Pacifism: How I’ve Got It Figured

pacifismI don’t think I’m through with the pacifism posts, but I’m sure I’m through for now. I have some other things that are itching to get out of my fingers and onto the electronic page — and we’ve pretty much covered the high points of pacifism.

There are enough differing views and scriptures that bear on the topic that I could write a book — and many others have. But I’m ready for a change of topic. I’m sure most of the readers are as well.

So, anyway, here’s how I’ve got it figured —

1. If God meant for us to reject the use of violence in self-defense, defense of the weak, and in military service, this would be a dramatic change from the ethical standards of the Law and Prophets. It seems strange that Jesus would choose to announce such a change in the Sermon on the Mount — where he is expressly affirming the Law and the Prophets. He is not repealing the Law and the Prophets. He’s explaining their deeper meanings in preparation for life in the kingdom that is dawning.

2. It bothers me when some argue that we should forget Paul and Moses and focus exclusively on Jesus — as though Paul is not a sound expositor of Jesus or Jesus wasn’t really the author behind the Law of Moses. And if you read Paul’s ethical instructions, such as Rom 12, you find much about love for enemies and not taking vengeance. You see nothing about refusing governmental service or self-defense.

3. On the other hand, it’s certainly true that we see Stephen and the other early church martyrs willingly submitting to torture and death in the name of Jesus. But they do so at the hands of governmental officials who insist that they give up their faith — not murderers and rapists. If you must worship Caesar to live, you willingly die instead. But bandits aren’t asking you to surrender your faith.

I’ve seen no example of early Christians dying at the hands of criminals rather than defend themselves when they could do so without denying Jesus. Even if there were such an example, I think it would be a mistaken reading of what Jesus says. He does not say that violence is prohibited to Christians. That was just not the subject at hand in the Sermon on the Mount.

4. Refusing to defend yourself and others against criminals and invaders seems to me to make you an enabler of evil. Refusing to surrender your faith to an anti-Christian government resists evil. We are called to resist evil and not to enable evil.

5. The scriptures plainly ban vengeance. Vengeance and self-defense (and defense of the weak) are two different things. Confusing the two is a category mistake.

6. Some argue that we shouldn’t defend ourselves because God will defend us. Well, I’m not sure those promises apply in that sense, and even if they do, they don’t do our unbelieving neighbor any good.

7. Pacifism is perhaps defensible if you see the church as a tiny minority surrounded by a much larger, evil world. Our refusal to fight doesn’t really harm them. But to a non-sectarian, many nations don’t look like that. Indeed, there are plenty of nations that are largely Christian, and in such a nation, if all the Christians were pacifists, we’d subject all the citizens, not just Christians, to un-policed criminals and leave them defenseless against invaders. How is this loving?

8. It is argued, with considerable force, that we must be like Jesus and so willing to die for our beliefs and to serve others. And I agree. But defending the helpless is serving others.

9. It is argued that the church must be totally removed from the political process because we are not called to politics. I think we are called to love. And when people we love are being hurt by the government, we need to call on the government to stop. Indeed, one of the great weaknesses of democracy is that the poor and disenfranchised will not be as well represented as the wealthy and powerful. If the church doesn’t speak up for the unborn, for orphans, and for the poor — who will?

10. On the other hand, self-defense does not justify conquest. It may well justify defending an ally. Indeed, if all countries only acted in self-defense, there’d be no war.

11. I’m not entirely sold on the 7 points of just war theory. They are helpful guideposts, but if we’re not careful, they can take us away from the true guidepost — faith expressing itself through love. Obviously, war is not inherently a loving act. But it can be.

12. It is a fact that people are often deceived by their leaders into fighting unjust wars. But that doesn’t mean we never, ever defend those who need defending. Life is just messy that way. (Thank God for his grace!) This makes it all the more urgent that we train our members on how to think about political questions in Christian terms. We are not good at it, but we getting better. We have a lot of work to do.

You see, as the church becomes more thoughtful in thinking about political questions, our political ethics will more and more affect our political leaders — because some of them are Christians and all represent Christians. Our poor political theology has been one significant cause of our poor politics.

I don’t know. It just seems to me that if the government is God’s agent of vengeance against evil, it’d be better at doing God’s bidding if there were some people in government who’ve studied God’s bidding. But that’s just how I’ve got it figured.

