Should Christians Go To War?

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This is a podcast episode titled, Should Christians Go To War?. The summary for this episode is: <p>Today on&nbsp;<em>Truth Over Tribe,&nbsp;</em>we're bringing the second episode in a 3-part series about just war and non-violence. In the first episode, we covered the biblical theology of violence (go back and listen if you haven't already!). This episode features Keith's and Patrick's steel man arguments on just war vs. non-violence. The final episode will end with a debate between the two.</p><p><br></p><p>Today, you'll hear <a href="https://twitter.com/KeithSimon_/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Keith</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/patrickkmiller_" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Patrick</a> each present their steel man arguments. Patrick's position is for Christian non-violence, which he describes as different from pacifism. He defends his stance by answering the question, "What does the Bible actually say about war?" Keith, then, makes a biblical case for just war, stating that it seeks to protect innocent third parties from gross injustice. Keith presents his argument with four key questions that a government should ask themselves before deciding to go to war. Tune in now!</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Ok, truth time... Did you like this episode?</strong> Tell us by leaving a rating or review! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 If you did, you won't want to miss what's next (so subscribe now!). And help a friend by sharing this with them. Thank you! 🙏</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Plus, the conversation is just beginning! </strong>Follow us on <a href="https://twitter.com/truthovertribe_" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChooseTruthOverTribe" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/accounts/login/?next=/truthovertribe_/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Instagram</a> to join in on the dialogue! <strong>Want to learn more about Truth Over Tribe?</strong> Visit our <a href="https://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/subscribe?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">website</a> and subscribe to our weekly <a href="https://choosetruthovertribe.com/?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20-%20website" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">newsletter</a>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Resources:</strong></p><p><a href="https://podcast.choosetruthovertribe.com/public/98/Truth-Over-Tribe-9f32ad1e/b4fa9593" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Episode One of this 3-part series: The Biblical Theology of War </a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/War-American-Difference-Theological-Reflections-ebook/dp/B005OYUI0E/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?crid=UO3THHVVWCE1&amp;keywords=stanley+hauerwas+american+difference&amp;qid=1648836537&amp;sprefix=stanley+hauerwas+american+diffemc%2Caps%2C316&amp;sr=8-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">War and the American Difference: Theological Reflections on Violence and National Identity</a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1434704920/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&amp;qid=1648836501&amp;ref_=tmm_pap_swatch_0&amp;sr=8-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence</a></p><p><a href="http://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/blog_subscription" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Subscribe To Our Blog</a></p><p><a href="http://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/how-tribal-are-you" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">How Tribal Are You?</a></p>
Nonviolence vs pacifism
01:56 MIN
At what point is a Christian justified in using violent force with the intention to destroy someone else?
02:13 MIN
Teachings from the early church: Normative practice within in early church was nonviolence
03:26 MIN
Can you use violence to defend yourself?
01:07 MIN
Defining just war, violence, and force
04:33 MIN
#1(What a government should ask before deciding to go to war): Just Cause
01:01 MIN
#2: Right Intention
00:42 MIN
#3: Proper Authority
00:31 MIN
#4: Have You Tried Diplomatic Things?
00:58 MIN
Justice without force is a myth
01:01 MIN

Patrick Miller: Are you tired of tribalism?

Speaker 2: I think a lot of what the left supports is satanic.

Speaker 3: The only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination.

Patrick Miller: Are you exhausted by the culture war?

Donald Trump: If they don't like it here, they can leave.

Speaker 5: You could put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.

Patrick Miller: Are you suspicious of those who say Jesus endorses their political party?

Speaker 6: Is it possible to be a good Christian and also be a member of the Republican Party? And the answer is absolutely not.

Speaker 7: From certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote Democratic.

Patrick Miller: We trust the lamb, not the donkey or the elephant.

Speaker 7: This is the podcast that's too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals.

Patrick Miller: I'm Patrick Miller.

Keith Simon: And I'm Keith Simon. And we choose Truth over Tribe.

Patrick Miller: Do you? Keith and I have been talking about the war in Ukraine and how that's been forcing me as someone who's committed to Christian nonviolence, it's been forcing me to reflect on my position. It's not a position by the way that Keith shares with me. He thinks I'm crazy and out for lunch on this particular issue.

Keith Simon: Last episode when we kind of laid out some of what the Bible has to say about it was pretty spicy. It was kind of fun.

Patrick Miller: I had a blast.

Keith Simon: Because we were both challenging each other and trying to say, " Hey, are you sure that's what the Bible is saying here?" We didn't get into the practical stuff. That's still to come in this episode of how you'd handle difficult situations. We're going to end up asking each other tough questions that each of our positions has-

Patrick Miller: I prefer the term roasting.

Keith Simon: Roasting. Embarrassing, humiliating. I feel like a kid who crammed for a test and now he's showed up at school and he's hoping he can remember everything that he crammed for, because I have all this stuffed in my head, but I don't know if it's going to come out right. So I'm afraid that I'm going to be roasted.

Patrick Miller: If you have not listened to our previous episode, we are assuming you have. And in our previous episode we went through what the Bible says, so if you go through this and you're like, " You didn't talk about the Bible much." It's because we already did. I think it was really interesting. I actually learned a lot talking to you in the process. I hope you felt the same way. I think you'll think it was a fun episode. Let's hop in right now though. We need to do steel man arguments. These are the best case arguments for two different positions. Christian nonviolence in my case, and just war in your case. And because Christian on violence is probably the case most people haven't heard, we will start there and then move to you with just war. Sound good?

Keith Simon: Yeah. Do I get to interrupt and ask questions as you go?

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Here's the spirit of-

Keith Simon: What are the ground rules?

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Yeah, no, I think it's good. Here's the spirit of this section. I will lay out my argument. You get to ask clarifying questions. These aren't gotcha question because you have your moment for the gotcha questions.

Keith Simon: Those come later.

Patrick Miller: That's later on. This is I'm trying to understand or I'm trying to help the listener understand because I do think both of us have already sought to understand each other's positions. You've read books on nonviolence. I've read books on just war. We aren't coming at this as people who've only considered our own position.

Keith Simon: Oh, not at all.

Patrick Miller: We're trying to clarify. Does that sound good?

Keith Simon: Yep. So you go and I'm going to sit back and listen.

Patrick Miller: All right let's talk about Christian nonviolence. Now I have already said on previous episodes that I don't like the term pacifism. And that's because people, when they hear the word pacifism, often think passive. What they gather is that if you hold this position you are passive towards evil. You will not resist evil in any fashion. And you and I both know that's not my personality. It's not something I would ever do. I like nonviolence because it actually articulates what I'm arguing for. One of the ways I resist evil actively, not passively, is by committing myself to nonviolence. So now my goal is to explain that. Does that kind of make sense?

