Posted by: sean | April 21, 2007

Tertullian: a.d. 197-212

Since some of these quotes come from different writings written at different times the date has been indicate for each quotation at the end in square brackets.

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 45
If, then we are commanded to love our enemies (as I have remarked above), whom have we to hate? If injured, we are forbidden to retaliate, lest we become just as bad ourselves. Who can suffer injury at our hands? [a.d. 197]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 45
How often you inflict gross cruelties on Christians. You do this, partly because it is your own inclination, and partly in obedience to the laws…Yet, banded together as we are, ever so ready to sacrifice our lives, what single case of revenge for injury are you able to point to? However, if it were held to be right for us to repay evil by evil, a single night with a torch or two could achieve an ample vengeance. But away with the idea of a divine sect avenging itself by human fires! [a.d. 197]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 45
We willingly yield ourselves to the sword. So what wars would we not be both fit and eager to participate in (even against unequal forces), if in our religion it were not counted better to be slain than to slay? [a.d. 197]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 51
The Christian does no harm even to his enemy. [a.d. 197]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 80
God puts His prohibition on every sort of man-killing by one inclusive commandment ‘You shall not kill.’ [a.d. 197]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 154
“Nation will not take up sword against nation, and they will no more learn to fight.” Who else, therefore, does this prophecy apply to, other than us? For we are fully taught by the new law, and therefore observe these practices…The teaching of the new law points to clemency. It changes the primitive ferocity of swords an lances to tranquility. It remodels the primitive execution of war upon the rivals and enemies of the Law into the peaceful actions of plowing and cultivating the land. [a.d. 197]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 73
Now inquiry is made about the point whether a believer may enter into military service. The question is also asked whether those in the military may be admitted into the faith – even the rank and file (or any inferior grade), who are not required to take part in sacrifices or capital punishments…A man cannot give his allegiance to two masters – God and Caesar…How will a Christian man participate in war? In fact, how will he serve even in peace without a sword? For the Lord has taken the sword away. It is also true that soldiers came to John [the Baptist] and received the instructions for their conduct. It is also true that a centurion believed. Nevertheless, the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier. [a.d. 200]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pp. 339-340
“And they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” In other words, they will change the dispositions of injurious minds, hostile tongues, blasphemy, and all kinds of evil into pursuits of moderation and peace. “Nation will not life up sword against nation.” That is, they will not stir up conflict. “Neither will they learn war any more”–that is, the provocation of hostilities. So you should learn from this that Christ was not promised to be powerful in war. Rather, he was promised to pursue peace. Now, you must deny either that these things were foretold (although they are plainly seen) or that they have been fulfilled (although you read of them). [a.d. 207]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 100
I think we must first inquire whether warfare is proper at all for Christians. What point is there in discussing the merely incidental, when that on which it rests is to be condemned? Do we believe it is lawful for a human oath to be added to one that is divine? Is it lawful for a man to come to be pledged to another master after Christ has become his Master? Is it lawful to renounce father, mother, and all nearest kinsfolk, whom even the Law has commanded us to honor and love next to God himself?…Is it lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword will perish by the sword? Will the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law? Will he who is not the avenger even of his own wrongs, apply the chain, the prison, the torture, and the punishment? [a.d. 211]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 101
Is the [military] laurel of triumph made of leaves, or of corpses? Is it adorned with ribbons, or whit tombs? Is it wet with ointments, or with the tears of wives and mothers? It may be made of some [dead] Christians too. For Christ is also believed among the barbarians. [a.d. 211]

Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, p. 105
Our religion commands us to love even our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us. [a.d. 212]

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Responses

  1. Tertullian was a montanist heretic. And, for that matter, the other main pacifistic “father,” Origen, was also deemed a universalist heretic. I would love to see Tertullain’s explanation of the soldiers with John the Baptist, the centurion of great faith, or mostly, one of my favorites, Cornelius!

