US Foreign Policy in the Middle East - Is it Biblical? (Part 3) - The Right to Self Defense


VI. We have discarded and forgotten the biblical position of nonintervention and nonaggression. 1. Proponents of an interventionist and imperialist foreign policy will cite O.T. examples of where God commanded Israel to utterly destroy wicked nations and possess them (Jos 6:17-21; 1Sa 15:2-3). A. They will say that God hasn't changed (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8) and therefore a Christian nation such as the USA still has such a mandate. B. While God hasn't changed, His law has (Heb 7:12; Heb 8:13; 2Co 3:6-13). C. Jesus showed that O.T. precedents of this type have no natural application in the N.T. (Luk 9:51-56). D. As was before proved, God's Israel under the New Testament is the church, not the USA, the UK, or even the modern nation of Israel. i. Therefore, the USA is not the new Israel and has no Manifest Destiny to conquer other nations and create an imperial empire. ii. Since we are now under the New Testament, where in the N.T. does any country have a commandment from God to start aggressive wars with its neighbors? iii. For example: what if our government wanted to wage war on Mexico when they had not attacked us, and they gave as justification for it that they were a bunch of drug-running, pagan, catholic savages who were polluting the land with their sin and needed to be eliminated based on principles God gave to Israel in the O.T.? iv. Where is there a commandment in the N.T. for us to do that? v. What justification could a neocon Christian give from the New Testament to wage such a war of aggression? 2. The New Testament counterpart of the these Old Testament commandments would be for Christians to mortify (kill) the sins of their flesh and spare none of them (Col 3:5-9). A. The weapons of the church's (spiritual Israel) warfare are not carnal, but rather spiritual (2Co 10:3-5). B. We cast down imaginations, not walls. C. We bring thoughts into captivity, not nations. D. We mortify our own sins, not dictators. 3. Nonintervention is not pacifism. A. Nonintervention - 1. Absence of intervention; in international politics, systematic non-interference by a nation in the affairs of other nations except where its own interests are directly involved. B. Pacifism - 1. The policy or doctrine of rejecting war and every form of violent action as means of solving disputes, esp. in international affairs; the belief in and advocacy of peaceful methods as feasible and desirable alternatives to war. C. The Bible doesn't condemn soldiering or war in all circumstances. i. When soldiers came to John the Baptist to be baptized, he told them to be just, honest, and content, but not to forsake their profession as soldiers (Luk 3:14). ii. Centurions were blessed on different occasions in the N.T. a. Centurion - 1. The commander of a century in the Roman army. b. Century - 1. a. Rom. Hist. A division of the Roman army, constituting half of a maniple, and probably consisting originally of 100 men; but in historical times the number appears to have varied according to the size and subdivision of the legion. c. When a centurion came to Jesus and told him he was a centurion who was in authority over soldiers who obeyed his commands, Jesus didn't rebuke him for being in the military, but rather commended him for his faith (Luk 7:1-9). d. Cornelius was a centurion who feared and pleased God (Act 10:1-4) whom God blessed with conversion without changing his job (Act 10:48). iii. Ministers are referred to as soldiers (Phi 2:25). a. Paul even describes ministers as soldiers warring (2Ti 2:3-4). b. If it was sinful to be a soldier and go to war, then God certainly wouldn't use that terminology to describe his ministers. iv. The Bible uses the principle of war-making for illustrations. a. Jesus used the principle of war-making to illustrate the importance of counting the cost of discipleship (Luk 14:31-33). b. Paul uses the principle of war-making to illustrate the fact that a minister ought to be paid for his labor (1Co 9:7). c. If war-making was sinful, then the Bible would not use it to illustrate godly principles. D. The Bible allows for and promotes self-defense. i. Most wars, though, are not in self-defense, but rather are a product of the lust of men (power, control, resources) (Jam 4:1-2). ii. Jesus commanded His disciples to be armed with a sword and even to sell their garments to buy one if they didn't have one (Luk 22:36). a. Jesus was not talking about a spiritual sword. b. When the disciples presented two swords, He said It is enough, not I meant a SPIRITUAL sword (Luk 22:38). c. It is enough to carry two guns. iii. Jesus said that a strong man armed keeps his house in peace (Luk 11:21). iv. Jesus said that a goodman (the master or male head of a household) would not suffer (tolerate or allow) his house to be broken up by a thief (Mat 24:43 c/w Exo 22:2). v. Retaliation is not self-defense and must not be done. a. It is God's place to recompense, not ours (Rom 12:17-21; Pro 24:29). b. We ought not render evil for evil (1Pe 3:9; Pro 20:22). E. There is a time to not defend oneself. i. If we are being persecuted for the gospel's sake, like Jesus, we should not resist with violence (1Pe 2:19-23). ii. We should not resist minor offences with violence (Mat 5:39-41). a. If someone slaps you on the cheek, let me slap the other one; if someone takes your coat, give him your cloke also; if someone makes you walk a mile with him, go two. b. This is far different than if someone tries to chop your head off or rape your wife. c. If you don't provide for the preservation of your family's life, you have denied the faith (1Ti 5:8). iii. A man with discretion will defer his anger (Pro 19:11).
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