New Conservative Christian Documentary Calls Out Guns as Anti-ProLife

armor of light

This documentary looks awesome. Seriously though. A hardcore conservative pastor calling out against gun violence.

Why is this awesome?

#1 This is the logical extension of prolife ethics.

#2 It is consistent with the ethic of Jesus and nonviolence.

#3 It is consistent with the ethic of Jesus and “love thy neighbor.”

#4 It trumps political categories!!!!

HuffPo says:

Bringing a preserved fetus to an anti-abortion demonstration would have been one of the more politically explosive moments of the Rev. Robert Schenck’s career as an evangelical pastor — if he hadn’t recently decided to challenge Christian resistance to treating gun violence as another “pro-life” concern.

Schenck is the subject of a new documentary, “The Armor of Light,” which tracks his realization that being “pro-gun” is morally incompatible with being “pro-life.”

The film, which debuts in theaters on Oct. 30, opens by establishing Schenck’s anti-abortion credentials. The pastor is shown driving down the street in Buffalo, New York, where he and the group he co-founded, Operation Rescue, participated in massive demonstrations against abortions in 1992….

“We have a downside, and one of our downsides is, when you break with the community on what’s seen as a fundamental principle, you get punished,” Schenck said.

But the pastor hasn’t allowed this to inhibit his newfound passion for preaching about guns.

“Pro-lifers have been way too loud on some things and way too quiet on others,” he wrote in an op-ed for USA Today. “The time is now for us to bravely overcome our fears and generously lend our voices and actions to protect the whole of the human family — womb to tomb.”

Amen, Lord Jesus. Amen.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • JD

    Amen! I come from a family obsessed with guns. I used to be an infantryman in the Army. But, when I really began digging into Christ’s teachings, I quickly embraced non-violence and am in the process of having my guns turned into something useful via RawTools.

    • Not PC-Whipped

      Very nice.
      But the cops in your area carry guns.
      Would you want to live in a place where cops didn’t have guns? I think not.

      • JD

        I don’t call the cops if I need help. I don’t believe in the use of violence to resolve problems.

        • John Mark N. Reynolds

          Then you are presumptuous and acting against Scripture. You are making a vanity of what God said was not a vanity.

          • JD

            Wait. What Scripture commands me to use violence to resolve problems? I can point to many teachings of Christ that would prohibit the use of such violence. Wearing a costume doesn’t make the violence any less offensive.

      • gimpi1

        It appears to work in Great Britain, Japan and several other nations. You could make a case that it works fine in many places to have police often not carry firearms routinely.

  • Eve Fisher

    Amen!

  • John Mark N. Reynolds

    Too bad Jesus had his disciples buy swords.

    • 00DaT00

      But not guns :)

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        But QED, ownership of lethal weapons, military weapons, is compatible with following Jesus. In fact, He might command me to do so.

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          Just while he commands u to love enemies. Oh brother. I don’t enjoy chats where people favor their guns and constitution more than Jesus and the Scriptures… #gundamentalism
          Peace.

          KURT WILLEMS
          http://kurtwillems.com
          http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
          http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            So why the swords? Can you avoid insults please? Not very loving I think! Of course I favor the Scriptures over the American Constitution. And I agree we should always love our enemies… But like most Christian scholars in most places at most times I don’t read one part of Jesus teaching about our tough Kingdom relationship with a broken world simplistically.

          • Richard Harstone

            It seems clear to me that the need for swords in Luke 22 has nothing to do with self-defence. Strange that Jesus never told his disciples to arm themselves earlier in his ministry when he and the disciples were travelling the countryside, where they could easily have been waylaid by gangs or the Pharisee’s paid thugs. Why did he wait until the final days of his life? Was Jesus suddenly powerless to protect himself and the disciples from physical harm? Were the league of angels suddenly unavailable? And how would a mere two swords have been enough to fend off the Roman authorities, or a gang of thieves?

            Read the passage again – the reason for the swords is rather obvious, IMO! Jesus himself tells us why he needed the swords. “…And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment. (Isaiah 53:12)”

            What are transgressors, or criminals know for carrying? Weapons. That is why two swords were enough. A band of 13 men, carrying weapons equals common criminals in the eyes of the public, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.

