Saturday, November 19, 2011

Early Church stance toward War and Non Resistance

True Christians Fight Sin, Not War

Perhaps there are two dozen or more questions that accompany this statement, but all of them can be answered in one reply, a simple teaching right from Jesus' own mouth: "Love your enemies".

Historically the Early Church was non-resistant, meaning that they did not participate in warfare through military service, or political office. In fact they took Jesus' teachings to love your enemies so literally they taught that a Christian was commanded to actually turn the other cheek when someone slapped him. Have you ever wondered why the Early Church never retaliated when they were persecuted by the Roman Government? This is why.

Around the year 350 all of this changed when the Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, and began to influence the Church's decision-making processes. Until the year 350 the Early Church was the persecuted, however when Constantine was "converted" he produced an edict that effectively made the Church the persecutors. Constantine's new law declared that anyone dubbed as a heretic by the church majority was to be killed. So why was this such a turning point in Early Church history? Because it marked a point in the road where the Early Church departed from Jesus' simple teachings in Mathew 5, 6 and 7. The teachings to love your enemies; teachings that the Early Church had formerly upheld even in the fiercest persecutions. However, with the influence of Constantine's new edict to kill heretics, the Church took a sharp turn from loving their enemies as Jesus did, to killing their enemies as Pilate did.

When we continue to look at Early Church history we can see another exit ramp that lead the Early Church away from Jesus' teaching on non-resistance. The driver that took the early church down this new road was a theologian named Augustine of Hippo. Before Augustine was converted to Christianity he was part of the Manichean faith, a religion that taught an extreme form of dualism - the idea that good and evil are equal powers. As a result of this teaching the Manicheans believed that the body and spirit were two separate beings independent of one another. Why mention this? Well, because it affected the way Augustine understood and taught Jesus' teachings.

Augustine wrote: "It could be supposed that God did not authorize warfare because of what the Lord Jesus Christ taught, saying: "I say unto you that you resist not evil. But if anyone strikes you upon the right cheek turn to him the left also". However, the answer here is that what is required is not a bodily action, but an inward disposition".... "The Lord requires patience when He says: "if anyone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also." This may be in the inward disposition, although it is not exhibited in bodily action or in words". (From Augustine ch.75 The Ante-Nicene Fathers)

It was as if Augustine was saying "its perfectly acceptable to kill your enemy, as long as you love him while you are doing it". But how can you love someone and hold a gun to their head? How can you separate your bodily actions from your "inward disposition"?

What Augustine taught was definitely a sharp veering off of the narrow road and a turn going in a completely different direction from what the Church had believed and practiced historically. How do we know this? Because we can read what the early church Christians believed, and how they practiced Jesus' teachings. One of the first Christian writings that historians are aware of is an apology written by a Christian named Justin, it is dated at around 150.

Justin wrote to the Roman government who persecuted the Christians: "We used to hate and destroy one another, and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ we live together with such people, and pray for our enemies." (Justin's first apology Chapter 11)

Another early church writer named Cyprian wrote: "We are scattered all over the world with the bloody horror of camps (military outposts). The whole world is wet with mutual blood. And murder - which is admitted to be a crime in the case of an individual - is called virtue when it is committed wholesale. Impunity is claimed for the (military's) wicked deeds, not because they are guiltless - but because the cruelty is perpetuated on a grand scale!" - Cyprian (c.250) vol. 5 pp. 277 of the Ante-Nicene Fathers

An early church Christian who lived in the early 300's named Lactantius wrote: "If we all derive our origin from one man, whom God created, we are plainly all of one family. Therefore it must be considered an abomination to hate another human, no matter how guilty he may be. For this reason God has decreed that we should hate no one, but that we should eliminate hatred. So we can comfort our enemies by reminding them of our mutual relationship. For if we have all been given life by the same God then what else are we but brothers? ... Because we are all brothers God teaches us never to do evil to one another but only good - giving aid to those who are oppressed, and experiencing hardship, and giving food to the hungry." - Lactantius (Divine Institutes bk. 6 ch 10.)

Nearly all of the Early church writers who taught non-resistance backed up their beliefs with martyrdom, proving that they were willing to die before they would take another persons life. However for Augustine the story was completely different. Augustine framed what is commonly referred to as the "Just War Doctrine" - a teaching that attempts to justify war if certain criteria are met. Augustine's Just War Doctrine went smack against what Jesus said in Mathew 5: "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 resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek turn to him the other also".

Unlike the bold Christians that went before him, Augustine never gave his life for the faith, and his theology doesn't seem to suggest he was willing to either. Perhaps he was unwilling because he saw that Christ's teachings were going to require more than he was willing to give. Perhaps like many others, Augustine didn't want to follow Jesus' teachings and turn the other cheek, so he simply created a theology that got him out of it. Consequently it gave others a cop-out as well.

With Augustine's Just War doctrine, the Early Church had a new road map that would eventually lead it toward events such as the British Crusades, the European Inquisitions, and many other atrocities led by the Spanish Catholic Conquistadors. These events would consequently cause the world to question why the christianity that speaks so much about love and forgiveness won't do the same...

Is all of this history enough to convince you that a Christian ought to love his enemies? Perhaps not, but what are you going to do with what Jesus said: "Love your enemies." And what will you do standing before the Lord when He asks "I loved you when you were my enemy, why didn't you do the same for yours?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

martin luther said what!?!?

Martin Luther: Sin Boldly  please read gal. 5:19 how can mr.luther go against the bible and still be esteemed a man of God ?... little children be not deceived.1 corinthians 6:9.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What if yeshua really meant what he said ?

Of coarse he did, I hope this was your first response. yeshua/jesus said in( matthew 5:10 ) blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
       it's a blessing that he started out the sermon on the mount with this first, because this is exactly what will happen those who truly follow him in word and indeed....

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery........please leave a comment if you want.

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evi

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away....

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect........ Did he really mean for us to be perfect ?!?! Father please help us to believe that we can walk on water if you ask us to.

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
        Are you convicted yet !?!?

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

       What a great question yeshua...please help us father to trust and obey.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it....matt 7:24-27 Therefore if you have ears to hear you will then move with fear and do ,may GOD give you strength.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Road ministry

3 brothers road there bikes to a larger city south of us to spend the day witnessing.