Why Are So Many Christians Worshipping The American Sniper?

Why Are So Many Christians Worshipping The American Sniper? January 22, 2015

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The reaction of many American Christians to the movie of the late Chris Kyle, American Sniper: The Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. History, has been one that should be a major red flag waiving on the Christian landscape in America.

While I’ve been talking about the rampant idolatry that has overcome so much of American Christianity, the fact that so many Christians are blindly worshipping at the altar of Chris Kyle should be something that has us jumping up and down yelling as if this building is on fire– because it is.

Chris Kyle is America’s new hero. The launch of the movie somewhat based upon his killings in the Middle East has propelled him front and center, in a story that nearly everyone has now aware of. In response to the movie, some Christians have dared to question Kyle, and others have outright critiqued him, and the response hasn’t been pretty. I referred to him as a “killer” and was told that folks were burning my book in response, have seen several cases online of Christians who support Kyle’s killing severing relationships with Christians who do not, and overall have seen some really nasty stuff being said toward anyone who does anything other than grovel at the story of America’s deadliest sniper.

Time and time again over the past week one thing in American Christianity has become clear: Chris Kyle is a man to whom we must bow down and worship, and failure to do this is part and parcel to heresy.  

The slightest critique of Kyle is not only met with push-back, but a quick severing of Christian relationship. So much for Jesus’ words of, “By this all people will know you are mine: if you love one another.” Instead, a particular brand of Christianity in our country has replaced those words with, “By this all men will know you are mine: if you have unwavering support for American troops, and don’t ever question people who kill people.”

And this, is a problem. Not just a small problem, but a critical one. Far too many American Christians are caught up into idol worship– whether it’s Chris Kyle, America, or our guns– idol worship is perhaps the most pressing issue facing American Christianity. I call this a critical problem, because if one accepts the inspiration and authority of scripture, idolatry is one of those things that keeps one out of God’s Kingdom.

Idolatry is easy, I get it. I’ve done it. In this case however– and this is why the present Kyle worship is so concerning– many Christians are worshipping something that looks the opposite of Jesus. The fact that so many Christians are caught up in defending a story, a person, and actions that are in direct conflict to both the teachings of Christ, the example of Christ, and the faith as it was established by the early church, is an especially egregious case of idolatry.

Let’s compare for a moment Chris Kyle and Jesus, and see which one we should worship in the end:

The words of Jesus:

“You have heard that it has been said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not fight with the man who wants to fight. Whoever hits you on the right side of the face, turn so he can hit the other side also… You have heard that it has been said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate those who hate you.’ But I tell you, love those who hate you.  Pray for those who do bad things to you and who make it hard for you. Then you may be the sons of your Father Who is in heaven.

“Put away your sword! Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

The example of Jesus:

The example of Jesus is one of the most beautiful in all of human history: he loved his enemies so much that he allowed himself to die at their hands before he was willing to harm them in any way.

The words and example of Jesus should be of the highest regard for the Christian. Jesus taught that if we are truly his disciples that we’ll obey what he taught (love enemies, do not use violence against them) and John goes on to say that “The one who says he belongs to Christ should live the same kind of life Christ lived.” (1 John 2:6)

Now, we all know the example of Chris Kyle– he didn’t love his enemies at all. In fact, the only reason why we are even talking about him today out of all of the other military members who have served, is because he was especially good at killing people. That’s what he’s famous for: Kyle was exceptionally good at killing his enemies. This is an example that stands in stark contrast to Jesus– it’s actually as opposite of an example as one could ever find. Let’s combine that with the words of Kyle, and see how they match up to Jesus:

““Another question people ask a lot: Did it bother you killing so many people in Iraq? I tell them, “No.” And I mean it. The first time you shoot someone, you get a little nervous. You think, can I really shoot this guy? Is it really okay? But after you kill your enemy, you see it’s okay. You say, Great. You do it again. And again. You do it so the enemy won’t kill you or your countrymen. You do it until there’s no one left for you to kill. That’s what war is.”

“I only wish I had killed more… I loved what I did. I still do. If circumstances were different – if my family didn’t need me – I’d be back in a heartbeat. I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun.”

So here’s the deal: if you completely remove Christianity from the equation and pretend that Jesus never existed (or just pretend that Jesus was some sort of fraud) Kyle was a brave man who maybe even was a hero. He helped us slaughter our enemies and kept our oil prices low, and for that, the American Empire thanks him. However, for a Christian, this is not the standard we go by– we are followers of Christ!

As for the Christ follower, we must not see a man who’s actions should be celebrated or emulated– we instead see a man who disagreed with everything Jesus stood for, and lived a life that was the complete opposite of the way Jesus lived his.

So let me be clear: if you are severing relationships with fellow Christians who are questioning the actions of Chris Kyle (actions we’ve demonstrated were in opposition to Jesus) you might have an idolatry problem– because you are rejecting the command to love one another so that you can be loyal to an American hero who looks nothing like the Christ we supposedly follow.

And while I have your attention, join me on the Peacemaker Tour! You can join me Feb 6-8 for an intensive weekend of nonviolence training and learning how to turn guns into garden tools. Or, catch me Sunday, February 8th at Beth-El Mennonite Church in Colorado Springs at 5pm. Tickets for both events are here!

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  • Having been a missionary in Germany for 10 years, I now understand how futile being patriotic is. For me it has become another form of idolatry. I no longer understand my homeland, the United States. Your words here reinforced what I have come to realize. Thank you for showing us that it is okay to question blind patriotism.

  • One critique: when you say that American Christianity has changed Jesus’ words to “By this all men will know you are mine: if you have unwavering support for American troops, and don’t ever question people who kill people,” I would alter it to “don’t ever question people who kill people in the name of America.” There’s plenty of allowance for questioning those who kill people, just as long as those people we’re questioning are viewed as “the enemy.”

  • Josh

    Meanwhile, millions worship and adhere to the tenets of organized religion. Can we have a conversation that sole leaders called “pastors” are not even biblical?

  • Heather

    This is related: I came across, twice, an article about an old comment Eastwood made toward Michael Moore about killing him if he comes to his home. The Tea Party page posted it as if Eastwood recently made the comment, just to stir up some anger. I copied and pasted many of the comments and posted today about the “values and faith” political parties’ responses to this whole debacle. Here are the quotes of Tea Party-ers on Eastwood’s quote on killing Moore:

    “Wow those two faces. Clint (Eastwood) looks like a chiseled killer. And (Michael) Moore looks like a beach whale gasping for air.”

    “I’ll buy the bullets!”

    “I hope I’m a witness so I can swear it was suicide.”

    “Moore is a piece of garbage”

    “God bless Clint Eastwood. Hope Moore shows up.”

    “just hose him down with raid, works great on cockroaches.”

    “I’ll buy Moore the plane ticket and Clint can borrow my gun”

    “Please Clint do. This piece of liberal trash needs to be taken out to the curb.”

    “Would not miss Michael Moore.”

    “He isn’t worth killing, let him die from his next big Mac attack!”

    ” Use the 44 magnum and make our day”

    “To bad Michael Moore wasn’t in the sites of Chris Kyle. What a total waste of humanity he’s a ugly fat slob.”

    ” I’m with you Clint. I want to watch him cry.”

    “Better yet, cover him in bacon, and roll in out on the streets to the islams. Let them take care of him.”

    “Will God answer prayers for someone to have a heart attack?”

    ” Well michael your a donut eating pos that dont deserve the same air I breathe.”

    “Good, No one should be able to call them (soldiers/snipers/troops) cowards.” (I think this one has America confused with North Korea, but if that’s what she prefers…)

    ” it would smell like burnt hog for days.”

    “Pleaseeeee Michael go to his door BOOOOOM !!!!!!!!!!!”

    “Does Clint have a harpoon that big?”

    “Beat the fat off this motherfucker”

    “Kill him Harry. Does he feel lucky??? I think not.”

    “I would kill him too hes like the white version of al sharpton!!!”

    “Hes too fat for the bullets to penatrate,how about giving Micheal Moron to the canabals, it will feed them for at least 10 years.”

    “I’d grab Moore by his chins and wrastle his fat a__ to the ground and we’d tallk about American service men and women protecting his sorry fat a _ _ .”

    “I’ll help you get rid of the body, Clint!”

    “Can one of you fine upstanding snipers please do a 1000 yard shot on Moore?”

    “Clint, I’ll hold him for you!”

    “Please show up. Please,please, please.”

    ” Blast that fat Puto, Dirty Harry!”

    “Squeal like a pig you shitty porker.”

    “Please Michael go to his front door with a camera so Clint can shoot you dead!!!!Please!!!”

    “I would buy a ticket to watch that”

    “put that dumb a ¥¥ out of his misery.”

    “one can only hope..but how many shots would it take to bring down that inbred walrus?”

    “S&W Mod 29 .44 Magnum”

    “Ill buy da ammo.”

    “Hey Clint, u may need to trade in that 44 magnum for a 50 caliber to get through all that fat.”

    “Michael Moor needs to go to mexico I hope they torture him for 10 years then shoot him in the head.”

    ” Clint, use your .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow his head clean off.”

    “Let him have it,Clint.Both barrels.”

    ” Michael Moore should have a heart attack and get it over with.”

    “Not worth a bullet. Skin him alive!!”

    “Yea!!!! Some sniper should take out Michael Moore.”

    “The news – there was an unfortunate accident involving a gun…… A fat man was accidentally shot 29 times point blank on mr eastwoods porch – the gun misfired while the fat man was tasting the barrel. Police reports said it was definitely an accident – they could not explain how the weapon was reloaded four times but only said it was an innocent accident.”

    “Moore should be banned from America.”

    “there’s a viral video I’d watch multiple times”

    “Make sure he is killed with an AR-15!”

    ” I say shove more dounuts down his throat.”

    “Now there is something I’d like to see. Clint Eastwood beating Michael Moore to death on his front porch.”

    “Can’t imagine a better way to waste ammunition.”

    “Please commit suicide Michael Moore”

    Not only do we see the glee of murder, but the body size bullying. Pro-life party of morals and faith? Not by this evidence. Makes me nauseous and sad.

  • R Vogel

    Idolatry has always been the problem, hasn’t it?

  • 1captainhooker1

    I’ve never understood how people can idolize blind submission to the state, the handing over of one’s personal freedom to become a cog in a machine in whose bidding you have no say.

  • Thanks, Timothy. I used to live in Germany and really miss it! The other night we found a German restaurant about an hour a way, so I had my first jagerschnitzel in a long time..

  • Unbelievable that certain American Christians are behaving this way. Unbelievable. Good on you for calling them out, Ben.

    From the trailers I got the impression Kyle was portrayed as very wounded, unable to function well back home but maybe I misunderstood.

    Years ago when I was a publicist for a small evangelical company I saw first hand this idol worship. It was quite terrible to see. And I felt the pressure of it as a kid, when my folks didn’t want me to be honest about who I was because I’d spoil my witness, or people didn’t want me to tell my story for the same reason. This idol stuff in evangelicalism, this pretending you’re more holy than you are, has seeped down to the individual level and can have terrible consequences on a person’s or family’s life.

  • Jane

    Question for you: I have purposefully blocked my FB wall of people who would normally worship at the altar of this guy, so I haven’t seen any actual examples of what you’re talking about. I can’t really stomach the idea of going out in search of some, either. Can you share some examples that you’ve seen? Thanks!

  • Brent Hamoud

    A spot-on, unsettling critique of how far many have gone from the basic teachings (and example) of Christ. I anticipate an American Idolatry: Superbowl Edition post next week!

  • Elexa Dawson

    I have lost a lot of sleep over this issue this week. I expressed my distress, and I heard an earful. it did spark a conversation with many who are still trapped in the myth of a violent god. I hope I have argued/presented my heart in a way that’s understood. Thanks for sharing this, it helps me think I might not be as crazy as most other Christians think I am.

  • RustbeltRick

    Evangelicalism has been like this since at least the days of Ron Reagan — incredibly conservative, incredibly simplistic, incredibly nationalistic, incredibly macho, incredibly hawkish.

  • I miss the bread: Over 300 varieties!

  • Herm

    Can we begin to understand what it must be like for our merciful peace loving and living Muslim citizens today in this the good ole’ USA?

    Dr. King called these the triplet evils: racism, militarism and materialism.

    Merry American Snipermas! Let’s all have a patriotic Tea Party in celebration, okay?

    Sorry to interrupt but I have to take a sick day. Fathers don’t take sick days, especially the one in Heaven.

    Thank you, Ben, for your boldness! Peace!

  • Alan Christensen

    It’s sad that so many Christians are oblivious to the idea that glorifying war might possibly be un-Christian.

  • Sherlang

    Wow. That quote by Kyle is staggering. I still would like to see the movie though. I’ve heard from some people the Eastwood does a good job making Kyle a very complex character, not painted as either all good or all bad. If the whole thing is just hero worship of him then I’ll pass. If it shows a complexity and makes me think, I’ll check it out.

  • Chris

    Ben,
    While I haven’t unfriended anyone on social media for their criticism of Chris Kyle, I am a Christian who has considered it in the last week or so. So I guess that means your post was directed at people like me. Please allow me to retort.
    First, your judgement of Christian supporters of Kyle as idolaters is as ungracious as it is faulty. Just because you don’t understand how your siblings in Christ can disagree with you on something shouldn’t lead you to assume some sin on their part and then to subsequently smear them on the web. Someone who subscribes to Christ’s love, as you say you do, might engage that individual rather than passing judgement in a public forum.
    What you fail to understand is that people like me support Kyle, not for all the people he’s killed, but because of the sacrifice he and his comrades made in broken bodies and broken minds and broken families to protect all of us from harm. I’ll be the first person to question the wisdom of the Iraq War, but people like Kyle had no say in any of that. He simply did his best to protect his men when people were trying to kill them. I think that maybe you don’t understand how Kyle’s service could really be about protecting our country because you can’t imagine having your loved ones’ lives really being threatened or something. It’s like those parents that don’t vaccinate their kids because vaccines have made diseases like polio so rare that they’ve lost the fear of its horrible effects.
    What if you found yourself in that movie theater in Aurora CO with your family? Do you think Jesus would prefer the police hurl themselves at the shooter until they subdue him nonviolently? Maybe you think that Jesus would have stood by and let your family die for the sake of the shooter. I don’t.
    So I don’t worship Chris Kyle above Christ. I would just prefer to not be upset by people who dishonor his christ-like sacrifice and then act morally superior for it.

  • incredibly lock stepped into black & white thinking, incredible addicts addicted to everything, father forgive them for they know not what they do!…what happens next? In 70 years maybe less: not one stone left on top of another?

  • Question: if nobody loves one what does one have?
    Answer: propaganda I suppose.

  • Can’t imagine my loved ones being threatened? I bet I’ve faced that more than anyone in this thread.

    And no, his service wasn’t about protecting America– Iraq was never a threat to us. Nothing about it was to protect our country. It was about furthering our interests, but that’s significantly different.

    But, if you think slaughtering people is a “Christ-like sacrifice” I’d really encourage you to check out the New Testament, because there’s nothing Christ-like about it. It’s certainly Roman-like, but not Christ-like unless that term means something completely different that “like Christ.”

  • Herm

    I am a Vietnam vet and I understand “christ-like sacrifice” and it isn’t what Chris Kyle, I, or my beloved and grieved fallen comrades did. We were sacrificed in the name of us against them. This is christ-like from the mouth of Christ according to Dr. Luke:

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
    Luke 14:26-27

  • Erin Knittle

    Jane…Many people on my wall have things like “american hero” with a pic of the sniper guy next to “american zero” with a pic of someone who has criticized him, the movie, or america in general.

  • lollardheretic

    This is a really interesting piece. I do think some well meaning Christians are blurring the line between supporting the man (Kyle) and supporting the ideology, and suggesting that questioning any element at all is a problem. I think one can support a soldier and still question what he did, why he did it, and why it is okay that we (via gov’t) asked him to do it.

    I think there isn’t a lot of question that what he did isn’t Christ like, and his own personal comments are scary, I think, but, in our interactions with soldiers, rejecting them as opposite of Christ is equally problematic on a personal level. Having known some soldiers, ones who most certainly killed people, who were deep Christians, the simple “Christ said to turn the other cheek,” is a kind of simplification that smacks, to me, of “Leviticus [whatever–sorry, long night] says homosexuality is wrong. period.”

    Are all soldiers inherently non-Christan by virtue of joining a military force? (Or are they only if they kill? What if they are cook for the snipers?) I know Kyle is a particularly egregious example, and so the “worship” he’s gotten is very very troubling, and I agree with all of said. I’m just poking a bit at how, as Christians, we cope with the military. Some Christians are absolute pacifists. I get that. I don’t know that I’m one of them. So how do we decide?

  • guadalupelavaca

    If Chris Kyle was unchristian, then every soldier who goes into battle with the intent to kill the enemy is unchristian. They all had the same purpose, to kill other human beings because their country asked them to do so.

  • Erin Knittle

    I have been afraid, for sometime now, to mention in christian circles how I feel about America. I am unpatriotic, I dislike war for personal gain (war in general…but personal gain is the WORST kind of war IMO) I have seen christian leaders whom I respect so much just puff up with pride and patriotism for this specific movie. But these are the same people who think America is a christian nation. Who think AK-47’s are “hunting” rifles (I have been a hunter since age 10 and have NEVER met anyone hunts deer or elk with an assault riffle) and who thinks American lives are worth more than any other life, especially if that life was born to or is an illegal immigrant. It makes me not want to call myself a christian or an American. As a country we are prideful, ignorant, arrogant, self serving, and awful. But Jesus said. Love God. Love Others. so I stay and tell He calls me to go.

  • zb

    One cant expect a pseudo christian kingdom founded on violence and maintained on violence to not celebrate violence. We look like a lamb and speak like the dragon.

  • Falken

    You know what, check your privilege.

    Tying multiple issues together doesn’t make you win an argument. There is no Christ-like sacrifice in taking a life. Killing – and for the sake of argument this will apply to war as well – should be a last resort. It should be that final option when absolutely nothing else works. It should not be done over a lie, over greed, over some family vendetta but because a good man has to go to war because there is an actual evil, an actual threat to peace.

    Notice, I never once said it wasn’t necessary, but that it should be done last. This leads to that unpopular opinion of mine that there shouldn’t be rules. War shouldn’t be sanitized or organized, it should be the biggest horror there is so that people are reminded to do it last. In truth, that makes it truly like those anti-vaccine parents, we’ve spent so much time doing what we can to eliminate the fear.

    There is nothing Christ-like about war. Not any of these questionable ones we’ve been getting into, not even the World Wars or even further beyond that. Even our own Revolution lacked Christ-like attributes due to the blood.

    Soldiers, no offense to anyone, are not heroes they are tools of war. In war, there are no heroes, only victims. And truth be told, it’s hypocritical as all hell that our victims who return home are glorified, given pats on the back and ignored once the praise dies down. They deserve better, we should do better. They deserve more than a twisted movie, they deserve more than just a parade so we can pretend we’re so loyal.

  • guadalupelavaca

    You’re condemning Chris for the sins of men who sent him there. He was a soldier doing his duty, and that duty was to protect other soldiers–the sons, husbands, and fathers of American citizens.

  • NotesFromME

    Nothing we did in Iraq and little that we did in Afghanistan has ANYTHING to do with protecting this country, on the contrary. Our actions exacerbated the problem of religious extremism in the Middle East and terrorism metastasized and spread like a pathogen from Nigeria to Indonesia. In that, Bin Laden achieved his stated goals of bankrupting the US and enraging the Muslim population against the US and US interests across the world.

    It is one thing to honor those who saved the lives of their fellow soldiers through acts of heroism at the risk of their own life, quite another to idolize a killer who loves killing. Killing is always a part of war, but it has always been a point of honor NOT to relish it and brag about it. It has always been a part of the shame of being in combat, no matter how just the cause. In this case there is no justice in the cause. The people of Afghanistan and Iraq did not attack the US, a group of Saudis did, financed by Saudi money.

    The story is filled with lies, and the sociopathic killer at the center of it is a disgrace. He has told some horrific lies about his other experiences, and fleeced well meaning people out of millions that they were told would go to veterans. The money went into his own pockets. The fact that so-called Christians idolize him is a sad commentary on the bloody mindedness of culture warriors who see every dead Muslim as a cause to celebrate instead of a human tragedy. After all those who were killed were defending their homes against foreign invaders.

    The author of this article is quite correct–far too many American Christians are idolators who worship at the altar of nationalism, militarism, capitalism, and a fundamentally un-Christian political ideology, but not at the throne of grace. They do not follow the clearly stated values of the Savior of humankind, the Prince of Peace. There is no anxious concern for the plight of the poor, the aged, the orphans, the sojourners, the lost, the sick, or the prisoner. They value everything the Lord stood against.

    As a veteran and a Christian I am appalled that someone so despicable is so honored by people who pay lip service to being Christians but daily demonstrate that they do not follow Him, much less adhere to what he clearly taught.

  • Yes, of course ever soldier who goes into battle with the intent to kill is un-Christian. Christian means “little Christ” and Christ taught to love enemies– not kill them. So, yes, you’re right– killing your enemies is always an un-Christian thing to do. All of the original Christians for the first 300 years of Christianity agree with you.

  • Well, the behavior of killing enemies is always un-Christian, that’s one of the black and white lines Jesus drew. But it’s true that we can’t judge an individual solider as we don’t know their heart and don’t know their level of culpability in that sin. It’s the same with any other sin, whether lying, sexual, stealing or whatnot– it’s okay to call it a sin, but we can’t judge the individual culpability in that sin.

    I myself am retired armed forces– what I did was very un-Christian. However, at the time I had no idea that following Jesus meant we actually had to follow Jesus, I had many compulsory reasons that compelled me to join them military, a lot of nationalistic brainwashing, etc. I think God would have had mercy on the old me. However, that still doesn’t mean that my actions were wrong, and I think it’s okay to say that those actions were wrong.

  • Nope, never condemned him. Only God knows why he did it. But you can still call the behavior wrong. Conservatives do it all the time to gay people, but the minute I do it to a soldier I’m told that I “shouldn’t judge”. It’s hypocritical. I’m calling the behavior wrong, and saying that he shouldn’t be adored and held up as a role model– because he shouldn’t.

  • Chris

    Let’s see… so Kyle was a sociopath, a liar, a murderer, and a master manipulator out to dupe millions to quench his thirst for greed. Meanwhile bloodthirsty Christians dance to stories of innocent Muslims being slain in defense of their homes and laugh at the tears of lame orphans everywhere. That’s quite a caricature. You write excellent propaganda. Bravo.

  • Chris

    Check my privilege? What does that even mean?

    There are many things that resemble Christ in war. First and foremost is the willingness to sacrifice one’s self for family, for one’s countrymen, for one’s friend. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Then there is courage like Christ showed in Gethsemane. Mercy shown to the captives. Protection granted to the innocent. etc. etc.

    Can all of these things be screwed up? Of course. But you could say the same of any human endeavor. I’ll be the first to agree that war isn’t necessarily good, but it isn’t necessarily evil either. One thing is for certain. Without our armed forces drawing a line in the sand and keeping our adversaries at bay, this country would not exist as we know it.

  • Matthew

    I live across the pond as well Timothy and I have drawn a similar conclusion. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Chris

    Ben, do you believe that all killing is murder?

  • Falken

    It means before you go foaming at the mouth about someone’s family being threatened or a whole list of things you don’t know about them, you should probably pause.

    And no, there is not one thing Christ-like about war. Christ is better than human, and when humans engage in war we become less than human for a bit. Truth be told it’s been a long time since our force have been used to keep “adversaries” at bay. If it they had been, the first war wouldn’t have been towards a country we’ve just had barely contained contempt for and possibly towards the countries that actually harbored people who struck at us. Retributive, I know, but it makes more sense than lying about it and pretending the war was such a noble cause.

    As far as the captives go, I believe Ben’s already done a post on the torture report. Let us also not forget Guantanamo. None of these things look like the mercy we’re supposed to be showing. None of these things are us “being the good guys” like people occasionally delude themselves. We’re not the good guys, we’re not the bad guys. We’re just the guys – women included.

    This country needs a lot more than military might to survive, so it was never in any real danger of falling. Even still, a country as young as ours may not take as long as say Great Britain to dismantle but we wouldn’t simply fall to pieces. There’s a time to fight, there’s a time to talk. So far, there’s just government jumping to fight and trying to cover it up with talk to make it appear justified. And there is nothing that can ever justify war, nothing can ever justify the loss of life on that scale, nothing can ever justify the sheer destruction it unleashes on this giant rock so many of us call home.

    As I said, the option that seems more in keeping with Christ, is to go as long as one can without killing. It is a last option. Not a third. Not a second. Most definitely not a first. It is the absolute last choice you make when you truly have no other options. Unfortunately, true to our current state, there’s just too much laziness to put much more effort into anything other than lip service before killing.

  • Tothe

    People worship The State in place of God. When you start putting men and their edicts on the throne of the Most High, you’re inevitably bound for theological confusion.

  • Terry Firma

    Shouldn’t you then refer to your own military career in a piece like this? I believe you’ve written about it on your blog before, but a link and a quick reference would be relevant and instructive.

    Given your changed attitude towards soldiers and killing, how do you feel about cashing your monthly check from the military, and about the health care that I think you receive based on your years of service among our nation’s fighters? I think that’d be a great topic for a post! ;-)

    EDIT: This isn’t meant in some ‘gotcha’ sort of way. I’m genuinely curious.

  • Terry Firma

    There’s truth in what you write, but not (much) in the narrative about the U.S. response to 9/11 being responsible for all the Muslim enmity we’ve gotten. As if Islamic terrorism wasn’t a concern before 2001… Remember the first WTC bombing? An intense hatred of the West was built right into the founding principles of radical Islam, 75 years ago. See for yourself, and read Lawrence Wright (a Pulitzer Prize winner) — specifically his book The Looming Tower.

  • Matthew

    Admittedly I have not read the book nor seen the movie. However I have read about the movie and I did watch the trailer. He (Chris Kyle) seems to be a struggling man emotionally speaking living in a complex, broken environment. As much as it is good and noble to renounce violence and call out those committing it in the name of “empire”, our hearts should also go out to Chris. We have no idea what he may have been struggling with and how those struggles affected him. Lord have mercy.

  • War isn’t necessarily evil? Have you ever seen it?

  • Sure. I guess I assume most folks know that I was career military, but I should probably re-disclose on pieces like this. I’ve definitely felt conflicted at times for the retirement, but never the healthcare because of my heath issues that are service connected. We can chat sometime when I’m up, and can share more than I am interested in doing publicly.

  • guadalupelavaca

    When conservatives condemn gays they condemn all gays, not just one. You are singling out Chris’ conduct. If Chris is wrong, then all soldiers who go to war to kill the enemy is wrong. Chris is no different than them. Also, I think everybody should read the book before honoring or criticizing him. The book is Chris’ own words. The movie is a hollywood rendition of Chris. As all things hollywood, it is not necessarily real. I’ve read the book and seen the movie, and they are different. Don’t judge a book by its movie.

  • Andrew Barloq

    I imagine that a lot of soldiers don’t actually expect that they will have to do any killing when they join the military, it’s sort of a far-off issue in the distance that they’ll deal with when they get there. The vast majority people in the military don’t even end up killing anyone and I imagine it’s actually a minority in an actual war who get any kills.

    I’d recommend reading On Killing, it’s an interesting book about the psychology of killing. It strikes me as inaccurate at times, but it certainly gives you a different mindset to analyze people like Chris Kyle. His comments about finding killing “fun” are actually covered in that book and are quite chilling to read.

  • Chris

    As a matter of fact, I have.

  • Chris

    I’m a little confused… So there’s a time for fighting yet doing so is less than human and can never be justified?

