Real Christian positions on war, death penalty: Young man goes with truth in heartbeat

This is an interesting Facebook thread:

Tom's Wall Post

War is stupid! [Tom's statement]

Over 700,000 New Vets Seek Health Care, Half with Mental Problems - Battleland
battleland.blogs.time.com

Nearly three-quarters of a million veterans back from Iraq and Afghanistan who are now out of the military have sought medical care from the government, and more than half of those service members suffer from a mental health condition, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Anthony Franz said:
War is also murder.

Tom Usher said:
Murder is stupid.

Anthony Franz said:
Haha, true! Never thought of it in that way before. It IS stupid, seeing as we are all from One source.

Anthony Franz said:
It is the ignorance of our essence which causes these bad things to happen, and a closing down of the heart.

Tom Usher said:
Agreed!

Noah Anthony Russell said:
War is not 100% bad. Like per se' their is a peaceful society and then they get attacked. They go to war for self defense. It is the war on the attackers part that is stupid and bad for without them the war would not exist. I support self defense wars. the part where self defense gets tricky is when one brings up the phrase, "the best defense is offense." I don't know if that has any morally relevant truth in it when it comes to wars.

Tom Usher said:
Well, Noah, you know that Jesus turned the other cheek. If he now turns around and fights back, he'll be caving in and hypocritical. I don't see it happening.

I believe he wins by not fighting. I believe he set the example and standard that if we all follow it, there won't be anymore war.

If we go ahead and fight back, we're saying that fighting works. However, that way remains a violent cycle. Jesus's way pulls the violent away from violence.

If we echo the violent and magnify them, we are heading humanity in the wrong direction. We are excusing what Jesus said not to do.

The fighting God, the wrathful God, is not what Jesus manifested. When they asked him if they should call down fire, he told them they didn't know which spirit they come from. He even said that God judges no man (person). Judge there is a particular connotation of course. It does mean that the God of Jesus is not the wrathful, punishing God.

He made clear that there are hard-hearted people but that there is also a spirit apart from God, which other spirit kills men's souls after their flesh is dead. It is that spirit that we are to "fear." It is that spirit that is the spirit of wrath and war that continues on after the flesh dies. Avoid it now, as Jesus did.

Think about it in terms of your reading of the Gospels.

Peace to both of you!

Noah Anthony Russell said:
When the Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus and asked Him if she should be stoned, Jesus replied, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7). This should not be used to indicate that Jesus rejected capital punishment in all instances. Jesus was simply exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus into breaking the Old Testament law; they did not truly care about the woman being stoned (where was the man who was caught in adultery?).

Jesus would support capital punishment in some instances. Yes, Jesus also demonstrated grace when capital punishment was due (John 8:1-11). The apostle Paul definitely recognized the power of the government to institute capital punishment where appropriate (Romans 13:1-7). mercy can and maybe should be granted to some, when capital punishment is due, but capital punishment is a good thing, otherwise why would God have invented it?

God instituted Capital Punishment(Genesis9:6). Therefore a murderer(among others) should be put to death. God does not command that we just let murderers go about killing people by turning our cheeks. If you turn your cheek to a murderer then you are certainly not following God's will. God will not look upon you with favor if you just let someone murder your family. That is not what Jesus meant when he said to turn the other cheek.

God is not only a God of love, but justice. Exodus 22:2-3a ESV "If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him..." Yes it would be merciful to let the thief live and in this case I would not want to kill the man( just my personal opinion), but you are justified in putting the thief to death if that happens.

Now when one comes into your house to murder you, you are also justified in putting that man to death as well. So when a nation of people decides to make war with a peaceful nation, that nation is justified to put the other to death, since the other nation declaring war is analogous to attempting murder.

Capital punishment is self defense on a state level.

Some might say to turn the other cheek and let murder and all sorts of other evils have their way is a great sin. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I certainly agree that letting people be murdered is thousands of times more sinful than putting a murderer to death could ever be.

Tom Usher said:
No one could throw a stone now either, Noah. No one between then and now has been without sin. It wasn't just about the Pharisees. It was about every sinner. It would have been a sin to stone her whether those throwing the stones were Pharisees or not.

Paul was not, and is not, Jesus. Paul was not as careful or as smart, not even close.

If God was the God of capital punishment in the Old Covenant and that same God was the God of the fire called down by the prophets, why did Jesus tell them they didn't know which spirit they are of? Why didn't Jesus call down the wrath? He did not do it. He prophesied that the wrath was coming, but he did not call it. There's a difference, and it's hugely important to why the Old is just that and the New is our Covenant, not the Old!

If the Old is your covenant, how can you hold the new wine?

Jesus understands the consequences of sin, but he does not inflict the punishment.

Look, Noah, he didn't make this easy on purpose.

He taught in parables so those who hate the truth wouldn't squeak through on temporary lies over and over and over. The utterly sinful cannot remain with the repentant ruining the repentant's environment indefinitely else there is no salvation from sin.

The fact that sinners continue is not Jesus's fault. He made clear that they had been told over and over and over what they needed to hear.

Why did Jesus allow them to put him to death? Why didn't he take up the sword and kill all of the murderers that were about?

You have a great deal more thinking to do on this. Don't just look for justifications for what "modern" society is up to. Look for why Jesus said and did what he did.

