A Biblical Perspective of Self-Defense and Civil Disobedience
This book is not for casual reading or entertainment. It’s an in-depth Bible study for gaining insight on two very controversial topics.
Part 1: Self-Defense
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Because Christians can have very strong and opposing views on this controversial topic, the goal of this in-depth study is to identify the scriptural position. Is it appropriate for you as a Christian to defend yourself? How should godly character and your life purpose affect your response to personal danger? Should you defend family members? Or strangers? What kinds of defensive measures are appropriate? The conclusions may surprise you.
Part 1 Contents
- A Controversy
- Old Testament
- Is Killing a Person Always Murder?
- Capital Punishment
- Use of Deadly Force
- New Testament: Different Purpose and Emphasis
- Jesus’ Responses to Danger
- Jesus’ Teaching
- The Apostles’ Responses to Danger
- The Apostles’ Teaching
- Godly Character
- Peace Is Not Always Possible
- Application to Self-Defense
Part 2: Civil Disobedience
Living an exemplary Christian life may cause you to get into trouble with civil government. God ordained human government and the New Testament says to submit to human authorities, yet the authorities considered Jesus and his disciples criminals. What does it really mean for you to submit? Must you obey a corrupt government official or ungodly laws? This Bible study develops some clear guidelines for civil disobedience that honors God.
Part 2 Contents
- Submission to Authority
- Historical Context
- New Testament Examples
- What About Revolt?
- Civil Disobedience That Honors God
Read a Free Chapter
Click here to read part of Chapter Two, “Civil Disobedience.”
- paperback, 6″x9″, 117 pages
Comments from Readers
(The following are responses to rough drafts of this book posted online)
- “I just googled in and found your ‘A Biblical Perspective of Self Defense’ study. I didn’t expect to find such a well-balanced, biblically based analysis on my first hit. Well done!” T.L. [emphasis added]
- “Having been in security and law enforcement for over 30 years and being a believer in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, [A Biblical Perspective of Self Defense] has been a topic of great interest and importance to me…. Your teaching [is] a source of wisdom, logic and balance … carefully considering each element in a thoroughly analytical biblical perspective…. I think it should be must reading for every Christian.” J.M. [emphasis added]
- “I just read (most of) your excellent article on Christians and self-defense. I agree with the other comments that it is the most thorough and steady treatment of that topic that I’ve seen. Bravo.” J.L. [emphasis added]
- “I have found several of your articles very helpful over the course of the last several weeks as I have been teaching a Sunday School class on issues relating to government, a biblical response to apparent godlessness in government, our involvement in government generally and similar topics. Having reviewed literally dozens of websites with material on these and related issues, I have found [A Biblical Perspective of Civil Disobedience] to be solidly biblically based, sound, insightful and coherent — quite unlike the diatribes and ramblings of many others.” R.S. [emphasis added]
Ebook Readers’ Highlights
- “We must be trusting and dependent like little children toward Him, and He must be our strength and safety.”
- “God also sanctioned the use of deadly force by an individual in certain circumstances.”
- “God clearly authorized the use of deadly force by the nation of Israel and by individuals under certain conditions.”
- The New Testament, on the other hand, focuses primarily on repentance and spiritual development rather than physical existence.
- “If Jesus were a pacifist and opposed to any use of weapons, why would He instruct His disciples to have them (see Luke 22:36-38)? Jesus told Peter not to use his sword because (1) Jesus must be arrested, and (2) Peter was acting in the flesh rather than recognizing God’s will.”
- “He instructed His disciples to get a sword, even if they had to sell their cloak to buy one. They had two swords among them, and Jesus said that was sufficient.”
- “By implication, it’s not wrong to fight about matters of this world.”
- “Jesus took prudent measures to protect Himself from harm until it was time for Him to die.”
- “The shepherd risks his life by combating wild animals that threaten the flock. A pacifist or fearful shepherd would soon have no flock.”
- “… protection and defense are appropriate, especially when providing it for others but also for oneself.”
Excerpt from Part 1
Self-defense obviously is a very controversial topic among Christians, with many godly people on different sides of the issue. It is a multi-faceted and complex issue, and there are Christians whose spiritual maturity I respect who take opposing stands. While Scripture shows that I should pattern my life after those who are more mature in the faith–the themes of discipleship and mentoring are strong in the New Testament–it is also clear that I am ultimately responsible for my own growth, maturity, attitudes and behavior. Because of this, it is understandable there are so many different Christian perspectives on self-defense. My conclusions are governed by my personality, my level of spiritual maturity and my interpretation of Scripture.
Many questions immediately come to mind that need to be addressed. Should I defend myself and my family? What forms of defense are appropriate? Do I defend passively or aggressively? With or without force? Should I defend or protect others? Should I prepare for possible emergencies, such as storms, civil unrest, economic turmoil and political instability? What is my responsibility toward others in these situations?
Several years ago I was pondering these questions myself. In my search for answers, I talked with Christian friends and read many online articles by Christians, only to discover two things: (1) most believers had more questions than answers, and (2) there was no consensus among those who thought they had answers. In fact, there was strong debate between those with opposing positions, including very strong accusations and caustic remarks about those who disagreed. Most of the articles based their conclusions on selected biblical principles or verses and, as a result, their conclusions had limited value. I also suspected that many people’s conclusions were based on their personalities and they seemed to refer only to Scriptures that supported their views. I was deeply disturbed at believers using Scripture to justify their personal views and expressing hostility toward other Christians who disagreed.
In an attempt to avoid polarizing arguments and be as objective as possible, let us conduct an in-depth Bible study. Our goal is to identify the scriptural position on self-defense so we will examine a broad range of relevant Scriptures. Because this issue is both complex and controversial, we must examine a few foundational topics that will affect our conclusions.