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What does the Bible say about self-defense?"

Under what circumstances is self-defense appropriate?

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Bart, I'm struggling to understand your argument. 

When you say "police are exempt but I am obedient", who are you quoting or paraphrasing? I certainly haven't said that but I will accept that in my country armed police have to go through a lot of training, both physical and mental, before they are allowed to carry a firearm. I am not sure how you are able to equivocate between law enforcement and a person defending himself - both of which have restrictions placed on them by law.

Are you suggesting that police and other emergency services, doctors, nurses, etc., should not work on the Sabbath?

You ask whether God's allowance for enforcing law and order in Noah's time is allowed now due to it being recorded in the Old Testament. Again, I am unsure what you are asking. Old Testament principles are not necessarily abrogated but some practices are. For example, circumcision which was a necessity for salvation in Old testament times is no longer necessary for salvation.

Paul writes about certain laws being "nailed to the cross" but he does not dismiss the entire Old Testament record.

Perhaps it might be helpful if you explain what you mean about God making "allowance for enforing law in order in the Bible in Noah's time after the flood"?

"When you say "police are exempt but I am obedient", who are you quoting or paraphrasing? I certainly haven't said that but I will accept that in my country armed police have to go through a lot of training, both physical and mental, before they are allowed to carry a firearm. I am not sure how you are able to equivocate between law enforcement and a person defending himself - both of which have restrictions placed on them by law."

Obviously paraphrasing, maybe not in a way you would approve of.   

I am not sure of what you are saying.  Are you saying that if you are trained and licensed by the government you are then approved to shoot someone?  I take that as a yes.  So if you are hiding in a closet on your cell phone with the emergency service and they show up with a SWAT team and kill the bad guy are you not complicit in what you are against via tax payers hit squad?  Not that I am against the police, this is just an example.   Maybe faith and no call to the police according to former statements would be more logical.   For me here with meth and heroin addiction in the area  this is a very real scenario not just fantasy.  

"Are you suggesting that police and other emergency services, doctors, nurses, etc., should not work on the Sabbath? " 

No, an example of hypocrisy similar to what I think you might be saying.  

Are you saying that people are to stupid to know when to defend themselves with out police training.  For example if a man comes in my house armed I cannot hit him with a golf club and should be prosecuted for assault?   I have heard of such things happening in the UK.  

I think you know very well what I am saying about God establishing nations and for what purpose after the flood and it needs no explaining except for someone not versed in the Bible.  One of the problems you are having in the UK and around the world at the moment is the idea that nations are evil and need to be abolished.  One world government will solve war?  Can you say prophecy? But we will have to stay on topic. 

Bart said, "You trust the military and police to provide law and order."

Your question was whether I "trust in the state" and I gave you my answer. I trust in Jesus. Now whether Jesus uses the military and the police to provide law and order is another question. I know for a fact that there are not just Christians but SDAs in both the military and the police.

I remember one brother who used to attend church with a jacket over his uniform and his head tilted to one side so that he could hear his police radio in case he was called into action. On a few occasions our door would be knocked during Sabbath lunch and he and his fellow officers would come into our house as he knew that Sabbath lunch was on the table. For me it was a blessing as my children grew up knowing police officers as their friends rather than people to be feared - different from so many of their peers. As little tots they got used to sitting on the laps of police officers playing with handcuffs and batons. It may also be worth investigating how the Old Testament Cities of Refuge were forerunners of today's legal systems in the Christian countries.

Paul says, "I will put my trust in Him." David says, "O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me." (Psalms 25:2 KJV) "For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me." (Psalms 44:6 KJV)
Again he says, "In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." (Psalms 56:4 KJV) and "In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." (vs. 11)
As long as we are governed by a benevolent government then there should be no problem. It is only when a tyrannical government comes into power that we could have a problem with governments. Isn't this where the 2nd Amendment really comes into play? Correct me if I am wrong but as far as I can see the point about having an armed citizenry is to fight against oppressive governments. Isn't this why it specifically refers to a well-regulated militia? 

