By Thomas King
What is the biblical justification for Christian militancy (Crusades, holy war, punishing homosexuality)?
The foundation of our understanding of these issues has a basis fundamentally in the very first book of Holy Scripture, Genesis. Sadly, one of the greatest attacks to the foundation of the Christian Faith begins with attacks on Genesis first. It is already bad enough to see the pseudo-scientific theory of Darwinian evolution gaining way in the education system and society to the point of creating amoral, careless and selfish minded people in the modern world. It is even worse that it has been accommodated by professing Christian churches through the various theological colleges bringing out evolutionists in the pulpits. However, the greatest tragedy of all is that even amongst those that profess to believe in the literalness of Genesis, there are many who cannot see the fundamental issues of Righteous Rule and militancy against evil, due to being neutralised by godless ideas from both the Reformation and the Enlightenment of “separation of church and state”, which has no foundation whatsoever in Holy Scripture nor the Fathers for that matter.
In Genesis, we find that God is a God of not only order but also a God that upholds justice and righteousness to the point of fighting with it. We only need to look at what happened in the Garden of Eden to see that God did not tolerate Adam and Eve’s disobedience of taking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and thus not only drove them out, but even put cherubims and a sword to stop Adam and Eve from going back to the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:24). Initially, God would have decreed death for Cain for his murder of righteous Abel but allowed him to be spared to prove a point to the rest of humanity. Instead of Cain repenting as a result of God sparing him the death sentence, rebellion was more brazen to the point where one of his descendants, Lamech, was boasting about him committing murder and injuring someone and about Cain being avenged sevenfold and he seventy and seven fold. (Genesis 4:23, 24)
The lesson of God for humanity by allowing wicked people to be spared from the correct punishment and opting for a “lighter” sentence (which the perpetrator will always complain that it was too heavy for him, as did Cain. Genesis 4:13), always leads to more brazenness in wickedness rather than repentance. This is the same lesson that is given by the time we get to the Great Deluge that covered the whole earth, with only Noah and his family being spared. Genesis 6:3-7 actually highlights the total state of anarchy regarding the wicked state of the earth being filled with violence and all manner of wickedness. We are even told by God that He has granted humanity another 120 years (v3) before He finally decides to take action against the whole earth but first makes a rescue plan for Righteous Noah and family.
By the time the Great Flood is over and God starts a covenant with Noah, which is extended to the whole earth, He thus issues a decree for government, namely: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:5, 6). The object lesson is thus clear now: sparing the wicked and settling for lighter punishments only emboldens the wicked in their wickedness, and thus it is necessary to act with full force against wickedness, even unto the point of using the sword to put the wicked to death. Indeed, the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men. (I Corinthians 1:25).
It is not in vain therefore that King Solomon in Ecclesiastes thus stated regarding the execution of justice: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). Hence, we can see clearly that God is a God of order and justice, and by allowing wicked people to not be dealt with accordingly, He is illustrating to humanity that sparing wickedness only encourages evil in the earth and thus issues the decree to Noah regarding human government that murderers must pay with their own lives and be executed by man himself. God is a God of justice and righteousness! Even the Blessed St. Paul not only states that the ruler “beareth not the sword in vain” (Romans 13:4) but also gives this clear statement: “For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die.” (Acts 25:11)
If St. Paul made it clear that one who commits acts worthy of death is should receive the due sentence of death, who do modern day Christians think they are to deny the validity of this?! Do they suppose that they are more wise and enlightened than the Apostles, even Christ our God? These same fools forget that the repentant criminal on the cross next to Christ stated: “And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” (Luke 23:41) Notice that this repentant criminal never asks for clemency for his sentence but rather for salvation by thus pleading with our Lord:
“Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” (Luke 23:42), to which our Lord gives him this promise: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
If even a repentant criminal could see the validity of being punished with death and also of the need to repent before the Lord, how much more should we! The modernistic minded foolish Christians would love to quote John 7:53-8:11 regarding Christ sparing an adulteress whilst denying its validity based on “manuscript evidence”, thus revealing that they are not true believers in Scripture but simply users of Scripture. What they fail to mention is that Christ was acting as a just judge in the face of a very obvious trap, whereby only the adulteress was presented for condemnation without the adulterer, as the Law of Moses properly demands, which they only half quoted deliberately. Considering that there was an obvious cover-up, our Lord Jesus Christ does what He did at Mt. Sinai when giving Moses the 10 Commandments: Wrote with His finger, but this time on the dirt of the ground. The Gospel does not give us any clear indication of what was actually written but Holy Tradition of the Apostles does mention it. Holy Tradition mentions that the sins of each of the accusers was written out on the dirt for all to see, amongst which was the name of the adulterer himself. In addition, by our Lord doing such an action, he was fulfilling Jeremiah 17:13: “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.”
