himself be killed.

But can that work for all Christians? I wonder (and remain unconvinced), are we right or wrong for doing what we're doing in Afghanistan? Part of me feels dirty on behalf of all the killing we've done of Taliban and Al Quaeda soldiers. But another part of me wonders if there was any other option. If we didn't react swiftly to an attack on the level of the 9/11 bombings, if we didn't go in and crush those who did this, would they not keep doing it? I wonder how pacifist it is to let terrorists have their way, killing who they please whenever they please.

I want peace. But can that be achieved without forcibly stopping men like Bin Laden? I am so conflicted. Any words of wisdom from other would-be or actual pacifists? Any thoughts on how to reconcile violence with Christ's teachings? Any sageful advice at all?

Thanks


I think there are two different but equally important ways to look at this:

1) Jesus is a member of the Trinity. At times, God commanded his people to use violence against their enemies:

Numbers 25: 16-18
16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 "Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them, 18 because they treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the affair of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of Peor."

Joshua 8:1-8

1 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city."
3 So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night 4 with these orders: "Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don't go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. 5 I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. 6 They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, 'They are running away from us as they did before.' So when we flee from them, 7 you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders."

2) The government is given authority by God to commit violence against evildoers.

Romans 13: 3-4
3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78171 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 10:17 AM
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<<
2) The government is given authority by God to commit violence against evildoers.

Romans 13: 3-4
3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
>>

Excellent point!

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78176 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 12:06 PM
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1) Jesus is a member of the Trinity. At times, God commanded his people to use violence against their enemies:

Numbers 25: 16-18
...
Joshua 8:1-8
...
2) The government is given authority by God to commit violence against evildoers.

Romans 13: 3-4
...


Interesting points. I'm not sure whether i should refute them or accept them. Rather than me say anything, i'd be interested to see your comments (and anyone else who agrees with you) on the info in the following link:

http://www.bluffton.edu/~mastg/GCpeace.htm

Or, even more specifically, what are your comments on the following scriptures (referenced in the above link):

Matthew 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

John 18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

2 Timothy 2:24 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?

2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Granted, some of those are more applicable than others. But in general, i find it very difficult to support any kind of war and be at peace with the teachings above. How do you do it?

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Author: rehowes Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78177 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 12:09 PM
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Christ himself never advocated violence in any situation, never condoned any war. When people attacked him, he did not fight back, even to the point of letting himself be killed.

Christ did not preach total nonviolence. He did not live a life free of violence; he even made a scourge to help him cleanse the temple.

He did pick his battles wisely. That is the hard part.

Randall

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78180 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 12:29 PM
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<<

Conclusion
We humbly confess our inadequacies in fully understanding and faithfully living the abundant life of love and peace which Jesus taught us. We are aware of the gulf which separates our official conference position and our individual practice; nevertheless, we press on in the hope of having each member drawn into a close, personal, living relationship of Jesus Christ. We believe that, with God's grace, our fellowship will be revived in the ways of love, peace and nonresistance if we yield ourselves in an unqualified discipleship to Christ, earnestly search the Scriptures, diligently educate our children, build churches that are consecrated brotherhoods, permeate our communities with Christian patterns of living, and move forward in a mighty thrust of teaching, preaching, healing and service.
To the Christians of all communions we affirm that our Lord is pleading with his Church for a break with war and that He is calling His children to a life of love, nonresistance and peacemaking in Christ. We appeal to all men to search reverently the Scriptures, to respond affirmatively to the claims of Christ, and to be colaborers with Christ in the blessed ministry of reconciliation of man to God and man to his fellow man. AMEN.
>>

AMEN

Only when Christ returns with the government and the church be under the same control. In the mean time the government has a sword for a purpose.
When the draft was going on I realized that medics are needed. While the mennonite proclamtion may not allow for that, I would.
There is a time for everything under the sun ... a time to heal ... a time to kill

Ecclesiastes 3 A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


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Author: TycoonGamer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78192 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 3:05 PM
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Or, even more specifically, what are your comments on the following scriptures (referenced in the above link):

Matthew 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.


In Luke 22:36-38, he told his disciples to buy swords:
36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'[2] ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."
38The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
"That is enough," he replied.

John 18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

2 Timothy 2:24 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?

2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


I think it is helpful to understand the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, which recognizes that Scripture teaches that God operates in (at least) two different ways on Earth: the "left hand kingdom" (the government) and the "right hand kingdom", the church.

Two Kingdoms Under One King

The remaining possibility for the relationship between Christ and culture appears to be the one that best accounts for the scriptural injunctions. Niebuhr calls it "Christ and culture in paradox"; Luther calls it the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. This view accounts for the insights of the other positions, acknowledging that we are cultural creatures, that God is sovereign over every sphere of life, and that Christians must be both separate from the world and actively involved in it.

The doctrine of the Two Kingdoms has been explored not only by Lutheran theologians but by Augustine in his great work The City of God and probably describes the way most faithful Christians have always carried out their fidelity to Christ in their secular callings.

According to this view, God is sovereign both in the church and in the culture¯but he rules the two in different ways. In the church, God reigns through the work of Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit, expressing his love and grace through the forgiveness of sins and the life of faith. God also exercises his authority and providential control through all of creation¯upholding the very universe, so that the laws of physics, the processes of chemistry, and other natural laws are part of what he has ordained. Similarly, God rules the nations¯even those who do not acknowledge him¯making human beings to be social creatures, in need of governments, laws, and cultures to mitigate the self-destructive tendencies of sin and to enable human beings to survive.

Thus, God has a spiritual rule in the hearts and lives of Christians; he also has a secular rule that extends throughout his creation and in every culture. God reigns in the church through the gospel, the proclamation of forgiveness in the Cross of Jesus Christ, a message which kindles faith and an inward transformation in the believer. He reigns in the world through his law, which calls human societies to justice and righteousness.

Notice that, according to this view, morality is not a matter of religion. Contrary to those who would silence Christian objections to abortion, for instance, on the grounds that moral issues are inappropriate intrusions of private religious belief, the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms insists that God's Law is universal in its scope and authority. As C. S. Lewis has shown in The Abolition of Man, it is simply not true that every culture and every religion has its own morality. Principles of justice, honesty, courage, and responsibility to one's neighbor are universal. Though revealed most fully in Scripture, God's law is written on the hearts even of the unbelieving gentiles (Romans 2:14-16).

Human beings and cultures are, however, in a state of rebellion against him. No individual can keep God's law and entire cultures are subject to corruption, injustice, sexual depravity, and every other kind of evil. While the world is condemned and all human institutions will pass away, God saves some in the ark of his church. Christians, strictly speaking, are no longer under the law at all¯their new life of faith will make them spontaneously do what God requires, though because of their fallen nature full perfection will be found only in heaven.

In the meantime, Christians have a vocation in the world. They are called to evangelize, serve others, and do good works in the unbelieving world. Christians also must continue to play their part in their cultures, serving God in his secular kingdom in secular ways. A Christian farmer is expressing his love for God and neighbor by growing food for everyone, not just fellow believers; a Christian CEO serves God and neighbor by selling useful products, giving a livelihood to employees, making money for stockholders, and contributing to the good of the economy.

A Christian is thus a citizen of two kingdoms-the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world. These spheres have different demands and operate in different ways. But God is the King of both.

This doctrine has sometimes been misunderstood to mean that the secular government has absolute authority as an agent of God. This is the farthest from the truth. God is the king. His law judges the kingdoms of the earth. A governmental system, such as that of Nazi Germany, which is in stark violation of that law is in a state of rebellion and can demand no allegiance. A nation, however, need not be ruled by a Christian to exercise legitimate authority. The ruler's faith is a matter of the other kingdom and a function of the gospel; even an unbelieving ruler, however, can be held accountable to God's law and to its corollaries in the secular requirements of effective government.

Both kingdoms are binding, but they are not to be confused with each other. The secular values of the culture are not to be imposed upon the church. Nor may the spiritual realm be imposed upon the secular culture. Saving faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit and cannot be a matter of coercion. Nor can the freedom created by the gospel be applied to unbelievers, who are stiff in their sins.

People today who oppose the death penalty, for example, because we should forgive, would be confusing the two kingdoms, as would pacifists who oppose all war because we are told to love our enemies. I recently came across a book that addressed the problem of crime by advocating that all criminals be released from prison. Jesus said that he came to proclaim release to the captives, the author argued. Therefore, we should do as he said, trusting that the gesture would transform the criminals' hearts.

Christians must certainly express the love and forgiveness of Christ in their relationship with others, both inside and outside of the church. But God's other kingdom operates in terms of power, coercion, punishment, and the sometimes harsh demands of Justice. The lawful magistrate is "God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer" and "does not bear the sword for nothing" (Romans 13:4). As a citizen in both kingdoms, a Christian may thus operate in different ways in the two spheres. No Christian should take private revenge, but a Christian soldier, judge, police officer, or juror may well have to "bear the sword."

