Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TeenLeaderTom

The Christian should die.

Recommended Posts

A deviation from the "should we kill abortion doctors?" debate, this thread is meant to discuss whether a Christian die with no act of resistance against his persecutor.

In personal sense, if someone was going to kill me for my faith, the answer is an obvious yes.

But what if he were going to kill your wife and kids? Would you it be morally justified to kill him to protect them? If he had a machine gun pointed at them, would it be ok to shoot him?

If you believe you this would be ok on the micro level, then you must also believe it would be ok to kill him on the macro level. What I mean is, in the micro level maybe you're only killing the soldier. That doesn't remove the threat from your family, it only temporarily removes it. The only way to truly save your family would be on the macro level by killing the leader.

Would it be morally correct to do this? Remember, we are talking only in the context of Christian persecution, not in the case of any racial, people group, or any other kind of persecution.

There is a difference between murder and martyrdom.

My own conclusion is that in the case of Christian persecution, we have been called to lay down our lives as sacrifices for Christ and to not resist in a violent manner. This means you would let your wife and children die if your only option remaining was lethal force.

What say you? I think this is an important question for all Christians to answer. Persecution may be right around the corner.

Let's discover the truth together :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The commandment is not to murder, which is intentional killing of some one for self-justified reasons. However, the commandment does not say you are not allowed to KILL. That is not to say that we can go around thinking its okay to kill and so the whole concept should be accepted but instead this means killing some one to save others is acceptable. For example, it would be acceptable for a mass murderer to be put to death by capital punishment. Or in your scenario, it would be acceptable to kill some one if that is the only means by which you can protect your whole family from death.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The commandment is not to murder, which is intentional killing of some one for self-justified reasons. However, the commandment does not say you are not allowed to KILL. That is not to say that we can go around thinking its okay to kill and so the whole concept should be accepted but instead this means killing some one to save others is acceptable. For example, it would be acceptable for a mass murderer to be put to death by capital punishment. Or in your scenario, it would be acceptable to kill some one if that is the only means by which you can protect your whole family from death.

So would you say that it would be okay to use lethal force to protect your family and other Christians in face of persecution for your faith?

If yes, how would you explain why the early Christians didn't rise up and try to take out Nero?

I would like for both to be true, but they're incompatible :P This is basically what the answer I'm searching for is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christian =/= Pushover. I really don't think "turn the other cheek" thing applies when under physical attack. I'm all for Christians using guns against intruders. So long as it's in self-defense of course. I mean, didn't David not take out Goliath in a battle? Didn't Jesus go crazy on those people selling stuff, intruding, in his Father's house?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Christian =/= Pushover. I really don't think "turn the other cheek" thing applies when under physical attack. I'm all for Christians using guns against intruders. So long as it's in self-defense of course. I mean, didn't David not take out Goliath in a battle? Didn't Jesus go crazy on those people selling stuff, intruding, in his Father's house?

I'm saying purely in the situation that a man and his family are being killed for their faith. If under attack for any other reason, I think they have the right to defend themselves. But for the faith, you sacrifice that right.

mmm...Jesus didn't kill people though. We're talking about lethal force.

Just imagine if the early Christians had used lethal actions to defend themselves against a house intruder who wanted to take them away and kill them for their faith. Saul would have never become Paul. He would be dead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought you were talking about self-defense in general, my apologies.

no problem. Do you believe that the Christian should allow his wife and children to die for the faith when presented with the lethal opportunity to prevent it?

---------- Post added at 05:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:55 PM ----------

Apologist Greg Koukl pointed out something to me an article that I just read: We do not live in a moral vacuum.

If killing a persecutor who was trying to murder your wife and children for your faith would result in persecution becoming even harsher for the rest of Christians, would that be a moral reason to not kill the persecutor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So would you say that it would be okay to use lethal force to protect your family and other Christians in face of persecution for your faith?

If yes, how would you explain why the early Christians didn't rise up and try to take out Nero?

I would like for both to be true, but they're incompatible This is basically what the answer I'm searching for is.

During the great tribulation there will be a huge battle/war of good against evil (God and His family against opposers) so that pretty much answers your question there. Well to me it does anyway. When Jesus said turn your cheek He didn't say carry on turning your cheek every time you're struck. Jesus expects us to put up force to defend ourselves and/or others if absolutely neccasary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
During the great tribulation there will be a huge battle/war of good against evil (God and His family against opposers) so that pretty much answers your question there. Well to me it does anyway. When Jesus said turn your cheek He didn't say carry on turning your cheek every time you're struck. Jesus expects us to put up force to defend ourselves and/or others if absolutely neccasary.

