Christian Sword Verses. A Reminder

0. In Matthew 7:1-5*, we read

1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

1. A case in point: In his January 11, 2017, Crisis Magazine article, “Christian, Muslim, or Secular Neighbors—Does It Matter?” Peter Maurice writes**:

Now I know many Christians of various “rooms,” armed and pacifist, but not one who threatens a “neighbor” with violence because of his beliefs. As Pope Francis warns, Christians, like Muslims, murder their wives. They also embezzle and lust and cheat on their taxes. In other words, they are sinners. But when they lie, cheat, and murder, they search the scriptures in vain for doctrines like “taqiyya” and “jihad” to sanction lying and violence against infidels.

2. In the interests of brevity, I’ll set aside for present purposes the question of whether Christian liars, when they lie, will search the scriptures in vain for texts which sanction lying. The point I wish to make in the present post is that it is just not the case that Christian sinners, when they murder, will search the scriptures in vain for texts which sanction violence against infidels.

The Christian sinners in question need hardly be Biblical scholars; the simplest of online searches for, say, “violence in the Old Testament” quickly reveals there to be a number of Biblical texts offering, not just divine sanction of engaging in violence, but divine commandments to engage in violence, in some instances violence specifically against infidels. Take, for example the statement in Exodus 22:20.

Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.

Or take the more extensive set of recommendations in Deuteronomy 13, the entirety of which rewards the reading but only the last third of which I will quote:

12If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in 13that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), 14then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely,a both its people and its livestock. 16You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, 17and none of the condemned thingsb are to be found in your hands. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— 18because you obey the LORD your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.

3. Nor will it do to simply dismiss that passage as but a part of the Old Testament, for there are the passages in the New Testament that claim Old Testament law as its own, one that of Matthew 5: 17-18:

17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

and another that of Matthew 10:34-36:

34“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35“For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.

4. I will close by suggesting to Mr. Maurice that Christians who criticize the “sword verses” of the scripture of Islam should remember and attend to the planks in their own eyes, for their scripture too has its sword verses.

Until next time,

Richard

*All Biblical texts quoted in this post are taken from http://biblehub.com/.

**http://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/christian-muslim-secular-neighbors-matter.

About Rchard E. Hennessey

See above, "About the Author/Editor."
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