Original Message -----
"Thomas Lee Abshier, ND" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I took the last letter you sent me and did a keyword search for the word, "war". As you can see, there were at least seven references.
----- Original Message -----
To: "Thomas Lee Abshier, ND" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 3:53 PM
Subject: Re: Religious Fundamentalist quotes by Thomas Abshier
don't recall Jesus saying anything about this stuff. Did he
Much of what we do in life and must stand for is not mentioned explicitly in the Bible. We all hate war, and most of us would prefer to not have anything to do with it. Possibly you, or other people, have an opinion that Jesus would not support armed conflict. But, as you know much of the Bible is a story of conflict between nations.
Jesus was clearly not teaching a pacifistic doctrine. Take for example the following scripture:
War has always been a horrible experience. I do not believe that anyone but madmen and sadists actually enjoy war. The Left has positioned itself as the anti-war party, but every Christian agrees with the Left’s hatred of war. The question is simply whether we have exhausted all possible options prior to using the “war option”.
Promoting peace and criticizing war sounds very holy. On the surface, we might assume that Jesus would have supported the pacifistic position. Thus, the anti-war Left appears to hold a "Holier than Thou" posture because they attack the Iraq War with slogans of “No blood for oil”, and gather at peace rallies with hundred’s of thousands of like-minded protesters.
War is hell. But it is the last option that we can exercise against an enemy committed to aggression. Sometimes that option must be exercised when all the other tools of negotiation, sanctions, and compromise have failed. There is no honor in maintaining a commitment to peace that is so rigid that we allow ourselves to fall into slavery or slaughter because of our unwillingness to defend our homes, land, and way of life.
To place peace at the top of all the life-values, and to suffer the consequences of aggression (death or slavery), rather than fight, is to dishonor the Temple. Placing peace, non-violence, and harmlessness at the pinnacle of values-exaltation, regardless of the threat or consequence, is the equivalent of worshiping an ideal instead of God. Peace is a fruit of internal and external strength against boundary invasion. Peace is the reward a society earns after doing the hard work of organizing itself to follow the ways of the Lord. When a nation worships peace, at the expense of defending against internal and external evil, they will eventually find themselves enslaved or dead.
God asks that we take care of the temple, the body which houses the soul & spirit. There are times in our nation's past when we have been called upon to defend our borders and those of other nations. We owe a debt of gratitude to the men who have fought, and the many that have died, in the defense of our nation. It was a valuable sacrifice on the part of our veterans because our nation, to a large extent still has a Judeo-Christian ethic. In other words we are still a nation worth defending. Our Christian heritage, and the resultant moral system of our nation, still allows many freedoms. We can still expect that the majority of our citizens to act on their own sense of Godly moral restraint and to honor (not violate) the space of their fellow citizen.
The government can only give freedom to the extent allowed by God's Law governing man's behavior. Beyond that, it can only take freedoms away as it passes laws.
God is the ultimate maker of Law. His Law is the foundational set of restrictions and commands that constitute the irreducible set of standards that govern human behavior. Righteous government should function in essence as an administrative agency, as the interpreter of God's law. As such, government should pass Administrative Rules that give specific interpretations to His Law/Statute. As long as the nation acts along these lines, the government is acting as a righteous agent of God.
Freedom is the space in which we can act between the restrictions of law. There is an irreducible level of law under which man must live. A society which has a built-in knowledge and commitment to following these laws will need little regulatory legislation. The specificity and enforcement of laws will increase as the set of God-given statutes written on man's heart loses its societal generalization. When men become self centered, and disregard the needs of others, they must be then be regulated by overtly legislated human law, and coerced into compliance under threat of penalty. As the society becomes ever more unGodly at its inherent core, the government must intervene to maintain social order. The space between laws becomes closer as the general assumption of Godliness wanes. When the background morality of a society breaks down, anarchy will emerge unless government regulates social behavior with ever more stringent standards and force.
Broad personal freedom to act without supervision and restriction can only exist in a society which widely honors the Godly principle of loving neighbor as self. When the people of a nation become more selfish, and choose to violate each other's boundaries for personal gain, the society will find it increasingly necessary to restrict movement and behavior options to maintain social order.
We see our freedoms shrinking before our eyes because we have become suspicious of our fellow man. We are losing the trust of our fellow citizen and foreign visitor because of the behavior of some who have chosen to violate our space and lives. Some of our visitors on 9/11 lived by a different moral code, one incompatible with freedom; having replaced the command of Jesus to love neighbor as self with a desire for personal pleasure in the afterlife for killing those of another faith.