Bart said, "I have tried to get to greater issues than just "guns" as you call them"

I'm sorry but that appears to be a complete reversal of our respective positions. I have said, "all I am seeing is diatribes about Christians carrying guns", I have asked, "where does God or Christianity fit into all of this?" and "why guns appear to be the only form of self-defence being promoted by our North American cousins".

Yet as I review your posts in this sub-thread of ours I see that nearly all of your posts are about using guns - including posting two graphics in relation to gun control. Please, my brother, let's be fair about this. I have asked you on at least two occasions how this call for the use of guns in self-defence fits in with what the Bible says. Do you not see a difference from positions taken in the Old Testament and Jesus' words in the New Testament in Matt. 5:38?

Another event in my own life comes to mind: I was walking on my own street late at night, returning home, when, as I walked down the middle of the road, two men came from a side turning also walking in the middle of the road. As they saw me they nudged each other and began to walk directly towards me. I moved in between parked cars to go onto the pavement and they, having seen me do that, also moved towards the pavement. One cutting around the back of me, the other cutting in front of me. It was such a manoeuvre as could only mean that they meant me harm but as they closed in on me I hailed the nearest, and biggest, of the two as one would greet a friend. I shook his hand and immediately enquired about his grandmother - reminding him that the last time I had seen him I had given him money to go and visit his grandmother (he had stopped me on the street previously specifically to ask for money and his reason was that he needed to make the journey to see her). He looked confused, his partner stopped in his tracks, seemingly not knowing whether to continue to approach me whilst blocking my escape. I continued to smile at him, told him it was good to see him and wished him God's blessings as I excused myself and continued on my way. As I walked off I saw his friend looking confused at him and, from his body language, asking him what just happened as they walked off in the opposite direction. I believe that they were going to mug me that night but I also believe that God was with me and did not permit it.

In my mind that is what is at the crux of this topic. Do we take Jesus at His word or not? Where do we see Jesus telling us to trust in self-defence rather than in Him? How does it fit in with walking by faith? Isn't walking with Christ the best self-defence we have available?

Once again I find your response a bit confusing, on the one hand referring to violent men in the UK (we have violent women as well, btw :-)) and on the other hand being apparently insulting about the UK being "neutered and suppressed". I am struggling to see how that fits together and on what basis you refer to the UK in that way? (There is also this emphasis on not being manly that keeps reappearing, whether it is being accused of being a woman or being neutered, a seeming equivocation between being a man and that manliness being defined by being prepared to be violent.)

There seems to be a lack of reasoned argument from some respondents that is replaced by an underlying sense of derision that underpins or replaces solid arguments. I wonder if that betrays a lack of Biblical argument?

Here is an alternative scenario, one which also happens to committed Christ-followers:  you approach the man, full of confidence that God will rescue you, and he beats the snot out if you, robs you, and you die in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.  This happens all around the world on a daily basis.  What of God’s Will then?  This is very much like those church people who, when my mother was suffering from the breast cancer that eventually took her life, criticized her for taking chemotherapy rather that “trusting the Lord to save her”, as if one cannot both take the chemotherapy, and trust the Lord at the same time.

Your assumption that only the respondents on one side of this discussion have “solid arguments” is dismissive and not Christlike, by the way.

Jack said, "Here is an alternative scenario..."

But there is no alternative scenario. You are writing fiction but I wrote fact. This is the problem with this kind of argument,  you are dwelling on a "what if" God doesn't protect me whereas I am speaking of what actually happened. Dare I mention faith as being the difference?

I'm sorry if my real life experience doesn't fit in with your fantasy but that's the difference between fact and fiction.