    Study for yourselves and you will NOT find a uniformly pacifistic church. Obviously, the Church was not a war-mongerer, and that is not what I’m here to portray. I’m here to say that the Church recognized violence and even condoned it with prayer! Below is an article that includes a report from a grad. student for a class on Antiquity at the University of Florida, as well as some other informative material. It shares that the early Church should not be considered pacifistic.

  2. Zach,

    I’m not sure your discrediting tactics are as cut and dry as you portray them to be. Tertullian may have joined the montanists, but when did he do so? Did he learn pacifism from them or the church (or from Jesus for that matter)? In other words, did he right these quotations before or after he joined, and did his montanism affect his views on this subject?

    On Origen, he was not declared a heretic until after the church had forsaken her roots of peace. Furthermore, just because someone’s beliefs diverge from “orthodoxy” (which of course changes with time), does that mean that everything they believe is wrong? Of course not. Origen may be heretical in some respects and orthodox in others. From the many quotes we have listed on this site, it is clear that peace was orthodox, so the charge that Origen was a heretic doesn’t affect this doctrine (or if it does, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate the church was pro-war, pro-violence, and that every single one of these dozens of quotes was that of a heretical movement of pacfists).

    I’m very curious to read the link you mentioned, but alas, it did not show up in your last comment.

  3. Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to put the link up! My bad, man. Here it is.

    http://www.crusades-encyclopedia.com/christianpacifism.html

    Please know that I’m not contesting for a Rambo-church if you will. I deplore violence personally, and wouldn’t revenge myself. I do, however, see a distinction between myself personally, and my five year old daughter being touched by an older man. In that case, I’m doing whatever it takes to get her away from him. I also see no problem with our brothers and sisters in military service.

    And, if I could just ask one question, what do you think of Christians serving, but only in non-conbatant roles, such as cook, medic, or chaplain?

  4. Zach, Sean–Thank you for your enlightenment.

    Regarding Dr. Riley-Smith’s comments (and others) on Romans 13: By recommending obedience to Roman law, Paul is not accepting war as a just possibility. Pagan anarchy would reign without it, so Paul does recommend obedience to it. It is curious that Romans 12, right before it, is one of the most pacifistic chapters in the Bible

    I see 2 things to be added to the mix that might clarify Paul’s recommendation:

    1. All Christians recognize the requirement for children to be obedient to their parents—but what if their parent commands them to rob or kill or rape a neighbor? Of course they would be morally excused from it, just like a Christian would be morally excused from serving in the Roman army.

    2. The Roman army had two roles that we recognize very differently today. They were the international conquering, occupying force (military), and they were the police of their territory. I doubt anyone believing in the nonviolence of Jesus denies the role of the police. This could be the reason for Tertullian’s prayer for “brave armies.”

    During Jesus’ time, Jews were exempt from the military because of their national peculiarities and there were laws against slaves joining the military. Considering the large proportions of early Christians were Jews, slaves, or women, the percentage of eligible members must have been small. While the emperor could levy conscripts of the Christians and Jews, it is doubtful he found it necessary.

    Still, ~150 years, until the reign of Marcus Aurelius, was a long time (several generations of father to son) for Jesus’ message of nonviolence to become distorted. Even back then, people wanted the immediate results of violence.

  5. Someone, please tell me your stance on non-combatant roles in the military. What about the Coast Guard or the police?

    And could someone explain to me the story of St. Andrew? I’m honestly willing to listen, just don’t butter me up. I’m a straight-shooting kind of guy and I don’t want any pomp.

  6. Hello Zach,
    I can try to answer your question about noncombatant roles.

    I would think that you should never purposely put yourself in a situation where you are expected to do something unloving or hateful (Like say Killing) your enemies. Nor helping others achieve that purpose. That being said, I don’t think there would be anything wrong with the chaplain position in the military. I don’t think chaplains are expected to ever to engage in combat correct? The medic thing is a hard question. While they are doing a very noble thing, at the same time, they are fixing up soldiers who will return to the front line and again, kill there enemies. You helped put that man there. Its very difficult.