If the government bears the sword, the church bears only the Word. Though the local church is also an earthly institution and so must be concerned with committees, by-laws, and even politics, the church is not to be run like a business, a nation, or the surrounding culture. It should be a haven of love and mutual forgiveness in the midst of a fallen, sin-sick world.

Christians exercising their vocations in the secular culture must assess their activity in secular terms, which are also under God's sovereignty. A Christian artist may well express his faith in his art, but the quality of the art lies primarily not in its theological message but in its aesthetic excellence, since the laws of aesthetics have been ordained by God in his creation. There is no need for a distinctly Christian approach to music, plumbing, computer science, physics, or wood-carving, because all of these things, no matter how secular or non-religious they appear, already fall under God's sovereignty.

http://www.issuesetc.com/resource/archives/veith2.htm

The passages you cite deal with Christians in their capacity as members of the Church, not with how the government is to act.

It would be wrong for you, on your own (not as an agent of the government, such as the military) to go after Al Queda to get revenge for 9/11. But it is certainly within the authority God has granted to the government to go after Al Queda in order that we may be protected from these evildoers.




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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78194 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 3:13 PM
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I think it is helpful to understand the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, which recognizes that Scripture teaches that God operates in (at least) two different ways on Earth: the "left hand kingdom" (the government) and the "right hand kingdom", the church.
.....
The passages you cite deal with Christians in their capacity as members of the Church, not with how the government is to act.

It would be wrong for you, on your own (not as an agent of the government, such as the military) to go after Al Queda to get revenge for 9/11. But it is certainly within the authority God has granted to the government to go after Al Queda in order that we may be protected from these evildoers.


In that case, i'm interested in your comments on the info in the link in the Church and State thread.

Thanks.

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Author: Jeffreyw Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78197 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 3:23 PM
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Bonhoeffer,

Read a little further in the New Testament about what Christ WILL do when He returns. Jesus is in NO WAY a pacifist, but His fight was with the Word of God, a double-edged sword. He fought the injustice and hypocrasy of the Pharisees, and He fought Satan in the wilderness and again on the Cross and He was victorious!

Look to the Word of God for the prophecies of the things that MUST come before the Messiah returns, and you can put this all in perspective. Pray for peace, for to do so is to pray for the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Vengeance is His and we must turn this all over to Him for the final resolution. Godly people and nations must always stand up for what is right and defend the innocent.

Jeffrey (who is FOR arming the pilots of airliners)

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Author: Jeffreyw Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78198 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 3:27 PM
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>>We also need to work at being better world neighbors. We need to listen to what our friends tell us, and not just assume we know how to handle everything. We don't. We need to forge a more peaceful attitude in our relations. Not everyone is our enemy.

I will stop, because I think I am rambling. I can not offer a solution to you. I can only tell you I am with you on this.

Peace,<<
Charlie,

I agree with you, but we must be capable of identifying who is or is not our enemy. That's the hard part.

Jeffrey

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78199 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 3:35 PM
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Jesus is in NO WAY a pacifist, but His fight was with the Word of God, a double-edged sword. He fought the injustice and hypocrasy of the Pharisees, and He fought Satan in the wilderness and again on the Cross and He was victorious!

You are using a broader definition of the word "pacifist" than i was. I was referring strictly to opposition to physical military force; you are referring to spiritual warfare. No one should be a pacifist with regard to the latter. The former is still up for debate in my mind.

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Author: frindon Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78202 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 3:55 PM
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Granted, some of those are more applicable than others. But in general, i find it very difficult to support any kind of war and be at peace with the teachings above. How do you do it?

Sorry bon but it looks like your only supporter is Frindon, one rec. Does that make you want to change your mind. :-)

Frindon


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Author: Jeffreyw Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78204 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 4:15 PM
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Bon,

There may be more than one right answer to this. There is nothing wrong with you choosing pacifism, so long as it does not lead to tolerance or condoning of evil.

In our society, and in biblical theology, it is not wrong to kill someone in self-defense. It is also not wrong to turn the other cheek and be martyred for your Christian beliefs. There are many missionaries who risk there lives to spread the Gospel among hostile nations, knowing the risk of being killed for their actions. If they are called to do that, can they deny their faith when faced with execution? Should they fight their accusers?

I think we must sometimes choose the lesser of the evils as is illustrated in the bible. In 1 Sam 25, David was going to kill a man (Nabal) because he wouldn't supply provisions for David and his men. In 1 Sam 27, David is fighting for King Achish of Gath, a Philistine and enemy of King Saul and the Israelites. But throughout these stories David is faithful to God and God provides a way out. Nabal's wife intervenes and provides for David, saving the life of her husband. Did she sin by doing what her husband refused David?

David never actually had to fight against his own people with King Achish, God provided a way out for him and sent him in another direction. Saul would die in this battle, and David would be far from the scene to protect his innocence, as there were many who would want to accuse David of killing Saul in order to take the throne. David also refused two prior opportunities to kill King Saul, (who wanted to kill David,) because Saul was God's annointed king, it would be up to God to determine the fate of Saul.

David eventually became king legitimately, under circumstances where there was no appearance of impropriety. Fascinating study on the morals of war and leadership in the books of Samuel and Kings.

Jeffrey

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Author: GoDucks2001 Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78217 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 6:41 PM
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Jeffrey (who is FOR arming the pilots of airliners)
______________

Ken (who is for all ATR pilots being military veterans)

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Author: TwinDeltaTandem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78220 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 7:48 PM
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War is clearly a righteous response of a righteous state faced with international injustice. If you really have some moral issues about what we're doing, I suggest undertaking a serious study. One of the smartest guys I've ever heard / read produced a wonderful series of sermons on the topic. You can order a complete set of CD's for $24, or MP3 files for $8 at...

http://www.dentonbible.org/media/media.nsf/CatalogByCategory/8FCBD8DEBBD1C21586256B74005F1299!OpenDocument&CartID=2068-063808

I echo the call to watch Sgt York. I also, as usual, remember John Stuart Mills' quote, which all Freshmen at the Air Force Academy memorize:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

The argument is similar to that over capital punishment. It is clear from the Bible that a state has the God-given right to execute criminals. The question becomes one of whether the state is deserving of the right. Do we, as a nation, have the moral authority to execute? Do we have the moral authority to execute this war? I think we do.

Historically, we've turned to Augustine on the subject:

The Elements of St. Augustine's Just War Theory
John Langan, S.J.
St. Augustine's just war theory involves eight principal elements: (1) a punitive conception of war, (2) assessment of the evil of war in terms of the moral evil of attitudes and desires, (3) a search for authorization for the use of violence, (4) a dualistic epistemology which gives priority to spiritual goods, (5) interpretation of evangelical norms in terms of inner attitudes, (6) passive attitude to authority and social change, (7) use of Biblical texts to legitimate participation in war, and (8) an analogical conception of peace. It does not include noncombatant immunity or conscientious objection. A contemporary assessment of the elements is offered.

This is expanded upon at

http://www.fsu.edu/~religion/jre/arc/12-1/index.html

Finally, there is a war and we are involved in it. That is reality. God, if He directs human events at all, must direct human events on the scale of world-impacting wars. If this does end up being WWIII, I'm sure that it is God's will that it be so, just as it must have been his will that WWI and II occured.

On a personal level, I've submitted my life to the authority that the Bible tells me was placed over this nation by none other than God. I know of no more righteous nation on earth, despite our many significan failings. Regardless of what happens, I know that I can live or die with the same confidence as was exhibited by the Roman Centurion, whom Christ told to go forth saved, essentially. He never told him to get a different job, as he more or less told the wealthy young man. If pacifism were a Christian virtue, per se, surely Christ would have told the Centurion to lay down his arms then follow him. Don't cha think?

TDT

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78226 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 8:31 PM
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If you really have some moral issues about what we're doing, I suggest undertaking a serious study.

That's what i'm presently doing. As is often the case in life, i'm finding no easy answers. Very, very few things can be boiled down to black and white. Most things have shades of gray to them; war is certainly no exception. I do not take issue with either the pacifists or people who fight, so long as each ponder both sides of the matter. It is the people who think this or any conflict is "cut-and-dried" that worry me. I consider this an extremely complex topic.

The argument is similar to that over capital punishment. It is clear from the Bible that a state has the God-given right to execute criminals. The question becomes one of whether the state is deserving of the right. Do we, as a nation, have the moral authority to execute?

Well you and i are in total disagreement there. But i've already argued capital punishment extensively on this board in the past, back when you were a regular poster. I unequivocally believe no human being has the right to judge whether another individual has the right to live or die and carry out a cold blooded execution. I believe the Bible is as clear on that point as you seem to believe it is clear on the reverse. We will not reconcile that issue.

War is not as clear to me.