            Self-defence has nothing to do with this passage of scripture!

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            Nice try … Too bad none of that is in the text. Doesn’t it sound like special pleading to anyone here?

            But let’s assume you are correct: we now know I can get a handgun to stand in solidarity with those viewed as criminals … Right?

          • Richard Harstone

            Not in the text? To what do you think Jesus is then appealing when he quotes Isaiah?

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            He was saying he would be taken for a sinner …and he (through his victory) would win spoils. Read the verse.

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            Second point: I don’t doubt every story in a Gospel has theological import. These are theologic al works. It does wipe out the simplistic notion of the main post that owning a lethal weapon is bad.

            Third point; I assume you don’t own the device you are using to comment? If so, then why have you ignored other commands of Jesus about private property?

            You have done so sensibly because we recognize that Jesus taught a Kingdom that was now, but not yet. It is a disease of our time that sects, and note the Orthodox, Catholics, and most Protestants don’t do this, take some commands of Jesus about the ideal and try to live a Utopian life… Which might be great if they were monastic, but then they impose ii on the rest of us with a Rev Slope unctuous attitude.

          • David Simmons

            Veterans day was a few days ago. They’re the reason we have our constitution that gives us not only the right to bear arms but also freedom of religion. Should they be remembered as heroes or murderers?

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        Just military grade lethal weapons. So you are wrong. Jesus commanded ownership of weapons at least once so your simple argument fails… Which is why pacifism is a fringe movement in the church historically. Right? Most Christian leaders in most places at most times … Not pacifist.

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          Luke 22.35-38 – Jesus tells his disciples that if they do not have a sword to “sell their cloak and buy one.” The disciples then grab two swords, only to hear Christ respond: “That’s enough!” This is not Jesus’ warning that when he gets taken that they will need to fight the authorities, but rather (as most commentators agree) the sword serves as a metaphor for the coming strife that they will face. Jesus responds to them out of frustration because they are too dense to understand. Imagine him raising his voice to say the equivalent of “enough of this!”
          Peace.

          KURT WILLEMS
          http://kurtwillems.com
          http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
          http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            Right. It has theological meaning that goes beyond the literal.

            He also didn’t say to get rid of the swords. So you were wrong in any case …owning lethal weapons isn’t obviously wrong. Jesus used it as an example and commanded it! I guess we can own enough weapons…is all you’ve got.

            Yes?

  • John Mark N. Reynolds

    Being against gun ownership is an extension of the “pro-life” ethic if taking a human life is ever wrong for human beings. That is at best a fringe idea in Church history.

    • JD

      Fringe position today? Sure. Fringe position in the early church, prior to Constantine? Absolutely not. It was widely held. Read Tertillian, Origen, Justin Martyr, etc. Here’s a small collection of early church thoughts on nonviolence:

      http://enemylove.com/40-early-church-quotes-on-violence-enemy-love-patriotism/

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        As an Eastern Christian, I do in fact read the Fathers. I wish that instead of being so “text” centered you forget the life of the Church you would consider the many martyrs out of the ranks of the Roman legions. Many Christians served, even though serving was hard, and many Christian soldiers died at the hands of pagans.

  • John Mark N. Reynolds

    Did Jesus love his neighbor when he hit him with a whip?

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Sorry friend. That is simply biblical ignorance. Jesus NEVER hit anyone with a whip. Go read it again…
      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        I have read it … Looking at in Greek. Pretty strained exegesis… Why did people get upset with him? If you can make the passage a non-violent reaction you are letting your opinion control your exegesis… Try this at your local church and see what the charges would be.

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          The whip clearly is to drive out animals… And to create a scene. To imagine him hitting humans is absurd and not in the text.
          Peace.

          KURT WILLEMS
          http://kurtwillems.com
          http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
          http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            Lol! Is the “to drive out animals” in the text? I find it more morally reprehensible to hit dumb brutesthen the guilty parties in the temple. And if you think this is the way the passage was understood in ancient times you need to take a look at the church fathers of up and if you think this is the way the passage was understood in ancient times you need to get outside the Western bubble!