Finally, as I said at the beginning, I have the greatest of respect for many pacifistic theologians and other Christians. While I disagree somewhat, they take a difficult and courageous stand. Those who scorn and ridicule them have not really paid attention to the Sermon on the Mount. Theologically, pacifism is at most a speck of dust in their eyes. Scorn is a 12 x 12 beam. Indeed, the pacifists among us often come much closer to the ideal than most of the rest of us — who often ignore the Sermon on the Mount altogether.

And I greatly respect those who risk their lives to defend their neighbors, whether as police or in the military. I recently had a class member share how her teenage son, in signing up for the Navy, avowed how he was prepared to die to protect us against evil. I get choked up … It reminds me of someone.

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45 Responses

  1. It bothers me when some argue that we should forget Paul and Moses and focus exclusively on Jesus — as though Paul is not a sound expositor of Jesus or Jesus wasn’t really the author behind the Law of Moses.

    Excellent point, and well said. When we argue one part of the Bible against another, we show that we misunderstand one or the other, or both.

    I get choked up … It reminds me of someone.

    Me too.

  2. I’ve had an idea occur to me during this discussion. If Christians are truly to be about using military force to defend others, those called to that ministry should be about it full time. A Christian band of mercenaries, free to decide case by case which cause is just, which fight is holy.

    Since I don’t believe Romans 13 to be the passage that cancels out the rest of the Bible, I don’t believe that any government that is not in a covenant with God has the right to tell Christians when and where to kill other humans. If Christians are to make those judgments, they must do it unencumbered by alliances to human powers.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  3. I was remiss in not saying, Jay, that I really appreciate the thoughtful approach you’ve taken to this subject. Such matters are deserving of serious discussion, yet often get drowned out by a wave of emotionalism (from both sides).

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  4. Thank you Jay

    We may not agree on all points, but neither did the apostles.

    At least you allow us to express ourselves and ponder all the others posts as well. This freedom is not allowed in most Bible classes.

    You and ALL the posters are in my prayers and those of my family that read these posts. Sure brings discussion to the dinner table.

    Again, Thanks!

  5. “If the church doesn’t speak up for the unborn, for the orphans, and for the poor–who will?”

    I love that question, Jay! Thank you.

  6. Jay,

    Thanks for having this discussion. I hope you come back to it again in the future.

    I had asked a question of you in another post and had not received any response, so I thought I would pose the question again and hopefully get your thoughts.

    I’m wondering if you would support a foreign power coming here to the U.S. and violently overthrowing our leadership (along with the collateral damage that would likely occur) because of our loose laws on abortion? Their motive would be to protect the weak and vulnerable (the unborn) and stop the unspoken holocaust. Would you support and encourage that? The question is open to others who support one nation taking up arms against another.

    Zach

  7. Zach are you loving people who go to abortion clinics, do you go stand at the door and hug them when they come out? There are more Christians who talk more of loving people than there are Christians showing it.

  8. Anonymous,

    There’s so much more good that can come if you love that person before they enter the abortion clinic, rather than after. On the way out, you only have an opportunity to love one person. Before she goes in, you have a chance to love two people.

  9. There is so much love to give people at abortion clinics when they walk in and when they walk out. People walk in the front door, but walk out the back door. Point is are you their to hug them when they come out?

  10. Zach,

    I’m not sure the direction you want to go with this. Regarding abortion, the problem is not the government but the failure of the church to be the salt and light it ought to be. Even if the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade tomorrow — or if foreign invaders conquered us and forced such a change — there’d still be abortions. There were lots of abortions long before it became legal.

    War doesn’t solve many problems — and it certainly doesn’t solve moral problems. The solution to immorality is Jesus — and our failure to reach across social, racial, and income lines is the cause of the abortion problem.

    After all, it wasn’t that many years ago when nearly everyone in the US was opposed to sex outside of marriage and to abortion. But we began to lose the culture war because we were out of touch with both the culture and Jesus. Had the church truly been the church of Jesus, had we pushed for racial equality, greater rights for women, and if the church had been the church — a community of believers where there is neither Jew nor Greek, free nor slave, male nor female — we’d live in a very different country today.

    That leads me to think that the solution starts with fixing the church.

  11. Anonymous,

    I’m trying to figure out if you were answering my question?

