|A Zimbabwean View of Tyranny, Pacifism & the Bible|
by Collen Makumbirofa
For decades the majority of church leaders have been preaching pacifism. Self – defense is regarded as vengeance. Every war is condemned. Peace is idolized – ‘peace, peace at any price.’ Christian crusades who resisted Islamic invasions have been also condemned. Wars that led us to the freedoms we have are treated lightly. Reformers who led us to obtain liberty and the Bible in our languages are disregarded.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is said to have nothing to do with politics. This is heresy. During His time on earth Christ took an extreme political position. Jesus challenged the existing political and social order when He announced a new government, the Kingdom of God and declaring himself as the Head.
Refusing to worship Caesar was high treason punishable by death. When the Laws of God conflicted with those of Caesar, Christ required His disciples to obey God.
Christ’s Revolution was the greatest of all time; it continues to affect millions of lives centuries after His death. The Holy Roman Empire was turned upside down by Christ's Revolution.
In the Bible God led wars. Many of God’s men were soldiers. Imagine King David, General Joshua, Gideon etc… Pacifism is always wrong. We are not in Heaven yet. Human nature is depraved and at times need to be restrained by force when defending the nation against terrorists and vicious tyrants. Many Christian pacifists want people to live on Earth as if they are already in Heaven: don’t carry a gun, don’t resist robbers, and don’t fight tyranny… But the Bible teaches that the heart of man is desperately wicked. And human nature is bent on doing evil. In His wisdom, God has instituted the government of state (Romans 13), in order to restrain evil by protecting innocent man and punishing the wicked.
There are times when it becomes necessary to resist tyranny by force. I’m talking about using guns to fight terrorists and dictators. In the personal realm when attacked by criminals it is lawful to use necessary force to resist the attack. Pacifists want to substitute action with prayer. There is time for everything. Prayer is the foundation for action. But you can’t just pray when you are suppose to act and protect yourself, your family or your neighbor.
I will never be a pacifist. If a lawful authority (Romans 13) calls me to be a soldier to shoot the terrorist, to arrest the murderers, robbers and rapists, I will be very glad to join and do that to the glory of God.
Not every war or action is right. I know there are those who misuse the Law or twist words. The Bible defines the legitimate use of sword. The American founding fathers, in line with the Bible, considered the American Revolution as a righteous action. According to the pacifist view the American Revolution is wrong because it killed British soldiers. Wait, Roman 13 required the American colonies to obey the British authorities for conscience sake, they say.
In the ancient world, the word tyranny meant ruling without God. Governments are required to rule in terms of God Laws – Romans 13. When government still protects its law-abiding citizens that is good. When it still gives people room for free and fair elections, that is good. In such circumstances there is no room for lesser authorities to take military action against ungodly government that still protects its citizens. What is needed here is to convince the electorate to vote otherwise. The Church’s duty is to preach the Biblical Gospel and educate people about elections (Exodus 18:20) and Biblical view of state governments.
It becomes lawful to take military action when tyranny starts to murder thousands of its innocent people; to deliberately starve its citizens; to torture and murder its opposition leaders; destroy homes of its innocent citizens; destroy business, and so-called informal business, of its law abiding citizens; to rig elections; to ban and destroy independent newspapers; to torture innocent citizens who refuse to support it or who speak against its corruption and oppression.
Those in authority, lower magistrates, or opposition leaders, can take military action against tyranny. Individuals cannot take military action. Those in authority, or those appointed by opposition leaders, must pioneer any military action against tyranny. The same rule applies for assassination of a dictator. Those in authority, or delegated, can plan to remove a wicked ruler.
God is not a pacifist. In the Bible God used His people to overthrow or kill dictators. God doesn’t change, Malachi 3:6. 2 Timothy 3:16, tells us that all Scriptures are inspired and useful for instruction.
Jesus Christ did not come to abolish the Law and prophets. “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law and Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them…” Matthew 5:17
Pacifism is a form of humanism that believes that man is basically good, therefore his life must not be taken in any circumstances. This view is unchristian. God wants murderers, rapists and robbers to be put to death by a lawful authority – by the State. In self-defense one is authorized to take the life of the assailant, if the intent of the attack is murder.
It is disastrous for Christians to be pacifists. This world is at war with God and His people. Christians may choose to be pacifists. But enemies of the Church who are moslems, humanists, and communists will not be pacifists. Even if we desire peace there will always be evil people who want to enslave, attack and oppress others. Therefore military action is needed, either for self-defense, or in war of liberating oppressed people. To say every war, or killing, is wrong is illogical and unbiblical.
Christians must not be afraid of teaching the whole counsel of God for fear of being misunderstood or twisted. Nothing in the Bible is free from being misunderstood or twisted.
Pacifists are preparing nations for slavery. All pacifists are hypocrites. Expecting others to continue suffering under tyranny, without resisting it in an appropriate way, is wrong and hypocrisy.
When all avenues to resist tyranny fail, the last resort is the use of force, military action. This world is full of unrelenting wicked people; man must be read for action. There are times when Tyranny must be resisted by force. Soldiers in war must refrain from attacking civilians, bombing shops and stealing from people. Real soldiers go for the enemy soldiers. Cowards are courageous at killing civilians and destroying property. The wise army does not destroy the people or property it intends to save.
Enemies captured must be treated well and receive the Gospel of Salvation. God watches the conduct of soldiers and will not bless soldiers who abuse their authority. It is appointed for man to die once and face judgment. On the Judgment Day soldiers will be accountable for their behavior.
5 Hated Things
(1) A government that disarms its people.
(2) Appeasing or compromising with tyranny.
(3) The desire for a negotiated peace or compromise of true freedom.
(4) Pacifism and talking when l should be fighting.
(5) Begging another man or country to bring freedom to my own country.
Foundation of Reason & Justice
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Cape Town, RSA