          • Dr_Grabowski

            John Mark, sir, you’re doing great here, loved your When Athens Met Jerusalem book by the way…

            Francis Schaeffer saw it this way:

            “[W]hat should be our Biblical perspectives on military preparedness? …I would say that from my study of the Scripture, not to do what can be done for those in the power of those who automatically and logically oppress is nothing less than lack of Christian love. This is why l am not a pacifist. l am not a pacifist, because pacifism in this poor world in which we live, this lost world, means that we desert the people who need our greatest help. As an illustration: l am walking down the street. I see a great big burly man that is beating a little tiny tot to death, beating this little girl, beating her, beating her. I come up and I plead with him to stop. If he won’t stop, what does love mean? Love means I stop him in any way I can including. quite frankly, hitting him, and to me this is necessary Christian love in a fallen world. What about the little girl? If I desert the little girl to the bully, I have deserted the true meaning of Christian love. and responsibility to my neighbor.”

          • JD

            So was Isaiah wrong in his description of the nonviolent messiah in 53:9. Either Isaiah was wrong and Jesus did commit an act of violence against others, or you are wrong in your understanding of the Temple incident in an effort to create a picture of a violent Jesus.

            More on the Temple incident that you may find helpful:

            http://www.academia.edu/1563662/Violence_Nonviolence_and_the_Temple_Incident_in_John_2_13-15

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            Or you have misunderstood what “non-violence” means in an ancient Near Eastern context.

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            No more than Isaiah was wrong to postulate a Kingdom age where the enemies of the people of God would be crushed and eliminated and Israel would live as the dominant power.

          • JD

            Just answer the question. Was Isaiah wrong when he said the Messiah “had done no violence”? Yes or no.

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        Your pacifist reading of Gods actions in Revelation interest me…is God a God of War as He says or not?

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems
          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            In other words: you have taken one idea in Scripture and used it to explain away most of Scripture. Nobody reading the Old Testament would come to pacifism. God commands war many times. Revelation describes a God of war. Jesus uses Hell images, commands buying a sword, and says he has not come to bring peace. He violently expels people from the Temple. All this should be read in tension with the other Biblical truths that you cite but instead you do some explaining to make the truths you like the only ones … And come up with an idea that is marginal in church history: pacifism.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            We are going to talk past each other. Not worth it to me. Have a good night.
            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            Or we could dialog and not hide behind opinions…dialog is good.

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            A reply to a bad argument is not talking past a person and the peace of a failure to engage has other names…

  • Not PC-Whipped

    Every American relies on guns for protection.
    When you dial 911, you’re hoping that one guy, or several, show up with their guns.
    There must be guns in America, or crime would be a hundred times worse.
    When you label your home or church or place of business a “gun-free zone,” you’re being a hypocrite, because you sure as heck hope the cops with their guns will save your bacon when some criminal (people who are notorious for disregarding gun restrictions) threatens you.
    So shut up about guns. You can’t live in a world without them, so stop acting so self-righteous and pure. If you don’t like guns, don’t own one. Whether you own one or not, you’re still gun-dependent.

    • 00DaT00

      Just a few days ago we hade a guy killing two people in a school in Sweden. If this was america it would have been not only two but probably 10-15 or even more. I am glad we do not have the same gun laws as u Americans

      • Brad F

        Sweden is a much better country than the US.
        That’s why no one is immigrating to the US. Millions of Americans are immigrating to Sweden.

        • Mark

          No one is immigrating to the U.S? That figures I saw were around 1 million annually.