Thus, since these Pharisees had departed from Jehovah, Christ Himself, they would thus have their names written in the earth as a sign against them. Our Lord by doing such an action to expose the real culprits and the hypocrisy of these evil mens’ actions, thus asked them now to cast the first stone and thus the passage follows. “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” (John 8:9). Their conscience is pricked since their hypocrisy has been exposed and the culprit has been shown up. At this point, our Lord asks the woman “Where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” (John 8:10). The woman thus replies: “No man, Lord.” To which, our Lord thus grants this pardon with a condition: “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) Our Lord Jesus Christ was acting both as a just Jewish judge and also granting this woman pardon with a condition of repentance. Our Lord was not in any way shape or form trying to commute the death sentence that is due for crimes declared worthy of death! He simply was upholding justice and correcting the woman’s behaviour. Modern Christians fail to understand this and refuse to due to their own hypocrisies.
In regards to fighting evil, not only is murder treated as gross evil and so is violence (which is not about fighting but rather by definition, deliberately violating someone), we also discover that the sin of homosexuality/sodomy is also treated as a gross sin worthy of destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is clearly evident from Genesis Chapter 19 and even in the New Testament, St. Jude had this to say: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)
It is noteworthy that even before their destruction, Sodom and Gomorrah had accumulated huge amounts of wealth and instead of acknowledging God as the source of goodness, became proud and thus started committing both violence and injustice as well as the sin of sodomy/homosexuality, which they became renowned for. (Ezekiel 16:49, 50) This is testified even by the unbelieving Jewish rabbis in the Talmud:
“Our Rabbis taught: The men of Sodom have no portion in the future world, as it is written, But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly wicked — in this world, and sinners — in respect of the world to come. Rab Judah said: [They were] wicked — with their bodies [i.e., immoral] and sinners — with their money [i.e.. uncharitable]. ‘Wicked — with their bodies,’ as it is written, How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?…” (Sanhedrin 109a) [Note: Here the Rabbis before going into the other sins of Sodom and Gomorrah in accordance with Ezekiel 16:49, 50 which state clearly what Sodom and Gomorrah’s sins were, which begin with pride, idleness and lack of compassion to the poor to the last being that they were haughty and then “committed abomination” before me. All these sins along with the final abomination of homosexual acts brought God’s punishment. Note that first came the other evil sins and then finally this one. Notice that the Rabbis in the Talmud also hint at this particular sin by stating: “Wicked-with their bodies,’ as it is written, How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”. Clearly, the Talmud saw the sin of homosexual acts as part and parcel of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah along with the others!] [Emphasis mine]
Not only this, but we discover even from these unbelieving rabbis, that one of the main causes for the Flood/Great Deluge in the time of Noah is due to this particular sin of homosexuality/sodomy. In the Midrash, in 2 places, the sin of homosexuality/sodomy as well as the sin of bestiality is cited as the cause for God to send the Flood to punish the earth:
“The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote marriage documents for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.” (Midrash Rabbah Genesis 26:9)
“Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rabbi Joseph, ‘The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote גמומסיות (either sexual hymns or marriage documents) for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.'” (Genesis Rabbah 26:5; Leviticus Rabbah 23:9)
Even the Talmud actually lists amongst the sins that Noahides (righteous Gentiles who descend from Noah) shun and avoid are: cannibalism or encouraging the eating of human flesh and also the sin of homosexuality or writing marriage contracts between 2 men. (Talmud Bavli, Chulin 92a—b)
If even such sins merited both the Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, how can the modern day Christian have such gall to say: “We are under grace. All this is Old Testament. We are in the New Testament!”? God makes a clear point of this by decreeing the death sentence for this sin of sodomy along with bestiality and murder along with adultery and incest in Leviticus 18:22-25 and in Leviticus 20:11-24. If we think God changed his mind in the New Testament, then we are deluded since in Romans 1:23-32, not only are most of the abominations in Old Testament Scripture listed such as idolatry, false witness, homosexual behaviour, and others, but even states clearly in v32 that all who commit such are: “worthy of death”.
