I have never considered myself a pacifist. I grew up in the 80s and 90s playing with toy guns and video games, watching the “heroes” in movies take out the bad guys…and like any boy in his right mind I wanted to be a “hero,” too.
But, lately I have been seriously reconsidering my boyhood position. I am hesitant to call the only alternative “pacifism.” Maybe because the boy in me doesn’t want to be a sissy. Maybe because the word brings up thoughts of doing nothing, and I certainly don’t advocate that. Maybe because all the world seems to disagree.
My questions began flowing as I studied the kingdom of God that John the Baptist heralded and Jesus preached. They could all be summed up in this, I think: if I, as a Christian, am a citizen in the kingdom of heaven, then how can I be loyal to any other kingdom? Of course, Jesus’ intriguing statements about turning the other cheek played a part: if I am to be loyal to Jesus, my King, then when and how often does He expect me to turn the other cheek? And Isaiah’s prophecy about Christ’s kingdom that mentions “neither shall they learn war any more” certainly grabbed my attention (Isa 2:4): if I am to be loyal to the kingdom of heaven, how can I learn war?
As I have studied it and thought about it I still remain undecided on so many levels. The “what ifs” always come up with this question, and I don’t have answers to them yet, and don’t expect to any time soon.
But, here is a question that came to mind that has really got me thinking…and I would like to know what you think. First, you have to agree with two premises that I think you will be fine with, but just to make sure:
Do you believe it is wrong to “evangelize” by military force? Is it wrong to use military might to advance Christianity?
If you answered no…then don’t bother with the next question; we can discuss it if you’d like, but that discussion is outside the realm of this article.
If you answered yes…then proceed to the next question:
Do you agree that Christianity is a greater, more important cause than nation, democracy, freedom, or any other that you could name?
If you answered no…then, again, we can discuss, but not in this blog; don’t worry about the final question.
If you answered yes…then, proceed to the final round:
If it is wrong to use military force in advancing Christianity, then how can it be right to use military force to advance any lesser agenda/system/way of life/cause, such as nation, freedom or democracy (or, fill in the _________ )?