Name one nation that is without sin that it can stone another regardless of the sin?

What were all the early Christians who went to their deaths in the arenas with their children rather than take up the sword? Were they stupid, evil, going against God's law to fight and kill and take over and occupy and even commit total genocide?

Which spirit is which, Noah? Which God is the God of wrath? Which is the God of this worldly world? Who is Satan?

Noah Anthony Russell said:
I thought you might bring up the new covenant. People have many misconceptions about the new covenant. People tend to focus too much on God's love and not on the whole of God. In the New Testament, Jesus commanded His disciples to buy swords and them and strap them on. Luke 22:36: "Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

Skeptics like to quote this verse to say otherwise, Matthew 26:52-54 – how Jesus responded when Peter used his sword to cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest: "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"

Read those verses in context and they support my position. Jesus told Peter he would be committing suicide to choose a fight in this situation. as well as undermining God's plan to allow Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection. Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its place – at his side. He didn't say throw it away. After all, He had just ordered the disciples to arm themselves. The reason for the arms was obviously to protect the lives of the disciples, not the life of the Son of God. What Jesus was saying was: "Peter, this is not the right time for a fight."

Now here is a side point that might not apply, but you remember Genesis 9:5-6 " And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; At the hand of every beast will I require it. And at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man's brother, will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: For in the image of God made he man." This was NOT Mosaic law, this is PRE-Moasic law, and so some would argue that pre-moasic laws were never made obsolete with the new covenant. just a thought.

When Jesus said turn the other cheek he wasn't talking about self defense. Here is an article that explains the context:

Jesus promoted self defense. Jesus was born to die. He needed no self defense. He had a purpose that you and I do not have. you cannot die for the worlds sins. God is not only a God of love, but justice, and he always will be.

self-defense and turning the other cheek
www.gac.20m.com

Its the Context The context of this passage is the Sermon on the Mount where our Lord is teaching proper Christian conduct amidst an unbelieving world and hypocritical religious leaders. The scribes and the Pharisees were taking passages of Scripture in the Old Testament (that was all the Scrip...

Tom Usher said:
Oh, Noah, you should know me better by now.

"For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end." And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, "It is enough." (Luke 22:37-38)

Two swords are enough? They certainly wouldn't be if your interpretation were correct. He meant, "Enough." He always marvelled at their failure to get into his mode of thinking and speaking — the language of the revelation. What is the sword but the sword of truth, Noah? It is not a material sword to go cutting people up, which would be wholly inconsistent with everything he taught and did. It is a spiritual sword. It is as the bread and the wine are metaphors for his body and blood of which we partake, though we aren't cannibals. Neither did he advocate cannibalism as the term is commonly used. Nevertheless, when he said it, the public didn't understand him. Even his disciples routinely required private instruction/interpretation? from him.

Also, when he sent them out, he sent them without swords. They did not carry swords with them. The Gospel is specific about what they took with them. No swords were included.

You are repeating age-old false propaganda promoted by violent militarists. It is a distortion to dupe people.

None of the history of the disciples or early Church contains even one instance after Peter was rebuked of any of them fighting back. If they were to defend themselves with the swords you imagine, the stories of battles would be there. It wasn't until the Roman's duped some weak-minded soldiers that pacifism was broken by those professing Christ. These are indisputable facts, Noah.

A pacifist can surely say to someone with a weapon to put it away without condoning even ownership of the thing. Your conclusion is not merited by the circumstances.

As for Genesis 9:5-6 not being Mosaic law, it was, as the first five books are the Torah of Moses. The whole word was the law.

I can hardly stand reading the linked page ). It is rationalizing and not very good at it.

"...resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. ...Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:39;5:44)

It is impossible to do that and slice them up with a sword to save flesh (and lose soul). If Jesus meant things as you claim, I would not follow him for being a huge hypocrite and terrible teacher.

As a Christian and brother of Jesus and one with him, contrary to what you've said, his purpose and mine are also one and the same.

The martyrdom of the disciples was certainly atoning, Noah. It was not for naught. Even Jesus specifically said that they would have direct relations with God, as being one with God as Jesus is one with God. They don't exceed the Master, but they become the Master's friend and need no longer call him Master or have him standing between them and God the Father making intercession.

Noah Anthony Russell said:
Your definitely correct about Jesus meaning that the two swords were enough! This is why I love discussing things. In adversity the truth comes out! And good points. Can't argue against truth.

Noah Anthony Russell said:
And I do know you :} that's why I like to discuss issues with you!! cause I know you'll respond to the best of your ability and with logic! Most people just give up or ignore the important isses. It's rather sad. I wish people were more open to discusion and debate. We learn so much through it.

Tom Usher said:
You have a great attitude, Noah. I wish mine were as good. I mean that. I'm not saying it to butter you up. Thank you for being someone I have to live up to. I like that better than people who want me to be less. Don't change on that no matter what happens. We all tend to change with age, but don't let life change you about that. Maintain high expectations and standards for all our sakes. I think you'll make an excellent father if that's one of your plans.

Tom Usher said:
I actually believe you do know me. I don't say that lightly. I think I was underestimating you there. In fact, I'm sure of it now.

I won't forget. Hold me to it.

Thank you, gentlemen.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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