By Theodore Shoebat
Rogue Americans have joined Christian militias in Iraq to fight and drive out ISIS and to retake Christian lands. These Americans and native Iraqi Christians are no doubt modern day crusaders, picking up their crosses to strive with exertion and endure for a Christian cause. According to Ivon Plis of the Daily Caller:
In the months since ISIS drove Iraq’s Christians from their historic homeland in the country’s Nineveh Plain, members of the community are preparing to reclaim their land from the jihadis — and Americans are joining the fight.
While it is known that numerous Americans are joining the Kurds, there are numerous Americans who have also joined the Christian militias. As we have reported earlier, numerous Americans have been training the Christian militants, although their names are anonymous.
Now, with the mentioning of these Christian militias, I would like to present to you how Christ’s teaching apply to Christian holy war. This is from a section of my upcoming book on Christian militancy, which will be coming out within this year and will be the most exhaustive study ever written on the subject of Christian warfare…
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. St. Robert said that the greatest way to achieve eternal life was through the denial of the body’s comforts for the achievement of martyrdom, writing:
In fact, the spirit can dispose of the senses and of the parts of the body for the sake of eternal life by imposing on them continence, abstinence, flagellations, fasting, vigils, works, and, what is the greatest, ordering the flesh to suffer death instead of renouncing the faith. (Bellarmine, On the Temporal Power of the Pope, ch. 17, ed. Tutino, p. 275)
Christ taught the warrior spirit of ancient Israel, for the spirit of self-denial is found amongst the oldest of the holy combatants. Moses denied himself when he defended the daughters of Jethro against the shepherds, and “stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.” (Exodus 2:17) The shepherds were attacking the women, but they were not attacking Moses, they were not of any threat to his self.
But he surpassed his self and the desire for self-perpetuation, he went out of himself and strived for the wellbeing of other selves. For this reason Jethro saw the holiness within Moses and gave him one of his daughters. As St. Gregory of Nyssa commented on this story:
This man [Jethro] saw in one act — the attack on the shepherds — the virtue of the young man [Moses], how he fought on behalf of the right without looking for personal gain. Considering the right valuable in itself, Moses punished the wrong done by the shepherds, although they had done nothing against him. (Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, 1.19)
Moses fought not for any personal gain, but, denying himself, he strived for justice; thus is Christian militancy. 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 humanity. 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
This is just one of the many theological discourses that I have written on Christian militancy from the upcoming book, which will be the most extensive study every written on Christian warfare. But before the book comes out, get the new 2-disk DVD special on Christian militancy, which is just a taste of upcoming book.