An Objection about Resisting
Christians are advised to “Recompense to no man evil for evil…avenge not yourselves” (Rom. 12:17,19). Some would give these and kindred passages a figurative meaning. To do so, they ask questions to excite prejudice. They ask: “Would it be wrong to defend one’s self against a robber or murderer?” Such questions are intended to arouse our natural feelings instead of learning what the will of God is.
The objector should be called upon to tell what scriptures like those in Rom. 12 mean. “What is the meaning of ‘resist not him that is evil’?” Does it mean to bombard a city of innocent women and children and destroy them and their homes? Does it mean to devastate a country and bring misery and want to the inhabitants of it? Does it mean to murder or take the life of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers or sisters? Does it mean to ruin the commerce, sink the ships, torpedo the fleets, plunder the cities, drop bombs from airplanes and destroy property and life?
If it does not mean what the above questions call for, then it does not mean to allow war, for this is what war is. And if it does not allow war, those who are in favor of war get no consolation from quoting it. Whatever it may mean, it does not mean to authorize Christians to go to war, for, if it does, it contradicts every other principle taught by the Saviour. Whatever liberty or license the advocate of war may take in the interpretation of this scripture, he cannot, either honestly or dishonestly, interpret it to mean that the Christian must or even may engage in carnal warfare, for we have observed from the above scriptures that they forbid not only the act of war, but the very spirit of war.
The Light, March, 2006