    Also, with regard to captives, you can’t judge American treatment of detainees based on a single instance. You have to consider how every enemy combatant is treated when taken off the battlefield. America’s enemies behead their captives btw. Without a doubt America has gotten it wrong many times, but we get it right more than we don’t. I would even argue that the cases of Abu Graib & CIA enhanced interrogation demonstrate that fact. We sent the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib to prison for their crimes and the US government took it upon itself to disclose the errors of enhanced interrogation (torture) in order to purge those immorality practices from our society. Even how we deal with our national sins shows that these crimes are not part of our national character.

  • John

    Hi Ben, I think you have missed the real threat here, which thankfully a few diligent people have pointed out… the real threat is Holywood’s conspiracy to hide Chris Kyle’s deep Christian faith http://www.christiantoday.com/article/american.sniper.movie.criticised.for.neglecting.chris.kyles.faith/46341.htm

  • paganheart

    I wish I could upvote this about 1,000 times. Thank you for your service, and for what you so correctly said here.

  • paganheart

    I like the way one of my cousins, an Iraq War vet himself, put it: “The best thing this country could do to help veterans is to quit making so #$%@&^* many of them.”

  • Rick Williams

    Very well stated. It is nearly unbelievable that people can claim, with a straight face, that attacking these Afghanis and Iraqis in their own lands somehow makes us safer. It’s even more ridiculous that we can claim to be Christians while we cheer these people on. Anyone in the military who believed what we did was immoral could have resigned, but we know very few have done that.

    And don’t confuse me for a pacifist, for I would defend innocents with deadly force if necessary. My definition of “necessary” differs greatly from our politicians.

  • Shiphrah99

    Brunswick?

  • Yup!

  • gimpi1

    “Also, with regard to captives, you can’t judge American treatment of detainees based on a single instance. You have to consider how every enemy combatant is treated when taken off the battlefield. America’s enemies behead their captives btw.

    I feel you’re making a logical mistake here. You’re wanting to have Americans treated as individuals, not judged based on the actions of a group that they may or may not be part of, yet you lumped everyone fighting against us into one inaccurate “American’s enemies” statement of condemnation. Not all “America’s enemies” engage in the terrorist brutality you describe, only a small minority do.

    To expect to be regarded as an individual while lumping others together is not consistent. I mention this because you have, to my eye, made several similar, inconsistent statements, holding your countrymen to a different standard than you hold your adversaries to. Were you aware of this?

  • James

    Jesus is God. As such, He has killed many and when He comes back He will kill BILLIONS. I do not think this is a critique of Kyle as much as its sour grapes some have been offended at this author not thinking Kyle did good things

    Awefully easy to sit back in your chair and critique a soldier in war. You have that ability by what this man DID in war. You should be thanking him but your liberal agendas are more important.

    Talk about idols.

  • Jane

    Ew. Okay. Thanks!

  • guadalupelavaca

    It’s kind of funny that in the media the only people who are debating whether Chris Kyle was a good guy or a bad guy are middle aged white males. I wonder if you people realize how irrelevant you are becoming in this country. You had your day.

  • Falken

    I feel like screaming in joy. We should stop making more – save for those few times when it is absolutely necessary – since we do a piss poor job of taking care of the ones we have.

  • Falken

    Yes, there is a time for fighting and it can’t be justified. We’ve come up with plenty of conundrums in this country and this faith so far, yet that seems to be the one least tolerated. When you make fighting unjustifiable it becomes a final sanction. When you accept it, when you glorify it, it becomes the first tool you use.

    And yes, you can judge by a single instance. A single instance when someone is unguarded, a single instance in which they have the power, a single instance where they can truly show how much more humane we are and we messed up immensely. You never judge a man when he’s at his best, you judge him when he’s at his worse. Beheading is death, death is a lot swifter than torture and humiliation while pretending we’re better because we haven’t killed.

    What makes it part of our national character is that so many people didn’t see anything wrong with it. It didn’t matter to them the techniques were inhumane, it didn’t matter that most of the information acquired was useless, dated, or an outright lie just to make the pain stop.

  • Neil

    Apparently Benjamin is referring to political conservatives and “Christian” fundamentalists. I don’t know any theologically conservative followers of Jesus, like Billy and Franklin Graham, Tim Keller, John Piper, Rick Warren and other prominent Christian leaders with a Biblical worldview that would support a sniper’s or any others’ intent to kill, especially innocent civilians. There should be a separation between the world and Jesus followers. When Jesus was arrested and bought before Pilate, He told Pilate that He is not of this world. Paul the Apostle also tells His followers to be separate from the world (its view and system). The Church can stand up, speak out and try to influence about what we see as Christ’s views, but we need to remain separate and let the world carry on. But I wonder…who objected to the assassination of bin Laden? Where is the fine line for protecting the innocent from admitted aggressors? Did anyone condemn, Dietrich Bonhoeffer for attempting to assassinate Hitler? Or would Mr. Corey condemn Bonhoeffer?

  • Chris

    Racism. Nice.

  • the merciful part for me right now is your insight into the complexity and opportunity to have empathy instead of simple deadly judgement. I am especially concerned for those continuing to read this comment board who, like myself, are looking for a little advancement of light into the kingdom of god.

  • Matt

    When Christ said to “turn the other cheek”, he did not mean for Christians to refuse to defend themselves. It is a metaphor about how to treat someone who insults you. The disciples of Jesus carried swords with them as a means to protect themselves and their few possessions. Christ never once said for Christians to never defend themselves; in turn, Chris Kyle was defending our country. If you don’t take the fight to the enemy, they will bring it to you. To say that the things Kyle did were un-Christian is a gross misunderstanding of both our present situation and the teachings of Christ. Sometimes Christians have to kill. To simplify a complex situation like this is wrong and misleading. You have a bigger picture to look at my friend.

  • Lee Martin

    How about critiquing the points he’s making instead of just basically calling the author a liberal traitor and calling it a day?

  • tmselden

    I am not into this Chris Kyle thing but am aware of its popularity and excuse for verbal battle. While I am impressed with your qualifications, I am struck by your obvious anger and vitriol with those with whom you don’t agree. I sense a little leftover “fundie” working in you. I would suggest that many of whom you speak are not true Christians. It is a trend which many are following to make a noise. In a month, it will be something else. It has been since the beginning of time that man worships man and no more prevalent than what is going on in our churches today. I have seen as much idol worship inside the four walls of a church as outside the church. We all have issues to work on. If we have any spare time apart from that, I say go for the throat.

  • Bilbo Skaggins

    I’m telling the teacher!

  • Guy Norred

    Many did object to the assassination of bin Laden–I among them. As to Bonhoeffer, his involvement in the assassination attempt is questioned (Ben actually wrote a post on this a month or so ago for that matter), and I would suspect that he would condemn the action if not the man (in much the same way that he seems to do with Kyle here), though of course I cannot know his heart.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/no-dietrich-bonhoeffer-didnt-try-to-kill-adolph-hitler/ He has already written about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Just an FYI in case you’re interested

  • I feel like Chris Kyle isn’t the real central figure in all of this. How could anyone say it is fun to kill and they wish they killed more without something inside them being fundamentally broken? There is so much more to this than just one man. I don’t believe he should be put on a pedestal, but I also don’t think his memory should be flogged in the town square. The whole debate just makes me incredibly sad.

  • Falken

    Technically he did. Seems like liberals and gays are the only ones with agendas in their mind.

  • Falken

    No. No one in that position deserves to be put on a pedestal or flogged in public. However, people in that position deserve help. For all those who scream out how much he and others have done for their country doesn’t their country owe it to them to help them?

  • Thanks for the clarification on Matthew 5. I had forgotten that “turn the other cheek,” “do not respond with violence to an evildoer,” “love your enemies” and all that jazz was just metaphor, but that’s helpful to know (but I’m really pissed at all my seminary professors now that I realize they were idiots). I had also forgotten about Jesus and his disciples using weaponry to protect their few possessions from potential thieves- thanks for that, I had missed it.

    I just can’t believe all this time that I had such a gross misunderstanding of the scriptures. I feel bad though, because it looks like the entire original Christian church also grossly misunderstood, since for the first 380 years of Christianity, they all made the same, foolish mistake to think that “loving your enemy” actually meant loving your enemy. Gosh, it even got a ton of them killed. It’s so tragic that they died as nonviolent martyrs simply because missed the footnote about all that nonviolent enemy love Jesus talked about being just some strange metaphor for who knows what.

    I wish someone could go back in time and correct them, and remind them of that time when Jesus said, “That was metaphor you idiots! Quick, take out your swords– sometimes Christians just have to slaughter their enemies! For if we do not kill with the sword, we’ll end up getting killed by the sword!” before he led his disciples in the revolt.

  • Neil

    @mypostadoptionlife:disqus – Thank you!

  • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

    Sometimes, it’s just passion.

  • Neil

    @guynorred:disqus – I had heard that many objected to bin Laden’s assassination. I don’t know of any follower of Jesus that celebrated even though many others did. I heard of no evangelical (as originally defined by the National Association of Evangelicals under the leadership of Dr. James Boice, the founder and first President) teaching that we should celebrate killing, but to instead pray for the POTUS and all government leadership as the Bible directs us. Much, not all, of what is represented as done in Jesus’ name is not by His disciples, but those who are labeled as such by the Media. So I think Benjamin’s reaction is to mostly heretical, cultural or cafeteria “Christians”, e.g. many who support hate towards races and sexual orientations or those who simply think that Jesus was a hippie preaching only love and peace. Since we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, I’m not sure a secular government could make an ethical decision other than seeking an outcome for “the greater good”. No Biblical Christian should have it in his or her heart to intentionally kill (murder). But the only rationale I can conclude is, since God is pro-life, He would rather the innocent be protected over the guilty.

  • Kevin Thomas

    What’s a “Biblical” Christian? Is it a Biblician? Is there some sort of quadrality where the Bible is raided to the level of Father Son and Holy Spirit?

  • Kevin Thomas

    Nope–Jesus doesn’t kill anyone… Jesus shows us a better way…

    There is a lot of imagery in revelation…. And on the surface it looks like Jesus uses violence when He comes back but the opposite is actually true.
    Greg Boyd expresses it beautifully:

    http://reknew.org/2014/03/how-revelation-uses-violent-images-in-an-anti-violent-way/

  • Kevin Thomas

    Meshing the two Kingdoms…

  • Kevin Thomas

    Huh?

  • Kevin Thomas

    War is patently evil–Show me where Jesus showed/said anything close to making violence a moral endeavor.

  • Neil

    A Biblical Christian is one who uses systematic theology to interpret scripture. It’s a system of theology the Church fathers used to determine which scripture is canonical and apocalyptical.

    .

  • Kevin Thomas

    Ahhh… thanks…. Would using a cruciform hermeneutic to help illuminate and explain old testament violence and the character of God make me a “Biblical” Christian?

    http://reknew.org/2014/12/when-god-is-revealed/

  • FactoryGuy

    Lost in the discussion is the truama that years of war places on the mind of those who fight it. Chris, like so many others, joined with the intention of making the world safer when the war itself was a profit/political motivated event. Soldiers returned from seeing the horrors of war were not given the needed services to decompress from the atrocities they were witness to. And many of those who didn’t serve may suffer from a feeling that they should have signed up. Enter Hollywood who sanitizes the reality of war and the disconnect occurs. With out seeing the real life mayhem one cannot get the gist of what war is about, and those who did are now trying to deal with a nighmare that only their comrades in arms can fully understand. Chris Kyle was someone who answered the call and paid the price as so many others have done. Only if we prevent future conflicts fought on purely profit motives will they have not sacrificed in vain.

  • Hannah

    I think that was a poorly written response. Woudn’t responding with love be a better way to prove your point?

  • Artistree

    Matt,
    If you read where Christ tells his disciples to buy a sword, he goes on later in the chapter to teach them in a very visible way by Peter’s fleshly behavior that they are to realize that whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword.

    Tertullian said, and all the Early Church Fathers echo him,
    “How will the Christian man participate in war? In fact, how will he serve even in peace without a sword ? For the Lord has taken the sword away…..the Lord, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier…..Is it lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword will perish by the sword”.

    At Jesus’ trial, “Jesus answered,’My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36

    ” For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. For our weapons are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” 2 Corinthians 10:3,4.

    “We who formally murdered one another now refrain from making war even upon our enemies.”
    Justin Martyr 160 AD

  • Kevin Thomas

    There isn’t one time that Jesus advocated violence not one. He talked a lot about loving one’s enemies, turning the other cheek and loving self sacrificially. As for me I follow Jesus

  • Kevin Thomas

    Really? The L word again….it’s so tiresome…

  • BlessedInIndiana

    Perhaps, but not always. G-d loves us, but allows suffering, metes out punishments galore, and you would never question His love, right? The use of sarcasm, here, denotes a lack of respect for someone’s argument, and that has nothing to do with the Pollyanna-ish notion of how we should approach others with “love.” A lack of respect for an idea as abhorrent as the justification of the mass murder of this decade’s chosen “enemy,” after running it through the lens of Christ’s words doesn’t seem poorly written, merely poorly received. When Jesus was tossing the tables of merchants and money changers at the temple, would you have asked Him to respect them, to treat them with more “love?” No, they were defiling the holiness of the place. Benjamin is making the argument that the “Christians” – who idolise the unholy actions of this man above the teachings of the Lord by misrepresenting and misunderstanding those words to fit their idolatry – are unChrist-like, and this man embodies that argument. He is taking the Lord’s name in vain by misrepresenting His message. Sarcasm is appropriate.

  • BlessedInIndiana

    When you revel in the slaughter of men, your Christian faith cannot be deemed “deep.” Please see the words of the Christ for a guide to Christian living.

  • More pointedly, the part where he says to buy a sword, he has just finished saying that two of his disciples will betray him. They report that there are two swords among them and he says “that is enough.” Two swords, two betrayers. Nah, this couldn’t possibly be significant.

  • Matthew

    What kind of advancement of light are you looking for charlesburchfield? I´m afraid I didn´t understand that last part of your comment.

  • BlessedInIndiana

    Because Chris is the topic of the movie, which is the device used to illustrate the greater message that all of this idolising of violence committed by single or whole armies of soldiers is anti-Christian. Chris wrote that the killing was “fun,” and regardless of how he came to that place, he continued to live from there, and if those words were uttered by a Russian, Yemeni, or Talibani fighter, they would be decried as inhuman beasts deserving of death. Chris was a tool, bent and broken. He was a man, flawed and fragile. He was a giggling baby and a man who enjoyed killing other men. We are all complex people, but that does not excuse monstrous actions or the canonisation of a killer.

  • when i read comments i look & listen for the holy spirit in the words. i think it is so fascinating how the spirit moves! also the most intriging thing about this activty i share w/ everyone who participates is that it is apparent to me that there is a community that is in recovery from the darkness of the world system & is realy experiencing the transforming power of the truth jesus told us about. this is the ‘light’ & i think the ‘advancement’ follows day by day as i seek, & you seek & we all seek to do the next right thing. i feel that some ppl’s posts bless. some, however, show that ppl are stuck in an in between space that stiffels the spirit and the flow goes nowhere. that, too, is good information. i have seen it over and over & can recognize it as a pattern, a stronghold and i can pray for deliverance. that is probly why i’m seeing it: not to judge and condemn but to ask, in faith, for mercy.

  • Natalie

    What can you say about war….? Without the soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen etc…we would have no defense. I don’t know if these are Christians gushing over Kyle. I don’t know enough about the man to make a sound judgment.

  • Natalie

    Ben, what say you about the book of Joshua?

    He loved the Lord, and fought against enemies of Israel…as in FOUGHT and killed.

  • BlessedInIndiana

    I am not Ben, obviously, but I will point out that Joshua never heard the words of Christ, was not a party to the new Covenant, was not a Christian by any stretch of the imagination. He lived almost 1,300 years before Jesus. Forgetting that opens up a whole mess where some Christians feel that they can side-step Christ or go over His head, when really they seek justification for actions clearly condemned by Jesus.

  • Natalie

    Christ is God; therefore he did hear the Lord. Joshua fought against enemies of the Lord, enemies that God commanded for Joshua and his army to kill.

    There is a difference between killing and murdering. Soldiers are meant to protect our country, without the military this nation would have been in twice the chaos than what we have now. Turning the other cheek is often misunderstood. We only have two cheeks to turn. After that, decide if you will fight for your life or not.

  • Mick

    I think Ben has an idolatry problem , its called my opinion trumps yours . Since when is going to a movie an idolatry problem ? Attacking our vets after the returned from Vietnam was quite common , it seems to be making a comeback . The man obviously had PTSD . Because of Kyle many people , black , white and brown are alive today , many are able to help others , have a chance to meet our Lord . Because he does not live up to Bens expectations or his measurement of what a Christian is suppose to be is really unimportant , we as Christians should be concerned about measuring OURSELVES to Christ . What is next not going to Selma because King messed around and cheated on his life . Would that mean Christians were supporting sexual perversion .. Good grief .

  • Mick

    So Kevin did you see Selma yet ? Are you going because you know King cheated on his wife . If you follow Jesus you would not want to support that , the way King handled the stress and anxiety of leadership caused him to fail . Wow , how about following Jess and show a little love and compassion for a guy who went to Iraq in service for his country , who used violence and what he was taught to stop terrorist , bad people from killing his friends , innocent civilians . If you believe that Christ wants you not to defend your wife , child or friends from being murdered , maybe raped , and not use violence to stop them . That is one thing , and If God has called you to do it , Do it brother . But to suggest someone else has to do nothing also is in no way following Jesus . Nope .

  • Mick

    Really ? Mass murder . Idolizing a soldier fighting terrorism ? Tell me do you idolize Martin Luther King because he cheated on his wife , or should I just explain to everyone that is why you like his story . , Because you seem to speak for others beliefs and perceptions a lot ., should we jot just speak for yours . Or is that not being sarcastic enough to meet your requirements ? Your right the tables would be over turned with such a righteous support against mass murder . yes those American boys were just going over there and looking for innocents to gun down .
    . So if a bunch of thugs were murdering your friends , you choose not to stop them . Ok , if that’s your understanding and Jesus tells you to do that , sarcasm and all . If your friends were being murdered , children and family being attacked , raped you just turn the cheek , let them be mauled , not call the cops because they are just mass murderers too . What gets me are the likes who think that because the Lord spoke to them , we all have to go by their brand and perceptions , cults get started that way … , of what God told them that the scriptures mean . pray
    Your form of Christianity has no Love but much self righteousness . . You rather have your own family for your righteousness , amazing how you have survived all of these years , to live in this culture it is because of the lives who have sacrificed before you . A Hypocrite takes the protection given and then complains about it when it is done for others . Must be nice to be you . .

  • Mick

    So lets see , your family is being attacked , children wife assaulted , you stand by and act as though the First Century Church would act in “your ” opinion . Let your kids dies , let your wife just dies , not call the police because they use violence or the threat of violence . To actually say Jesus would want to tell you to sit by and let your wife and family die with out doing everything as a MAN should do to protect his family and wife is nothing I can find in the scriptures Interesting do you take all scriptures literlay , or just the ones you like to impose on others . Because the Lord would not want you hating those people that most Men would attempt to stop from hurting your family or friend , but using out of context scripture justify your condemnation and judgment on others protecting life is a stretch , including the First Century Church . . But say Jesus tells you this to not do anything , be a pacifist . , Ok , I support you , and wow as a Christian I sure would try my hardest to be their for you Mr . Sarcastic because living with that knowing you could have stopped those murders , plus the lost of family would be hard, perhaps impossible for many of us to get over . But you suggesting others have to believe what you do , that is just sad, perhaps even a little cultish .

  • Mick

    Find it hard for any one Loving the Lord murdering anyone then justifying it . But pacifism is something different , this means you would allow you own family to be murdered and you would not prevent if you could . That’s not the traditional understanding in how scriptures are understood , its been understood that the Lord was concerned about hearts , that we love our neighbor , and God first . That we not to attack someone out of hate or anger . Big difference then doing what God gave us an instinct to do like defending your wife , neighbor friend , and stopping evil from going on to the next town and the next . , This is not just with Evangelicals , but Catholics , Protestants and most beliefs don’t accept pacifism , or does the OT . . Taking this scripture of turning the cheek literally would mean not to get your family the heck out of there could also be said , it sounds like a liberal ideological understanding inserted into religion , Having a relationship with Christ is what the Bible helps us with , using it as a rule book and omitting some rules and supporting others is not what the church should be all about . I intend to see Selma and the Sniper . Went to see Un Broken and it was a great movie about perseverance , loyalty , , friendship , and eventually Faith in God that helped over come anger and forgiveness . Since when do we allow movies to define us ?

  • Matthew

    Thanks charlesburchfield.

  • Probably. Caught me in a weak moment.

  • Strawman– you’re throwing out things I didn’t say, and then attacking them. But no, I’m not cultish because I believe what every Christian who founded Christianity believed. It seems strange and radical in America, but that’s just because America has often only been exposed to a gunned up version of Jesus. The real one is more radical, and following him is costly.

  • Yes, the book does say that. However, we do know a few things: the book was written after the post-Babylonian exile, so they were writing about things in their past, and using them to shape their present. We know from archeology that those conquests didn’t happen- I think only 2 of the cities show any type of military engagement at that time. Thirdly, these were people who saw God as very violent, something Jesus corrects as well as the authors of the NT who show us that Jesus is the only image of God, and that the old portraits of God were just “shadows” designed to point to Christ.

  • The Iraqi people were not evil terrorists, please stop accusing them as such. We invaded their country to further our own interests. They did not deserve to die, and may God judge us for it.

    Furthermore, the subtitle of Selma is not “the most deadly person in US history.” We’re not addressing some private, moral failure in the life of a killer, we’re addressing mass-killing and it’s relationship to following Jesus who commanded nonviolence (Mt 5:38)

  • James

    If killing is a sin then God is a sinner. He is not. The verse reads, do no murder. Murder and killing are two very different things.

    Without soldiers and police officers, pacifists would be dead or in prison camps….that’s reality.

    Were there any facts in this article? Its pure opinion and not based on biblical principles. You can equate the sacrifice soldiers give to Christ very easily and to suggest in any way our soldiers are murderers, since the bible is against only murder, not killing by word and biblical example, is disrespectful at least and speaks today of the spoiled generation that has never had to sacrifice to protect itself from foreign threats like our WW2 generation did.

    All the writer did was prove his liberal ideology…which is satanic and I can prove that statement easily.

    Emotion based dribble, liberalism, sounds good to those who act and judge in ignorance. This blog, is that.

  • CedarTree72

    May I ask what Mr. Corey would do if someone took someone he loved at gunpoint and held them hostage, and Mr. Corey could, with one shot, wound or kill the man holding them hostage? Would it be loving to let someone you love die if you could, legally, do something about it? To love one another, and to love our neighbors, means also to protect them against evil. The above post would suggest that Mr. Corey does not believe in just war. I do not pretend to defend all of Mr. Kyle’s actions. Not all wars are just. Not all killings, even if “legal”, are just. But in reality, you pose two issues above:
    1) Is it right for me to sever relationship with someone who does not like the movie? Of course not – on that we agree – Christians ought to be able to still love one another even if they disagree.
    2) But you also, as I noted, seem to imply that Jesus’ gospel does not allow for the killing of evil men. I respectfully disagree. Jesus’ gospel sometimes requires the killing of men who, for example, are intent on destroying a village of innocents. Jesus’ gospel requires a police officer to wield his gun/sword against evil (something Paul tells us we ought to be thankful for). Christians can serve in the armed forces and in police units – they should have a higher standard before taking life, but it is, I believe, too simplistic to say “all life taking is sin” when in fact it can protect life.

  • James

    By the way, read in Revelations….when Jesus comes back He will kill so many people the blood will run bridle high for 180 miles….so much for your pacifist hippie god

  • Hannah

    I understand where you are coming from. However, Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of grace and truth.

    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

    A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

    There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

    A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:4

    To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2

    So I am not saying that he couldn’t respond with the truth that he was wrong, what I am saying is that he could have gone about it in a different manner. I don’t think responding with sarcasm will help his case at all. So I guess we can agree to disagree.
    But in regards to Jesus tossing the tables, in the same manner, wouldn’t it be just for us to go to war with murderers? (That’s an honest question where I am trying understand when it is necessary to turn the cheek and when to fight, so I would appreciate it if you don’t respond with sarcasm. Thanks :)

  • Do you realize with your judgement, you just called all of the original Christians, all the disciples, Jesus, the entire early church for 380 years… satanic? They all taught and practiced nonviolent enemy love. Which basically means, you really wouldn’t like Christianity as it always was before it became a state religion.

  • James

    Equating the disciples with liberalism, is a lie. Liberalism is decietful and everything it claims to be against, not only does it support and act on, the ideology needs to survive.

    To equate the disciples or early church to the leftist communist ideology of liberalism is to equate those same people with the minions of satan, the father of lies.

    Show me where christianity in america has been made into a state religion?

    Pacifism only leads to tyranny….read the bible on what the hearts of men are…decietful above all else. Your humanistic ideology and worship of mankind is disturbing coming from a ”christian”.

  • You’re right. The communist idea of nonviolent enemy love is crazy. Jesus would have been appalled that “Christians” would be teaching it in his name.

  • Rosalinda Lozano

    We do Not worship anyone! We admire this man and his family who sacrificed everything for our freedoms. Christians are not pacifists. Christ was not a pacifist. Carry on…

  • Rosalinda Lozano

    It would be awesome if you would get off your comfy couch and go help the Iraqi people so that you can enjoy their hospitality. Buh bye!

  • I would, except one problem: I left my decade of service with a 70% service connected permanent disability rating, which medically disqualifies me from returning to the uniform.

  • Herm

    James,

    The passion and patriotism in your heart that you fight with is laudable but your heart is not pure in the teachings of our Lord Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Takes one to know one. Been there. Done that. Got the tee shirt.

    You wrote: “Equating the disciples with liberalism, is a lie.”

    Is this what your nation, church and family are teaching you? Mine did. I bought it and have my Vietnam commendation medal to prove it, along with those indelible notches on my rifle stock. Is this what the New Testament scripture, the testament of Christ, speaks to?

    For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4:27-37

    Does the preceding scripture stand up to your impassioned statement, “To equate the disciples or early church to the leftist communist ideology of liberalism is to equate those same people with the minions of satan, the father of lies” or to the traditions taught to you as truth according to your community family of birth? Which one is from “the father of lies” and which one is from the Spirit of the Father in Heaven? Both cannot be so.

    If I have planted a seed of doubt in both your heart and mind you may now understand the following if you can contrast sincere traditions with the truth of Jesus:

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

    If that makes sense to both your heart and mind then you are ready to pick up your cross in the example of Jesus our Messiah, prepared to die alone, not in the patriotism of protective group think (circle the wagons, riot fever or lynch mob mentality), that your enemy whom you love might live.

    Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

    In all cases of relationship, spiritual and carnal, the entire law of our Lord God is framed simplistically in the following:

    “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

    I don’t know about you but I am most concerned with spending my graced opportunity of this finite life coming closer to truth; joyfully and peacefully. I want all sincere “others” to reciprocally share with me in mutually bold love, supported by their experience and study, what is true in their life, especially my enemy. I am a student (disciple) of my Rabbi Jesus and He is my only Lord. I trust this may be true for you or else you would not have made yourself so vulnerable in your passionate defense of what I am certain you sincerely believe.

    Thank you for your concern! Love you!

  • Herm

    Forgive them Father for they know not what they do!

    Love you!

  • DChappy

    Rosalinda, please supply the citations in the New Testament where Jesus sanctions killing.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Chris Kyle volunteered to kill. He was not drafted. He *did* have a “say in the Iraq war” – he could have chosen to *not* participate. He chose to participate in a war – thousands of miles away – that had nothing – absolutely nothing to do with “protecting our country”.

