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#31 nsr

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 05:04 PM

That is right, we don't know if they continued or did not continue.

So we agree that we don't know. Therefore these cannot be used as examples of people who were baptised and continued to serve in the military, in the way you were suggesting.

I don't. I'm not willing to assume they quit just because I want them to.

But to use them as examples in the way you suggest, requires them to have remained.


Let me ask you a direct question: do you think it is acceptable for a baptised believer to join the military and fight in a war that has not been authorised by Christ? Do you think it is acceptable for a baptised believer to kill another human being by the authority of men?

All wars are authorized by Christ, or do you believe that he's not running the show?

That doesn't really answer the question. I'm talking about our involvement in those wars - do you believe it's acceptable for us to join the military and fight and kill other people without specific permission from Christ?
Let's look at some specific examples:
- for a British brother to join the army and fight against the Germans in WWII - acceptable or not?
- for a German brother to join the army and fight for the Germans in WWII - acceptable or not?
- for a British brother to join the army today and fight in Afghanistan - acceptable or not?
- for an Afghan brother (if there are any) to join the Taliban and fight against the British troops in Afghanistan - acceptable or not?

Regarding the last question, the schoolmaster gave us the very very narrow criteria for it to be acceptable.

What would you say those criteria were?

I'm saying that I would have to reject the idea that the principle didn't exist before Christs's words, but suddenly sprang into being beginning with his utterance and have unqualified application even when he qualified them.

I have to admit I don't understand what you mean here. From what you have said so far, I understand your position is that Jesus' instruction not to fight only applied to the disciples in that specific circumstance, and does not apply to us now. Can you please confirm whether I understand you correctly?
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#32 Stephen

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 05:53 PM

If you're trying to say that because a majority of English translations read a verse some particular way, the weight of the evidence is against the minority position, and should be accepted, then that's not a principle you can stick to. If we did, we'd find that (for example) the thief on the cross was definitely promised that he'd be in paradise with Christ that very day.


As a convert who had to deal with the thief on the cross passage I would take the same approach with this passage that I used with the thief on the cross: If there is legitimate disagreement, don't draw doctrine from it. Since you led with the passage, the same way a heaven go-er would lead with the example of the thief, you must understand that the weaknesses of the thief on the cross argument are very similar to yours.

Having never seen your interpretation before and having dug further, there isn't even disagreement. The word "violence" used here (Strong's 1286) is used only one time in the NT, and the definitions are along the lines of frightening and intimidation consistent with the majority interpretation and inconsistent with and unqualified command to do no violence (especially in the manner in which a soldier would do violence). Even the word it is constructed from (4579) has nothing to do with violence in the manner in which a soldier would do violence.

Any conclusion drawn from your thinking that Peter was acting under the best justification possible must be rejected as deeply flawed. He was knowingly acting against Jesus and God after having been repeatedly forewarned even as recently as supper that very night.


You're missing my point - it's a relative argument. I don't think that Peter was in truth acting with good justification. My point is that there could not be any better apparent justification for an act of violence on the part of a mortal and imperfect disciple, since the one on whose behalf it was attempted was not worthy of death, and his enemies were truly wicked and deserving of death themselves. Yet even that supposed justification was wrong. So we can have no possible grounds for taking any violent action ourselves, for any lesser cause.


I got your point. You think Peter was defending Jesus because he thought Jesus was innocent. My response is his motives don't matter. He was repeatedly warned as recently as that evening and directly told it was adversarial to God.

Since you've made his motives a part of your argument, do you have a scripture reference proving Peter's motives (you haven't provided one)? If you don't have a scripture reference providing Peter's motives then you are assuming his motives and making them important to your argument. This is flawed at best.

Noting that Cornelius was also a citizen in waiting (or the Phillipian jailer) the apostles remained silent rather than advise him as you would. The Jerusalem conference was also silent.

On the contrary, the Jerusalem conference was perfectly explicit on it! One of the four things Gentile believers are told to abstain from is blood. That instruction is clearly not about avoiding eating non-kosher meat (since all food is now clean to disciples). It's about not taking another man's life. If you don't believe me, consider the usage of the word "blood" in the New Testament, and you will find it's not a dietary issue, at all, it's much more fundamental, being about life and death.