John,  I really am not trying to stir the pot.  and this is such a huge subject that to relegate it to "guns bad, 'merica got guns"  is not the subject of this thread. Self defense is the subject and that is different than ending someones probation with a firearm.  I do apologize for being disjointed and all over.  There is a smug sense of superiority that comes from some who are for gun control because they precieve they have the high ground.  This causes lazy responses and  hypocritical statements. Having a discussion I think is important to finding answers.  

You said: "As long as we are governed by a benevolent government then there should be no problem. It is only when a tyrannical government comes into power that we could have a problem with governments. Isn't this where the 2nd Amendment really comes into play? Correct me if I am wrong but as far as I can see the point about having an armed citizenry is to fight against oppressive governments. Isn't this why it specifically refers to a well-regulated militia?"  

You are correct.  There are a few problems. Number one the Federal Goverment along with the media would never allow for a citizen militia.   Joining a militia would be for insane people in this day and age and certainly not something an Adventist should ever consider.  I have a letter in one of my files to an ancestor that in order to settle land he had to have a working firearm and he could be muster to defense of his community in time of need.   Obviously we are not in the wild west as most in the UK assume.  Bible prophecy as far as I know does not point to more revolutions but we are very close to the end.   

Do we defend ourselves, meaning neighbors and family from bodily harm.  This! is the main question.  Can you whack someone with a bat if they are beating an old man for whats in his pocket for example.  I cannot think of a Bible passage that would speak against coming to the aid of someone.

The very fact that instinctively a human body goes into defensive mode with brain function, nervous system and hormones  when there is a threat says much about God.

 Bigger than a "gun".  Jesus had his angelic host. 

The very fact that he had His angels was a hedge against t violence.  Jesus was brave and stopped a stoning.  Jesus used his authority and men feared him.   I don't like it when people make Jesus out to be some soy drinking hippie after their own perceptions and weakness.  Jesus was an Amazing leader, He did first what he is asking us to do,  brave and more than likely physically strong due to working with his hands and walking the hills.  

You said:  (There is also this emphasis on not being manly that keeps reappearing, whether it is being accused of being a woman or being neutered, a seeming equivocation between being a man and that manliness being defined by being prepared to be violent.) 

My response to the rather arrogant statements of loving guns rather than staying on topic.  An example of how you precieve us Colonists and how we precive some of you in Europe and our own less than manly examples.  There is scripture speaking against being  less than manly and it is in the New Testement.  

Thank you for your response, Bart. I appreciate that you have personalised your response to me - forget what others may be saying/implying, lets you and I reason together. 

I believe that I will never fully understand what you guys over the pond are going through because I do not have the same heritage. The Wild West has had a real and specific influence on your country and whilst we may talk about the USA, Arizona is not the same as New York, for example, let alone London. So it is very hard for me to preach to you about guns because the situation just isn't the same. Whilst we have guns over here we are much more regulated (which is not per se a bad thing) because we have not had militias enshrined in law like you have (which is also not necessarily a good thing - depends on how benevolent the government is).

I remember 20-something years ago when the Michigan Militia and others came to prominence and some SDAs began flirting with the militia movements. It seems to me that they were losing the plot - that this earth is not our home - and then there was Waco and Ruby Ridge, both frightening events but they also helped to give a bit more urgency to getting the message out. 

Your statement about the reaction of the human body and "fight or flight" mode is interesting. Not disagreeing with you but it also makes me wonder if it tells us about the effects of 6,000 years of sin?

As you will have read from my personal experiences I would much rather trust in God than any weapon and so far, by His grace, my trust in Him has been proven correct - and I am grateful for that. Yet I agree with you, it is shameful to not intervene when you see someone weaker being attacked. Even standing and shouting at the attacker can be enough to stop the attack, or as I gave in one of my real life examples, shining a flashlight can stop a rape.

I learnt from my father at an early age to protect the weak. One night he was roused from his bed by the sound of a woman screaming as she was being beaten by a man on the street. He ran out of the house picking up a walking stick as he went and used it to beat the man off the woman. As he chastised the man the woman picked herself up and then attacked my father. Soon my father had to fend off both of them as they both set about him. A tall, ex-military man, he managed to see them both off and came back rubbing his bruises. He would still defend anyone who he felt was in need but it taught us a lesson about human nature. 

