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  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    I ward against giving folks that option by refraining from belligerent and rude snark.



    None of that is parsimonious; Jesus tells his disciples to go acquire weapons so that He "may be numbered among the rebels" to fulfill a prophesy. The fulfillment of this prophesy is so important that Jesus tells them to go and sell what they have to get the weapons. But already having two swords, Jesus says "it is enough" and proceeds to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He is betrayed and arrested as a political insurgent.

    Your statement that Jesus "told his disciples the importance of acquiring a sword for personal defense" is an extra-biblical assumption you've introduced into the text. Not only did Jesus rebuke Peter's attempt at self defense but from the time of the Gospels through the writings of the ante-Nicean Church Fathers, we find no support for lethal violence, even in self-defense. If Jesus intended His disciples to use weapons to kill in self-defense, we have absolutely no evidence that His intent was respected, even during extensive persecutions. In fact, we have distinct evidence to the contrary, as Christians like Peter, Paul and Polycarp were martyred without violent resistance.

    Swords were not only used to fight other humans but also used to ward off wild animals.



    Early Christians faced that exact scenario and chose to die as martyrs (and allow their family members to die as martyrs) rather than take up arms. We still hear stories today about such Christian martyrs. According to the most textual reading of the Gospels, we should indeed refrain from lethal violence in self-defense. If you believe that your existence on Earth is to win souls for Heaven then you should not be afraid of death. You should, however, be afraid that your action in killing another person closes off his chance for repentance. What would the Church have lost were Saul to have been killed in self-defense before his Damascus road experience? Weighing the balance, I argue that the most faithful reading of the Gospels prohibits the use of lethal violence, even in self-defense. That this is a counter-intuitive and difficult command is part-and-parcel with the radicalism of Jesus.

    To your first question, one should preference the explicit commands of Jesus over the inferred allowances one takes form Paul's commendations in any serious exegesis.
    "Numbered with the transgressors"... I've already addressed that: Jesus was numbered with the transgressors the minute he challenged the authority of the pharisees. He didn't need his disciples to own swords to fulfill that bit of prophecy. Furthermore, since his disciples already owned swords, and it's impossible that Jesus was ignorant of this fact, then the prophecy was already fulfilled if we assume your reading is correct, so why did Jesus command them to sell their cloaks to buy swords? And again, Jesus did not tell Peter to cast away his sword, he simply told him to put it away. None of this squares with your argument.

    So why don't we see examples of the disciples using their weapons to defend themselves? Because they were being persecuted for the gospel. We don't have any stories about them where personal self-defense would have been a proper course of action.

    Then you say, "... one should preference the explicit commands of Jesus over the inferred allowances one takes form Paul's commendations in any serious exegesis."

    Are you claiming that there is a disagreement between Jesus and Paul? That one passage of scripture genuinely contradicts another? I can't accept that.

    And are you also telling me that you would not lift a finger to protect someone else from violence? That you would stand aside and allow evil to be done when it was in your power to intercede? That strikes me as its own sort of evil. Sure, there's a chance that a guy shooting innocent kids and teachers in a school can be redeemed later in life, but what about the innocent kids and teachers that are being slain while you do nothing to help? Isn't their blood on your hands?

    Ezekiel 33:6, "But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone's life, that person's life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.'"

    Leave a comment:


  • Darth Executor
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    Your statement that Jesus "told his disciples the importance of acquiring a sword for personal defense" is an extra-biblical assumption you've introduced into the text. Not only did Jesus rebuke Peter's attempt at self defense
    Jesus rebuked Peter because Peter was going to get himself killed, and Jesus had already told him He had to die so Peter was interfering with His plan.

    but from the time of the Gospels through the writings of the ante-Nicean Church Fathers, we find no support for lethal violence, even in self-defense.
    Why would you find explicit support for such an obvious thing?

    If Jesus intended His disciples to use weapons to kill in self-defense, we have absolutely no evidence that His intent was respected, even during extensive persecutions. In fact, we have distinct evidence to the contrary, as Christians like Peter, Paul and Polycarp were martyred without violent resistance. Early Christians faced that exact scenario and chose to die as martyrs (and allow their family members to die as martyrs) rather than take up arms.
    Lots of people are martyred without violent resistance. The will of people to fight back against imminent and unavoidable death tends to break down (google some execution videos, ISIS has provided plenty of material of late, for example).