    Also, regarding the chaplaincy, I believe a role of shepherding would be included with that title and part of the shepherding would be preaching the obedience to christ and his commands of loving your enemies. I honestly think they would fire you (which is fine by me) for doing this.

  7. Well, now I ask for an answer to my question of the Coast Guard and the police. I don’t think any logical person, even one who loves his enemies, would ask for the end of a standing police force or a military branch whose most frequent purpose is to save lives at sea.

    And, I now ask another question. Do you believe that all the soldiers, throughout history, who professed Christ and “didn’t extort money and didn’t accuse people falsely and were content with their pay,” are going to suffer eternal condemnation?

  8. Zach — Regarding your question at 1:57: To me Jesus always offers forgiveness as in John 20:23. the forgiveness can be asked of oneself, too–or withheld by oneself about himself. Whether or not that results in earning heaven or suffering eternal condemnation, is a matter of one’s definition of heaven and afterlife.

    Also, Wikipedia has an excellent article on St. Andrew, (a 5 minute read) as well as the Catholic Encyclopedia and a dozen other online sources. Was there something in particular you were interest in? The particular and unusual thing about his is he was the younger brother of Simon Peter, he was very influential in the early Christian community of what became Constantinople, and he was reportedly crucified on an “X” cross saying he wasn’t worth to be crucified like Jesus.

  9. Oh, sorry man, I forgot to specify, I meant St. Andrew the General. He was a Roman general, while being a Christian, who fought and won a battle against the Persians. He received promotion and praise from the governor, but later was found out to be a Christian, obviously it was pre-Constantinian. He suffered torture and crucifixion without denying our Lord, along with a few more pious soldiers of his.

    His story shows me that it is possible to serve the state, but also hold our Lord higher in our hearts and be solely dedicated to Him. I feel that many people here over-state their case.

    Forgive me if I seem hostile, I know you guys are brothers, I’m just a very passionate guy.

    Also see:
    The 40 of Sebaste
    Acacius of Byzantium
    St. George
    St. Eustace, the Roman general

  10. Zach,
    I think ive already answered your question about the coast guard and the police within my previous post:
    I would think that you should never purposely put yourself in a situation where you are expected to do something unloving or hateful (Like say Killing) your enemies. Nor helping others achieve that purpose.

    I am not one to put myself in the judgement seat of God and say that a broad group of people will be condemned.
    But I will say that people who do not listen to Jesus’ command to love your enemies are treading dangerous ground and in the day of judgement might face Jesus speaking to them, DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.

    If you love me, you will obey my commands.

    With regards to Andrew the General. Your conclusion is not the only one available. Have you explored other conclusions? It sounds like andrew was serving two masters and when it came to what to do with his enemies, it wasn’t Jesus he was serving.

  11. Zach– very interesting perspective. You gave me the idea to research them and I hadn’t known about these early soldiers/martyrs.

    It turns out that the Catholics (all Christians were Catholics until Martin Luther) had some sketchy info on them and someone has put some brief info about them on the web at http://www.catholic.org/saints/stindex.php?lst=G There are 33 St Andrews! The 40 martyrs were mentioned at several sites, including EWTN, WIKI, and a number of blogs.

    Many Saints were “grandfathered” into sainthood, like St Augustine for one, because they were called saints before the rigorous process of sainthood was adopted. That would preserve some concrete history of the person.

    I go back to my statement above–“Still, ~150 years, until the reign of Marcus Aurelius, was a long time (several generations of father to son) for Jesus’ message of nonviolence to become distorted. Even back then, people wanted the immediate results of violence.”

    Back then, the gospel hadn’t been solidified and it was largely handed down by word of mouth except for a few, rare copies until the Council of Nicea in 325, Undoubtedly some things would get missed.

