Do Christians Have a Right to Self Defense? Part 3 Corruption will cease when the people become moral

by Brother Gregory Williams
December 5, 2009

The right to exercise force to prevent a crime, injustice, abuse to another individual or even yourself has nothing to do with violence, vengeance, punishment, resistance, or judgment. It has to do with what Jesus called the weightier matters of law, justice, mercy, and faith.

If someone or something is out of control driven by greed, anger, lust or vengeance to attack, abuse and even kill another innocent member of society you have every right, every obligation to confront them, restrain them, or stop them altogether by whatever reasonable force is required to prevent further criminal abuse. That being said is there a better way than force of arms to tend to law, justice and mercy?

Christ spoke many times about getting the beam out of our own eye or cleaning our own house first. Modern Americans need to take a sobering and humbling look at their part in the present decline of personal freedom and rights.

Most of the people have responded favorably to this series. A small minority have imagined and applied all sorts of preconceived notion, doctrines and unsupported assumptions to what was written based on their own prejudices or limited view. Some actually claimed that Christians cannot be armed or use armed force at any time. Yet, in every case they agreed they would call the police who would come armed to their aid. Some people cannot see the hypocrisy or sloth of this particular position. Violence has to do with an unjust or unrighteous use of force. Doing nothing to stop the abuse is a crime of omission. Sticking your head in the sand has nothing to do with turning the other cheek.

Most all of these would be pacifist are content to call upon the same forceful hand of government to supply their daily bread in time of deprivation or need. The same could be said of those who think that modern government is out of control with its power to tax. Although some might be willing to give up the benefits supplied by that power of government to tax few would offer to supply the same or similar needs of their society unless they are forced.

Before we can learn how God wants us to be ruled or to rule ourselves we need to examine what we have done or failed to do. First, we have excessively empowered governments contrary to the will of God. In the days of Samuel when the voice of the people cried out to give someone authority and power to protect them it was called a rejection of God.[1] We have been warned through history that a loss of freedom would result, yet, we continuously look to governments of power to solve our problems.[2]

“Society in every state is a blessing, but a government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” [3] “All who have ever written on government are unanimous, that among people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.” [4] “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government can render us secure.” [5] The growth of virtue in society requires free choice in the hands of the individual. If rights are responsibilities, is the dereliction of a responsibility the delegation of a right?

The problem is not the leaders of government but the people who corrupt them by giving them more and more power through neglect and omission. We often think that the myriad of laws and legal codes are a sign of man’s love for law, yet, Tacitus warned that, “In the most corrupt state, the most laws,” [6] I have heard modern Christians boasting that they are “no longer under the law,” while in truth they are under millions of laws today and are less secure for it.[7]

The governments of men are made in their own image. Over the last five decades I have seen abundant evidence of judges, lawyers, and district attorneys abusing, defrauding and even robbing the people. I have also known men amongst the same group who are frustrated with an inability to do anything about that corruption and abuse. The reason those few honorable souls are unable to fight the blatant corruption rampant behind the scenes of modern courts is because of the apathy and sloth of the people. The question remains what can we do and remain righteous in or pursuit of the weightier matters?

There are many who think we must return to the constitution, but such thinking is fundamentally flawed. Most Americans opposed the constitution at the time it was proposed and for many good reason. [8] Even if the warnings against it had not proven to be true it is the character of the people that make the nation healthy or sick.

“I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes to much upon constitutions, upon laws and courts. These are false hopes, believe me; these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no court can save it.” [9]

The modern State is a product of the modern man. Void of virtue he has followed and fallen into a labyrinth of legal subjugation through application, contract, and dependence. People have coveted their neighbors' goods,[10] muzzled the ox that treadeth out the corn, [11] lurked privily for the blood of others for their own gain.[12] I recently heard someone say at a gathering of men calling themselves the Continental Congress 2009 that they were doing the same thing the Forefathers did. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Early Americans had spent two hundred years striving to obtain true and actual title to land [13] as freemen by the sacrifice of their own blood, sweat and tears, their money actually “paid” debt with present value,[14] they developed a social security system entirely dependent on voluntary charity to maintain the deserving poor of their society, they established an intimate network of local and national groups that would come to each others aid voluntarily at a moments notice. Modern Americans are not doing anything like the early Americans and should not expect to be free, nor claim that right.

As a people, we have stooped to equate license with liberty, favor with freedom, and artificial affluence with autonomy. Such foolishness can only produce tyranny and decay. In a nation morally corrupt only the selfish will reign. Neither freedom nor liberty can flourish nor survive.

It should be clear by now that I have not come to tickle the ears of the people nor their ministers. There is no hope without virtuous societies that loves their neighbor as themselves. Free people must voluntarily and equally accept the duty of protecting their neighbor, as well as themselves, on all levels of social welfare through daily charitable actions if they are to be justified in any form of “self defense”. How to do just that was the roll of the Church in early Christendom.

On the other hand modern Churches have failed to supply the daily bread [15] of their members through faith, hope and charity, but instead have sent their members to the men who call themselves benefactors but exercise authority, even though Jesus and the prophets have consistently said it was not to be that way with you. Abraham, Moses and John the Baptist had previously called the people to live another way.

Moses had said “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”[16] The Old Testament even told us to be kind to our enemy.[17] Jesus command to 'love your enemy' is not new to God's plan, just to the misguided Pharisees. It is the bonds of the love and brotherhood created by people who voluntarily answer the needs and calls of their neighbors through personal and charitable sacrifice that makes a society healthy, wealthy and secure.

Before governments will change men must change. The call was to repent, live another way and not forsake the gathering together.[18] Most people will not come together with the spirit and Character of Christ so those who do need to strive to find the way that sustained and defended the Christians through the decline and fall of Rome and the failure of the unrighteous mammon
The people of America, and of the world, cannot afford to continue to imagine it is still 1776, nor should they disregard the change in their relationship to governments and community over the last 200 years, nor fail to take into account what they have been doing and failing to do since their youth. You cannot ask men to provide for your health, education and welfare by enslaving your neighbor and expect to remain free. If you want your government to remain a titular servant of the people you must retain your rights by retaining your responsibilities. In Part four of this series we will show the technical reality and results that occur when we fail to do so.

Click here for part 2 ----->

Click here for part 1 ----->

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