    We still hear stories today about such Christian martyrs.
    Nobody likes telling stories of apostates and losers.

    As soon as Christians had enough political muscle though...



    According to the most textual reading of the Gospels, we should indeed refrain from lethal violence in self-defense. If you believe that your existence on Earth is to win souls for Heaven then you should not be afraid of death.
    Your existence on Earth is not to win souls for Heaven.

    You should, however, be afraid that your action in killing another person closes off his chance for repentance.
    What if by letting them kill others you close off their VICTIMS chance for repentance? What if after seeing you not lift a finger to help your friends and family people become disgusted with the cross, conclude that Christian "love" is just a mental disorder and turn away from God?

    In fact the reason why Christianity is so widespread is because rather than follow your template the early Christians turned militant as soon as they had the numbers and power to do so. And today Western Christians are less militant than they've been since the earliest days of Christianity, but souls aren't being saved. Quite the opposite, Christianity is waning. Even by your own standard blind adherence to non-violence has been a colossal failure. If raw number of souls won are what matters to you you should support the most vicious and ruthless conquest campaigns that our material wealth allow for.

    What would the Church have lost were Saul to have been killed in self-defense before his Damascus road experience?
    God can raise another Saul from the stones on the ground.

    Weighing the balance, I argue that the most faithful reading of the Gospels prohibits the use of lethal violence, even in self-defense.
    It doesn't seem to me like you've weighed much balance at all seeing how you didn't even consider the adverse consequences of pacifism.

    That this is a counter-intuitive and difficult command is part-and-parcel with the radicalism of Jesus.
    The radicalism of Jesus is a myth and it's counter-intuitive because it's stupid. Being a radical is a bad thing more often than not anyway. Pretty much all of Jesus's moral teachings predate Him and were part of the same Judaism that allowed for the execution of enemy children. Pacifists spuriously use them to claim it supports pacifism because most of you don't really understand what you're reading (an admittedly common problem with Christians in general).

    To your first question, one should preference the explicit commands of Jesus over the inferred allowances one takes form Paul's commendations in any serious exegesis.
    Jesus never explicitly (or for that matter, implicitly) commands non-violence. Paul OTOH explicitly allows for state violence. So about that serious exegesis...

    Leave a comment:


  • Epoetker
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    It wasn't about circumstantial evidence: Jesus says explicitly in Luke 22:37 that He is doing this to fulfill the prophesy that He be "numbered with the transgressors," the root word meaning "to rebel, trangress." It's much less far-fetched to simply look at the next verse for Jesus' motivation in commanding his disciples to arm themselves than to postulate about what He might have wanted them to do with the swords after His death. And again you run into the problem of the early Christians being very much adverse to violent defense after Christ's death and resurrection. If He had wanted them to defend themselves with lethal violence, why the utter lack of such behavior?
    They had other options and a great deal of them were still under Roman law. Also, the vast majority of them at the start were in fact slaves and middle-class being oppressed by the law, not patricians or centurions in charge of enforcing it. I do seem to recall some of the early church leaders having to advise people not to throw their lives away in the arena on the chance of a glorious death witness (veeeeeery distantly related to the desire of suicide bombers to immolate themselves for Allah and the advancement of Islam, but a human tendency is a human tendency.)

    In that time, to die for the Word was to insist that it was worth dying for. In other times and other places, that was most assuredly not true. Seeking martyrdom to go to Heaven early was generally discouraged as soon as it was sensed among the church leaders. Soon enough, a Christian civil order would arise.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sam
    replied
    Originally posted by Joel View Post
    That doesn't seem right.
    As I read on in Luke, at the end of the same chapter, it is the high priests, officers of the temple, elders, and scribes who arrested Jesus and accused him of blasphemy.

    In the following chapter, it is they who brought Jesus to the attention of Rome, with trumped-up charges of, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King." (I don't think they were upset by such things. It seems they were just using such accusations to try to persuade Pilate to execute Jesus.) It doesn't say whether they cited the fact that they found Jesus among men with swords, as evidence. (Also didn't lots of people go around with swords in that day? The disciples even happened to have a couple with them an the moment. Would that have really been considered evidence of anything?) All it actually says here that they said against Jesus was about Jesus teaching things. (e.g. "He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place."")

    Did all this 'get the attention' of Rome? No, Pilate's responses were:
    "I find no guilt in this man."
    and
    "You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. Therefore I will punish Him and release Him."