By your logic strangled animals would be clean too (another one of the four commands). Of course there is another painfully obvious explanation for why consumption of strangled animals is prohibited: things strangled haven't been drained of blood and the prohibition is against consuming blood. This interpretation is consistent with every exposition I have ever heard on the topic CD and mainstream alike.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 30 August 2011 - 01:49 PM.
Putting it back to how it was, after I accidently hit "edit", not "reply" , to insert my response. Sorry!

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#33 Stephen

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:05 PM


That is right, we don't know if they continued or did not continue.

So we agree that we don't know. Therefore these cannot be used as examples of people who were baptised and continued to serve in the military, in the way you were suggesting.


Did Lydia stop selling purple because she became a Christian? The scripture is silent but I've never heard any suggestion that she stopped. Did you believe the stopped or continued before I posed the question? Why would you treat the silence on Lydia different than the silence on Cornelius?

The assumption that somebody stopped is the one that would have to be proved. This is especially true since we as a body wish to place burdens on individual brothers and sisters by encouraging them to believe that they stopped. Note that If the brother or sister wishes to carry the burden for his ifaith, I greatly applaud them.

That doesn't really answer the question. I'm talking about our involvement in those wars - do you believe it's acceptable for us to join the military and fight and kill other people without specific permission from Christ?
Let's look at some specific examples:
...


For an individual soldier, I wouldn't need to judge him (or her) any more than I would need to judge Cornelius.

Regarding the last question, the schoolmaster gave us the very very narrow criteria for it to be acceptable.

What would you say those criteria were?


See the schoolmaster on where it refuses to stand in judgement on these matters.

I'm saying that I would have to reject the idea that the principle didn't exist before Christs's words, but suddenly sprang into being beginning with his utterance and have unqualified application even when he qualified them.

I have to admit I don't understand what you mean here. From what you have said so far, I understand your position is that Jesus' instruction not to fight only applied to the disciples in that specific circumstance, and does not apply to us now. Can you please confirm whether I understand you correctly?


Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Jesus had already been arrested and tried by the Jewish leaders when he uttered that explanation to Pilate and was about to be handed over for crucifixion. This wasn't a command or even an instruction uttered to a believer. It was a response to a series of questions by Pilate, none of which had anything to do with military service and everything to do with Christ's kingdom. The logical application is: that his kingdom is not from this world (suprise) and that earthy fighting for his kingdom is not fighting for his kingdom.

The logical application is not to cut one sentence of the conversation in half and create our version of the law out of something that isn't even a command.
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#34 nsr

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:50 PM

Did Lydia stop selling purple because she became a Christian? The scripture is silent but I've never heard any suggestion that she stopped. Did you believe the stopped or continued before I posed the question? Why would you treat the silence on Lydia different than the silence on Cornelius?

The assumption that somebody stopped is the one that would have to be proved. This is especially true since we as a body wish to place burdens on individual brothers and sisters by encouraging them to believe that they stopped. Note that If the brother or sister wishes to carry the burden for his ifaith, I greatly applaud them.

Hold on Stephen. You were claiming the likes of Cornelius as examples of people who were baptised believers still serving in the military. We've now agreed that we do not know whether or not this was the case, so we do not have any examples of people who were baptised believers still serving in the military. I agree, this isn't evidence that they didn't, but I think it's reasonable in this case to place the burden of proof on those who want to say they did, since the principles of Scripture are clearly against taking violent acts and getting involved in the world's affairs.

For an individual soldier, I wouldn't need to judge him (or her) any more than I would need to judge Cornelius.

Are you going to address those specific examples? I'd be very interested to know what you think. As for Cornelius, we've already agreed there is no way of knowing what he did after he was baptised, so he's not a valid comparison.

See the schoolmaster on where it refuses to stand in judgement on these matters.

Chapter and verse? I'm genuinely not sure what you're referring to.

