Detta är en äversättning av mina tidigare inlägg om kristen pacifism.
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War God, Jesus, Part 1 – Should Christians use violence?
Posted on November 19, 2010 by Lennart Johansson, GC

A constant current topic is whether his people to use violence or not. Is it not true that in some cases have to resort to violence to defend themselves or prevent something bad from happening? What does the Bible say? In four parts, I’ll try to see what the Bible says and how we as Christians should relate to it.

If we start in the large and in the first, namely the Old Testament (OT), and see how God calls his people to wage war against other peoples and also avenge the principle of ”eye for an eye” on its own people, you have to put it in context, and the context found in the Christian Jesus. Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, the fulfillment of the GT if you like, and he clarified what God had for goal with GT, explained it as fulfilled in and with him and how the union would look like going forward.

That God has given rules, laws, the GT does not mean they must be followed exactly in the new covenant, see for example how the new covenant looking for:
Victim Laws in Hebrews 10
Kosherreglerna in Mark 7:19
Circumcision in Galatians

Similar changes were also introduced in the use of violence:
We are to love our enemies (Lukasevengeliet 6:27), we will not answer violence with violence (Matthew 5:39), we must overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), we must not wage war on the world’s way ( Other koriniterbrevet 10:3) but stick our sword (Matthew 26:52). Saying that the perception of violence, both on a personal level and in general have not changed would be to deny the entire New Testament, to deny that Jesus came with something new.

Violence is incompatible with Jesus’ teaching about loving your neighbor and treating others as you want to be treated. For no matter how you twist and turn, so it is violence that makes another person ill in any way, and war is when everything comes to a head nothing but organized violence! If you stand in the army service, in war service, so you go in the service of violence. Whatever one chooses to ameliorate it, this is a fact.

I have not found a single example in the Bible that says Christians to wage war or use force, not even the Romans 13th chapter (more on that later), accept violence. Rather, I have found even tighter definitions of what counts as violence, or even murder. Just look in Matthew 2:21 onwards where Jesus equates anger with murder!

I could highlight many many examples of how violence is not acceptable in the new covenant, but for most it is out of fashion, however, I would like to respond to some of the most common objections to this pacifism, or arguments for våldsanvändade if you like.

”Sometimes you have to choose a lesser evil to prevent a greater, you have only two choices simply. Kill or be killed. ”There is an objection that I heard many times, but that the repetition does not make it more true … God is good and can not be one of the two evils election, more or less bad does not matter; God is NOT evil!

One need not choose between two evils, you can choose the third option, one can choose God.

One can always choose God.



War God, Jesus, Part 2 – Is a Christian alternative to violence?
Posted on November 23, 2010 by Lennart Johansson, GC

One can always choose God.

It may not always be easy, it may not always be our first choice, perhaps even impossible for some to choose God in every situation, but it is still the right choice to make. Jesus gives us no free pass, but we must be Christians at all times, not only when it is easy and convenient! We will not manage to be good Christians all our lives, that’s where grace comes in, but that does not mean it’s OK to behave in any case, that there is any fault or sin, just that we receive forgiveness when we make mistakes and sin …

To suggest that violence is necessary is to deny God’s power! Our sword is the word of Jesus and there is no force which can not be repealed by this. Hitler is a popular example in this context, and his hate, his violence, could have been prevented if people turned to Jesus instead of to his violent ideology.

But this means that we should just keep quiet and accept everything as ”thrown” at us? No, absolutely not!

I want to give a small example of what I pick up Matthew. Matthew 5:38-39 is usually quoted by the pacifists, and rightfully so, but after these verses, 40 and 41 describe for us how we should do instead …

You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you: Each do not resist evil. No, if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other against him. If someone wants to litigate with you to get your shirt, so give him your cloak as well. If someone wants to force you to comply with a mil in his career, so go two mil with him.