  • Herm

    I support the Spirit of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. who picked up the cross to die for our life. I follow Jesus who picked up the cross that His enemies and His students might live.

    Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

  • DChappy

    James, I am just curious but do you know the history of the book of Revelations; when it was written, who probably wrote it, the fight over whether it should be included in the New Testament, and what at the time the interpretation was?

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Chris was not drafted into the Iraq war. He did not have to go to Iraq – he made a conscious and voluntary choice to kill people. If you join the military you must be under no illusion that you will perhaps have to kill other people. Being in the military is incompatible with being a Christian.

  • DChappy

    Cedar, supplying citations for those statements would be greatly helpful.

  • Herm

    Muslims are not evil terrorists, either. A perceived Christian sniper with 255 proud kills, in a sovereign nation he was not invited to, is a terrorist from the perspective of the Iraqi people.

  • The other irony is that Revelation actually paints a different picture: when Jesus returns, he uses nonviolence to defeat evil. The “sword” comes out of his mouth– very symbolic for words. He is also covered in blood– but not of his enemies. He is covered in his own blood, from self-sacrificially dying for his enemies.

  • Exactly. We were fighting to further our economic interests, but they were fighting for their freedom from a violent intruder. Very ironic.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Ben – as an antidote to ‘American Sniper’ go watch (and would enjoy your review of) the new Brendan Gleeson film (available on Amazon) called
    ‘Calvary’. Beautiful portrayal of a Christ like response to violence.

    Christians are called to die *for* our enemies – in the name of the One who loved us to His own death. As a Christian “death has lost its sting” – we don’t behave according to the rules and standards of this crazy world with its nutty power structures and systems – the leaders and those who don’t know Christ all
    *fear death*.

    But we as Christians follow Jesus and agree with Paul who said –

    “we walk by faith, not by sight– 8we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

    True – it’s no small thing to lay down our lives for our enemies – so it is good that we count the cost…

  • Gematizoieighthday

    And just as an aside – the Iraqis were never our enemies.

  • Kevin Thomas

    This isn’t about my wife being raped or murdered–different subject all together. We can have that conversation if you’d like. As far as Selma goes –yep MLK was broken as the rest of us are..we all struggle. The difference is that in celebrating MLK we are celebrating love and non violence. When we celebrate systemic killing it’s a different thing. I can show empathy and compassion to Chris as an individual. Christ compels me to. What I take issue is putting the “Christian” label on war and killing. Yes- a person can be a Christian and be in the armed forces…to say otherwise is ridiculous. Just don’t call it “Christian”. There is a difference. Jesus doesn’t sanction it…He shows us a better way.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Amen

  • CedarTree72

    I trust you are not just looking for proof-texts. Jesus, in his gospel, comes to restore man to how things should have been. He does not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. That does not mean he just comes to fulfill prophecy, but to usher in a kingdom that shows God’s rule and order as it should always be. What is that order? How do we know? We know from the Old Testament. In the OT, the moral law represents the essence of who God is, and what he requires of his people. Because of the gospel, I will not want to steal, or lie. Because of the gospel, I will want to protect life. And, as is shown clearly in the OT, sometimes the protection of life, and even of property, calls for physical intervention, and even killing. In the OT view of justice (and God’s view of justice), I can kill a robber (if I am able) who is holding my wife at gunpoint in order to protect life. The NT does not change that. The NT gives us the power to obey God, not in our own strength, but in the Spirit.

    There is a difference between Christians suffering at the hands of a persecuting government, and Christians suffering at the hands of evil men that even the government considers to be evil. Of course a Christian can choose to suffer based on his conscience, especially if it is for his faith. But in order to protect life and obey the moral law, he can also choose to exercise force if it is called for. Hence, a Christian can serve in the army or police. This parallels Rom. 13…

    3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 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. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

    How can Paul ask us to give thanks for someone who wields a sword unless it is a righteous thing to do? The police officer, or Army sergeant, is even called the servant of God when, of course, he righteously administers justice, and sometimes that justice (v. 4) includes the sword.

    These issues are not easy. I do not expect every Christian to feel this way, nor do I judge them per se. But I take issue with the views of someone who calls on all Christians to stop doing things that they believe is in the vein of protecting life and upholding God’s law.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Christ in deed was a pacifist. Pacifism is anything but passive.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Nope- He doesn’t kill anyone. The sword He carries is from His mouth. It’s call a metaphor.

    I love how Greg Boyd puts it..

    This relates to the final violent image that John transforms. The slain Lamb has an army, which is, of course, his church. But it’s a most peculiar kind of army, just as the Lamb is a most peculiar kind of warrior. For this army conquers by “following the Lamb wherever he goes” as they are “offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb”(14:8). So too, this army is victorious because they “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”(7:14), which Bauckham and others interpret to mean “they are martyrs, who have triumphed by participating, through their own deaths, in the sacrificial death of the Lamb.”[2] And this peculiar army triumphs over the devil “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,” for “they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev. 12:10).

    In short, this army fights and wins the exact same way the slain Lamb who leads them fights and wins: not by slaying foes, but by remaining faithful to the point of laying down their lives for others. This is why martyrdom is such a pervasive theme throughout this book (e.g. 6.9-10; 7:14; 12:11; 13:15; 18:12). By means of imitating the Lamb – “following [him] wherever he goes,” God’s people bear witness to the truth of God’s self-sacrificial character and his loving way of overcoming evil, just as the Lamb does. And in this way they vanquish the lie of Satan that leads the whole world astray, deceiving them to place their trust in the empire’s coercive kind of power.

    In this light, I think it’s clear that Driscoll’s misguided literal reading of Revelation has caused him to ascribe to John’s imagery the exact opposite meaning that John intends. And the reason is that Driscoll has grasped the violent images while completely overlooking the masterful way John reverses their meaning. And it’s for this reason that Driscoll concludes that Revelation depicts Jesus as “a pride fighter with a…sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed” rather than a slain Lamb with the sword of truth coming out of his mouth and a commitment to shed his own blood on behalf of others.

    – See more at: http://reknew.org/2013/10/gregs-response-to-driscolls-is-god-a-pacifist-part-ii/#sthash.Z1Iqo1Hq.dpuf

  • Jesus disagrees. In Matthew 5 he specifically addresses the OT laws on violence, and teaches that his followers are not to obey this. “You have heard it said” (OT law) “But I tell you” (New way of living) Paul even refers to the law as a shadow- revealing who God is by negative object lesson (it shows us who God is not).

    As he says in John: you’ve missed the point of scripture– it all points to him…. the nonviolent lover of enemies. If anyone claims to live in God, he must live his life the way Jesus lived his (1 John)

    But hey- if you think that owning and beating slaves within an inch of their life and stoning children is the “way things should have been” by all means- go try it. But please don’t call it Christianity (Christ-likeness) because it’s not.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Nope–Jesus doesn’t advocate killing not once. He shows us a better way. As far as your point regarding protecting a loved one, there are plenty of things one can do other then killing. I absolutely would lay my life down for them. I hope I am never in that position.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I think the argument is about whether Jesus sanctions violence–on whether we should celebrate killing if we claim to be Christ followers. War, imperialism, manifest destiny, nation building, all come from one kingdom. As a follower of Jesus–I am a citizen of the other– His kingdom.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Productive discourse..

  • Kevin Thomas

    grace, grace, and more grace to you Ben! Playing the role of a prophet can be exhausting I imagine. Keep fighting my friend.

  • Or, even just in the next verse: he tells them they needed the swords to fulfill a prophesy of getting arrested like a common criminal. When they actually use them in self defense, he not only rebukes them but heals the ear of the one who would lead him to his death.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Jesus makes it clear–there is a better way. The way of the Cross is really difficult. To truly follow Him can appear foolish. Cheating on your wife is a false equivalency… We are all broken. I think at issue is putting a God label on systemic violence,.

  • CedarTree72

    In response to a few responses. I don’t believe Jesus’ view on the law is only stated in some proof-texts. I am not advocating for a vigilante “American” approach to Christianity. Jesus is the lover of enemies, but he is not always non-violent. When he comes again, he will take vengeance on his enemies. Those who kill, steal, rape, etc. will not go unpunished. The God who is holy enough to demand love will also demand justice. It is not a loving God who watches innocent people killed and will do nothing about it, although justice may only be fully seen in the life to come.

    You have also lumped in the civil law of the OT with the moral law. The civil law of the OT was specific to OT Israel. The moral law is universal. All men are not to commit murder, or lie, or steal. That is why Jesus does refer back to the 10 commandments, explicitly (e.g., rich young ruler)

    The case we are addressing is the case where the government (context of Romans 13) wields the sword for the sake of justice. How can Paul tell us to give thanks for something unrighteous? Does Paul say “Don’t steal and lie, but be thankful for people who do”? That he does call police officers “servants of God” and tells us to be thankful has not been addressed in your posts. There is a place for justice. Christians can serve as police officers and in the armed forces.

    Further, we are only focused on killing here. Would you say it is right to at least detain a murderer? At least place a serial killer in jail? But is detaining someone part of the NT pattern? Jesus never speaks about that either, so perhaps we should not even do that?

  • Kevin Thomas

    Pacifism is anything BUT being passive. There is alot on the interventive continuum before killing. Using the “L” word does nothing for your argument. Jesus Followers align neither left or right. Different Kingdom designations.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Detaining is not killing. Jesus talks about killing and violence. He doesn’t talk about detaining as with a great deal of other things. The Bible isn’t a cookbook. I am a Christian–not a Biblician.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Natalie–Respectfully, I don’t think so. Old testament violence is something to wrestle with…difficult stuff. While Ben did a nice job paraphrasing–you may want to check out out Greg Boyd’s writings on this. For me– I use a cruciform hermeneutic when looking at Old testament violence. Everything starts with Jesus and the cross. I use the cross as a lens in which to try and sort this stuff out. PEACE..k

  • Can you please show a chapter and verse that says that there is a clear distinction between categories of laws, and that some are still valid and some are not? (ie, a verse that specifically says we should separate civil and moral law).

  • guadalupelavaca

    I have several objections to this article. First, Chris is not being treated as an idol. That would be sinful. He is being hero worshiped which is something very normal for humans to do. Second, if Chris was unchristian, then everybody who fought in a war was unchristian, including the men who hit the beaches on Normandy, and the men who shot down Japanese planes when Pearl Harbor was invaded. I’m not arguing theology with you, just the fact that you singled out Chris for something thousands of men have done over the centuries.

  • Plus, detaining can be loving– protects them from harming society, protects them from harm to their own soul through further killing, etc. It’s loving. Killing however, is the opposite of love and thus why the Christian is forbidden from ever using this.

  • CedarTree72

    I suspect you have categories yourself. I suspect you do not believe in slavery or OT property laws. But I suspect you still believe lying is wrong. Jesus refers, time and time again, as do his Apostles, to the moral law. There is a clear focus on this (Jerusalem council), etc. There is no comparable focus on the civil or ceremonial law – in fact, we are told the ceremonial law no longer applies.

  • CedarTree72

    The Christian or government is forbidden from murder, not killing. I agree the Bible is not a cookbook. But I still look forward to your answer re: Romans 13.

  • Herm

    I am interested, do you have any feeling and thought as to what Jesus meant by we have to pick up the cross to be His disciples? Does this have any significant bearing on how we might be “measuring OURSELVES to Christ”?

    Love you! I, too, have “messed around and cheated on” my “life”.

  • So what you’re saying is, we can make up categories and place laws we like (such as justified violence) in a category that we claim is still valid for today? Makes sense.

    I’d rather follow Jesus though- and he had straightforward teaching on this. I have a hard time understanding why Christians refuse to deal with what Jesus said and accept it as authoritative and to be obeyed, and just dismiss it outright before flipping the pages backwards until they find something in the OT that seems to trump Jesus.

    I think a better starting point is: Jesus said love your enemies, serve your enemies, do not respond with violence in-kind to enemies, and pray for enemies. The very first question we should ask ourselves is: “What if Jesus really meant this and we’re supposed to obey it?”

  • Paul doesn’t celebrate killing in Romans 13– he’s warning the church NOT to revolt against their occupiers, because they don’t bear the sword in vein. It’s a warning.

    What’s permissible for the Christian versus government are two separate issues- the NT is unconcerned with government. Never tells government how to do things, and even teaches that we shouldn’t meddle in civilian affairs. The NT is all about Christ’s Kingdom- which he tells pilot the proof it is God’s kingdom is that it is a nonviolent Kingdom. Instead of telling government how to do things, Christ teaches us how to behave as his followers, and he says a requirement is nonviolent enemy love. He draws a hard line on it– it is a basic requirement.

  • Herm

    To idolize means to use an image, or representation of a god, as an object of worship. Jesus gave His life that we may be free by His example from that “which is something very normal for humans to do”. I and all my combat zone comrades were not in the example of our Christ Jesus who loved us all in spite of our answering the call of our nation instead of His call to love our enemy, without exception.

  • CedarTree72

    I think, with respect, this is an oversimplified view. What does it mean for the Apostles to teach that the dietary laws are no longer in effect, if they cannot be separated from the moral law? If all laws are equal, then the fact that I can eat bacon means I can steal? Of course not. That there are categories is clear enough.

    Further, there are countless examples of Christians who have been attacked, harassed, even killed, and they did not respond in kind. I believe this is in keeping with Jesus’ commands. What I am saying is that there is yet another category which is that of the state, which has the God-given right to wield the sword. I have spoke to Romans 13 a few times so will not repeat my comments here. I still have yet to see a response.

    To say “it is okay to detain”, but you do not have a weapon in your hand to enforce the detention, is unrealistic to say the least.

    I do not just take some proof-texts from Jesus. I must balance them with the writings of his Apostles, who he commissioned. And even Jesus, does he tell the Centurion, after healing his servant, “you should quit your job now”?

    Even in Matthew 5, Jesus clearly anticipates justice and does not condemn it: “25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”

    This is not imprisonment to protect someone – this is imprisonment to achieve repayment of what is owed and justice.

  • CedarTree72

    I agree that murder is the opposite of love. God seems to define those terms clearly on purpose.

  • I’m not debating whether or not the government has the right to use violence- the point of the discussion is should Christians condone, celebrate or participate in it? The testimony of Jesus, the apostles, and all the church fathers are unanimous on that question– a Christ follower cannot.

  • I’ll agree– if we call all killing murder.

  • Kevin Thomas

    The government can use violence…just don’t slap a Christian label on it.

  • Herm

    CedarTree72, not one of your exceptions to the law of God in that Hebrew Testament is an exception to the Decalogue. The choice we have is who is our Lord and who we accept as our Teacher, Jesus or mankind. We cannot serve two masters.

    Love your efforts to defend mankind but not your teaching relative to what is Christ like and what is not. It is not even biblical according to New Testament scripture. The Holy Spirit can attest to this should you ask.

  • CedarTree72

    Did I say Paul celebrated it? Why place words in my mouth I did not use? God does not delight in punishing the wicked, but he does so.

    But Paul does speak well of those who enforce justice. Do you deny this? How can he ask Christians to honor those in authority (consider all of Romans 13) if what they are doing is sinful? It seems therefore you agree that it is not sinful. But how can something be legitimate for some (the state) but not for others (Christians). Now it seems you do have categories of law. But if something is lawful for the state, then it is lawful for Christians working for the state.

    A hard line only exists if you proof-text. Christians who are NOT police officers are to be different than non-Christians. Christians who are police officers can righteously wield the sword.

  • CedarTree72

    But God does not. Again, where God has categories that are clear, we need to recognize them.

  • CedarTree72

    So Christians should quit being police officers?

  • CedarTree72

    By the way, do you still believe there are no categories of laws? Given the examples I cited? Now that we can eat bacon, we can commit adultery?

  • He’s telling them not to rebel against the occupation– it would be like an Iraqi Imam telling his followers to not to resist the Americans, else they’ll get killed. Unfortunately, they didn’t listen to Paul and all got slaughtered in AD70, as a fulfillment of his warning. Paul’s not parsing out what is sinful and what is not, he’s speaking to a reality: if you rebel against the Romans, they will cut you down. And, they did.

    “If something is lawful for the state, then it is lawful for the Christians working for the state.”

    Would you apply this to gay marriage? Would you support a Christian marrying gay people if it was in conjunction with their job in local government? Would it be okay for a Christian doctor, employed by the state, to perform an abortion for the state? I’m curious how consistent you’re willing to apply that logic.

    As far as Christians working for the state in violent roles, the church father’s already answered that question– unanimously. Those people either had to resign from their post, or were excluded from the church. The one middle ground appeasement that occurred late in AD300’s was that soldiers who became Christians on active duty were allowed to be a part of the church if they took a vow to refuse any order to use violence or kill. Many did so, and were executed by military officers for refusing these orders which are incompatible with following Jesus.

    So, what you’re really pushing back on is the historic, orthodox Christian faith which was built upon the foundation of enemy love and nonviolence from its very inception.

  • The church fathers required that, yes. They were not admitted to the church until after early Christianity had passed and was married off to Constantine’s empire.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I don’t believe that… I worked as a social worker for 10 years in a police department. Did you know the vast majority of officers never ever fire their weapon? Most of policing isn’t about use of violence but rather building and supporting community. The good cops rarely even use physical force while on the job. If they have to use violence and even deadly force–it’s a product of living in a broken world. My friends who follow Jesus and are police officers NEVER slap a Christian label on what they do and they certainly don’t believe that using violence is sanctioned or even celebrated by Jesus.

  • CedarTree72

    I think it goes beyond just “don’t rebel” – I believe he is teaching thankful submission (knowing that God rules over states). If the government asked me to commit abortion, as a doctor, I would say no. If they penalized me, I would fight them in court but not take revenge. If they jailed me, I would wait on the Lord. But if they ask me to join a military force that will stop an incursion into a village of innocents, I can do so as Jesus was very interested in the protection of the most vulnerable.

  • Kevin Thomas

    There is a difference between being a christian who serves in the military and calling it “Christian”. Jesus shows us a better way.

  • CedarTree72

    I don’t understand this “slap” idea – they are Christians, whether they claim they are or not. It’s not like some of what they do is Christian, but sometimes they are off the clock of being a Christian.

    I agree – ideally, police officers (as most do not) would not use a firearm. But if life is threatened, I believe it is in keeping with the God’s moral law to protect it. I am willing to kill someone to protect a life. You are willing to let an innocent victim die. In other words, not stopping death is just as wrong.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Jesus trumps all–fortunately He doesn’t conflict with Paul and the other apostles if we dig deep and wrestle with the text. Matthew 5 says nothing about sanctioning violence…am I missing something?

  • Thankful submission? Can’t go there- not in the text, and completely ignores the historical reality. They were under a brutal occupation– they were crucified by these occupiers by the hundreds, used as human torches, and it was hellish. To say they’d be thankful for that is a real stretch, to be kindly.

    Where was Jesus in favor of killing people in order to protect their villages? This is his actual context in Matthew 5 (very ironic). The Romans were doing exactly what you describe. Jesus’ advice? No, don’t join a resistance, but love them, pray for them, serve them, and refuse to use violence against them. So, your hypothetical is actually a real issue Jesus addressed– and he sided against using violence.

  • And also, just to be clear– you don’t actually believe “what is permissible for the government is permissible for the Christian working for government.” You believe (as do I) that we must obey God first.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I will do everything in my power even sacrificing my life to stop a death…but yes I think it is against everything Jesus taught and stands for when we take a life. If it happens–there is certainly grace. But it isn’t okay or sanctioned I apologize for not being clear–Christians do unchristian things daily…I know I do. Being redeemed (Christian) is a status. Acting Christ-like is a totally different thing.

  • James

    Communism is tyranny. Look at the history of it. Examine Mao and Stalin and then equate those people with the disciples. If you can do that, then you are great at mental gymnastics but really bad with the truth

  • Kevin Thomas

    “sigh”

  • Chris

    Actually that’s not true for two reasons. First, he volunteered well before the war started. So he was committed to the fight before anyone knew we were going to Iraq. Second of all, it’s not up to Soldiers to decide which battles they fight. In hindsight we see that Iraq wasn’t the war we thought it would be, but those on the ground never have that kind of strategic visibility. It’s up to the higher ups to make that call. People at Kyle’so level are not responsible for that. He chose to defend his country when he walked into the recruiting office the first day. What wars he gets sent to after that is up to his leadership and history. So no. He didn’t have a say in the Iraq war.

  • James

    Indoctrination is liberal. Conservative ideology stems from education. Funny how you presume without knowledge ( the word for this is bigotry ) about my upbringing. Neither of my parents could be called conservatives.

    See, I grew up. I examined what I believed and came to the conclusions I have come to.

    Jesus is not God because I believe it. Jesus is not alive because I believe it. Jesus is God and alive because it is Truth.

    To equate the book of Revelation to fantasy is a perversion of the bible. It was not written to scholars to dissect into imagery. The bible is quite clear when it is imagery and when it is literal. To make the book of Revelation into some mambi pambi hippie God is an absolute lie from the father of lies, which is consistent with the perversion of liberal christianity.

  • James

    Read the story of Alvin York

  • James

    Sigh? To equate communism with pacifism is ridiculous.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Wow James–I’ll try one last time…I posted this before but I don’t believe I did in a conversations with you. You can hurl the “L” word at me if you wish. I am neither left or right as they are human constructs I am a citizen of a different Kingdom.

    I love how Greg Boyd puts it..

    This relates to the final violent image that John transforms. The slain Lamb has an army, which is, of course, his church. But it’s a most peculiar kind of army, just as the Lamb is a most peculiar kind of warrior. For this army conquers by “following the Lamb wherever he goes” as they are “offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb”(14:8). So too, this army is victorious because they “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”(7:14), which Bauckham and others interpret to mean “they are martyrs, who have triumphed by participating, through their own deaths, in the sacrificial death of the Lamb.”[2] And this peculiar army triumphs over the devil “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,” for “they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev. 12:10).

    In short, this army fights and wins the exact same way the slain Lamb who leads them fights and wins: not by slaying foes, but by remaining faithful to the point of laying down their lives for others. This is why martyrdom is such a pervasive theme throughout this book (e.g. 6.9-10; 7:14; 12:11; 13:15; 18:12). By means of imitating the Lamb – “following [him] wherever he goes,” God’s people bear witness to the truth of God’s self-sacrificial character and his loving way of overcoming evil, just as the Lamb does. And in this way they vanquish the lie of Satan that leads the whole world astray, deceiving them to place their trust in the empire’s coercive kind of power.

    In this light, I think it’s clear that Driscoll’s misguided literal reading of Revelation has caused him to ascribe to John’s imagery the exact opposite meaning that John intends. And the reason is that Driscoll has grasped the violent images while completely overlooking the masterful way John reverses their meaning. And it’s for this reason that Driscoll concludes that Revelation depicts Jesus as “a pride fighter with a…sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed” rather than a slain Lamb with the sword of truth coming out of his mouth and a commitment to shed his own blood on behalf of others.

  • Guest

    there is no is no connection my brother..

  • Bonnie Rice

    Killing is a sin BECAUSE it is taking the authority of God over life and death as your own. It’s playing God. It’s blasphemy. It’s apotheosis. It’s not a sin that God can commit because he is God. If you trust God to protect you, you don’t need to harm others to protect yourself.

  • A Carter

    I don’t think there originally was any worship of Kyle. However
    criticism like that of Michael Moore felt like an attack on the military
    as a whole. I think the support of Chris Kyle initially came from a
    need to support our men and woman in the military. The family members
    and friends that we have in the armed forces our often heroes to us and
    Kyle has become a hero because he is at the moment a figurehead for them.

  • theprozacqueen

    Re: Chris Kyle v. the soldiers at D-Day and Pearl Harbor-
    The difference I saw was that Chris Kyle said he *enjoyed* killing and wish he’d been able to kill more. I found the *attitude* to be the “un-Christian” part, not just fighting in a war. I’m sure we could have a long discussion about the morality of war but I’m just pointing out something I saw in this particular article. I could have missed something, or be looking at the wrong thing, though.

  • “, I always rejoice to find a soldier a Christian, but I always mourn to find a Christian a soldier, . . .
    The followers of Christ in these days seem to me to have forgotten a great part of Christianity.”–Charles Spurgeon
    https://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/

  • Keep Romans “13” in context. Paul is clear that Christians are called to be the light of the world, not the sword of the Lord. https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/romans-13-in-context-sword-pacifism/

  • Guest

    War is a great part of Christianity? Am I understanding this correctly? I fear I am not getting it… lol

  • Joseph (the original)

    Let’s not forget that Chris Kyle was also a victim in this military exercise. He was indoctrinated into the military machine how-to’s and the political rhetoric that goes along with any ultra-patriotic PR effort that attempts to justify the horrors of war in the name of: (fill in the blank _____). For whatever reason, Chris decided to become a sniper in the conflict that convinced him his participation, and skill, were needed and glorified in the overall scheme of things. I suppose ‘choosing’ to be a sniper targeting other human beings fodder enough for psychological and ethical considerations. I suppose if I were ever forced into military service when I was draft age I would have made my utmost effort to be part of the medical corpsman type, like my father was as a Marine during WWII. But that’s just me, not a reflection on the politics of war or the character of Chris Kyle. War is the worst of human dysfunction. I understand some of the why’s and I can sympathize with the global unrest that does seem to be ‘threatening’ in some vague way or another. I’m not convinced that being a sniper automatically earns someone the badge of Hero, but I also understand the military purpose for fine-tuning such skills. God have mercy on the people Chris killed along with any surviving family and friends. And God have mercy on Chris too. As an individual that had to deal with the damaging results of being a military sniper and the incredible toll it took on his psyche, I feel sadness that his story of the ill effects his service caused was not part of a Hollywood attempt to humanize what is truly inhuman. There are no ‘winners’ in this story. I feel his life, as well as the lives he snuffed out with his rifle, were wasted on the field of conflicting ideologies that did not reflect the contrary principles of the Kingdom. Lord…have mercy…

  • DChappy

    I know, I was just wondering if James actually knew anything about the real writings or just what he was told or read somewhere. But thanks Benjamin.

  • James

    God killed.

    There is no commandment against killing.

    Are you saying every cop, every soldier in doing their jobs are murderers?

    Your position sounds nice, but its not reality. Jesus understood the reality of the world when He told the disciples to arm themselves….or was that scripture just more metaphor?

    Just a fyi….when you have to color scripture to make it fit your doctrine, its not scripture that is the problem, its your interpretation.

    Protecting innocents is christian. To let someone murder you, or your kids, or your neighbor, is not christian. What does the bible say about those who harm innocents, ya know, millstone, sea?

    You figure it out.

  • James

    ”You’re right. The communist idea of nonviolent enemy love is crazy.”

    Your quote…then why did you equate communism and pacifism?

    Lets put this in a proper perspective…

    The cross. An ugly violent act…that won us freedom.

    War. An ugly violent act that keeps our freedoms.

    Do you think a world with Hitler in charge…or Mao….or Stalin….or Pol Pot….or Saddam Hussein….would be a better place? Do you think appeasing terrorists will make a better world? That they will see how nice we are and stop attacking us?

    Ask France.

    Its nice to dream. No one is for war or violence but if good people do not stand up to evil, a lot more evil will be done, no matter how you want it to be different, it will not be unless something is done.