    But now we can all read the Bible, as best it cold be preserved and translated, and the fact that some early soldiers became martyrs rather than give up their jobs is inspiring. Once they believed and converted, they were between a rock and a hard place because they’d be hanged if they deserted or if they were discovered by the higher ups. I suspect many of them stayed on to try to convert their peers, or lived in fear of disclosure.

  12. Hey Steve, I appreciate the thought and research you put into this question. I’m refreshed to see a good remark as many would resort to rudeness.

    I think these early soldier martyrs were brave men. I mean, not everyone is going to convert when you’re in the employment of the largest, anti-Christian government the world has ever known (well, maybe the USSR, but anyway). Their stories inspire my faith to live out what I know to be true and do it fearlessly and with gumption.

    Once again, I thank you sir.

  13. Zach,

    I had a hard time finding any actual ancient sources on the four martyrs (or groups of martyrs) that you listed. Some are admittedly legendary (like St. Eustace), while some have quite grand hagiographies surrounding their figure. Could you perhaps point out to us in the ancient sources (http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html) where we can read about them?

    Not hagiographic back-reading from the time of the crusades to attempt to justify military action (which you admittedly disagree with), but actual first or second-source material?? Because I’m having a real hard time finding it.

    In the case of the forty martyrs, we do not mean to say that there were *zero* Christian soldiers. We know of several. However, all that we do know of also refused to use their swords (continue to see the quotations of the early church fathers on this website). Thanks!

  14. Zach– I repeat, I really appreciate your questions, and I see no reason for rudeness. We’re all after the truth and we all have a piece of it, and none of us has all of it. I’m close to finishing my book, (if it can ever be finished), and what I know needs challenges.

    I got a little time to read deeper into the article you mentioned at: http://www.crusades-encyclopedia.com/christianpacifism.html and I see Andrew Holt did a rundown on about 6 references that he read. They are very knowledgeable people.

    But toward the end of his article, he notes that all of the references and articles were short and that “A careful, lengthy, and comprehensive study that narrowly examines Christian views of warfare before Constantine is sorely needed and if it was well done would likely become a seminal work in this field.”

    He goes on in his extended bibliography to reference such a work, though he apparently didn’t read it. It’s author comes to a very different conclusion than he did. C. John Cadoux wrote a 186 page book on the topic in 1919–just after the “war to end all wars” It was admittedly bigger than my seat time, but it is very good–I got quite a lot out of it by skimming and getting caught up in section or two of it. It has a good table of contents, too. It can be downloaded at http://www.nonresistance.org/post-1900.html

    That site has several excellent articles, and every time I surf there, I learn something. Here’s a Mark Twain smile on it I just saw: “None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.”

    Absolutely these early soldiers were brave men, but I think it take a brave man to oppose violence and be anti-war today, too. And NO, the USSR is NOT anti Christian. That is a leftover, hungover myth in America.

    The Russian Orthodox church has taken a big hit under communism, but it is alive and well. Christianity has taken a big hit under western capitalism, too, and I don’t thing the US can lay any special claim to being a Christian nation. See my comment on this site under “Is the US a Christian nation”‘?

  15. Hey all,

    I obviously as a Christian am anti-war and I want to work towards peace as best I can. I believe in the beauty of true Lex Talionis, of loving your neighbor and enemy as yourself. The idea that it is better to forgive and love your neighbor was absolutely paramount in the Law. When Jesus uttered these words in the Sermon on the Mount, he wasn’t saying anything new, it can be found in the OT. Jesus was providing an exposition of the Law and the heart of the Law and was going against the corruption that the rabbis had made of it. As a trusted professor of mine says, “There is nothing new in the New Testament.”

    So, I guess I could say that I see no reason for outright pacifism, because at times I can view that as irresponsibility. Nations have a right to defend themselves. And I respect those men and women that fight for our rights and I believe they are to be honored.

    I view these early soldiers in that way. Honorable men that served well, as was the case with Andrew defeating the Persian invasion, but their true heart was shown when they went against earthly commands to deny their ultimate Lord and suffered immense pain and torture because of Him. They, I believe, were the truest Christians as they had access to power and influence in their position, but gladly laid it down to not forsake their Lord. How can anyone deny it just because they were soldiers and carried swords?

