Friday, June 17, 2011

Biblical Nonresistance and the Church

In the past few days, the concept of pacifism and nonresistance have crossed my path. As some of you know, I served in the military for 20 years, dividing my time between active duty Air Force and the Air National Guard. When confronted with pacifist and nonresistance ideas, I never studied them closely, since I felt I was too far down an opposite path to even consider such an idea. You see, true pacifists do not serve in the military. Those who believe in nonresistance don't either, but for slightly different reasons than the pacifist. Since this doesn't seem to be an issue any longer in the West, Christians join the military every day - believing they are doing something just and noble.

At close examination, the reason why those who follow nonresistance don't serve in the military, is because these saints of God understand that they live in a world of two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the civil kingdom we reside in. Their first allegiance is to King Jesus and His values, teachings, and ethics. There has been a continuous battle for allegiance between these two kingdoms. [1] Historically, the ancient Church understood that war has been around as long as human beings, and sin coexisted with it. It is a consistent tenet throughout the Christian tradition that war is the result of sin. Christians were warned in the early years of Christianity to distance themselves from the world's pagan culture and military service. [2]

Jesus and His earthly ministry was the epitome of non-resistance, even submitting to suffering and death of the cross from which He could have delivered Himself by calling thousands of angels (Mt. 26:53). When the men came to arrest Jesus, Peter wielded his sword and cut off a man's ear. Jesus rebuked Peter and said, "They that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Mt. 26:52). Later, Jesus told Pilate "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight...." (John 18:36).

Prince of Peace or God of War 
If Christians started out practicing nonresistance, why have things changed? As most of us do not know, Christians have involved themselves in the practice of war since the time of Augustine. This is because Augustine justified Constantine's unscriptural marriage between church and state with false doctrine. Many Christian theologians of the time justified violence, particularly when directed against those who held other religious beliefs. They viewed it as doing God's will, so the crusades were considered a "just" war in the eyes of the Catholic church. In Augustine's own words:

"How much more must the man be blameless who carries on war on the authority of God, of whom every one who serves Him knows that He can never require what is wrong?"

Dozens of other groups, mainly those who were considered as heretical by the Pope, suffered the same fate at the hand of the Pope and the Church during the Reformation. Many suffered condemnation, excommunication, repression and eventually death. Christians did not shy away from killing their own Christian brethren when even minor theological differences arose. For them, no differences were truly minor and all Catholic doctrine was considered the True Path to heaven. If any person or group deviated on any point, or it challenged the authority of the church, they were massacred. 

Times have changed since the crusades and the Reformation, but involvement in war and government by Christians mistakenly continued to modern day.

What Does the Bible Say?

People who use the New Testament to support the use of violence generally do two things when quoting it:
  1. They manipulate the interpretation to say what they want it to say.
  2. They take one line or verse out of context to avoid having to deal with the real meaning of the passage.
As you will find, Jesus was a lover of peace and never promoted acts of violence. Study these verses and note that each one, in some way, documents Jesus' peace teaching. Scriptural nonresistance is not pacifism, although they share many of the same verses. Most Christians today do not accept the New Testament doctrine of non-resistance. Many refuse to see the clear teachings on this matter, or if they do see this truth they do not apply it to their lives. Under the old covenant, God's people were not nonresistant to their enemies, but under the new covenant, we have a much higher calling than the Old Testament saints.
  1. Rom. 13 – Submitting to Authority - Biblical nonresistance feels that the government has the right to go to war/and to carry out capital punishment per Romans 13.  
  2. Matt. 5 - Blessed are the Peacemakers 
  3. John 18:36 - My kingdom is not of this world.
  4. Luke 6:27 - Love your enemies
Jesus teaches a radical new message of self-sacrifice and enemy love, and models it in the way he lives his life. He taught it to His disciples, and it has been given to us in these New Testament verses. 

It’s written by Paul, who spent many years in jail, so he obviously wasn’t very good at complying with the wishes of the governing authorities. Jesus never suggested trying to overthrow the Roman government, but he does advocate being a good citizen as long as it doesn’t conflict with how God wants us to live. We are to have allegiance to God's Word first, then man's word.

What about the U.N. and their plan for peace?

The idea of peace in the world has long been the mating call of many New Agers, occultists, the World Council of Churches, and the United Nations. As you will see in the following video, pacifism is also a belief of some liberal Christians, the Christian left, including the Emergent church - and many of them practice nonresistance. This liberal pacifism, although it appears to be supported by Scripture, is different than Biblical nonresistance. Nonresistance does not align itself into a universal brotherhood, unify with the government, or the hierarchy of pagan peace plans.These groups make desiring peace, which in reality is desired by everyone, but it provides a questionable path to follow. It is committing yourself to a counterfeit peace. Pacifism is a false peace plan, a counterfeit, and it is not the peace Christ asked us to walk out in our lives.

There are some Christian denominations who teach only nonresistance. Historic nonresistance churches can still be found today, however some of them may also teach liberalized pacifism, such as: the Church of the Brethren, the Mennonites including the Amish (as well as other Anabaptists). For the most part, many of them are nonresistant, but not necessarily. The Charity Churches out of Ephrata, PA, are nonresistant. The Religious Society of Friends, which are not all Christian, are considered pacifists.

The Bottom Line
In the future, prior to the one world religion, "human rights and peace at all costs" will become the main issues, and the power will shift from God's peace, to peace man can provide - forsaking all of our freedoms. While the United Nations and the New Age movement are calling for inclusiveness and peace, the Bible calls us to come out and be separate (see Revelation 18:4). We are not to join in an emotional, human rights-based religion, but to proclaim the Truth to all people by presenting the Gospel.

The United Nations and international political unity (peace) are simply a tool for religious unification and world domination. Based upon a quote from occultist Alice Bailey:
"Evidence of the growth of the human intellect along the needed receptive lines [for the preparation of the New Age] can be seen in the "planning" of various nations and in the efforts of the United Nations to formulate a world plan...From the very start of this unfoldment, three occult factors have governed the development of all these plans."
She did not spell out clearly the identity of these "three occult factors," but stated this:
"Within the United Nations is the germ and seed of a great international and meditating, reflective group—a group of thinking and informed men and women in whose hands lies the destiny of humanity. This is largely under the control of many fourth ray disciples, if you could but realize it, and their point of meditative focus is the intuitional or buddhic plane—the plane upon which all hierarchical activity is today to be found." [2] She is talking about the Cosmic (Masonic) Christ.
Fighting for World Democracy
Our view of the world has been skewed by history and time, so Christians have unknowingly been in alliance with the government. Isn't our unwillingness to take a position for nonresistance, almost like helping the globalists create a New World Order for the world government, not to mention the helping the Antichrist? There are times when governments will have to go to war, but taking the world by force for greedy reasons is not what we should be promoting or involved in. 

You will have to make a decision as to which kingdom you will serve. Do you serve the Kingdom of God, or the kingdom of this world? When the entire Bible is reviewed, it is evident that God is opposed to human governments, because He knows they will eventually become corrupt - as ours has. Many important New Testament Bible characters spent at least some time resisting the government - but only when it was in conflict with the Word of God. Jesus was a peacemaker, and I'm certain He desires us to be the same way.

We've been fooled! 

Related articles
Biblical Nonresistance vs Religious Pacifism
The Subtle Lies of Democracy
Glenn Beck: Christians Have the Righteous Calling to Lead 
The Seven Mountains and the Christian Industrial Complex