    Faith without works is dead

  • James

    I will add this. Its not worship of Mr Kyle. Its defending him from unwarranted attacks from our leftist believers

  • CedarTree72

    He sided against using violence against the state. But I don’t think we can escape the honor that Paul requires us to have for authorities who keep the peace by wielding the sword against criminals when necessary. I am not advocating for violence against the state. Rather, simply recognizing that Paul would not use such terms if wielding the sword was wicked. It is wicked when not legitimate. But using a firearm, for example, to stop someone from killing a hostage is the legitimate use of the sword. I do not believe Jesus addresses, directly, how a Christian should behave as a police officer per se. I think such an officer, to be consistent with Christ’s general teachings would seek to be kind, seek to address racial tensions, seek to be compassionate in domestic violence cases, but also be ready, if placed in that terrible situation, to use his firearm to defend the innocent. I think part of our Christianity is standing up for the helpless when we can. If the government outlawed the use of guns by Christians, I believe we would need to submit to that as part of persecution. But until then, part of our built in image of God is standing up for the helpless.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Nope–The way of the cross is foolishness to some. 80 years here…. an eternity in Heaven. Wisdom of this Kingdom–the truth of God’s upside down Kingdom–which one do you choose?

  • Kevin Thomas

    non violence is a work based in faith my friend…

  • Kevin Thomas

    Ooh James there you go again…using the “L” word. It is so uncreative.

  • Wasn’t he addressing that to the soldiers and priests who had come to capture him? I’m going by memory, revised standard edition if it matters. But he definitely does stop someone from attacking a second time.

    Not that context ever seems to matter to anyone who invokes that passage as a pro-violence clobber verse…

  • David Sagneri

    No war needs rules. Without rules it empowers the most vicious and psychotic. With rules those are at least kept somewhat in check. The US military is far from a moral paragon but it’s actions don’t compare to the worst of the various individuals and groups that fought it in Iraq and Afghanistan (not commenting currently on how it’s presence created these groups that’s important but not part of the conversation).

    Killing encourages dehumanization it happens to almost everyone and as awful as it is it is also thrilling. Combat is like that it has a terrifying addictive component. It’s why we need an official structure that sets rules of conduct; on the whole fewer will violate that code and will feel constrained by that code and will limit the empowerment of those that truly revel in it.
    What happens when you don’t is groups like ISIS and AQI groups that have no particular limits in behavior (power differential matters soldiers always love our most effective tactics and hate the enemies. Such as snipers, IED’s which we hate because they work, and airpower which they hate because they can’t counter) and this is really terrible leads to absolute atrocities.

    Now war by it’s nature is an atrocity but having a preexisting framework that establishes parameters which are usually adhered to helps to prevent the most vicious behavior from metastasizing.

    As for the rest of your post spot on. There are soldiers that act with great moral courage but we are tools of war. All to easily discarded by the military when we are no longer useful all to easy treated exactly as tools and then forgotten by a public that has never had to deal with the reality of the policies being carried out in there name. I suspect there is a rise in the hero language because it’s effective propaganda, it makes us a special other in the mind of the public that isn’t really human and therefore not really broken, and some other sorry I’m losing my coherency here since I’m still developing my framework for how I think about this.

  • David Sagneri

    Honest discussions about war and killing and the weird horror and thrill (or just feeling nothing about it) in it are almost certainly going to be chilling to those that haven’t experienced it. I suspect most invoke God or dehumanize because it’s the only way we can reconcile what we believed ourselves to be with what we have found ourselves to be. That dissonance can be devastating.

  • Kevin Thomas

    When Jesus told them to bring the sword He in no way meant that they should kill anyone…in fact when Peter lopped off someone’s ear Jesus healed the man and chastised Peter…

  • Kevin Thomas

    He also said live by the sword die by the sword…right?

  • Lana

    Amen!

  • Herm

    BIGOTRY: noun – intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

    not your definition: “presume without knowledge”

    You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16

    James, by your fruits it is clear you are not nearly educated to the degree Ben is and whom you presume to castigate. You did not read or research anything that I laid out for you taken directly from the Christian Bible. You did not even speak to any of the scripture but, instead, proceeded to tell me, “To equate the book of Revelation to fantasy is a perversion of the bible.” You missed that I had made no allusion to Revelation at all.

    I would be glad to discuss in Bible study with you anytime but you have to respond reciprocally.

    I do not know who the false prophet is who has indoctrinated you as your accepted teacher, since you have not openly presented your credentials of authority. By your fruits your education did not come from the Rabbi through the Advocate in your heart and mind.

    I would suggest that when you are ready for the Truth begin by not hating, instead honoring, what your parents tried to share with you with the most love they could. Then invite the Holy Spirit into your open heart and mind with an attitude of complete humility (that worked for me or I wouldn’t have suggested it).

    I am biased toward what I took a lot of time to share with just you previously because I had hoped you were ready to learn. Instead you tell me and Ben according to your “bigoted” education without the credentials of either of us. You can always take the time to read and study what I previously wrote expressly for you while simultaneously inviting the Spirit of Truth to counsel you that you may know it is valid or not.

    It seems like you are yelling at all who will listen to gain some respect and significance, hoping for love. I testify, if only that you might hear, that as a little child of God I truly feel and think I am divinely respected and loved by my Brother and my Father whom I now know intimately. I know this so well that I am prepared to die on the cross, like my Brother, that my enemy might live rather than ask my Father to call legions of angels to kill my enemy that I and mine might live. I am praying for you. Love YOU!

  • Mick

    Good thoughts Herm , Excellent scripture . Yes the Lord was calling us to follow Him , to give up on our selves and allow Him to take over .

  • Mick

    Kevin Jesus followers would never state to another person to allow evil to murder their loved ones in the name of Christ . That is between you and Christ .

  • Mick

    You can draw your own philosophy for your own false equivalency kev , but when you start drawing them for the rest of us you will not have agreement in the body .

  • Mick

    Different subject ? Not really , the violence to stop evil in the story with the sniper is the same . Evil attempting to over the ability to over power the innocent . The cross is difficult to follow , its not something you speak of in situations that you are only comfortable with . Because you do not have an emotional alignment with the victim you are suggesting to let them be murdered . You argument is false . Either you allow evil to murder or you don’t . Because the children , the wife , those who are being murdered are someone’s spouse , someone’s son or daughter . Because your not related to them is shallow understanding of Love and mercy . Your not consistent . Therefore not taken seriously .

  • Natalie

    Didn’t happen? Then why would those records be in the Word of God?

    Are you calling the Word of God a liar?

  • Natalie

    Nobody should celebrate killing, but as I said in a post…there is a difference with murder and killing. Turning the other cheek during a war isn’t going to save a nation from being killed.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I’m not sure I did that…I said Jesus doesn’t sanction violence or killing. Where does He say he is okay with it?

  • Kevin Thomas

    Hi Natalie–this post is about celebrating Killing as a church.. Jesus doesn’t sanction violence ever…

  • Kevin Thomas

    I would say I agree the cross is hard to follow–Being a follower of Jesus is difficult when He asks us to love our enemies…to do good to them,,,,to turn the other cheek. Jesus NEVER sanctioned violence. This post is about the church celebrating violence and killing. What the Kingdom of this earth values is one thing. For Christians to relish and demand blood to quench their insatiable desire for justice is the antithesis of how Jesus taught, and lived.

  • Kevin Thomas

    This is a blog with an exchange of ideas…if your convictions are vulnerable to my posits…then perhaps they are weak? This is about iron sharpening iron–just saying

  • Kevin Thomas

    Looking back on what I wrote–I didn’t say to anyone to they should allow evil. You through out the pejorative “L” word… I said pacifism is anything BUT being passive and there are a lot of options one can take on the interventive continuum.

  • With your judgement you’ve condemned Jesus, the disciples, all of the church fathers, and the entire early church– because all of them taught nonviolent enemy love. Nonviolence is at the heart of the historic Christian faith. So your issue isn’t really with Kevin, but with the foundation of Christianity.

  • No- the word of God is Jesus, and only Jesus, and he’s not a liar.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    He knew that as a soldier he would be asked – no – expected to kill people. That was a choice he did indeed make. “Christian soldier” is an oxymoron. He was responsible for choosing a career where his primary duty would be to kill. Your suggestion that not having a say in the location and under what circumstances that killing might occur somehow obsolves him of his responsibility to follow Christ (if he was a Christian) is irrelevant.

  • Carl E. Mott III

    It didn’t even keep “our oil prices low”, the end of QE and all that cheap investment capital for the investment banks to exploit, did that…

  • Carl E. Mott III

    Pearl Harbor was NOT invaded, it was bombed. Something we do regularly these days.

  • Chris

    Well, now you’re talking about something else. My comment addressed Kyle’s culpability for specific moral objections to the Iraq war in which he participated. If you believe that all war under all circumstances is immoral, then there is no point in discussing Kyle at all. For that matter, this whole discussion must be fruitless if we disagree on such fundamental grounds.

    I will say, however, that a person should be careful how narrowly he defines a Christian. When you say that “Christian Soldier” is an oxymoron, it sounds like you mean that soldiers can’t be Christians. You may feel that certain ideas or behaviors are “unchristian” and you may be right. Every sin is unchristian. Yet every Christian sins regularly. So even if you think it’s categorically immoral to participate in combat (which I don’t), Christian Soldier is no more of an oxymoron than a Christian Liar or a Christian Gossip. Both of which obviously exist.

    However, perhaps you meant oxymoron in the sense that Christ does not command his followers to conquer the world by the sword in order to subdue it and expand his earthly dominion. So there are no “Christian Soldiers” in that sense. If that is what you meant, then we agree. I don’t think that one army is God’s Army in a given conflict. I think that God has his purposes for human history that are beyond our grasp. I think that as individuals we are to choose right as best we can and that may mean armed conflict or it may mean submission for a particular individual. There isn’t a one size fits all answer unfortunately. Just look at the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-centurion-faith-that-made-jesus-marvel

  • Natalie

    To dismiss any other records in the Word of God is to call God/Jesus a liar. While I agreed that people really are fawning over Kyle, and are praising him for having a high kill count, you, however…lost credibility with me when you just tossed out the old law. Are we under the dispensation of grace? Yes, but the old law is filled with knowledge, wisdom and even prophecies concerning this era.

    God commanded Joshua to kill off the enemies of Israel because had they didn’t, the land would have became evil, and if you read Judges, sadly, it happens many times. You can’t ignore that the Lord commanded saints to pick up arms just because you’re squeamish of war.

  • Natalie

    And btw, Jesus Christ is God. Or do you not believe that He was the God of the old covenant?

  • Mick

    The total premise of the post was a liberal portrayal of an sniper in Iraq . We have seen him condemned because of the fact the war was unpopular , he is racist , to the attempt to suggest he causing idolatry, which is often a liberal response to any Christian suggest western civilization , where freedom of government allows the free choice for individuals room to follow their conscience , As you fail to answer , if it was your son about to be murdered by a Islamic Extremist , and Kyle shot the would be murderer , would yo consider the accusations of your relief being unchristian , anti Jesus , idol worshipping . Or would , if you attempt to seek your own answers through t he word , and the Love of Christ . Your reminding me much of a Pharisee, And when questioned about the law , in this case you law of non violence , you refuse to answer unless it is on your terms . The fact is the man was put in a horrific position , did the best he could , many boys have come back home because of him . The rest of us were not so quick to get on your self righteous band wagon .

  • Mick

    With your judgment you put Christ back on the cross .No where did I suggest violence was the answer to anything . Your bias and religious spirit shows here . Instead of speaking to an issue that ALL Christians could understand , you chose to attack the dignity of those who disagree with you . They had to be celebrating the violence , supporting idolatry . A list of other moral judgments and lacking the religious standard you so uprightly uphold . I responded to the self righteous attempt to put circumstances this man faced to the LIBERAL ideological talking points that are similar from lthe religious left or the secularized Daily Kos . The secularist left , much more vocal has showed great discomfort over this movie . Almost exactly the same criticism , except perhaps not the idolatry just sickly patriotism . Anti western civilization is contrary to your liberal secularists also , it disagrees with collectivitism , socialism , big government answers . The nihilism that faces this culture is presently taught in academia , not your fundie stronghold . The belief of a God of Hope and Love seems contrary to leftist beliefs unless they can use God to promote left leaning views .

    Sargent York won the Medal of Honor , a conscientious objector who killed 28 Germans to save lives who were using machine guns to kill Americans . They were not even terrorists who were killing women and children . He was a Christian , one would never say he killed those Germans in the name of Christ , but He obviously Loved the Lord , and made the best decision he could and like those who Know Christ , Christ was with HIm every step of the way my friend . Was he encouraging him to kill , nope , was he encouraging him , yes . Hard to walk the life of a Christian . Much harder with folks like you out there .

    Maybe York was wrong , but definitely not for the reasons you offer . He did not kill in hate , He killed those Germans in love . For his friend to live . If he had not pulled the trigger, those friend would have died . Was he as guilty of promoting violence , in fact promoting more violence because those machine guns would have killed more then the 28 he killed .

    These things we Christian should pray about and talk about . Not what you did here . Shame on you .

    .

  • Mick

    Where does it say that we are allow our children , friends , wives , family , neighbors to be murdered ? Show me that scripture .
    You also forget Christ taught us if you had hatred in your heart you commit murder, lust in your heart you commit adultery . You seem to pick the sins you want to consider and forget the very ones we all deal with and struggle with in our every day lives .

    The reason Peter had a sword in the garden was for the simple reason that was common especially traveling at night and between cities or villages 2000 years ago . . The Apostle Paul used the Force of the Roman Guard to escape danger . To suggest Christians supporting the sacrifice of this soldier is against God is sadly wrong .

    .
    If you want to let people murder your family , or you draw your line there but say soldiers should be not allowed to shoot murderers , fine . But suggesting one way is more Christian then the other is cultish . Stay out of the military or police force . Be a conscienous objector .
    That’s between you and the Lord . Regardless I do not know any Christian that spoke to this issue as a good Christian thing to do . Only condemnation from the left .

  • Mick

    Yes I have brought that up . Killed 28 Germans guarding two machine gun nests . If he had not hundred , maybe more Americans would have been killed . The question then is not shooting those Germans and allowing them to kill hundred more then those 28 is something Jesus would have wanted . The answer of course is no . Would Jesus have wanted him to kill 28 Germans , the answer is of course no . But we can , not the folks here , speak to the Faith , our faith , and put the Grace of God into the circumstances of this fallen World . Where all of us are put into positions that we only Hope that the Lord , or maybe put is we trust the Lord enough to lead us through. This Kyle sniper made sure many moms and dads have their kids back home , and he also saved the lives of many Iraqis . That Is a good thing . Missed a good opportunity here to have a real discussion here on this issue , instead the blogger here used as a hammer and platform to tell us how he listens to Jesus better then everyone else.

  • Mick

    James why do the liberals here get so upset about the liberal label The views espoused here such as this movie are the same the secularist and even religious left espouse ? Just had some guy tell me I condemned Jesus ? What the heck , he is preaching on turning the other cheek ? The church today does not agree with him . Are they all condemning Jesus ….This is sad .

  • Mick

    Herm the military is not a Christian organization , I agree with you . But a Christian can serve honorably in the military , police department . And as all of us , whenever we go to work our Lord comes with us . I would suspect a soldier would reach out more to God then most of us in our sheltered lives .

    Answering the call to stop those who actually advancing evil , is not Un Christian or does it take you hate your your neighbor .

    Would allowing evil to destroy the innocent be anymore answering the Call to love your neighbor . The difference between allowing someone to murder or stopping them with violence seems to have you in a quarry . That I understand , for some though allowing innocents to murder while doing nothing , is the same as pulling the trigger yourself . There fore you are not only killing , your doing so in the name of our Lord . Would never accuse that of any conscience objector , but like those who refuse to give medicine to their children , well when you talking about others being hurt by your beliefs , I will respond . Hopefully in Love . But I don’t always turn the other cheek , working on it . ;0)

  • Mick

    Michael the quotes are from individual denominations .

  • Mick

    Depends on the person .Some of the most peaceful men you will ever meet have been military men .

  • Mick

    I take Revelations differently . The book is not about War , most of the prophecies in it have already taken place .

  • Mick

    Cedar I think the point being made , and I gree with it you can a police officer , the Police Force it is not a church , its part of the government . But Christian can serve on the police force , they can be a Christian and respond to dangerous acts and use force to stop them protecting and serving the public . But Christ is not part of the deal so to speak , Of course Christ is with those police officers handling a call if they are Believers and dealing with as their training taught them . I disagree with the promise that is UN Christian . Un Christian would be handling the call and trying to get even with the bad guys , using force because of anger of hatred . To suggest the Church Fathers or the Lord would be against a Christian police officer doing his duty , protecting the innocent is something that would be supported by the Early Church. In fact Roman Soldiers actually accepted Christianity as their faith .

  • Mick

    So Kevin actually allowing yourself to die if you had the chance to stop it is acceptable and something the Lo rd would prefer ? Some one else does it and kills you ? What happens then if they kill someone after and so on ? Not only your own death you have stopped , but others . Are you not supporting and aiding other murders ? There is no magic formula where you say I will allow violence to win and everything works out . Just like when we tither or give offering we are assured we will always have economic success . Seems like pacifism if taught to others to follow needs to show the sincerity of it and reality , non violence can and often causes violence to increase.

  • Mick

    That is nonsense . Christ healed the son of the centurion . He even brought to all the strong faith the centurion had No where did he ever condemn Him for his occupation. Paul used the Roman military to escort him to safety . He used military force for his own safety .

  • Mick

    Jesus never advocates allowing some one to murder others . Not once . Big difference between turning the other cheek when your the only victim . But allowing murderers to kill , it means your just possibly allowing someone else get murdered .This means your tuning not just your own cheek .

  • Mick

    Non Violence allows violence to spread very often , Good Works to God are just filthy rags .

  • Mick

    Agree Natalie .This blog attempts to marginalize and slander those who support our troops. My brother in law was NYC police officer , died on 911 serving the people of NYC . He was murdered along with 3000 others . Suggesting their is moral equivalency to him carrying a gun to protect and serve why and why those in Alquida do is reprehensible .

  • Mick

    Amen !

  • Mick

    Martin Luther King was a great man . Non violence was a political strategy . If Martin Luther King Jr was living In Iraq and chose to peacefully demonstrate for change h would have been killed or taken prisoner and not released . That strategy worked but because the nation at that time was still much culturally a Christian nation , at least held to the Judea Christian ethic . Western Civilization has a different morality then say a nation supporting Sharia Law or that of a Communist nation of atheism .

  • Mick

    I often am dismayed when people promote a theology that they base on the Bible , then attempt to marginalize scripture that does not support their views , even contradict . , in this promote a view the Bible is false . The word is said to be inspired and worthy . That was in the NT when the NT was not written , it was referring to the OT scriptures . Archeology has uncovered many ancient cities and other artifacts that were written about in the Bible .

  • Mick

    So according to you , Blessed, that Christ contradicted the Bible ? Actually what is happening here is your attempting to support a personal belief that is not Biblically supported or supported by Jesus Christ . Hence to do you have to accept the theology that needs you dis regarding the Truth of the Bible . That has all the making of a cult when you have to suggest the Bible had it wrong . I don’t think you see the irony in what your saying . To do this you have to invent a different Jesus then the one the Bible points to through out the OT .

  • Mick

    Yes it is quite obvious the spin here , Instead of addressing the issue the insults to the man and judging has to be done . This happens when you are trying to win a debate , not share the Faith or portray it .
    The issue of non violence should be able to discuss with out the disgustingly hostile attacks on a dead man , who is not allowed to even speak to the allegations .
    Its the same as marginalizing Martin Luther King based on his adultery . Because you do not support what he accomplished , you attack his motives and personal failures.

  • Mick

    Rick what are you talking about . First suggesting the kids in Iraq and Afghanistan did not believe in their mission , to liberate a nation from hostile and evil control is out of touch with America . Many kids went and died , injured and came home with severe PTSD as Kyle did . Afghanistan was supplying terrorist through out the world . Using drugs to purchase weapons . Iraq even gassed their own people , attacked four of its 5 neighbors , plotted to assassinate our President offered bounty to the families of suicide bombers. Believing it was a wrong policy for the US to invade Iraq or Afghanistan and you find agreement from me . The fact is many people believed it was promoting and protecting our freedom .

  • Kevin Thomas

    Faith without works is dead right? I think works to try and get God’s approval are like dirty rags…

  • Kevin Thomas

    Seem like you have to do a lot of mental gymnastics to make killing something Jesus supports or sanctions.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Love Wins in the end Mick. I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God not b this World. I choose to love…however inconvenient it ma be. I believe it was pretty inconvenient for Jesus…

  • Kevin Thomas

    Sounds like you are taking this pretty personal Mick…. Where does Jesus say we kill them? What does Jesus say about how we should treat our enemies? We are all sin…does that mean we shouldn’t try to be like Christ?

  • Kevin Thomas

    You lost me at the L word Mick…

  • Kevin Thomas

    There’s that “L” word again…

  • DChappy

    Mick, I might be able to answer one of your questions, maybe. I think that sometimes more liberal-leaning people get upset because the terms here “liberal” and “leftist” are specifically used in a derogatory way lumping them altogether the same way other people lump “conservative” with “tea party” and many many people fall in between all of those. It never helps a discussion to be derogatory to the person you are answering and the cutesy or belligerent name-calling is so tiresome to those wishing to have real discussion. I was wondering though what you meant by “The church today does not agree with him.” If you have time could you explain that quotation to me? I don’t know anything about Michael Moore I don’t follow him, but I do think two things about this article. One, the word “worship” was not the correct one to use and I don’t think the author even meant that, he probably should have used, “so highly revere” or some such. But I do think if he is doing research he is getting a pretty good picture of what he asked for. I have asked several people in this discussion list to give me Biblical reasons for their statements and so far have received none. I find that interesting. I myself am Christian, always have been and come from a long line from the same denomination and I can tell you that our doctrine is not reflected very often by most of those who like to start their arguments, “As a Christian,” and it always makes me mad. I want to shout, “You are not speaking for ALL Christians, stop that!” I want them to say, “As a Mormon, Baptist, Amish, Non-denominational Fundamentalist, or whatever.” just not “As a Christian.” Sorry, off topic.

  • Kirk Sears

    Mr. Corey, you are attempting to contrast Christ’s teaching of sacrificial love for one another with war. This is irresponsible. By your logic, all Christians should advocate for complete dissolution of our military and then sit around and wait to be raped and slaughtered by Islamic terrorists, as well as lament our awful decision to enter World War II.
    Granted, the necessity of the Iraqi war is and always will be questionable and rightly debated, but you’re not referring to this topic.
    Paul told us to live at peace with everyone IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. It is not possible to live at peace with Islamic extremists. You should be more careful what you say since you are apparently (I’ve never heard of you) an influential blogger/missiologist.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I don’t think that is what Ben is saying… Governments will do what governments will. The concern is the church slapping a Jesus label on it…ie meshing the two kingdoms.

  • Kevin Thomas

    All we are saying is don’t put a Jesus label on violence. This whole blog is about the church not about the government or military.

  • Merce4u

    Well said. I do not understand Mr.Corey’s stand on this. And I do not see anyone bowing down to worship Chris Kyle.

  • Merce4u

    Wars were ordered all through the bible by God. The thinkgs happening in the middle east are prophecy. We have been told these things will happen. And we have been told to stay alert.

  • Merce4u

    So Herm….how are we to respond to beheadings, rape, slaughter of our own?

  • gimpi1

    I find your Christian Gossip compared to Christian Soldier interesting. This fits with the view that one sin is worse than any other sin, that gossiping is no better or worse than killing. I’ve always found that troubling.

    Also, we can choose to gossip or not on a daily basis (Unless you are responsible for a daily gossip-column). A soldier, once they join up, gives up that choice. They become (at least in potential) a killer by definition. Is that a problem for Christians? I think Ben believes it should be. He has some perspective, here, having been career military.

    Also, the whole idea that one sin is the same as any sin is not borne out by many people’s actions. If you’ll forgive a derailment, I’ve never heard of someone refusing to bake a cake for a gossip’s wedding. Gay has become a sort of uber-sin for some Christians, so much so that any association with gay people is seen as contaminating. People are afraid they will be viewed as “approving” if they do business or participate in any way with gay people. Other sins don’t get this treatment. Fighting in a unjust or mistaken war certainly doesn’t

    Personally, I would rather we think very hard before considering any violent action. Violence has much more real-world consequences than pretty-much anything else.

  • gimpi1

    I find your repeated use of the word “liberal” as a slur troubling. People who tend liberal have beliefs, just as people who trend conservative do. Referring to “liberal agenda” and “leftist beliefs” is distracting at best, doing what you accuse Ben of, attacking those who disagree with you, at worst.

    You deserve your share of shame for your refusal to see that Ben isn’t addressing this as a political matter, but one of religious belief. Try to understand, not everything is political, and everything doesn’t break down into liberal versus conservative. That kind of binary thinking just drives people into attack-mode.

  • gimpi1

    Perhaps, if Matt had been attempting to have a loving conversation, a loving response would have been appropriate. However, Matt came off condemning and slighting, and Ben responded in kind. Sarcasm has its uses.

  • gimpi1

    How is defending a family-member being attacked right in front of you the same thing as volunteering to for military service, volunteering to train as a sniper, and talking about how “fun” it was to kill random people from a distance? This seems to be a pretty overt case of “straw-man” arguing to me.

  • gimpi1

    Great minds. Looked pretty straw man to me as.

  • Herm

    Mick, I am not in a quandary. It is very clear who is a Christian (“Christ like” and “little Christ”) and who is not by the following scripture, in any translation of the Christian Bible, authorized by any of the self-annointed and conflicting Christian corporations:

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

    What is your interpretation of that scripture which might allow any killer of mankind to be Christ like when we have four gospel books to know what Christ Jesus was and is like?

    I did serve my nation in Vietnam and for the most part God was with me when I asked. God was with the Vietnamese equally so, North and South, when they asked. Many of the Vietcong were devout Roman Catholics. None of us were students of our Rabbi Jesus as known by His carnal life and by His teaching on Earth that He never wielded a sword but instead took up the cross that we, mostly His enemies, might live. None of us were Christ like. None of us were Christians.

    I was physically spit on when I returned from Vietnam by my fellow “Christian” church membered friends. At the time I didn’t understand but today I do. None of us can serve two masters and I was serving in uniform the master who invaded Vietnam for fraudulent reasons sacrificing our children for our masters’ selfish causes. I was the closest representative that my friends could relieve and express their utter distain for the cost my master, in the name of national defense and patriotism, had incurred on their nation. I proudly mourn for all my military comrades as do, also, my friends who spit on me, which is an irreparable and painful quandary in both heart and mind for all of us.

    We can all gain membership into any one of the Christian churches throughout the world but that does not make us Christ like. Can we all be serving Jesus as our only High Priest if all of our church doctrines do not fully agree? Why do so many of us seek God by studying God theologically instead of learning directly from the Rabbi as His disciple?

    I testify that I have one Lord and it is not our secular governments nor the ruling authority of any church but Jesus’. I have one Teacher in my heart and mind through the Holy Spirit (of one heart and mind with the Father and the Son of God). I have one Father in Heaven who loves me as His joyful and peaceful little child. This I know today from experience, not from the pulpit or Sabbath/Sunday school classes.

    The rudimentary Bible that we begin to learn from today was not the full Gospel that the disciples and apostles shared in the planting of Jesus’ church. They shared their hearts and minds as were continually being taught by the Advocate as they each were ready. We are not orphans. We have prophets, apostles and disciples that Jesus anoints today to spread the Good News to the entire world. The Good News cannot be spread offensively or defensively but only lovingly while carrying the cross of enemy love as our sole tool of responsibility, with no wielding of sword nor firing of gun to separate us from the souls of our call.

    Why would I, knowing Jesus risen as real in my life today, now defend me and mine to live a hundred years each only to die there after eternally? As long as a gun, blade or bigotry continues to separate hearts and minds of human kind from becoming one diverse being, as is so with God whom we are in the image of, we can never unite but will continue to fight each other until carnal mankind is no longer. I would prefer to die carnally in the example of Jesus now if it would serve others, who I love but do not know, to later find eternal life as a child of God.