    So, I guess that is my biggest problem with the belittling of their profession and, I feel, of themselves by those who benefit directly from their sacrifice.

  16. Zach,
    You said

    So, I guess I could say that I see no reason for outright pacifism, because at times I can view that as irresponsibility. Nations have a right to defend themselves.

    I want to know why are we responsible for the affairs of a nation of the world, responsible to the point where we can lay aside Jesus’ command to to love our enemy and got out and kill him/her? I see commands in the scriptures to pray for our nation and leaders, but nothing about fighting with a nation and ignoring Jesus’ commands for a season.

    Perhaps if Jesus taught on the importance of having a nationalist attitude being a greater command than to love your neighbor; enemies; brothers; sisters, I would see your point. But alas you still point to what are more likely than not fictional people as a proof of sorts for your view on this subject.

    Did you consider the alternate explanation that I gave earlier for the General Andrew? Was my conclusion non biblical? If so, why?

  17. John Paul,

    Fictional or not, was that man a Christian? And also, fictional or not, he sure does seem to have taken a bigger step of faith than most of us have ever had to make.

  18. Fictional or not, was he loving his enemies as Jesus commanded? Can you love Jesus’ and disobey his commandments?

    Yes the legend says he had to endure a trial most christians never will. However, are trials sufficient in place of obedience? Thats what you almost seem to be saying here.

    “Sure he didn’t obey Jesus with his lifestyle, but he was willing to be a martyr, so he is a great man of faith! With this example I can now point to somebody who didn’t have to obey Jesus”

    I don’t want to put words into your mouth, err… hands what ever. But what I put in quotes up above seem to be what you are trying to put forth. Please forgive me and correct me if im mistake and show me how.

    Im not try to say this persons martyrdom is not noble. What im saying is that his lifestyle stands contrary to what was taught by our lord and saviour Jesus Christ and the early church. we should look on Jesus not legends for our source of wisdom. That was my point when bringing up the Historicity of these men.

  19. Can you please give me an explanation of ‘loving your enemy?’

    Say, late at night, my wife and I wake up to a loud crash. A man enters into our house and demands my wife’s body. Which is more loving, to defend my wife, whom I’ve been instructed to protect or to let this man take what he wants in the name of Christian love. I’m sorry, but that’s not Christian love and it is a perversion. I took an oath of love to my wife, my life in the place of hers. My blood in the place of her blood if need be. This is what is commanded in Scripture. So you see, just because I love the man that wants to harm her, my love for her, as my own body, causes me to act, otherwise I would be no better than a pagan.

    Loving your enemy is also an OT subject that many people seem to ignore.

    “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.”
    Exodus 23:4-5

    Please explain to me how the things Jesus taught on are so new and radical. It may have been new and radical to the Jews listening, as their Law had been perverted by rabbinic teaching and outer obedience without inner change.

  20. Zach,

    We have answered the hypothetical “what if someone attacks my wife and kids” several times over on this site. response 1, response 2, response 3, response 4…plus many other difficult questions are answered here.

    I’d like to respond to a couple of the things you have brought up, but time is limited (always) so perhaps the best course to follow would be for you to write a short article summarizing all the reasons that non-violence is justified and we will post it under the Counter Arguments section. Or perhaps, an even better way forward would be for you to write a post on each of your counter arguments and we can then discuss each under that theme. This thread is about Tertullian who you glibly dismissed as a “heretic” in your first comment. What follows are some of my responses to your points.

    ————————————–

    Jesus taught new things…I don’t even know where to start with this one. I can’t believe you found a scholar that said there is nothing new in the New Testament! The idea of loving the enemy was not commanded in the OT. There really are soooo many differences. In fact, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly repeats the formula, “You have heard that it was said…but I say unto you” –If that is not a formula for something new, I don’t know what is. The law permitted divorce–Jesus closes that door. The law permitted lust but not adultery…Jesus closes that door… The law permitted killing of enemies for both civil and military reasons, Jesus, no doubt with Romans in mind…says “Love your enemy”…turn the cheek…be meek, etc.

