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The death of Bin Laden and the Sermon on the Mount!

May 3, 2011

Osama Bin LadenOver the past week or so I have been thinking about war and peace and whether taking another’s life can ever be justified from a Christian perspective. It began as I watched the film ‘Of God’s and Men’ a story of a community of monks who despite the Islamic threat to their lives, stayed in the village which the lived and with the people they loved rather than run back to France. Alongside this I have been reading ‘Bonhoeffer’ by Eric Metaxas, a biography of the great Christian martyr who returned to Germany to be with the church during the dark days of Nazi rule and was killed on the orders of Hitler. Then yesterday, the news reported the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and I began to wonder whether God isn’t calling His people to something higher than retribution, higher than simply using our fists, or guns, or planes and in fact whether God really meant those words in the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve quoted here from Luke’s account (see Luke 6:27-36):

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Now these words of Christ have been agonised over by the Church ever since and many great Christians have argued for the notion, that has become known as, Just War Theory which allows Christians to fight in certain cases which are deemed to be morally necessary such as to protect the world from a specific evil (e.g. Hitler and WW2). It won’t have escaped your notice either that Bonhoeffer, whose biography I’m reading, was involved in the German resistance and the plot to assassinate Hitler so for him at least the answer ultimately came to be to fight. In this area there is no easy answers but as I read those words of Jesus, quoted above, I just wonder whether God is calling us to something higher than nationalism, and is commanding us to be counter-cultural in a world where might is so often seen as right.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Can and should Christians go to war?

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2011 10:40 am

    Hmm – been troubled by similar thoughts. No easy answers – but we should be sure that raking another life is rarely the best way to bring lasting and wholesome change. See “spot the difference” & comment: http://wp.me/pF9OB-CO

  2. May 3, 2011 10:55 am

    Yes, there are times when we should fight, when we need to protect the widows, the orphans, the poor and oppressed. When I read Psalm 82 I sometimes think that the reason why there is so much un-hindered oppression and evil is because humans sit around not stopping it.

    Peace is not an absence of bombs falling, peace is an absence of reasons why bombs might need to fall.

    • May 3, 2011 11:01 am

      Thanks for your thoughts Peter, but isn’t Jesus calling us in the words above from Luke to something higher that that. Jesus calls us to love, pray and serve our enemies but never to kill them. The absence of peace is because of sin and the human condition and this can only be solved by the gospel and I don’t see how the gospel is promoted by violence rather I see the gospel tainted by it. What do you think?

      • May 3, 2011 11:03 am

        What I find interesting is that very often those who are most keen on building God’s kingdom here and now (i.e. emphasis on social action etc) are the same who oppose any attempt to, by force, do away with the worst excesses of sin. Is the kingdom promise only eschatological or is it something for here and now? If it is for here and now, what exactly do we do about the Adolf Hitlers of this world?

  3. May 3, 2011 11:11 am

    Good questions Peter. I think the Kingdom begins now, not just on Jesus’ second coming, but began with His first. However, the kingdom is brought in my proclaiming the Gospel in words and deeds. As we love others and preach the good news of the Kingdom we bring people into that Kingdom. We don’t bring people in by killing our enemies this only distracts people from that Kingdom. The kingdom should be marked by living under the King in the way He commands us, part of which is the section quoted above. The question of what to do with Hitler is a good one and one with no easy answers, though surely with Bin Laden there were other ways?

    • May 3, 2011 11:47 am

      I don’t think there are easy answers to these questions. The Just War theory was initially developed during a time when you had plenty of warning that your neighbour was going to attack you. These days, an attack comes with no warning. Is pre-emptive action a natural evolution of Aquinas’ original thoughts?

  4. Physiocrat permalink
    May 3, 2011 11:36 am

    Mike,

    I think the answer lies in Sphere Sovereignty.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphere_sovereignty

    I haven’t done as much work as I would like into the matter but intuitively see something in it.

    A note on the Sermon on the Mount it very much takes a 1st to 2nd party relations view rather than that of a third party. So a case could be made that an office responsible for justice, however that in itself could be justified, would legitimately be able respond to violence with force. However such a construction could be argued to be begging the question.

  5. May 3, 2011 11:44 am

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
    ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

    This isn’t a bible quote, by any means, but one that I believe is so fitting right now. My cousin posted it on his FB page.