    Pilate finally gives in to the mob, apparently because Pilate was worried about rioting by the mob led by the chief priests and rulers, not because Rome was worried about Jesus inciting the people to rebellion. If he was worried about anyone inciting rebellion it would have been the chief priests.
    Caiaphas was a Roman appointee and a member of the Sanhedrin. In the Book of John, Jesus is accused by Caiaphas of sedition, of plotting in secret. Because the Sanhedrin could not implement the death penalty, they had to go to Pilate, the Roman governor of the region. Whether Pilate thought the charges of insurgency were valid, that's what Jesus was crucified for Rome didn't crucify backwater Jewish prophets for blasphemy against YHWH.



    Originally posted by Joel View Post
    Going back to your argument, it seems to be that Jesus told his disciples to get some swords in order to provide the chief priests with some minor circumstantial evidence that Jesus had been inciting the people of Judea to revolution. And the group of disciples with 2 swords among them (apparently 2 that they already had anyway) was sufficient for that purpose. And that circumstantial evidence (assuming it was even mentioned) did not convince Pilate or Herod. So it didn't even achieve what you think was Jesus' purpose in doing so.
    That seems far-fetched.

    Far more reasonable that Jesus was making the change (for the disciples to carry belt, bag and sword, though before they were sent without them), because Jesus was about to be arrested and executed.
    It wasn't about circumstantial evidence: Jesus says explicitly in Luke 22:37 that He is doing this to fulfill the prophesy that He be "numbered with the transgressors," the root word meaning "to rebel, trangress." It's much less far-fetched to simply look at the next verse for Jesus' motivation in commanding his disciples to arm themselves than to postulate about what He might have wanted them to do with the swords after His death. And again you run into the problem of the early Christians being very much adverse to violent defense after Christ's death and resurrection. If He had wanted them to defend themselves with lethal violence, why the utter lack of such behavior?

    Leave a comment:


  • Joel
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    The crime, in this case, being insurgency. That's supposedly what got the attention of Rome - the prospect of another Maccabeen revolution coming around.
    That doesn't seem right.
    As I read on in Luke, at the end of the same chapter, it is the high priests, officers of the temple, elders, and scribes who arrested Jesus and accused him of blasphemy.

    In the following chapter, it is they who brought Jesus to the attention of Rome, with trumped-up charges of, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King." (I don't think they were upset by such things. It seems they were just using such accusations to try to persuade Pilate to execute Jesus.) It doesn't say whether they cited the fact that they found Jesus among men with swords, as evidence. (Also didn't lots of people go around with swords in that day? The disciples even happened to have a couple with them an the moment. Would that have really been considered evidence of anything?) All it actually says here that they said against Jesus was about Jesus teaching things. (e.g. "He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place."")

    Did all this 'get the attention' of Rome? No, Pilate's responses were:
    "I find no guilt in this man."
    and
    "You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. Therefore I will punish Him and release Him."

    Pilate finally gives in to the mob, apparently because Pilate was worried about rioting by the mob led by the chief priests and rulers, not because Rome was worried about Jesus inciting the people to rebellion. If he was worried about anyone inciting rebellion it would have been the chief priests.



    Going back to your argument, it seems to be that Jesus told his disciples to get some swords in order to provide the chief priests with some minor circumstantial evidence that Jesus had been inciting the people of Judea to revolution. And the group of disciples with 2 swords among them (apparently 2 that they already had anyway) was sufficient for that purpose. And that circumstantial evidence (assuming it was even mentioned) did not convince Pilate or Herod. So it didn't even achieve what you think was Jesus' purpose in doing so.
    That seems far-fetched.

    Far more reasonable that Jesus was making the change (for the disciples to carry belt, bag and sword, though before they were sent without them), because Jesus was about to be arrested and executed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sam
    replied
    Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
    I lean toward Sam's thinking purely for the case of self-defense (the early Christians and what they believed do deserve a vote); I would consider the calculus different if it involved the defense of others. I think it would be way too legalistic to, say, condemn the shooting of an active shooter in an elementary school.
    And I do agree with that. While I think exegesis pushes us toward pacifism, I think Paul did carve out the government's power to punish wrongdoing. And I'm pretty sympathetic to the Christian realist's argument for lethal violence in the face of evil, as I'm certainly not a textualist on other matters of doctrine.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sam
    replied
    Originally posted by Joel View Post
    I think a far more obvious meaning for "NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS" is that of being considered to be a criminal. That is, that Jesus was condemned as a criminal and executed with criminals. Jesus was presumably quoting Isaiah 53:12 "Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
    It's talking about his being put to death as if a transgressor, on behalf of all the transgressors in the world. He who knew no sin became sin for us.
    The crime, in this case, being insurgency. That's supposedly what got the attention of Rome - the prospect of another Maccabeen revolution coming around.

