My good friend, Keith Pavlischek, has a post at the @TheIRD’s site wherein he betrays his lack of knowledge regarding Christian pacifism.
He remarks, “that the use and application of lethal force is always wrong, wicked, evil and condemned by the life and teachings of Jesus who they claim to follow.” Odd. I thought we, both the pacifists and those who enjoy a strong military presence, are following the same Jesus; however, Keith does raise a point that must be addressed. Christian pacifism is not a suddenly seamless doctrine. I for one believe that at certain times, lethal force may need to be applied. Otherwise, we would need to argue against the death of Jesus, and that is impossible. However, lethal force is still evil and requires a repentance. Examine, if you will, some of the Hebraic laws regarding the needed purification after a war. If war was good whatsoever, then purification rights would not be needed; yet, even in a holy war, the people and land needed purification. So, war is evil; war is sometimes necessary. We find this example in Christ.
My brother in Christ argues, “Similarly, when pacifists call for a reduction in the size of the Department of Defense, everyone knows that this is because, as a matter of principle, they don’t believe there should be a Defense Department in the first place.” For the most part, this is a flat out lie. When I and many more pacifists call for a reduction, it is due to the imperialistic nature of the department. We have military bases in over 150 nations, financing militaries of other nations, and wasting billions of dollars on defense projects the military does not want. If I do not support the Department of Defense, it is because I would rather see it called the Department of War. Why? Because our Founders did not foresee the use of a standing military, especially one the size we have now and the placement of those troops. Yes, the times have changed, and I support keeping up someone with those changes; however, we must consider if the changes we made affected those times or the times our changes. I suspect it is the former. A Department of War marginalizes the the imperialistic nature of Defense. Yes, we are ready; no, it is not our main focus.
Now, he goes on to suggest that people have wrong ideas about pacifism. True enough, but he is one of them. What gets me, however, is his insistence that those who take seriously the “turn the other cheek” bit are less Christian than those who take literally “In the beginning…” Why is that? Keith does not know his history, and he would like us to repeat it.
- Wheaton Scholar Argues the Early Church Was Pacifist (matthewtuininga.wordpress.com)