The actual daily practice of Christianity is a conundrum that swims against the tide of human nature and often even against the stark truths laid out in Scripture itself. Christ’s statement, “The poor you will always have with you” has not prevented some very commendable Christian attempts to alleviate poverty. Likewise, despite Christ’s foretelling of “wars and rumors of wars,” His followers constantly strive to “Give peace a chance.” The personal motivations for such actions are often noble. After all, we are told to live peaceably if it is at all possible and to care for those truly in need such as widows and orphans. However, not taking into consideration “the whole counsel of God” based on Christ’s command to be “wise as serpents” easily leads Christians into being constantly outsmarted by “the children of this world who are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” The effort to defend oneself in the court of public opinion while living according to biblical standards can easily twist Christians into a Useful Idiot knot. This has enabled an unsustainable welfare state while our national sovereignty is destroyed by Enemies Within.
Because for the most part Christians do not know their own history and only focus on the highlights they think matter (first there was Jesus, then the Apostle Paul wrote the New Testament, then the KJV fell out of the sky in 1611, and now there’s the Last Days of today when we’re supposed to lose ground to Satan because it will make the Rapture happen faster) there is no coherent defense against the repeated heresies which arise like vampires with each succeeding generation and require proper biblical exegesis and historical knowledge to stake them in the heart. Three of the earliest heresies that have come around again disarming Christians and causing them to preemptively surrender our civilization are Antinomianism (disregard of the Old Testament, especially the law), Marcionism (rejection of the “mean God” of the Old Testament in favor of the much nicer Jesus), and Montanism (belief in new revelation not based in Scripture). Even though the Old Testament is filled with violent acts, many at the direction of God Himself, and the New Testament uses the imagery of soldiers and warfare to describe the Christian life, because of the teachings of some of the early Church Fathers who embraced these heresies, Christianity took on a shroud of pacifism which has not been easy to shake off when the need has arisen.
Some strains of historical Christian pacifism arose unintentionally in defending against false claims. The second century Christian leader Athenagoras of Athens defended the Church against heinous charges of cannibalism in the partaking of the Lord’s Supper (“this is My flesh…this is My blood”) by pointing out that Christians would not even spectate at the gladiator games because “to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him.” It was not difficult to take this proper biblical argument against death for sport and turn it into a wider argument against death for self-defense much as “Love your neighbor” has been distorted into the tyranny of “Wear a mask and take the jab.”
The early church father Tertullian to whom we owe the term “Trinity” and the idea of “Church” as an actual building but who later fell into Montanism, took this anti-violence stance even further by declaring that military service itself was a sin because “no man can serve two masters.” This is the clothing of personal belief in a Scriptural veneer and then making it a command for others. We see the same thing today when pacifist Christians argue against personal gun ownership under the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” and then push to infringe upon the Second Amendment Rights of others.
The early church father Lactantius inadvertently planted the Woke seeds of “toxic masculinity” and “Love, Love, Love” by arguing that it was sinful to even personally defend oneself. “[A Christian] must at all times and in all places guard innocence. And this precept is not limited to this, that he should not himself inflict injury, but that he should not avenge it when inflicted on himself.” This belief led to arguments not only against unprovoked warfare, but also against “just warfare” in a good cause.
The pushback against these heresies by Early Church Christians who pointed to the abundance of God sanctioned violent acts in the Bible were discounted out of hand by Marcionites who rejected the “mean God” of the Old Testament and solely focused on the “nice” New Testament by fashioning a Christ of their own design who shared none of the violent traits of His Heavenly Father – much like the Winsome Hippy Jesus of American Christianity who is all about loving and affirming sinners. This led to Early Church heretics such as Origen interpreting inconvenient passages as merely metaphorical. We see this in Christians who believe spiritual warfare can only be fought on their knees.
This is not to disregard the noble martyrdom of untold thousands and thousands of Christians under the centuries of Roman rule. But there’s more to the story than the religiously romantic notion of converting to Christianity and then being fed to the lions as public entertainment. Except during times of extreme targeted persecution such as that under the reign of Diocletian and Nero and a few others for much shorter periods, Christians for the most part were left alone unless they were individually seen as a challenge to TPTB. Christians were not devoured by wild beasts in the arena every single day, because the authorities saw how counterproductive it was to send these brave individuals to horrific deaths in front of public spectators as persecution only made their numbers grow. Even though the Early Church Christians in whole most likely outnumbered the Roman armies, there never was an armed insurrection against them. This is not necessarily owing to pacifism, but, rather, to the reality that an armed rebellion by Christians against the massive power of Rome would have been as successful as one launched by the millions of Christians in Communist China today. America, though, is not Ancient Rome or even Communist China. Our surrender to evil and cluelessly speaking of “suffering persecution for Christ” has nothing in common with the Early Church’s state of affairs. The Apostle Paul, who used every legal method at his disposal to “fight the power” even to the point of appealing to Caesar, would slap us silly for allowing a once Christian society to descend below the depths of Sodom. American Christians will not suffer noble martyrdom, but, rather, the ignoble fate of Lot.
Christ’s command in Luke 22:36 to “sell your cloak and buy a sword” was as troublesome to pacifistic Early Church leaders as it is for today’s “just turn the other cheek” advocates. It is interesting to note that these men of the first through third centuries lived during a time of national stability under a strong Roman government. The Caesars of their day were pagan, but the laws were clear and enforced and their national and individual safety were secured by a strong military. But by the 4th century AD, Rome was in sharp decline, its government irretrievably corrupt, and its citizens faced an existential threat from invading barbarians. It was then that Christians began to question in earnest the prospect of self-defense versus pacifism and it was a Church leader of that time, Augustine of Hippo, who formulated the Just War Theory which created the blueprint for WWJD type warfare western nations have tried to follow. The conditions are: having a just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used. These conditions are all laid out in A New Declaration Of Independence.
So why won’t Christians fight? They won’t fight because they are under the influence of Church leaders who themselves don’t know their own history and have adopted the heresies of Antinomianism (we should only preach the Gospel), Marcionism (we should love, love, love just like “Nice Jesus”) or “woke” Montanism. It is not WWJD to allow a Communist takeover of our country. It is a demonic heresy. If Christians understood and followed the biblical teaching expounded in the biblically based Just War Theory, we’d have started fighting long before it got to this point.