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Jesus had already been arrested and tried by the Jewish leaders when he uttered that explanation to Pilate and was about to be handed over for crucifixion. This wasn't a command or even an instruction uttered to a believer. It was a response to a series of questions by Pilate, none of which had anything to do with military service and everything to do with Christ's kingdom. The logical application is: that his kingdom is not from this world (suprise) and that earthy fighting for his kingdom is not fighting for his kingdom.

The logical application is not to cut one sentence of the conversation in half and create our version of the law out of something that isn't even a command.

Hmm. If I may say so, you're doing a great job of telling me what you don't think this all means, but have so far avoided telling me what you do think this all means. I genuinely can't tell if you believe that serving in the military and fighting/killing people as a soldier is OK for a brother or sister, or not. I'm going to ask you again, as a direct question: do you believe that serving in the military and fighting/killing people as a soldier is OK for a brother or sister, or not? I would like a yes/no answer to that question, please, or at the very least a "in the following circumstances" answer.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#35 Mark Taunton

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:01 PM


If you're trying to say that because a majority of English translations read a verse some particular way, the weight of the evidence is against the minority position, and should be accepted, then that's not a principle you can stick to. If we did, we'd find that (for example) the thief on the cross was definitely promised that he'd be in paradise with Christ that very day.


As a convert who had to deal with the thief on the cross passage I would take the same approach with this passage that I used with the thief on the cross: If there is legitimate disagreement, don't draw doctrine from it. Since you led with the passage, the same way a heaven go-er would lead with the example of the thief, you must understand that the weaknesses of the thief on the cross argument are very similar to yours.

The reason Christadelphians argue what we do, that Jesus' promise to the thief does not mean what practically every English translation gives for it, does not relate to any supposed weakness of the case. The fundamental point is that the common interpretation is quite inconsistent with the teaching of the rest of scripture about the resurrection, the state of the dead, and other related topics. The conclusion arising here is not that, for some disputed passage, we simply give up and say "let's agree to disagree" or "we can't put any particular weight on this, since there's a question over the meaning". The point is that we cannot simply rely on English translations for our position. Where there is doubt or disagreement, we do need to go check the original language detail and work out what it really means and does not mean. Jesus was definitely telling the thief something important, and scripture records it for our benefit, so it must be possible to work out what it was.

Of course, when we look into the detail here, and compare it with the rest of scripture, we find confirmation of the principles we already understand. In summary:
  • the Greek here can perfectly validly be read as we read it, "I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise"
  • such a reading of the first part has direct scriptural support, being in-line with usage in other contexts of people using "I say" and "today" in combination, in a context of making a solemn promise or commitment: the "today" is found to be the day of the utterance of the words, not the day of their fulfilment
  • this reading is fully consistent with scriptural teaching elsewhere about what happens (and does not happen) at death.
That last point, consistency with the general tenor of scripture, is always important, and no less so for the main issue in question in this thread.

Having never seen your interpretation before and having dug further, there isn't even disagreement. The word "violence" used here (Strong's 1286) is used only one time in the NT, and the definitions are along the lines of frightening and intimidation consistent with the majority interpretation and inconsistent with and unqualified command to do no violence (especially in the manner in which a soldier would do violence). Even the word it is constructed from (4579) has nothing to do with violence in the manner in which a soldier would do violence.

I don't see that. The word 'seio' (4579) has the sense of shaking; for example, "a fig tree shaken with a mighty wind" (Rev 6:13). A soldier might well shake someone in order to subdue them or hurt them. The word in question 'diaseio' (1286) is 'seio' with the prefix 'dia', which when applied to other verbs strengthens the force of it, making it more complete or thorough. So John is forbidding the soldiers, who asked him what they should do, from taking physically violent action against anyone.

Any conclusion drawn from your thinking that Peter was acting under the best justification possible must be rejected as deeply flawed. He was knowingly acting against Jesus and God after having been repeatedly forewarned even as recently as supper that very night.


You're missing my point - it's a relative argument. I don't think that Peter was in truth acting with good justification. My point is that there could not be any better apparent justification for an act of violence on the part of a mortal and imperfect disciple, since the one on whose behalf it was attempted was not worthy of death, and his enemies were truly wicked and deserving of death themselves. Yet even that supposed justification was wrong. So we can have no possible grounds for taking any violent action ourselves, for any lesser cause.