Keith Simon: Yeah. I think that the terms that we use shape the argument, and you're clearly choosing nonviolence for a reason. I think you're smart to do so. If I held your position that's exactly what I would do too. Maybe you could help us understand what violence is?

Patrick Miller: Yeah, I think it's a key question and again, you and I are probably going to define this differently. For some people, violence is just any use of force, and I strongly disagree with that. Here's a case study. Let's take a doctor and a mugger. Both are going to try to cut you. One is using violence, the mugger. One is trying to heal you, the doctor. Or let's take another one. There's an old lady who's walking across the street and a bus is flying towards her and so I run out into the street and I tackle her. In the process I break her hip, but she doesn't get hit by the bus. Was that violence on my part? Well, no, it was use of force. So what makes for violence? I'm taking this definition from Preston Sprinkle. He says, " It's a physical act that is intended," emphasis under intended, " Your goal is to destroy or injure a victim." It's a physical act where your intention is to destroy or injure your victim. Now here's the deal, this means that even when it comes to resisting the intruder coming inside of your house, there are ways in which you could still use physical resistance. If your goal is not to destroy the person, to harm the person, you can imagine a way that you could push someone, even tackle someone.

Keith Simon: What about shoot them in the leg?

Patrick Miller: Again, these are-

Keith Simon: I don't know. That's just an honest question.

Patrick Miller: No, I'm with you.

Keith Simon: Are you saying all the way up to death or are you saying something short of death?

Patrick Miller: Again, I know I'm doing a steel man, so I shouldn't do this, but if I want to be honest, one of the places I see the most gray area it's right here. I think that nonviolence 100% precludes any fatality. Any action you would do that would kill someone, that would permanently end someone's life. Your goal was to kill them.

Keith Simon: Your goal was to kill them.

Patrick Miller: Your goal was to kill them. Because I could tackle that woman trying to save her from the bus-

Keith Simon: And kill her.

Patrick Miller: And kill her kill by accident. I wouldn't call that violence.

Keith Simon: Let's say an intruder breaks into your house. You brought it up, not me. And you have a gun and your goal is to shoot them in the leg, but you instead end up killing them.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. So I think by my definition, there could be a case to be made that that was not an act of violence. My goal was to stop you and to resist you. Now again, guns are challenging because they have a tendency to kill even if you shoot people in the wrong places. People can bleed out. So there's a lot to be wrestled with here. If you're asking me my personal position, I would say, " Yeah, that probably still is an act violence because I just don't know how you intend to shoot a gun without the intention on some level to kill." Now I realize people can argue with me.

Keith Simon: You're my kind of pacifist. You got guns, you're shooting people in the leg.

Patrick Miller: Well, okay, so-

Keith Simon: You're like training your shot so you could be really good.

Patrick Miller: Well, no-

Keith Simon: You can shoot the gun out of their hand or something.

Patrick Miller: I should say this, my position does not come out of my personal disposition. Some people like to say-

Keith Simon: You're a violent person.

Patrick Miller: Some people like to say, " I'm a lover, not a fighter." I know myself. I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Keith Simon: Oh, I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Patrick Miller: Oh, sure, okay. Jesus' call is to nonviolence, and maybe this is why I take my position in part. They're really challenging to me because they call me to resist myself in a profound way. Here's the deal. I love guns. There was a guy on Twitter, his name's I think Dan Coleman.

Keith Simon: You love guns?

Patrick Miller: I do. I love shooting guns. I sincerely enjoy them. I like handguns. I like shotguns. I like rifles.

Keith Simon: I saw you saying it to a guy on Twitter and I thought you were joking.

Patrick Miller: Oh, I'm not joking. I'd like to get some shotguns. I've never really had a big end just in handguns, but this guy asked me like, " How does your non- violence, how does that play out in your life?" I told him, I go, " Well, I actually really enjoy guns. And anytime I get a chance to go out and shoot, I will go shoot. I love shooting." I go, " I love guns, but I won't own one." " Why?" " Because if I had a gun in my house and an intruder came in and tried to attack my wife, I don't think I could stop myself." I am just being honest.

Keith Simon: Nor should you.

Patrick Miller: Well, yeah and you say, " Nor should you." That's fine. I just don't think I could stop myself from killing him. And because of my position, I've had to make the decision I can't have a gun in the house because I don't think I'd have the self- control not to use it in the moment.

Keith Simon: The vast majority of people who are listening to this-

Patrick Miller: Have lost me.

Keith Simon: Well, you lost them right there. At the beginning of your steel man you just told them that if someone broke your house and was going to attack your wife, that you-

Patrick Miller: Don't resist them.

Keith Simon: "Oh, I wouldn't have a gun." Because you're afraid you might-

Patrick Miller: I would kill them.

Keith Simon: Kill them.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: In which everyone out there is cheering for you and going, " Yeah." And then they realize you said you don't want to do that and then, okay. So I think you got to get back to your steel man. Let's go back.

Patrick Miller: Well, hold on. Hold on.

Keith Simon: Because this is flimsy steel.

Patrick Miller: I'm expecting that you will ask me that question because I have a lot of responses. So saying I won't kill someone is very, very different than saying I will not resist that person. So let's hop in to the actual steel man argument here. Here's the key question. Can Christians, in any environment or circumstance, participate in violence? So for example, can a Christian who's being attacked, can he use violence? In other words, he's intending to harm or destroy someone else, can he or she use violence to protect himself? Or, the exact same way, we could say in the defense of a loved one or a neighbor? Can a Christian use violence, the intent to destroy or harm someone else, in order to protect that person? Or there's a third layer, policing. Is a Christian who's working for the state allowed to use force, allowed to use violence, the intention of destroying someone else to defend the just order of society? Or we can go even further. Can a Christian join the military, whose goal is exclusively to kill others if you're actually a combatant. So we're talking about combatant. There's lots of military roles where you don't have to do any violence and that's something we'll come back to later, but, but, but, but the question is could a Christian be active in a combatant role where his goal is to kill someone? These are the questions at the heart of Christian nonviolence. At what point is a Christian justified in using violent force with the intention to destroy someone else?

Keith Simon: You're saying that people could say, " Hey, I wouldn't defend myself but I would defend others." Or, " I wouldn't defend myself or others unless I was an officer sanctioned by the state and given a badge."

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: "Then I could do it." But the one you're most against, if I understand the way you laid it out-

Patrick Miller: Self- defense.

Keith Simon: You're most against self- defense?