Even our Lord Jesus Christ had this solemn warning to give to an apostate generation: “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32) Clearly, our Lord Jesus Christ saw the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as serious enough to be a warning to the modern day Christians who foolishly believe that all sin is the same and that grace covers all evil. St. John Chrysostom, Father of the Church had this to say regarding this foul sin:
“All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men… There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (Of the Epistle to the Romans Homily IV).
Do modern Christians think St. Paul was joking when he stated clearly in I Corinthians 6:9-11 that the “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do modern day Christians think St. John was joking in the last book of Holy Scripture, the Apocalypse/Revelation, when he stated clearly that amongst those who would be excluded from the New Jerusalem and from the kingdom of God, would be the “abominable” and “dogs”. (Apocalypse/Revelation 21:8) Not only was the sin of homosexuality called an abomination in the Old Testament, the sodomites were also called: “dogs” in Deuteronomy 23:17, 18. Clearly, the testimony of Scripture, both Old and New Testament is abundantly clear that the sin of homosexuality/sodomy is an abomination worthy of punishment in both this world and the next. People are quick to forget that due to the apostasy occurring in Judges of “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25), [something that was warned against by Moses (Deuteronomy 12:8)], we had the sodomites causing trouble from the tribe of Benjamin to the point of causing civil war to occur with Judah delivering the blow to Benjamin in the end. (Judges Chapters 19-21) Has the church forgotten that toleration of evil, particularly this kind of evil, will lead to disastrous results for any nation or kingdom?
Righteous rulers in Israel actually removed the sodomites from the land such as was the case of Righteous Kings Asa, Jehoshaphat and Josiah. (I Kings 15:12; 22:46; II Kings 23:7) and even Emperor Constantine, when he first became a believer in Christ, the first thing he did before ascending the throne was to destroy a pagan temple filled with sodomites. Righteous Emperors in the Byzantine Empire such as Theodosius and Justininan also did the same in relation to the pagans and the sodomites.
Because of the godless Reformation and the Enlightenement eras, not only do we have toleration of evil, we also have promotion of evil to the point whereby it would be stated that to punish evil harshly would make you “graceless” or even a “tyrant”. As stated earlier, the foundations have been attacked starting from Genesis, and thus have paved way for modern day anarchy in the churches. Due to the faulty foundation of “separation of church and state”, we have churches misusing the name of “grace” to not only tolerate evil, but also to even tolerate evil in government too.
This goes contrary to the last words of King David given to him by the whole of the Holy Trinity, (which the modern versions butcher as they do many verses, hence the reason for me sticking to the King James Bible with the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals) of: “He that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (II Samuel 23:1-3).
You will hardly find a single church preaching on these words ever due to ignorance and also the godless cultural mentality today. We also have a clear decree from God to have righteous rule not only there but in many other passages of Holy Scripture. You only need to read Exodus 18: 20, 21 and also Joel 2:17-19 whereby it is clear that God intends for righteous rulership and for wicked people to rule is a matter of rebuke on the sins of the people of God. We even have a rhetorical question put forth by Righteous King David to God in the Psalms, which states: “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” (Psalm 94:20) The answer is an obvious no and is also answered in Psalm 94:23, whereby the consequences of being a wicked ruler is made clear: God shall cut such a person off and shall bring their own iniquity upon them.
It is clear that God is a God of righteous order and expects the same in the realm of government. Many deluded Christians believe that Romans 13 was advocating blind submission to a godless ruler such as Nero but nothing could be further from the truth. As a very well read teacher of the Old Testament, St. Paul would be well aware of the implications of righteous rulership as discussed earlier but also, was acting in the wisdom of the Spirit of God by using certain terms such as “minister of God” , thus avoiding suspicion of conspiracy on the part of the godless Caesar, Nero. Simultaneously, it is clear from the passage, that God was making clear what His expectations of a ruler is supposed to be, namely, a “terror to evil”, “beareth not the sword in vain” and “a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”. (Romans 13:4) St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles even states clearly: “Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” (I Peter 2:17) The intent of Christian government is to punish evil and remove the land from evil doers as was evident in the rulership of King David, King Asa, King Jehoshaphat, King Josiah, Emperors Constantine, Theodosius and Justinian.