    Zach

  12. Jay,

    I didn’t have anywhere specific I wanted that to go–I just find that that particular question is very good at raising some ancillary issues. Your answer seems to be that you would not support a foreign power using force to put an end to our abortion policy and practice. And the reason you gave–that it’s the church’s job–I tend to favor as well. The problem is that that answer seems to undercut the argument you’ve made so far about the role of government in using force to help/love neighbors who are oppressed. I don’t know exactly how you feel about WWII, but am I to assume that you believe the church should have brought resolution to that issue as well, not the U.S. government?

    Thanks Jay,

    Zach

  13. The government doesn’t forced anyone to have an abortion.

  14. Had the church truly been the church of Jesus, had we pushed for racial equality, greater rights for women, and if the church had been the church — a community of believers where there is neither Jew nor Greek, free nor slave, male nor female — we’d live in a very different country today.

    I was with you up to that point. The church is not the cause of the sin in America (nor any other country). The soul who sins will die, each for his own sin. Abortion is not caused by race-based nor gender-based injustice, neither inside nor outside of the church. It is caused by the same things as any other sin: failure to acknowledge God, to glorify Him, to give thanks to Him. (Rom 1:18-21). People don’t like to admit it, but those who commit sins (abortion or whatever) are without excuse. There is nobody else to blame except the sinner himself.

  15. Zach,

    There’s a difference between a government that is killing innocents (Germany in WWII) and citizens who are killing innocents. Overthrowing the government may well solve the first problem, but not the second. Different problems call for different solutions.

    And that’s not to say that war is necessarily the answer to an evil government, only that it’s an option — and the last option.

    I’m not inclined to lay down a black-and-white decision tree. Each fact pattern stands on its own. There are just countless factors that can affect a given case.

    For that matter, if there were a clear set of discernible guidelines available, I imagine God would have shared them through scripture. As it is, we’re left with over-arching principles, the Spirit, our best judgment, and grace.

    It’s rather like child-rearing. You can announce a few key guidelines, but there’s no simple set of rules that will always give the right answer. Kids are complicated and they are all different. Governments are even more so.

  16. Jay,

    I think your second to last paragraph is great. Thanks for your insight and good spirit.

    The line of your response that I have trouble with is the statement that there is a difference between a government killing people and citizens killing people. I think that is true, but I don’t believe it to be that simple in this case. A government that encourages and even funds abortion is certainly just as guilty as the physician who performs the operation. Right? As a lawyer, wouldn’t you argue that the architects, financiers and enablers of a crime are just as guilty as the patsy who carries out the ringleaders bidding? Thinking out loud here.

    Thanks Jay

  17. The government doesn’t force doctors to perform abortions. The government regulates that doctors and nurses should not be forced to perform abortions.

  18. Alan,

    If my son commits a sin, well, it’s his fault. That doesn’t mean it’s not also my fault. If he hits a baseball through a neighbor’s window — and I didn’t teach him respect for the property of others or how to play in a way that doesn’t hurt the neighbors, I’m at fault, too. In some cases, I may even more at fault than he is.

  19. Zach,

    Among many questions just war theory presents is whether fighting the war will solve the problem — and whether doing so would do more harm than good. I’m not sure that the US government being overthrown by a foreign power would do more good than harm. I’m not sure it would do much good at all. After all, the resulting government would either be a democracy (leading back to where we already are) or a dictatorship.

  20. If my son commits a sin, well, it’s his fault. That doesn’t mean it’s not also my fault.

    The analogy isn’t valid. A parent bears some responsibility for the behavior of children. But the church is not at fault when an adult woman who has never entered the church commits the sin of having an abortion.

    Our modern culture rejects individual responsibility. Every shortcoming is the fault of someone else — either some other person or some institution. The first step in repentance is to take responsibility for your own behavior. It’s not someone else’s fault. That’s even true for our children.

  21. Alan,

    Then how can God say to Israel, “The Gentiles blaspheme My name because of you?” if the quote from Ezekiel means that all responsibility for sin lies only with the sinner?

    God says that the people of God bear some responsibility for the sins of the cultures to which they’re supposed to be salt and light.

    When God’s people call something sin, and their lives say, “Sin is okay!” it is worse than naive to say that they have no culpability.

  22. Jay,

    Stephen and the other early church martyrs willingly submitting to torture and death in the name of Jesus. But they do so at the hands of governmental officials who insist that they give up their faith.

    Stephen was martyred by the Synagogue of the Freedmen — not government officials. And while Saul, a Roman citizen, held their coats and accepted responsibility, he was not a government official.

    Obviously, war is not inherently a loving act. But it can be.