If you want you can stop at the first two verses and say that Christians should just take all the shit that they suffer without doing anything. If you want you can also read the following verses that Christians should not only take crap, but also making itself to total loser. But if you look at the historical reality was when the text was written it immediately becomes more interesting …

If anyone wants to take your shirt off, so give him the mantle … Yes, it does not sound so radical, but rather perhaps a bit boring ”, but then forget it for a lender in the old covenant, it was wrong to take the mantle, if you still did so you had to give it back before dark! By offering sheath is thus a resistance by making the other person to sinners before God! It suddenly becomes the one who has one thing to be learned for the Council, before God and have power over the other! Of course (as me) he should not use this power for evil, but to forgive debt, just as God have been forgiven our debt.

That to go two mil, then? If you read some Bible translations so put this in the context of occupation troops, then the Romans, and their soldiers had indeed the right to force someone out of the civilian population to carry his equipment a mil. If he compelling someone to carry the equipment anymore, he is guilty of a crime! Where was it given back! By making the humble and accept to be mistreated so turn the Christian on the whole situation by itself becoming the one who gets the power over the other! I believe that also in this case, so should you as a Christian to forgive debt, forgive the abuse.

In this way, through civil disobedience, you become a testimony of love for the heathen! It shows love and disarming in that way the power.

It is to choose God.



War God, Jesus, Part 3 – Violence in the service of love?
Posted on November 27, 2010 by Lennart Johansson, GC

”But you can actually use the violence of love, to help the practicing violence against changing their own wrong actions,” it’s another common argument, and a recent one. Efforts in Afghanistan are currently debated, and many say that the troop presence there and the violence they engaged in hand is to prevent a greater evil with the help of a minor, but also that it is done out of concern for the population to wage war against, for the love of his enemy, and to love our enemies is something good for a Christian to do!

This may seem like a good argument, but you forget one fundamental question in this and that’s what love is! God is love, God is good and therefore also have the documents that come out of love to be good. Of the fruit we know the tree. To claim that there is a good action to harm or kill another human being is like saying that it will corrupt fruit of a good tree! It does not happen that easy!

It must therefore be completely ruled out, love does not give rise to evil acts. Or so the argument is reduced to arguing that it is OK with bad actions to prevent worse, but the argument I have already responded.

”What was it like when Jesus wanted the disciples to buy swords, then?”

Well how was it there with swords? Can it be seen as an endorsement of violence? Let’s see.
The story is found in Luke 22:35-38, where it says: Then he said to them: ”When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did ye lack anything?” – ”No, nothing,” replied the . He said: ”But now, the person who has a purse take with it, and likewise the bag, and he who is without money, he must sell his cloak and buy a sword. I tell you that with me, the words in scripture come true, which reads: He is numbered among the lawless. For now completed what is said about me. ”-” Lord, ”they said,” here are two swords. ”-” It’s good, ”he replied.

If we start looking at this from the end so is this translation, although accurate, somewhat misleading. ”It is good” might as well be translated ”enough” and then the whole piece an entirely different meaning! What ”sufficient” two swords for? Not to defend the thirteen men in all cases, and moreover, Jesus and the disciples of course not the only ones who went in the party but they were much more and then ”enough” not two swords far at all …

What is enough when the two swords for? What does Jesus say? Well that’s enough for the signature should be fulfilled and Jesus to be counted among the outlaws!

First, confirm that Jesus did not want that swords would be used to violence if you look a few verses later, when he reproached Peter for using one of the swords in this very way. If Jesus had been intended that the swords were used to violence, why would he complains Peter? Not even in self-defense would then use the sword to violence! That Jesus did not advocate it, it should be clear of principle not to fight back without turning the other cheek, but this underlines the words again.

It is also confirmed by the Lord Jesus said when the temple guards and priests will ”As against a robber, you have gone out with swords and clubs. Day after day I was with you in the temple, and you did not raise your hand against me. But this is your moment, now is the dark forces. ”

By that Jesus had a pair of swords could therefore scripture be fulfilled, and many examples of Jesus was careful to fulfill the scripture may be, any other explanation would be rather silly when the swords and are too few to defend the group and both would use force to go against Jesus’ other teaching.