In regards to Christian warfare against pagans, evil doers and for that matter, against evil in general, there are many Scriptural examples that have already been mentioned. What should be pointed out is that when the commission by Yahweh/Jehovah was given to Israel to go into the land of Canaan to possess it, that this admonition regarding the evil behaviour of the inhabitants was noted: “And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18:25-30)
The sins listed in that chapter and in chapter 20 include homosexuality/sodomy, incest, bestiality, offering human sacrifices to idols, witchcraft and occult practices. It is noteworthy that when Israel allowed herself to be corrupted by such practices, that God also sent them strong punishment via foreign invaders and even being driven off the land that God had given them, as is evidenced constantly throughout the Old Testament, starting with the book of Judges going through to the Book of the Kings, which eventually led to many foreign rulers and evictions as well as untold slavery on the Jewish people. The Church as partakers of the Commonwealth of Israel (NOT A REPLACEMENT! Ephesians 2:12), is also accountable and doubly so, due to the knowledge of the true Messiah and God in the flesh, Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha Maschiach. Our eviction from various lands that were once ours should have been warning to us of apathy towards evil in our midst, not to mention the fact that “Judgment must begin in the house of God” (I Peter 4:17). Fighting evil in our midst is necessary too if we also want Christendom to shine forth.
Many Christians have conveniently forgotten that God is a “man of war” when it comes to dealing with evil doers. Exodus 15:3 states clearly: “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” Hence it is no surprise that he urges Israel to take arms against the godless and evil Canaanites as well as the other evil native peoples in the Promised Land in fulfilment also of a prophecy made by Noah when he cursed Ham, one of his sons, for dishonouring him. (Genesis 9:25). When they fail to carry out a clear command by God to eliminate these evildoers, they become thorns in their sides and cause greater problems for Israel later as clearly warned in Judges 2:1-4. Worse than that, they even imitated their evil practices as is evidenced in the rest of the chapter and in the whole of the book of Judges, thus reaping judgment of foreign invaders on themselves.
When you tolerate evil and evil people, it is only a matter of time that you get corrupted by evil! The Wisdom of Solomon (which Protestants conveniently are unaware of but is retained in the Catholic and Orthodox Bible and even retained in the original King James Bible) has this to state as to why God wanted Israel to wipe out the evil inhabitants of Canaan when entering in:
“For it was thy will to destroy by the hands of our fathers both those old inhabitants of thy holy land, Whom thou hatedst for doing most odious works of witchcrafts, and wicked sacrifices; And also those merciless murderers of children, and devourers of man’s flesh, and the feasts of blood, With their priests out of the midst of their idolatrous crew, and the parents, that killed with their own hands souls destitute of help: That the land, which thou esteemedst above all other, might receive a worthy colony of God’s children. Nevertheless even those thou sparedst as men, and didst send wasps, forerunners of thine host, to destroy them by little and little. Not that thou wast unable to bring the ungodly under the hand of the righteous in battle, or to destroy them at once with cruel beasts, or with one rough word: But executing thy judgments upon them by little and little, thou gavest them place of repentance, not being ignorant that they were a naughty generation, and that their malice was bred in them, and that their cogitation would never be changed.” (Wisdom of Solomon 12:3-10)
It is interesting to note that the Maccabean family that fought against Antiochus Epiphanes for trying to force the Jews to abandon Yahweh/Jehovah for the pagan worship of Zeus and the Greek gods and goddesses, also had to pick up the sword against these Hellenists not only for idolatry, but for committing atrocities against the Jewish people. After a period of fighting the foreign enemy, much was needed to clean up the house of Israel and to wipe out the ungodly amongst Israel too. Hence, this is noted: “Thus the sword ceased from Israel: but Jonathan dwelt at Machmas, and began to govern the people; and he destroyed the ungodly men out of Israel.” (I Maccabees 9:73). To maintain peace, not only was the sword needed against the foreign enemy, but also to wipe out ungodly and wicked men in Israel too. Could it be possible that the Blessed St. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, had this in mind when he was penning the words for a ruler in Romans 13:1-7?