    I could go on to talk about the inclusion of the Gentiles, the ending of kosher, circumcision, the eschatological event of the holy spirit being poured out en masse, etc.

    Two things regarding military service also need to be said. First of all Jews had a military exemption from fighting for Rome, thus the topic wasn’t explicitly addressed because it was a non-issue,…though it is clear Jesus is against an armed military uprising against the unjust Roman occupation (John 18.36, etc.). Furthermore, the Christian record is clear in the second, third, and even into part of the fourth century, that Christians do not use violence to kill the infidel, kill the barbarian, protect the Republic, or even defend themselves (hence the plethora of martyrs). Even so, sometimes a soldier was converted to Christianity, perhaps by witnessing Christians die for the faith at the stadium. When this occurred, the soldier was in an extraordinary difficult position. He would have been denied baptism so long as he was a soldier, but he would begin to follow Christ even while in the military. This was difficult because he would not carry a sword or wear the wreath/participate in the imperial cult, etc. and yet he could not leave the military on pain of death. It is grasping at straws to point to someone in this situation as justification that in Americas completely voluntary army, Christians should join and kill enemies of the Republic of the US.

    So, I guess that is my biggest problem with the belittling of their profession and, I feel, of themselves by those who benefit directly from their sacrifice.

    I hear Jack Nicholson, from A Few Good Men when I read these words. But, may I make a couple of statements to clarify what we are saying? Firstly, it the role of governments, à la Romans 13, to wield the sword to punish evildoers. The government of which Paul spoke was Rome. This is what governments are ordained by God to do. This is not what Christians are ordained by God to do, rather in Romans 12, the distinct kingdom witness of the Christian is the following:

    Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath {of God,} for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Christians have a different role to play than national Israel, or any other nation. It is our role to embody the coming kingdom of peace in which the swords are no more and military training academies are all closed. Hear the testimony of Justin Martyr:

    We used to be filled with war, mutual slaughter, and every kind of wickedness. However, now all of us have, throughout the whole earth, changed our warlike weapons. We have changed our swords into plowshares, and our spears into farming implements.

    The unique testimony of the Christian is that Messiah has come, he has died as our representative and reconciled us to God, he has been resurrected, and he has poured out the holy spirit. Because these eschatological (kingdom) events have already occurred it is our honor as Christians to reflect the coming age of peace and justice by living out lives of outrageous and radically self-sacrificial love in faith and in the power of the holy spirit. When we reduce our options to fight or flight, we make it look like Jesus has not come, the spirit is not here, and God is an absentee landowner.

  21. Sean,

    I’m sorry, let me rephrase that, there is nothing new in Christian morality in the NT. Jewish and Rabbinic tradition (especially Shammai) perverted the Law. The Law wasn’t intended for outter obedience, that’s shallow. Its intent was an inner following of love for God first and sinners second. So, you see, to God lust always has been adultery, anger always has been murder, and so on and so forth. A true follower of Yahweh in the OT would’ve known this. Jesus also didn’t do away with divorce, if there is unfaithfulness, divorce is not forbidden.

    To demonstrate this, along with the verse above, I will exposit Leviticus 19:18, because that’s just what a good Bible College student does. 🙂 Well, I shouldn’t say good! Haha

    Leviticus 19:18:
    “Do not seek revenge (a new radical teaching of Jesus?) or bear a grudge against one of your people (love your enemy who wrongs you? Radical new teaching of Jesus.), but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

    A few things jump out: After a cultural look, it would be helpful to know that the school of Shammai (eww) added to this verse “hate your enemy” as quoted by Christ in Matt. 5:43. Because of this human perversion, Jesus responds with the true intent of the Law in that we are to love everyone equally with ourselves. Obviously, this would include our enemy as he is also our neighbor. Therefore, Jesus is way more in line with the true OT teaching (others include vs. 17,34 of the same chapter). And remember, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law, as he mentioned in the beloved Sermon on the Mount, but he came to fulfill it. Not one word is going to disappear from it forever.

