By Walid Shoebat
When I feared persecution, my friends would say, “Don’t worry, God will put a hedge of protection all around you” (Job 1:10).
But is praying for a “hedge of protection” the only way to deal with persecution?
Indeed, we should pray, always.
But does that mean Christians should not fight militarily?
That’s what they tell the Christians here in America.
But why didn’t the same people say the same thing to the Jews?
Israel in 1948 and during the Six Day War in 1967, while they had a hedge of protection given by God’s providence; they would have never became a nation without using militancy.
Then I also have my Christian Arab friends. Perhaps the biggest obstacle they have is that Arab Christians are brainwashed to hate Israel and American Christians are brainwashed that militancy is no longer a path.
But here is my challenge to the American Church; dare any American Christian say that the Jews had no right to bear arms in 1948 and 1967?
Let any objection simply answer this one issue alone and dare they tell me that Jews during and after the Holocaust had no right to bear arms. Greeks had to do the same and fight the Muslim Turk and so it was during the whole of Christian history.
To my Christian Arab friends in Syria and in Egypt, I ask; now that you are suffering persecution, perhaps we can all understand what the Jew felt like when he was persecuted in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and in North Africa?
Why then do you not stop blaming Israel for all the suffering caused by the Islamists.
Or perhaps I can also challenge my American Christian brothers, dare anyone of you cast away the Second Amendment and say that we have no right to keep and bear arms? Why then condemn the Christians suffering persecution overseas that same right?
If Zionists in America justify the Jew to bear arms in Israel and fight their Muslim terrorist killers, why then Christians are not allowed to do the same? And why can’t the Christian Arab see that what the Jew suffers is the same that he suffers?
That if militancy applied to David when he killed Goliath, does it then not apply to the Syrian Christians of today?
So I thought when I first read the Bible when I converted from Islam to Christianity.
But not so when I first entered a church in California—to only find out that few pastors preached on such right.
“But we are New Testament Christians”, they told me.
The day I became Christian, and for years to come, I summed up that many pastors in America were church managers who favored the Acts of the Apostles over all the other books of the Bible.
Why was Acts their favorite?
It is because Acts is the place where they go to analyze the biblical model for the church.
But the question is; how did they interpret Acts?
They would interpret Acts to fit the modern church model on church management.
Yet the crux of the whole book of Acts is about disciples defying the powers of darkness while continually going to prison for it, and standing up to proclaim God over pagan tyranny until they were martyred.
I always thought; why must we modernize a book, which took us from pagan antiquity into the best civilization in history?
And where have we ever advanced Christianity into savage pagan societies without having to resort at times to military action?
St. Paul did not hesitate to defend himself militarily when a young man informed him that Jewish bandits were determined to kill him (Acts 23).
While he probably prayed for God’s ‘hedge of protection’ and that “we do not fight against flesh and blood”, he also had the story reported to the chief captain, who in turn had organized a small army of 470 Roman warriors to protect Paul (Acts 23:23-25).
Would Paul object had the soldiers protecting him encountered hostility and killed the aggressors?
Syrian Christians also should be justified in using armies to protect themselves against Islamist pagan heretical thugs, which seeks their blood. Christians in Mindanao therefore are justified to carry arms to defend themselves from Muslim hostility. After all, this event in Acts sets the stage for the future when Roman soldiers would be the protectors of the Church; a Church that followed Acts and was militant when they needed to be.
Indeed, in the New Testament, St. Paul praised the past and illustrious battles of God’s people:
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (Hebrews 11:32-34)
Hebrews is New Testament. It never abrogated such wars. To subdue the kingdoms of the wicked heathens, wax “valiant in fight,” and turn “to flight the armies of the aliens”, or the persecuting invaders, is not a sin, but a ripe and righteous fruit.
But I always get asked: what about Jesus saying that we must “turn the other cheek” “love” and “pray for our enemies”?
When I examined the ancient writings on how they interpreted such verses, I found that today’s pastors are way off course.
In the encampment of the Muslim Saracens they asked St. Cyril: “How could Christians wage war and at the same time keep the commandment of Christ about praying to God for their enemies?”
Isn’t that what the wimps’ always say?
Why then do the Muslim Saracens and these “turn the other cheek” wimps agree?
To that, St. Cyril then replied with the similar wisdom of Christ with the correct interpretation:
If two commandments were written in one law and given to men for fulfilling, which man will be a better follower of the law: the one who fulfills one commandment or the one who fulfills both?