In addition to the above, we have the account of a Jewish woman, Judith, who beheaded one of the major enemies of Israel, Holofernes, an Assyrian general serving under Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and thus received this blessing from Ozias, one of the Jewish governors: “O daughter, blessed art thou of the most high God above all the women upon the earth; and blessed be the Lord God, which hath created the heavens and the earth, which hath directed thee to the cutting off of the head of the chief of our enemies.” (Judith 13:18)
This is affirmed even by the Apostolic Fathers such as St. Irenaeus of Lyons and St. Hippolytus. Notice that Judith is a picture of not just the Church militant and triumphant, but also of both restored Israel under Christ our God and also a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who is even called by the angel Gabriel: “Blessed art thou amongst women.” (Luke 1:28). In another similar picture, we have Jael who killed Sisera, one of the greatest enemies of Israel in the times of Barak and Deborah the prophetess, being hailed in this manner also: “Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.” (Judges 5:24)
Clearly, God has a special place for those who fight and rid the earth of evil doers and oppressors of His people. By eliminating the deuterocanonical books from Protestant bibles, many sincere but deluded Christians amongst the Protestants have missed out on many key gems, this being one of them. Sadly, a number of Catholics and Orthodox have been ignorant too, due to modernism and laziness in studying the Scriptures. Even women are good for the battling of evil too, as we have just seen!
Protestants that love to point to Abraham as the Jews do, do well to learn from his example. Abraham was not a weakling when push came to shove. His nephew was taken captive by godless kings that included the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and others, due to a battle that occurred between the Sodomites and other godless kings. When Abram (Abraham’s original name before having it changed by God Himself), discovered this through a servant, he took 318 of his armed servants and was able to put to flight the enemy and rescue Lot.
We then have an interesting scenario: Melchizedek, the High Priest for God and King of Salem [and most possibly, a pre-incarnate appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:3-5)] came forth to bless Abram and give him bread and wine (a picture of the Eucharist) as well as tithes. Notice the words of Melchizedek to Abraham: “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:19, 20).
God approved of Abraham engaging in holy war/Crusade against evil doers! Notice also that Abraham does not accept the offerings of the king of Sodom, since he knew that he would later on boast and say that he made Abram rich. (Genesis 14:23). This is also a lesson: Do not accept the offerings of the wicked, no matter how appealing they may be for they come at a deadly price. Abraham had the wisdom of God to see it whereas sadly, his descendants, the Israelites/Jews, did not and paid a bitter price for it in many ways throughout history.
St. John Chrysostom, in his Homily on Romans, gives this reason for the ruler to bear the sword against evil doers:
“But if you do that which is evil, be afraid. It is not then the ruler that makes the fear, but our own wickedness. For he bears not the sword in vain. You see how he has furnished him with arms, and set him on guard like a soldier, for a terror to those that commit sin. For he is the minister of God to execute wrath, a revenger upon him that does evil. Now lest you should start off at hearing again of punishment, and vengeance, and a sword, he says again that it is God’s law he is carrying out. For what if he does not know it himself? Yet it is God that has so shaped things . If then, whether in punishing, or in honoring, he be a Minister, in avenging virtue’s cause, in driving vice away, as God wills, why be captious against him, when he is the cause of so many good doings, and paves the way for yours too? Since there are many who first practised virtue through the fear of God. For there are a duller sort, whom things to come have not such a hold upon as things present. He then who by fear and rewards gives the soul of the majority a preparatory turn towards its becoming more suited for the word of doctrine, is with good reason called the Minister of God.” (Homily 23 on Romans) Here we have one of the best of Church Fathers giving a clear reason that the sword of the ruler is meant for good and not for evil, and not just anyone to abuse. The sword is meant for good when used to wipe out evil doers in the land and to defend the widows and orphans. This he also clarifies when giving a homily on Psalm 82:3, 4, he states: “It is no true mercy for a ruler to spare the wicked and to punish the innocent.” (Commentary on Psalms, Vol. 2)
People thus ask: “Do you believe in the Crusades? Do you support injustice against Eastern Orthodox Christians and Jews?”To this, I can state that the Crusades was purely against heresy, particularly the grand heresy turned into a major worldwide cult of Islam. The intent of Pope Urban II in issuing the Crusades was not to butcher Eastern Orthodox Christians (who were considered as separated brethren despite the Great Schism of 1054AD) nor even to attack the Jews, but to deal with Islam’s consistent behaviour of destruction of Christian churches in the Holy Land and of persecuting Christian pilgrims, not to mention the forcible conversion of Eastern Christians to Islam. Many of the kingdoms in the Middle East were once Christian lands or at least with a significant Christian majority prior to the arrival of Islam.