”Why does not condemn the soldiers in the New Testament for their work?”

The soldiers come to John the Baptist to ask what to do, Jesus heals a centurion’s servant and Peter’s sermon to Cornelius, but do not criticize his job. Nowhere criticized these soldiers for their job and it must surely mean that the job is approved, and approved soldier profession as approved course also violence …

This too may seem to be relevant objections, but are they up to closer scrutiny? If you instead look at what Jesus told the tax collectors and the prostitutes so he did not criticize their careers either, it means that he thought they were good? What does Jesus and his disciples on the idolatry of the Gentiles? If not, it means well with this logic that he liked it and approved it? What Jesus said to Simon Zelotes? Condemned he Zealots target to revolt against the Romans? If not, it means that Jesus planned a bloody revolt or approved such?

No, this reasoning is not quite up to scratch, that nothing is said about criticism of the soldiers working in these texts does not mean approval, it probably means only that the moral of that particular story is something else. Jesus may as well have condemned the violence on other occasions, and thus also included the military violence.



War God, Jesus, Part 4 – Romans 13
Posted on November 30, 2010 by Lennart Johansson, GC

The last ”big” arguments used by those who want to defend the violence cans would be to refer to the Romans 13th chapter on the powers and how it bears the sword. This chapter jars said to be the basis for Luther’s tvåregementeslära, where he argued that a Christian in his private role as believers did not have to resort to violence, but that the same Christians could well be a soldier or an executioner, and in good conscience kill people.

How can you see in this chapter? Well, first you can not take it out of context without the need to see what is before and after and if you look in the 12th chapter it says in verses 14-21 as follows: Bless those who persecute you, bless them and curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Respond all equal and you do not hold good for spending time with them as minor. Was not himself wise. Repay no one evil for evil. Think about what is true for all people. Keep peace with all men as far as possible and is up to you. Do not take law into their own hands, my dear, but let God’s anger run its course, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him drink. Then you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So this is what is right before the 13th chapter and highlights the different ways that Christians did not even curse those who persecute them, much less to do evil deeds that resorting to violence. One should not return evil for evil, to meet violence with violence, but at peace with everyone. That’s what you have to have in mind when continuing their reading.

What powers it is Paul might mean when he says that Christians must submit to? Large parts of the Mediterranean was controlled at the time of writing of rum, at least those parts dae the Christian faith had spread, and more particularly in Rome itself, where the message sent. With good reason, one can assume that in the case of the Roman dominion, and those who are primarily recipients of the letter are the Christians in Rome, which at that time lived in one of the worst persecutions under Nero! So that is the context in which the Christians would be subordinate to and maintain peace and pray for those persecuting them!

In this situation, it would be good for even the most diehard pacifists reasonable to strike back. At least a little, but Paul tells them to be submissive and that this repressive is of God! To the powers that would be of God need not be stranger than we understand that everyone on earth, including the Roman imperial power, is subordinate to God. This was extremely provocative to say in these times, the emperor was god!

That God ordains the powers, the rulers are subordinate to God or that God uses the powers do not automatically mean that God sees all that the powers do as well. If we read the GT, we find plenty of examples of how God uses different powers without typing in what they stand for, Assyria in Isaiah’s tenth chapter is one example.

To subordinate itself does not mean accepting everything that the powers that stands for, especially if it means that it performs such as are expressly forbidden by God, such as violence of various kinds. Christians are expected to stay out of this, we must obey God rather than men. However, we still subjugate us when the powers that carry the penalty it considers relevant. Paul himself gives examples of this, when he breaks the law for God’s sake, but is prepared to take the punishment for the crimes he committed.

Even if the powers that are torturing us, haunts us and execute us, we will be subordinate to it and take the punishment we deserve and not just give love to answer!