  6. Rob Ogden permalink
    May 3, 2011 12:18 pm

    Greetings Mike,
    My personal opinion on the question of “should Christian’s go to war” is as you pointed out towards the bottom of you page. Christian’s should be prepared to fight for the good of the world and destroy evil. If people, such as Hitler etc are killing innocent people then we as Christian’s (but not just Christain’s) should fight to keep them safe and oppress the evil that these men are doing.
    So in my opinion their is not a problem with Christian’s going to war and killing another human being, if it is for the good of the world.

    Rob

    • May 3, 2011 8:08 pm

      Thanks Rob, still trying to work this one out, but I’ve found today’s discussion really helpful, I hope you have too!

  7. Lyndsey permalink
    May 3, 2011 12:22 pm

    Not Lyndsey – It’s Mark here. Glad you’ve been thinking about this issue for a whole week now! Bit hard to apply questionable monastic principles to the colossal responsibilities of governments.

    These arguments are the cutting edge ideas of the last century, when people thought that if we were only a bit nicer to each other, the world would be a happy place. You can’t stop someone like Bin Laden by giving him a hug! Luke 6 (which isn’t the sermon on the ‘mount’, v17) says nothing to governments, who exist to protect their citizens and those of other countries.

    Being ‘counter cultural’ isn’t about being pacifist. Loads of westerners are effective pacifists, because they don’t want to get their hands dirty and stand up to anyone. Being counter cultural is living for Jesus – who, interestingly, welcomed soldiers without a comment on their job but slammed religious fanatics with some force.

    Having said that, the ‘USA’-chanting Americans are behaving just like the Taliban supporters. It’s a sober thing for a government to have to wield the sword.

    • May 3, 2011 3:48 pm

      Thanks Mark, interesting thoughts and I don’t necessarily disagree. I’d be interested to know where you’d go in the Scriptures for your thoughts, particularly on when its right to obey the government and when not. I see in Scripture the call for Christians to obey the state and Paul says the state wields the sword when it comes to internal justice, though not when they do something which isn’t in line with God’s commands. Luke 6 (as you say technically the sermon on the plains, but that’s not quite so catchy) seems to be Jesus’ giving guiding principles for how Christians are to live their lives but I’m not so sure you can so easily separate individual action from government action. The government is after all made up of individuals and represents individuals. Furthermore, when we are talking about the Nazi state, as Bonhoeffer is, then I think that’s probably different from assassinating a guy hiding in a building. Are we any better than the Taliban if we just kill people without trials and courts of law. Difficult issues with no easy answers!

  8. Chris Knowles permalink
    May 3, 2011 12:45 pm

    I think the question takes on a new cast when you’re a head of state. In Romans, Paul says of governments: ‘For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.’ (Romans 13:4, NIV)

    As an individual Christian, would it be right for me to go and shoot Bin Laden in the head? No, I don’t think so. Would it be right for me to order his death as a head of a state he’s targetted, in order to protect people (let’s assume it has) and in the pursuit of justice? Quite possibly. I’ve been pondering this a bit myself the last few days. Although Christians are called to pursue mercy rather than justice and retribution, we’re not in the business of trying to shut down the police and the judicial system – as someone above said, we’re also here to protect the innocent and oppressed. This is, I think, as aspect of the same situation.

    • May 3, 2011 6:00 pm

      Thanks Chris, I think those where helpful comments on what is a difficult issue. I guess one of the trickier parts is trying to work out when we think the state has over stepped its bounds. Christians often take this view on abortion or the death penalty and I just wonder whether assassination should also be on there too. Thanks again!

  9. May 3, 2011 12:53 pm

    Mike..what a great post, I am going to share this with my friends on facebook. I’ve been contemplating similiar questions as I read the gospels again over lent and they draw me closer and closer to the reality of compassion and love and further away from revenge and violence. You might appreciate this passage one of my friends shared yesterday from a man greatly respected for his stance on peace and compassion:

    I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
    –Martin Luther King Jr

    Loved this post!

  10. May 3, 2011 1:18 pm

    Like most things in this world the answer is never easy. As Americans, in the wake of the news of Osama Bin Laden being killed, we want to jump for joy and throw a party. However, as Christians we are saddened that he never came to know the truth and do not delight in his death.

    I believe God gave us the knowledge and ability to defend ourselves by the means we are given and unfortunately war and death is a direct result.

    Great post and food for thought.