Patrick Miller: Yep.

Keith Simon: Not the military whose goal is to go out and kill others?

Patrick Miller: If I were to rank these in terms of like how certain I am, I'm certain about self- defense.

Keith Simon: That you should not use violence to defend yourself.

Patrick Miller: Yes, I'm certain you should not use violence to defend yourself. I think that's number one that I'm certain about. I think number two is probably military violence.

Keith Simon: Okay.

Patrick Miller: But it's really, really close for me with defending your neighbor, loved ones. The one I'm least sure about is policing. It seems like there could be a case for Christians being in a police force and using violent force. And we'll get into that. If you listened to the last episode, I'm not shocking you. We kind of got into that there, but these are all different things that we have to wrestle with. And again, I'm saying not using violence. Back to the intruder at the home, there are lots of other ways to resist. And there's actually a strong case to be made that by pulling out your gun, you might actually lead to the thing that you don't want to have happen. So we'll get into that whenever we go there. But I'm not saying no other forms of resistance. I'm saying there's lots of other forms of resistance. The only thing I won't do is violence, which is intending to destroy someone. So where do I get this from? Well, again, I would invite you to go look back at the episode that we just did about the Bible. Quick overview. Israel's history. I think that Israel's history has a trajectory towards nonviolence. Israel warfare was incredibly, incredibly limited, much more so than other ancient nations. In Matthew 19, Jesus talks about laws that existed in the Old Testament, which God allowed the Israelites to do some things as an accommodation for their sinfulness. So an example, this is divorce. Jesus says, " Look, God allowed you to get these kind of no fault divorce policy where a man could divorce a woman for anything, He allowed that because of the hardness of your heart, but that wasn't His intention." And He says, " Now in the kingdom, we're not going to have a no fault divorce policy any anymore. We're going to live closer to God's original intent in the garden, which was Adam and Eve in a lifelong covenantal relationship." Now I would say we see a similar thing. I would argue that Israel's warfare policy was in some senses an accommodation to the world that they were living in and that the trajectory and the Old Testament profits is towards nonviolence. You will beat your swords into plowshares. That is the goal. That's what happens when God's kingdom comes to Earth in the King and in the Messiah.

Keith Simon: I think there's an honest question, just to clarify.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: So when you say there's trajectory in the Old Testament toward nonviolence, are you saying in teaching or in practice? That as you go from Genesis to the end of the Old Testament that they got less violent? Or are you saying the teaching started talking about a time of coming peace?

Patrick Miller: Well, I would argue that in Genesis One to 11, the problem that is most significantly repeated and dealt with, with humanity, before God ever calls Abraham, is violence. It's the problem with Cain and Abel, it's the problem that leads to the Flood. And so I would say that if our comparison point is the Tower of Babel and all the violence that happened before the Flood, and then we look at the kind of society God tries to build in Israel, as compared to the societies around it which were characterized by that kind of violence, you could say, " Yes, the trajectory is away when you compare it to other societies. It's towards less and less violence." In practice, and I would say in prophetic teaching, that the prophets are looking forward to a day to come when God's kingdom comes to earth. Now of course we live in the overlap of the ages. It's an already, but not yet. God's kingdom is here and yet it's not here yet. And I would argue that part of His kingdom being here, according to Jesus's explicit teachings in the New Testament, is nonviolence. That one thing that has come into the present, so it's an already, it's not a not yet thing, is that people who are part of God's kingdom will practice nonviolence. And yet there's also a not yet. The not yet has not to do with us, members of the kingdom. It's the secular world. The not yet is that in the secular world the nations are still raging. The nations are still warring. The nations are still enacting violence. But inside of God's kingdom, the standard is nonviolence. And I'm pulling this from the explicit teachings of Jesus. He says that we should not resist evil, that we should bless those who persecute us, and explicitly uses examples of violence and says, " If someone does violence against you, don't resist them. Let them keep going." He uses examples of the cross. And I think that's the other place I would go. I would just say that, look, when we look at Jesus and how He defeated evil. Because you said, " Hey, our goal is to develop a just and ordered society." Well, I would say Jesus is at the core of developing a just and ordered society. There is no just ordered society without Jesus. And when we look at Jesus's example of how He established a just and ordered society, how He went about transforming the world, we know how He did it. He died. He laid down His life. He refused to resist. Though He said He could, He refused to resist. And the cross, what He did, isn't just something that He did.6 It's something that He and the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter all lay out as an example for how Christians should resist evil in their own world. In other words, what I hear a lot of people who are pro violence doing is something like this.

Keith Simon: Pro violence?

Patrick Miller: Well, this is the steel man, right?

Keith Simon: Okay. Pro violence. I'm pro violence.

Patrick Miller: People who are-

Keith Simon: Who believe that there is an appropriate use-

Patrick Miller: I need a short version. Mine's Christian nonviolence. You got three words.

Keith Simon: Just call it pro violence. I'm enjoying it.

Patrick Miller: All right. Let's call it pro just war and self- defense. Is that fair?

Keith Simon: Sure.

Patrick Miller: All right. Pro just war and self- defense. Here's one of the things that irritates me, is it seems to me that what they end up saying is, " Yes, I know that nonviolence worked for Jesus in the ultimate battle against evil, and that was really cute, but in my life that could never possibly work. How could that make sense for me? How could that make sense in my self- defense? How could that make sense in how I resist evil, if evil comes into my household? How could that make sense in how our government resists evil? How could that make sense if I was a police officer and I wanted to resist? It's cute for Jesus, and, yeah, it worked for Jesus, but for me, no way." And the problem is I can point to dozens of places in the New Testament, which say, " Yes, that is for you. Live out the cross in your life." So in other words, my point here is my view is in deep alignment with the explicit teachings of the New Testament, in terms of how people should act. You cannot find a single passage in the New Testament, this is a fact, you cannot find a single passage in the New Testament which says that Christians are allowed to use violence. I'm not saying that there aren't passages that you could kind of say, " Well, if this means this, and this means that, then you could go." So like Romans 13 says, " Hey, God gives the sword to Rome." So someone could say, " Well, if there's Christians who are in Rome, then maybe what Paul is saying in this letter to Rome is that they're allowed to use the sword." That's great. I'm acknowledging that. But I'm saying there's no explicit passage that says in a case of self- defense, you have this in the Old Testament, in the case of self- defense, in the case of your neighbor, in the case of you being a Roman official, none of them say explicitly that you can use violence. You have to wrestle with that simple fact.

Keith Simon: This is your steel man. You're looking at me like you want me to say something.

Patrick Miller: Well, you got a look out of your face.