    Leave a comment:


  • KingsGambit
    replied
    I lean toward Sam's thinking purely for the case of self-defense (the early Christians and what they believed do deserve a vote); I would consider the calculus different if it involved the defense of others. I think it would be way too legalistic to, say, condemn the shooting of an active shooter in an elementary school.

    Leave a comment:


  • Joel
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    "For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, 'AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS'; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment."


    [FONT=Trebuchet, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][COLOR=#001320]Even people skeptical of Christian pacifism have to acknowledge that such a reading lends itself to Jesus creating the appearance of an armed rebellion to facilitate his being "numbered with transgressors" (rebels).
    I think a far more obvious meaning for "NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS" is that of being considered to be a criminal. That is, that Jesus was condemned as a criminal and executed with criminals. Jesus was presumably quoting Isaiah 53:12 "Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
    It's talking about his being put to death as if a transgressor, on behalf of all the transgressors in the world. He who knew no sin became sin for us.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sam
    replied
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    In light of your recent posts to Sparko, I suppose I could just say, "Commentaries are only a Google search away, so figure it out for yourself," and you would be fine with that, right?
    I ward against giving folks that option by refraining from belligerent and rude snark.

    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    But since such a response would, in fact, be condescending, rude, and an attempt to shift the burden of proof, maybe I should man up and answer your questions.

    Some commentaries I've read suggest that Jesus' response was sarcastic. Here he had just told his disciples the importance of acquiring a sword for personal defense, even to the point of forgoing protection from the elements ("sell your cloak"), and his disciples say, "Um, we've got a couple here already." So Jesus, realizing that his disciples missed the point -- again -- rolls his eyes and says, "That's enough."

    Other commentaries say that Jesus' "That's enough" was him indicating that the conversation was over, as in "That's enough talking. Go and do what I've instructed."

    So why did Jesus rebuke Peter for striking out at the men who had come to arrest Jesus? I suppose, for one, it was dumb of Peter to try and take on Roman soldiers, and by restoring calm to the situation and healing the stricken man, Jesus saved Peter's life and the rest of the disciples, men who would have a very important mission in the coming years. Also notice that Jesus told Peter to put his sword away and not to cast it aside or abandon it, which is hard to reconcile with your belief that Jesus did not believe in carrying weapons for personal defense (for that matter, why did the disciples even have a pair of swords in the first place?). Furthermore, it was Jesus' entire purpose to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world, and so Jesus didn't want Peter trying to fight to rescue him.
    None of that is parsimonious; Jesus tells his disciples to go acquire weapons so that He "may be numbered among the rebels" to fulfill a prophesy. The fulfillment of this prophesy is so important that Jesus tells them to go and sell what they have to get the weapons. But already having two swords, Jesus says "it is enough" and proceeds to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He is betrayed and arrested as a political insurgent.

    Your statement that Jesus "told his disciples the importance of acquiring a sword for personal defense" is an extra-biblical assumption you've introduced into the text. Not only did Jesus rebuke Peter's attempt at self defense but from the time of the Gospels through the writings of the ante-Nicean Church Fathers, we find no support for lethal violence, even in self-defense. If Jesus intended His disciples to use weapons to kill in self-defense, we have absolutely no evidence that His intent was respected, even during extensive persecutions. In fact, we have distinct evidence to the contrary, as Christians like Peter, Paul and Polycarp were martyred without violent resistance.

    Swords were not only used to fight other humans but also used to ward off wild animals.

    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    Now how about you answer some of my questions: If we are not supposed to defend ourselves with weapons then why did Paul commend someone like Samson who went on several vicious rampages through Philistine territory and who redeemed himself by bringing down a palace on top of his enemies? Or King David who was a man after God's own heart and died with a sword in his hand?