    To truly know the truth, as a disciple of none other than the Truth, one has to be convicted through baptism by the Holy Spirit in her/his heart and mind continually without end. There simply is no other way and certainly not at all by any anointing of sacraments to build membership subject to any church authority calling themselves Christian. Membership does not a Christian make. Pride of membership seperates us into divided group think where as relationship with the Holy Spirit unites us as children of God.

    The early disciples, apostles and prophets of Jesus pointed to the Way whom they knew personally. I am called by my Lord to point to the Way as a Christian and little eternally learning child of God.

    Love you Mick, thanks!

  • gimpi1

    For pity’s sake, not everything is political! Please, stop ramming everything into two boxes, the one you like labeled “conservative” and the one you don’t labeled “liberal.” If this is what your “education” taught you, you have work to do.

  • Herm

    Wars were ordered through a spirit interpreted to be the God. I know the Holy Spirit whom through I know Jesus and through Him I know the Father. They are God to me and in the example of Christ Jesus my Lord They do not order wars.

  • Merce4u

    Herm, I did not write the Bible. Its in the Bible. God ordered wars for different reasons, one of which to possess land. Regardless of what you want to believe…what is happening in the middle east is prophecy and from God.

  • gimpi1

    Well, one problem I have with this is that the people performing those atrocities aren’t the ones killed in the Iranian war. In fact, the Iranian war opened the door for the savagery we’re now seeing. Sometimes, there’s a lid on the pressure-cooker for a reason…

    See, when we put people in categories such as “Muslim” then decide Muslim equals terrorist or enemy, it becomes easy to justify killing anyone in the same category. We don’t get the criminals involved in the crime, we get someone who lives in the general region and has a couple of points in common with them. It’s exactly what the people committing the atrocities are doing; grabbing the first westerner they see, and attacking them for the actions of the U.S. military or the CIA. It makes no sense, no matter who’s doing it.

    We’re all individuals, answerable only for our own actions. War makes us forget that. That’s one of the many reasons it should be a last resort.

  • gimpi1

    All good points.

  • gimpi1

    I would guess because it’s not accurate, because it’s grouping things together that have nothing to do with one and other. For instance, many of the people supporting the recent police shootings would not like to be called racists or compared to the KKK, and they would be right. There are many reasons to support the police actions, and many reasons to question them. There are many reasons to be concerned with the military ventures in the middle-east, and many reasons to support them.

    Shoving people into boxes is foolish. If you don’t want to be shoved into a box, stop shoving.

  • gimpi1

    Exactly.

  • Mick

    That is not what is being said by all . Pacifism and your belief are two different things . Pacifism refuses to fight at all, and I believe this nation respects that , as Christians do . If it violates a conscience . But saying others have to support another’s conscience Is completely different matter .

  • Merce4u

    It seems to me there are some here who are following a different gospel than that of Christ. They are making scripture fit what they want it to fit and it is becoming mans gospel. There are times when war is warrented. Romans 13:3-4 Paul writes: “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”

  • Kevin Thomas

    The whole basis of this blog was focused on the church and how it should respond to violence. Pacifism from my view is a micro concept. I am not sure it even fits within the context of government. As followers of Jesus we must truly look at what He says about violence, enemy love, etc…

  • Mick

    Interesting , what scripture do you have that any Christian would be violating any scripture if he prevented a mass murderer , the ultimate evil from continuing . Show me any scripture that would violate any one . Attempting to portray Viet Cong as worthy of Gods love or our love for that matter by being Catholic , good father , good mother , is missing the understanding of Christ Like . For we all fail , non Christian and Christian . None of us are anything worthy to consider ourselves worthy of being above another human being .
    My son has 50 percent disability , He received these injuries in Iraq . Are you suggesting someone saving his life was a non Christian incident ? Can you show me the hatred used to save his life ?

  • Herm

    You are right as I see it by writing, “By your logic, all Christians should advocate for complete dissolution of our military… ”. You are wrong in continuing to write, “…and then sit around and wait to be raped and slaughtered by Islamic terrorists, as well as lament our awful decision to enter World War II.”

    Picking up the cross is struggling proactively and is not at all sitting around on our duff waiting for all destruction of mankind. Jesus, our omnipotent Lord, can keep us safe to spread His heart and mind as Truth and as “Good News” until we must die on that symbolic cross that others might live. Do you not believe He will raise you and yours from the first death?

    If we keep sending crusades of Christian drones, in place of taking God’s love directly to our enemies, we can never let others know the availability of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and minds. If we send our military of soldiers as drones to convey our message we are defending our way from others and not introducing others to the Way.

  • Herm

    Human kind are in the image of God. Human kind is our own. How did our Father in Heaven respond to the crucifixion of His only begotten Son?

  • Kevin Thomas

    Did Jesus mean it when He said we must love our enemies? I don’t think we have to pit Jesus against Paul if we look at the context in which Pau was writing. Paul was encouraging the Jews not to rebel against the Romans. At any rate we aren’t talking about the government. .we are talking about the church in this post. There are many in the church that believe Jesus sanctions violence and killing. He simply doesn’t. He showed us a better way.

  • Herm

    Bullshit!

  • Herm

    I would suppose then by how you read Romans 13 that Paul did not fear his beheading by the Roman rulers for his good behavior.

  • Mick

    The stand is based on an understanding of scripture that sees that violence of any kind can be done . False witness does not seem to be an aspect of the Bible Mr. Corey adheres to unfortunately . Much also has to do with an anti capitalistic and even anti , western civilization mindset . Moral equivalency of evil and good which the secular left embraces . It appears the religion is a combination of both that Mr. Corey speaks from .

  • Mick

    Your bringing up different points . One you object to the things Kyle says . Don’t blame you . Seems like the man had some issues after his ordeal in Iraq . But then you suggest joining the military is wrong . Joining the police force is ? How about being a president and using Drones , can the president not say he is a Christian also ? Seems your using the straw man , consistency is what I attempting to seek . An understanding of why it was Un Christian to save the lives of so many . That as a personal opinion is one thing , but using the Bible which much of the religious left sees as a bunch of fairy tales rom the OT to the Virgin Birth . Suddenly hooking on one scripture when a man is saving lives seems strange ..

  • Mick

    Really are you concerned about when Mr. Correy used the word conservative .
    Interesting your not turning the other cheek and feel the need to defend your self through insults . Easily you have showed your attempt to condemn Kyle for actions, evein joining the military is un Christian in your own words . Being put into a position I know of no Christian wanting to be in . Here you are safe , and you can not turn the other cheek .

  • gimpi1

    No, I didn’t mean to suggest that I think joining the military is wrong. I think Ben, after both his military service and his coming to the conclusion that his faith demanded non-violence and enemy-love may feel that way. I don’t.

    See that’s the whole problem with straw-man arguments. They don’t apply to the real world. Referring to the “religious left” as seeing the Bible as a bunch of fairy-tales is every bit as silly as referring to the religious right as wanting to stone gay people. Are there extremists with those positions? Yes. Do they speak for everyone? Obviously not. If you don’t want to be compared to Westboro Baptist, I suggest laying off the “leftist” usage.

    Also, this discussion is about a man who may have “saved lives” but did so by killing people. From a distance, not in the heat of battle. Was it justified? I frankly don’t know. Do you claim to?

  • Kirk Sears

    Ok good points, Herm, but let’s not stray from the main topic, which is that this blogger is suggesting the SEAL sniper was the antithesis of Christ.
    Also, if you want to go to Iraq and Syria right now and spread the Gospel, by all means go for it. I will pray for you. I will not be joining you. Perhaps my faith is too weak at this point.

  • gimpi1

    I haven’t heard Mr. Correy use the word conservative in a pejorative way, have you?

    As to the rest of your post, what are you talking about? I haven’t condemned Kyle. I haven’t said that joining the military isn’t Christian. I’m not Christian, and I’m ineligible for military service, so I’m not in a position to make such a judgement. Where did I say that?

    I don’t think I’ve been insulting at all. If so, please show me where, and I’ll make amends.

    Are you sure you don’t have me confused with some other post?

  • Herm

    Thank you for asking! I know that you may be mocking me and even laughing at my naivety but I sense you are honestly searching for the truth. The following are in answer to all your presented questions:

    “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Matthew 26:52”

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39

    Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Revelation 2:16

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

    “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12

    … ALL “others” especially our enemies so they no longer are separated by the false perception that Christ is authorizing Christian crusades of rape and plunder, witch hunts, colonizing, bigotry and the hatred of them as others.

    God is blessing your search for you are asking, seeking and knocking beyond the comfort of your carnal family and church. Love you!

    I empathize with your pain more than you could possibly know. I hurt for the disability of your son no less than I grieve for those I served with in Vietnam. God bless him. Saving his life was good but the act of invading a sovereign nation in the name of Christianity is not and is counter productive to making disciples of Jesus.

  • Mick

    Where has the church slapped a Jesus label on Kyle ? Perhaps this would help to cite an example . Never heard done by any Christians .

  • Mick

    Thanks DC .. Reading a blog with the derogatory term fundie and references
    through out by the author depicting Conservative Christians in less then a
    gracious light am some what surprised of term liberal being derogatory . I am
    surprised however to your reluctance to the author for using pejorative
    descriptions of those he disagreed with on his blog , idol worship etc of this
    man . If the issue is Christians fighting in wars, actually using a gun to
    kill another human being , well it could have been a very useful enlightening ,
    even encouraging us all in the faith . That is s not what happened here ,
    unfortunately you seemed to have missed the possibility of a good discussion
    with the first volley .

    Pacifism started its strongest roots in the 17th century in many ways that
    Benjamin speaks to . Using the Church Founders as an example in the culture and
    issues they were dealing with is inappropriate . There is no set ways for
    Christians to follow a formula where outcomes are going to happen . Not
    addressing evil , not addressing it is not a magical potion that will result in
    peace . The way martin Luther King handled issues here would not have worked in
    Germany .

    I see the church as one body . Unfortunately we are split . The part of the
    body that believes in pacifism is very small in regards to the whole . That was
    thrust of my comment . Its factual . Does this mean disregard our brothers who
    are pacifist . No way . But as of yet I have only seen your response form the
    other side of this issue that has been attempted to tone it down and be fair .

    A personal belief of us being in Iraq or not is irrelevant to the
    conversation . As it is in fighting Nazis over in Europe or our own countrymen
    in the Civil War . Christians find themselves dealing with these issues all the
    time . We live in a fallen world , to suggest there is one answer for all ,
    every culture or every time is wrong . It puts God in a box and ourselves also .

    C
    S Lewis quote I find most applicable .when we have people telling us we have to vote republican to be a Christian , voted democrat to help the poor , or stay out of the military if you want to be a Christian .

    “The second thing to get clear is that
    Christianity has not, and does not profess to have, a detailed political
    programme for applying “Do as you would be done by” to a particular society at a
    particular moment. It could not have. It is meant for all men at all times and
    the particular programme which suited one place or time would not suit another.
    And anyhow, that is not how Christianity works. When it tells you to feed the
    hungry, it does not give you lessons in cooker…y. When it tells you to read the Scriptures it
    does not give you lessons in Hebrew and Greek, or even in English grammar. It
    was never intended to replace or supercede the ordinary human arts and sciences:
    it is rather a director which will set them all to the right jobs, and a source
    of energy which will give them all new life, if only they will put themselves at
    its disposal.” C.S Lewis

  • Mick

    Not in the definition used by today’s pacifist . He never would have demanded to let innocent children , women , and others to be murdered .

  • Mick

    Jesus never promotes the belief that we should allow evil to triumph . He never issued pacifism as a political strategy as Martin Luther King successfully used . Because in other situations that strategy would not work , a strategy of non violence works , but it can also fail . Its not a magical potion , a magic spell . Non violence taken to extreme can cause massive violence .

  • Herm

    Hurling names at each other will not serve to aid and abet any of our deceptions. What you said and I responded to is totally untrue and worthy of the dung heap. I did not call you a vindictive name but you chose to take it to heart.

    The only faithful Word is Jesus our Lord and Rabbi. The Bible points us to the Word in a humanly written form of which the only perfection is its portraying the image of a progressing and digressing expose’ of mankind’s relationship with God, of whom we as mankind are in the image of. God did not write the Bible and Jesus did not write any portion of the New Testament to Him. I do not worship nor idolize the Bible. The first apostles did not carry a Bible with them to spread the “Good News”.

    The God I worship in all love is available through the Holy Spirit directly in each of our hearts and minds as we are receptive. The Holy Spirit is the Advocate for both mankind and God.

    I love you Merce4u but not your message. I have an eternity’s worth of mercy directly from God as Their little child, thank you very much.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Many churches and Christians have used Kyle as a means of furthering a nationalistic agenda by celebrating violence and killing…almost making it a holy endeavor. Kyle admitted he loved killing and represented himself as a Christian. Many in the church don’t understand Jesus’ admonition to love our enemies and do good to them. While we should have compassion and love towards Kyle, we should not lift him up as a beacon of Godliness. This means not celebrate in his killing activities., but rather grieve over all lost liFe. I believe Jesus is…

  • Mick

    Really you would rather follow Jesus , and those who disagree with your Jesus are not . You seem to be promoting a belief you follow a different God then others . The very first question you need to address is reality . Was Jesus speaking to stopping the evil use of force as hating your neighbor . Since when do we have to allow murder to obey what Jesus said ? Also your form of non violence appears to be more of a religious law then what the Lord was speaking to . He was speaking to our hearts . We Christians seem to thing praying for our enemies is something we do ,because the Lord told us .to . But how do we pray for them , Or how do I pray …..Lord help Ben see the light .

  • Herm

    They were murdered all the time when He walked the Earth. After He ascended They were murdered as Christians in Roman arenas often by the authority of Saul a Jewish Pharisee. Jesus did not intervene nor did He, or does He, as our Lord authorize any killing.

  • Mick

    How I depicted praying for others Ben is how I see your stand on non violence . Yeah I am praying for you , but its so you can see the light . No praying for your enemies is the same as praying for your mate , your brother , your best friend , realizing all the fears , hopes trials , human frailties we all have and put them before the Throne of God so the God of the universe can come in enter your situation with love and mercy . Right now I am dealing with how self righteous you are . But yes I know I am wrong . Just like I know it is wrong to suggest we allow evil to triumph in the name of turning the other cheek . Was not what the Lord was addressing at all .

  • Kevin Thomas

    Probably on a worldly level….but that’s the earthly Kingdom. If one is a follower of Jesus..we are citizens of a different Kingdom and it is upside down. It holds a different charter….and different marching orders which include enemy love, and ascribing unsurpassable worth to everyone through self sacrificial love as our Lord did. It is really tough stuff if you believe that Jesus said love your enemies..it requires opposite behaviors of the Kingdom that we are resident aliens of.

  • Herm

    You cannot ever be considered peaceful with your finger on the trigger.

  • Mick

    Bull shit Herm … You comparing addressing evil , the Lord taking sin , your sin my sin on himself on the Cross as a moral equivalency of us allowing evil to prosper and even become able to grow and kill more . That is a false doctrine and has nothing to do with the Atonement of the Cross and why it was necessary .

  • brucesat

    The idolatry is not of Kyle, but of the ideas that he embodies. Here is a warrior that is out there facing evil. He is ridding the world of the threats that we fear the most. When we finally rid the world of all evil we can finally rest safe at night. All our worries will be gone. Unfortunately this vanquishing of evil will only work out as well as the last vanquishing of evil for the white protestants of America. For their fears come not from without but from within the very framework of our society that is based on uncertainty and a darwinian system of winner take all. No escape to the suburbs, no amassing of a nest egg, no mass killings or subjugation of the “other” will ever be enough. We all know that we are always one step away from losing it all.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Problem is, people make folk heroes (or have folk heroes made for them by someone they deem influential). We used to have mythic folk heroes, both fictional archetypes and mythologized versions of historical figures, but they all got deconstructed in The Sixties.

    So we fill the vacuum with the likes of American Sniper and colorful cartoon ponies. Maybe not the best heroes and examples to imitate, but the only alternatives these days are the likes of Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Kim Kardashian.

    Even Christians are not immune to this tendency — how do you think all those stories of Saints began? Except now, our mythic heroes of the faith are megachurch pastor/dictators and televangelists — “Just like the Kardashians, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

  • Herm

    Card carrying members of the USA Christian church killed women and children by the thousands in the Iraq invasion serving the evil master named national patriotism in the propagandist logic of saving their own women and children from non-existent WMDs. When does it stop? It stops when we serve only our Lord God who knows how to love all women and children. I accept only my call to arms wielding the sword of Truth from the mouth of the Word.

  • Mick

    Christ is love . The Bible is a Love story Kevin . Making equal the Cross and the reason for the Atonement with a pacifist religious belief of non violence no matter what is not about love . , Its about equating our own selves with Christ . I found it arrogant . Like you do calling your views liberal . That has nothing to do with love . Different ways to handle different situations , different cultures handle them differently . King used non violence in the 60s, it politically worked . We used B52s it stop Nazi Germany it worked . King using non violence would have meant millions more being murdered and gassed if that method was used in Germany , , violence by King means the voting rights bill may never had gotten passed . Good quote from CS Lewis . Also when you start complaining about the Fundie word on the top of the blog I will will stop using the liberal word .
    what happened here ,

    Following is a quote from Lewis I find useful .

    “The second thing to get clear is that
    Christianity has not, and does not profess to have, a detailed political
    programme for applying “Do as you would be done by” to a particular society at a
    particular moment. It could not have. It is meant for all men at all times and
    the particular programme which suited one place or time would not suit another.
    And anyhow, that is not how Christianity works. When it tells you to feed the
    hungry, it does not give you lessons in cooker…y. When it tells you to read the Scriptures it
    does not give you lessons in Hebrew and Greek, or even in English grammar. It
    was never intended to replace or supercede the ordinary human arts and sciences:
    it is rather a director which will set them all to the right jobs, and a source
    of energy which will give them all new life, if only they will put themselves at
    its disposal.” C.S Lewis

  • Herm

    The evil you are addressing is pitting us against them and Jesus addressed that in Matthew 7:12. The cross still exists and we must pick it up if we are to know the truth from the mouth of Jesus our Teacher.

  • Mick

    Never knew we invaded Iraq in the name of Christianity . Can you offer any Christians that stated this ? Because from my perspective Congress voted to support military force , the President believed it was necessary to stop the growing threat of terrorism of expanding . I never considered it a Christian crusade . Never thought of WW 2, Vietnam , and war for that matter a Christian war . The way you look at issues seems to bring us unable to find a common ground .
    But calling it a Christian war is like me saying your view is supporting evil and giving scripture after scripture of why we are to oppose evil .as you did above . Has no context in the issue .

  • Mick

    Seems like someone who has a problem with a liberal label has no problem dishing it out himself . Always easier for someone else to turn that other cheek as we live in the peace and freedom that we all share .

  • Herm

    All good points and I do appreciate your subtle sense of humor in search of truth. I would suggest, not happily, that all of us who have supported any war effort are in spirit an antithesis of Christ.

    Which sword stands the best chance of eventually bringing peace and joy to the lands of Iraq and Syria; the sword of a perceived imperialistic war machine or the sword from the mouth of Jesus. It seems that recently we tested the first sword in Iraq and how did that work out for us?

    How do we make students of Jesus with war against others supported by Christians? I never thought I would be so daring but in all peace I would accept beheading and a cross that others might know the love of our Father in Heaven. I would not demand the same of any other, their choice tempered by the example of Christ Jesus.

    Love you, thanks!

  • Kevin Thomas

    I am at a loss as to how I can convey to you that this post is about the Churches response to violence…how there is a growing nationalism that is pervasive in today’s American Christianity. I am not talking about the Government.

    Secondly…I know you want to set me straight by” making things clear”, and I am trying very hard to hear you.. I would ask for the same from you. Pssst…condescension doesn’t work very well with me. I have tried to be respectful to you.

    Lastly this is Ben’s blog and he gets to title it in a manner that best captures his vision. You and I are simply guests. So from now on I am not going to respond to any of your posts that use the “L” word in describing me. I am neither left or right as those are human constructs of the Kingdom in which I am a resident Alien. Peace to you brother, k

  • Kevin Thomas

    Where have I labled you in a pejorative manner?

  • Guest

    Not trying to beat propaganda down your throat, but curious as to what you think of this explanation…

    http://www.gotquestions.org/killing-in-war.html

  • Mick

    Well Kev unfortunately others here have responded to this post with government policy criticisms of this war . Also there has been a piling on so to speak from the left side of the political spectrum that has nothing to do with our Faith in regards to this issue . Some of those same comments found on political websites are found here that have nothing to do with our Lord . The Fundie decription regardless if we are guests here is still shameful. If it was depicting a race , sexuality or onething else would you be so tolerant . Ask yourself ? To suggest one promotes a view that they attack one form of Christianity to put their new beliefs on a higher level is something as guests we should speak to if we are Christians . Sorry I disagree . But yes I can come on like gang busters , apologize I was wrong . Perhaps you nailed it with me taking it personal , my son was is Iraq . Has a 50 percent disability because of it .His job was making sure of no bombs in the path of the convoys . To this day he can not go into places that are loud , like a chucky cheese where kids are playing and shouting .
    Off topic but the policy in Iraq was tollay wrong in my opinion . The President used a nation building technique that had no understanding of the culture or beliefs he was dealing with . Our culture hears an I for an I as a negative thing because of our progression and because of our roots in Christianity . In reality I for an I was actually advancing love and peace . At that time in surround nations if say a person stole your OX , you could take that persons life , kill his wife , take his children as slaves . An I for an I was actually an attempt to make the justice system more fair . We read it for the most part as something that was wrong headed and vengeful. o me studying the scripture should be enlightening , engaging , this conversation made it us against them .
    But I apologize . Just reading my comment knowing my grammar and issues with dyslexia is proof you wanted a conversation .. God Bless .

  • Herm

    Do you know of any Christians praying before going into battle asking God to protect them in their mission? I do.

    If we, who too many Christians claim throughout the world the USA as theirs graced by God, send our troops (predominately Christian) into a predominately Muslim country it is falsely perceived by our enemy defending their nation as an invasion in the name of Christianity. I did not know this when I fought in Vietnam because I didn’t understand loving my enemy means having empathy for them and not just benevolent tolerance in how I dispatch their threat that I might falsely perceive. I must try to understand that they are also a part of whole of mankind in the image of the whole of God as am I. I can no longer consider my self Christ like if I am unwilling to accept the cross as my own to the salvation of my enemy as did Christ Jesus.

    The world would be much better off if we went to war as USA citizens only with no conflicting allegiance to our Lord Jesus that serves to misrepresent ourselves as Christ like. I worship on the cross like Jesus rather than the sword of Caesar. I cannot serve two different masters.

    This has all context in the issue of the article of faith as stated by Ben.

  • Kirk Sears

    Not trying to force propaganda down your throat, but curious as to what you think of this explanation…

    http://www.gotquestions.org/killing-in-war.html

  • Mick

    You can not consider yourself loving turning your back on someone who has a trigger on others.

  • Mick

    Also Kev making things straight and making things clear was a quote from CS lewis I put in .

  • Kevin Thomas

    Thanks Mick! Blessings to you as well! I am so sorry to hear about your son. My boy just joined the Guard…can u imagine our conversations around the table? Lol.
    I support him though as he is my son and I love him. Take care…k

  • Mick

    Ben you are correct we find little quote from the early church on handling violence . many died in non resistance . Using Constantine as an example of Christianity changing to war is a stretch and not agreed upon by Christian scholars . Big difference in dying for not renouncing your faith , actually denying our Lord , then stopping someone from killing your spouse or friend because they want your live stock .

    I wonder if you were robbed , you will use the same scripture used to defend you beliefs to not only not prosecute your robber , but give him money to help him on his way . Because using the scripture as you do here , it seems that is what you would advocate .

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (NIV, Matthew 5:38-45)

  • Kirk Sears

    I have tried twice to have you read a ‘got questions’ website article on war, but apparently the blogger keeps deleting it. So much for an open discussion. Anyway, I’ll have to chew on your words more, but appreciate the civil discussion. Take care.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Ahhh…okay got it!

  • Herm

    You put words in my mouth. I would never turn my back on a threat. In the example of Jesus I will look them in the eye, heart and mind. We would not have opposing soldiers if all knew Jesus, especially those who think incorrectly that they are a good example of Christ Jesus when they are pulling the trigger.

  • Mick

    mental gymnastics to accept something Jesus supports ? Where did I say that …. Mental gymnastics is a slur of my understanding of the Spirit and text of the word . Which I use as a support for relationship , not a hammer to tell others where they get it wrong . Most of the church accepts in their understanding of scripture that war occurs and will occur . That at times evil will use force to expand . Has nothing to do with our individual response to someone hitting us . I find lacking in at least the issue here is that you can honor and respect this man for the fact he saved so many lives in the line of duty , war is wrong, sometimes it happens . The Just War Theory is used by some , not using mental gymnastics , just as the Apostles creed was an attempt to try to keep the church united on issues causing the church to splinter off . Its not mental gymnastics to hate evil , its Bibical . Now how we handle evil , yes that is complicated . But suggesting to turn our back on it and say its Bibical ? Nope , not me .nor would the Lord want me to .

  • Mick

    What someone else perceives has nothing to do with reality . Totally agree we should never go to any war in the name of Christianity .Or use the Cross to support a political party which I find too often in the republican party , and by the religious left .

  • Scholars don’t agree that Christianity dramatically changed once it was paired together with state power at the time of Constantine? I’m not aware of a single one. It started the era of Christendom.

  • Herm

    We perceived, all of us, WMDs in Iraq and 100,000+ Iraqi deaths plus 4,000+ of our resulting deaths were the very real result of our perception. ISIS is selling the perception that Christians are out to remove militarily all of Islam all from the perception we planted in our aggressive invasion of Iraq. Invading Afghanistan was tolerated by most Muslims as just cause in defensive retribution for the destruction of the Twin Towers with the loss of 3,000 lives. How could the world’s perception derived from Shock and Awe be considered just, even in the terms of carnal logic?

    The cross can only support sacrifice and never supports offense or defense against an other. It was an enemy that Jesus submitted to and forgave because they knew not what they did. He had legions of angels at His Father’s command to remove by force all His enemies. The Father knew every hair on each but not necessarily their closed hearts and minds who didn’t recognize God in their midst.

    We are all ignorant little children compared to our Brother Jesus who is will to teach us all. The vast majority of the teachers in the Christian church do not know the only Rabbi for Christians. They only know what is handed down to them authoritatively by their respective church. It was by the support of the respective church Jesus was a member of that rallied in united riot fever to yell, “crucify Jesus” in God’s name. How do our Christian churches today throw around in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? … sprinkled or immersed … what about baptism by the Holy Spirit?

    Love you! This is not easy but all good learning is a struggle dependent upon our source of teaching. I am not teaching but I am pointing to the Teacher I know you can trust.

  • Mick

    Sorry you mis understood . Scholars do not agree with the belief Quakers ,Annabaptists and other pacifist denominations belief that Constantine changed the meaning of the contest of the scriptures your using . I am surprised that someone who attempts to use the early church and the Lord supporting his position would not know this . Yes Christianity changed with Constantine . Does not mean your belief was what was however what was changed . To suggest. You making an argument that the church purposely disregards our Lord , not true .

  • Mick

    Your using a straw man , as if a Christian pulling a trigger is singing On Earth as it is in heaven . Wonder how many supporting non violence ts a pacifist are willing to go and Evangelize to those nations supporting evil and violence as a means t dictate their religion instead of free choice that God provided us with . That is the kind of pacifism the Lord was speaking to . It is aggressive , its leaving ourselves behind and putting Christ first in our lives .

  • Herm

    There is no sham here at all. Picking up the cross is aggressive and non-violent. A person truly as an example of Jesus’ teaching (disciple) cannot pull a trigger as Jesus could not in love wield a sword but could carry a cross. We, according to comparative statistics worldwide, as a nation need be evangelized more than most nations regarding evil and violence.