Keith Simon: Well, sure. I have lots of things that I would like to say, but I'm not going to interrupt your steel man. I'm going to listen to it.

Patrick Miller: Okay. Let's keep going.

Keith Simon: And make a mental note for it.

Patrick Miller: Let's keep going. Acts, the apostles, the disciples, again, they epitomize the non- violent ethic. Does Paul resist violently when his rights are infringed upon? No, he doesn't. Does Peter do it? No, he doesn't. Does Stephen do it? No, he doesn't. Do people do it? Even when they did have a critical enough mass, they could have rioted and saved Stephen and gotten him free? No, they never do it. And this would not be then, by the way, trying to bring God's kingdom by force. This would be self- defense. That's all it would be. By our definition. Because you would say the exact same-

Keith Simon: Well, it would be self- defense for Stephen. It would be neighbor defense-

Patrick Miller: For the others.

Keith Simon: Right?

Patrick Miller: Exactly.

Keith Simon: I'm just clarifying.

Patrick Miller: That's exactly right.

Keith Simon: But I agree.

Patrick Miller: And it could even be state sanctioned policing if you were a Roman Centurion and you're trying to stop this mob of people from stoning a dude. But that does not happen. The Romans Centurions who are Christians in Jerusalem don't stop it. The Christians don't stop it. They entirely embody an ethic of nonviolence. So let me draw my Biblical conclusions. How did Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the apostles, and the first disciples, respond to personal violence and state sanctioned violence? The answer is unequivocal. Nonviolence. It's unequivocal. There is no example of a disciple or apostle using violence, to protect themselves, protect others. There's none. No explicit.

Keith Simon: That's a true statement.

Patrick Miller: All right. I just want to make sure we're all there.

Keith Simon: That's a true statement. Yes.

Patrick Miller: There is not, and I'll get to this in my questions, there is no place in the New Testament or Old Testament that approximates anything close to just war. The principles of just war are very difficult to draw out of the Old Testament. Now I'm not going to make that case here, but we'll do it when we get into our questions, because I'll ask that. And again, the trajectory of scripture, the trajectory of the Biblical story is ultimately towards nonviolence. That's where the story ends. And so, because I believe that God's people are God's kingdom on earth as in heaven, and we are meant to be a foretaste of that heavenly reality in the present, we should live by the nonviolent ethic, which will be true one day in the Resurrection. And Jesus explicitly taught us to do this, in the Sermon on the Mount, the most central teachings that He had. That's my Biblical case. Any questions about that you think I need to clarify?

Keith Simon: Well, no, I think you-

Patrick Miller: You have tons of questions. I know.

Keith Simon: I think you've done a very good job of showing that the Bible teaches that Christians should not respond to personal insult or personal attack with violence. Their personal ethics should be one of seeking harmony, seeking the wellbeing of their enemy, praying for those who persecute them, yes.

Patrick Miller: I haven't done anything for the state.

Keith Simon: You and I don't disagree at all.

Patrick Miller: And again-

Keith Simon: -about that.

Patrick Miller: Let me level up personal ethic, because it's a kingdom ethic. This is about how God's people act. It's not just about how I act. Now, I realize I'm an individual in that kingdom, but this is about how God's people act as they live in the world.

Keith Simon: It's how the church acts.

Patrick Miller: Exactly.

Keith Simon: It's-

Patrick Miller: Not how the state acts.

Keith Simon: It's not how the state acts, but it's how the church and those who are loyal to Christ should act in their personal lives.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, I totally agree. Okay. I'm going to move through this next one quickly, because I spent too long in the last one, but to me the Bible's the most important part so I have no problem doing that. The next case for Christian nonviolence is the example of the early church. Tertullian said, " The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." And we know from early church history that there were lots of debates about theological and ethical topics inside of the early church, debates about the mode of baptism, debates about the deity of Christ and the Trinity. There are no, that we know of, significant debates over violence until the Constantinian era. There aren't people arguing, " Can we use violence? Should we use violence?" There's none that we have recorded until we have a Roman emperor who becomes a Christian. I could go through here and pull quote after quote from the church fathers which say again and again that Christians, in many cases, it say shouldn't be soldiers. In other cases, it says, if they are soldiers, they should never use violence. But there are countless teachings that come out of the early church that make it clear that the normative practice within the early church was nonviolence. Now the obvious response to this is the simple fact that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt there were Christians who were Roman soldiers. What in the world do you do with that? My response to that point is simply to say this, " In our church, I'm not trying to be mean, in our church, there are a lot of people with un- Biblical divorces." I know that. I don't love it. I'm not okay with it. And yet on the other side, I know that people are in process and the New Testament is okay with process. And so is it possible that there were people who were converted to Jesus who stayed in the Roman military and in some cases actively use violent force despite that being against the teachings of the church? Which people like Basil, who's even after Constantine says, " We're going to kick you out of communion for three years if you use violence." Is it possible that you have people who aren't living in line with their faith? Yeah, absolutely. And that's how they would've been viewed. My only other thought about soldiers is, I've got quotes in here, I'm not going to read them. There are countless scholars, and by the way, several of these scholars are pro just war scholars, so these aren't people defending nonviolence, they're not from my camp, who have made the point that a Roman soldier could live an entire life without ever being on a military campaign. And that in many cases they could live an entire life without using the kind of violence that I've defined as violence.

Keith Simon: It all depended on where they were stationed, right?

Patrick Miller: Exactly.

Keith Simon: They're closer they were stationed to Rome, the less likely they were to use it. If they were out on the front line in the frontier, they were probably in a lot of battles.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. And so what I would say is that it's also quite possible that you had Christian soldiers who were converts, who weren't on the front front lines of battles, who were police officers, who weren't using violence in their policing activities. And I would say that they could consistently, as Christians in those instances, refuse to go to war. So if an emperor tries to send me out to war, I'm out, I'm done. Whatever the consequences be, I leave. Or if my commander tries to make me use violence in my policing, I won't do it. I refuse whatever the consequences are. In my mind, it is not irrational or outlandish or ridiculous to imagine that also might have been what was happening with these Roman soldiers, including by the way, the soldiers who were stationed in Caesarea that Peter talked to, Cornelius the Centurion. That was a peaceful area, at least during the time Peter was talking to him. I would love to know what Cornelius did when Rome attacked Jerusalem. We don't have the answer to that question. But as a policing official, because that's what he would've been doing there, I have to imagine he didn't have to use violent force. So that's my next little thing. I just want to state this. No Christians talk about a theory of just war until after the time of Constantine. It's not until you have a Christian emperor who's overseeing your Christian military, that this even becomes a topic.