Historically, we've turned to Augustine on the subject:

Yes, in the course of my (just beginning) study, i've learned that Augustine was the first theologian to endorse Christian participation in political war. But did you know that the Church universally rejected the idea prior to his proposition of it? Origen was adamantly against Christian support of military conflict, as were all early Christians. Augustine first developed the concept of Christian participation in a "just war." I have begun to read his arguments, and i as yet remain unconvinced, in spite of the fact that most of Christianized Western civilization continues to follow in the tradition he began. HE began it, not Christ.

Finally, there is a war and we are involved in it. That is reality. God, if He directs human events at all, must direct human events on the scale of world-impacting wars. If this does end up being WWIII, I'm sure that it is God's will that it be so, just as it must have been his will that WWI and II occured.

Your first two sentences above are undeniable. We are at war and we are the main participants. That is merely an observation, not a moral judgement of any kind. As for the conclusion you draw from it, i vehemently disagree. I don't think God wills for any war, period. I think war must grieve Him as much as anything that happens on earth. IF there is such a thing as a "just war," (and i have not yet decided it is an impossibility), then He may be pleased when evil forces are kept in check, but the means to the end is still tragic.

I am not at all conflicted over the methodology. The killing of human life is evil, no matter who does it or for what cause. I know that much. I am conflicted regarding whether the end justifies the means. God is willing to use evil actions to accomplish good (consider Christ's death on the cross). The question is whether any war lives up to that measure.

On a personal level, I've submitted my life to the authority that the Bible tells me was placed over this nation by none other than God.

I respect your belief. Unfortunately we again diverge, because i do not believe God grants any government authority. We as humans willingly submit to earthly authority in order to maintain order on the planet, but i believe God yields no authority to anyone; He retains all authority for Himself. All of my allegiance is due to God; none to this country. I honor the government of this country because it provides social stability for me and my family, not because i think God has divinely ordained any aspect of it.

If pacifism were a Christian virtue, per se, surely Christ would have told the Centurion to lay down his arms then follow him. Don't cha think?

Possible. But not necessarily true. In any case, that would be a rather weak argument against pacifism. There are good arguments against it, and i am looking into them, honest, but that particular one is not very convincing. Who knows what Christ may have told the Centurion which never made it into the Gospels. Or Christ may have known that the man had no other option for employment. Or he may have known that such an admonishment would fall on deaf ears and detract from anything else he told him. Any number of explanations are plausible.

I know you are convinced this is a just war, and i have no hopes of convincing you otherwise. You couldn't do your job if you believed otherwise. You MUST believe in what you are doing, because you are a man of principle. I don't want to turn you into a hypocrite. Just be aware that other views are reasonable. I'm trying to consider the big picture to whatever degree i am capable.

Thanks


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Author: JavaTraveler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78231 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 9:33 PM
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I have read most of the posts on this thread. The thing that strikes me is we tend to be talking about war in either theory or the abstract. It is one thing to rally around the call to arms, but what bothers me most about war is the terrible cost of lives.

I am greatly pained over the loss of innocent life. I felt it profoundly as I watched the WTC towers collapse. It hit me when members of my church talked about losing friends in the attack on the Pentagon. I can only imagine what people go through when innocent Israelies, Palestinians, Afghans, etc.. die. War, while a noble cause, is also a waste of human potential.

This is why I do not like war, and yet I feel I am watching it unfold in front of me. I pray for a lessening of tensions, an end to terrorism, and peace in this world.

Peace,
Charlie

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Author: invest4freedom Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78233 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 10:20 PM
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I want peace. But can that be achieved without forcibly stopping men like Bin Laden? I am so conflicted. Any words of wisdom from other would-be or actual pacifists? Any thoughts on how to reconcile violence with Christ's teachings? Any sageful advice at all?


Hi Bonhoeffer,

You bring up an interesting subject. I appreciate you sharing your true feelings about this matter.

I look primarily to the Bible for the answers to life's difficult questions because I believe it to be inspired by the Holy Spirit using different men through the ages to write it. Christian teachers, preachers, pastors, and priests are all fallible. I read and study the Bible for myself, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me and show me His truths. I'm a Christian skeptic, carefully weighing everything I read in books or hear in church about theological issues, just like the Bereans did in Acts 17:10-11.

Christians should be peace-loving people in their normal daily lives. We are to be channels of God's love to a lost and dying world. At the same time, I think the Bible permits Christians to engage in war for just reasons. Defeating international terrorism would definitely be a just effort. I also believe in capital punishment for murder. I know we disagree on a lot of these topics. Other people have shared scripture with you, so I won't. I will share with you two of my inner struggles.

I was a law enforcement officer for nine years in a prison. There were two big struggles that troubled me:
(1) Could I kill someone if I had to do so?
(2) How would I treat criminals?


The prison trained all correctional officers in self-defense and firearms to protect ourselves and the inmates in our care. I found the martial arts and firearms to be enjoyable to learn and practice. But could I actually kill someone in the line of duty? I thought I could, but I was never sure. The good thing is that I didn't have to find out!

My uncle, who was a police officer, wasn't so fortunate. He answered a call one day in which a teenager was robbing a bank. My uncle shot and killed this young robber, stopping a crime and saving lives. He had real problems with the shooting. It was rough on him like it would be on most people. The good news is that in his time of crisis he turned to Christ after living without Him for so many years. His family became faithful Christians. God is fully capable of taking bad circumstances and creating something beautiful out of it.

When I first started to work in a prison, I was concerned about how I would treat some of these criminals. They were drug dealers, gang members, child molesters, murderers, con artists, and crooked politicians. So how did I treat them? With care and respect as Jesus would have done. I had many opportunities to witness for Christ and took advantage of them. I encouraged these inmates to do the right thing: care for their kids, get an education, obey the law, set goals for themselves, and become better citizens. My unofficial ministry to these inmates was really more important than my official duties. God taught me a lot during those years and I hope I made a positive influence in these precious lives.

I hope this helps you. May you find the answers God wants to show you in your quest for the truth.

Take care.

invest4freedom


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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78234 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/5/2002 10:56 PM
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I4F,

I'm not sure whether you'll take this as a compliment or a slight, but i must say that was the best post of yours that i have ever read. I mean it as a compliment.

Thanks for your candor,

Bon

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Author: Urban123 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78243 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 2:15 AM
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Brother Bon,

If I may weigh in with a piece of advice (an observation, really.)

I'm pretty sure you agree that God is omniscient and knows the entire history of the world, from before its foundations were laid until the New Jerusalem is born.

Along the way in this long history, wars are gonna happen. Hurricanes are gonna happen. Earthquakes are gonna happen. Why? Because at this point in "time," this world belongs to Satan.

So you needn't view war as simply a man v. man situation. Wars are just as much a result of the fall of Adam as death; just as inevitable in this depraved world of Satan as hurricanes, disease, fire and famine.

When Jesus returns, he fixes it all for mankind, at least for 1,000 years. Then, he deals with Satan once and for all. The 1,000 year delay occurs for reasons unclear to us, but certainly a perfect part of God's plan.

So whether a plane crashes into a tall skyscraper, a teenage suicide-bomber creates carnage in Israel, or Saddam Hussein acquires a WMD, you have to remember that you've already read the last chapter of this story. You know how it ends. As you'll no doubt recall, the good guys win! (;~ )


Your job is to concentrate on the one thing in which you have the most at stake (since I presume you are already saved): seeking to understand God's will for your life.

Abhor war, but do not oppose the will of God. IMHO it is not yours to be concerned about whether a nation should or should not be at war. It is yours to remember that Satan with his demons are at war with God constantly, and that your soul is the battlefield. Let history unfold. Marvel in God's awesome power. Give glory, gratitude and obedience to Him for His love for you, that He would sacrifice His son, and delay the redemption of Israel so that the fullness of the Gentile harvest might come in.

God is awesome.

{:~ )

Urban

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78246 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 3:14 AM
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<<If pacifism were a Christian virtue, per se, surely Christ would have told the Centurion to lay down his arms then follow him. Don't cha think?
>>
I do not believe any gentile was considered among the saved before Cornelious in Acts? Cornelious mayhave been the same centurian?


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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78247 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 3:41 AM
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<< I don't think God wills for any war, period. I think war must grieve Him as much as anything that happens on earth. IF there is such a thing as a "just war," (and i have not yet decided it is an impossibility), then He may be pleased when evil forces are kept in check, but the means to the end is still tragic.

I am not at all conflicted over the methodology. The killing of human life is evil, no matter who does it or for what cause. I know that much. I am conflicted regarding whether the end justifies the means. God is willing to use evil actions to accomplish good (consider Christ's death on the cross). The question is whether any war lives up to that measure.
>>
Have you read the old testament lately? Read Joshua and Judges especially. I do not think God commands men to do evil! IF HE did would HE not be guilty of evil? There were times when God killed directly .. even in the New Testiment. There was a couple in Acts that fell dead before the Apostles.... "The killing of human life is evil, no matter who does it or for what cause." is humanist philosophy I think not Biblical truth?

