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6.03.2007    |    Matthew 5:44
This simple verse is the source of major angst among Christians. It has led some, such as Anabaptists and Friends (Quakers), to proclaim that a peaceful response to any and all provocations is exactly what Jesus ordered.

If one simply read Matthew 5:44, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" it would be hard to argue with this. But, as with most other things biblical, one can't simply take a single verse and make it the totality of your Christianity.

The central problem with "love your enemies?" It makes God's love, which Jesus instructed us to emulate, overly simple and, actually, childish. God is not a child, and we mustn't impugn simplistic concepts to His love. A Christian may love his enemies, and still kill those who attempt to murder him.

A Christian may not murder, but he may kill in a just cause. Protecting the defenseless is always a just cause, and, as they say, the devil is in the details. I don't and won't address the war in Iraq; too much ink has been spilled on whether this is a "just war." My point, rather, concerns a global war that has been waged against Christians, and others who are not Muslim, for over 1,300 years.

Put at its simplest, Islam is a religion of conquest; of conquest not by persuasion or conscience, but by the sword. From the very beginning, and continuing to this very moment. They have, in fact, waged war against us. A global war. And this is a war that we need to engage on a global basis but seem to have left the field.

Sure, we brag about our forces in Afghanistan, and attempt to avert our gaze from the cockup that is the Bush legacy in Iraq. Every day, there is an atrocity, actual, or planned, by some Muslim group or another. The (thankfully) foiled plot by some Muslims to create havoc at JFK airport is but the latest incident. There will be more.

However, the war against militant Islam is only partly fought with armed forces. It is also a war of the spirit. Or, should I say, a war of the Spirit. As in Holy Spirit. Yes, we Christians must love our Muslim brothers and sisters, but must also not confuse love with surrender. We must, rather, love as God would love: with correction as needed to protect the defenseless. With correction as needed to protect our God-given right to worship the Son.

As Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6:10).

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.