  11. May 3, 2011 1:20 pm

    I believe the scriptures call us to serve the widows, the poor, and the oppressed – but never with the same tools that the world uses. We serve despite prohibitions not to and regardless of the consequences. It is one thing to be punished for serving others and something quite different to be punished for bearing the sword to ‘serve’ others. The world needs a consistent, faithful witness of kingdom living. The world only knows the way of law and punishment (Rom 13). But God’s people are to give witness to a another way of existence – even at the cost of life itself. American Christianity has been compromised by our cultural norms that teach us to hoard and then protect our stash at all costs to others. One would think, by listening to and watching American Christians, that the first rule of Christ is equivalent to the American dream. This kind of adulteration of the gospel leads us into ‘just war’ thinking. There isn’t any ‘just war’. There is just ‘war’. Better to perish faithful to the gospel, then to attempt to preserve the gospel by denying it’s power.

  12. May 3, 2011 1:25 pm

    My response is to ask a question. If someone broke into your house, and was about to kill your wife, what would you do?

    • May 11, 2011 7:43 am

      Duke thanks for your post, but that’s not how we work theology out is it. We don’t say what are our natural inclinations and apply that to the Bible. We look at the Scriptures and work out what it says and do that even if it goes against the grain don’t we!

    • August 20, 2011 1:05 am

      I recall a Proverb.. 25:21-22 I believe.. if an enemy is hungry, feed him, if thirsty, offer water; in doing so you will heap coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

      However in response to Duke’s post about someone threatening my wife, well as a former Marine, One shot, One kill is our creed, and that includes anyone threatening my family. If, God forbid it comes to that, I suppose it will be added to the long list of things I’ll have to answer for

  13. May 3, 2011 1:28 pm

    Having taken the life of another person, I have only rejoiced in it once and that was because I didn’t think I was going to survive. I still see their faces in my dreams, but I have no regrets. It was a job that needed to be done and saved countless numbers of people.

    That being said, I will face the judgement of my Father standing on my feet. Jesus said to love our enemies, but he didn’t say we should allow them to hurt us or others. I’ve always understood the “turn the other cheek” line to mean show no fear.

    Remember, he reacted violently to the money-changers at the Temple.

  14. Suhail Manzoor permalink
    May 3, 2011 2:12 pm

    It is possible to kill without hatred? Is it possible to destroy without anger? Is it possible to oppress without remorse? Is it possible to harm without guilt? Could I kill my enemy without hatred in my heart? Could I raze his village of everything that sustained him without anger in my heart? It is the presence or absence of of these emotions that creates a moral quandary. Equanimity is what allows one to pierce the heart of this duality, allowing one to love an enemy and a neighbour in equal measure without fear or anxiety about the final outcome of one’s choices.

  15. Sam Gibb permalink
    May 3, 2011 4:01 pm

    Mike, fantastic post, just put together a few of my own thoughts, I hope they are helpful:

    A few thoughts on the Death of Bin Laden, the Christian reaction, and the resulting issues that undoubtedly follow:

    1) Get off your high-horse
    Often we think that because we haven’t killed anyone we are more holy and worthy of God’s love and grace than terrorists. This is rubbish. Romans 3:9 says ‘Are we any better? Not at all!’ We have all fallen short of God’s glory. Are we any better than Bin Laden? No, not at all.

    2) Love your enemies; even Osama Bin Laden
    We must love like God loved us. ‘While we were still sinners’, not only once we had repented (Romans 5:8). The difficulty is how we show this love, and can this ever be through war and killing. D.A Carson (Love in Hard Places) writes that ‘war can be a form of love’. We also need to bear in mind our duty to love those who might, through no fault of their own, be caught up in the devastation of war.

    3) It should be uncomfortable
    Jesus loved his enemies by giving his life; we shouldn’t expect it any easier. If loving terrorists merely gives us a horrible feeling in our stomach then we are getting off lightly.

    4) Desire that all might come to know Christ
    Simple as; and thus, be sad when someone dies who doesn’t.

    5) Be practical peace-makers
    Matthew 5:9 – ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called Children of God’. We often talk about how we would like peace, but we are called to be peace-makers, not peace-lovers. It is practical; we must do something in order to attain peace. Yes, we must pray and ask that God might bring peace (Phil 4:6-7) but we must also act (Phil 4:9) and put peace-making into practice. But Act how? Do what?

    6) To fight or not to fight?
    Which ultimately leads to the question, is it ever right to fight? Ehud is a cracking chap to look at when thinking about being an ultimate peace-maker. We can find his brutal story hidden away in Judges Chapter 3. Ehud was a Judge of Israel but also, essentially, an assassin. Israel was under great oppression and was being persecuted by and evil ruler. Ehud takes him out, no war, one individual assassination and then (Judges 3:30) Israel had peace for 80 years. Perhaps Bonhoeffer, who was ready and willing to assassinate Hitler, saw his as a similar role? Should we?