<<Unfortunately we again diverge, because i do not believe God grants any government authority>>

Romans 13: Submission to the Authorities
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

John 19:
8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.


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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78248 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 3:55 AM
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<<I'm pretty sure you agree that God is omniscient and knows the entire history of the world, from before its foundations were laid until the New Jerusalem is born.
>>

I do not agree. He knows the end because He has already said what He will do.
I am going to the lake tomorrow. (Lord willing) I have not seen the future ... I am simply telling you what I am planning to do. My plans change. When God tells you what He will do .. it does happen.

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Author: TwinDeltaTandem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78251 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 7:35 AM
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That's what i'm presently doing.
Did you order the sermons?

I unequivocally believe no human being has the right to judge whether another individual has the right to live or die and carry out a cold blooded execution.
I agree--but we're talking about the rights of the state, not of the individual. Although I do believe I have the right to defend myself, and will do so if the need ever arises.

did you know that the Church universally rejected the idea prior to his proposition of it?
Universally? The church was divided on fundamental issues from the very beginning. Are you sure that it was of one voice on this issue?

We are at war and we are the main participants. That is merely an observation, not a moral judgement of any kind. As for the conclusion you draw from it, i vehemently disagree. I don't think God wills for any war, period.
Then you must believe that God is in a state of flux. If God is such a pacifist, why doesn't he at least stop the violence over which man has no control? Like earthquakes, forest fires, and the existence of carnivores, for example.

The killing of human life is evil, no matter who does it or for what cause. I know that much.
I have a different perspective. I think the preservation of human life is an act of grace and mercy. I know that much, because I know that all humans are hopelessly corrupt without the saving grace of Christ.

War is terrible and sad and all that. I understand sentiments like those expressed by Charlie, and I've been on different sides of this fence several times since I began my military service. However, I think that the impulse to condemn a just war ultimately rests on humanistic concerns. Do you believe we are immortal creatures or not?
Do you believe that God is in control? Do you believe the Biblical passages regarding the God-given sovereignty exercised by nations? Do you believe in justice as well as mercy, because in the absence of the reality of justice mercy and grace have no meaning and all of the essence of the gospel is lost.

TDT

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Author: GoldRushs Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78263 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 12:14 PM
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lselden,

I do not believe any gentile was considered among the saved before Cornelious in Acts?


All those saved before Abraham, were not Jews. (i.e. Job, Abel, Seth, Noah.)

There were Egyptians delivered out from Egypt who worshiped in the wilderness amongst the nation of Israel.

Namaan, the Syrian was saved. (II Kings 5:1-15)

Rahab, and her household were saved. (Joshua 6:25)

There were not many, but God did save a few.

J&R



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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78270 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 2:06 PM
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<<I do not believe any gentile was considered among the saved before Cornelious in Acts?>>

<<All those saved before Abraham, were not Jews. (i.e. Job, Abel, Seth, Noah.)

There were Egyptians delivered out from Egypt who worshiped in the wilderness amongst the nation of Israel.

Namaan, the Syrian was saved. (II Kings 5:1-15)

Rahab, and her household were saved. (Joshua 6:25)

There were not many, but God did save a few.
>>

We disagree. They were saved from destruction at times but I do not think any Jew or Gentile was saved in the sense that I meant it before the death, burial and ressurection of Christ.
Among men born of woman, there is none greater than John the Baptist, yet the least in the kingdom of God is greeater than he.
John 3:5
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.





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Author: invest4freedom Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78273 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/6/2002 5:59 PM
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I4F,

I'm not sure whether you'll take this as a compliment or a slight, but i must say that was the best post of yours that i have ever read. I mean it as a compliment.

Thanks for your candor,

Bon



Hi Bonhoeffer,

A compliment intended is a compliment taken. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Have a great weekend.

invest4freedom


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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78326 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 8:23 AM
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Abhor war, but do not oppose the will of God. IMHO it is not yours to be concerned about whether a nation should or should not be at war.

FTR, that doesn't adequately describe my concern. My concern is whether Christians can support and/or participate in war without violating the commands and example of Jesus Christ Himself. I think we should all be concerned about whether we align our lives with Christ or with the world. That's what this issue ultimately boils down to, IMO.

I've thought about it a great deal, and i feel there is an impasse--a very disturbing and uncomfortable impasse. I see a conflict that cannot be resolved. That is, i do not believe it is possible to reconcile war with the teachings of Jesus. Every attempt i've seen is a cop out of some kind, involving someone "explaining away" Christ's teachings for the purpose of justifying his own beliefs. Yet neither can i fathom standing by and doing nothing and letting someone like Hitler wipe an entire people group off the face of the earth. I can't reconcile pacifism with the countless injustices of this earth. It seems to me that war is sometimes necessary, yet still in conflict with direct commands of Jesus Christ.

Perplexed,

Bon

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78327 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 8:38 AM
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Did you order the sermons?

No, i'm afraid there's far too much free material available on the net for me to pay for any more. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I'll make note of them.

Universally? The church was divided on fundamental issues from the very beginning. Are you sure that it was of one voice on this issue?

No, i wasn't there, i can't be sure. But the historical record seems to indicate that it was very nearly universal agreement:

http://www.mcauley.acu.edu.au/~yuri/ethics/war.html

The strong pacifism of the early Christians can be seen through the historical and literary evidence, which demonstrates that until about 170 CE there was no apparent Christian involvement within the military structure, and that the first statements regarding such involvement were condemned for running counter to the true teachings of Jesus Christ. Until the advent of Augustine, the preeminent theologian was Origen, who, towards the end of the second century, commented on the passage 'the one who takes the sword shall perish by the sword'. For Origen this was an injunction on the part of Christ to his followers to clothe themselves in the spiritual sword while casting away the warlike sword, and to be on guard lest 'for warfare, or for vindication of our rights, or for any occasion, we should take the sword; for no such occasion is allowed by this evangelical teaching' (Windass, 12). Origen further adds in a different situation: 'We do not draw the sword against any nation, and we no longer learn to fight, because we have become, thanks to Jesus, Sons of Peace' (Dom Bede Griffith OSB, 72).

Basically, the early Christian understood that the natural stance one should arrive at from studying the teachings of Christ is pacifism. They didn't abandon that position until it became materially necessary to fight for political reasons.

Then you must believe that God is in a state of flux. If God is such a pacifist, why doesn't he at least stop the violence over which man has no control?

No, i believe God is constant. I also believe He set up the world to work predictably according to a set of natural laws, and He provided us with free will. I do believe He intervenes in this life frequently, but only rarely in any physical capacity. His primary concern is for the spiritual.

The killing of human life is evil, no matter who does it or for what cause. I know that much.

I have a different perspective. I think the preservation of human life is an act of grace and mercy. I know that much, because I know that all humans are hopelessly corrupt without the saving grace of Christ.


So based on what you've said, it logically follows that you think the killing of all human life is just. Whenever God (or humans) refrain from taking life, it is merciful. But when we take it, it's just? I'm sorry, but i find that to be a psychopatic viewpoint. Please tell me i misunderstand you. Nothing else you've ever posted would lead me to believe you are a psychopath, so i'm going to believe i misunderstand you on this, for now.

See my reply to Urban for more thoughts on the subject.

Thanks.


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Author: TwinDeltaTandem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78354 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 4:11 PM
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i do not believe it is possible to reconcile war with the teachings of Jesus. Every attempt i've seen is a cop out of some kind, involving someone "explaining away" Christ's teachings for the purpose of justifying his own beliefs.

I obviously disagree--the fact that you feel conflicted over this should tell you something. Adherrence to Christ's teachings should not create internal angst. If you cannot reconcile the Christian notion of justice with the Cristian notion of peace and humility, then Christianity cannot be the truth.

I see a very clear distinction made throughout the old and new testaments between our personal lives and our civic lives. The distinction was particularly clear in Christ's teachings, right through his passion. In fact, it was a central part of his apologetic against the Jewish ruling class and the Roman authority.

I hope you can find a way to reconcile all this. If you can't I would suggest looking into a commune

http://www.bruderhof.com/

TDT

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78358 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 4:27 PM
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Adherrence to Christ's teachings should not create internal angst.

On the contrary, "doing the right thing" is often not "simple," and it certainly isn't always easy, else everyone would always behave perfectly. Christ made people uncomfortable while he walked this earth; it is no different today. I see it as a very good sign when people feel conflicted over complex moral issues. It shows they are thinking it through and concerned about all the ramifications of their actions. On the other hand, i am disturbed any time anyone sees difficult and complex issues in black and white.

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Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 4:45 PM
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Then you must believe that God is in a state of flux. If God is such a pacifist, why doesn't he at least stop the violence over which man has no control?

No, i believe God is constant.