Keith Simon: And that is because since Christians weren't in the upper echelons of Roman culture, Roman government, they didn't have to wrestle with questions about what's the proper use of force. But once Constantine, and there's a big debate about whether he was a genuine Christian or not, but nonetheless, Christians started to take on a more prominent role in the government, and so they had to wrestle with, is it okay for the Christian emperor to use force and in what capacity?

Patrick Miller: My guess is, now again, we don't have writings to confirm this. My guess is that this was already reaching ahead before Constantine, because there were just more and more people becoming Christians in the Roman empire, more and more people who were in the Roman military, even before the time of Constantine. And so my guess is pastorally this was an issue, but as things always happen, when the lead leader becomes a topic of discussion, it really drives everything else. And that's what we see. Ambrose is the first person to articulate a just war theory within Christian circles. Augustine, his disciple, is the one who really strongly articulates. And that's really important to note. They didn't invent just war theory. Aristotle invented just war theory. Cicero and other Roman officials invented just war theory. They took ideas that were already developed by pagans, as they were trying to think about how can we run just wars or in Cicero's case, how can we rhetorically justify just wars? How can we make a case to the populace that we're not doing something bad? These ideas had already been developed. And Augustine essentially baptizes them. So here's a quote from a guy who's defending just war. And he's explaining why Augustine came to the conclusions he did about just war. And in the book, what he's really articulating is he's saying Augustine didn't take these ideas from the New Testament. He wasn't driven by his reading of the Bible to go to a just war position. He was driven by his circumstances. So he says, " What was appropriate in the time of the apostles," i. e. nonviolence, " is not appropriate in the day and age when kings and nations have succumbed to the gospel." So Augustine was improving. He's saying, " Times are a changing, and we got to figure out how to live in this new time. And now that we're here, I think we have to change what has been the historic ethic of the church, and we need to reevaluate the use of violence." And so he adopts, he takes in this old pagan idea of just war, and he essentially baptizes it. And here's the deal, you can back load lots of Bible versus into just war. It is incredibly dishonest to say that it was taken from the Bible. It was taken from pagan thinkers, and then again, the Bible's applied to it. Now all truth's, God's truth. Someone can say to me, " Look, it doesn't matter where it came from." I think it matters some. That's part of it.

Keith Simon: So you're saying that circumstances caused Augustine, Ambrose before him, but mainly Augustine, to wrestle with this topic in a way that hadn't been before, and that he then saw things in scripture that others hadn't seen up til then. I think that's what you're saying or at least a part of it.

Patrick Miller: As a fan of Augustine.

Keith Simon: Right, as a somewhat fan of Augustine you are. So let me see if I understand then. Is this a fair comparison? Is that the church used to teach that the Earth was the center of the universe, but circumstances, or science, showed them that it wasn't. And so therefore those circumstances from non- Christian scientists, and some Christian scientists, caused them to reevaluate how they saw the Bible and they realized, " Hey, we had missed something that was there," but what prompted them to reexamine the Bible were circumstances.

Patrick Miller: I think that's a interesting and half right comparison. Half right in the sense that here's what didn't happen. They didn't go back to the Bible and try to back load passages that clearly described the Earth being on pillars and kind of being in the center of things. They didn't try to say, " Actually, this really meant that the Earth is a globe and it goes around the sun." In other words, they didn't back load passages into it. They just simply said, " No, those passages had to do with their understanding of how reality worked. They are almost exclusively in metaphorical context so we don't need to take it totally realistically, nor was it the goal of the author." What I'm critiquing here is the back loading of passages saying this passage in the Bible, which couldn't possibly mean the just war thing, because just war didn't exist, now means this. Does that make sense? So I'm agreeing like circumstances have changing and that will change how we read the Bible. So on that front I'm like, yeah, that's a fair critique and and thought. It's the back loading of Bible verses I have a problem with.

Keith Simon: So when Augustine went and saw Romans 13, just for example, you're saying that he was back loading it, that Romans 13 had never been understood to be what he was now saying it meant. And that he was reinterpreting Romans, and probably you'd say misinterpreting Romans 13, in the light of this new reality that Christians are taking leadership roles in the military and the government.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, so everybody has different numbers of components to just war.

Keith Simon: Right.

Patrick Miller: My point is that let's say there's seven- ish. That's where most people land. Romans 13 really doesn't fit into any of them, maybe with the exception of number one, which is that you have to have a legitimate authority to go to war. Now because I believe Romans 13 is about policing, I don't think it has anything to do with going to war and I don't think most Christians thought it had anything to do with going to war in the times of Paul. So that's a separate argument. But my point is, you don't look at Romans 13 and come out the other side with a just war theory. Not as we have it. I just defy anyone to read Romans 13 and come up with the seven categories that people often use for just war.

Keith Simon: Well, I agree.

Patrick Miller: I'm not saying it disagrees with them. I'm just saying it didn't come from there. So don't say it did.

Keith Simon: Look, we're not supposed to be arguing here, right.

Patrick Miller: Well, it makes it more fun.

Keith Simon: But you're trying bait me into it. So let me just say this and you move on. I agree that you're not going to read Romans 13 and come up with seven criteria of just war. But I think you're wrong that you're barely going to come up with maybe half a one. I think you're going to come up with a little bit more than that.

Patrick Miller: I just think it matters. History matters. Did we change our ethics simply to fit a moment?

Keith Simon: Yeah, it's a good question.

Patrick Miller: We're living in the midst of the gay marriage debate. We're living in the midst of the transgender debate. There are plenty of Christians who are changing their ethics to fit the moment. Now I'm not one of those people, nor will I ever be one of those people. So I'm asking, do those same questions that we're asking today, do the same things that we're wrestling with today, did they apply back then? Okay. Next up is the practical value of nonviolent resistance. I'm hoping you're going to going to ask questions about realism during our time together, so I'm not going to go deep into this, but I would simply point out very quickly that nonviolent resistance has been used throughout history to great, great, great, good. Obviously people will point to Martin Luther King or to Gandhi. One of my favorite examples though, is that people have to bring up Bonhoeffer because he was a pacifist for a time, and then he changed his mind and he got involved in a effort to execute Hitler. It's not really clear whether he actually left his pacificism behind. He might have just said, " Look, I know this is a sin, but I just don't know what else to do." But here's what's interesting. The most successful efforts at keeping the Nazis from taking Jews were almost exclusively non- violent. The best example were Bulgarian Jews. There was a non- violent resistance there that rescued 48,000 Jews. Of course we've all seen the story of Schindler's List and others.

Keith Simon: By nonviolent, you don't mean like what Dr. King did by marching in streets. You mean quietly sneaking people out, something more like on the Underground Railway, something parallel to that, right?