I got your point. You think Peter was defending Jesus because he thought Jesus was innocent. My response is his motives don't matter. He was repeatedly warned as recently as that evening and directly told it was adversarial to God.

Since you've made his motives a part of your argument, do you have a scripture reference proving Peter's motives (you haven't provided one)? If you don't have a scripture reference providing Peter's motives then you are assuming his motives and making them important to your argument. This is flawed at best.

I'm sorry, but you keep on missing the point. Jesus refused Peter the right to attack another man, even in apparently justifiable circumstances (to defend the only man ever who was truly undeserving of harm), because it is God's will that sometimes even the righteous suffer, in order to bring greater good. What better circumstance can you put forward, with scriptural evidence, to support a disciple of Christ in this present age, one who is commanded to follow Jesus as his example, being truly justified in attacking another man?

This is especially important in the light of Jesus' own teaching, both from his own mouth and through that of his apostles:

  • Jesus: 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. (Matt 5:43-45)
  • Paul: Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 5:17-21)
  • Paul: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (1 Thes 5:14-15)
  • Peter: Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Pet 3:8-9)

Noting that Cornelius was also a citizen in waiting (or the Phillipian jailer) the apostles remained silent rather than advise him as you would. The Jerusalem conference was also silent.

On the contrary, the Jerusalem conference was perfectly explicit on it! One of the four things Gentile believers are told to abstain from is blood. That instruction is clearly not about avoiding eating non-kosher meat (since all food is now clean to disciples). It's about not taking another man's life. If you don't believe me, consider the usage of the word "blood" in the New Testament, and you will find it's not a dietary issue, at all, it's much more fundamental, being about life and death.


By your logic strangled animals would be clean too (another one of the four commands). Of course there is another painfully obvious explanation for why consumption of strangled animals is prohibited: things strangled haven't been drained of blood and the prohibition is against consuming blood.

Firstly: you've not provided evidence against the basic point I made.

Secondly, if (as you read it) the reason gentiles are told to abstain from strangled things is because they still contain blood, then that prohibition is completely redundant, since commanding to abstain from consuming blood would already cover not consuming strangled animals, according to your interpretation of these words. Something is not right here!

Lastly, I ask you again to consider: what is the meaning of "blood" in "abstain from blood"? You read it only as a physical substance not to be ingested. But that's not the general significance of it in scripture. The point of physical blood is it represents (natural/physical) life, since "the soul of the flesh is in the blood". Abstaining from blood, as is understandable from biblical usage, is about abstaining from taking a man's life.

This interpretation is consistent with every exposition I have ever heard on the topic CD and mainstream alike.

You may not have heard it from a Christadelphian before, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. I'd never previously heard a Christadelphian seek to justify joining the military, until you did. Or do you now accept that you're wrong, just because of that? :)

Please go and look at this point. In particular, check out the general usage and sense of the word "blood", and tell me the proportion of scriptural uses (particularly in the NT) in which its reference is strictly limited to the physical substance, as to whether or not it can be physically consumed. You may be surprised by what you find.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 30 August 2011 - 02:48 PM.


#36 Stephen

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 04:38 PM


Did Lydia stop selling purple because she became a Christian? The scripture is silent but I've never heard any suggestion that she stopped. Did you believe the stopped or continued before I posed the question? Why would you treat the silence on Lydia different than the silence on Cornelius?

The assumption that somebody stopped is the one that would have to be proved. This is especially true since we as a body wish to place burdens on individual brothers and sisters by encouraging them to believe that they stopped. Note that If the brother or sister wishes to carry the burden for his ifaith, I greatly applaud them.

Hold on Stephen. You were claiming the likes of Cornelius as examples of people who were baptised believers still serving in the military. We've now agreed that we do not know whether or not this was the case, so we do not have any examples of people who were baptised believers still serving in the military. I agree, this isn't evidence that they didn't, but I think it's reasonable in this case to place the burden of proof on those who want to say they did, since the principles of Scripture are clearly against taking violent acts and getting involved in the world's affairs.



The bible is pretty clear when people left their previous profession: see Paul, Elisha, Gideon, Mathew, James and John (Zebbede).