But God directed his people to go to war in the Old Testament. How can he be constant if he is now a pacifist for whom war is always evil? This makes no sense to me at all.

I have a different perspective. I think the preservation of human life is an act of grace and mercy. I know that much, because I know that all humans are hopelessly corrupt without the saving grace of Christ.

So based on what you've said, it logically follows that you think the killing of all human life is just. Whenever God (or humans) refrain from taking life, it is merciful. But when we take it, it's just? I'm sorry, but i find that to be a psychopatic viewpoint. Please tell me i misunderstand you. Nothing else you've ever posted would lead me to believe you are a psychopath, so i'm going to believe i misunderstand you on this, for now.

Maybe I am a psychopath, but either you're trying to twist my argument or you really did misunderstand. I'll assume you haven't given into name calling, and that you really do believe I might be a psychopath. Since I'll assume that to be the case, I'll take a moment to explain. If you have taken to name calling, it would surely be inconsistent with your pacifist outlook as it would be committing verbal violence and possibly provoking me to anger thereby potentially committing vicarious acts of violence. Heck, I could even become convinced that I am a psychopath and thereby feel justified in behaving as one... Who knows where it might all lead to. But I digress.

I always try to look for that one small kernal of a position on which someone is standing when I hear someone who seems to be confused about what the Bible has to say. I believe you are confused, although I say this with great humility and the complete awareness that it might be I who is instead confused. But anyway,

You seem to be standing on two opinions: that all killing is bad because all life DESERVES to be preserved; and that death is a really big deal. This is counter to the teachings of the Bible

Rom 1:31-32
32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
NIV

Rom 1:19-20
20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
NIV

Prov 14:12
12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death.
NIV

Isa 37:36
36 Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies!
NIV

And so on and so on and so on.

My argument is that God directed his angels and his followers to kill in the past and that it was a good an righteous thing to do. Therefore, killing and wars are not always evil. I said that we only live through God's mercy, and you turned that around to say that I was implying that we should go out and kill everyone because they deserve it--that's turning the point around. After all, if we all live by God's mercy then the fact that we live is holy and righteous--to suggest that we should kill everyone because we all deserve to die is to take away from God's merciful gift that we should all live. And to kill indiscriminately is clearly counter to Christ's teachings and the whole of Judeo-Christian morality, etc etc etc. Silly argument. This is the Andrea Yates philosophy--I'll kill my children so that they'll go to heaven. Weird, irrational circular reasoning based on heretical thinking.

But your position is that we should never kill because all humans deserve to live. That's counter to Biblical truth--we don't all deserve to live. We all deserve to die and to be condemned to eternal separation from our holy Father; but by his mercy we are saved. We honor life because he honors it, not because it is inherrently honorable. We as believers are holy because Christ is holy, not because we are inherrently holy.

The other underpinning of the pacifist argument seems to be based on a non-Christian fear of death.

1 Cor 15:55
55 "Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
NIV

I don't fear death when I go into battle. However, if I'm involved in a righteous war my adversary should certainly fear death. Even under the Islamic worldview a suicide bomber should fear death, since suicide is expressly forbidden under the Koran.

Does this mean I have the authority to kill? No, absolutely not. But the state does, and its authority to kill comes from God. Ironically, the Taliban had the God-given authority to enforce its brutal form of Islam. God moves in mysterious ways.

Meanwhile, I'm directed to submit to the state. If I disagree with the state, I'm bound by God to accept the consequences. This is precisely what the early church martyrs did. If you disagree with the state, you are bound to do the same. As an American fighting man, I'm sworn to uphold your right to disagree. In other, less righteous nations, your disagreement could lead to serious ramifications.

I find no need to protest our execution of the war against Islamic radicals who choose to destroy thousands of "innocent" lives. I think they are all lost souls who have rejected the true God of love, and that the state has an obligation to root them out and kill them for the common good. That's my opinion. However, I understand and respect the opinion that in this case it would be better to hold out an olive branch and attempt a dialogue of understanding. The fact that we are not in Israel at this very moment with a division of soldiers waging war on Palestine is, to me, proof that we live in a nation that tries abundantly hard to be fair and just.

TDT

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Author: TwinDeltaTandem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78364 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 4:47 PM
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Did you order the sermons?

No, i'm afraid there's far too much free material available on the net for me to pay for any more. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I'll make note of them.

Send me your info and I'll gladly send you the sermons. I'll even throw in the series on Romans--you'll never look at theology the same way again. Don't worry about me, I bought Wal Mart in the slump and made out like a bandit. I'll be just fine.

TDT


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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78370 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 5:24 PM
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But God directed his people to go to war in the Old Testament. How can he be constant if he is now a pacifist for whom war is always evil? This makes no sense to me at all.

God IS constant, humanity is not. We often anthropomorphize God when we talk about Him, thus making Him seem subject to human whims, but God is much bigger than we are. God created all life and it is fully within His right and power to remove any of it at any time; you and i are not fit to make such judgements.

Everything that happened in the Old Testament was subject to a different set of rules for mankind. If you do not believe that, you do not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He brought a new covenant, overcoming the law of sin and death and bringing forth the full measure of God's grace and mercy. We should look to the OT to see how things were prior to the advent of Christ, not to find out how things "should be." Unless you have sworn off all pork and shellfish, and would stone all those who violate the Sabbath, and do not trim your beard because it violates a command in the OT, then you too make judgements about how to interpret the OT in a meaningful way for your own life.

When it comes to how to live i look first to the teachings of Jesus. Other writings may have valuable insight, and/or offer clarification on what Jesus himself taught, but nothing takes priority over the words of God incarnate, nothing.

Maybe I am a psychopath, but either you're trying to twist my argument or you really did misunderstand. I'll assume you haven't given into name calling, and that you really do believe I might be a psychopath. Since I'll assume that to be the case, I'll take a moment to explain. If you have taken to name calling, it would surely be inconsistent with your pacifist outlook as it would be committing verbal violence and possibly provoking me to anger thereby potentially committing vicarious acts of violence.

Unmerited speculation. I assure you it was not namecalling nor any intentional twist of your argument. I was simply stating how your position appeared to me, and even invited clarification, stating that nothing else you've ever posted to this board would support such a conclusion, thus i was likely not understanding what you meant. Psychopaths are unable to distinguish between "right" and "wrong" in the standard sense that most of us do. Your argument appeared to state that all killing of human life is just, implying that we should all go around killing everyone we come in contact with. If that's not psychopathic, i don't know what is.

You seem to be standing on two opinions: that all killing is bad because all life DESERVES to be preserved; and that death is a really big deal. This is counter to the teachings of the Bible

You must not have read all of my posts in this thread. Those are not my primary issues. The reason i can't reconcile war with the teachings of Jesus is because of the teachings of Jesus, not any opinion i may hold. Let me reiterate some of those teachings:

Mattew 5

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[7] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[8] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[9] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

John 18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

For added measure, consider the words of Paul:

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It seems to me that you would reconcile these teachings by saying that "civic duty" is different from "personal duty." IOW, i believe you think that these teachings apply to individuals, but not governments. But i can't participate in a government's war without acting of my own personal volition. So i will violate these commands if i fight in a war. I don't see any way around that.

Therefore, killing and wars are not always evil. I said that we only live through God's mercy, and you turned that around to say that I was implying that we should go out and kill everyone because they deserve it--that's turning the point around.

I was simply trying to follow through with your logic. I did not mean to unfairly turn anything around. I agree that we are all alive by the mercy of God. And since it is God's decision whether we live or die, it is wrong of us to usurp that authority and presume to judge ourselves who should live or die.

I see that you believe God ordains wars, thus deciding for us who will live and die, and we are merely his instruments. I will respect that beleif, but of course disagree. I say forget the wars of the OT. In the era of mankind ushered in by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, wars are strictly sinful affairs conducted by men. I do not believe that God uses war as His instruments in this day and age.

I believe they are a necessary evil. Hitler had to be stopped. Period. But evil nonetheless.

I do respect your beliefs and wish you the best. You are acting in a way that you believe is right, and i am glad for it. I too think the terrorists must not be allowed to kill indiscriminately. I think our actions have thrown a serious wrench in their works. But i'm not sure where to draw the line. At what point do our actions in response to 9/11 cease to be self defense and become a blood lust vendetta?

And i wonder if there wasn't another way to defend against terrorism. You know we are partly to blame for the situation in Afghanistan that gave rise to the reign of the Taliban, and for training Bin Laden. Our foreign policies have much to do with us being the target of terrorism. I am in no way suggesting the actions of the suicide bombers were justified. Only that we can take steps to lessen the likelihood that we will cause others to hate us as much as they did.

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Author: Fallout2Queen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78389 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 7:16 PM
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You know we are partly to blame for the situation in Afghanistan that gave rise to the reign of the Taliban, and for training Bin Laden. Our foreign policies have much to do with us being the target of terrorism. I am in no way suggesting the actions of the suicide bombers were justified. Only that we can take steps to lessen the likelihood that we will cause others to hate us as much as they did.