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: So it's not marching, demonstrating in a nonviolent way. You're just saying they didn't take up arms to try to kill German soldiers but instead they did things to get people papers or whatever it was required to get people out of harm's way.

Patrick Miller: They used nonviolent means to resist Hitler. The violent means to resist Hitler, that plot to take his life, there's no doubt that it made him more paranoid and might have elevated, escalated, the amount of violence with which he was executing the war. And So this is one of the paradoxes about realism is you have to wrestle with, at times, does violence lead to more violence? And at times, would nonviolence, actually like Jesus who died on the cross, is that the thing that ultimately leads to more just ordered peace? So I strongly reject the notion: People are like, "Yeah, you have to have war for just ordered peace." I'm like, "Well, Jesus didn't have to have war. I don't have to have war. I don't think kingdom of God people have to have war."

Keith Simon: Jesus didn't have to have war for a justly ordered peace. When did Jesus establish justly ordered peace in this world?

Patrick Miller: Well, I would say that Jesus established justly ordered peace by defeating the power of sin and the devil, which is-

Keith Simon: In the spiritual realm, but not here.

Patrick Miller: Well, but I think the spiritual realm has actual effects in the present. So that began to transform people's lives. And there is no doubt. I mean, read Tom Holland's book, Dominion. Christians in this ethic that Jesus established have radically changed the order of society.

Keith Simon: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I don't disagree with that. And by the way, fantastic book. I just thought you said for a second, that's what I was clarifying, not arguing.

Patrick Miller: Government, yeah.

Keith Simon: It sounded like Jesus had established a justly ordered peace in a nonviolent way in this world.

Patrick Miller: Yes. I agree with that.

Keith Simon: Where, what city is that? I want to go visit.

Patrick Miller: It's called the church. The church is a counter culture. The church is a counter society. The church has its own ethic. And within our own confines we are showing-

Keith Simon: And is it justly ordered?

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: We have justice in the church? So there's no scandals, there's no power abuse. There's no-

Patrick Miller: Well I'm not saying it's a perfect justice and ordering. And I would say that in those instances, we have to bring about just order. That's why you have things inside of the church, which set up-

Keith Simon: Yeah, church discipline.

Patrick Miller: All of that, right. So my point is in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, he goes on top of a mountain. Why? So that he looks like Moses. And it's clear from, I mean, everybody agrees.

Keith Simon: Yes.

Patrick Miller: Jesus is doing. And what did Moses do on Sinai? He laid down the laws of the theocracy of Israel. What is Jesus doing? He's laying down this is what kind of society we're going to be together. So I will contend, we have a real society. It's a society within a society, where we're exiles, we're aliens, all that.

Keith Simon: Okay. We'll jump back in in a second, but one of the places that Patrick and I have been getting a lot of ideas for the podcast is Twitter.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Which actually, by the way, it sounds like a terrible idea. No one should be getting their news or ideas solely off of Twitter. But I love sharing what we're going to talk about and seeing the kinds of things that people offer.

Keith Simon: I didn't quite believe you, to be frank, when you said all that. And then I've watched people respond to your stuff. So I just posted some things today about an episode we're going to do. And all of a sudden, everybody started interacting with it. And I'm going to use the stuff they said in that episode, so it's kind of cool.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, so help shape this show by following Truth over Tribe on your favorite social platform and share your ideas, and who knows, it might make its way into one of the shows.

Keith Simon: Yeah. Make sure you interact with us. Don't just follow. Don't be a stalker. Don't be a creeper. Like participate.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. We want to hear. Last little bit that we're going to do here and then you got to hop in. Just realize there are variations of Christian nonviolence. People are going to draw their lines in different places. We've already talked about this. The first line is self- defense. Can I use violence to defend myself? Someone's coming at me with a knife and I think they're going to stab me. Can I use violence? Can I pull up my knife and stab them back and get out of there? Right?

Keith Simon: Well, I think you said earlier, you could shoot them in the leg.

Patrick Miller: Well, I think I said earlier that the definition of violence has to do with the intention to destroy.

Keith Simon: Right.

Patrick Miller: Okay.

Keith Simon: So if I just stab them in the arm, that's okay.

Patrick Miller: Well, again.

Keith Simon: I don't know. It's really a genuine question.

Patrick Miller: I don't know. And that's where, by the way, any definition of justice is going to get you into trouble. That's just the best one I've seen out there. So I think, in general, Christians should avoid physical force. Just in general they should avoid using physical force as much as possible.

Keith Simon: So what would you do then, to go back to your question? Someone's coming at you with a knife or a gun or something. That's what you were setting up.

Patrick Miller: I think that we have a boatload of options sitting in front of us in terms of resistance. For example, depending on where I'm located, I can resist verbally. I can yell. I can shout. I can resist physically. That can entail running away, throwing things inside of the path to obstruct the person. I could physically resist, I think in good conscience, by trying to shove the person away if that was possible. Beyond that, and people will laugh at me.

Keith Simon: No, they already are.

Patrick Miller: Well, beyond that. Let's think about Hezekiah. What does he do when he has the world's largest superpower surrounding him? He prays. Now, people, they can laugh at me. They can say, " Oh, you dumb idiot. You're going to pray." Oh, you better believe I'm going to pray. And you better believe that I actually think God can do things. Actually, there's a story of a woman. Guy comes into her house with a knife, says, " I'm going to murder you and her family." And she goes, " You can murder us, but first let me make a cup of coffee, for you."

Keith Simon: It is a true story.

Patrick Miller: And he goes, " Okay." She pours him a coffee. And does he murder them?

Keith Simon: No.

Patrick Miller: No, he doesn't. And part of this has to do with the fact that I know that I will be resurrected. I don't know if that other person is, I don't know where they're at their life with Jesus. If I take their life, I might be sending that person to hell. Of course we have to have a theology of God's sovereignty and all of that built around it.

Keith Simon: But if I, just to clarify, you're not saying this is just your personal preference or-

Patrick Miller: No.

Keith Simon: How you would handle do it.

Patrick Miller: I want to shoot the guy's head off.

Keith Simon: What you're saying is you think this is what the Bible teaches every Christian should do. Every Christian should pray, shout, push, whatever it is you said, and not-

Patrick Miller: Barricade.

Keith Simon: Shoot them back.

Patrick Miller: Hide. Yes.

Keith Simon: Unless they can shoot him in the arm.

Patrick Miller: You brought up a great example. And again, because I just try to be an honest person. I think if you were a good enough shot to be confident that I could shoot the gun out of their hands or shoot, sure. Like if that's you, it's not me.

