Enemy-Love & Self-Defense, War, and the Death Penalty
This week Pastor Mike took the non-violent teachings of Jesus we have been studying in the Sermon on the Mount and explored how they might apply to common issues of self-defense, war, and the death-penalty.
Here are some questions to help you think through the message, discuss it with others, and apply it:
- Have you ever thought about what the Christian stance might be towards these controversial issues of violence? If so, what you have usually been taught or thought about them? Did anything in Scripture of in Pastor Mike’s sermon make you re-think an opinion you already held?
- Pastor Mike mentioned that the entire New Testament (even the book of Revelation) follows in line with Jesus’ focus on enemy-love. Do you agree or disagree? What verses or passages in Scripture might support your thinking?
- What were your thoughts on the following sayings from the sermon:
- As a Christian, I cannot kill a non-Christian for the state, someone who Jesus died for and whom God desires to be saved, as I am called to love my enemies and preach the Gospel to all. It would be rendering to Caesar what is God’s.
- As a Christian, I cannot kill a fellow Christian for the state – one of God’s very own children and a brother or sister of mine in Christ. It would also be rendering to Caesar what is God’s.
- As a Christian, to impose the death penalty would be fundamentally disagreeing with the heart of the Gospel that no one is irredeemable and that our work as Christians is to minister to those in prison (Matthew 25).
- What issues in your own life, in politics or culture, or in philosophy in general do you find have the most tension with Jesus’ exception-less clause to loving our enemies and doing good (acting kindly and generously) to even the worst people around us? Have you prayed, studied the Scriptures, and discussed these issues through with your family and Christian community?