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War in the modern world includes terrorism and the threat of nuclear war. Explain how the Bible, the church and the teachings of Jesus may guide Christians in these matters.Christians may be guided by these things in different ways. What I mean is, all Christians have slightly different forms of authority. For example, an evangelical Christian will take the authority of the Bible a lot more than the tradition of the church. To expand on this point I have listed the mainstream denominations sources of authority.So these different sources of authority give a Christian slightly different viewpoints on war. So depending on what denomination you are a member of, you will be guided differently.The BibleThe Bible does seem very clear in its teachings about war. All through the Bible it talks about not fighting and being at peace with your neighbour.In Romans 12:17-21 the teaching is simple. The first verse, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody “This is very clear. The next verse “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” “Live at peace” it is all very anti-war. The emphasis is always on peace. It also says that we should not take revenge, but leave it to God, “It is mine to avenge; I will re-pay”In Micah 4:1-4, it talks about the coming of peace on the Earth, “In the last days the mountain of the lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream into it”. I says that warriors “Will beat their swords into ploughs” meaning that the soldiers of Earth will become as peaceful as the farmers. “Nation will not take up sword against nation.” Obviously saying that nations should be and will be at peace with one another. “no-one will make them afraid” (speaking about every man on Earth). This is very significant. It says that when God brings peace, there will be nothing for men to scare people with. This is important because it is saying that all means of war will be taken away, therefore saying that they are bad.The teachings of JesusThe teachings of Jesus are very similar, in the fact that they teach no to use violence. However, Jesus himself did use violence, in the temple. This does not mean that Christians should not take his teachings seriously, but that because he was God, he was justified in using necessary force.In Matthew 26:52, Jesus states,”Put your sword back in its place, for those who live by the sword, die bye the sword”This teaching is one of Jesus’ simplest teaching. It is obvious what he is saying. But he is not necessarily talking about dying physically, but more of dying spiritually. If you take arms up against an enemy, he is saying that you are turning away from God(not doing his will) and polluting your sprit.In Matthew 5:9, in the famous Beatitudes, Jesus gives the teaching”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”Again Jesus is teaching that if you keep peace, and do not fight, you will be rewarded in heaven.Jesus also teaches in Matthew5:44. “And I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. This also ties into his famous parable “The good Samaritan”. One of Jesus most profound teachings, and definitely one to look at when talking about Jesus’ teaching toward war, is in Mark 12:29-31, “The greatest Commandment” Here he clearly states that it is a great commandment, which should be obeyed, to love you neighbour. By “neighbour” he meant everybody in the world. There is no other teaching by Jesus which is clearer than this.The churchBecause there are so many different churches, each with its own teaching on war and peace, I am going to concentrate on three.The Church of EnglandThe C of E is involved in two on gong debates. The first one is about the “just war” theory. St Thomas Aquinas developed this theory in the 13 century. In it he laid down 3 conditions for which it is right to engage in a war. In the 16 Century, a forth principle was added. These principles are:1 – It must be on the authority of the sovereign-King or Queen, or the government2 – The cause must be just3 – The participant should have the right intentions.4 – It should be waged by proper means.The second debate the C of E has been involved in is that of consistent Pacifism. The church itself is not consistently pacifist so it usually takes the stand of the “just War” and the use of force only as a last resort.The Methodist ChurchThe Methodist church teaches that war is country to the sprit, teaching and purpose of Jesus Christ. These are some extracts from a public statement made by the Methodist church:”The Christian pacifist does not necessarily condemn the use of every kind of force, but refuses to employ force unaccountably or to destroy others, for example in either personal or state violence. The Christian non-pacifist does not justify every war, but reluctantly recognises that violence (force) may be used when authorised to defend against aggression, to rectify a breach or boundary, or to restrain or replace a ‘notorious and tyrannical’ despot. The church upholds the right of individual members conscientiously to choose between these positions, and offers pastoral support to those on both sides of the debate.”The Salvation ArmyConscientious objectorsThe salvation army respects the right of individuals to arrive at their own decisions on the question of bearing arms in military service, based on personal Christian conviction, without seeking to influence any individual in either direction. The army offers a full spiritual ministry to those arriving at either decision, with all-possible help and guidance.Based on scriptural teaching concerning respect for properly constituted civil authority, the Army consuls those who object to military service to accept the legal means provided for alternative service, where such exist.In no circumstances does the Army regard a sincere conscientious objector with any sense of stigma. It sees any such attitude as being a negation of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose power alone can enable people to learn to live together in peace.Taken from the Salvation Army United Kingdom Territory Positional Statement on Conscientious objection (PS4) issued 1 November 1992.R2) Explain the arguments put forward by Christian Pacifists and demonstrate how Christian non-pacifists might support their position.Christian pacifists would say that if you believe in God how is it possible for you to contribute to the destruction of mankind? When one becomes committed to God, through any religion, that person should become improved in a substantial manner. Otherwise, why change at all if there is no benefit. Also, when the individual changes for the good, such change should also affect their community as well.”Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…in order that you may be sons of you Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45The word “patience” (patientia), is a word that during the early years of the church meant “The stead fast endurance to resist evil without doing violence to the evil doer. The firm and enduring resistance to evil and violent pressures of injustice and prejudice.” Pacifists would say that this old meaning of the word patience has been forgotten and should be used as such rather than it being used as a liberal term with the definition “Waiting without complaint””Blessed are the peacemakers for they will inherit the kingdom of God” Matthew 5:3″But I say to you…love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you…in order that you may be the children of your father who is n heaven” Matthew 5:44-45Christian Pacifists would reject all wars on the grounds that war is the ultimate example of human depravity, and any attempt to justify it through the teachings of Jesus Christ is a perversion of scripture. When one accepts the offer of salvation through God, he begins the process of becoming a new creation. Old habits will die away and be replaced with a new view on life. Whereas we once used violence as a means to secure what was ours and what we believed we need for the future.The whole idea of “holiness” is to be different. The word “holy” comes from the word “hadios” which means “to be set apart for God”. Where there was hatred, there is now understanding, where there was a strife there is now peace. The teachings of the New Testament show that a Christian is different to unbelievers. They are a “light set up upon a hill” and an example worthy to emulate. But, if we continue to hate, strive against others, kill, and cause great suffering upon others, then wherein are we different? What is the “new life in Christ” if we retain the old ways? When the church uses the ways of the world it gets the results of the world.Christian Pacifists reject all institutionalised violence and war because it violates the clear teachings of Jesus. War, at best may only be considered a social responsibility and not a biblical mandate. As a social responsibility, it is so only for a degenerate society, one that a Christian cannot be apart of. The Christian cannot share in any action, corporate or individual, that is a known contradiction to the requirement to discipleship.Christian non-pacifists support their position by using the Just War Theory. They would also say that they would defend themselves or their family if attacked. They would also say that they would support Christian Pacifism ideas and promote pacifism. St Thomas Aquinas developed the Just War Theory in the 13 century. In it he laid down 3 conditions for which it is right to engage in a war. In the 16 Century, a forth principal was added. These principles are:1 – It must be on the authority of the sovereign-King or Queen, or the government2 – The cause must be just3 – The participant should have the right intentions.4 – It should be waged by proper means.The Christians that use this idea would not say that war is a good thing, but if it has to happen then at least people should follow the Just War Theory. This theory is popular among young Christians who want to serve for their country in the army, but are afraid to do so by the teachings of their church. These Christians would say that Jesus was not absolutely clear about war and violence and that the bibles meaning can be interpreted to say that war is justified when using something similar to the just war theory.R3) “It takes more courage to be a conscientious objector than to fight so Christians should always support the cause of peace than war.”Some Christians like the Iraenic Fellowship, (a Christian Pacifist organisation), would agree. They would say that we have to all be pacifists to set a good form o witness. They would say that if 50% of all Christians became Pacifists, then over 1 billion people would refuse to go to war, and this would force the governments to seek new ways of combating offensive countries and enemies.Christian pacifists would say that if you believe in God how is it possible for you to contribute to the destruction of mankind? When one becomes committed to God, through any religion, that person should become improved in a substantial manner. Otherwise, why change at all if there is no benefit. Also, when the individual changes for the good, such change should also affect their community as well.”Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…in order that you may be sons of you Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45The word “patience” (patientia), is a word that during the early years of the church meant “The stead fast endurance to resist evil without doing violence to the evil doer. The firm and enduring resistance to evil and violent pressures of injustice and prejudice.” Pacifists would say that this old meaning of the word patience has been forgotten and should be used as such rather than it being used as a liberal term with the definition “Waiting without complaint””Blessed are the peacemakers for they will inherit the kingdom of God” Matthew 5:3″But I say to you…love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you…in order that you may be the children of your father who is n heaven” Matthew 5:44-45Christian Pacifists would reject all wars on the grounds that war is the ultimate example of human depravity, and any attempt to justify it through the teachings of Jesus Christ is a perversion of scripture. When one accepts the offer of salvation through God, he begins the process of becoming a new creation. Old habits will die away and be replaced with a new view on life. Whereas we once used violence as a means to secure what was ours and what we believed we need for the future.The whole idea of “holiness” is to be different. The word “holy” comes from the word “hadios” which means “to be set apart for God”. Where there was hatred, there is now understanding, where there was a strife there is now peace. The teachings of the New Testament show that a Christian is different to unbelievers. They are a “light set up upon a hill” and an example worthy to emulate. But, if we continue to hate, strive against others, kill, and cause great suffering upon others, then wherein are we different? What is the “new life in Christ” if we retain the old ways? When the church uses the ways of the world it gets the results of the world.Christian Pacifists reject all institutionalised violence and war because it violates the clear teachings of Jesus. War, at best may only be considered a social responsibility and not a biblical mandate. As a social responsibility, it is so only for a degenerate society, one that a Christian cannot be apart of. The Christian cannot share in any action, corporate or individual, that is a known contradiction to the requirement to discipleship.Christian non-pacifists support their position by using the Just War Theory. They would also say that they would defend themselves or their family if attacked. They would also say that they would support Christian Pacifism ideas and promote pacifism. St Thomas Aquinas developed the Just War Theory in the 13 century. In it he laid down 3 conditions for which it is right to engage in a war. In the 16 Century, a forth principal was added. These principles are:1 – It must be on the authority of the sovereign-King or Queen, or the government2 – The cause must be just3 – The participant should have the right intentions.4 – It should be waged by proper means.The Christians that use this idea would not say that war is a good thing, but if it has to happen then at least people should follow the Just War Theory. This theory is popular among young Christians who want to serve for their country in the army, but are afraid to do so by the teachings of their church. These Christians would say that Jesus was not absolutely clear about war and violence and that the bibles meaning can be interpreted to say that war is justified when using something similar to the just war theory.Most Christians would say that it is good to be a pacifist because it means that you are showing a good example to other non-Christians, and it will show them what it means to be a Christian in the modern world.

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