To the Christians of this chapter is not expected to be a part of the authority’s ”sword” or anger should be obvious, then the first, to perform any act contrary to Jesus’ command, but it becomes even clearer when we know that to be a part of the powers had to sacrifice to the emperor and swear allegiance to him as God. This was what it meant to be part of the powers and that Paul does not forbid it could hardly be seen as an endorsement, rather it is so obvious that there needs to be said.

The early Christians refused to sacrifice to the emperor, but this did not mean that they ignored the Romans 13th chapter, but that they understood that it was not meant to blindly obey all commands of the state provides. Instead, they practiced civil disobedience by refusing to sacrifice and subordinate themselves then by taking the punishment they were measured for their disobedience. THERE is to be subordinate to the powers!

Peaceful resistance, just as Jesus taught and demonstrated, in death, for you and for me.



War God, Jesus, Part 5 – Reality
Posted on December 2, 2010 by Lennart Johansson, GC
As someone already pointed out in commenting on this series of expositions so it is not always as simple as it may seem. A lot of thoughts have come up during the time I wrote the series and when I received responses to the wind and I want to share them with you.

My first feeling is a tremendous sadness, a sadness that so many Christians really do not see violence and war as something that definitely take away from. I’m not talking about my friend Anna, who speaks of resistance against an oppressive powers (more on that later) but of ordinary Christians who see war as something good if it is performed in the correct order, the Israeli war against Palestine, the U.S. war in Afghanistan and Iraq are examples of conflicts that I have heard defended as ”good war” and that makes me both angry and sad.
As I have shown (by me) beyond any doubt, it is not violence and war compatible with Christ’s message.
But what about my friend Anna’s example then? If people are so oppressed that there is no alternative but to choose to fight or die? I mean that, even in the situation to choose the ways of peace?
The issue is big and difficult, but my answer must be: Yes, a Christian should always follow Jesus, even in death.
How can I sit here in my safe in Sweden cabin heat, -21 degrees outside, the sun sparkles on the snow and the fire crackling in the pan. My children are at school and nursery where they are safe and secure and they get good care and education for their lives.
How was I who had never been subjected to oppression and violence, the nerve to tell others how to act? How would I react and act if I was in that situation?
Somewhere, I think its very heart lies.
I believe, firmly, that pacifism is the way of Jesus and that violence is ALWAYS a bad thing.
If someone attacks my children about my or my family’s life is threatened, will I not turn back? Well, probably I will do it.
It is not something I’m proud of but it is likely.
But does that mean it is right?
Not even what I could do, I can turn to the right to defend my actions!
I have the deepest respect and sympathy for those who fight for freedom, justice and bread.
I condemn them absolutely not, it’s not my thing to do, but I can not say that it is right.
To say that it is the right thing would be to ignore the message of Jesus.
That to defend my own feelings or acts deny the Bible’s message, yes it is not a bit different than a capitalist defends its fundamentally wrong oppression of the poor. He (for it is usually a he) would like to think that capitalism can be good, because otherwise he would, by definition, not good!
If I am defending my own sins, if I defend the use of violence and I’ll do the same thing, I defend it fundamentally wrong as I do (or defend or propagate), because if I acknowledge it as evil, I’m also evil!
Where do I do in the end?
Well, where I often end up – in the words of Paul in Romans 7:19 a The good that I want, I do not, but the evil I do not want to, I do.
The solution to this dilemma, I mean is NOT to deny the evil of violence and reprehensible, but to recognize it, while recognizing their own brutenhet and sin.
Our aim should always be to avoid violence, but our deficit, our sinful nature, means that we fail to be like Jesus.
I therefore believe that the use of violence when you do not feel they have no choice, is and will remain wrong, can never be right, and it is a case from the right path. Salvation and the cure for such a case is and remains God’s infinite mercy.
The only problem is that if you do not mean to do wrong, so sorry we did not and take it through not receiving the grace that is available and offered.
Yes, I think in any case I, but thank God and praise, it’s not my explanations you happiness hangs on, but on faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