It didn't work in the 1930's when Chamberlin tried to appease Hitler; I doubt appeasement will work now with Bin Laden and other terrorists.


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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78391 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 8:10 PM
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It didn't work in the 1930's when Chamberlin tried to appease Hitler; I doubt appeasement will work now with Bin Laden and other terrorists.

"Appeasement" is not at all what i'm suggesting. Appeasement consisted of the the European powers saying "Oh, you want that? Well, take a little of it, but please don't hurt anyone."

I was thinking more along the lines of establishing a moral, humanitarian foreign policy that acknowledges the value of human life above all property and monetary claims. Do you honestly believe that if we showed genuined interest and care for the well-being of all Islamic children throughout the Middle East, those countries would continue to breed terrorists?

Romans 12:20-21 "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


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Author: TwinDeltaTandem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78395 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/8/2002 9:56 PM
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I believe they are a necessary evil. Hitler had to be stopped. Period. But evil nonetheless.

If it was evil to stop Hitler, then Hitler did not need to be stopped--he needed to be tolerated. We need to to what is right.

I too think the terrorists must not be allowed to kill indiscriminately. I think our actions have thrown a serious wrench in their works. But i'm not sure where to draw the line. At what point do our actions in response to 9/11 cease to be self defense and become a blood lust vendetta?

I don't think we are acting with a blood lust vendetta. I don't think this country has the attention span to support such an operation. My opinion is that we will do whatever we think is most effective at dealing out justice and prevention, whether or not that includes violence. I just think there is any other way to stop these people.

And i wonder if there wasn't another way to defend against terrorism. You know we are partly to blame for the situation in Afghanistan that gave rise to the reign of the Taliban, and for training Bin Laden. Our foreign policies have much to do with us being the target of terrorism. I am in no way suggesting the actions of the suicide bombers were justified. Only that we can take steps to lessen the likelihood that we will cause others to hate us as much as they did.

Our foreign policies are absolutely not responsible for us being the target of terrorism, at least not to any significant degree. The reason we trained Bin Laden is that we were supporting a resistance movement that was trying to keep communism out of Afghanistan. The Soviet Union was a vastly evil state--how soon we forget what the cold war was really all about. Bin Laden was a troubled youth from a rich Saudi family who was riding a wave of adrenaline and faux meaning. He was much like the eco-terrorists in our own country--spoiled rich kids who justify reprehensible behavior because they are fighting for a "cause." The only reason we're even involved in this is that he sees us as the greatest threat to his ultimate personal goal of returning in glory to Saudi to run the place under his own brand of Islam, designed for the purpose of oppression rather than any pure religious motive. That's not our fault--it's the fault of the twisted culture that produced him.

So where else have we gone wrong? In supporting Israel? We support the Arab nations to a much greater total degree than we do Isreal. So the Arab world is furious with us because we support the one tiny, relatively insignificant non-Islamic state in a sea of vastly superior geography and wealth? Every minute of peace in the middle east since '68 has been due to American diplomacy in the region. Israel has offered to return 95% of the occupied territory to a sovereign Palestinian state, only to have it turned away. Palestine wants Israel to cease to exist--Israel wants to live in peaceful coexistence--whose side should we be on? Sure, we could have built a wall around our own nation and let the kids have at it--but I think our nation has always had a greater sense of responsibility than that. I think we're willing to pay the price to stand for the principles derived from our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Was there another way to defend ourselves against terrorism? Probably. Armchair quarterbacks abound. Much of what we are dealing with today is the undesired and {possibly} unanticipated fallout of the cold war, and of the decisions made at the end of World War II. I'd even argue they root farther back--to the decision to fight the American Civil War. Because it was at that moment when we decided as a nation to be more than a loose collection of states, and to aspire to the level of a world power. Had we remained split in the 1880's we never would have taken on the dominant world role that led to the polarization of the Cold War and the moral isolation we now experience on the world stage.

But much of what is happening in the middle east defies any historical analysis. It's about a far larger plan, at least that's what I believe. I don't see any other rational explanation. So the explanation must transcend the rational.

All this leads back to the practical question of what else could we do but to fight? There's got to be a better, more peaceful way. But until all the bad guys agree with the peaceful solution approach, we'll just have to take them out back and slap them until they behave.

TDT

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Author: jrdown Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78408 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 5:57 AM
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TDT ~

Thank you for the link to The Bruderhoff Community. I have spent the past two hours reading everything they had. The stories of the members were touching.

I had heard of them some time ago on this board. I never took the time, before, to check them out.

Perhaps it would be interesting to see one of their communities in the U.S. It appears that they are very open to folks visiting them.


Robyn

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78409 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 6:53 AM
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<<I was thinking more along the lines of establishing a moral, humanitarian foreign policy that acknowledges the value of human life above all property and monetary claims. Do you honestly believe that if we showed genuined interest and care for the well-being of all Islamic children throughout the Middle East, those countries would continue to breed terrorists?

Romans 12:20-21 "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good>>

We were the number one giver of humanitarian aid to aphghanistan before 9/11. We gve 80 million in aid to the palistinians.
To answer your question. Those that kill will always be with us, as will the poor. Bin Laden is not poor!
Romans 12:20-21 "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
We as inidividuals should do this ... it is not an insruction to governments. If it worked for governments would we be expanding our peisons at the rate that we are. Crime is down in the US because of the number of people in prison I think.


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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78411 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 8:52 AM
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it is not an insruction to governments.

Governments are made up of people. God does not have a different will for people in government than He has for people outside of government.

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Author: TwinDeltaTandem Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78414 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 9:47 AM
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Robyn,

Be sure to check up on some of the sites put together by former members that are critical of the Bruderhof!

TDT

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78418 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 11:32 AM
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<<Governments are made up of people. God does not have a different will for people in government than He has for people outside of government. >>

You take an oath of office when you become president or Senator!
But Christians are not supposed to swear?

Matthew 5:34
But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;
(Whole Chapter: Matthew 5 In context: Matthew 5:33-35)

Matthew 5:36
And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
(Whole Chapter: Matthew 5 In context: Matthew 5:35-37)

James 5:12
Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
(Whole Chapter: James 5 In context: James 5:11-13)

The oath commits a person to certain actions in order to protect the citizens of this country all of which are not Christian.
You are taking your convictions and trying to bind them on all Christians and this is also wrong.
There is a time to heal and a time to kill!

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Author: rbednarski Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78430 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 1:45 PM
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"Governments are made up of people. God does not have a different will for people in government than He has for people outside of government. "

How do you reconcile this position with Paul's statements about the role of government? Because, if you really mean this then prisons are out as well, since it would be immoral for you as an individual to imprison someone because they wronged you, not could you as an individual imprison someone because they wronged someone else. Fines and taxes are also out since it would be a violation of the commandments for you to take someone else's money without their consent.

You are going to have to come up with a lot to counter these examples, I think. Are you sure that your rightful horror of war is not overcoming your sense of balance and perspective?

God bless,

Rich

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78433 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 2:14 PM
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Governments are made up of people. God does not have a different will for people in government than He has for people outside of government.

How do you reconcile this position with Paul's statements about the role of government?


I assume you are referring to Romans 13:

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

I find it to be a bizzare passage. I cannot believe that Paul meant it to be universally true for all people in all places. If you do, then you must believe that Stalin and Hitler were "God's servants" to do the citizens of their country good. I don't see how any notion could be further from the truth. It is plainly obvious to me that not all governments are established by God to be His instruments on earth. It is obvious that many (most, if not all) governments are corrupt and carry out evil acts. Ours has historically been better than most that i've read about, but it has its shortcomings as well.

No, i'm afraid i'm left with two options, either Paul was wrong, or i am presently unable to understand his true intent. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the text. How do you personally reconcile the line, "for there is no authority except that which God has established," with the existence of very evil authorities? Was Paul wrong, or do you think God establishes evil authorities which perpetrate genocide?

I don't consider prison immoral. It is a form of discipline. I don't believe that all discipline is wrong. On the contrary, it is quite necessary for all of us. Just as it is moral for me to discipline someone over whom i have authority, it is moral for governments to discipline their citizens. And i do believe in creating and submitting to ruling authorities for practical reasons. Everyone who partakes in society has implicitly agreed to a social contract of some kind. Our social contract is spelled out pretty thoroughly in our consitution and system of laws. For the benefit of everyone in the system, people who violate the contract should experience consequences. I don't see any of that contradicted in the teachings of Jesus.

I am very interested in your thoughts on Paul's comments on government.

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78437 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 3:27 PM
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<<Just as it is moral for me to discipline someone over whom i have authority, it is moral for governments to discipline their citizens. And i do believe in creating and submitting to ruling authorities for practical reasons. Everyone who partakes in society has implicitly agreed to a social contract of some kind>>

The Contract can be imposed on some!