    7) Jesus’ Kingdom is Upside-down
    I did a week of talks to some young people over the summer about Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom; how we need to be weak to be strong, poor to be rich, enslaved to be free and so on. It is important to see that when Jesus taught he shocked people, completely reversing the way the world appeared. We need, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to see the world through his eyes.

    Final Thoughts:
    Finally, remember that one day we will have to stand in front of our all powerful Creator (Elohim –Genesis 1:1-3) and provided an answer to our choices and decisions; why we stepped in, or why we stood back, what our intentions were and how we went about them. Remember, also, that you have been freed from the burden of your sin. We deserve death but have been given life (Romans 6:23). If we then turn and subject others to death then could we not be as guilty as the ‘unmerciful servant’ who is told ‘shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ (Matthew 18:21-35).

    For me, much of a Christian’s life is about balance, and I think this is echoed time and time again throughout the Bible. In terms of war and terrorism, we need the balance between loving peacefully and acting in order to bring peace and justice. Through all the haziness, I think one thing is absolutely clear, we can’t just stand back and watch.

    I trust that some of this was helpful,

    Sam

    Helpful verses:
    ‘Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise… do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is’. – Eph 5:15-17
    ‘They may curse but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame’. –Psalm 110:27-28

    Other passages:
    Romans 3:9-23, Psalm 35:12-14, Job 31:29-30

  16. Yogasavy permalink
    May 3, 2011 4:22 pm

    I think to rejoice in the killing of another is unwanted.before religion comes into play I think above all we are human beings first. What Osama did was wrong and we disliked it when they rejoiced I. The deaths of many…. But have we not come down to their level by rejoicing as well?
    Sometimes war is necessary and it is hard and destructive but in the times we are living it seems that it is inevitable.

  17. James Harris permalink
    May 3, 2011 6:18 pm

    Very interesting discussion – thanks for starting it, Mike. In my view, there is a difference between killing someone who is trying to kill you and going out to assassinate someone. We were not in the compound so we don’t know the circumstances, and I have to admit not having followed all the news coverage in great detail, but if the aim was to capture Bin Laden then that is different from setting out to kill him. There seems to be a danger of reducing ourselves to the level of the terrorists if we employ extra-judicial killing as a means of retribution…

  18. May 3, 2011 11:21 pm

    Mike,

    Love the post, but you know i disagree! I think this is just another symptom of modern Christianity and the rise in ‘feminism’. We stear clear of biblical language such as ‘spiritual warfare’ and ‘manliness’ and calls for people to ‘fight the good fight’. We even remove verses from hymns that speak of Christians calling for God to ‘be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight’. We mask it by calling it ‘machismo’ and characturing (forgive my rubbish spelling) men to the point where we need to be in flip flops and pink cardigans to truly be ‘spiritual’. And then we wonder why we’re seeing less men in church and our meetings look more like creche than men and women gathering to love and serve our King.

    The bible is filled with examples of people hailed as great warriors, David’s mighty men, the Centurion, Abraham’s cohort of trained fighters. Joshua, Caleb who took on the giants with the faith God supplied. Angels are God’s warriors, the word ‘Archangel’ is a military term. Then Jesus comes, explaining that we’re locked in spiritual warfare, that we fight with spiritual weapons against a REAL ENEMY. He calls men and women to rise to the battle cry, he puts the sword of justice in the hands of the Government (Rom 13) and promises to return to defeat his enemies in a final battle.

    War has casualties. I mourn the death of Bin Laden as another person who died without the saving work of Christ. But i understand that on a personal level, one to one, Jesus calls us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. But let’s not take that out of context. The sword is placed by God into the hands of the governing authorities, to ‘adminster God’s wrath’ against evil doers (Rom 13). Let’s leave it there and pray for them and our enemies.

    • May 4, 2011 7:45 am

      Interesting thoughts. You seem to disagree on the basis that your idea of a man is one of war and anything else sounds like a feminism to you and is unattractive. But we’re not to work out our theology based on what is attractive to a particular section of society. If God has decided manliness is seen in ‘turning the other cheek’, in resisting evil without resorting to violence then it isn’t right to just say ‘sounds a bit girly so I’m going to ignore it’! I’d be interested in discussing the Biblical arguments with you the two points you mentioned are i) spiritual warfare, which remains a valid point but doesn’t mean we have to engage in real warfare and ii) Romans 13 which I think, in context, is really about Christians submitting to the domestic government rather than about the government declaring war, though I assume you’d want to say there are times when we are to disobey the government when it goes against God’s Word? If so then we need to work out if war is against God’s Word before going to Romans 13!