Christian pacifism – a comfortable modernity?
Posted on December 10, 2010 by Lennart Johansson, GC
As one among those who sometimes reads this blog probably have noticed, I advocate a radical pacifism. Anyone have liked (a little light exaggerated and sarcastic on my part) that it is a comfortable position that I can afford for me because I live in peace and prosperity, and some have suggested that Jesus’ words are only recommendations and not much to worry about in practice.
But is it so?
I want to share with you a link that deals with church fathers and what they actually lived under persecution, was thinking about pacifism.
On the side, stated, inter alia:
Remember that the Church Fathers preached pacifism under persecution. Church’s first period consisted of enormous pressure upon the Christians, Torture in insane circumstances existed, and many of the Fathers above were martyred. They preached non-violence while they were exposed to violence. There are a lot of unfounded assumption to say that the Church Fathers pacifism brought from elsewhere and were not in the church from the beginning. First, it was the first church father who said that Christians can go to war as Augustine said, and he lived in the late fourth century. Second was the Roman Empire, a war state based on its military power. Pacifist movements were very rare in this violent society, as if the Fathers had their pacifism elsewhere than from the Bible, from which in this case – and why? To embrace pacifism during the persecution is certainly stupid, no one would seriously do that unless he was convinced that God wants it and that his church had not taught any other since its birth.
Read the full article and what the Fathers thought


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2 kommentarer till Översättning

  1. June Ver Mangao skriver:

    Dear Lennart I follow your link and i have read it already.. very nice and well research and so as very testimonial base on your limited experiences as theologian, but it’s very obvious that you are a disciple of non-Violent liberation which we have in common. but can i ask you questions?

    a. who is our enemy that you open discussed? is the person or our co-human being who act violent against you and me will be considered as enemy?
    b. who is the evil that we perceived as our enemy? is it the person who act such evil deeds or the structural system in which the person is engaged?
    c. in your side and context in sweden who do you think is/are doing evil?
    d. what is /are limitations of non-violent liberation?
    e. in relation to the passages you have used in the gospel of Matthew mostly in the first 5 chapters base in your research did you ask Matthew in relation to his context when is was written? what was the political and cultural context during that writings?

    i hope we can continue to share our experiences as well as our rich and very nice discussion from liberation theology to Violent and non-violent discussion.. thank you for sharing the link.. hope to see your response on my inquiry..
    God bless you…

  2. Dear June Ver Mangao,
    Thank you for your comments. I’m not sure i understand why you think this testifies to me being an inexperienced theologian or what that could possibly have to do with the validity of my findings.

    As for your questions I will try to answer them as best i can.
    a and b) When it comes to our enemy my belief is that it is Satan, and that he works through our seflishness. That would imply that no individual is an enemy as such, but sometimes (or often) does the deeds of our enemy.

    That is why i do not think that we should use violence against our neighbours. They are sinners and need to repent and change, just as we all do. By using violence we just affirm their actions as acceptable and do not show them any alternative way.

    c) In Sweden we ar fortunate not to live under a violent opression, nevertheless the same selfishness as can be viewed all over the world are at work here to.
    Sick, unemployed, poor, children and old are being robbed of their livelyhood. This has become more evident during the later years conservative/liberal rule in Sweden, but has been on its way even during the socialdemocratic rule. There are much to be said about this, but i think that the marxist analysis of society is as valid in Sweden as everywhere else.

    d) I see no other limitations of non-violent opposition/revolution than the individuals. Using violence is a natural and basic instinct in humans, and even the most dedicated pacifist is at risk of returning violence with violence.
    I myself is no exception of this.

    e) As for the historic context of Matthew, the gospel is most likely written during presecutions of the christians in the roman empire. This, I think, stresses the importance of Jesus words even more. The words are written to persons enduring violent opression and as i see it is no philosophical theory, but powerful ”orders” from our Lord, Jesus.
    Just as his words about justice and liberation are real, i believe that the words about pacificm are.


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