    No, I don’t think it can, actually. It can be the least unloving of the alternatives (when all participants are considered), but war is always hell. I know people have brought up WWII, as if FDR declared war on Japan and Germany because of the Holocaust. They didn’t. We wouldn’t have waited almost 3 years to initiate serious action in Europe if the US entered WWII because of the Holocaust (or fascism/Nazism, John). We entered the Pacific Theater because we were attacked, and the European Theater because Churchill (one of the big movers and shakers in WWI, the true cause of WWII) wanted us to.

    As i said earlier, I’m a recovering legalist who is doing his best to avoid infatuation with any more -isms. So maybe I will just lay out my struggles with the questions you’ve been addressing.

    I struggle because I want to defend the innocent.
    I struggle because I don’t know that preservation of life is the highest good.
    (we rail against abortion, and make excuses for why it was okay for God to slay the firstborn children of Egypt)

    I struggle because I believe the soul of the man invading my home is worth more than my TV.
    I struggle because, deep down, I believe that my wife’s saved soul is worth more than that criminal’s (probably) unsaved soul.

    I struggle because I hate injustice and terrorism.
    I struggle because I know how many different facets of evil work together to create those situations (Yes, I’m addicted to porn because I looked at it, and I was of an accountable age. But I looked at it because my father brought it into his home and workplace. I looked at it because evil men seduced foolish women into participating in its creation. etc etc)

    I struggle because I hate it when people suffer and die.
    I struggle because I know that the real war is in the heavenly realms, on the other side of the curtain, and the evil man causing suffering is as much a slave as I was.

    Wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Christ Jesus our Lord!

    I believe that is the real answer to the question, and our answer, whether violent or nonviolent, must be accompanied with a “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!”

  23. I recently had a class member share how her teenage son, in signing up for the {North Korean Army}, avowed how he was prepared to die to protect us against evil. I get choked up … It reminds me of someone.

    Since you appreciate hypotheticals, Jay, please notice that, in my quote above, I added only a few little words. Would it affect your emotions?

  24. Nick,

    Stephen was accused by the Synagogue of the Freedmen, but he was tried before the Sanhedrin.

    (Acts 6:12) So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.

  25. Nick,

    To make a fair analogy, you have to offer a hypothetical where the son signing up for the army — of whatever country — is a Christian and doing what he believes to be fulfillment of God’s command to love his neighbor — even at the price of his life.

    The point isn’t that the young man was willing to give his life for this country, but his willingness to fight evil at the cost of his own life – as a Christian.

  26. Then how can God say to Israel, “The Gentiles blaspheme My name because of you?” if the quote from Ezekiel means that all responsibility for sin lies only with the sinner?

    Two different things. Those hypocrites who claim to be Christians but live like pagans may cause many to miss the way. But they are not the church, and the church is not to blame for what imposters do in the name of Jesus.

    Was Jesus culpable for the sins of the first century Jerusalem culture? Of course not. And it is no more reasonable to say that the church is culpable for the sins of American culture today. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. Surely none of us would attribute the sins in America to failure of the Holy Spirit in his assigned task. And if, despite the work of the Holy Spirit, our modern culture is still sinful, that sad fact can hardly be blamed on the church. It can only be blamed on the one who sins.

    The road is narrow and few will find it. Most won’t. And those who fail to find it cannot blame their failure on those who did find it.

    I’m hearing an unspoken assumption that it is up to man to save the world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Man’s incompetence cannot cause God’s plan to fail. Cannot.

  27. Jay,

    but he wasn’t legally convicted by the Sanhedrin. And even if he had been, we know that the Sanhedrin had no authority to pronounce a death sentence. So in Stephen’s case, by your argument, he would have been fully within his rights to defend himself against an illegal attack. The government did not command Stephen to be executed. A mob went wild and stoned him.

  28. Two different things. Those hypocrites who claim to be Christians but live like pagans may cause many to miss the way. But they are not the church, and the church is not to blame for what imposters do in the name of Jesus.

    Alan,

    You say that as if it were an argument. It is not — assertions without evidence are not arguments. You have to actually provide evidence that God holding Israel responsible for the blasphemies of the Gentiles is different from us saying that the church in America bears some responsibility for the sins of our culture.

    Surely none of us would attribute the sins in America to failure of the Holy Spirit in his assigned task. And if, despite the work of the Holy Spirit, our modern culture is still sinful, that sad fact can hardly be blamed on the church. It can only be blamed on the one who sins.