There is no such parallel teaching in Christianity. And because of the invasion of toxic ideals into the people of our populace, we must restrict movement and access, thereby erecting barriers that make violation of people and structures more difficult. We can complain and blame those who have passed the laws; we can call them oppressive or evil for responding to the violation with increased surveillance and regulation of movement. Regardless, the violation of a few has precipitated a generalized reduction in trust of in our fellow man's automatic, habitual, expected Godly behavior. As a result, we find ourselves closer to a state where we must be controlled like unruly animals instead of being left free to regulate ourselves
We have lived in a Godly Christian Nation to a reasonable extent. But, as we break away from that commitment to Christian Godliness, we may find that we need to regulate the group behavior to an increasing extent to make up for the lack of personal drive to love one's neighbor and respect his boundaries.
And, to the extent we have a Godly nation; it is a nation worth defending. If we lived in a tyrant dominated nation who waged wars of aggression against his neighbors for purposes of power and economic benefit, there would be no honor in serving as the agent of a violator. But, since our nation is a good nation, an agent of beneficence and Godliness in the world, we can take pride in our time of military service.
As a Godly nation, dedicated to Godly precept and righteous interpersonal behavior, we can say without apology or qualification that our borders, property, and culture are worth saving and defending with force if need be. Jerusalem was a walled city. It was a place where God played out and illustrated some of the principles of proper government. The walls are a defensive weapon, and discouragement against an enemy using aggressive force. But, passive defense is only one aspect of war. We must fight at the battle lines with deadly force when the offensive army swarms the embattlements with intent overtake our land and liberty.
To the extent that foreign enemies threaten us with physical force, we must assemble armies to prevent them from invading our borders and disrupting our lives. We must likewise exert force against enemies in our culture that pull us away from a Godly internal societal structure. Those who seek to rewrite out national morality in the image of another god represent a threat as serious to our survival as foreign agents that seek to dominate us militarily.
Does God/Jesus want us to defend ourselves against invasion? Absolutely. Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple. He had no compunction about using force to defend righteous principle, and in particular, the honor and sanctity of His Father's House.
Jesus spoke on both sides of the issue of force and pacifism. He said "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God." These are men who mediate disputes and do not capitulate to the demands of evil. The peacemaker, who capitulates to evil, sells out freedom for the sake of peace, will not be considered a Son of God. The peacemaker must have principles that are identical to God's principles. In Scripture, the Peacemaker is worthy of honor when he negotiates peace that is acceptable to the King. Jesus honored such men with the title of "Sons of God." In other words, God values peaceful resolutions of border disputes. But, He does not condemn those who take up arms in defense of the forcefully violated border.
War is the final alternative in the spectrum of negotiation tools. It is the ultimate response to those who would restrict our God given freedoms by imposing a forceful rule of men. War must be an option; it must be an available alternative to the passive succumbing to the tyranny of imperialists and tyrants.
You ask what is Jesus’ position regarding war? One thing to realize is that the entirety of the Bible is a reflection of Jesus. It could be argued from scriptural symbolism that Jesus was Yahweh, the unseen, unmanifested God of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, He came as savior, as a man born of woman, conceived by the Holy Spirit. As Yeshua, the savior, he manifested the actions of the perfect God-man.
Thus, the entire Bible is a record of His acts. In the Old Testament he set up the Law and demanded a strict cause and effect relationship between error and consequences. This same strict adherence to the Law/Righteousness dictated that the nation of God's chosen people not be polluted by the worship and intermarriage with pagans. Thus, God commanded His people to exterminate the entire population of the pagans that inhabited the promised land. Their disobedience to this command has had a strong ripple in the current of history.
God wanted men to play out the drama of extreme polarities. To illustrate the perfection that was required if we were to fully keep and abide by His Law: we see in the Bible the record of the failures of these people, they could not live the law to perfection. The Israelites could not keep their commitment and God's commandments even when God spoke directly to men. In all the stories, parables, and history of that period, we see that He illustrated a necessary metaphor of life.
But, returning to the original point: Yes, Jesus authorized force; in fact He authorized extreme force in the maintenance and defense of the righteousness of His people. You may ask, does that mean that we should wipe an unrighteous nation off the face of the earth. No, I don't think that is appropriate in this era. Jesus came and created a way for all men to come to perfection and righteous relationship with God. It is not necessary to wipe out an entire people to prevent them from polluting the idea/moral pool of the nation. But, to prevent that pollution, we are going to have to be vigilant in our effort to bring the heathen of our nation into the respect for righteous principles.