<<I find it to be a bizzare passage. I cannot believe that Paul meant it to be universally true for all people in all places. If you do, then you must believe that Stalin and Hitler were "God's servants" to do the citizens of their country good. I don't see how any notion could be further from the truth. It is plainly obvious to me that not all governments are established by God to be His instruments on earth. It is obvious that many (most, if not all) governments are corrupt and carry out evil acts. Ours has historically been better than most that i've read about, but it has its shortcomings as well.
>>
LOL
Our better than who? Was the holocaust against the Jews more effective than what we did tot he American Indian. Was any act of Stalin worse than what Andrew JAckson did to the Cherokee. I will not even get into the slavery issue! Review your history we are no better that most. You have a much too high opinion of US.

As for submitting to authorities .. as much as we are able and still live in full submission to God.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I imagine that Christians followed Paul's writings as they went into the Colossium. We can submit to the governing authority even unto death.

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Author: GoldRushs Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78438 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 3:33 PM
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Bon,

It is plainly obvious to me that not all governments are established by God to be His instruments on earth.

The Scriptures teach otherwise. God is sovereign over ~all~ things, and every human government is his minister for either good or evil for He providentially controls all nations, governments, and societies to work good for the sake of His elect children. (Rom. 8:28)



"The Lord has established His kingdom in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all." Psalm 103:19

". . The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it wo whomever He chooses." Daniel 4:25b

"I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me." Jeremiah 27:5

"The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom." Proverbs 16:4

"The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright." Proverbs 21:18

"And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings." Acts 17:26

"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:36

J&R

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78439 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 3:42 PM
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You have a much too high opinion of US.

Don't misunderstand me. I do not have a very high opinion of the US. I was trying not to offend anyone's patriotic sympathies. Our government is guilty of great atrocities.

But our setup is preferable to most. Representative democracy is the best system i've ever seen.

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78440 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 3:46 PM
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every human government is his minister for either good or evil for He providentially controls all nations, governments, and societies

I don't believe God can do evil, i didn't realize you did. In fact, i define the word "evil" by stating that it is anything contrary to God's nature. God defines "good" and anything against God defines "evil."

I cannot worship anything that would establish a fascist government which systematically tortures and executes millions of innocent people. I wonder about anyone who can.

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Author: GoldRushs Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78442 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 4:33 PM
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Bon,

I don't believe God can do evil, i didn't realize you did.

Is that what we said? No.

God does not "do" evil; God sovereignly controls wickedness and brings good out of all evil to fulfill His own purposes.

Principle:

"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Genesis 50:21

J&R




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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78443 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 4:37 PM
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God does not "do" evil; God sovereignly controls wickedness and brings good out of all evil to fulfill His own purposes.

If you believe God sovereignly establishes governments which use their power to perpetrate evil, knowing full well they will do so, then God "does" evil. I do not understand how you can arrive at any other conclusion.

If i hire someone to kill my enemy, i am guilty of murder.

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Author: FairfaxScott Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78444 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 4:44 PM
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God does not "do" evil; God sovereignly controls wickedness and brings good out of all evil to fulfill His own purposes.

If you believe God sovereignly establishes governments which use their power to perpetrate evil, knowing full well they will do so, then God "does" evil. I do not understand how you can arrive at any other conclusion.

Personally, I believe God gave humans free will, and humans are the ones who "do" evil. God is all-knowing, and oftens guides our actions, such as through the holy spirit, to create good from evil.

To create your own example, look at how people turn to God in times of need, such as during a personal or national crisis.


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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78446 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 4:57 PM
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<<I cannot worship anything that would establish a fascist government which systematically tortures and executes millions of innocent people. I wonder about anyone who can. >>

Who are you O Man to sit in judgement of God! God defines Good. You do not. But you can chhose this day whom you will serve.

Please remember Jericho. It is not the only time God commanded that all living beings in a city be killed!

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Author: GoldRushs Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78450 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 6:03 PM
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Bon,

If i hire someone to kill my enemy, i am guilty of murder.

God's enemies have brought death upon themselves. God does not "hire" to murder the wicked. The wicked perish from their own sins. "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23a)

God justly and rightly administers their deserved deaths through His sovereign control over all things; executing judgment by the hand of "good" governments, often by the hand of wicked governments. However, all the unsaved are the cause of their own deaths. And all men universally would be judged by God and perish in like fashion, if God, by His grace, did not save a remnant of humanity by faith in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:23b)

What you must come to grips with, is submitting to the circumstances where Sovereign God has placed you in this life, and abide by the human authority He has personally placed you under. You were born into a decent country solely by the providence of God, even when surrounded by wickedness and evil. God has revealed that the government you live under has authority only from Him. (Romans 13:1) You are commanded by God not to resist this god-given authority, lest you resist the ordinance of God, and bring judgment upon yourself. (Romans 13:2)

For to resist the revelation and ordinance of Sovereign God, who is omnipotent over all things, is an act of unbelief.

"For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of an authority? Do what is good, and you will praise from the same. (cp. I John 2:3-5) For he is God's minister to you for good.

But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Therefore, you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience sake." Romans 13:3-5

If you find that you must be pacificist as an individual, there is opportunity for you within a God-blessed government, to take that stance, and find exemption from going to battle or war.

But, you must not attempt to make ~Almighty God~ a pacifist as you make your personal choices.

For, there is a horrendous spiritual war occurring, within which we realize our existance, (which is made manifest in this temporal world) . . . and Jesus Christ must be and will be the Victor over all His enemies. His obedient servants will share this victory over the wicked, the devils and the world, by their faith in Him. (I John 5:4, Rev. 12:11, 13:6-10)

"Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.'

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure:

'Yet, I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to Me, "You are My Son. Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel."'

Now, therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him." Psalm 2

J&R














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Author: fivesolas Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78451 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 6:09 PM
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<<I cannot worship anything that would establish a fascist government which systematically tortures and executes millions of innocent people. I wonder about anyone who can. >>

This is another twist on the old problem of evil. In order for a justification of God's ways ( what theologs call a "theodicy") to stand we must be able to harmonize at least three truths presented in Biblical revelation:

God is all-powerful;
God is good; and
Evil is real.

Although all elements are affirmed by Scripture, the third element--evil is real--is the one most directly observable and objected to by many. This evil is of two general types: natural evil (catastrophic weather, disease, decay, etc.) and moral evil (evil acts that stem from human choice).

In the category of "moral evil", perhaps the best example of the co-existence of God's omnipotence, goodness, and the reality of evil is found at the cross of Christ. There, the sheer and utter evilness of evil is demonstrated. At the cross of Christ, we view the height of suffering and the greatest evil--for when the greatest innocent being encounters the greatest injustice, we have the greatest evil.

Jesus is betrayed by his close friend, abandoned by His disciples, rejected by His own people, unjustly tried by the Roman government, and cruelly treated by Jews and Romans alike. In the midst of this utter display of evil, God's complete sovereignty is demonstrated. God both purposed and willed the cross--even sovereignly using the evil motives and acts of men to accomplish His saving work. It is at this predetermined scene of utter evil that God's goodness is demonstrated most fully and clearly. God willed and ordained the weakness of the cross of Christ from all eternity as a demonstration of His goodness, love, and mercy.

I can think of no greater demonstration of God's love but in this great act of evil by men.

John



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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78452 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 6:28 PM
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<<In the category of "moral evil", perhaps the best example of the co-existence of God's omnipotence, goodness, and the reality of evil is found at the cross of Christ. There, the sheer and utter evilness of evil is demonstrated. At the cross of Christ, we view the height of suffering and the greatest evil--for when the greatest innocent being encounters the greatest injustice, we have the greatest evil>>

Jesus said that Pilot's power over HIM was from above?

John 19
10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."


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Author: fivesolas Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78455 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 8:09 PM
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Ihaselden <Jesus said that Pilot's power over HIM was from above?

John 19
10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.">

If you are suggesting that Jesus was referring to God as "guilty of the greater sin" that is of course not theologically supportable and it is not a necessary conclusion from the text so there have been no scholars of which I am aware that hold to such a position. Although a few scholars think this reference is to Judas, most believe Jesus is referring to Caiaphas because as the official representative of Israel, it was his duty to know and teach and do the moral will of God - that is submit to Christ, not to turn Him over to heathen Romans for crucifixion.

John


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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78458 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 9:19 PM
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<<most believe Jesus is referring to Caiaphas >>

I thought he was referring to the Sanhedran but we are close to agreement.

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Author: rbednarski Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78465 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/9/2002 11:51 PM
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"I am very interested in your thoughts on Paul's comments on government. "

My primary thought is that we have to take them in context with what other scriptures have to say, which eliminates the possibility that it is intended as "universally true for all people in all places." The best example I can think of is when John and Peter were whipped for preaching Christ in the temple ((Acts 5:25 et seq). This teaches us that although generally we should obey the authorities, there are circumstances where to do so would cause us to disobey God, and in those cases God's claim on our loyalty trumps the government's.

