Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Can A Christian Kill For A Living?

            Can a Christian serve as a policeman, soldier or a secret service agent? These occupations include killing. But the Bible speaks against murder, here’s a sample:

            Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.”

            Matthew 15:18-19: “…the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”

            Romans 12:14-19: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Do not repay anyone evil for evil…Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

            So, is a Christian prohibited from killing even though he/she serves as a policeman, soldier or a secret service agent? Pastor John Piper offers an adequate response:1

            “Do those texts prevent a person from being a policeman or soldier? Is no. In fact, I would go further and say: God has arranged that the spheres that make society work, all of them have God ordained situations in them that demand that we not turn the other cheek. The spheres I have in mind are: the state, the family, business and commerce, the Church. God has built in to each of these spheres the necessary principle of justice, not just the principle of mercy where you treat people better than they deserve. In other words, treating a person as he deserves as well as sometimes treating him better than he deserves is essential for the loving, just working of these spheres.

            Let me just give you four biblical examples. The state. Romans 13:4. He is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrong doer. So he is talking about soldiers and policemen there that carry the sword. They don’t turn the other cheek. They do strike in order to defend the father-land or to defend the innocent citizen who is being victimized of a crime. So state.

            Number two, commerce, business. Paul said, 2 Thessalonians 3:10: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. That is not mercy. That is justice. The employer does not turn the other cheek. If a man doesn’t come to work day after day and says: I just don’t feel like it, he gets fired. He gets paid less. You can’t run a business without the principle of merit, without the principle of a day’s work for a day’s wage.

            Thirdly, family. Fathers, bring up your children in the discipline of the Lord. Parents who only turn the other cheek and do not return spanking for insolence breed brats, not pacifists. And the Bible is so clear. Parents have the right to operate on the principle of justice as well as mercy. You have to spank you children, discipline your children.

            Number four, the Church, Church discipline, 1 Corinthians 5:5. You are to deliver the man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

            In all of these we are hoping for the good of people, but in the short run we are not giving to him who asks. We are not turning the other cheek. We are returning some measure of harm, because of behaviors that were harmful or wrong.

            So the point is this. Each of these teachings of the New Testament show that a just and loving society, inside and outside the Church, requires more than not returning evil for evil. It also requires, in the spheres where God assigns it, a principle of justice that returns what a person deserves. So my answer to the question is no. Is the New Testament commandment no to return evil for evil a sufficient warrant for a Christian not being policeman or a soldier? No. Both of these, that is treating a person according to justice and treating him according to mercy, are essential in bearing witness to our God.”

            To say that the Bible does not condemn Christians being soldiers, policemen and secret service agents is rather straightforward. But a more complicated situation is this: What if the State is evil?

            Can a Christian revolt against the State or the governing authorities especially when the State perpetrates evil against Christians? Would a Christian be justified in God’s presence if he/she kills the governing authorities who perpetrate evil?

            The theological term for evil being perpetrated against Christians is “Persecution.” In an article entitled, “Should Persecuted Christians Fight Back?” I offered my response:2

            “If the persecutors force themselves to violate the sanctity of my children or any other member of my family, then I would do all that it takes to defend my family. I would rather give up my life in defending my family than not. Only the creator and the Father God has the right to take life off this earth (Cf. 1 Samuel 2: 6-7; Job 1: 21). Loving our neighbor entails protection.

            If the persecutors are in the business of slaughtering Christians for their faith in Christ, then I would most willingly offer my life for the sake of Christ. In other words, I would not recant my faith in Christ to live a few more miserable years. A profitable reminder from history is the martyrdom of Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey). 2

            From a nation’s standpoint, the ruling authority should do all that it takes to protect the basic human rights of all its citizens. The world should intervene during persecutions to protect those being persecuted.

            But what if persecutions are engineered by the ruling authorities? A typical case in point would be the persecutions organized by Hitler or Mao Zedong.

            If Christians are being persecuted by the governing authorities, then the Bible does not offer any tangible reason to fight back the governing authorities by means of violence. Fleeing is an option, but if fleeing is not possible, then persecution should be endured. Christians cannot take up arms to fight or rebel against the governing authorities.

            There could be persecutions at the workplace. Especially if we are ardent in our faith in Christ, then the ardent believer(s) of other worldviews may innovate methods to jeopardize our presence at the workplace. In such situations, our primary response should be to allow our work ethics and proficiency to strengthen our presence at our workplace.     

            There is never a good reason to fight our persecutors at our workplace. Therefore, when the going gets tough, then we, as tough Christians, should increase our work efficiency at our workplace to let our work defend our presence.

            If persecutions at work go out of hand, and there are good instances where it can get harsh on us, then it may even be a viable option to consider moving out. But in any case, we should love our persecutors. We should never hate or retaliate against them. We can never repay evil for evil (Romans 12: 17).

            In some instances, our own family members would persecute us (Matthew 10: 21, 35-36; Luke 21: 16). They, like the other persecutors, may say all kinds of evil things against us (Matthew 5: 11) or use our own words against us (Matthew 22: 15; Luke 11: 53-54) or raise false accusations (Matthew 26: 59-61; 2 Timothy 2: 8-9) or crucify our character (Luke 7: 34; John 7: 12, 9: 24) or simply term us as the devil (Matthew 9: 34).

            While we suffer these persecutions, we ought to seriously consider if we are on the side of the truth or not. If we are not for Christ, then we are against HIM (Matthew 12: 30; Luke 11: 23).

            The objective for every Christian is to be in Christ and in HIS truth always. If we are in Christ, then our persecutions would be for HIS sake. The greater reward, according to the Bible, is only to those who are persecuted for the sake of Christ (Matthew 5: 10; 2 Timothy 3: 12).

            However, if we are persecuted by our own, then we should endure it and not retaliate against them.

            Retaliation is never an option for a Christian or a group of Christians. Retaliation against the governing authorities, through formation of rebel outfits, is out of question for Christians. 

            In HIS own mysterious yet marvelous ways, God will help those being persecuted (Psalm 46: 1). These verses summarize the state of the believers being persecuted, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-11, NASB, Emphasis Mine).”

Endnotes:

1https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/should-christians-be-cops-and-soldiers

2http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.in/2014/08/should-persecuted-christians-fight-back_18.html

All Scripture references are from NIV, unless otherwise mentioned.


Websites cited were last accessed on 15th November 2017. 

4 comments:

Cathy Mooney said...

Romans12:9,10,11,

Raj Richard said...

These verses have indeed been taken into consideration.

Anonymous said...

wht a very twisted way to interpret scripture. besides tht Jesus's teachings advocate a society which has no needs of such control. ppl who claim to be followers of Jesus and are not are like the fake jews of revelation. you are self righteous pretenders. still wanting control. to have a regulated society. instead of being candles under the basket. either you are hiding your light or you do not have a light to start with. to be in the world but be seperate. the world has this regime society. ran on laws instead of on love. if you were to show this then others who crave such love would follow. soon the world would chg. let the world be. you work on yourself.

and as a side note. wars are for the banks and corporations. not humanity. and police are murdering ppl who are unarmed. if you associate with these too you will be like this. you are most there with your thinking. next you will justify and praise shootin a person in the back six times. guilty of an outstanding warrant or not. no one deserves tht. but you are only told tht after the murder. so who knows.

thank you. i hope i have moved something in you to reread the way this is worded and wht it appears to validate and support.

Raj Richard said...

Thank you for your thoughts. But I would rather engage assertions that have valid premises than mere assertions with a very broad premise, such as the New Testament, which is open to quite a few hermeneutical and non-hermeneutical interpretations. Kindly list out your premise for your assertions. Thank you.