However, the standard of evidence that you have selected (for certain professions that you disagree with) must state that they remained in order for you to believe that they remained, but for others it is acceptable to remain silent.

I would find it very difficult to stand in judgement of a brother using that standard.


Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Jesus had already been arrested and tried by the Jewish leaders when he uttered that explanation to Pilate and was about to be handed over for crucifixion. This wasn't a command or even an instruction uttered to a believer. It was a response to a series of questions by Pilate, none of which had anything to do with military service and everything to do with Christ's kingdom. The logical application is: that his kingdom is not from this world (suprise) and that earthy fighting for his kingdom is not fighting for his kingdom.

The logical application is not to cut one sentence of the conversation in half and create our version of the law out of something that isn't even a command.

Hmm. If I may say so, you're doing a great job of telling me what you don't think this all means, but have so far avoided telling me what you do think this all means. I genuinely can't tell if you believe that serving in the military and fighting/killing people as a soldier is OK for a brother or sister, or not. I'm going to ask you again, as a direct question: do you believe that serving in the military and fighting/killing people as a soldier is OK for a brother or sister, or not? I would like a yes/no answer to that question, please, or at the very least a "in the following circumstances" answer.


It would be up to you to prove what it means that is consistent with the context and its relavence to the discussion, and the whole thought expressed by Christ. But you entered the discussion with half the sentence and now want me to explain to you what it means.
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#37 nsr

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:19 PM

The bible is pretty clear when people left their previous profession: see Paul, Elisha, Gideon, Mathew, James and John (Zebbede).

However, the standard of evidence that you have selected (for certain professions that you disagree with) must state that they remained in order for you to believe that they remained, but for others it is acceptable to remain silent.

I would find it very difficult to stand in judgement of a brother using that standard.

As I said, in the case of careers in the military it's perfectly reasonable to put the burden of proof on those who believe Cornelius etc remained in that career. You were the one who was earlier raising them as examples of people who did. I've shown you that there's no evidence to say whether they did or not. You brought them up, so the burden of proof remains with you.

It would be up to you to prove what it means that is consistent with the context and its relavence to the discussion, and the whole thought expressed by Christ. But you entered the discussion with half the sentence and now want me to explain to you what it means.


I didn't ask you to explain what that verse means. I asked you to answer a direct question with a yes or no. It's not a trick question, I just want to know what you think.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#38 Stephen

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 10:24 PM



If you're trying to say that because a majority of English translations read a verse some particular way, the weight of the evidence is against the minority position, and should be accepted, then that's not a principle you can stick to. If we did, we'd find that (for example) the thief on the cross was definitely promised that he'd be in paradise with Christ that very day.


As a convert who had to deal with the thief on the cross passage I would take the same approach with this passage that I used with the thief on the cross: If there is legitimate disagreement, don't draw doctrine from it. Since you led with the passage, the same way a heaven go-er would lead with the example of the thief, you must understand that the weaknesses of the thief on the cross argument are very similar to yours.

The reason Christadelphians argue what we do, that Jesus'
.
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So, to sum up your 320 words, (and to quote myself) "If there is legitimate disagreement, don't draw doctrine from it." I didn't add, go somewhere else for doctrine and then use it to to interpret the passage, but I more or less thought that was blindingly obvious.


Having never seen your interpretation before and having dug further, there isn't even disagreement. The word "violence" used here (Strong's 1286) is used only one time in the NT, and the definitions are along the lines of frightening and intimidation consistent with the majority interpretation and inconsistent with and unqualified command to do no violence (especially in the manner in which a soldier would do violence). Even the word it is constructed from (4579) has nothing to do with violence in the manner in which a soldier would do violence.

I don't see that. The word 'seio' (4579) has the sense of shaking; for example, "a fig tree shaken with a mighty wind" (Rev 6:13). A soldier might well shake someone in order to subdue them or hurt them. The word in question 'diaseio' (1286) is 'seio' with the prefix 'dia', which when applied to other verbs strengthens the force of it, making it more complete or thorough. So John is forbidding the soldiers, who asked him what they should do, from taking physically violent action against anyone.