Keith Simon: Right.

Patrick Miller: Then fine. If I have a shotgun and adrenaline's pumping through my body.

Keith Simon: Sure.

Patrick Miller: I don't know what the heck I'm going to hit. Someone might be running into your house saying, "I'm going to shoot all you," because they just want to take your TV. They don't actually want to shoot you. They want to freak you out so that they can take your TV. You don't know. One of the problems here is that we often think that when someone comes at us with violence, we know their intention. " They are going to try to kill me." You don't know their intention. And you can just look at the statistics. When you have a gun inside your house, it's more likely that someone in your house is going to die in these kinds of circumstances than someone who doesn't have a gun. Why? Well, it turns out when you pull a gun on a guy, now he feels like his life's threatened. What does he start doing?

Keith Simon: But your argument isn't from practical-

Patrick Miller: No, no, no.

Keith Simon: -benefits. Your argument is the Bible-

Patrick Miller: Yes.

Keith Simon: -and this is binding on all Christians.

Patrick Miller: Yes. Let's be faithful.

Keith Simon: But you're saying that there are some practical real world benefits from practicing.

Patrick Miller: This question is used as the ultimate dunk question on me constantly.

Keith Simon: This one is?

Patrick Miller: Oh, yeah, this is the dunk question. People are like, " Oh, someone's going to get your wife." And they create these outlandish, like there's not a circumstance in the world where I have to choose between killing someone or being killed. Like that's theoretical. You literally would never know in the moment, is that my only choice sitting here on the table? You have to make a judgment call in the moment of if that may or may not be my only choice.

Keith Simon: But it isn't hypothetical. I mean, real people do face that.

Patrick Miller: Yes.

Keith Simon: They don't always don't know before hand.

Patrick Miller: But they don't know what's going to happen.

Keith Simon: Not with certainty. You're correct.

Patrick Miller: Not with a lot of certainty.

Keith Simon: But it turns out that-

Patrick Miller: People kill people.

Keith Simon: They did die.

Patrick Miller: Right. There are people who kill people. There are people who die. My point is, that in the moment, both in terms of faithfulness and in terms of practicality, don't call me an idealist. There's a strong case to be made that I might actually survive something by being non- violent, that I wouldn't have survived had I chosen the violent path. And if you don't understand that, again, I welcome you to go look at the statistics.

Keith Simon: So when you say this is the dunk question, I think what we do, and this is appropriate in the context of a debate kind of conversation is that we try to find the crux of the matter. And what people are trying to find is how far are you going to carry this, right?

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: I remember in 1988, there's a debate between Michael Dukakis and George Bush, the is the senior Bush. And the very first question of the debate was to Dukakis, and it said, he was very anti against the death penalty, and they asked him, " If someone came in and raped your wife and killed her, would you be against the death penalty for that person?" And it was the very first, I mean, what a way to start a debate. And he was ahead in the polls, Dukakis, the Democrat was ahead in the polls at the time. And people point back to that being one of several things that cost him the election. Because most people can't identify.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: So I guess people are just trying, when you say it's a dunk question, people are trying to put you in a spot where you have to pick your wife. Not yourself, that's easier. Your wife and kids or shoot someone.

Patrick Miller: So, you actually just hit something. We have alighted two categories into one in the midst of this conversation. We started with self- defense and somehow now we've moved into others defense.

Keith Simon: Neighbor defense.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, neighbor defense. And I just want to say this. Augustine, the creator of just war, he taught very explicitly that you should not use violence in self- defense. So he acknowledged policing, warfare, those were the ones he explicitly acknowledged. That's cases where violence can be used. I just don't know if he talked about neighbor defense for the sake of others. I do know that he explicitly said you cannot use violence for self- defense. So again, the guy who invented the theory that is driving a lot of this stuff, he would say, " Don't defend yourself."

Keith Simon: Yeah, I agree.

Patrick Miller: And this is why for me, it's the most black and white one. And this is where I get my concerns. I've sat in a room with a pastor who told a room full of people, " Don't walk into my house in the middle of the night, because if you do, I have a gun and I will assume you want to kill me and I will shoot you and kill you." And everybody in the room started laughing, like this is such a funny joke, but yeah, I'm definitely not going to your house. And yeah, we're right to do that. We're right to just pull out a gun and shoot people. And I'm sitting here, and I'm like, this is the equivalent of the progressive pastor talking about, " Look, let's just give marriage to that small proportion of people who are homosexual. Let's acknowledge that." He's completely run over the ethic of Jesus, turned it into a joke, and I find it just totally disturbing.

Keith Simon: It could be neighbor defense. He could have been saying, " Look, my family's asleep here. I'm going to defend my family."

Patrick Miller: Yeah, I-

Keith Simon: Right? I mean you're conflating self- defense-

Patrick Miller: That's totally possible.

Keith Simon: -and neighbor defense. I don't know.

Patrick Miller: I don't want to get too many details on the person. I can be quite certain-

Keith Simon: Was I there?

Patrick Miller: No, you weren't there.

Keith Simon: Oh, bummer.

Patrick Miller: I can be quite certain that this person didn't have a family to defend. It was talking about this person.

Keith Simon: Talking about themselves.

Patrick Miller: You don't know this person. Anyways. So let's keep going. A second example. So we're recording this right after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.

Keith Simon: Yeah.

Patrick Miller: Okay.

Keith Simon: You thought it was real from the beginning or did part of you think it was staged?

Patrick Miller: I still don't know.

Keith Simon: Because nobody watches the Oscars.

Patrick Miller: I didn't watch it.

Keith Simon: So it's like-

Patrick Miller: I didn't watch it until afterwards.

Keith Simon: What do we do to get an audience for our television show?

Patrick Miller: It could have been staged.

Keith Simon: I don't think it was.

Patrick Miller: I don't know if it was. Let's pretend like it wasn't.

Keith Simon: Okay.

Patrick Miller: Just for the sake of talking about this because the person I was talking to you definitely didn't think it was staged. Thought it was real.

Keith Simon: He slapped him though, just like we were talking earlier. The insult, the shame.

Patrick Miller: I know. It's literally, Jesus talks about slapping and-

Keith Simon: I know.

Patrick Miller: So I agree. Chris Rock's joke about Will Smith's wife, that's not okay.

Keith Simon: No, it was okay.

Patrick Miller: Well, I mean, in context, it's a burn. It's part of a thing.

Keith Simon: That's what you do when you go there.

Patrick Miller: Okay. So you and I can disagree about that. Making fun of her alopecia, I don't know, whatever. I'm with you, it's part of the shtick. So you know what you're there for.

