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Episode Info: Isaiah 2:4 Beating Swords Into PlowsharesIn America I’ve not found too many Christians who believe in the non-violent ways of Jesus. If anything our ethic on the issue has been that of the most men: Kill or be killed. And the above quote that I came across on Twitter the other day really spoke highly to me. Our society hears more about a non-violent ethic from fringe political groups than they do professing Christians. I feel we as Christians have a view of violence that is indistinguishable from the world. We have no distinct theological perspective or prophetic witness to offer. Which is really odd because Jesus said a lot of things about how we should respond to violence, which we happily ignore. Instead, we believe in the 2nd amendment as if it were a commandment of God and a line in the apostles creed. As the late Art Katz was fond of saying: “We are far too American.” (Check out my prior podcast on this: Christians, You Are Far Too American – Episode #14) My Personal Story I used to believe a lot of the typical things that most of my fellow conservative Evangelical Christian brothers believed on the topics of guns, violence, self-defense, and just war theory. I come from a large family that has had numerous members serve in every branch of the military, all the way from infantry positions to officer ranks. Many of my family members own guns. I’m confortable around guns, and have shot them for fun. I used to believe in a lot of the typical theories behind self-defense and just war theory. In my Christian ethics class in Bible College, I even wrote an essay defending the issue. But after Bible College and Seminary, I started to feel more challenged by what I was reading in the Scriptures on the issue. And I realized I had been asking a lot of the wrong quesetions. Most my questions sounded like some variant of “If Hitler broke into your house to rape and kill your wife and children, what would you do?” The answer to such a question always seemed obvious, and ends up being answered the exact same way by almost everyone. Instead, I found myself asking better questions, like, “Who Is Jesus? What did He come to do? What did He teach us? And how has He called me to live?” So, in light of such things, I’d like to survey the Scriptures and see what we can learn. Please be sure to listen to this podcast episode, where I will spend a lot more time breaking down the passages below. …In The Beginning, It Was Not So When we examine the Scriptures from cover to cover, God did not initially permit violence in response to violence. Capital punishment wasn’t even permitted after Cain killed Able. Cain was worried someone would kill him. God actually forbade such. Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will...
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