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Contemporary Christianity

Facilitating discussion among Christians on critical topics that we prefer to ignore.

Last modified Oct. 17, 2016

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Q12 will be discussed in class at Fairlawn Mennonite Church on Oct. 23, 2016
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When and to what degree would you use force to protect your own life, your family, others, your stuff or your rights?

  There will certainly be a variety of opinions on this topic, so more than in some cases, I'll simply "put it out there" for your consideration. As always, I welcome your insights and questions!
Is there any kind of ranking there in terms of how/when you would use force? Would the nature of the impending loss make a difference? When would you be inclined to use the most, or the least lethal force?
Would the nature of the attack make a difference in how we respond? That is, is there a difference between our being attacked because of our faith in and proclamation of our Lord Jesus; or the actions of a repressive government against its citizens; those of a common thief; or those of a drug-crazed person?
Consider the meaning of “kill” or “murder” in the sixth commandment and elsewhere:
- Hebrew in O.T., ratsach, Strong's H7523 scroll down to see other scriptures

- Greek in N.T., phoneuō, Strong's G5407     

Note the several translations of Exodus 20:13 Does the more correct use of “murder” instead of “kill” gives the sixth commandment a different meaning than we have often given it?
If you google “meaning of the word murder” you will see that it refers to the premeditated, unlawful killing of one person by another, not of self-defense or military action.
There is extensive info in Wikipedia.
Consider 1 Sam. 15:3 where God instructed Israel to “slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass,” and Num. 21:3. Where does that fit in?

Question: Is it possible that one reason we would be inclined to use force is that we have tried to dance around Mt. 6:19-33, James 4:4 and I John 2:15-17 and have given money and possessions a wrongful place in our lives? That we have allowed them to become part of our identity and sense of well-being and thus they have become gods to us and we can’t accept the thought of life without them? Can we acknowledge that we have been very earthy-minded, which gives things a different spin than if we were more Kingdom oriented?


Consider Heb. 10:32 – 11:40

If you are in a public place with a friend who carries, what would you want them to do if someone comes in to kidnap or kill others?
What do you think of this statement? “I am concealed carry but I have determined that I wouldn't’t always use my weapon to protect my own life. I want to be in a place with God that I will know His leading in what is the right thing to do in that moment.” (But don’t attempt to harm his wife or kids without expecting to be hurt.)
What kinds of non-lethal self-defense resources are available? Is it okay for Christians to carry them and to use them?
How does Jesus describe and relate to the Centurion in Mt. 8:5-13? Does He call him to leave the army?
What does Luke 22:36, “whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one”, mean? 

Consider God’s protection as described in: Psalm 4:8, Psalm 18:30-36, Psalm 23, Psalm 46


What would Jesus have done? Well, first of all, He would have been in a relationship with the Father, by the Spirit, that He would have received instruction in the moment of need. We can too, but that requires a different life-focus than many Christians presently have. I can envision Him saying to a thief, “Friend, what do you need? You don’t have to do violence against me, just tell me and I’ll try to help you.” We could do that too.

The Name of Jesus!
Let’s remember Prov. 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (nasb) Yes, that’s O.T. but read on.
There is incredible power in the Name of Jesus. See Luke 10:17, and Phil. 2:10-11. And consider His words in John 14:13-14, John 15:16b-17 and John 16:23-24 but be sure to note the results of using His Name; the assumption that we love Him; and the command to love each other. This is not just something to use for our own comfort or pleasure. It’s not for high-flying super-saints, it’s for those who live in communion with Jesus and who are representing Him in life. And don’t forget James 4:7, but be sure to note the first part of the verse.

There are many examples of believers who have called on Jesus and/or boldly declared His Name in moments of need including imminent accidents of various kinds, people coming at them to do them harm, and various situations, but it is conditional! We must be in such an intimate relationship with God that we will know how to respond according to His purposes and His power, in that moment, and we must be willing to follow His leading regardless of the imagined outcome. We can’t just call on His Name because we can’t reach our gun!

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