The nature of that war isn't defined necessarily literal terms, and also we currently lack our Commander. An army doesn't attack without it's commander.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends. If it's just where I live (America) then I'd flee to a place where I woundn't be persecuted. If there is nowhere that I'd be safe then I would fight. Especially during the time of the Antichrist when running is useless. Well useless for the most part.

Also, if Christians are being killed, I doubt resistance would make them hate Christians more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It depends. If it's just where I live (America) then I'd flee to a place where I woundn't be persecuted. If there is nowhere that I'd be safe then I would fight. Especially during the time of the Antichrist when running is useless. Well useless for the most part.

Also, if Christians are being killed, I doubt resistance would make them hate Christians more.

I disagree. i believe it would make them hate Christians much more and that it would ruin the Gospel message.

If the Christian were to kill in self-defense when facing persecution, it'd be the equivalent of stomping on the dragon's toe. Sure you might temporarily prevent your death, but now the dragon is even more enraged and more determined to kill you and all your kind.

What if you cut off his head you may say? In other words, why not take out the leader and see it end completely?

The problem is, he's a two-headed dragon. Taking out the leader would stunt the persecution temporarily, but it would not solve the problem. The other head is the culture. Before persecution can get to that level, it would probably require the very culture itself to against Christianity. The only way to cut out a culture would be to start a war. I just don't think that would bode well for the message of the Gospel. Why didn't the early Christians start a war against Rome?

Also (I disagree with your eschatology, but I'll play along) you must remember that according to dispensational eschatology, the anti-christ will be wounded but rise again with even more power and inflicting more harm. That's what taking violence against the persecutor as a Christian will get you in the end times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If someone told me "Do you believe in God" and would kill me if I said yes, I would say yes while I kicked the shooter in the you know where and go down with a fight. The Bible is filled with constant stories of people fighting for themselves (Gideon, even Paul said he fought of bandits, etc)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I disagree. i believe it would make them hate Christians much more and that it would ruin the Gospel message.

If the Christian were to kill in self-defense when facing persecution, it'd be the equivalent of stomping on the dragon's toe. Sure you might temporarily prevent your death, but now the dragon is even more enraged and more determined to kill you and all your kind.

What if you cut off his head you may say? In other words, why not take out the leader and see it end completely?

The problem is, he's a two-headed dragon. Taking out the leader would stunt the persecution temporarily, but it would not solve the problem. The other head is the culture. Before persecution can get to that level, it would probably require the very culture itself to against Christianity. The only way to cut out a culture would be to start a war. I just don't think that would bode well for the message of the Gospel. Why didn't the early Christians start a war against Rome?

Also (I disagree with your eschatology, but I'll play along) you must remember that according to dispensational eschatology, the anti-christ will be wounded but rise again with even more power and inflicting more harm. That's what taking violence against the persecutor as a Christian will get you in the end times.

Well I never saw the killing as an attack, rather in defense. I never said to start war, but if they are persecuting Christians with death, I guess that is an act of war. But you did bring up a good question about Christians not starting a war with Rome. That was probably because they were to weak to fight against Rome. Even the Spartans were no match for more. Regardless, that is an interesting point and I will look into it.

Now in response to your analogy of the Dragon. Stomping on the Dragon's toe would do way more than standing still. If the Dragon is going to kill you there isn't much one can do except resist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I never saw the killing as an attack, rather in defense. I never said to start war, but if they are persecuting Christians with death, I guess that is an act of war. But you did bring up a good question about Christians not starting a war with Rome. That was probably because they were to weak to fight against Rome. Even the Spartans were no match for more. Regardless, that is an interesting point and I will look into it.

Now in response to your analogy of the Dragon. Stomping on the Dragon's toe would do way more than standing still. If the Dragon is going to kill you there isn't much one can do except resist.