      Thanks for posting, love to hear your response…

  19. May 4, 2011 9:06 am

    Come come now Mike, you know me better than to characterise my view like that! – which is just the point i’m making, we seem to respond to language like my post just like you did ‘Oh, so anything that isn’t to do with war is girly then?’

    That is not what i’m saying, but you can’t isolate the sermon on the mount and then say ‘this is what applies to all situations’. No, and i’m sure you don’t do that. BUT, does ‘turn the other cheek’ apply to the wife being beaten by her husband? Is that the advice you would give her? “Come on love, don’t resist an evil person…”

    Does Jesus turn the other cheek ALL the time in the gospels?

    “You brood of Vipers!”
    “Your father is Satan!”
    “Hypocrites!”
    “Wicked and peverse generation”

    The biblical man we see Jesus calling for and demonstrating is both tough AND tender, the one who overlooks an insult (by turning the cheek), who openly weeps over the death of his friend, but isn’t afraid to step between the abusive husband and the wife, restraining evil. A man who will call the intruder who’s broken into his home to leave peacefully before calling the police, but who’s also prepared to defend his family physically as God has called him to.

    I go back to my own blog which ties in with yours (www.thebearspeaketh.blogspot.com)- the film ‘We were soldiers’. We see in Lt. Col. Hal Moore a Godly man who embodies the Christian faced with the questions on the battlefield. He tenderly loves his children, prays with his troops and weeps at their deaths. But sternly faces evil and says ‘this far and no further’.

    With the death of Bin Laden i say with many that i truly mourn for another person who’s died not knowing Christ. But i also understand that this world is locked in a real conflict, not a metaphorical one. And for the sake of the widows, the orphans and the weak, the defenseless, evil must be restrained to the best of our fallen abilities and with God’s strength.

    • May 4, 2011 11:26 am

      Sorry if I misunderstood your point Martyn and you bring up some good points! I certainly wouldn’t want a wife to stay with an abusive husband, though I wouldn’t want her to kill him either. There are extremes and we need to make sure we don’t treat the others point as one extreme or the other and I’m sorry if you feel I did that with your post.

      Somewhere between advocating all out war and meekly accepting whatever comes our way is a line and with this discussion I’m hoping to come closer to working out where that is. I think some of the comments have been helpful in seeking that line don’t you? Certainly Col. Hal Moore’s example, at least how is portrayed in the film, is a great witness to a how a Christian can fight while staying true to his beliefs but I’d probably say that the war he was fighting in was probably unjust.

      I think there are great examples on both sides, of those that fight and those that resist in non-violent ways and perhaps there isn’t a right answer for every scenario and we need to make a wise decision whenever confronted. I think though there is a danger that Western Christians fall for the West ‘good’, everyone else ‘bad’ line along with a the rest of the population when surely we need to speak up for those who will become caught up in conflict. Just think of the Christians killed by Allied bombing in Iraq.

      Anyway, if we can, lets start from Scripture and see where we end up? I’m starting from an undecided position and am happy to be convinced either way or find some middle ground. how does that sound? If so perhaps we can start by working out what Luke 6 is saying and how it applies?

  20. May 5, 2011 9:32 pm

    Loving the unlovely —- that’s a tough thing to do without full submission to Jesus!!!

    Great thought and heart provoking post!!!

    (This is my first visit to your blog from the CBC 🙂 ).

  21. May 5, 2011 11:31 pm

    This really is a fascinating subject. I tend to see humanity as humanity in whatever form. I’ve been tempted to write on the same theme but resisted for fear of being mis-interpreted and attacked. It is difficult to write subjectively on such matters when so many people are affected personally by tragedy. How can we express empathy for a victim whilst also pointing out that vengence simply causes tit for tat reprisal?
    I think what the scripture says for me is, love the person but not the behaviour. In biblical terms that has been put over as hate the sin, not the sinner.
    When we are affected personally by an attack, it is really difficult to make the seperation. We are emotional beings at heart and can be emotionally hurt.
    This is a really thought provoking article.
    Thank you.