Jesus did not become a pacifist during His time on Earth. In the New Testament we see references to the divisions, war, and unrest that Jesus would bring on the earth. It is because Jesus brought a gospel of righteousness, a standard of perfection of the human heart, that He was hated. People wanted to continue to sin, and they still do. Placing restrictions on men's sinful people's behavior causes rebellion, because people want to continue to have the "freedom" to sin. But, that irreducible set of Godly principles cannot be violated. When it is, God's natural law, and the restorative/reactive force embedded within the creation will respond to that violation. In other words, God retaliates with force to man's violation of His righteous rule of law. In turn, it is appropriate as a Godly nation to defend our boundaries against people that wish to impose their law on our culture. People wish to be their own gods, creating their own kingdoms. To the extent that the rules of their territory is consistent with God’s, they will be supported in their quest.
· John 15:18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21”But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23”He who hates Me hates My Father also.
God will eventually dominate the entire world with His righteous rule. The True Peace we all long for will come when the entirety of humanity has placed God's law and Way in its heart. But, until we are unified in embracing God's way of Life, we will find ourselves attempting to dominate out of fear or greed. Each race, nation, tongue, and tribe has his own concept of Truth. There will be discomfort, and peace will be disturbed, as long as one group has the desire or need to dominate the other. Until we can all bow the knee before the throne of God, and submit to His righteous rule, we will retain the seeds of war within our hearts.
Inherent within the human heart is the desire for freedom, to live free from the domination of an unrighteous master-slave relationship. In turn, the national spirit reflects this desire to avoid domination and live out its own creed. If nations were righteous internally, and honored the borders of other nations, the world would be stable and peaceful. But, evil people rise to the top of their national power structures, and leverage their evil hearts with the tools of state, and extend their desire for power onto other nations. It is for this reason that we, as a Christian nation, as a people committed to the principle of being righteous peacemakers, are drawn into conflicts to defend our own borders, or to free the helpless victims of the tyrant within.
I believe the USA still holds to the ideal of being the peacemaker, and enters into war for just causes. I do not believe the USA is engaging in the Iraq war to expand our territory and dominate another people for the purpose of exploiting their oil. I do believe that oil has entered into the equation in our decision to participate in the war; just as many other geopolitical factors were included in the equation used to calculate the need for invasion. I believe we still have enough of our Christian humanity and heritage moderating the passions of government that we still are motivated to free the oppressed.
It appears that the Left's has attempted to portray itself as taking the moral high ground as the peacemaker in a situation that did not require war. The Left has cast the conservative Christian Right wing Republicans as evil men who pay off industry with the perks of war, and lead the country into expeditionary adventures to dominate the poor, their territory, and resources for our benefit.
All of these accusations of bad faith may in fact be true for individuals or groups within the Administration. I cannot validate or deny what goes on in the back rooms of power. To the extent that such motivation was the key factor in moving us to action, we have missed the mark of Godly perfection. I can only advocate for action which is consistent with the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on Earth. And, to the extent the current administration stands for Godly principle, I support them.
I am not yet convinced of the Administration's malfeasance on the part of the Iraq war. The war strategy may have been ineffective in producing a quick victory in a nation where a third of the nation has decided to be guerrilla warriors and use suicide/terror tactics. We face a very difficult task in Iraq, attempting to give them democratic self rule when the religion they use to govern themselves has been used so frequently as the moral justification for oppression. I believe it will be difficult to have a good outcome given the religious-moral base internal to the people we are freeing from tyranny.
I believe it was good that we have helped bring down the strongholds of oppression in Iraq. Regardless of whether our initial reasons for intervention were correct, I believe we have moved the chess piece of militant Islam to a more vulnerable position. It is now our job to stay the course, to show that we have the resolve to help those who have a proper conscience to institute and maintain a rule of Godliness in their country.
In answer to your question, "What does Jesus have to say about war?" It is blessed to be a peacemaker. God exalts the man who resolves conflicts in righteousness and avoids the war which actually solves nothing fundamentally; it simply results in the domination of one system over the other based on which side exerted superior force, not on the side that embraced moral superiority. The seeds of war are always present in life because of the divide between His moral code and the animal passions that drive men. There will always be war between men on some level because His way requires men to tame their selfish desires and carnal passions. The war may not always be with swords and spears; it may only rage within the hearts and souls of men. But, when negotiation fails, we cannot capitulate to evil simply to have peace. We must stand against domination by unrighteous aggressors. If that stance requires the use of force, then we must walk down that difficult path. God is on our side, if we are on His.
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