    We know that it is only through faith in Christ’s sacrifice that we can tap into the grace of our Almighty Father. To put it plainly, we all know about justification by faith through grace, as the people of the OT were saved as well by this. But, what is part of our faith if not keeping our Lord’s commandments in love? Jesus shows us the true way to walk in the Lord by living the heart of the Law. And we know that to walk in these ways is to walk in love (1 John 2:7 and 2 John 6). And what were his commands? The true meaning of the OT law, not the self-seeking, perverted ways of the Rabbis.

    There is no new law in the NT and the law is not abolished (Matthew 5:17)

  22. Zach,

    Do you eat kosher? Do you believe all must be circumcised in order to be part of the people of God?

    On Leviticus 19.17-18…it is clear that God wanted his people to love their neighbor, etc. However, there was never a command to love national enemies, yet with Jesus, even the Romans were to be loved.

    good points on Shammai…though I believe Paul was a Shammai-ite Pharisee owing to his tutorship under Gamaliel

    Hey, how about my offer for you to write a post for the Counter Arguments section?

  23. Hey man,

    Of course not, I was strictly referring to what Jesus talked about in the SOTM or the Law of Christ. And, yeah, you’re right there is no command, but I’ve come across a lot of people that seem to think there was a command to ‘hate your enemy’ and that frustrates.

    Haha, I don’t know, I’ve always liked Paul. He was a real zinger though, wasn’t he?

    I’d love to write an article! Would I just upload it here or elsewhere? And, it may be a few days because it’s midterms week (oh boy!). Peace brothers.

  24. Zach — – Thanks for your references again. I’ll look forward to your article with patience. Midterms? –Good luck.

    I would be sure to include Verse 16 (especially its second half) in Leviticus 19 in referencing it to get the setting for the famous verse in its complete thought: 16’You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD. 17’You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18’You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

    Of course, the difference in Jesus’ teaching was that he taught the “spirit of morality” rather than the letter the law in the 613 Mitzvoth. To some extent, though, I see him teaching against the nationalist ideas of the Jews—and that would be entirely new in the New Testament. (e.g. the above passage talks about fellow countrymen and “your people.” being worthy of their moral consideration, but leaves out Gentiles) I think he was even teaching acceptance of the Roman occupation rather than fighting it. Sean pointed to John 18:36, but it is there in his compliment to the faith of the Centurion and is even clearer in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem where he warned of its destruction. (The Palm Parade in Luke 19 and all the other gospels,) and his warning to the women of Jerusalem on his way up Calvary.

    If Jesus could peer 21 centuries into today, would he see a world armed to the teeth ready blow itself apart due to a selfish nationalism? If so, wouldn’t he have wanted to warn us?

  25. Zach,

    When you have written something, please email it to me radicalreformer@gmail.com

    Also, out of curiosity, what school are you attending?

  26. Hey Sean,

    I’m down here at Johnson Bible College in beautiful Knoxville, TN. It’s a nice place, but can be a bit too traditional for my own tastes.

    Hey Steve,
    Thanks for the luck man, I’m gonna need it! Haha, like I said above though, I wouldn’t call myself a good expositor, but I was just seeking brevity.

    And I agree, I think Jesus did see 21 centuries ahead and He wasn’t/isn’t too pleased. I’m not too pleased and any sensible human being is not pleased. Especially since the world is on the brink of WWIII (crap).

    I think my problem is that I really do love this land that we were given by God. I think it’s beautiful and the people are beautiful, but I also fail to realize that people see that about their own places around the world. Here’s to looking forward to the Eternal Kingdom with no more bloodshed and tears.

    Cheers?!


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