    And my second question: Should you or should you not do everything in your power to protect someone from violence? Suppose your family is the victim of a home invasion. Should you let the invaders have their way with your family, or should you take up arms to defend yourself?
    Early Christians faced that exact scenario and chose to die as martyrs (and allow their family members to die as martyrs) rather than take up arms. We still hear stories today about such Christian martyrs. According to the most textual reading of the Gospels, we should indeed refrain from lethal violence in self-defense. If you believe that your existence on Earth is to win souls for Heaven then you should not be afraid of death. You should, however, be afraid that your action in killing another person closes off his chance for repentance. What would the Church have lost were Saul to have been killed in self-defense before his Damascus road experience? Weighing the balance, I argue that the most faithful reading of the Gospels prohibits the use of lethal violence, even in self-defense. That this is a counter-intuitive and difficult command is part-and-parcel with the radicalism of Jesus.

    To your first question, one should preference the explicit commands of Jesus over the inferred allowances one takes form Paul's commendations in any serious exegesis.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    So, in your scenario, why would Jesus say "It is enough" when the disciples said that they had two swords in the group? If His intent was to have the disciples prepared to defend themselves, 1) why were only two swords considered sufficient and 2) why did He rebuke Peter for engaging in self defense?
    In light of your recent posts to Sparko, I suppose I could just say, "Commentaries are only a Google search away, so figure it out for yourself," and you would be fine with that, right?

    But since such a response would, in fact, be condescending, rude, and an attempt to shift the burden of proof, maybe I should man up and answer your questions.

    Some commentaries I've read suggest that Jesus' response was sarcastic. Here he had just told his disciples the importance of acquiring a sword for personal defense, even to the point of forgoing protection from the elements ("sell your cloak"), and his disciples say, "Um, we've got a couple here already." So Jesus, realizing that his disciples missed the point -- again -- rolls his eyes and says, "That's enough."

    Other commentaries say that Jesus' "That's enough" was him indicating that the conversation was over, as in "That's enough talking. Go and do what I've instructed."

    So why did Jesus rebuke Peter for striking out at the men who had come to arrest Jesus? I suppose, for one, it was dumb of Peter to try and take on Roman soldiers, and by restoring calm to the situation and healing the stricken man, Jesus saved Peter's life and the rest of the disciples, men who would have a very important mission in the coming years. Also notice that Jesus told Peter to put his sword away and not to cast it aside or abandon it, which is hard to reconcile with your belief that Jesus did not believe in carrying weapons for personal defense (for that matter, why did the disciples even have a pair of swords in the first place?). Furthermore, it was Jesus' entire purpose to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world, and so Jesus didn't want Peter trying to fight to rescue him.

    Now how about you answer some of my questions: If we are not supposed to defend ourselves with weapons then why did Paul commend someone like Samson who went on several vicious rampages through Philistine territory and who redeemed himself by bringing down a palace on top of his enemies? Or King David who was a man after God's own heart and died with a sword in his hand?

    And my second question: Should you or should you not do everything in your power to protect someone from violence? Suppose your family is the victim of a home invasion. Should you let the invaders have their way with your family, or should you take up arms to defend yourself?

    Leave a comment:


  • KingsGambit
    replied
    Joshua Feuerstein is that pastor in Arizona who makes the really embarrassing YouTube videos. As in, 9/11 conspiracy theory type videos.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sparko
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    A simple Google search would reveal to Sparko or anyone else the relevant SCOTUS cases and precedent. I'm under no obligation to humor someone's question when the preceding paragraphs show such an obvious lack of good faith, to say nothing of good taste.

    People who think they can malign others and then demand answers to their questions are on the wrong track and ought not to be enabled.


    I guess you can't prove your assertions after all. It's the old "yes I made a bald assertion but I can't be bothered to show you any proof, google it yourself" dodge

    Leave a comment:


  • Sam
    replied
    Originally posted by RumTumTugger View Post
    Translation: I can't admit i'm wrong so I"d better ignore the question to hide that fact.
    A simple Google search would reveal to Sparko or anyone else the relevant SCOTUS cases and precedent. I'm under no obligation to humor someone's question when the preceding paragraphs show such an obvious lack of good faith, to say nothing of good taste.

    People who think they can malign others and then demand answers to their questions are on the wrong track and ought not to be enabled.

    Leave a comment:


  • RumTumTugger
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    And you'll continue to wait until you learn either to ask more interesting and engaging questions or at least learn a bit of decorum. Being rude and boring is not a winning combination for GTD.
    Translation: I can't admit i'm wrong so I"d better ignore the question to hide that fact.

    Leave a comment:

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