The moment Muhammad came into being with his antichrist religion, he was putting both Jews and Christians alike to either the sword or forcible jizya taxation when he acquired the power, not to mention other wicked behaviours. Despite being separated by the Great Schism of 1054 AD, Eastern Christians still held out hope of reconciliation at some point, and thus appealed to Pope Urban II for help. In his speech to the Crusaders, he stated clearly this:
“For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impurity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them. On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ’s heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it.” (Bongars, Gesta Dei per Francos, 1, pp. 382 f., trans in Oliver J. Thatcher, and Edgar Holmes McNeal, eds., A Source Book for Medieval History, (New York: Scribners, 1905), 513-17)
I wish to ask the critics, where was Jews mentioned? Where were Eastern Orthodox mentioned except to be protected and helped?
What should be noted is that when there were some foolish and brutish people amongst the Crusaders, who could not discriminate between friend and foe, and started attacking Orthodox Christians and Jews, not only were those responsible for the sacking of Constantinople were excommunicated, but also there were bishops who actually saved Jews from destruction in the Holy Land. This is discussed in more detail by Rodney Stark in his book, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (2010). What must be noted however, is St. Bernard of Clairvaux in both his support of the Crusades but strong criticism against atrocities committed against Jews as well as Eastern Orthodox Christians. In his letter to the Lords and the clergy as well as the soldiers involved in the Crusades from Eastern France and Bavaria, he states clearly regarding the Jews:
The Jews must not be persecuted, slaughtered, nor even driven out. Inquire of the pages of Holy Writ. I know what is written in the Psalms as prophecy about the Jews. “God hath commanded me,” says the Church, “Slay them not, lest my people forget. They are living signs to use, representing the Lord’s passion. For this reason they are dispersed into all regions, that now they may pay the just penalty of so great a crime, and that they may be witnesses of our redemption. Wherefore the Church, speaking in the same Psalm, says, “Scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord, our shield.” So has it been. They have been dispersed, cast down. They undergo a hard captivity under Christian princes. Yet they shall be converted at even time, and remembrance of them shall be made in due season. Finally, when the multitude of the Gentiles shall have entered in, then, “all Israel shall be saved,” saith the apostle. Meanwhile he who dies remains in death.” (Letter to Eastern France and Bavaria Promoting Second Crusade, 1146)
In addition, St. Bernard of Clairvaux makes this clear statement against a stupid monk named Raoul who led attacks on Jews as well as a clear statement regarding the future redemption of the Jewish people:
[Side Note: If St. Bernard of Clairvaux saw future hope of redemption in the clear prophecies of Scripture for the Jewish people and strongly opposed atrocities being committed against them, how much more should Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants have a better attitude towards the Jewish people in light of their future redemption!]
“The fellow you mention in your letter [a monk named Raoul, who had urged violence against Jews as the Second Crusade was being organized] has received no authority from men or through men, nor has he been sent by God….I find three things most reprehensible in him: unauthorized preaching, contempt for episcopal authority, and incitation to murder. A new power forsooth! Does he consider himself greater than our father Abraham who laid down his sword at the bidding of him by whose command he took it up? Does he consider himself greater than the Prince of the Apostles who asked the Lord: “Shall we strike with our swords?” He is a fellow full of the wisdom of Egypt which is, as we know, foolishness in the sight of God. He is a fellow who answers Peter’s question differently to the Lord who said: “Put back thy sword into its place; all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.” Is it not a far better triumph for the Church to convince and convert the Jews than to put them all to the sword? Has that prayer which the Church offers for the Jews, from the rising up of the sun to the going down thereof; that the veil may be taken from their hearts so that they may be led from the darkness of error into the light of truth, been instituted in vain? If she did not hope that they would believe and be converted, it would seem useless and vain for her to pray for them. But with the eye of mercy she considers how the Lord regards with favor him who renders good for evil and love for hatred. Otherwise where does that saying come in, “Not for their destruction I pray,” and “When the fullness of the Gentiles shall have come in, then all Israel will be saved,” and “The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem, calling the banished sons of Israel home”? Who is this man that he should make out the Prophet to be a liar and render void the treasures of Christ’s love and pity? This doctrine is not his own but his father’s. But I believe it is good enough for him, since he is like his father who was, we know, “from the first a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies.” What horrid learning, what hellish wisdom is his!” (Letter to Henry, the Archbishop of Mainz)
Notwithstanding, St. Bernard of Clairvaux understood the need for Crusades to be issued against the Christ-denying Muslims, and stated clearly that the focus of the battle should be there:
“And now, for our sins, the enemies of Cross have raised blaspheming heads, ravaging with the edge of the sword the land of promise. For they are almost on the point, if there be not One to withstand them, of bursting into the very city of the living God, of the holy places of the spotless Lamb with purple blood. Alas! they rage against the very shrine of the Christian faith with blasphemous mouths, and would enter and trample down the very couch on which, for us, our Life lay down to sleep in death.