Now let's look at the case of Hitler and Stalin. We can easily tell that there are many of their laws that contravened the law of God. But did every law they made do so? There were many laws in Hitler's Germany that did not contradict God's law -- laws against stealing, murder, assauly, rape, etc. Or, to take it out of the moral realm, laws on rationing, currency control, property ownership, etc. To the extent that these laws did not contradict God's law or require someone to violate God's law, then Christians should submit to these laws.

1 Peter 2:13 et seq addresses a whole range of human relationships including man to government, slave to master, husband to wife, parents to child. And the thread of commonality in all of these relationships is that our behavior towards the other is based not on the merits of the other but on the merits of God. For example:


Submission to Government

(1 Pet 2:13 NASB) Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,


Submission to Masters

(1 Pet 2:18-19 NASB) Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. {19} For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.

So there is a tension between submitting to the governing authority and obeying God, a tension that Christians should always resolve by obeying God. Paul, IMO, puts such a strong emphasis on the submission to the governing authority side of it precisely because the government of His time was so evil and he was concerned that Christians would be sidetracked from the gospel into civil action to redress bad government. Ultimately he was also following the example of Christ Himself who submitted to the earthly authority to the point of death, in allowing Himself to be falsely condemned and executed.

So finally we come to the question of whether, when the government bears the sword, which can refer to either capital punishment or war, we are dealing with an area where the government's laws contradict God's. I would argue no on the following grounds:

1) Paul speaks of this power favorably and as one conferred by God.

2) The great moral principles of God are eternal (i.e., morality did not change between the OT and NT), God ordered both capital punishment and killing in war in the OT, God cannot act immorally, and therefore capital punishment and war are not, per se, immoral, although admittedly their application can be and frequently is.

Was God doing good when the Angel of the Lord killed those 185,000 Assyrians in 2 Kings 19:35? God did it, so by definition ir had to be good. Do we understand the good in it? I don't and I suspect you don't either. But that is a function of our poor understanding of spiritual matters and their effect on worldy matters.

Well, I've rambled on long enough. I don't know if any of this helps you. If you want more of the other side of the coin (i.e., the pro-pacifist) try looking back in the archives for the messages of jadavidson. I don't know if you were around when he was but he was an unashamed pacifist and someone with whom I disagreed but for whom I had great respect. Kind of like you (g).

God bless,

Rich

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78483 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 7:59 AM
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Who are you O Man to sit in judgement of God! God defines Good. You do not. But you can chhose this day whom you will serve.

I am not judging God. Not at all. I'm simply stating what i believe God is like based on the evidence at hand, which includes the Bible and my own experience with Him. You have no doubt developed an "image" of God in your mind, yet you do not accuse yourself of "judging" Him. I have simply done the same, and i am expressing it on this board.

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78484 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 8:06 AM
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This is another twist on the old problem of evil. In order for a justification of God's ways ( what theologs call a "theodicy") to stand we must be able to harmonize at least three truths presented in Biblical revelation:

God is all-powerful;
God is good; and
Evil is real.

Although all elements are affirmed by Scripture, the third element--evil is real--is the one most directly observable and objected to by many. This evil is of two general types: natural evil (catastrophic weather, disease, decay, etc.) and moral evil (evil acts that stem from human choice).


Yes, i've discussed that very topic ad nauseum with a wide array of posters on this and other boards here at TMF. I can boil my position down to a very simple statement: "God is all-powerful, God is all good, evil is real and it arises from the existence of free will.

That poses no problem for me. Evil is always a result of human choice. It often fits into God's great plan, because He uses everything for an ultimate good. But evil is nevertheless the responsibility of mankind. Evil governments are the workings of men.

But as soon as you or the apostle Paul or anyone else tells me that God "establishes" evil governments to be His instruments on earth, i have a big problem. Then evil leaves the realm of human responsibility and becomes the result of God's actions. That doesn't reconcile with anything else i believe, so i say you must be wrong.

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78485 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 8:11 AM
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Paul, IMO, puts such a strong emphasis on the submission to the governing authority side of it precisely because the government of His time was so evil and he was concerned that Christians would be sidetracked from the gospel into civil action to redress bad government. Ultimately he was also following the example of Christ Himself who submitted to the earthly authority to the point of death, in allowing Himself to be falsely condemned and executed.


Interesting thought, thanks for sharing. I will go back and reread some of what he said in that light and see if it helps.

But somehow i don't see this issue getting any easier : )

Thanks

Bon

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Author: TycoonGamer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78495 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 9:45 AM
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Bon,

In that case, i'm interested in your comments on the info in the link in the Church and State thread.

I haven't forgotten this, I've just been busy the last few days. When I do review it, I'd like to spend time and do a thorough review. I hope to get back to you in a week or two.

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78496 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 9:56 AM
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<<Who are you O Man to sit in judgement of God! God defines Good. You do not. But you can chhose this day whom you will serve.

I am not judging God. Not at all. I'm simply stating what i believe God is like based on the evidence at hand, which includes the Bible and my own experience with Him. You have no doubt developed an "image" of God in your mind, yet you do not accuse yourself of "judging" Him. I have simply done the same, and i am expressing it on this board.
>>

You were stating what God could not be and still be your God. And you are correct I have done that in times past.

God is.
It matters not if you agree with HIM or not HE is still God.

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78500 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 11:03 AM
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God is.
It matters not if you agree with HIM or not HE is still God.


I agree 100%. And as long as no one claims he has a monopoly on understanding God, and we all admit that we are prone to error and misconception and might be wrong when we try to describe God, then we can all coexist on this board in peace.

I admit i could be wrong. I'm just doing the best i can, and trying to make all the evidence fit together into sensible big picture.

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Author: fivesolas Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78512 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 1:15 PM
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Bonhoeffer <But evil is nevertheless the responsibility of mankind. Evil governments are the workings of men.>

I completely agree.

Bonhoeffer <But as soon as you or the apostle Paul or anyone else tells me that God "establishes" evil governments to be His instruments on earth, i have a big problem.>

Yes, I have a problem with saying God establishes any form of evil. God obviously allows evil to exist, or else you and I would not be having this conversation. As we see in the Bible, God establishes institutions of nations, governments, families, churches, etc. To the extent they are evil, that is the working of men based on their intentions. However, as Joseph told his brothers, what they meant for evil, God ultimately intends and uses for good.

John

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Author: rbednarski Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78515 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 2:57 PM
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"I'm just doing the best i can, and trying to make all the evidence fit together into sensible big picture. "

Of course that presupposes that the big picture, i.e., the picture from God's perspective, can be made sensible to us in all respects, or at least in resoect of the issue at hand. That presupposition may or may not fit your "view" of God (I can't recall if you have ever addressed this so I honestly don't know).

For me, however, I reject that notion from my "view" of God. That doesn't mean that I don't try to make sense of what is in the Bible because I don't think God wants us to check our brains at the door when we become Christians. But I try to always bear in mind that God's ways are not my ways and He is so far above us that there are truths that He wants us to know but which cannot be expressed in a way that we can fully grasp, not because God is not a good enough communicator, but because our finite minds are simply incapable to receiving the fullness. When the Bible seems to be clear on a point but I can't make sense of it, e.g. the triune nature of God, at some point I am just going to accept it at one of those truths. IOW, I look at the Bible as closer to ultimate reality than my own knowledge, experience and reasoning power.

I know that you look at the Bible differently and that's OK. I'm not trying to argue with you, just express my own viewpoint.

God bless,

Rich

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78516 of 195085
Subject: Re: War - My Inner Struggle Date: 4/10/2002 3:12 PM
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That doesn't mean that I don't try to make sense of what is in the Bible because I don't think God wants us to check our brains at the door when we become Christians. But I try to always bear in mind that God's ways are not my ways and He is so far above us that there are truths that He wants us to know but which cannot be expressed in a way that we can fully grasp, not because God is not a good enough communicator, but because our finite minds are simply incapable to receiving the fullness.

My thoughts on the matter are: God Himself IS much bigger than we can ever fully understand. We certainly cannot make complete sense out of everything we believe God has ever done, because He is infinite and we are finite. BUT, i do believe that a general, overarching big picture can be formed from the evidence we have on earth. This involves God's primary purpose for our existence, the primary ways He has revealed Himself to us, and how we should live in response to that revelation.

And having that generalized big picture, i believe most of what we encounter in life can be fit into into it. Not all at once, and not all by one person, and not necessarily easily, but i think we can think through just about any issue on earth and find an answer that makes sense and is in alignment with the way God set things up.

As for how i live day to day, i must have a consistent pattern i strive for. I cannot simply move toward one goal and then the next day move toward another. Consistency is very important to me.

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