Isn’t this the type of arguments Jesus did? Indeed, how can we ignore one commandment while we deny the other?
To that, the Saracens replied: “Undoubtedly, he who fulfills both commandments.”
Even the Muslim knew better. St. Cyril then continued to explain the other commandment:
Christ our God commands us to pray to God for those who persecute us and even to do good to them; but, He also said to us: greater love cannot be shown in this world than if one lay down his life for his friends.
How can one lay down his life for his friends?
Does one commit suicide? God forbid.
It’s that we risk our lives to save the lives of others while at times this demands us to defend our families and friends and even be killed in the process.
St. Cyril continues:
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (St. John 15:13). That is why we bear the insults which our enemies do to us individually and we pray to God for them; and, as a society, we defend one another and give up our lives, that you would not somehow enslave our brethren, would not enslave their souls with their bodies and would not kill them in body and soul. 1
Wimps (who will most likely post their comments below) isolate verses on love, just as their pastors trickled down to the congregants such flimsy interpretations for generations to come.
Cyril explained that love included the right to preserve life, for how can we claim love if one honors death over life?
The “turn the other cheek” verse isolators say that they love the Old Testament, and then they easily write off militancy since according to them, our Christian era dawned the age of “grace”.
What grace is this that a man does not defend his family?
The historic interpretation was quite different and unlike today followed the Old Testament and included their obedience to God as Joshua did in his wars, Gideon, David and many others as also proclaimed in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:32-34).
The early church hardly resembled today’s wimps.
The way so many verse isolating wimps view Christian history is as if one views the story of Exodus, except, that Exodus ended when the Israelites were stuck in slavery under Pharaoh and the rest of the story in which Joshua led battles in Canaan was completely removed.
Is that how we should study Scriptures?
They argue that such wars are obsolete since such wars are not found in the New Testament.
But why should the New Testament repeat what is already established?
Does God have to repeat His Word?
The verse isolating wimps say that the New Testament abrogates their application for Christians. They say that with the close on the canon of Scripture, the Holy Spirit is rendered silent as far as intersession’s in military warfare, yet remains active in the manifestations on spiritual gifts.
The Israelites, had their wars been recorded into the annals of history only, they would be condemned for not finding them in Scripture.
And this was exactly how the verse isolating wimps view Christian militarism!
But not all Christians agree. In Syria, a small band of Christians have formed an army to fight back jihadists who attacked the holy sights of Saidnaya. After the battle was complete, one Syrian Christian warrior said, “The battle lasted 7 hours. the attack was fearsome, but our men were very eager to fight.” Another statement from the holy army recounted:
Not one of the Jihadists was able to come to the vicinity of the church. …The Jihadists were hiding behind a big boulder. And our heroes did their duty. We had four martyrs and six injured.
Four were martyred. But how many of the enemy was killed? 65 terrorists. And their bodies were burned to avoid the spread of disease.
Truly the land of Syria is sacred, for the feet of saintly fighters who established the model that Syrian Christians need to follow, blessed its earth.
It was in Syria where Abraham smote the wicked king Chedorlaomer and his confederacy of despots, and liberated Lot (Genesis 14:15); it was in Syria where David slew 22,000 pagans (2 Samuel 8:5); it was in Syria where Heaven’s light enwrapped St. Paul, and “he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:3-4).
Saidnaya, the city in which this fighting is taking place, literally means “Our Lady” in Syriac, referring to the Virgin Mary. It was Mary who said in her song, that God “hath shewed strength with his arm” (Luke 1:51), and it is through these Christian militants, that God has illustrated the fortitude of His arm, in that while the whole of Saidnaya is conquered, the Muslims still cannot take the Church of the Cherubim.
I just made a new friend the other day. They call him The Machine Gun Preacher, Sam Childers. We spoke for a while. Sam, the brave American did not save Christian children in Sudan without at times having to resort to bear arms.
How many Christians must then die or be raped until we all say enough is enough?
You still object? Then denounce the Second Amendment and throw away your weapons. You can’t have it both ways; you can’t be for the Second Amendment and be a verse isolating wimp.
Such attacks are not only in Syria. It’s in Kosovo, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, The Philippines, North Korea, Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Colombia and Sri Lanka.
While Christians must defend themselves, they as well must help in delivering the Christians who are being persecuted, killed, kidnapped, raped and tormented everyday. Please donate to help save the lives of the persecuted.
1 The Prologue from Ochrid; By Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic (Translated by Mother Maria); As Edited and Corrected By Dormition Skete Buena Vista, Colorado PG# 255