  • Joel Kessler

    I believe that everyone has the right to protect themselves in a situation that threatens their life. I believe this is a fundamental human right that should be told to all victims of crimes. The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” document is, I believe, a very helpful document in this conversation. It says in article 3-5, “Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and SECURITY OF PERSON. Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, he says of those people who seek liberty through violence, “I admire freedom fighters, wherever they are.” He goes on to say, “I feel that nonviolence, organized, I should say, organized nonviolent resistance, is the most powerful weapon, weapon that oppressed people can use in breaking aloose from the bondage of oppression.” In conclusion, self-defense is everyone’s right, and no one should die unwillingly in a way that they cannot choose to be martyred for. That is, I think that the right to use armed weapons is not only acceptable but a HUMAN RIGHT for any and all human being. But also, the doctor, along with Ghandi and I would also add Jesus, saw that choosing self-preservation in the face of your enemies never ultimately changes the systems of this world that are corrupt. The use of violence can never change the system of violences in our world, for the evil within the oppressor will never be diminished through the use of violence. Only through the conversion of our enemies, by seducing their empathies and sympathies for their victims can systems of this world truly lead toward bringing the kingdom of heaven down to earth. in this way, Jesus taught us. In this way the church should be PROPHETIC in giving up the right to kill their enemies, in order to gain the vision for those who cannot see; the vision of God to eventually “hammer [all] swords into plowshears, and spears into pruning hooks.” How this will happen in a world where people still TRULY need to protect themselves from unwanted death. I do not know, my friends. The struggle is real!

  • Jon Sellers

    Paul clearly legitimizes the use of the sword by the state in Rom. 13:4
    “4 for he
    is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he
    does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer”

    Paul is revealing truth in the context of first century governmental systems. Clearly the state is to punish wrongdoers. Many times that was with death. Paul does not seem to object to that in this passage. It would also seem to include the defense of the people against foreign armies, though that is not specifically mentioned.

    In the intervening centuries things have changed. Now in America we have the right to keep and bear arms. So the principle of defense in made available to the individual. This does not endorse vigilantism, but if you defend yourself against a wrongdoer seeking you harm, then you are at that moment “an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer”. It would be easy to abuse this to justify all manner of individual acts of retaliation, but we have the judicial system as a counter to all of that. So I don’t see self defense as prohibited by scripture.

    It is good to advocate peace, especially within a local community. But even a pacifist community still depends on the sword bearing state to protect them from those who would do violence against them.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      But Jesus clearly says: “Do not resist an evil doer.”

      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

      • Jon Sellers

        So are Jesus and Paul in conflict. Paul resisted by appealing to Caesar when the Jews were seeking to kill him. If he had simply passively accepted their evil plot he would have been killed. True he did not take up arms himself, but he was escorted safely by an armed guard.
        How do we reconcile this. Or do we reject Paul in favor of applying the words of Jesus?

        • John Mark N. Reynolds

          We read Jesus as talking about personal vengeance and Kingdom ideals. Sadly while here, the Kingdom isn’t fully manifest.

          • Jon Sellers

            Yes, but aren’t we to implement the kingdom ideals as best as we can here and now. We are children of the King and are to manifest his kingdom now, even as we await the eschatological fulfillment of ALL of his promises.

            I don’t fault Paul for seeking to preserve his life. But I wonder if the hermeneutics of pacifism would require his action to be condemned?
            Kurt, have your addressed this?

          • Jon Sellers

            Was Jesus himself inconsistent?
            “When Jesus was alive he also did what was necessary to
            preserve his life so
            he could complete his mission. There was a time to lay His life down,
            Jesus knew that time was not yet. Matthew 12:14-15 The Pharisees
            plotted to kill Jesus, so he left the area. Jesus would remove himself
            from
            harms way. He taught to flee to save a life instead of fighting. John
            7:1 Jesus
            avoided an area because the Jews there were waiting to take his life.
            Luke
            4:4:28-30 A crowd tried to throw Jesus off a cliff, but he walked
            through the
            crowd to escape. He did not surrender to the mob and allow this to
            occur. John
            7:30 The Jews tried to seize Jesus in the temple courts, but “no one
            laid a
            hand on him, because his time had not yet come.” In other words, they
            wanted
            to and tried, but were unable because He escaped.”
            From Let us Reason website.

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            Can you “explain” away God ordering warfare, God saying He is a man of War, God using military imagery from Genesis to Revelation, God in the flesh telling his disciples to get weapons, and God in the Flesh cleaning out the Temple with a whip. I guess so. Clever people can explain away almost anything, but good readers take the text seriously. Pacifists do not.

          • JD

            Hiding behind apocalyptic imagery in the OT and Revelation doesn’t excuse us from the clear teachings of Christ on the issue. Love your enemies. Do not resist the evil man. Turn the other cheek. Those that live by the sword will die by the sword.