What are you going to do then, O brave men? What are you doing, O servants of the Cross? Will you give what is holy to the dogs, and cast your pearls before swine? How many sinners there, confessing their sins with tears, have obtained pardon, after the defilement of the heathen had been purged by the swords of your fathers! The wicked man sees and is grieved; he gnashes with his teeth, and consumes away. He prepares the instruments of sin, and will leave no sign or trace of so great piety, if ever (which God forbid!) he gain possession of this holiest of holy places. Verily that would be an irremediable grief to all time, an irrecoverable loss, a vast disgrace to this most graceless generation, and an everlasting shame….Since, therefore, your land is fruitful in brave men, and is known to be full of robust youth, since your praise is in the whole world, and the fame of your valor has filled the entire earth, gird up your loins manfully, and take up arms in zeal for the Christian name. Let not your former warlike skill cease, but only that spirit of hatred in which you are accustomed to strike down and kill one another and in turn be overcome yourselves. How dire a madness goads those wretched men, when kinsmen strike each other’s bodies with the sword, perchance causing the soul also to perish! But he does not escape who triumphs; the sword shall go through his own soul also, when he thinks to have slain his enemy only. To enter such a combat is madness, not valor: it is not to be ascribed to bravery, but rather to foolishness.
But now, O brave knight, now, O warlike hero, here is a battle you may fight without danger, where it is glory to conquer and gain to die. If you are a prudent merchant, if you are a desirer of this world, behold I show you some great bargains; see that you lose them not. Take the sign of the cross and you shall gain pardon for every sin that you confess with a contrite heart.” (Letter to Eastern France and Bavaria, Ibid.)
So here we have a very clear understanding of the purpose of the Crusades was to combat Islam, in light of both the heresy of denying Christ and also committing atrocities against Christians in Jerusalem and the Middle East. In fact, St. Bernard of Clairvaux was acting in the same spirit as Righteous Nehemiah, when he armed the children of Israel when they faced threat of attack from the enemy and also in the spirit of Righteous Queen Esther, who also had her people, the Jews armed when threatened by the likes of Haman, after first executing Haman and having the king reverse the evil that Haman plotted via a decree. (Nehemiah 4:10-20, Esther 8:11-13).
And yet we have stupid modernistic Christians who say: “That is all Old Testament. We are in the New Testament. It is all about grace.” Due to such thinking, we not only have morally neutralised churches and emasculated Christians, but also we have a refusal to combat evil. What these foolish “New Testament” Christians forget to mention is that Christ made it clear that to show disregard for Moses and the Law, not to mention the Prophets and Writings, is to show contempt for Christ Himself. (John 5:46, 47). Christ is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and to thus spurn the Old Testament is also to spurn Christ, since not only is He called the Word of God, but also the Word was God. (John 1:1-3). Furthermore, we have a clear statement from the Blessed St. Paul regarding the Old Testament: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
Clearly, Christians are meant to learn from the Old Testament many key principles pertaining to life and godliness. Sadly and most obliviously, a number of these modern day Christians have become modern day Gnostics with the heresies of Marcion, the Bogomils and Paulicians combined, of namely attributing the Jehovah of the Old Testament to being an evil and malicious god and calling only the god of the New Testament as good but only to be recognised best in the Pauline Epistles and one or two of the Gospels. Such heresy is anathema to the Church and is to be termed as such.
Thus, we can see a very clear case from Holy Scripture and the Fathers of warring against evil and evil doers in this world, whether it is the sword of the soldier or the sword of the ruler or the sword of the Church against all the various forms of evil behaviour and heresies that have plagued the world. The foundations of Christendom thus have a clear basis in Holy Scripture and sadly, many have forgotten it and thus have caused untold evil on the world, not to mention the Church. Since the Church is the pillar and ground of truth (I Timothy 3:15), when the foundations are under attack in this world, then it is the duty of Christians to defend it rather than go along with the enemy and with Satan in seeking to destroy the Church from the earth.