No, the early church was absolutely against violence of any sort. Here are several quotes from the early church leaders;

“But now inquiry is being made concerning these issues. First, can any believer enlist in the military? Second, can any soldier, even those of the rank and file or lesser grades who neither engage in pagan sacrifices nor capital punishment, be admitted into the church? No on both counts—for there is no agreement between the divine sacrament and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot serve two masters—God and Caesar…But how will a Christian engage in war—indeed, how will a Christian even engage in military service during peacetime—without the sword, which the Lord has taken away? For although soldiers had approached John to receive instructions and a centurion believed, this does not change the fact that afterward, the Lord, by disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier. Under no circumstances should a true Christian draw the sword.” -Tertullian

“The devil is the author of all war. We, who used to kill one another, do not make war on our enemies. We refuse to tell lies or deceive our inquisitors; we prefer to die acknowledging Christ.” - Justin Martyr

“Christians are not allowed to kill, but they must be ready to be put to death themselves… it is not permitted the guiltless to put even the guilty to death. God wished iron to be used for the cultivation of the earth, and therefore it should not be used to take human life.”-Cyprian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, the early church was absolutely against violence of any sort. Here are several quotes from the early church leaders;

“But now inquiry is being made concerning these issues. First, can any believer enlist in the military? Second, can any soldier, even those of the rank and file or lesser grades who neither engage in pagan sacrifices nor capital punishment, be admitted into the church? No on both counts—for there is no agreement between the divine sacrament and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot serve two masters—God and Caesar…But how will a Christian engage in war—indeed, how will a Christian even engage in military service during peacetime—without the sword, which the Lord has taken away? For although soldiers had approached John to receive instructions and a centurion believed, this does not change the fact that afterward, the Lord, by disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier. Under no circumstances should a true Christian draw the sword.” -Tertullian

“The devil is the author of all war. We, who used to kill one another, do not make war on our enemies. We refuse to tell lies or deceive our inquisitors; we prefer to die acknowledging Christ.” - Justin Martyr

“Christians are not allowed to kill, but they must be ready to be put to death themselves… it is not permitted the guiltless to put even the guilty to death. God wished iron to be used for the cultivation of the earth, and therefore it should not be used to take human life.”-Cyprian

Interesting. I looked up some more quotes on it and many of them are against war. I wonder why they were against war, and what kinds of war. St. Augustine seemed to be fine with a "just" war and I wonder if the other early church fathers would have promoted a "just" (whatever that means) war.

Anyway, you guys have steered my view. Its hard to accept, but I may have to die peaceably if Christians are being killed. Now if there is a just cause for war, then I may not have to go out peaceably. I am going to look into that as well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I never saw the killing as an attack, rather in defense. I never said to start war, but if they are persecuting Christians with death, I guess that is an act of war. But you did bring up a good question about Christians not starting a war with Rome. That was probably because they were to weak to fight against Rome. Even the Spartans were no match for more. Regardless, that is an interesting point and I will look into it.

Now in response to your analogy of the Dragon. Stomping on the Dragon's toe would do way more than standing still. If the Dragon is going to kill you there isn't much one can do except resist.

I don't think cowardice is the reason why the Early Christians didn't fight back. All they would have really needed would be a Brutus to stab the caesar. However, if this had happened, it would stained the Gospel message as well increase their persecution. Nero blamed the Christians for burning Rome (they didn't) and just by blaming them it caused their persecution to increase.

Your response to the dragon argument would be true, except you aren't the only person in exist. The dragon isn't only coming after you. He's coming after all Christians. Therefore, acting in self-defense could be considered a selfish act if it increased suffering for the rest of the Body. Not resisting and having mercy on your persecutors will go much farther towards stopping persecution than armed defense. Armed resistance irritates, non-resistance placates. Also, we should be looking to be used as God's vessels to bring more children into the kingdom. Resisting would be selfish and fail to accomplish the goal of spreading the Gospel.

---------- Post added at 02:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:20 PM ----------

If someone told me "Do you believe in God" and would kill me if I said yes, I would say yes while I kicked the shooter in the you know where and go down with a fight. The Bible is filled with constant stories of people fighting for themselves (Gideon, even Paul said he fought of bandits, etc)

I'm not necessarily against all forms of self-defense. I speak merely of lethal self-defense. Heck, haha, kick him in the you know where and maybe you'll get to share the gospel with him :D . If your death is inevitable though, say in the case where there are multiple soldiers and you know that resistance is futile and is simply an act of defiance, I would say it would be better not to employ even that non-lethal sort of self-defense. It simply wouldn't speak well of Christ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your response to the dragon argument would be true, except you aren't the only person in exist. The dragon isn't only coming after you. He's coming after all Christians. Therefore, acting in self-defense could be considered a selfish act if it increased suffering for the rest of the Body. Not resisting and having mercy on your persecutors will go much farther towards stopping persecution than armed defense. Armed resistance irritates, non-resistance placates. Also, we should be looking to be used as God's vessels to bring more children into the kingdom. Resisting would be selfish and fail to accomplish the goal of spreading the Gospel.