            Tell me, how do you reconcile violence against your enemy with the definition of love we see in 1 Cor. 13? Is violence patient? Kind? Violence is the result of being provoked, yet love is not provoked. Love doesn’t take into account wrongs suffered. Violence is centered on taking into account wrongs suffered.

            But, the crux of your argument is that since the world is violent, then Christ’s teachings don’t really apply. I disagree. We are to be representatives of His Kingdom here and now.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            Jon… Here’s my view of Romans 12-13…

            Nonviolence 101 – Submit to the Sword, but Do Not Carry One! [Romans 12-13] (part 5) https://shar.es/1uU6RX
            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

  • John Mark N. Reynolds

    To sum up: the fringe group of Christians who are pacifists must reread the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. They must explain away God’s actual commands to fight, His having an army, war images He uses of Himself, commending buying and using swords. All of this to read the ideal of peace and nonviolence in a way they do not read the non-ownership of private property. It is a wooden form of exegesis never consistently applied. It avoids the consensus of the Fathers and Mothers of the Church. It condemns as sinful acts such as the Warsaw uprising that were manifestly proud and noble moments.

    All for an ideal that depends on others not agreeing for survival.

    • JD

      Please explain which of Christ’s teachings you can point to to justify the use of any violence, even in self-defense. Before you type Luke 22:36, read the next two verses which explain why He gave that command. It has nothing to do with self-defense, and everything to do with the fulfillment of prophecy. The command was never meant to be regarding defense, which is only reinforced when Jesus immediately rebukes Peter for using violence in defense of Christ.

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        Sigh. Scratch a progressive and you get a different kinds of fundie.
        No. Jesus did not have a mission where He was going to teach on self-defense. He was here to preach peace and the coming of the Kingdom. I am in favor of peace as the good and ultimate outcome for humankind.
        Sadly, this peaceable Kingdom is both here and not yet.

        • JD

          Why make some personal attack towards me? Progressive…fundie? No. I’m a follower of Christ.

          Jesus taught peace and committed no violence. We are to be imitators of Him. We should also be living out His Kingdom here on earth already, as missionaries of that Kingdom to this lost world. We should represent that Kingdom to this world. You don’t do that by being just like the world. The world should be able to see His Kingdom through us, and that’s not going to happen when we resort to the ways of this world when not doing so would require self-sacrifice.

          We can’t just lower the bar because we think it’s too high. Christ set the bar for us. He taught us how to live. He taught us to love our enemies. Violence is not compatible with love, even in self-defense. Violence is not compatible with the love defined in 1 Cor. 13. We don’t get to just say “well, that’s just unrealistic, so I’m going to change the standard”.

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            No. Our goal is peace. We don’t lower the standard but we also don’t pretend the fullness of the Kingdom has come. Do you own the device you are using to write this? Do you have a mortgage? Did you sign a binding lease on a flat? If do, you are sensibly living between the coming ideal and giving up. Just as we all do with guns…

            As for calling you a progressive, you will note this is labeled a progressive blog on a progressive channel.

          • JD

            But lowering the standard is exactly what you are doing. You are saying, well, the Kingdom isn’t fully here, so we don’t really have to live as though it were. We don’t have to fully live according to Christ’s teachings because the Kingdom has not fully come. That’s exactly what you are saying.

            We are to be imitators of Christ. The Christ that committed no violence. The Christ that cried for the forgiveness of His torturers, not their deaths. The Christ that taught love of enemies. His teachings weren’t just about how we are to live after His return. His teachings were about how we are to live here and now.

            My computer doesn’t kill. My home doesn’t kill. Guns are designed for the purpose of killing. Such a horrible analogy. Nothing in Christ’s teachings would allow for the use of violence. Nothing. If I have simply overlooked something, please let me know. Which teaching of His are you drawing your position from?

            As for your namecalling, yes this is a progressive blog on a progressive channel. A blog that you are also commenting on, but I do not assume you are a progressive or “fundie”. The personal insults (the way you used the terms were clearly meant to be in a derogatory way) aren’t necessary or conducive to a constructive conversation.