To restate your position as I see it: Roman soldiers, who were armed with two spears, a short sword, a shield, and various bits of armor were in the business of shaking people. This is strong enough in your mind to justify a very very very minority interpretation of Luke 3:14 to the exclusion of all other interpretations, and strong enough to be your lead passage in standing in judgement of a brother who may wish to join the military. You hold this belief regardless of the consistency of the majority translation with the the other statements made to the soldiers and also to the tax collectors.

I find this passage insufficient cause to stand in judgement of a brother who may wish to join the military. I find it undeniable evidence that you should be satisfied with your wages and shouldn't use your position of power to unjustly acquire more whether it be tax collector or soldier. (or engineer expecting perks from bidders on a project, or employee padding his overtime, or lawyer padding his billable hours)

Any conclusion drawn from your thinking that Peter was acting under the best justification possible must be rejected as deeply flawed. He was knowingly acting against Jesus and God after having been repeatedly forewarned even as recently as supper that very night.

You're missing my point - it's a relative argument. I don't think that Peter was in truth acting with good justification. My point is that there could not be any better apparent justification for an act of violence on the part of a mortal and imperfect disciple, since the one on whose behalf it was attempted was not worthy of death, and his enemies were truly wicked and deserving of death themselves. Yet even that supposed justification was wrong. So we can have no possible grounds for taking any violent action ourselves, for any lesser cause.

I got your point. You think Peter was defending Jesus because he thought Jesus was innocent. My response is his motives don't matter. He was repeatedly warned as recently as that evening and directly told it was adversarial to God.

Since you've made his motives a part of your argument, do you have a scripture reference proving Peter's motives (you haven't provided one)? If you don't have a scripture reference providing Peter's motives then you are assuming his motives and making them important to your argument. This is flawed at best.

I'm sorry, but you keep on missing the point. Jesus refused Peter the right to attack another man, even in apparently justifiable circumstances (to defend the only man ever who was truly undeserving of harm), because it is God's will that sometimes even the righteous suffer, in order to bring greater good. What better circumstance can you put forward, with scriptural evidence, to support a disciple of Christ in this present age, one who is commanded to follow Jesus as his example, being truly justified in attacking another man?


Since Peter was knowingly opposing multiple and specific commands of Christ, and more specifically trying to stop the atonment, doing just about anything would be a better circumstance to attacking another human being. So I'll pull out Acts 22:26, even the Roman Centurion who was about to illegally lash Paul had better justification for his actions than Peter (Just for clarity, I believe the centurion is horribly unjustified, but he is still more justified than Peter).

You still didn't provide a passage stating Peter's motives, you seem to have just made them up and expect me to believe you.

This is especially important in the light of Jesus' own teaching, both from his own mouth and through that of his apostles:

  • Jesus: 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. (Matt 5:43-45)
  • Paul: Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 5:17-21)
  • Paul: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (1 Thes 5:14-15)
  • Peter: Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Pet 3:8-9)


Love your neighbor, a quotation from Lev 19:18. Curiously, it was never applied in the manner you wish.

Vengeance is mine, I will repay, a quotation from Deut 32:35. Curiously, it was never applied in the amnner you wish.

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head", a quotation from Prov 25:21-22 written by a man who is described as surrounding himself with men skilled in all manner of war (Song 3:8). This passage wasn't even applied by the author in a manner that you would apply it.


Noting that Cornelius was also a citizen in waiting (or the Phillipian jailer) the apostles remained silent rather than advise him as you would. The Jerusalem conference was also silent.

On the contrary, the Jerusalem conference was perfectly explicit on it! One of the four things Gentile believers are told to abstain from is blood. That instruction is clearly not about avoiding eating non-kosher meat (since all food is now clean to disciples). It's about not taking another man's life. If you don't believe me, consider the usage of the word "blood" in the New Testament, and you will find it's not a dietary issue, at all, it's much more fundamental, being about life and death.

By your logic strangled animals would be clean too (another one of the four commands). Of course there is another painfully obvious explanation for why consumption of strangled animals is prohibited: things strangled haven't been drained of blood and the prohibition is against consuming blood.