  • Kevin Thomas
  • We don’t believe that Constantine changed the meaning of scripture, so I’m not sure where you got that. We believe that the early church before Constantine was built upon the unanimous agreement of nonviolent enemy love- something that’s just a historical fact. After Constantine, that changed once the church experienced what it was like to be in power instead of being oppressed- that’s when they shifted and began to justify violence.

  • Mick

    Yopu again are offering no proof of the change to pacifism . Assumption yes , there is a big
    difference between war and the subject of personal vengence . Two totally
    different isues . OLD Testament prophets preached against personal vengence and
    supported war at times . There are possibly three church Fathers wh actually
    preached against war , and those reasonswere for idoltry , not the reasons used
    in turning the cheek or any of the other out of cobntext scriptures you are
    using . The reasons of violence were condemned . The apostolic age began
    with Christians such as Cornelius remaining in the army.Christians like Tertullian objected not because they
    were against war in principle or against Christians being in the military in
    principle, but because of the idolatrous
    circumstances

  • Mick

    Totally false , and your using religion to make your case . The Lord spoke against personal vengeance in all the scriptures you used .

  • Mick

    There is no indication that the Church Fathers rejected a nation’s right to go to war to protect its citizens

    Herm your teaching about a false Jesus , a man made one and using your personal perceptions and understanding to teach. Your accountable for this , so take care .

  • Herm

    You shock me! I, perhaps in my ignorance, don’t see where I suggested personal vengeance at any time.

  • Herm

    I gave you Jesus directly quoted scriptures that clearly in my heart and mind showed how Jesus taught to relate to an enemy. I obviously am not teaching you anything except possibly that you can go to the Source directly. Your threats of usurped authority are truly trumped by the Guide in my heart and mind. I am at peace with everything I shared unless I have misrepresented by clerical error. There is only one church Father and only one High Priest.

  • I’m guessing I could cite a historical fact, such as Lincoln’s death, and you’d ask for proof… I’ve spent seven years in seminary, and I’m not going to do the homework for you.

    Yes, some objected because of idolatry, but not simply because of idolatry. No where is there any written record of violence being justified in the first 350 years of Christianity. 100% of the early church condemned killing.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/07/08/the-early-church-and-military-service/

  • Mick

    You are shocked because you do not understand . You gave scriptures attempting to show a belief that condemns fighting evil with a military force .
    With Christians participating in the force as being Un Christian . Those scriptures you claim to be for non violence are recognized by the church to be
    against personal vengeance . In other words me being angry I take it upon my self to hurt another based on that anger . Big difference in that and what you
    are speaking to . You believe allowing murder and violence hurt others is the Gospel . No it is not . It’s an understanding you are welcome to , but it has no
    Christian basis in church history or traditional understanding of the texts . .

    St. Clement (a.d. 30-100),
    Mathetes (a.d. 130), Polycarp (a.d. 155), Ignatius (a.d. 30-107), Papias (a.d.
    70-155), Justin Martyr (a.d. 110-165), the epistles of Barnabus (a.d. 100), Ireneas (a.d. 120-202), the Shepherd of Hermas (a.d. 160), Tatian (a.d.
    110-172), Athenagoras (a.d. 177), or Clement of Alexandria (a.d. 153-217), which
    in their respective contexts discuss whether war is justifiable or whether Christians can be involved in war.

  • Why isn’t anyone talking about the fact that it just isn’t that good of a film, craft-wise? I feel like we should also be having that conversation.

  • Herm

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/who-jesus-talked-about-when-he-talked-about-enemies/#disqus_thread

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

    Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:52-54

    Jesus in no way is ever quoted to advocate or justify war. The first bishop of Rome was not anointed or seated by Jesus. Paul agonized in turmoil his past that still influenced his present. Peter, the example of a rock, got lots of things wrong in his writing until he got it right.

    Ask Jesus whether or not I am misrepresenting Him. As it is you are showing signs of turmoil yourself so I would suggest we give this a rest. Thank you very much for sharing so openly and vulnerably your heart and mind! Love You!

  • Mick

    Well Jesus never went to seminary I take it from him . Sorry if you think your smarter then he or you selective view which is greatly in the minority is also . Using the I am educated and you are not is just what Christ spoke to often in regards to the intellectual religious enlightened Pharisees. You obviously Protestant church historians such as Philip Schaff, Harnack, McGiffert, Moffat, Lee, Frend, and archeologists such as Sir William Ramsey have also made a special study of
    the early church in this regard. They have come away convinced that the pacifists are off the mark in how they view the early church . Second, the supposed “fall” of the
    church from pacifism to approval of war with Constantine is a convenient myth which has no historical justification whatsoever. If the early church was committed to pacifism in principle, if they viewed war as intrinsically immoral
    and in conflict with Christ’s teaching, to think that all of them would change their convictions simply because a Christian emperor came on the scene is a reach to say the least . There is even archeological evidence pre dating Constantine of Christian graves of men who were in the military . Tertullian. While it is clear that he did not want Christians to participate in the army because they would become defiled with idolatry, nowhere did Tertullian
    condemn the state for having an army. Neither did he condemn nations for going to war. He declared:

    “””Without ceasing, for all
    our emperors, we offer prayer. We pray for life prolonged; for security to the empire; for protection to the imperial house; for brave armies” Note the brave armies … !100 percent seems proven to be a falsehood as most of your religion is based in it seems . Glad you went to school .However since the majority of the church who have attended seminary disagree with you , hardly something to pull out in an effort to show some kind of intellectual superiority on this subject .

  • Interesting that you cited Tertullian– someone who taught exactly what you’re against, which is the position of the early church. He taught that a Christian could never use violence, and that a Christian could never be in the military, writing that “when Christ disarmed Peter, he disarmed every soldier.” Tertullian went on to write that one could never make an occupation of violence– because that would be idolatry. One could not be a soldier and thus wear the uniform symbolizing violence, one could not participate in capital punishment– he even said that an Emperor could never be considered a Christian because they’d never agree to nonviolence. He goes as far as saying that someone in a violent occupation (magistrate, soldier, etc) cannot be admitted to the church: “can any believer enlist in the military? Can any solder, even those of who the rank and file or lesser grades who neither engage in pagan sacrifices nor capital punishment be admitted to the church? No on both counts.”

  • Mick

    Actually ben stated the first church advocated against war . My response was directed at those unproven and in fact contradicted statements . Never suggested they replaced Jesus , but their Gospels and writings are part of the Bible and are inspired . . Your scriptures again show nothing that states Christ is against protecting a person who is being violated . His reason for allowing himself to be taken prisoner was not to promote non violence , you should know that . You seem to be having trouble and understanding that the Bible speaks to all of us , and most of us have received a message unlike yours . Sorry for your contributions to war if you now regret it . That must be hard . The Lord knows both of us , and sorry you are not representing Him to me . Your representing Him to you and a small minority within the church . The Lord does not need your help Herm . No offense in that , but your words fall quite short of consistency in how to handle violence and the teaching in the Bible . As I have tried to offer you circumstances to consider and even though perhaps extreme , those circumstances happen . The Lord would never want us hurting any one out of personal vengeance , but yes He would want us to stop the evil that roams this earth to be stopped . To suggest he would allow a few million more Jews to be murdered or any extension of evil in such matters is just not Bibical .

  • Mick

    wow I just gave you a quote from him that disagrees with everything you just said . Its why I shared it , for it shows that what pacifists attempt to use as their support for non violence for any reason is disregarded by those they use as proof of their convictions . I don’t dispute your convictions , I am saying your convictions have no basis for others to have also Your example is praying for strong armies . How do you reconcile that ? . “””Without ceasing, for all our
    emperors, we offer prayer. We pray for life prolonged; for security to the
    empire; for protection to the imperial house; for brave armies”

  • Mick

    Also many pacifists use others that contradict their teachings about them . Go to the source Ben , not what you receive from those who already agree with you . You will that many of these beliefs evolved , just like the debates of new about our Founding Fathers . At one time Jefferson was anti Christianity , at another time of his life he is anything but . Polycarp applied Old and New testament teaching against the use of violence for PERSONAL vengeance . Some pacifist use him for their proof of supporting pacifism . Just not true . What is your view of the majority of those who graduate seminary who disagree with your views ? Ignorant , anti Christ , less intellectually discerning as you ?

  • Mick

    Just some scriptures that show a different understanding . Good for your understanding if not even being enlightened to what others believe . There is always room for learning .
    In Romans 13:1-4, the Apostle Paul has this to say about the
    governing authority (the state):
    Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.
    For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established
    by God. Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God,
    and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers
    are not a cause for fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no
    fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for
    it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it
    does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who
    brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.

    .” And this servant of God has the God-given responsibility to “bear the sword” and to “bring punishment on the wrong-doer”
    (v.4).

    . In Exodus 22:2, we read: “If a thief is caught breaking in and
    is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.” The
    teachings of Jesus on turning the other cheek notwithstanding, self-defense
    against life-threatening violence is not prohibited by Scripture. Likewise,
    nations defending themselves against foreign aggression is not prohibited
    either.

    In Luke 3:14, we see a reference to some soldiers who were converted under the ministry of John the Baptist. They came to John and asked him what they should do now. Apparently, they thought that their new-found faith
    required of them some “spiritual” service and their resignation from military service. However, John told them, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people
    falsely—be content with your pay.” In other words, John said, “Be good soldiers!” So Christianity is not pacifistic, .

  • Mick

    Actually belong to a on line group that debates Civil War and issues on Lincoln all the time . Amazing how both sides take the view they are right and the other view is based in fiction . But is strange you have no proof or support by the majority of the church . I would think taking a minority view you would have been prepared to answer basic questions . This takes a lot of conviction or
    arrogance , from your insults and emotional retorts you seem to have at both . Most Christians in
    history have rejected pacifism in all its varieties, This is not proof of it being the correct view but goes farther then your college degree. Some pacifists believe the
    government has a right to fight but not Christians . Then there is universal pacifism?. This view holds that it is wrong for anyone to commit violence . This
    at least is consistent and does not have the flaws which are numerous of Christians living and supporting non Christians in wars . The sermon on the Mt
    is often used for defense here of their position .
    Blessed are the peacemakers. . .” “Do not resist him who is evil, but whoever slaps you on your
    right cheek, turn to him the other also.” And he says to “love your enemies and do good to them.” These statements are directed to Christians and followers of
    Christ , not Universal pacifism .
    Jesus in these sermons often use
    what we hyperbole . Example would be elsewhere in the sermon Jesus tells us that
    if our right eye causes us to stumble into the sin of lust, then you should pluck it out! I guess if your serious Ben , you only have one eye or have
    a defiency of Testosterone ;o)

  • DChappy

    I am sorry Mick, I am finding your writing above hard to follow. There are some unusual spacings and things I don’t quite follow, but that’s ok. I hope I answered you what I tried to. Not sure still, what you meant by “the church” but I don’t really need to. I have read most of C.S. Lewis works also as I am guessing you have since you liked to quote him. Best of luck to you.

  • Mick

    Well Kevin I have not seen or heard of any of them . I have seen many appalled tot he way this man has been used as an example of Americas imperialist capitalistic and past sins . Sorry I am out of the loop in seeing this , I know many were also appalled that the man is dead , a vetreran who served his nation when called , left a wife and suffered himself because of the experience . Not too much perhaps we are both refusing to see the logs in the eyes of our own backyards . But the evangelical church I am part of has stated noting , but many persons such as myself were un prepared for the hatred espoused to this man . Seems like it was making him an example of some kid . He was just a man , He died . Never saw the hero worship that is applied , only disdain for the abuse he has received .

  • Herm

    Mick, you really wrote, “The teachings of Jesus on turning the other cheek notwithstanding,”?

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:38-48

    This was stated so clearly regarding what Jesus taught and exactly like Jesus lived carnally.

    John the Baptist said and was true:

    John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16

    Your exegesis is missing much from real life study of the times.

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. Romans 13:1-7

    As you read Romans 13:1-7 please tell me what you presume Paul did that was not “good” to the Roman rulers who beheaded him. Can such judgment be in any way you can tell me reflective of approval from God’s servant?

    What did the 100,000 plus Iraqis citizens do that justifies our judgment of wrath according to our governing authorities? I suppose you can say God did give the devil authority over the Earth. But …

    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

    “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

    Would you have the Vietnamese or Iraqis invade your country? If the President of our nation commands you to kill your son because he is doing bad things do you honor that as coming from a servant of God?

    You are struggling and I understand that because I’ve been there. I can go much deeper in study as I am trained and experienced to do so. It is not necessary if you simply went directly to your living Lord and Teacher.

    I really wanted to give this a rest but you cannot represent my Lord’s teaching as notwithstanding without some response.

    Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:30-32

  • Mick

    The church to me is the universal body of Christ . It seems to me every time we have a great Move of God someone ruins everything by making a denomination ut of it . ;0)
    I would say we have disagreements
    about the following , but I believe it sums up the church is filled with people who take these beliefs seriously I have not found a universal set of beliefs to
    that can be made for the church that Ben articulates in this one aspect of pacifism , , to me it is not a deal
    breaker in the sense you can lose your salvation if you promote Ben;s beliefs . But I do not consider it core to the Christian Faith . perhaps the Nicone creed
    is shorter , but it dealt with the same issue . I just took some core beliefs here that I believe the church supports .

    There is only one God
    (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6;
    Galatians 4:8-9).

    God is three in one or a Trinity (Matthew
    3:16-17, 28:19; John 14:16-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Acts 2:32-33, John 10:30,17:11, 21; 1 Peter
    1:2).

    God is omniscient or “knows all things”
    (Acts 15:18; 1 John 3:20).

    God is omnipotent or “all
    powerful” (Psalm 115:3; Revelation 19:6).

    God is omnipresent or “present
    everywhere” (Jeremiah 23:23, 24; Psalm 139).

    God is sovereign (Zechariah 9:14; 1 Timothy 6:15-16).

    God is holy (1 Peter
    1:15).

    God is just or “righteous”
    (Psalm 19:9, 116:5, 145:17; Jeremiah 12:1).

    God is love (1 John 4:8).

    God is true (Romans 3:4; John
    14:6).

    God is spirit (John
    4:24).

    God is the creator of everything that
    exists (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 44:24).

    God is infinite and eternal. He has
    always been God (Psalm 90:2; Genesis 21:33; Acts 17:24).

    God is immutable. He does not
    change (James 1:17; Malachi 3:6; Isaiah 46:9-10).

    The Holy Spirit is God
    (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

    Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1, 14, 10:30-33, 20:28; Colossians 2:9;
    Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:8).

    Jesus became a man
    (Philippians 2:1-11).

    Jesus is fully God and fully
    man (Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians
    5:21).

    Jesus was sinless (1 Peter
    2:22; Hebrews 4:15).

    Jesus is the only way to God the
    Father (John 14:6; Matthew
    11:27; Luke 10:22).

    Man was created by God in the image of
    God (Genesis 1:26-27).

    All people have sinned (Romans
    3:23, 5:12).

    Death came into the world through
    Adam’s sin (Romans
    5:12-15).

    Sin separates us from God
    (Isaiah 59:2).

    Jesus died for the sins of each and every person in the
    world (1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians
    5:14; 1 Peter 2:24).

    Jesus’ death was a substitutionary
    sacrifice. He died and paid the price for our sins, so that we might
    live. (1 Peter 2:24; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).

    Jesus resurrected from the dead in physical form (John 2:19-21).

    Salvation is a free gift of God (Romans 4:5, 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John
    1:8-10).

    The Bible is the “inspired” or
    “God-breathed,” Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).Those who accept Jesus Christ will live for
    eternity with him after they die (John 11:25, 26; 2 Corinthians
    5:6).

  • Mick

    Sorry Herb I am not following you . But as I said you are taking the Bible to fit your personal beliefs . The Universal Church of believers ,does not accept your beliefs as a deal breaker to lose any salvation , so its not really that big of a deal to us in the church , your a vocal minority that is not taken seriously . Sorry but that is the truth , comes off self righteous when preached , and admired when practice . Such as an example therewas a Consicencous Objector in WW 2 who saved many as a medic , risked being killed . I don’t agree with his conscientious objector views , but I admire them . Yours however has only brought condemnation , there is no condemnation in Christ . Herb your talking to another Jesus . ,
    .
    Jesus speaks in hyberhole and parables . . Think of the way your portraying scripture , saying if you are robbed you will not do anything about it , and the man who stole your truck you would turn around and give him you Mazda ? If you look at a women in lust you actually will take out your eye ? I suppose unless you have lived a life as the Lord has , you herb have a patch on one eye and no way to get to the eye doctor . Your form of Christianity hurts Herb if it is presented to new believers . They use this one tenet and make an idol of it . It shows in how mean spirited and hostile so many show themselves , condemning believers even . . I realize this is very important to you , it is a life changing belief you occurred . It is perhaps even something the Lord has placed on your shoulder , but you have neglected the tenets of our faith , you have denied the word and our Lord in the teachings . your are on shallow ground . Lord be with you . Consider opening your heart to God and ask for spiritual wisdom and the peace that will pass all understanding . Its a beautiful way to experience His grace . You don’t have to be right about this Herb to have God love you and forgive you for whatever you think you did in the military .

  • Herm

    For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

    For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:14

    Thank you for your consideration!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Good point about the logs mick….I need to be always conscious of them. For me Kyle is simply a microcosm of the meshing of two Kingdoms. Best to you brother!

  • Mick

    Sorry her but we seem to have lost the ability to communicate . I don’t find these scriptures valid or even pertaining to the discussion . I do not find your teaching relevant to the teachings of Jesus Christ on this subject . In His parables, Jesus often pictured rulers using valid force to punish wrongdoers
    (Matt. 18:23-35; 21:38-41; 22:13, etc.). While this is compatible with the teaching of the Old Testament on the just use of force, Jesus would never have
    given such parables if He were a pacifist. This logically implies that Jesus carried on the teaching of the Old Testament.

    When dealing with Roman or Jewish soldiers, Jesus never told them to leave the military or that it
    was morally wrong to be soldiers (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 6:15). This lends further support to the inference that Jesus accepted the scriptural position of the
    valid use of force. If He were a pacifist and opposed in principle any violence by anyone, He would not have failed to rebuke those who were in the military.
    Jesus was not known for overlooking sin in the lives of those who sat under His teaching. He denounced sin wherever and in whomever He saw it.

    Do not resist him that is evil” (v. 39). When Jesus gives us the general principle that we should not be quick in returning evil for evil, His subject is dealing with your neighbor. We should personally be willing to go the second mile in enduring personal insults in order to win our neighbors to Christ.

    But

    Equally absurd is the idea that resistance against any kind of evil whatever is condemned by Jesus. The New Testament tells us to “resist the devil” (1 Pet.
    5:9; James 4:7). Didn’t Jesus resist the Pharisees (Matt. 23)? Aren’t all Christians called upon to fight for the faith (Jude 3)? Are we not called upon to resist heretics (1 Tim. 1:3-11; Titus 1:9-11)? Certain kinds of evil should
    be endured while other kinds of evil must be resisted.

    Using our culture and our understanding of language
    can lead to false conclussions .

    Blessed are the
    peacemakers” (v 9). The Greek word “peacemaker” was one of Caesar’s titles.5 He was called “the peacemaker” because he won and maintained peace by the use of force. The word does not mean “peaceable” or “pacifistic” or “peace at any price.” The word meant “peace through strength.” As such, it named
    the head of the Roman army without contradiction.You used this scripture to support your pacifist view point , totally contradicting the text and intent in the original greek . Not knowing the culture and language is away evil can fool us into false doctrines . .

    The church has a moral obligation to punish an offending member even to the point of
    excommunication (Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:4, 5).

    God’s plan of salvation called for Christ to die. The disciples would have hindered God’s plan
    if they had risen up to fight for Christ and delivered Him from the Jews. When force is exercised to hinder God’s plan or revelation, it is unjustified
    violence. Such illegitimate violence will only lead to further violence (Matt.
    26:52).

    After Peter had cut off Malchus’ ear, Jesus did not tell Peter to throw away his sword but to put it
    back in its sheath. Evidently there would be other occasions where it could be rightfully used (John 18:11).

  • Mick

    Hopefully we can discuss something else in the future Kevin that can encourage us and test our selves in our understandings . Not even sure how I ended on this blog ? Ha , I’ll tell I have read some scripture today , but not sure it was for the right reasons . Proving yourself right is not really the reason God talks to me to through the word , I believe you believe the same way .. God Bless .

  • Kevin Thomas

    Blessings!

  • Chris

    I agree with very much of what you said. You are absolutely right that violence should be treated with the utmost gravity due to the monumental consequences of ending a life. I also agree that Ben must (mistakenly) believe that becoming a member of the military is problematic for Christians due to the potential for violence. However, I don’t see how his military service gives him any particular qualification to weigh in on the absolute morality of combat. To me it seems his seminary training is more relevant than his service.

    As far as the equivalence of all sins, I was speaking in an absolute sense from God’s perspective looking down on us since we were discussing the absolute morality of combat. James Chapter 2 speaks to the matter when the author says,
    8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”b also said, “You shall not murder.”c If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

    From a human standpoint, I agree that there certainly are different consequences for various sins. Some sins are easier to commit for some people than others and there is definitely differing treatment of some sins by Christians. At the end of the day, I think the take away should be that our favorite sin is as despicable to God as our most abhorrent and likewise that another’s sin is to that person what our own greatest weakness is to us. It should provoke hatred of our own sins while evoking mercy, patience, and forgiveness for others.

  • many a church in America supported the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq…so yes, that’s saying to the world that “Christians say it’s OK”

  • Gematizoieighthday

    I do believe that all war is immoral. The fact that we all sin (gossip and lie) is categorically different from a person choosing to sin as an occupation, i.e. choosing to be a Christian Prostitute might be a better analogy. Again “Christian Soldier” is an oxymoron. We as Christians are called to live in the kingdom of God – now – not in some nutty eschatological future. The fact that the kingdom of God is here among us, now, means that we don’t abide by the rules and laws and fear of death that prevails among non-Christians. “Death has lost its sting” – and if we die as a result of obedience to Christ then we have nothing to fear, however, if we choose to kill someone because we ourselves are afraid of death, well – maybe that is where we do part ways…fear of death is idolatry. I choose to follow Jesus who told me to not “fear those who can kill the body but rather to fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.” What we have in the United States is wholesale Fear of Death – everywhere – pervasive and manifest in every institution including the Christian Church – and therefore, as a result – we have warvangelicals – conflating love of God with the love of this country. My allegiance is to another kingdom.

  • Rick Williams

    Hey I’m not suggesting that they didn’t believe in their mission, that’s actually a part of it. Are the Iraqi people now free from hostile, evil control? No. We’ve traded one evil for another. And really there weren’t that many terrorists actually FROM Afghanistan, they simply had training camps there. Most of the 9/11 terrorists were native Saudis, and Yemen was the base of Al Qaeda power at that time. We picked the low-hanging fruit.

    It is true that Saddam gassed the Kurds, and that’s despicable. But part of his record with his neighbors falls squarely on our feet. WE armed him to fight against Iran in yet another example of incredibly short sighted international meddling.

    I won’t doubt that many people believed those wars to be “promoting and protecting our freedom.” However those people were (and still are) all wrong. Meddling in the affairs of a culture we don’t understand or respect that truly doesn’t have the capabilities to threaten us in any meaningful way is what got us in trouble to begin with. I believe the US should not operate military bases in all regions of the world and should instead operate around our borders. Then our soldiers wouldn’t be international targets, more of our defense budget could be spent on technological advancements, and we wouldn’t be the policemen of the world because we’re not very good at it. We’re awesome at killing people and blowing stuff up but that’s not good enough.

    In summation it is morally reprehensible that we try to play God with these people even though we don’t have the patience nor the maturity to do the job right.

  • Mick

    Nation building with a culture such as this has a total different outcome I
    agree . My son was there , he said one time a family was crossing the street
    ,and the child walked out too far and his Dad hit him with a rock . No others
    in the area said anything or were alarmed . No wonder they can grow up with some
    strange views on life and civility . But my point is using the war itself as
    the issue of men serving their country , a controversial war as reasons to
    defend pacifism is a straw man . For pacifism to be the reason , we must realize
    it has to stand up to the most obvious need to stop evil . That if we don’t stop
    it , evil will triumph in our own back yards . Your reasoning is logical and it
    basically I agree with you on some points . Of course this is after the fact .
    My son has become anti America because of his experience . I don’t blame him in
    many ways . But he still has a loyalty to the men he served with . Because of
    our action more hostile action was released . The object of war from my view
    i is to stop evil aggression . I have read Decision Points by Bush , did not
    sway me either , and I agree with you it was the wrong policy . But I disagree
    with the premise that Iraq was not a threat . Ww also supported Russia and
    Stalin in WW 2 . and millions died because of Stalin by starvation or execution
    .

  • Mick

    Huh ? You see America as a Christian nation ? I sure don’t so we have a disagreement here . But many Christians were convinced it was the right thing to do I agree , The report to the UN by Colin Powell was quite convincing that evil would grow and the threat was real . But the decision to go was not based on Biblical Christianity , it was agreed with because it was a threat , it was not a Crusade , Unless of course you would call D Day when we invaded France was a Christian mission . The Quaran actually teaches that their Faith should rule the government , any other belief in their midst is often seen as hostile . If you are a Muslim and convert to Christianity you can actually go to jail . Freedom of religion is almost unknown in many Muslim countries . Athesism would also be viewed negatively if that was the majority belief of th soldiers. Does not make it right , and hopefully you are not supporting that . Christianity in America has its problems , the biggest problem I see is we have turned our back on God in America , and at one time we based more of our life on the Christian Faith and Bibical morality . We took the Grace and Blessings of God for granted , and we are becoming worse off then those who never knew God, its one thing to not know the Lord , its another to Him then disregard HIM .

  • no, I didn’t say anything about a “Christian nation”. I believe I said “many a church in America”. Churches are supposed to be saying something about what Christianity is. And no, The Koran doesn’t teach that their faith should rule the government. That is a nationalistic spin on it. We have nationalist Christian Churches in America too, who offer their spin/interpretations on what just international relationships look like, which is what we have with the GOP captured right wing.

  • Mick

    Perhaps you see it as a nationalist spin , and I am sure there is a spin on it . But the Quran specifically speaks to it . Sharia Law is used in many Muslim countries . Were you unaware of this ? In fact sometimes in our courts there is an aspect allowed of it in divorce
    cases But yes most of is hype so far anyway with the fear of it coming here .
    But I don’t recall any churches advocating for war ? Do you know of any ? I
    know the churches in America are quiet on most issues , I know some preach to
    their congregations on certain issues but stays within those fory walls , unless the members speak to it . But that voice is mostly marginalized and maligned in America . . Our churches in America seem to be
    effected by the culture , not the church effecting the culture . In many Muslim countries their governments seem to be directed by their religion , unfortunately not always the best parts of it . But I don’t blame the Muslim religion on that , I blame the culture . Muslims in this country practicing their faith and living In America tend not to have any trouble , except perhaps by prejudice .

  • and again, Mick, No. You are simply repeating the conjectures of people who dont know any better than to advance an interpretation that has nothing to do with historical Islam. “The Koran speaks directly to it” is simply a literalist, context-free characterization. And in Muslim countries, we have deeply embedded cultures that shape the Islam there. When you look at American Muslims, you tend to see a much greater open-ness than in cultures where the violent means of social formation have permeated the religious consciousness. I can see you’re not much of a sociologist, so suffice it to say I’m not likely to turn the knob to “lower” on your propensity to join the chorus of American Nationalism vs Islam (that evil “other”)

  • Mick

    Perhaps this may help you understand . The
    problems of government are indeed based on religious control , not secularized
    government control . I seldom will defend Saddam , but he did seem to keep the
    religious aspect out of his government , when he was gone it was the different
    religious beliefs that caused the problems .