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            We are talking about the Christ who speaks of “sheep and goats,” castigates the leaders of His people with harsh language, clears out the Temple with a whip, orders his followers to buy swords, says he has come “not to bring peace, but. .. ” and other strong statements and actions. He is the King seen on a horse as a conquering warrior with a sword coming from his mouth in Revelation. He is the son of God . . . the God who from Genesis forward commands His followers to fight, picks generals, uses war as part of his plan, and helps determine military strategy.
            Jesus came and pointed that he Kingdom was, is, and is coming where total peace will be possible. We can begin to live in that peace now . . .but not fully.

            The analogy with your computer was simply that if you were consistent (you are not) then you would have no physical property. I am now asking you for your house. Give it to me. If you were as literal with our view of “kingdom economics” as you are with self-defense, you would do so.
            In the age to come, there will be no police, no guns, and no PRIVATE PROPERTY. You have (rightly) seen that despite the harm done by private property, it is safest this side of Paradise. In the same way, I long for peace while refusing to pretend that peace is here now in fullness.
            As for insults: fine. I will not call you a progressive. I will not say that taking a command to “turn the cheek” literally is a “fundie” reading, though I don’t know what else to call it.
            I enjoy the dialog and don’t want to stop it.

          • JD

            What’s the point in continuing when you clearly ignore all statements that counter yours? Your understanding of Luke 22:36 is flawed, as it ignores the stated reason for buying swords in the first place.

            We “can’t” live in that peace now because violence is the way of this world. We (Christians), however, are called to be imitators of a Christ that committed no violence. We are called to live out that Kingdom now. The Kingdom is here as Christ lives in us. Let the world resort to the ways of the sword. Christ calls His followers to a higher standard, and we don’t get to lower that standard just because the world refuses to live by it.

            Nothing in Christ’s teachings would remotely allow for the use of violence. Nothing. You are hiding behind apocalyptic imagery to justify the rejection of the clear teachings of Christ Himself.

          • JD

            It is clear that this is going nowhere. As Kurt mentioned, we’re just talking past each other, so there’s really not much point in continuing. I appreciate you taking a slight step back from the personal insults, but I’m not sure what else can be added. I’ll continue to point to Christ’s teachings on nonviolence, and you’ll continue to say that the Kingdom isn’t fully here so we aren’t really bound by those teachings yet. I don’t believe Christ was just describing His Kingdom, but also describing how He wants us to live here and now. You don’t agree with the 2nd half of that sentence, so there’s not much that will change. It’s been enjoyable. Have a great day.

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        So Jesus told His disciples to buy swords. They did and kept them. His followers commended bearing swords later. He told one follower not to fight in one context. From these facts you get pacifism. I suggest that you are forcing the conclusion on the text.

  • JD

    I’ve yet to have anyone actually reconcile the use of violence, even in self-defense, with the actual teachings of Christ. Which teaching are they pointing to in order to justify the belief that violence is justified ever? Luke 22:36, when you ignore context, could appear to do so. Unfortunately, for those that use that verse as justification, the next two verses clearly refute that reasoning as He clearly states why He gave the command to buy swords. Not to mention, when I’ve if His followers did use violence in defense of the innocent, Christ immediately rebuked him by saying those that live by the sword will fire by the sword.

    So, I’m genuinely curious, which of Christ’s teachings are used to justify any use of violence? Did not Isaiah prophesy that He would do no violence? Are we not supposed to be imitators of Christ? If we are to love our enemies, then how is violence compatible with that love. Is violence patient? Kind? Is violence compatible with any aspect of love that we see laid out in 1 Corinthians 13? I’ve asked this question many times, and have never received an answer though. So please, which of Christ’s teachings are being referenced when you try to justify the use of any violence? I see a Christ that teaches enemy love, self-sacrifice, turning the other cheek, exposing the evil of violence with the light of nonviolent sacrificial love. It’s what our entire faith is centered on.

    • JD

      Here are some quotes from early church leaders on this issue. They seem disagree with the Americanized picture of a violence-justifying messiah: http://enemylove.com/40-early-church-quotes-on-violence-enemy-love-patriotism/

      The church’s view on this didn’t really start to shift until the church got into bed with the state and, given the inherently violent nature of the state, the need to reinterpret Christ’s teachings on nonviolence arose.