    No one is beginning to suggest that the Holy Spirit is failing. Rather, I’m saying (and I think I’m echoing Jay’s meaning if not his words) that the church has hardened her heart against the Holy Spirit in relation to these matters. The church, as evidenced by your own words here, refuses to be convicted with regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.

    Our culture has not merely rejected personal responsibility. It has rejected all responsibility, from government to corporational to neighborhood to family and, yes, even personal responsibility. But suggesting that personal responsibility (and the other guy’s personal responsibilty at that!) is the only kind of responsibility that exists will never change the world.

    Jesus was a man. Yes, he was also God, but he was a man. The salvation of the world depends on the faithfulness of “the man Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:15, 17; 1 Tim 2:5.) That man was immersed in water just like the rest of the nation of Israel should have been — he accepted that even though He Himself had never sinned, he belonged to a nation that bore great responsibility for sin in the world. He accepted national responsibility, corporate responsibility. Just like the salvation of Israel and the Exodus depended on the man Moses, how much more does the salvation of the world depend on the man Jesus of Nazareth and his followers in whom the spirit dwells. God never works salvation independently of the ones whom He created to have dominion over creation as his regents and stewards.

    Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Cyrus, Jesus, the church. It is not up to man alone, but it is up to man and God together to save the world.

  29. But suggesting that personal responsibility (and the other guy’s personal responsibilty at that!) is the only kind of responsibility that exists will never change the world.

    When an unconverted soul arrives at judgment, arguing that the church let him or her down will not work. God will hold the individual accountable for his own actions. He will reap what he has sown.

    Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Cyrus, Jesus, the church. It is not up to man alone, but it is up to man and God together to save the world.

    Act 15:4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

    Rom 15:18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done

    1Co 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
    1Co 3:7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

    Rom 9:15 For he says to Moses,
    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
    Rom 9:16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

    My point, which is amply supported by the above scriptures and many more, is that salvation of the world is God’s work. I can’t change the world. Yes, I can make myself available to be used by God, or not. But apart from God I can do nothing. And whether or not I make myself available, God’s purposes will still be accomplished.

  30. It seems your scriptures amply support Nick’s position as well. It doesn’t depend on man, but on God. Yet God goes to great trouble to say “through man”.

    Nick is not saying the hammer does the work, just that the Carpenter has designated the hammer as the tool of choice. It’s still the Carpenter’s work.

    As opposed to “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Close To You”, which would be The Carpenters’ works.

  31. Alan,

    Apart from God, humanity can do nothing.

    Apart from humanity, God will do nothing.

    That, I believe, is the testimony of Scripture from beginning to end. Even at his most angry, he looks at a thoroughly rotten world and just can’t bring himself to utterly eliminate his treasured possession. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

    Brad, thank you very much! now I must go to Wal-Mart and exchange my brain, which has now been thoroughly infected.

  32. Brad and Nick,

    I’m sure we agree on most of this. Where we apparently differ is that I don’t think God has left the eternal fate of every individual person in the unreliable hands of another fallible person. To me, that would seem capricious and unloving. God is not like that. So God will find a way, or make a way.

  33. Alan,

    And that way is probably going to be through a man, not because a man decided to do something, but because the Spirit is inside him, wearing him like a shirt. Your shirt goes where you go, and does what you do, but it is not the shirt doing it.

    God is not so unloving that He would leave man out of the process saving people. Plus, denying man the promised inheritance would be denying Himself, which he can not do.

  34. Nick & Jay,

    Also, the mob that drug stephen to the Sanhedrin were not government officials themselves, were they? Yet Stephen did not employ physical violence in defense against them.

    –Guy

  35. How big was the mob of people who attacked Stephen, perhaps he didn’t have time to defend himself when they rushed him. Stephen’s hands and feet could have been tied up when they took him out of the city and stoned him?

  36. Nick
    What you must realize is there is no clear answer for everything so we must make decisions on our own. We must pray and then go ahead with what we think is right. Sometimes that means we do not know who is the real good guy and the bad guy, but as we take lives, we must let God do the separating.
    I’ve always been impressed and touched with the Germans and Americans camped near enough to each other to sing christmas carols together and even in some occasions exchanging gifts of food before resuming killing each other the next morning.

  37. “I’ve always been impressed and touched with the Germans and Americans camped near enough to each other to sing christmas carols together and even in some occasions exchanging gifts of food before resuming killing each other the next morning.”