    The Shariʻah (literally “the path
    leading to the watering place”) is Islamic law formed by traditional Islamic
    scholarship, which most Muslim groups adhere to. Shariʻah “constitutes a system
    of duties that are incumbent upon a Muslim by virtue of his or her religious
    belief”.Islamic law covers all aspects of life, from matters of state, like
    governance and foreign relations, to
    issues of daily living. The Qur’an defines hudud as the
    punishments for five specific crimes: unlawful intercourse, false accusation of
    unlawful intercourse, consumption of alcohol, theft, and highway robbery.
    Mainstream Islamic law does not distinguish between “matters of church” and
    “matters of state”; the scholars function as both
    jurists and theologiansMainstream Islamic law does not distinguish between
    “matters of church” and “matters of state”; the scholars function as both
    jurists and theologians.

    Many of these verse , and there are plenty
    can be aid to be taken out of context . But that is what happens when a culture
    supports out of context quotes , and we see that iin the Christian Faith also .
    Where quotes are used and some are ignored . many aspects of the Quran promotes
    love and peace also . I don’t blame Muslims , I blame the human element that
    uses religion to force it upon others , communism does the same thing and it is
    basically an atheistic belief system . our government of separating church and
    state makes more sense to me all the time .

    Sura 4:89 “seize them
    and slay them wherever you find them: and in any case take no friends or helpers
    from their ranks.”

    Slay the idolaters wherever
    you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them
    in every ambush. (Sura 9:5)

    9.123 “O you who believe! fight those of the
    unbelievers who are near to you”

  • the last two “quotes” are a lot like waht we see in OT conquest passages, and even in the Psalms…..so…………just like Christian scholars will provide some context for those, Islam scholars can do as well……you quote them as something somehow final and authoritative, just as the Christo-American-Nationalists desire…always help when we have a “black hat” tostick on those we deem enemy

  • Mick

    Some Muslims , a minority have used those quote and made a hostile
    religion out of it . Your not reading what I am saying . I already stated that
    we could do the same with the Christian Bible or Old Testament scriptures , in fact
    people have and still do use scriptures out of context to promote excuses for
    wrong doing . The majority of the population that suffers from those who miss
    use the Quran today are Muslims . They face hardships that in free countries and
    democracies are taken for granted as being history . You sound somewhat
    defensive and unable to understand what I am saying . Not saying the Quran is an
    evil book , I am saying people are using quotes that I have shown , and using
    them as authorian . Most Muslims do not . Unfortunately enough have and have
    wreaked havoc on too many . The problem however is one that the people in
    those countries dealing with terrorism controlling aspects of their government
    and civil life will have deal with . As you said , from outside it appears one
    religion picking on another .

  • Mick

    Sharia law in the
    moral code and
    religious law of
    IslamIt includes criminal, civil, personal, economic and all aspects of law as
    revealed in Quran and Hadiths; in its strictest and most historically coherent
    definition, sharia is considered the infallible law of Allah.[
    Not all Muslim dominated nations use Sharia Law , Turkey is an example which
    uses secular Law . Some Muslim nations have a mixture of Sharia law and secular
    law . that basically use it for personal staus issues like marriage , divorce,
    inheritance , etc . Algeria, Comoros , Dijibotu, Egypt, Eithopia , Eritrea,
    Gambia , Ghana , Kenya , Librya, Morrocco, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Bahrain,
    to name a few . Then we have nations that the who legal system is based on
    Sharia law such as the Sudan , Mauratina, Afganistan, Brunei, Iran , Iraq,
    Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen , Aceh, Attempting to show a moral equivalency
    with the countries that support Sharia Law to the GOP and the American church
    which has little influence on this culture that has abortion on demand , public
    institutions and government being unattached to any religious belief , sexual
    education taught in neutrality to any religious or moral dogma , All we have
    ais some religious bigotry in this country that refuses to even allow these
    views at all to be tolerated . In those countries such protests to Sharia law
    as you have to aspects of the Church in America could be criminally prosecuted .
    In other words, you do not know what your talking about .

  • Kevin Thomas
  • Chris

    I get your point about “occupational sin” verses “opportunistic sin”. However I think you’re missing the complexity of this issue. It’s hard to imagine a prostitute that believes her occupation is saving lives and making the world a safer place. Futhermore there are plenty of theologians who honestly disagree about the morality of combat. So that puts Christian Soldier more in the realm of Christian Liar than Christian Prostitute.
    I think it’s great that you seem to feel so fearless about being murdered. How do you feel about that prospect for your family?

  • Raenemaker

    That’s interesting, and I think that’s the key takeaway on why there may be backlash on why Chris K. should or shouldn’t be “hero worshipped” (I’d agree with Ben, BTW…fans of the movie are almost in reverential awe when they talk about him): the movie gives him a sense of being shaken by the constant death-dealing he has to dole out, but his autobiography was the opposite: he (in his own words) relished it.

    I think if it was a film that reflected the character of the person, there’d be less enthusiasm about the film: Americans like to see our soldiers fight evil and win, but we don’t like to see them commit violence and enjoy it. It’s a double-standard and not realistic, but it’s there. Chris self-professed to enjoying the act of killing and that’s where the Biblical wheels come off: the Bible’s verses about warfare addresses the soldier fighting for a cause and against evil, but if the soldier embraces those acts, is he still on the side of “good”? It’s ironically the opposite of “Deeds, Not Words.”

    I don’t have a good answer, but it’s something to chew on…

  • Mick, no need for that. That just about does it for me. Nice civil approach.

  • just as one can worship money without literally bowing at an altar draped with money, one can “worship” something by internalizing its values. Or “slapping on a Jesus label”. Same idea. Never done overtly or verbally. When I see the rush to venerate and adore Kyle (and in the case of this movie, not exactly true to the seemingly and disturbingly untroubled approach of the actual Kyle), I think hero-idolization (and so , yes, “worship”)

  • Gematizoieighthday

    You may want to read Martyrs Mirror. There is also a long history of Christians who – when death did come for them and their families – chose not to fight. In fact, some of them saved the lives of the person who went on to execute them. Sound familiar? Regarding my own fearlessness and defending the safety of my family – as Brendon Gleeson’s character says in “Calvary” in response to a similar question on self defense “Well, that’s a tricky one” – let’s pray that we don’t ever have to confront that eventuality: none of the wars that the US has instigated in at least the last 50 years have been about defending our families.

  • gimpi1

    Your points on forgiveness and patience are well-made. From your keyboard to Christendom’s ears.

    I think both Ben’s military service and seminary training are relevant. He’s looked at life from both sides, now. That’s valuable. I will never do either, so someone who has done both can offer insights I can’t get any other way. That’s one reason I lurk here.

    I wish we, as a culture, would adopt the caution towards violence that we both have. I think we are way too quick on the trigger. That’s not new, after all, we were founded in a war of revolution, and we waged a long war to conquer territory for most of the 19th century. Perhaps, since we are pretty secure now, we can sit back and re-think our knee-jerk aggressive attitude. That, in the end, is what I take away from Ben’s comments.

  • DChappy

    Thank you so much for that thoughtful post. This is how one discusses without ignorance and ranting, just thinking. How refreshing.

  • Not to mention that two swords is certainly not enough to defend a group of twelve. So if Jesus says it’s enough, then it seems Jesus must have something else on the mind, rather than self defense.

  • newjdk7

    Hello, I’m going to check out the “got questions” link, thanks.

    I recommend the following documentary on christian passivism – “Prince of Peace, God of War”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM6Po862pGA

    This doc strongly brings out the point that as followers of Christ our main objective is not to oppose the rights and necessity of nations to employ military and police forces to combat evil (which would lead to anarchy) but rather to question what our role should or should not be within that context.

  • Rick Williams

    It actually looks like we agree about a lot of things. And I’m certainly not a pacifist. When it comes to international relations though I have always preferred the George Washington plan of avoidance. I would prefer the US to be as non-interventionist as possible.

    The one thing I’ll pick at in your last post is that there is no comparison between WW2 Russia and modern Iraq. Russia had a population and an experience with war to make them a threat to anyone! Iraq was a threat to their local region but never to the US. They wouldn’t have even bothered with the edicts against us if we hadn’t been screwing around in the region since the late 1940s. We gave everyone over there reasons to hate us. I’m not saying that’s the civilized way to deal with things, but they aren’t civilized in that fashion.

  • Mick

    Yes sometimes it does seem our foreign policy has been one error after another who in we backed and who we did not . Looking forward and praying for a generation of no war . Thanks for the conversation .

  • Mick

    Yes but what do you expect from someone who is not much of a socialist, who is repeating from the GOP captured right wing . I am just repeating what others say because they don’t any better . A moral equivalency to terrorism and the Christian church .
    Nice

  • Herm

    Kirk, I am sorry for just getting back to you as your curiosity, especially when posed so nicely in three efforts, deserves an answer as soon as possible. Thank you for asking and pointing out sincere propaganda.

    There are several directions from which to approach so I will begin by sharing one I have taken without seemingly too many others on the same path.

    Have you noticed the prerequisite for eternal life is different than that of being a disciple of Jesus? (Luke 10:27 versus Luke 14:26, 27)

    Have you noticed the difference between a most beloved by God King David and the carnally anointed “King of the Jews” (our Messiah anointed by God as His Son) (Matthew 3:17)?

    The “mercy seat” sometimes referred to as the Moses seat which became no longer available for counsel with the elect when the Lamb died and the veil was rent. (Leviticus 16:2, Numbers 7:89, Matthew 27:51) The Holy Spirit became available to all hearts and minds, with a stipulation after Jesus ascended, clearly to the masses during the time we know as Pentecost. That stipulation was to come before the Lord in all humility as a little child knowing her/his dependence on the Father to provide all.

    King David as a beloved of God still separated from the Holy Spirit (sinned against man and God), available to his heart and mind and obviously shared in many of the Psalms, when he sent one of allegiance to him to lead in front of a battle to be lost so that King David could take that man’s wife.

    Jesus the MESSIAH (the expected king and deliverer of the Jews) served His people from His seat of power as a commoner. Jesus did not pick up a sword to kill. Jesus picked up His cross alone to die ahead of His disciples.

    I could draw many more pictures gleaned from the Bible and the Spirit in my heart and mind to illustrate the difference between two Kings in the same carnal lineage beloved and counseled by God through the Holy Spirit. What I am pointing to is that in One we know the Father and in one we know of God. We each who believe in our creator God as alive and leading can choose to be disciples in the example of King David or disciples in the example of King Jesus. We can learn to be like David who apparently will know eternal life or we can learn to be like Jesus who I know as the Way to eternal life. To be like David may be judged by Jesus that we might live. To be like Jesus, as His student, is the only image possible of a Christian.

    There was no confusion here until Constantine added the cross to his armies’ swords 325 years after Christ. Until then Christian wars were only fought with the cross (or beheadings). Until then the faith through the teachings of Rabbi Jesus was lived that to store our treasures in Heaven was preferable to defending our treasures on this Earth. After Constantine the sword in hand was wielded in place of the sword coming from the mouth of Jesus.

    We don’t have to choose to be a Christian to inherit eternal life, we have to love with all we are; heart, soul, strength and mind. If we choose only that way we also must accept baptism by the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds to become a child of God.

    To be a Christian (Christ like) we must be students (disciples) of our Rabbi Jesus only, separated fully from the teachings and inherent traditions of our carnal families/communities. We will know we are truly Disciples of Christ when we choose to pick up the cross in place of the sword without reservation, in full faith of the Truth. We cannot, as Constantine attempted, pick up both the sword and the cross without dropping one. To be Christ like we must serve by the authority of a humble commoner King, the MESSIAH. We cannot serve at the will of two lords; one administering justice from the top down and the other from the bottom up. I choose the cross!

    I did read the entire article at:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/killing-in-war.html

    … and I disagree wholeheartedly with this in its conclusion, “but killing an armed combatant in the context of warfare is not sinful in itself”. I do so because sin to me is best defined as a break in the reciprocal bond of love between two entities. I sin against God when I do to and for God without being bonded together in love with God. I sin against any of mankind in the same way. To truly love my enemy I must pick up my cross in his/her defense by the example taught by Jesus. I can no longer serve Caesar/Constantine in the taking of lives but I can serve Jesus in the saving of lives. The judgment in triage of who lives and who doesn’t I give up to my Lord. He commands me directly in my heart and mind through the Holy Spirit. I know I am adopted into the Family of God with many, although too few, brothers, sisters and mothers of my Lord Jesus as His little child disciple. I am a Christian at peace in my mind with joy in my heart. The struggles and pains of this carnal life persist and from this opportunity I grow in faithful council with the Son and the Father through the Holy Spirit.

    I love you Kirk especially this time for flattering me with wondering what I might think. I have done the best I can to respond in truth. Thank you!

  • Breanna

    Mr. Corey, I do believe that you are picking and choosing which aspects of God to believe in and promote. Our God is a God of peace, you are correct. But He is also a just God, and sometimes war is necessary. Ecclesiastes 3:8 “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Matthew 24:6-7 says “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” I’m not saying that Chris Kyle necessarily has the right views- he definitely should not enjoy taking the life of another human, and he definitely should not consider it “fun.” It is a duty not to be taken lightly, but it is a duty necessary for the preservation of country and countrymen. Idolatry is an issue in modern day America- I do not contest that either. It needs to change, but this is not the way to do it. I do contest your twisting of Scripture to fit your own views, and choosing parts of the Godhead to glorify and lift up for others to see, and ignore the parts that contradict your personal views. Do not use God wrongly in that way.

  • If quoting Jesus and obeying him makes me a scripture twister, than color me guilty.

    Incidentally, you quoted an ancient poem, which simply acknowledges life’s seasons, and then quoted Jesus prophesying that there’d be wars leading up to AD70. Neither one is a proof-text that justifies violence. The barrier you have to overcome is to explain why Jesus’s teachings on violence and enemy love are incorrect or shouldn’t be obeyed.

  • Breanna

    I never said that what Jesus taught on loving your enemy and living peaceably is incorrect or that they shouldn’t be obeyed. But you have to remember that God is a warrior God (Exodus 15:3), and that “in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11). I am not saying that all violence is justified. What I am saying is that not all violence is wrong. God led the nation of Israel to war countless times in the Old Testament, and He was with them. If you believe all Scripture to be true, then you cannot deny that is true.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    It’s simply disgusting what Kyle said… He sounds like a psychopath! Who calls killing hundreds of people fun?!?

  • Kevin Thomas

    How do you reconcile loving your enemies–do good to them? Did Jesus mean it when He said that? I’m not sure sure you should build theology on a book of wisdom (Eccles). I don’t think Matt 24:6-7 is advocating violence and war…it’s simply saying it’ll be there.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Sorry Breanna–

    I love how Greg Boyd puts it..

    This relates to the final violent image that John transforms.
    The slain Lamb has an army, which is, of course, his church. But it’s a most
    peculiar kind of army, just as the Lamb is a most peculiar kind of warrior. For
    this army conquers by “following the Lamb wherever he goes” as they are
    “offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb”(14:8). So too, this army is
    victorious because they “have washed their robes and made them white in the
    blood of the Lamb”(7:14), which Bauckham and others interpret to mean “they are
    martyrs, who have triumphed by participating, through their own deaths, in the
    sacrificial death of the Lamb.”[2] And this peculiar army triumphs over the
    devil “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,” for “they
    did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev. 12:10).

    In short, this army fights and wins the exact same way the slain
    Lamb who leads them fights and wins: not by slaying foes, but by remaining
    faithful to the point of laying down their lives for others. This is why
    martyrdom is such a pervasive theme throughout this book (e.g. 6.9-10; 7:14;
    12:11; 13:15; 18:12). By means of imitating the Lamb – “following [him]
    wherever he goes,” God’s people bear witness to the truth of God’s
    self-sacrificial character and his loving way of overcoming evil, just as the
    Lamb does. And in this way they vanquish the lie of Satan that leads the whole
    world astray, deceiving them to place their trust in the empire’s coercive kind
    of power.

    In this light, I think it’s clear that Driscoll’s misguided
    literal reading of Revelation has caused him to ascribe to John’s imagery the
    exact opposite meaning that John intends. And the reason is that Driscoll has
    grasped the violent images while completely overlooking the masterful way John
    reverses their meaning. And it’s for this reason that Driscoll concludes that
    Revelation depicts Jesus as “a pride fighter with a…sword in His hand and the
    commitment to make someone bleed” rather than a slain Lamb with the sword of
    truth coming out of his mouth and a commitment to shed his own blood on behalf
    of others.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5CkCGR9YI4

  • Noah

    Can you get anything out of Jesus that says his followers should use violence? He seems to be wholly against it.

    God was with Israel, yes, but that was even as they were sinners. No fall, no sin, no violence. Jesus isn’t going to advocate for anything but holiness.

  • theprozacqueen

    I’ve never considered them the party of morals and faith, but this is disgusting. Honestly it sounds more like a bunch of middle-schoolers bullying the shy, fat kid in the locker room than intelligent adults.

    Seeing as these are essentially death threats, is there anything legally wrong going on? Is this covered under the First Amendment? Just curious-not that they would care, of course.

  • theprozacqueen

    I’ve said this before, but I’d say (and hope) that Chris is different in that he *enjoyed* killing people. I’ve known a lot of veterans of various wars who don’t relish killing in any way. Chris is being singled out because of the *attitude* he expressed, not just being in a war.

  • Mick

    Breanna I agree with you in many respects . The scriptures used by pacifists are directed to personal vengeance . But yes Christ would be anti war , many people in the military are anti war , many policemen are anti violence also . Th matter changes when we allow evil to go on murdering and destroying , and by our using Christ to compel others to do the same we are putting a lot on the Cross and less on the sound argument of why violence is so often wrong . But their are times when it is necessary . That is where Ben loses the argument . Using the wrong policy decisions or reasons for this war s part of a message of pacifism is bogus . For the true meaning of pacifism , no violence for any reason it should be able to stand against the use of violence for any reason . I stand by my Christian brothers who chose to be pacifist , using Christ to compel others to in the face of a spreading evil is anything but Christian . Early church had soldiers that were Christians, Christ spoke to a believer in the Roman Army , he never spoke to his service , but complimented him on his faith .

  • Mick

    Well that is true Kevin , but suggesting soldiers do not pray for their opposing enemies in war is a stretch also . In fact even idol worshipers pray for their side of a conflict , we are called to pray for the other side in our conflicts . This would have been a more honest discussion if we could speak to this when we are faced with an enemy we all could consider evil , and not a conflict based on bad policy and political disagreements Where the obvious secularized outcome would be that evil would go on killing and in fact increase its killing . seen too many comments addressing the reasons being wrong by political nature , not a Christian reason .
    Non violence being used as a political use is a great strategy . but even the Freedom Riders knew they would cause violence by marching , the violence of course was inflicted on them , but they knew their actions would start violence . . Self inflicted violence by making a stand for Christ or right is not passive either . To suggest the scriptures are totally against violence for any reason , one must admit marching in protest will often promote violence . For the scriptures speak to the heart and soul of people , and using this way of pacifism no matter what I see it as condemning many Christians for their actions when they believed they were doing right , helping people , protecting people , following the Love of God to shelter us and protect us , regardless of the Dick Chenneys and others promoting disagreement . Its not His will that innocent women and children to be slaughtered by evil either . This is an individual choice , not something one should condemning others for . Christ could have brought His Angels down and kicked butt , I do not believe he did not because He was a pacifist , just He had a better plan for all of us if we chose it freely .

  • Mick

    Noah can you get anything that says Jesus supports the whole sale slaughter of innocent people by terrorists ? He speaks to not holding revenge in our hearts , to hating others . Not returning violence based on revenge . Personal reasons for violence . Have you ever been wronged by another and carried a grudge ? According to scripture this is murder . But can we not forgive a murderer or a thief , or someone that harmed us or family and still support putting them in jail by force of the government ?
    Revenge supported by hate hurts how we make decisions and it hurts our relationships with others to hold hatred in our heart . I would say going to war because of revenge is the sin , not the reason to fight to protect people . Two people side by side could be in a violent conflict for different reasons . Even the attack here on Kyle is wrong as an excuse for pacifism for any reason , because pacifism to be correct needs to stand against fighting for all the reasons we would find acceptable also , protecting women , children , etc . Atempting to damage this persons reputation or reveal how dmaged he was inside to promote pacifism is what I see as Un Christian .

  • Mick

    Because it is a well made movie . Especially compared to some of the whoppers out there these days . Saw Un Broken and I thought it was great also .Plan on seeing Selma next , usually wait for rentals but am glad Hollywood is making movies that speak to the human spirit , the good in us and the conflicts we deal with , supporting good over bad , and even seeing faith as a good thing in American life instead of seeing it portrayed as something bad . As it has been done here . Unfortunately getting on the bandwagon of anti Sniper is being joined with the folk hating American Western Civilization , capitalism see us as an imperialistic nation , etc . The reasons for the debate of this movie has been drowned out by the anti American voices . Even some of the reasons defending the religious beliefs of Ben here have been based on a political world view having nothing to do with Jesus and scripture .

  • Mick

    Ben actually the barrier you have to over come is using your
    “formula” of non violence of any costs to be supported some where where Christ speaks to it . We know he speaks to it on a personal level , we pray for our enemies , we know he realizes we will have enemies but our hearts are to love them . We know we can love the person who robs us , hurts us , murderers our loved ones and not be ant Christian if we support making sure they are put in jail by FORCE of the government . Or are you suggesting that is is revenge also ? That we should turn the other cheek , if you eyes look upon a women you are to pluck it out as I have stated before . He uses these same examples in the same context of turning the other cheek .
    What ou need to convince me is use an example that even you could support morally in your own mind to use violence tos top an evil act , its why I suggested death of a family , because the only difference in your mind is the reasoning of violence used , not the act of violence . Or would you allow murderer to kill your family even if you could violently stop him ? Explain that and you have a valid argument , until them you seem to be promoting a political world view .

  • Noah

    You could address my question. I understand what you’re saying, but I think it’s hard to ignore what Jesus says. Love your enemy. Don’t resist an evil person. Go 2 miles if forced to go 1. Offer the other cheek.

    Again, I don’t think you can come up with anything Jesus says that would be in line with killing enemies.

    I think it’s a fallen world and Jesus offers complete holiness, so it’s unattainable. So we make compromises. However, the goal is still the goal.

    Also, this teaching is to Christians and is seemingly at the individual level.

  • Mick

    . For the views are full of anti America , anti capitalism , even bringing in Muslim extremism being equal to Republican or Conservative Theology , etc . For non violence to be discussed as a religious tenet of faith , it needs to be shown when evil is hurting the very ones we love , given the natural instinct to protect by God in my opinion , and not just un popular political wars or political views of America . Neither of those views have anything to do with non violence and pacifism as Ben represents it . Kev I will offer the following quote to show how the side supporting Ben;s view here pollutes it .Evil will lurk around till the Lord comes back . We need to handle it somehow . Always open to suggestions .

    “He is ridding the world of the threats that we fear the most. When we finally rid the world of all evil we can finally rest safe at night. All our worries will be gone. Unfortunately this vanquishing of evil will only work out as well as the last vanquishing of evil for the white protestants of America”

  • Mick

    Noah not disagreeing with you that peace and love
    is the Gospel . I am disagreeing that at times in a Fallen world we are called
    upon to stop evil using violence and force to enlarge itself and spread throughout
    the world . That at one time we may be able to use one method , another time a
    peaceful method to stop evil aggression . Praise God for that . But to put
    Christians in a box , saying this is a law is not what Jesus says or the Gospel
    . The Lord deals with our hearts , He would not want us turning the cheek based
    on cowardice correct . So turning the cheek based on one motive is different
    then the more aggressive motive of pacifism . But each generation of Christians
    face new challenges , the way we face them are not made in stone in one specific
    way . Its why I point out the murder of innocent family members , for all
    murder by evil should be seen as murdering someone’s family , wife , son ,
    daughter . As is stopping evil we should consider it is omeones Mother , son
    daughter .

  • Noah

    Where in the NT, or from Jesus, are we called to “stop evil using violence and force to enlarge itself and spread throughout the world.”

    ? Specifically with violence.

  • So, I am eager to discuss it as film. I don’t hear that discussion going on as much. More the sides drawing up for battle on the politics/war/etc. I didn’t like it as film. As art form. I also don’t think they let Chris Kyle be as interesting as it sounds like he was. Love him…hate him…he was at least INTERESTING. The movie Kyle is much less so.

  • Mick

    Right under the scripture that states you can not stop evil using police force , military force,. Perhaps it is within the scripture that the Lord taught us about the trinity ? But I know with in the same sermon the Lord gave that many claim states we can not stop evil aggression with any force is a scripture that states if you look upon a women with lust , pluck your eye out . So I say there may be room for disagreement in understanding such things , but I would strongly promote the belief that we are not to ever use force our of hatred , revenge , or any motive that promotes hate . Can you explain to me how scripture would advocate allowing those to murder innocents by use of terrorism . Even children . Because I do not understand How a Christian can justify with any scripture that uses the teaching of our Lord to allow murder of women and children . Could you try to explain so at least I could understand where you coming from ? Right now it just seems I get anger and example wrong with others. .

  • $17191451

    Nobody “WORSHIPS” Kyle. This is nothing but lies and damned lies, as one might expect from a Sojourners/HuffPo writer bent on the destruction of everything good and decent but pretending to be a “Christian.”

  • Sheila Alexander

    Just a thought here. How about all those Christians for whom their righteousness becomes their idol.

  • I do have a valid argument: Jesus said love your enemies. Love never equates to killing. And, I may be the only one here who has faced the constant hypotheticals that folks throw around EVERY time I quote Jesus’s command to love enemies. I have dealt with violent attackers that put my life, that of my wife, and that of my young daughter in danger. However, the attacker was my own, very ill and disturbed child. Never once did I consider killing my child to save the rest of my family. Instead, I absorbed the violence while the rest of my family got to safety- subduing the threat without harming anyone, other than the high chance that I would have been stabbed or injured. It’s easy to say “kill an attacker” when the attacker isn’t someone you love- but when it is, you realize that death to yourself is preferable to killing- because love is THAT big. Jesus calls us to love our enemies the same way I loved my own child- there’s not two kinds of love, just the kind that sacrifices oneself.

  • Mick

    That was quite the experience , thank you for being brave enough to share that .

  • Kirk Sears

    I appreciate your thorough reply, Herm. I can understand your viewpoint and do not feel that it is unChristlike to believe as you do. I guess I still have the unanswered question of how we, as Christians, deal with unrelenting evil like Hitler and the Holocaust and a murderous Islamic extremism. And while I do not disagree with your sentiment of choosing sacrificial love over the sword, I guess I’m not convinced it’s that simple. Maybe I’m just trying to find ways that Christianity can fit into my worldview, and if so, this is wrong of me. I’ll continue praying about it and seeking wise counsel. Thank you again for your explanation, it is very encouraging to see someone so committed to their faith in our beautiful Savior. Love you, too, brother. Take care.

