On Violence and Trusting God

A conversation that takes place in the Church is how to relate to violence. In the Protestant tradition, the conversation is between those who propose Just War theory and those who propose Pacifism. I currently am convinced of Pacifism. The view of Pacifism that appears to be the most Biblical is as follows: Violence leads to a trust in self over trust in God

Now, most Just war proponents will say that violence is usable in a broken world to end certain extreme cases. That seems to be true in the Old Testament. Books like Joshua seem strong on this point. I want to bring some observation into that book that might point to a shift away from violence. The book of Joshua leads to peaceful times and a major portion of the book is not in war but in establishing peaceful order. If this is the movement Scripture is going then complete surrender of violent means is the Goal.

Another interesting passage is 2 Sam. 27-28. God is angry at David for developing a special forces of sorts to win battles. After the book stops glorifying the heroes and their great acts, it starts describing God’s anger since this would have been against the Torah commands to not trust in military strength. In the books of the Law, God demands complete trust in Him to be victorious, not weapons or effective violence. Though this is no proof of Pacifism, it does point to Pacifism being the reality of the New Age of Christ.

In Matthew 5, Jesus blesses peace makers and turning the other cheek. This was said in the midst of violent revolutionaries who would have been trying to throw off Roman oppressors. One those wild Galileans was Peter, the disciple of Christ. In Matthew 26 and Luke 22, he is asked to put away his sword since it is a useless tool. In Mark 14, the sword in this same situation as useless. The John 18 version creates more thought on pacifism and connects to a possible stipulation of Christ’s covenant with His people.

There are many other points to consider in the Bible, but these Verses can help give a covenant theology of Pacifism.

What is your belief on violence and war? Could there be credence to this claim? Would you be willing to surrender your will of violence and war? Would you accept that God might be introducing a time of peace that is defined by not taking life?

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