Christians and self-defense (part 2)
What does the Bible say about Christians acting in self-defense? Do Christians have permission to act in self-defense? What are the Biblical permissions of the citizen vs. the state?
Two important distinctions: Citizens and the state.
- A citizen does not have total permission to use the “sword.” (Romans 13:1-4)
- A citizen does not have permission to seek revenge. (Romans 12:19, Matthew 5:39)
- A citizen has permission to be armed in self-defense. (Luke 22:36, Matthew 26:52)
- A citizen has limited permission to attack an assailant. (Exodus 22:1-4)
- A citizen’s punishment for the wrongful killing of another citizen is death. (Genesis 9:6)
State (law enforcement, judicial system, military):
- The state is permitted to use the “sword.” (Romans 13:1-4)
- The state is permitted to kill during war. (Deut. 20:1-4)
- The state has permission to exact revenge and exercise capital punishment. (Romans 13:1-4, Numbers 35:30-31)
What does this mean for us going forward with a new understanding of self-defense?
- We should not seek for violence.
- We should always seek to save life, rather than kill.
- We should only use lethal force when absolutely necessary, under the restrictions given by the Bible.
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