      • John Mark N. Reynolds

        How do you explain the numerous military Martyrs?

        • JD

          What about them? Were there Christians in the military? Yes. Some of them were executed for refusing to serve any longer. Early church writings, however, are crystal clear on the subject and where the early church leaders stood on the issue of violence/military service.

          • John Mark N. Reynolds

            They were not executed for refusing to serve, they served. They were (mostly) executed for refusing to give to Caesar what belonging only to God or because the local commander hated Jesus.

            There military heroism was often stressed. The problem with cherry picking quotes from some Fathers is that the life of the church well before Constantine contradicts the idea of pacifism. Peace was the ideal. Military service was complicated by Roman paganism, but MANY heroes of the faith served and died for their service.

          • JD

            Cherry picking quotes? Please provide all the quotes from early church leaders praising military service for Christians. I’ve shared links with dozens that state the exact opposite.

            Men like Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Origen, Martin of Tours, Athanasius, Cyprian etc all seem pretty clear on where they stood on military service. They seemed to realize that costumes don’t make killing okay.

  • Eugene Scott

    Kurt: Thanks for posting this. It’s thought provoking. I will probably see the movie. But I have to disagree with you logic here:

    “#1 This is the logical extension of prolife ethics.” No, it is not. Gun ownership is not equal with the murder of innocent babies. If this is a logical extension, then owning anything designed or used for killing should be banned, controlled, and/or registered. This video says we have made guns our gods. This is true for many. But not all. I own guns the same way I own hammers, a home, a car, and other instruments to keep me alive, despite that ultimately my life is in God’s hands. And so have we also made money, the government, tools, etc. our gods. Need we ban these too? If death is the criteria, then governments most of all should be banned because they alone have brought death untold. I fear, like Schenck warns, you have linked a political position with your faith.

    “#4 It trumps political categories!!!!” Again, no. Simply because a conservative holds a liberal position on guns does not mean his (or your ideas) are non-political. And political categories are not bad and therefore need to be trumped. Politics are simply the ideas by which we organize our public and private life. Good and bad. Your politic is pacifism. Good and intelligent people disagree on which ideas are best. Thus we have political parties and categories.

  • Mark

    As a pastor and therapist, I too attempt to practice nonviolence, pro-life practices and love my neighbor and the stranger. The praxis of this incarnated life in my experience can be sometimes not so clear a path. This set of questions below from The USCCA confronted my awareness and got me to look a a wider perspective of what these values mean:

    Would You Rather?

    What would you do if you or your family was violently attacked?
    Would you stand by and hope for the best, or would you do something about it?

    Would you call the police? Would you hide under the bed while waiting for them to come to save your family? Or would you step between the criminal and those you love?
    Would you beg for your life, or would you rely on your fists to fight someone intent on doing you harm? How would you defend yourself if you didn’t have a gun?
    Would you rather die (and your family?) than use a firearm for self-defense?

    So now I have other questions:
    1. Could pro-life mean using a firearm to save my family, or that of a stranger? More so than by allowing a perpetrator to eliminate multiple persons?
    2. Could non-violence be seen as a means of stopping more violence than by doing nothing?
    3. Am I loving my neighbor if I allow an addict under the influence of meth to kill him if I had the opportunity to save his life? Would I be loving his family if I did not take the opportunity to save his life? Would I be loving my family by allowing myself to be killed instead of defending myself?

    Research reveals that law biding citizens who receive training to carry concealed actually save lives. Could that be seen as pro-life?

    One of the problems of the Puritan influence in Christianity in this country originating in the New England states was to build the perfect society “city on the hill” is that it suffers from the disease (or heresy) of perfectionism (Pelagianism). We cannot build a perfect world. To believe so is a distortion of the ego and leans toward Marxist tendencies to use force to control others. If we force someone by taking away their freedom to defend themselves, is this love and non-violence? We can follow Christ and allow him to create his presence within us, but we cannot create a perfect world. “Perfect” (teleos) in scripture means “complete,” not “without error.”