This is a very hard topic and emotion can reign supreme. Yet we need to learn how to walk as Jesus did, meek and mild, preparing ourselves for a place where there will be nothing to defend ourselves from.

I find it refreshing that you have a good understanding of American culture outside of what is shown on the media.  I grew up on a ranch where a rifle was always near by and was a tool that was used for killing predators, culling, putting down suffering animals and for hunting.  Many of the rural families lived this way.  Guns were never thought of as a way killing people.  My father and most of my Uncles served in WWII and they absolutely hated bloodshed.  Westerns and War movies were hated.   I can say that the most negative impact on American culture and even world  is not from gun owners or the NRA but from popular culture and the influence of media.  Nihilistic youth raised with no father or respect for life is the real issue rather than a dangerous object.  I work with many young men who are so lost and eat up any attention they can get from an older man who is willing to give them time and guidance. The youth hears nothing but negative about themselves and just about everything in general that it is no wonder that some have no respect for life. 

Two days ago a man showed up on our property looking for trouble,  asking weird and leading questions.  My wife lost her mind with fear and called me.  I did some investigation because I had an idea who it was.   I found him and me and another man had a civil discussion (no threats) with him about his behavior and the trouble he could cause for himself.  It is highly probable the man is perverted.  Hopefully this is the end of it but I am afraid in a larger scope as the world gets worse this is not the end.  The respect, love and sense of safety my wife feels because my friend and I did something to stand up for her is important to her.  There is little that the police can or would do other than it is caught on a trail camera as proof he was there in case more happens.

As you might understand my thoughts on this event are considerable. It could have turned into something life changing and the only reason I bring it up here on this forum is because it might help people have a greater understanding that platitudes alone are not enough with out real thought, understand and character.  It is a definite that God was there protecting my wife.  It is not good to be alone even as a man. Witnesses are important.  Showing strength and not fear is important. It is important to protect the weak.  Despite what modern feminism tells us a women is not able to stand up to a man.  

Another thing that few consider other is the cost of defense and the cost of doing nothing.  If you defend yourself no matter how or what happens there are many emotions and consequences to the actions you take.  I have looked into this as a firearms owner through an insurance program that gets deep into this.  The truth is that the absolute very last thing you ever want is to go through something like an event where you do have to defend yourself.  Doing nothing to protect my wife or loved ones is just unimaginable to me.  I cannot say I would respect someone who would not stand up for a weaker person. 

I have to say that when we take out the sensationalism of guns and talk about actual defense as it relates to a Bible subject it goes much deeper.

Often the extreme example is used to set panic in the minds of people to take some kind of action. So now people have to live panic stricken with their guns constantly by their sides waiting for that one incident that may come their way in life when they going to pull out that weapon and aim it and fire to defend themselves. What  life. I think this panic mindset has played well into the hands of the NRA, government and finally into the minds of those sick bastards who actually cause mass murder to, in their way, legitimise that panic. And then to top it all when that incident does happen then hardly anyone uses that weapon, that they have keeping next to them so long, to protect and defend themselves. What a country. 

What do you say to the FACT that those crimes usually happen in “gun-free” zones?  It appears that those criminals look preferentially, in the United States, where people are disarmed, to do those crimes.  I don’t think you understand the issue, if you think that the LEGAL stance of US law that people have a right to defend themselves and their families CAUSES these crimes.  If that were so, then Chicago, where gun ownership was banned for many years, should have had the lowest firearm murder rate rather than the highest.  Criminals get their firearms, whatever the law says.  You all just ensure that, in your entire country, no one can shoot back.  These gun laws are really “keep our criminals safe” laws.  Australia, what a country.

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Ecc_3:8  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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