I don't find myself fully convinced of your argument. If the dragon is going to kill everyone, one person stomping on his toe really wont change the outcome, unless the dragon is annoyed so much by the toe stomping that it decided to leave to people alone. Look up Battle of Avarayr for an example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't find myself fully convinced of your argument. If the dragon is going to kill everyone, one person stomping on his toe really wont change the outcome, unless the dragon is annoyed so much by the toe stomping that it decided to leave to people alone. Look up Battle of Avarayr for an example.
Well, as I said, the dragon is a two headed beast. You have the dictator/leader as one head and the culture as the other. The dictator may want to kill all Christians, but to perfectly achieve this, it must be in concert with the other head. The culture. Reacting in violence may discourage a leader, but it will encourage the culture, which then invigorates the dictator, which then leads to PROLONGED persecution. Not reacting in violence has a much higher chance of defusing the situation than reacting in violence. This is because the culture will not simply read the Christians violence as an act of self-defense. It will be perceived as extremism or something of that sort. The Roman culture demonized Christians, painting them to be something they were not. Being accused of atheism, poisoning wells, and burning Rome, the culture didn't have a true understanding of Christianity. That is how persecution thrives. You must demonize a people before you can persecute. Reacting in violence would only further cement that demonization.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, as I said, the dragon is a two headed beast. You have the dictator/leader as one head and the culture as the other. The dictator may want to kill all Christians, but to perfectly achieve this, it must be in concert with the other head. The culture. Reacting in violence may discourage a leader, but it will encourage the culture, which then invigorates the dictator, which then leads to PROLONGED persecution. Not reacting in violence has a much higher chance of defusing the situation than reacting in violence. This is because the culture will not simply read the Christians violence as an act of self-defense. It will be perceived as extremism or something of that sort. The Roman culture demonized Christians, painting them to be something they were not. Being accused of atheism, poisoning wells, and burning Rome, the culture didn't have a true understanding of Christianity. That is how persecution thrives. You must demonize a people before you can persecute. Reacting in violence would only further cement that demonization.

You used Rome as an analogy and said that the Christians were persecuted because being called Atheists, having the wells poisoned, and Rome burning. But it was also do their different beliefs (the Romans were pagans and the Christians were monotheistic). Also you said that reacting violently would only lengthen the time of persecution. This was not the case for Rome. Rome's persecution on Christianity lasted at least 70 years (to be extremely conservative). Now lets look at my point about the Battle of Avarayr. The people, instead of giving up Christianity, fought against the opposing armies. Even though they lost the initial battle, they continued to fight with guerrilla tactics. After 33 years the Persians signed a treaty with the Armenians and gave them religious freedom. I think that there is a good enough example to show that going to war is acceptable. Now this does not take away anything from the martyrs in Rome.

From your points I can see peace is a viable option, but I also see that, from the Armenians, resistance is viable as well.

Please don't think I am crazy or anything. The I seemed to be convinced war is acceptable. I may very well be wrong, but I might be right. So please bear with me if I am missing something. I genuinely do want to know what the correct response is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You used Rome as an analogy and said that the Christians were persecuted because being called Atheists, having the wells poisoned, and Rome burning. But it was also do their different beliefs (the Romans were pagans and the Christians were monotheistic). Also you said that reacting violently would only lengthen the time of persecution. This was not the case for Rome. Rome's persecution on Christianity lasted at least 70 years (to be extremely conservative). Now lets look at my point about the Battle of Avarayr. The people, instead of giving up Christianity, fought against the opposing armies. Even though they lost the initial battle, they continued to fight with guerrilla tactics. After 33 years the Persians signed a treaty with the Armenians and gave them religious freedom. I think that there is a good enough example to show that going to war is acceptable. Now this does not take away anything from the martyrs in Rome.

From your points I can see peace is a viable option, but I also see that, from the Armenians, resistance is viable as well.

