Violence and the Christians of Today
The way I talk of nonviolence, one might think that I am expecting some sort of government conscription to be effected, or that the Church today is somehow largely in danger of undergoing mass compulsion to take up the sword in battle. Realistically, I expect no such thing; my concern is the extent to which the majority of Christians remain either mired in uncertainty with regards to how the should approach the problem of war, or deep in the mindset that God is a bloodthirsty deity who often commands evil to be obliterated from the face of the earth by no other means than direct violent action.
“Search the scriptures,” they often retort. “You will find an abundance of passages wherein God commanded the Hebrews to go to war for His purposes, and where He showed no mercy before those who committed great evil. If as much was true for them, how less so for God’s people today?”
My worry is not that the Christian today is in high probability of being drafted into a position of using fatal violence for some misguided purpose of good, but rather that if he were put into such a position, he may well see no qualms with such a draft, due to attitudes such as the one addressed and the lack of efforts within the broader church to rebut such an assertation. Indeed, as long as governmental authority dupes its Christian subservients into believing that its actions are just and true, then the very support for warmongering will come from a source which ought to be actively opposing war in the world. The concern is not so much that a Christian will engage in war personally, but that by his silence on the matter he has inadvertently voiced approval. This is, of course, saying nothing of the many Christians in military service who do believe that their cause if just, true, and godly. The sad truth, however offensive it might be in the modern age, is that they are living in deception, whether by themselves or by the governments who convince them that their motives are divine.
Before I am misinterpreted, I am not asserting that people in military service ought to be condemned for their actions. They should be no more condemned than anyone else who is struggling with sin. Like anyone struggling with sin, however, Christians in the armed forces need to be reminded of the reality of the Gospel message, which speaks only love against the evils of this world.
As for the rest of us who remain on home soil, we too need to be reminded so that we no longer blindly obey an authority where that authority is blatantly set against the law of Christ.