Questions and Answers Concerning Self-Defense, Law Enforcement and the Military

Questions and Answers Concerning Self-Defense, Law Enforcement and the Military

How supportive can a Christian be of law enforcement and the military?

As good, Christian citizens it is not hypocritical to appreciate the role and function of law enforcement and the military while not engaging ourselves in combat-type situations where we would have to take someone’s life. Without local and national keepers of the peace, there would be chaos and very little freedom. We experience the freedoms we do because of the sacrifice of people who daily place their lives at stake for our benefit. There are supportive and even spiritual functions that Christians can fill for law enforcement and military personnel. It is important to remember that Christians are citizens of two countries. Our primary service and code of conduct is founded in the spiritual, but that does not preclude appreciation for the other.

It is also important that Christians not glamorize the function of government even though it serves an extremely useful function for those not living under grace. It does a disservice to our children to promote callings and jobs in this world that are not compatible with Christian living.

Is it wrong for a Christian to resort to physical violence in self-defense?

This question elicits many emotional responses and arguments. It is noteworthy that Christians (erringly) developed the “just war theory” in order to reconcile warfare with nonresistance teaching. The same can be done with self-defense on an individual level. Christ did not defend Himself when taken to be beaten and crucified. The apostles and thousands of martyrs did not retaliate or fight in self-defense when unjustly taken to their death. It defies logic not to resist when personally threatened, therefore it takes a divine grace and enablement from God to respond with the greater power of love and forgiveness.

There were times that the multitude attempted to capture Jesus and kill Him. Jesus evaded them and slipped away on more than one occasion. Hence, evasion from a wrong doer is different than physical defense. There are many scenarios that can be described to seemingly bring about a contradiction of this truth. I willingly acknowledge I would not take it upon myself to tell children not to resort to physical defense to escape from an abductor. God has promised not to put more on us than what we are able to bear, and I believe in extreme situations there is extreme grace and wisdom from God that we might be able to maintain spiritual integrity.