Early Christians and War….

During my extensive three-year study of Christianity one of the things I learned was that during the early years of Christianity when a Roman soldier wanted to be a Christian the first thing he had to do was to find a new occupation. Early Christians believed that the collected words of Jesus, their founder, and being a warrior were not compatible. There are many places in the Bible where Jesus commented about soldiers. The most prevalent one was “Those who live by the sword die by the sword”. Jesus just did not condone violence in those around him. I know there are many Christian “hawks” out there who will pull up numerous places in the Old Testament where God supposedly condoned war and even vicious violence. But they will not find it in the new covenant that Jesus brought with him to this earth.

Studying beyond the early Christian era to those times after Constantine in the 4th century violence and war once again crept into the church. The Holy wars were the most glaring example of this fact. What happened between the time of the early Christians, that is the first two to three hundred years and the Holy wars?  When Constantine brought the political process into the church he brought false teachings with it.

Today many of the most fervent supporters of our military are found among the “Christian Evangelicals”. They not only accept war but they encourage it and even celebrate it. To me I align with the early Christian and therefore Jesus’ thoughts of war. Celebrating war and being a Christian is the same as oil and vinegar; they cannot be mixed. Jesus told us there are only two basic commandments from God in his new covenant and that is to love God and to love your fellow-man.  Giving life totally comes from God and when it ends must also come from God. When we kill our fellow-man for any reason we are actually killing a piece of God himself; love has nothing to do with that horrible condition.

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