Please don't think I am crazy or anything. The I seemed to be convinced war is acceptable. I may very well be wrong, but I might be right. So please bear with me if I am missing something. I genuinely do want to know what the correct response is.

I'm still convinced that reacting in violence will only cause further harm to Christians, but I will grant you that perhaps in some cases it may reduce loss of life on the Christian side of the things.

However, we are still left to deal with WHY the early Roman Christians did not resist. I think it was more than simply my practical reason. I know I was really pressing it, but I don't believe it was THE reason they didn't react in violence. I think they knew it would indelibly mar the image of Christ. If they reacted in violence and the Romans left them alone, they may have ruined the message of Gospel for all Romans. I strongly believe that had they reacted in violence, it would've spelled disaster for Christianity, and I believe that same principal is still applicable to today.

So why we shouldn't react in violence in the face of persecution:

1. It ruins the message of Gospel to non-believers

2. You kill potential converts (Saul) and thereby lose them to destruction in hell

3. You miss the blessing of suffering for Christ

You've been doing fine, perfectly civil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm still convinced that reacting in violence will only cause further harm to Christians, but I will grant you that perhaps in some cases it may reduce loss of life on the Christian side of the things.

However, we are still left to deal with WHY the early Roman Christians did not resist. I think it was more than simply my practical reason. I know I was really pressing it, but I don't believe it was THE reason they didn't react in violence. I think they knew it would indelibly mar the image of Christ. If they reacted in violence and the Romans left them alone, they may have ruined the message of Gospel for all Romans. I strongly believe that had they reacted in violence, it would've spelled disaster for Christianity, and I believe that same principal is still applicable to today.

So why we shouldn't react in violence in the face of persecution:

1. It ruins the message of Gospel to non-believers

2. You kill potential converts (Saul) and thereby lose them to destruction in hell

3. You miss the blessing of suffering for Christ

You've been doing fine, perfectly civil.

I think we are beginning to find some common ground. I agree that the way the Roman church react was probably the best thing they could have done! And I also think what the Armenians did was the best thing they could have done. My only questions is what should we do if we suffer persecution? Should we do as the Romans did? Or should we do as the Armenians did? It seems when it is likely that you can lead others to salvation, peace is the best way to go, but when it is unlikely anyone will get saved then war is a viable option. So that brings up the culture head of the dragon. When both heads of the dragon are after you, you must fight. But when only one head is after you, then there is hope you can convince the other head to save you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think we are beginning to find some common ground. I agree that the way the Roman church react was probably the best thing they could have done! And I also think what the Armenians did was the best thing they could have done. My only questions is what should we do if we suffer persecution? Should we do as the Romans did? Or should we do as the Armenians did? It seems when it is likely that you can lead others to salvation, peace is the best way to go, but when it is unlikely anyone will get saved then war is a viable option. So that brings up the culture head of the dragon. When both heads of the dragon are after you, you must fight. But when only one head is after you, then there is hope you can convince the other head to save you.

How can we know what is "unlikely?" God takes the unlikely fools to shame the wise. To the early Christians, it seemed probably very unlikely that Saul would ever change. In fact, when he did, they had many misgivings.

I doubt that you'd find many a persecution where most of the culture isn't against you as well. Say you're a Coptic Christian in Egypt. They've been under a great amount of persecution and it is highly "unlikely" in human estimation that the Muslims will convert to Christianity. Is violence really the answer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How can we know what is "unlikely?" God takes the unlikely fools to shame the wise. To the early Christians, it seemed probably very unlikely that Saul would ever change. In fact, when he did, they had many misgivings.

I doubt that you'd find many a persecution where most of the culture isn't against you as well. Say you're a Coptic Christian in Egypt. They've been under a great amount of persecution and it is highly "unlikely" in human estimation that the Muslims will convert to Christianity. Is violence really the answer?

Well violence would only be done if Egypt were to start rounding up the Christians and killing them. That leads to the question I gave in the last post. You have shown me that peace is a desired option, but the Armenians have shown me that fighting back can be a viable alternative. Now I don't know what is the exact moment going to war would become better than peace. I know when a government is killing Christians is a pre-requisite. But I don't know of any other pre-requisites that would allow it. I guess that since killing all the Christians (or attempting to) would be an act of genocide, the Christians would have justification in fighting back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JAG

I would kill to defend my family. Otherwise I become "worse than an unbeliever" for failing to provide them safety.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×