About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Militant Ministers - Victory Via Violence

 

The word "ministers" in the above title refers to all Christians, not just paid pastors, because in Biblical terms all Christians are ministers of the Lord. 

 

Matthew 11:12 reads:

 

"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it."

 

In the context of a conversation about John the Baptist, Jesus said that violent men (many state sponsored) were doing violence to those belonging to the heavenly state.  This was no conspiracy theory.  It was a known fact, as seen in the illegitimate execution of John the Baptist.  With such violence in mind, note what Jesus told the Roman governor Pilate.  John 18:36 reads:

 

"Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.'"

 

Much should be said about Jesus' statement, but I will reserve my comments to the use of force by Christians as they promote and defend the cause of Christ.  The use of force by Christians in defence of their nation, which is an implied issue of this verse, deserves its own article.  

 

Jesus said that His disciples would not take up arms to prevent His arrest because His kingdom originates in heaven, not on earth.  This was seen hours earlier when sword swinging soldiers, who viewed Jesus as an anarchist leading His militant mob, arrested Jesus.  When the disciples saw the soldiers with swords, they asked Jesus if they should draw their two swords (Luke 22:38 and 49).  Not waiting for an answer, Peter drew one of these two swords and sliced off a soldier's ear.  Jesus firmly denounced Peter's actions by saying, "None of this" (Luke 22:51).  He then proceeded to undo the damage done by Peter's violent act by replacing the soldier's ear.   

 

With the above in mind, it's not a leap of logic to conclude that violence as a means to promote or defend God's kingdom defies Jesus' teaching.  Sadly, history shows Christianized violence to be commonplace.  So-called Christian armies of both the Constantinian Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire used military campaigns to advance their misguided view of the Kingdom of God .  Some in the Reformation Movement did the same.  Present-day events show that nothing has changed in this regard.  It's victory via violence.   

 

The apostle Paul added to this in Ephesians 6:11 and 12. 

 

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilís schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

 

From both Jesus and Paul I learn that Christians belong to a heavenly kingdom, and thus, violent force to advance or defend the cause of Christ is not permissible.  Our fight is not with the state, but with demonic authorities influencing the state.  We, therefore, promote and defend the Kingdom of God with spiritual weapons.  Victory via violence is not an option.  

 

It defies logic to think we can advance a spiritual kingdom with material weapons.  The militant minister of Christ takes up the spiritual arms that have been issued him to advance God's kingdom, which by the way must never be confused or associated with an earthly nation. 

 

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