A Facebook Conversation on Pacifism

  Kevin Craig The conversation began with a hypothetical about a robber in a Best Buy wanting to steal a TV. What happens if the Best Buy doesn't allows guns in its stores, especially for employees?
No Guns in Best Buy
My position would still be "Thou shalt not kill." Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I wouldn't want someone to kill me if I were nuts enough to try to steal a TV from a Best Buy.
Maul Panata Well Kevin, if you hold the position that violently resisting is *impermissible*, then you invite these "crazy counterexamples." We can think of an all things considered impermissibility claim as the ethical version of an impossibility claim. The latter claim, p is impossible, can be shown false by a situation where p is possible. The limits of possibility are pretty broad! So I presented a case that could happen in our world, with the very same Bible, etc. If it'd be permissible to press the button and send the arrow flying, and we had the same Bible in this world, then the Bible can't teach the impermissibility of such an action. So what's your answer? My position is that "killing" is a violation of the command "Thou shalt not kill." I don't see why that "invites" insincere hypotheticals.

No matter how "feasible," I would not kill someone. If you can create a hypothetical where killing is possible, I can create a hypothetical where non-violent disabling is possible, and that's the option I would choose.

It is not permissible to intentionally kill.

Kyle S Rushnell Best case for pacifism:
Does Piper offer a Reader's Digest version of this dissertation? I searched for the word "pacifism" and couldn't find it.
Gene Pineda "Nevertheless, I'll let Gene expand or explain his comment if he wishes. I do know he's a universalist, so he won't have the problem of sending anyone off to hell for eternity." - HAHAHAHA  
Maul nailed it. Pacifism seems to rely heavily on interpretations that require a "no exception" approach. Kevin, you say you wouldn't say "take em all" but that's what you would do no? Sure you might tell him he's on a fast track to hell, but then you'd give him another TV. I would not encourage theft. I would try to deter theft.

I wouldn't encourage him to kill me, either. Jesus said give to him who asks. I give money when Obama asks for it, and also when private sector thieves ask for it, because if I don't, they might kill me. My life is worth more than a TV set. But so is the thief's.

I have good pacifist friends, and I admire them greatly, but I still see that there are times where harsh reactions (what some call violence) is required in order to stop the true violence. Murder is "required" to stop the theft of a TV? Seriously?: Where is that principle found in the Bible?
Steve Hays Kevin Craig 
"I often wonder about people who come up with all these anti-pacifist hypotheticals."
Well, since Kevin disdains hypotheticals, i think we should all pitch in to buy him a one-way ticket to Mogadishu. That will give him a chance to practice his armchair pacifism in a real-world situation. Up to the challenge, Kevin? Suppose I responded by saying that for years I felt a call to the mission field in Somalia, but I didn't have time to do the fundraising, and I'm now delighted to find someone willing to help me. Would you really take up this challenge? I think you would conclude that I was nuts and wouldn't raise a dime. So I'm chalking this up to another insincere anti-pacifist hypothetical.
"Kevin Craig I would say, "If you don't pay for it, you're guilty of theft. What is Jesus going to say about that when you stand before him as Judge?"  
Yes, because armed-robbers are typically devout Christians who will quake at your question. They quake if the Spirit convicts them. And the Spirit often uses the Word planted in the ear of a sinner.
"In other words, I'm going to 'witness.' Interestingly, the Greek word often translated 'witness' in the NT is 'martus,' from which we derive the English word 'martyr.'"  
Even more interestingly, the Greek work often translated "power" in the NT is "dunamis," from which we derive the English word "dynamite."
Therefore, the clerk should evangelize the robber by tucking some C-4 in the TV box, so that the robber will go out with a bang when he makes his getaway.
I sure don't see any logical "therefore" there.

Probably just more anti-pacifist insincerity.
"I can't see how a faithful Christian would say, "I refuse to be a martyr like Jesus" (1 Peter 2:21-24).  
Well, Kevin, why don't you lead by example? There are lots of hot spots around the world where you can put that into practice. Inspire us! There's 2k years of missionary stories to inspire you. There's also Foxe's Book of Martyrs. True Christians follow Jesus and suffer martyrdom rather than kill someone created in the Image of God.
"I would say the mentality of 'I will kill anyone who tries to take my TV' is what transformed America from a Christian republic…"  
That's funny. I thought our republic was made possible by the Revolutionary War. So George Washington was a pacifist. Who knew! The Revolutionary War was a plain violation of Romans 13. It is an example of the "mentality" I spoke of. The Red Coats demanded 1/20 of the amount the IRS demands today, and backsliding colonial Americans murdered them rather than pay their taxes. Where is THAT in the Scriptures? Jesus said Render unto George III. If America's Founders were justified in killing publicans in 1776, why don't Christian patriots kill IRS agents today? More insincerity on the part of anti-pacifists.

It was all downhill from 1776.

"…into an atheistic militaristic empire that overthrows other governments around the world and funds terrorists like the Mujahideen and ISIS."  
Back in the days of the Cold War we supported some Middle Eastern regimes to check the expansion of Communism. We (i.e., neo-conservatives in U.S. government) supported terrorists in order to destabilize certain governments. Was it wrong for ordinary Russian civilians to use bombs and machine guns against their government (Romans 13)? I think so. So why was it OK for the U.S. to employ hired guns to do the same thing?

Especially after the U.S. invested so much money and American lives to protect communism from Hitler's advances?

"God says 'Thou shalt not kill.' That means I need to be a little more creative."  
No, it says don't commit "murder." Of course it means "don't commit murder." Are you saying the commandment does NOT prohibit killing? The same Hebrew word in Exodus 20:13 is used elsewhere to speak of involuntary manslaughter:

(Deuteronomy 4:42) That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:

See also Numbers 35. God wants us to be so careful with the lives of others that we don't even commit involuntary manslaughter. "Thou shalt not kill." The Westminster Larger Catechism says the 6th Commandment forbids:

the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and: Whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.

Moreover, quoting the OT to prooftext pacifism certainly means you need to be very "creative," considering all the capital offenses and laws of warfare. On what basis is pacifism on my part refuted by an Old Covenant command for priests and elders to shed the blood of certain criminals to make atonement for polluting the Promised Land?

On what basis is pacifism on my part refuted by an Old Covenant command for priests and elders to torch entire cities in Canaan as whole burnt offerings to make atonement for polluting the Promised Land?