By Theodore Shoebat
The spiritual teachings of Christ are applied to Christian holy war and crusading. I did a video on this:
To explain this further, here is an excerpt for my upcoming book on Christian militancy:
When you look at the New Testament, the Apostles not governing a kingdom, they are doing everything they could within the confines of citizens and subjects: they were preaching, converting, baptizing. They were applying the teachings of Christ solely within the Church, and could not use the state for an ecclesiastical purpose. But even their actions were done to build up a kingdom, to gradually form Christendom. Right before Constantine took control of the empire, and commenced Christendom, the Roman empire was one third Christian, enough to influence the state and cause a revolution for a Christian government. Such a large amount of people was due to the preaching of the Apostles and their successors, and it was this labor and work that would eventually give birth to Christendom.
As soon as the Roman empire became under the control of Christian sovereigns, the laws of the Old Testament against idolatry, homosexuality, and other evils, began to be enacted. The teachings of Christ were now not just being done under the limits of the individual, or the Church, but were being applied through a governmental position, just as they were done in ancient Israel.
Christ said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) How could this be applied? Several ways: through martyrdom, through placing your life on the line for the advancement of Christianity, through holy war against the enemies of God. But before Christendom, how could this be applied? It was illustrated by those who taught and preached the Gospel at the peril of death, seeking martyrdom and not thinking for their own lives, or in being very committed to helping the poor, the widows and the orphans, or in exorcising demons. But with the rise of Christendom, these were no longer the only ways of carrying out this teaching of Christ.
Now, it could be applied to holy war, to the vanquishment of pagans and heretics. This is how it was applied in ancient Israel, for in the Scriptures, when king Josiah “executed all the priests of the high places” (2 Kings 23:20) “put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem” (2 Kings 23:24), and he “he brake down the houses of the sodomites,” (2 Kings 23:7) it describes him as obeying the first commandment of Christ, saying that he “turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might” (2 Kings 23:25).
Without Christendom, Christians follow the first command of Christ within the Church, or within their own lives, but through Christendom it is applied to crusading and through holy war. Actually, in the context of Christendom, Christian soldiers and officers can love God by slaying pagans and putting homosexuals to death.
Another example from Christ’s spiritual teachings is when He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) How is this commandment applied without Christendom? The Apostles carried it out through martyrdom; they expanded the Gospel throughout the world, without worry for their own lives, with fearlessness of death, armed with the Sword of the Spirit, crushing demons and their doctrines. How was it also applied within Christendom?
Through crusading, through taking up both the Sword of the Spirit and the temporal sword, and with a selfless disposition, to fight demons and their mortal followers. The first is martyrdom through persecution, and the other is martyrdom through holy war. Both surround a spiritual war, and both require the denial of the self and the carrying of the cross. Christ taught the warrior spirit of the ancient Israel, for the spirit of self-denial is found amongst the oldest of the holy combatants. Samson denied himself and took up his cross when he ended his life to kill off the pagan Philistines, and Uriah denied himself when he sacrificed himself for the glory of Israel.
Christ denied Himself when He suffered oppressions and died on the Cross to conquer the devil, for before His Passion, He told His Father, “not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Here are the words of self-denial, and placing oneself completely under Providence, and dedicating oneself utterly to God, in the face of a glorious battle done for the love of the Holy Trinity. It is the spirit of Christ that is within those Who die for Him, either in persecution or in crusading, for in both the denial of the self is accomplished.
The application of the first commandment of Christ to crusading was done by Christendom. During the First Crusade, one anonymous Christian warrior applied it to the fight against the Muslims:
When now that time was at hand which the Lord Jesus daily points out to His faithful, especially in the Gospel, saying, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” a mighty agitation was carried on throughout the region of Gaul. (Its tenor was) that if anyone desired to follow the Lord zealously, with a pure heart and mind, and wished faithfully to bear the cross after him, he would no longer hesitate to take up the way of the Holy Sepulchre. (The Gesta, ed. Edward Peters)