  22. May 6, 2011 1:56 am

    First question was It right to kill. There is not any living thing that does not kill to live nothing. Where do you draw the line? Who was Jesus? Why was he killed? Where was the Justus in his killing? His kingdom is here in you if you let it. We eat plants that we killed. We eat animals that we have killed. I find no joy in killing. Every breath we take we kill millions of life forms. I know all you have read the bible, and you all quote it well. Do your best to answer these questions, who was Jesus, and why was he killed? Then tell me or yourself why killing bin laden or Hitter, or any person who has become a threat to society is wrong or right.
    Thank you and god bless

  23. May 11, 2011 6:54 pm

    Mike – good questions. I’ve had a go at a post on the subject – at http://www.andysstudy.org/2011/05/should-christians-go-to-war.html
    Go well mate
    Andrew

    • May 11, 2011 9:06 pm

      Thanks Andrew, appreciate your post (I recommend others have a read of your link). Lots to think through which I will before replying! Cheers mate!

  24. May 12, 2011 2:20 pm

    Some very thought provoking questions were raised here. Great post. Personally I hate the idea of war, but I know it has been a part of life’s history since the beginning of time. The are passages in the Bible that call us to act in love and others that tell stories of great warriors that protected and fought hard for their people. I think in all things we need balance. I cried when we were attacked on 9/11. I felt sadness over the actions of Bin Laden and his agents. I didn’t have enough spare energy for anger. All I could think about were the people who were killed. When we went to war and I read stories of innocent people there that were killed in the crossfire of what we were doing that saddened me too.

    When I learned that he Osama was killed, I didn’t rejoice. I immediately thought about the families who are left behind in the aftermath on both sides. Oddly enough I don’t feel anything for Osama. Whether it was justified to kill him is for God to decide. The phrase “live by the sword, die by the sword” comes to mind. It was almost a self-fulling prophecy for his life. Ideally we should all work to resolve problems without violence. I wish we lived as such, but we never have. I hope we get there one day though. I really do.

  25. May 14, 2011 5:16 am

    Let us not forget that we are in a spiritual battle. Consider Ephesians 6. Put on the whole armor of God, for we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against PRINCIPALITIES and powers, and wickedness in high places. Do we not stand against evil? Bin Laden isn’t just “flesh and blood” but a force of darkness incarnate.

    Do we rejoice over his death? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuley-boteach/hate-osama-but-do-not-rej_b_856130.html
    Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

    Matthew 5:44 applies on the individual level, but would result in annihilation of Christianity if applied nationally or internationally. The goal of Christianity isn’t to exterminate other beliefs but to deliver the gospel of Christ to all nations – not by force but through kindness and charity. The objection of Muslim extremists, on the other hand, is to exterminate all of us “infidels.”

    • May 14, 2011 9:14 am

      Thanks Debra for your thoughts, its a difficult issue which I’ve not quite gotten to the bottom of yet. You’re right we are in a spiritual battle, so whether you’re a pacifist or not you are in a battle. However, Bin Laden wasn’t evil incarnate, he was a ‘sinner’ just like me and needed Christs forgiveness just like me and just like everyone else. Had he repented before he died he would have been with Christ now!

      I agree that Sermon on the Mount (Matt) and Sermon on the Plains (Luke) are talking to the individual believer but can’t agree that Christians would’ve been exterminated. For the first 300 years the church had no army and was pacifist, it was persecuted by the worlds superpower but not only survived it grew massively. Why? Because God is in charge and if He chooses to grow the Church nothing can prevail against it can it. As you say very different to Islam! Thanks Mike

  26. August 20, 2011 3:41 am

    Great job presenting your thoughts on the subject…so often I find it difficult to discuss such topics but not here after reading your post.

    I believe it is best summed up in Ecclesiastes 3 1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… Yes, I believe Christians should help protect our Country! I believe it is best said here: (3) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.

    I believe in the case of Osama Bin Laden, Hitler or the man that rapes, brutalizes and murders man or child are not beyond punishment by death. I support protecting the Good and Safety of our World…we are not safe among such evil and sadly no matter how we try to make it different — some evil knows not what you speak!

    I really enjoyed visiting your blog and sharing my opinion. Thanks

  27. August 20, 2011 11:30 am

    I was surprised I didn’t find my name in the comments. I thought I did.

    War is never justifiable. Anything that destroys…kills… dehumanizes… isn’t just. God’s justice is so far from what we humans perceive.God calls us to be creative in all sense and we were witnesses to this through Mahatma Ghandi’s peace movement. Our very own “People Revolution” was bloodless. It was led by our Cardinal and the religious who rallied with rosaries at hand. St. Francis of Assisi made friends with the Sultan.Remember his peace prayer?

    Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil by good. (Romans 12,21)

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