  • Mick

    I was 19 and hitch hiking around the country . A large man came up to me be
    right before I was about to walk on to a bridge existing a bridge I believe was
    in Charleston Carolina . He asked my if I wanted to purchase a music tape for a
    dollar , told him I only had a couple of dollars . He said give me those dollars
    or I will hit you with this pipe , he had picked up a pipe that looked like a
    pipe from a muffler system . I looked at him with my hippie long hair and said
    man I don’t want to live in a world that someone will kill you for a couple of
    bucks . He called me a name and threw down the pipe after a minute or so , seemed like 10 minutes . He was ticked . . Interestingly church
    bells I could hear ring and people started coming out to the street , was an
    urban neighborhood I was walking through . Not sure why I shared that , I did not know the Lord at the time . I don’t
    own anything that is worth killing a person for , but definitely would stop an
    evil aggressive force that was murdering others if I could and so would the
    large number of Christians in this world who have just much love of God and
    desire to pleas the Lord as you do . You took it upon your self to make sure your family was safe , not all have that option . Your own argument claimed you took care of your family ‘s safety by directing the the violence to be given to you and instead of the people you love . You seem you promoted violence to save the ones you love to me . Sorry you ability to make an argument
    promoting the Love of Christ fell into the trap of self righteousness and
    putting believers down who did not measure up to your convictions , linking them
    to links of negativity and beliefs that had only condemnation of their hearts ,
    not inspiring them to seek the face of God . What you did was no different then people who would see nothing wrong with stopping Isis from bothering children and women in the name of religion using military force . .

  • Noah

    Please cite it.

    No one is saying scripture justifies evil or violence. Exactly the opposite. As I alredy pointed out:

    Love your enemy. Don’t resist an evil person. Go 2 miles if forced to go 1. Offer the other cheek.

  • Herm

    In my heart and in my mind I see that if we project on our human reactions to protect ours from disagreeable them, no matter how evil “them” might be, we will only fuel retaliation until all are gone. Jesus showed us a way to end the infinite repetition of offense, defense and retaliation. If we would have proactively showed love according to Matthew 7:12 to Germany post WWI and recently in Iraq: Hitler wouldn’t have come to power if it weren’t for the fact that it took a wheel barrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread. Why were Christians in the world hording the basics of life and survival from others in the world who were starving? How large would Hitler’s army have been if all who declared being Christian had refused to invade another country? How large would our army have been if all professing Christians refused to invade Iraq? Would ISIS be in power today if Christians lived the love of Christ?

    If left to our own devices we fear Islamic terrorism. If left to their own devices Muslims fear Christian terrorism abroad and at home. Which is more to be feared; walking into another’s home carrying a weapon of war or a cross, especially a big heavy cross that it was clear I would die on that they might live?

    We are at best and most mature as (I’m biased) little children of God. Relative to our omnipotent Father of all ages in Heaven there is nothing learned that is simple for any of us. It is certainly not simple to know precisely how, when, where and in what amount to love another differently than any other but equally as ourselves. To love we must or suffer death, not as a punishment but as a result of how we chose to relate to another. I would prefer to die trying to be constructive for all than kill in defense of what I claimed as mine.

    As you can see Kirk, I have a tendency to continue and continue on when searching my heart and mind to share with others, without end.

    I appreciate your consternation very much because I’ve been there and know it to be admirably responsible. You will know what is right when you need to apply that knowledge if you humbly know you must rely on God, not me, to give you the answer.

    Christianity fits into a worldview when we view the world as where we find the next person to introduce to the MESSIAH to become His student (disciple).

    Love you Kirk! Keep questioning and you will be answered. You’re doing good.

  • Mick

    And Noah , excuse the “King James ” The Lord is not shy about talking him mind , he only complimented this Roman soldier , used him as a good example .

    8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

    9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

  • Noah

    I don’t see anything about Jesus authorizing violence. He cites faith.

  • Mick

    I thought you were asking me to cite where Jesus asks to pluck your eye out
    . Pretty violent though . But he is using these verses in the same verses you
    are using as a mandate against all violence. If your using these verses as the
    LAW , then I expect you have one eye out . I expect you believe in not calling
    911 if the person attacks you or robs you , according to the LAW as you read it
    , we are to give to those who steal from us . You are taking beautiful aspects
    of the Bible and the best teaching about love and how we are to forgive , and
    making it an argument and a reason to condemn your brother .

  • Noah

    That’s not even close to what I’ve said.

  • Mick

    That may be so , hard sometimes with words on a blog . I do agree that the goal is peace , and would love a world waiting for the Lord when He returns to be it so . Loving Peace and hating violence I would say also are the teachings of the Lord . That we took His words and lived them all . I just did not understand the absolution I guess or the fact at times we need to stop the spread of evil aggression . Also listening to some others on this subject we have those who believe in a police force , but not Christians participating in the police force . You get a religion based on it in ways with splintering denominations . I was good at Love your enemy . That’s hard enough to do and am working on that one all the time . Take care . Thanks for the exchange . Apologize if I injured or insulted you, or if you took it that way . .

  • Chris

    I think this is in the vein you’re looking for…
    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/did-jesus-teach-pacifism

  • planetes

    Most “Christians” in America are not any better than their secular neighbors. I just don’t understand why Christians seem to have no problem watching a movie that crams in more cussing (with using God’s name as a cuss word, so the reviews go) per hour than you’ll hear all night in most any bar. Christians are a gullible lot. If something is “pro America” or “conservative” or directed by a “Republican” or has to do with the military, then it must be alright with God!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Loving the act of killing is good and decent? That what he wrote in his book.

  • Noah

    No insult!

  • sam

    This is an interesting article and definitely made me read the entire piece but I’m a little confused on the assumptions and conclusions. I’d like to see examples of Christians making Chris into an idol. I’m curious but I don’t see anything supportive examples of your thesis. Maybe being over patriotic is your point? My observation is that we’re living in a progressive culture that deems any sort of patriotism as evil replacing that with a brand of multiculturalism so that’s maybe where the reaction from the “right” is coming from? I don’t know why that’s bad unless to your point you make that your idol.

    Secondly comparing Chris Kyle to Jesus Christ is over the top. Chris Kyle is a member of the US army that fights and kills. That’s how nations defend themselves and have for centuries. He obeys and follow commands as a unit representing the United States. He didn’t randomly kill people as individual. You have to make that distinction. Bibically why did God say thou shall not kill in exodus and then right after he directed them to kill all the Canaanite clans who were living in the land (Deut. 7.1-2; 20.16-18)? The destruction was to be complete: every man, woman, and child was to be killed. Jesus wasn’t a member of the temple guard or a roman legion. Maybe Chris Kyle would be closer to a Barabbas. :)

  • Sam

    This is an interesting article and definitely made me read the entire piece but I’m a little confused on the assumptions and conclusions. I’d like to see examples of Christians making Chris into an idol. I’m curious but I don’t see anything supportive examples of your thesis. Maybe being over patriotic is your point? My observation is that we’re living in a progressive culture that deems any sort of patriotism as evil replacing that with a brand of multiculturalism so that’s maybe where the reaction from the “right” is coming from? I don’t know why that’s bad unless to your point you make that your idol.

    Secondly comparing Chris Kyle to Jesus Christ is over the top. Chris Kyle is a member of the US army that fights and kills. That’s how nations defend themselves and have for centuries. He obeys and follow commands as a unit representing the United States. He didn’t randomly kill people as individual. You have to make that distinction. Bibically why did God say thou shall not kill in exodus and then right after he directed them to kill all the Canaanite clans who were living in the land (Deut. 7.1-2; 20.16-18)? The destruction was to be complete: every man, woman, and child was to be killed. Jesus wasn’t a member of the temple guard or a roman legion. Maybe Chris Kyle would be closer to a Barabbas. :)

  • Kevin Thomas

    All Christians can be..so thankful for the cross.

  • cconover1

    “Kyle was a brave man who maybe even was a hero. He helped us slaughter our enemies and kept our oil prices low, and for that, the American Empire thanks him.”

    How was he brave? He hid and killed people far away. That, to me, is not bravery. Hero? Why? We invaded another country so Haliburton could make billions in profits, all on the shoulders of the American people. Can no one see that these wars created more terrorists? If China invaded the U.S., would you not agree that for every American they killed, nearly every person that knew them would hate the Chinese, and many would dedicate their lives to getting even? That’s what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan. We created a generation of people that hate us with every fiber of their being.

    I am so tired of military being called “heroes” and “defenders of freedom”. There is no one in the middle east that can take away our freedoms. That was George W Bush (and later Barack Obama) that signed (and re-signed) the Patriot Act, which suspended the 1st, 4th and 14th Amendments. THEY took away our freedoms. And what did most military people do about it? They voted for him again in 2004 after he took away those freedoms. They did NOT defend our freedoms, they supported the person that took them away.

  • cconover1

    There were no terrorists in Iraq. No one in Iraq wronged us or threatened us.

  • Mick

    Huh ? Saddam Hussein was offering money to the family members of suicide bombers . Iraq was found guilty of plotting the murder of George Bush . Terrorist’s were using Iraq to hide in . Of course Iraq was hostile to the US, they were refusing to comply with the UN . Reasons to go to war , I don’t think so .

  • Sniper71

    I agree to a point. I too was a sniper but my job was to stop supplies from being moved down the Ho Chi Minh trail. Sure I killed but again it wasn’t to protect freedom but to defend our fellow soldiers. This bull crap dragging religion into it is wrong. If we want to defend freedom, bring all our soldiers home, mine the border, put up guard towers, fencing,signs, and state;” All Trespassers Will Be Shot. This strategy worked great at Guantanamo to stop Cubans.

  • Martin

    One must remember that Christians are the main target group for the enemy that he eliminated. These folks make killing Christians a specticle. Killing Christians are their sworn duty according to their radical Muslim beliefs. So Christians killing an sworn enemy before they can destroy us is in no way unchristian.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Does Jesus sanction it?

  • NotesFromME

    No, actually, Christians in the US consistently ignore the blood, death, destruction, and millions of refugees created by US military misadventures and the depredations of its allies in the Middle East and then express shock and murderous rage when there is blowback. America is not known for being able to draw the line between its own actions and the consequences. Not propaganda, just the facts.

  • 4211lgl

    Reading this has made me angry and nauseas.
    The ONLY saving grace is that you live in a country that allows you to voice such an ignorant opinion, THANKS to the men and women who risk and lay down their lives for cowards like you.

  • Just because they disagree with you, they’re a coward? That sounds like the more ignorant position if you ask me.

  • Herm

    You bring up a valid point, “but to defend our fellow soldiers”. It is only the message found from the religious, not just “Christian”, who introduce more than defending ours at the cost of theirs. Just how do we as human kind get past the barriers which keep us from doing to all others as we would have all others do to us?

  • Noah

    Actually, it’s thanks to the layers of law and constitution that we have. The wars in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Iraq have virtually nothing to do with our freedoms.

    More to the point, most of Western civilization allows such opinions, including countries with tiny military.

    Speaking out against the military complex (not those that serve – the system) could be considered brave when you have very insecure people idolizing the military.

    The military is completely used and abused by the government and corporations, unfortunately.

    All that said I respect Kyle (and everyone) for his willingness to put his life at risk.

  • Tracie Holladay

    Simple. I’ll love him because no one else wants to.

  • Tothe

    It’s not about love or hate for the human, it’s about love or hate for the deeds done by that human. Murdering strangers is not Christ-like.

  • Tracie Holladay

    And now you see why my US Army veteran husband is a pagan – specifically, a follower of the Nordic Gods. He left the Catholic church he grew up in. He feels Christians have no place having anything to do with the military.

  • Realist

    The despair of the “Christian” American summed up in a few sentences. Twain said that one cannot by legal standards be in fact Christian and Patriotic at the same time.

  • Bill Benson

    Arguments like yours is what pushes Vets and current Active Duty away from Christ; according to you, if they do their job in the defense a Christian nation, they are condemned in your eyes. Christ never condemned the Legionaries, so why do you..?

  • Tothe

    They aren’t defending a Christian nation, they are enforcing the edicts of men who want to place themselves on the throne of God. How does the US government exhibit any of the fruit of the spirit? How does going to a foreign land and killing people there serve Christ in any way?

  • Tothe

    So he abandoned the Cross to embrace the Flag?

  • Tracie Holladay

    Yes, that is correct. And that is but ONE reason he left the church. Remember, he feels Christians have no place in the military. None at all. Better an honest apostate than a dishonest “believer.”

  • Tracie Holladay

    Yes and how about Audie Murphy too?

  • Tothe

    Alvin York was properly repelled by the notion of murdering strangers in the name of The State, but he was told to place the commandments of The State above the commandments of God.

  • Tracie Holladay

    Chief Kyle himself – as can be seen in an interview he did at Fellowship Church; this is on YouTube – did not want to be compared to Jesus Christ in any way. When the pastor who was interviewing him got a little too close to that, Chief put an immediate stop to it. He wouldn’t hear of that in any way.

  • Tracie Holladay

    I am glad to see that some people realize this problem. It is not possible to be patriotic in any way (or serve in any nation’s military) and be a Christian of any stripe whatsoever. Nations are of “this world,” not God’s kingdom, so you have to choose which one you’ll serve.

  • Tracie Holladay

    Did you read his book? Or did you just see the movie?

    I have read the book.

  • Tracie Holladay

    Here is an article on pacifism & privilege; I think a lot of people here have not taken the thoughts outlined in it into consideration. Read this and think about what a privileged position pacifism is.

    http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/pacifism-as-privilege/

  • Bill Benson

    The Oath of Enlistment is sworn in the name of God.
    The military carries out the edicts of the men and women that YOU vote into office.

    You condemn the warriors, even though they pray: “Blessed be the LORD my strength which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight…”

    You hypocrites! You hide behind us, protected by our shields and defended by our swords, and from this safety, you condemn our Rites and our ways, even our very existence… You drive daggers into our backs, and make all attempts to destroy our courage and resolve.

    How loudly will you cry when Satan is on your doorstep. Will your faith be as strong when the Enemy puts your children to the sword. How loud will you cry “Where are the soldiers who are supposed to protect us?”

    We will say, “We tried, but you denied us.”

    You didn’t answer my question: If Christ never condemned the Legionaries, what gives you the right and authority to do so..?

  • Tothe

    Swearing an oath in God’s name to break His commandments against murder is taking His name in vain.

    Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers,” not “blessed are the warmongers.”

    Apologists of the military always say soldiers protect me, but the past century has demonstrated plainly that soldiers are responsible for innumerable violations and evils. Remember, every soldier of every nation claims to serve and protect in the name of God, including the German soldiers in WW1 as they invaded France.

    Satan is the source of political authority according to several Biblical passages. He tempted Jesus political power, and Jesus rejected it. Soldiers serve the commands of those holding political power. You do the math.

    Jesus condemned those who willfully broke God’s laws despite being brought up reciting scripture. I am pointing out your error with references to scripture.

  • Bill Benson

    Well, having spent a majority of my life in the Armed Forces, in the belief that I was upholding my Oath, protecting my Country, and holding fast to my Christian faith, I would like to offer you my full and complete contempt for the dagger you have planted between my shoulder blades, and wonder if you come from the same crowd of assholes who spit on my father and my uncle when they returned from Vietnam. Good luck when the real evildoers land on your doorstep… I’m done here.

  • Tothe

    Bill, I am trying to point out that you cannot serve two masters. You cannot love your brother while threatening him with a rifle merely because your rulers have a dispute with his rulers. You must choose between God and Mammon. If you perceive this as backstabbing and spitting, it’s on you to search your soul and find out why. If I am wrong, you need to show reason and scripture to demonstrate it.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I don’t understand what the point of your comment is? So you read the book where he said:

    “I wondered, how would I feel about killing someone? Now I know. It’s no big deal”

    “Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy ‘savages’…. I only wish I had killed more.”

    “You do it until there’s no one left to kill. That’s what war is. I loved what I did… I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun.”

    “There’s another question people ask a lot: Did it bother you killing so many people in Iraq? I tell them ‘No.’ And I mean it.”

    It is the very definition of psychopaths and sociopaths to not value human life, desire to kill as many people as possible, think it’s fun, and not be bothered by it.

  • Tracie Holladay

    I am prevented from answering.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Because?

  • Ken

    Maybe Jesus never killed anyone, but he never condemned those who did, including the Romans. So don’t just pick the parts you like and leave out the rest. For example, Jesus kept the Seventh-day Sabbath, do you? Our military is just doing it’s job, as they should, protecting us from those who would like to destroy us, the same as the police. You ought to be showing appreciation not contempt. After all, the 6th commandment is “Thou shalt not murder,” which doesn’t prohibit killing in the context of warfare, capital punishment, and self-defense. Be a pacifist all you want, but show appreciation for those who are protecting you from terrorists and murderers.

  • Guest

    Quoting you: “How does the US government exhibit any of the fruit of the
    spirit?” Let me ask you, what are the fruits of the spirit? “Love, joy, peace,
    longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”
    (Galatians 5:22-23). How many of these do you break daily Mr.Tothe? Your comments reek of hatred, anger, and malice. Are you temperate? Do you drink and smoke pot? ‘Nuff said.

  • vincemilburn

    You begin with a tu quoque fallacy and proceed to add baseless ad hominem attacks. You didn’t actually adress his point at all.

  • vincemilburn

    Your approach to Kyle may be a little strong, but as a Catholic, I think many American Christians latch on to these figures to fill a void for not having a canon of saints. Chris Kyle is like a Francis of Assisi for some American Protestants.

    Also, this sounds a lot like what the folks over at LewRockwell.com have been saying for years.

    Lastly, this is a conservative version of political correctness. Claim a viewpoint is off-limits and shut down genuine discussion.

  • Loren Helmuth

    Christian nation!? Serious?!

  • Loren Helmuth

    Yep

  • HeBlessesMe

    Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Jesus said that. He came to NOT send peace, but a sword. A sword to cut down, cut through evil. To slay sin, to make war against the enemies of God. You cannot keep portraying Jesus as so peace loving that He would never do battle. THAT is giving a false image of Jesus. Jesus turned over the tables in the temple. He rebuked the legion of demons, sending them into pigs and to their deaths. Jesus was NOT some pacifist who instructs us to just let our enemies beat us down. We are to take up the sword of His word, and do battle.

    Jesus also told us not to judge. YOU are judging Kyle, as you did not personally KNOW him. You are also judging fellow Christians and basing it on their response to a movie, book, or whatever. You honestly cannot know for sure that is why they are behaving the way they are, unless you speak with them all. I find your “opinion” to be severely flawed, and not in keeping with scripture. Where is YOUR love?

  • Jorge Ortiz

    There will be a judgement and those that kill, unless is in self defense and has to be proven so God knows it was self defense, so there won’t be a judgment by men but of the true God, which means that it would have to be a real act of self defense and you had no other choice but to try and stop whoever and in the act you accidentally kill the person, then it may be overlooked by God. If it’s not self defense YOU will lose your soul as well! So I don’t care if it was because you were at a war or not. YOU WILL BE GUILTY OF MUDER! If you think that killing is ok in a war… Let me break it to you… YOU ARENT A REAL CHRISTIAN, THE END!

  • Lilith

    Bill: YES, a thousand times yes! I am married to a man who is a US Army veteran; he served as a combat engineer during the Cold War. He was stationed in Germany just 30 km outside the Czech border in the early 1980s, and he (and the guys out there with him) were supposed to serve as a mere speed bump had the Warsaw Pact countries ever felt froggy and decided to jump at us. He had grown up Roman Catholic, but he took very seriously the part of the Bible that not only said “thou shalt not kill” but also “Peter, put up thy sword.” He talked to a Catholic chaplain about this difficulty he had, and the chaplain told him to read St Augustine’s writings about “just war.” So he read it, and went back to the chaplain later and said, “Father, I read this and I realized there never actually can be any such thing as a just war. So that didn’t help me at all.” The chaplain then told him there really wasn’t much else he could do to help him. Joseph (my husband) then took some time to think about all this, and the conclusion he eventually came to was that he was called to serve this country in this life, and he reserved the right to use lethal force to carry out that calling if it became necessary. Same goes for defending his home and family; he reserves the right to use lethal force against an intruder if that person came into our home and threatened us. He is convinced that a Christian is called to never use violence or deadly force in such a confrontation, and he can’t do that. So he walked away from the Christian faith he’d grown up in. Oh and just for the record, he’s convinced (as were 1st century Christians, if I understand what I’ve read correctly) that Christians today have no business serving in the military, particularly in combat arms. He might be able to excuse someone working in administrative roles, but even then, one is supporting the people who do the killing, and that’s really pushing it.

    So you’re right; this has had a direct effect upon his decision to forsake his faith for his oath to defend his country. As far as he’s concerned, his oath of enlistment has no expiration date, and while he is nearly 50 years old and out of shape/training, if he was called upon tomorrow to take up arms for the nation, he’d go, no questions asked.

    He wound up choosing Asatru as his personal faith path, which is a Nordic polytheistic path. This is path that edifies his service and gives him a message that it is honorable for him to serve his country in this way. He does not feel Christianity sends him that message in any way; in fact, he regards Christianity as sending the opposite message, that people like him are considered lowly and horrible and dishonorable and not worthy of respect, etc etc etc.

    OK just had to put that out there.

  • Bill Benson

    I honor your husband for his service, and his continued commitment to the Nation. I support his decision to follow whatever faith he so chooses; my house is not so clean as to give me the right to criticize another’s. I had the same conflict, and found my answer in a few places in the bible (and, please understand, I am not a biblical scholar to the point where I adhere to the letter of the law above the spirit – and, frankly, I admit that there are some issues that I deliberately sidestep and allow “He who is a higher paygrade than I” to deal with it… The story of the faithful Centurion (Luke 7) is one. Relative to this: With the scrutiny of all of the Christ’s words, with his ministry in Roman Occupied Israel, if Christ had said ANYTHING against the Roman Empire, or the forces of occupation, that message would have been written down. Instead, Jesus affirmed that the infrastructure was needed: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s…” He never qualified that with “except for the Legion”. Christ also said, “… if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Christ never denied us the right to defend ourselves. He did tell us that there is an implied ladder of force. “… turn the other cheek…” and “if he demands your shirt, give your cloak as well…” prompts us not to immediately lead to the defensive, but to be in the moment with an air of forgiveness, negotiation, and compromise. When the enemy’s sword is whistling through the air, aimed at your head, on the other hand, there is no admonishment to allow that blow to land unopposed. And finally, at the end of it all, if one has not been able to resolve one’s trespasses in any other way, there is the last minute reprieve, if one is truly repentant, as the thief on the cross, also in Luke. War is a human invention, and our part in it depends on whether our Nation adheres to its Judeo-Christian upbringing vis a vis way it is at war. If we have elected those who adhere to the basic precepts of western civilization (based on said Judeo-Christian concepts), whether they are believers or not, then our Nation goes to war in a defensive posture, which is permissible in the eyes of God. If it embarks on a war of conquest, then it is NOT adhering to God’s will, and that’s were the problems start. The solution is to elect leaders who will either obey God’s laws, or at least follow a similar set of civil standards, regardless of their faith or lack thereof. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that God lovesHis warriors, so long as they understand that the sword is but one tool of many, and is not, in and of itself, a means to an end. I bid you both peace, and, again, my salutations to your husband.

  • Robert N. Armstrong Jr.

    What about the left and there idol in the White House! Look I’m not a fan of killing anyone I’m a political and religious agnostic however there are people in this world that if dead more people would live in harmony. Just saying!

  • Robert N. Armstrong Jr.

    isms are the bane of man. If there was no religion we would still find something to fight about.

  • Robert N. Armstrong Jr.

    Just think of all the words that have been written below and no body is convinced of the others view point. So I choose just to love you all and not waste my time here.

  • Femi Emmanuel

    I bless the Lord for the exchanges between Kirk and Herm. It is so beautiful and enlightening. Very frank and sincere exchanges bringing light to this discussion in the spirit of love.
    I subscribe to following the lamb in the way of the cross to put an end to satan;s culture of stealing, killing and destruction.

  • david jones

    The reason I don’t go to church….gullible Christians. Most still believe we, America, are the righteous godly nation fighting the evil Satan nation of Iraq. I think I’ll become a flower child.

  • david jones

    Uh, ur missing the point. We went into Iraq under false pretenses, and profited handsomely. War is big business. We are not the righteous nation of Israel, a theocracy, meting out judment….war…on the rest of the world. Gullible!

  • david jones

    We are no Christian nation. Who told you that? Have you studied American history? Come on. We are an expansionistic, oligarchy. We conquered a foreign land, stole its resources, murdered the indigenous peoples, and imported black slaves to work the land. Geez!

  • david jones

    You are deluded, Bill, and practice some sort of religious nationalism. No foreign nation attacked our soil, under the direction of the leader and its military. Our sovereignty was never threatened. A bogus war for profit. That’s what Americans fought for. Grow up and stop romanticizing the tragic bloodbath.

  • david jones

    But that would be idolatry as well….canon of saints. So your argument doesn’t make sense.

  • david jones

    How do you explain all the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who have suffered as a result of our “holy” war. Stop listening to Faux news.

  • david jones

    Your comment is ignorant. Our govt. Is not ordained by god to bring judgment or righteousness to the rest of the world. We fight in Mideast because of our strategic interests…..oil! You ppl need to grow up.

  • david jones

    Nobody planted a dagger anywhere, Bill. Nobody forced you to serve in the armed forces. U.S. Foreign policy has gone amuck on many occasions. I don’t appreciate your attempt to manipulate ppl with your blind adherence to our leaders decisions

  • david jones

    Alot of us get it.

  • vincemilburn

    Depending on what definition you use for idolatry, that is incorrect. Catholics highly reverence the communion of saints, but we recognize that they are nowhere near God, as none of us is, but are merely role models who ultimately point to God.

    I personally have been involved in the ecumenical movement for years so I would never sever a Christian friendship over the communion of saints. I also still see a difference between Mother Theresa and Chris Kyle, although, to be fair, both COULD become objects of idolatry.

  • kiljoy616

    There will be no judgement if you have ever read the bible you should know that killing is part of the human experience. Sorry but murdering others is condone in the bible.

  • kiljoy616

    Makesmegiggle as a True Christianity has no issue with invading and killing others and will continue to do it into the future.

    If your around for another decade or two you will see it here in the States. Its only a matter of time before different cults of Christianity start killing each other just like in the past.

  • kiljoy616

    He explained it dam well. They like to kill its not hard to understand.

  • kiljoy616

    Nope reading the bible is what pushed me away and made me realize the Jewish stuff was a bunch of made up garbage.

  • Human

    Because they are brainwashed, hateful and violent psychopaths. It’s the same in Muslim countries, even in my country of origin Turkey for example. The warmongers in Turkey are the religious nutjobs and nationalists, just like in America. Even many American atheists are warmongering imperialists and Zionists. The stupiditiy and evil of people knows no boundaries regardless of the country.

  • Jerry Kellams-Chief

    I take it your Bible only contains the New Testament. That’s fine. Look up Luke 22:36.

  • Jerry Kellams-Chief

    There’s a difference between “idolizing” & “honoring”. I honor Chris. I honor ALL military servicemen who risk their lives; sometimes the risking of life involves the TAKING of life. I myself, am an ordained minister and I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. You don’t learn that in “Seminary”, you learn it from listening to that small, still Voice…

  • Jerry Kellams-Chief

    My, my! Such judgment!

  • i wont go so far at the notion of hero worship , but i do want to point at the american “christian” focus on the american soldier , supporting them without understanding why they kill people in iraq, as if the iraqis are less human being because they are not american ? isnt this like the ancient christian in rome supporting the roman legions in subjugating nations for rome ? and why the hyper militarism / hyper patriotism entered american churches ?

    i applaud american christians who focus on the plight of christians in other countries , in truth all true christians are told that they are not of this world , and any christian who love the world is not a real christian in a sense.

    any christian in america that support america’s combat actions in other nations should ask themselves the question . why you cheered for the killing of other human being , just because they are not american citizen ? God is not blind , he already told christians to get out from babylon lest they feel the upcoming wrath of God.

    And in just one hour and one day, america will be destroyed by fire and the smoke of it’s burning was seen all over the world.. Revelation 17-18

  • Liz Selvia

    Killing has never been a part of my life experience or the life experience of those I know. If you think killing makes you human, you are suffering from a serious psychological disconnect. If murdering others is condoned in the Bible then the Bible is wrong. I certainly wouldn’t hold it up as a moral guide for anyone who wants to leave this world without blood stained hands.