    I’m sorry – that’s just not impressive and touching to me, that’s insane. What a lost opportunity.

  38. Bear with me on another comment, this one about abortions.

    To quote Thomas Jefferson “The Old Testament accounts reveal God to be cruel, vindictive,capricious and unjust”.

    I think of the order to destroy the Amalekites, children and infants, not counting the women and children and animals and how God destroyed the whole world in the flood.

    What I didn’t consider in my young days is the totally lost condition those children would have grown up in and by following their parents examples been lost also.

    So, upon further reflection as Dr.Norman Geisler so ably wrote my thoughts, what happened to the young ones below the age of accountability was an act of Gods mercy!

    Eventually God takes all our lives, called death. The only question is when and how and we leave that up to him.

    ALL these children went to reward and heaven forever.

    We must never lose sight that God is undeniably just.

    In the end, we’ll see his fairness!

  39. We must never lose sight that God is undeniably just.

    In the end, we’ll see his fairness! – John

    Amen, John!

    When God guides any of His people to protect the oppressed and weak, that is between God and that person. God knows what’s best!

  40. Lot of that interaction during the Civil War.

    Had to be some among brothers in the Church of Christ that were on both sides of that war of northern aggression.

    Positive thinking dictates that since we believe a person can quickly be in a lost position and then brought back to a saved position just as quick, that those men that were killed by their brothers were in the safe, heaven bound position at the time and would or could of been lost if given more time.

    That sentiment was expressed in the northers civil war book, “Sparks From the Campfire” if my memory is giving me the right book.

  41. So the most compassionate move would be to execute everyone as they come up out of the baptistry.

    Because, you know, right then they’re in that saved position, and they might become lost if we don’t.

  42. Ha ha ha Nick

    You bet lots of us thought just that when we came up out of the water. Especially at 11 years old.

    Lord, I don’t want to disapoint you by sinning, so in my life, I’ll never be as free of sin as right now so to be sure of heaven, take me now if there’s a chance I’ll go to hell if I live.

    Have had two young men hang themselves in our community for just that reason and both about 10-12 years old.

  43. John
    This is siturbing and only leads me to questions of what is being taught in your community.

    Steve Valentine

  44. Perhaps they were taught that God is not faithful to restore His sheep when we stumble.

  45. Brothers

    I am an old man now and have seen a lot.

    When we were young, the God we were told about was one to be feared more than anything. We sung the songs like “Jesus loves me” and “oh how I love Jesus” and felt that way about Jesus. But, not about God the father who we feared and felt He was looking on us constantly to see if we made a mistake so we could be sent to Hell where most of humanity in history had already went and most we knew and loved today in our community was going too, no exceptions.

    Looking at the world map, you could easily x out all the continents and countries that had no chance because they were not God’s chosen people in the Old Testament and all the continents and peoples in the New Testament up to the current time of our lives that had no chance of Heaven, only Hell because thay had not obeyed the gospel and were not members of the Church of Christ even if they had never heard of the gospel. How lucky we were to be born where knowledge of God was preached.

    Then on to our country, a Christian Country and start x-ing out all those that we loved and respected that were not of the Church of Christ and then those that were of the Church of Christ that had kitchens, supported orphans homes, etc. that were lost and it came down to a God that sent far more to Hell than could ever be saved. Usually only those in our church and a few others were OK.

    Wonder why we as children were afraid, not only for ourselves but for all we loved?

    That is why I’m so enthused for this site of Jay Guin and others like Al Maxey as they are saying what we as we got older believed over the old time fear preaching.

    How long since you heard a sermon on Gods love for you? What a wonderful thing that must be. I want that for my grandchildren. I want them to love Him also and obey out of love, far more than live in fear of Him.

    I read on Maxeys site just yesterday that as we know, we are added to the Church and even those that are in ignorance of all the laws I was brought up with, even if they are in a denomination could go to Heaven. God goes by action and heart, not the name on the door. I never thought I would ever hear that from a Church of Christ preacher, although have believed it secretly except for family and friends, close friends all my adult life. Many others I know do too.

    I’ve had men come to me, a simple no education teacher of the truth as I see it, and make the good confession and not be allowed to be baptized and then die before they could be baptized. I believe and pray that their souls went to heaven and a loving God adjusted to their unusual circumstances. Exceptions werte made in the Bible in several cases. Not in the conservative churches though.

    Enough rambling!!! I know a lot of you will disagree with me. I pray for you to be more understanding.

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