Firstly: you've not provided evidence against the basic point I made.


You didn't provide any evidence for it other than to tell me to do a statistial study of the world "blood" in the NT. Since you asked, here is the results of the analysis: Your reasoning is ridiculous (which is why I omitted my conclusions from the last post). Determining what blood means by a statistical survey of the word "blood" in the NT (as you suggest) is confounded by the special cause event of Jesus Christ dying on the cross.

Secondly, if (as you read it) the reason gentiles are told to abstain from strangled things is because they still contain blood, then that prohibition is completely redundant, since commanding to abstain from consuming blood would already cover not consuming strangled animals, according to your interpretation of these words. Something is not right here!


You are right, something wasn't right and the apostles were trying to address it and it had nothing to do with brethren joining the military. It was gentile brethren continuing practices associated with idol worship after becoming Christians which would be very offensive to the Jewish brethren. In context, the apostles were trying to keep the peace between the Judaizers and the Gentiles. Furthermore, we see that the apostles were not forceful enough and the problem had to be readdressed on the Gentile side(1 Cor 8, 1 Cor 10:14-22) and multiple times on the Judaizer side.

Blood as you interepret it was never again mentioned.




This is your argument:
-An extreme minority interpretation of John's interaction with the Soldiers to the exclusion of all others. You are so devout to this interpretation that you led with it and puzzled that anybody would disagree.
-Quotations of various new testament passages that are citations of old testament passages that were never applied as you wish to apply them.
-An extreme minority interpretation of the Jerusalem Council.
-Believing that Peter's actions had the best available justification based on an assumed motive that is contrary to the multiple warnings Peter recieved.


For this you wish to judge brethren who may wish to join the military.
The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.

#39 Mark Taunton

Mark Taunton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 07:22 AM

This is your argument:
-An extreme minority interpretation of John's interaction with the Soldiers to the exclusion of all others. You are so devout to this interpretation that you led with it and puzzled that anybody would disagree.
-Quotations of various new testament passages that are citations of old testament passages that were never applied as you wish to apply them.
-An extreme minority interpretation of the Jerusalem Council.
-Believing that Peter's actions had the best available justification based on an assumed motive that is contrary to the multiple warnings Peter recieved.

No, Stephen, that is not my argument. In what you say, you present a straw man version of my argument, which bears little meaningful relation to what I have actually said. In particular, with respect to the second point in this summary, you are quite wrong:


This is especially important in the light of Jesus' own teaching, both from his own mouth and through that of his apostles:

  • Jesus: 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. (Matt 5:43-45)
  • Paul: Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 5:17-21)
  • Paul: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (1 Thes 5:14-15)
  • Peter: Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Pet 3:8-9)

Love your neighbor, a quotation from Lev 19:18. Curiously, it was never applied in the manner you wish.

You miss the point entirely. Jesus' commandment is going beyond the requirements of the law of Moses. He doesn't just stop there. He adds more words, the ones I emphasised, but which you have ignored. This extended commandment completely precludes acting in the way a soldier may be required to act. If your enemy fires at you, and you fire back, how is that loving him? Patently it is not. You want to kill him (or at least, you may be ordered to try to kill him, and must obey). That is totally contrary to Jesus' commandment.

Vengeance is mine, I will repay, a quotation from Deut 32:35. Curiously, it was never applied in the amnner you wish.

You picked up one point in this passage, but ignored the rest. You have said nothing to deal with the import of the words I emphasised. .

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head", a quotation from Prov 25:21-22 written by a man who is described as surrounding himself with men skilled in all manner of war (Song 3:8). This passage wasn't even applied by the author in a manner that you would apply it.

That analysis is not relevant to the point. You have not dealt with the words that follow this quotation, the words I emphasised for special attention. Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Being a soldier, and being required to return evil for evil (shooting back when shot at), is not compatible with this commandment of the Lord through his apostles.

Please, Stephen, take the time to properly read and understand my argument, and the scriptural teaching I have used to support it, such as above. When you have done that, and actually dealt with the specifics as I have pointed them out (e.g. the parts of those quotations which I emphasised by bold text), then we could continue this discussion.




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