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Christian Pacifism: Is it a Biblical Concept?

By Mike Schroeder
Christian pacifism is the belief that Christians, or “followers of Christ,” are never to employ any kind of violent force of any kind–offensively or defensively–against others, even in instances where others are clearly intent on harming you, your family, or a third party.

Is this a Biblical concept to be followed by members of the body of Christ?

Apparently, a lot of folks who refer to themselves as “Christians” think so. They either believe that Jesus’ admonition to Peter to sheath his sword1 is also instructions to them to do so, or they believe that Jesus has provided a guardian angel to protect them in every circumstance, therefore it would be superfluous for them to provide it themselves, or– the Romans 13 answer–God has provided government for this purpose (i.e., “the police”), and therefore we ought not to usurp its authority by providing protection for ourselves and our families, or, all of the above.
My answer to this is:

1. The admonition to Peter in Matthew 26 is not an instruction to anyone in the body of Christ, anymore than is the command to the apparently rich young man in Matthew 19 to “sell that thou hast,” and distribute the proceeds to the poor.

2. Jesus Christ provided the world with the perfect sacrifice for sin,2 and for those who accept God’s offer of salvation by grace,3 the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.4  That’s it. He has not provided you a guardian angel to protect you from the potential pitfalls and troubles that characterize living in this present world, including your untimely death5. Moreover, whatever you, as a Christian, desire to have in this world, will be determined by the effort, sensibility and care that you put into acquiring it.

In the present dispensation of grace,6 member’s of Christ’s body are commanded to provide for themselves and their families, which, I trust, includes bodily security/protection7, and where someone is attempting to do bodily harm to you or your family, through the use of lethal force, this may entail the use of lethal force on your part to blunt their attack.
3. As for the contention that government is there to secure and protect you from any bodily harm inflicted by an evil doer, that is an unmitigated falsehood.
The police, who are part of the executive branch of government, are charged with no such duty. They are charged with executing the law, which is, most of the time, an after the fact thing. Their presence may serve as some deterrent to criminal behavior, but they have no mandate to act as a shield between you and a would be perpetrator. For this purpose, the founders and authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, provided the 2nd amendment, which is the right (and I dare say, the duty) of American citizens to keep and bear arms–for their protection from evil doers of all stripes.

All Scripture references are taken from the King James Bible. Feel free to distribute this article as you see fit.

Post Script

Are you saved? Jesus Christ—“who knew no sin”—and his sacrificial death on the Cross, has made the way for “everyone that believeth”…to be reconciled to God. History has shown that whatever peace man has achieved in the world can only be temporary. The Bible says that individual men and women can know, beyond a doubt, that they are saved and bound for heaven, and therefore have absolute and permanent peace, regardless of what is going on in the world, by trusting Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for their eternal salvation. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Have you done this? If not, why not now?

  1. Matt. 26:52 

  2. Ref. ! Cor. 15:3,4; 1 Tim. 2:5,6; Hebrews 10:10-12 

  3. Eph. 2:8,9 

  4. Rom. 6:23; Eph. 1:7 

  5. Ref. Eccl 7:17 

  6. ref. Eph. 3:1-3 

  7. ref. 1 Tim. 5:8 

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Posted by Mike Schroeder in

About the author

Mike Schroeder is pastor and teacher of Amazing Grace Bible Study Fellowship in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he resides with his wife, Jean.

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