We will fight for peace, but we will do no violence.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Doesn't Violence in the OT Mean Pacifism Isn't Biblical?

By Nathan R. Hale

A common objection to Christian non-violence is often articulated as follows:

A unified view of Scripture demands we accept justified violence based on the Old Testament. It takes unnecessarily complex hermeneutics to wiggle out of the fact that God both commands war (the invasion of Canaan) and instituted laws for self defense and capital punishment in the Mosaic Law.

A close look reveals this isn’t true.

On the national front, we have in the Old Testament a defined nation-state (Israel) that is being directly used by God to punish surrounding people groups and nations. This is holy war (commanded by God) and is restricted to Israel.

In the NT, however, Jesus reveals to us through the Apostle Paul that God’s chosen people is no longer a single nation-state, but rather a gathering people across national/ethnic boundaries whose fight is not against flesh and blood (cf. Eph. 6:12; Gal. 3:38).

The battle lines and purposes have been redrawn.


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