Keith Simon: Yeah.

Patrick Miller: Anyways, Will Smith smacks him across the face, which I definitely think was wrong. And then Chris Rock responds with relative kindness.

Keith Simon: Yeah. He handled himself really well.

Patrick Miller: Doesn't press charges against the guy. So Chris Rock did the right thing.

Keith Simon: Yes.

Patrick Miller: Chris did the right thing.

Keith Simon: Agreed.

Patrick Miller: I have a very committed friend, committed follower of Jesus, who has continually been telling me, " I stand with Will Smith." And he told me, he goes, " Look, I don't want to live in a world where someone can insult my wife and not get slapped on the face." This goes back to, I suppose, maybe kind of neighbor defense, although not really because there's no violence other than words.

Keith Simon: This goes back to this speech is violence thing, right now-

Patrick Miller: Well, of course it does.

Keith Simon: Which is craziness.

Patrick Miller: But here's my point. I think because Christians have lived in this cultural context, we have become profoundly comfortable with the idea of Christians using violence, in almost any circumstance as long as any small amount of harm has been done. Now, I don't want to press this to extremes. If someone insults me, no one's going to say I can go and shoot them and kill them. But they're with Will Smith. Go slap them. So I told my friend, he goes, " I don't want to live in a society like that." I looked at him I go, " Well, you might want to go read Matthew 5: 38 to 39, because it sounds like the kind of society Jesus wanted."

Keith Simon: And what did he say?

Patrick Miller: He had no response. Because what do you say, right?

Keith Simon: I don't know. That's what I was interesting, because you said this is like a committed follower of Christ.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. But this is my point. I think violence is an area, most evangelical Christians are living in alignment on sexuality, at least our views of sexuality. Maybe not in their practical lives. Most I think though would say, " Hey, I believe the Bible's sexual ethic," evangelicals would. When it comes to violence, I think we have a massive misalignment. Okay, let me just go to the last two. So we talked about neighbor defense. Self- defense is one thing. Neighbor defense, defending your wife, your child, in a break in or a neighbor who's being attacked. Again, I think that's more gray. The reason being someone can make the argument that it's a lesser of two evils. In other words, the evil of killing someone is a lesser evil than allowing that person to kill someone else. It's not my life, it's their life. And so there's an argument to be made there. And I think it's kind of legitimate. Next up would be policing and state sanctioned execution. Okay. This is Romans 13. Now I already said on our last thing, I think that the Bible allows for the fact that states will police, and states will use violent force while policing, and that states will execute the death penalty in response to certain infractions of rules in our country-

Keith Simon: But if I remember what you said in the last episode, you don't think Christians can do that. You don't think Christians can be a police officer who plays that role.

Patrick Miller: Yes.

Keith Simon: They can have a desk job or something, but you don't think a police officer, or a captain of a police department, you don't think that role is open to Christians.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. So I think what I would say is, for me, policing is the most gray area. If there's one thing that the New Testament does seem to talk about, it's this idea of policing. You have all these military people who become converts, who would've been, as military officials in Judea, policing. That would've been their job. So I think that this is a gray area where I could be comfortable with someone being committed to Christian nonviolence in self- defense, Christian nonviolence in neighbor defense, but maybe take a different tack on policing. And say, " No, in policing God allows this." This is the only thing I want to say. Roman 12 and 13. Paul lays out the kingdom ethic. He says, " You guys don't do vengeance." I think that should be the Christian ethic for all Christians. And then he says, " There are people who will do it." And that's Romans 13. It's going to be the state. He seems to be, in my reading, to be operating under the assumption that Christians will do what Christians are supposed to do and they will not do that with the state. In other words, when my allegiance to Jesus comes up against my allegiance to my country, I pick Jesus' ethic, not the country's ethic. And so I can imagine someone being a police officer and just having to make the choice, " I will not kill." Now maybe they can't become a police officer because of that, or maybe they have to be a little bit dishonest in the process of becoming a police officer. I don't know. Like I'm acknowledging the problems here. Or maybe you're converted while you're a police officer and so you can just stay in your job, but you would know, I'm not going to try to destroy, injure someone, in that fashion, my definition of violence. Now, why does God allow the state to do this? This goes back to the paradox of the Old Testament. God looks at Babel and says, " You're my rod of justice, and I'm going to judge you for the justice that you've done." What's Paul doing in Romans 13? Richard Hayes, scholar of the New Testament, says he's alluding to the Old Testament all over the place in Romans 13. What's he trying to tell you ? He's saying, " Look, Rome, it's just like that. It's going to order society, but guess what? Judgment's coming." And I just don't know if as Christians we have to navigate, yes, we're going to be a part of that, but there's going to be areas where we have to resist. Daniel won't eat the food. Daniel won't do his prayer to Darius. There's going to be places where we say no. And I think for Christians, violence might be one of those places, in policing and in government jobs. But I think the government has the right to do it. We just don't do it with them.

Keith Simon: So we've heard your steel man argument, the best you can do in the short period of time laying out the-

Patrick Miller: This has been the opposite of short, whatever it was-

Keith Simon: -the nonviolence position.

Patrick Miller: But I had to do it because no one knows this position.

Keith Simon: No, I think it's really interesting. And mine won't take as long because people already believe the truth, and therefore,

Patrick Miller: And the truth will set them free. Yeah.

Keith Simon: They intuitively know I'm right.

Patrick Miller: So you'll get to ask your questions. I didn't say anything about military, but I think it's just patently obvious. The goal of military action, combatant action, is to kill. And I don't think the Bible says anything about military action. There are lots of military jobs where you will never see action, you will never be a combatant. And so I do think Christians can be in the military.

Keith Simon: Just a little bit of a clarification then. So I think you said a Christian could be a police officer, on a patrol or something like that, as long as they don't seek to kill a person. They could use other force. So does that apply to a military, a soldier too?

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: That a soldier could fire a weapon as long as they didn't intend to kill the person or is there some line that separates those two that's more-

Patrick Miller: I would need a soldier, I think, and a police officer in the room to have this discussion, right?

Keith Simon: That's fair. What do you and I know?

Patrick Miller: My understanding is that police officers are trained to deescalate situations and use minimal force. Military people, for very understandable reasons, are taught to do the exact opposite.

Keith Simon: Sure. That makes sense.

Patrick Miller: And so that's a giant thing. When it comes to actual warfare, I just don't see anything in the New Testament that allows Christians to participate. This goes back to my government thing though. Governments will wage wars, nations will war against nations. The question-

Keith Simon: Just without Christians being involved.

Patrick Miller: -iscan Christians actually participate in the warfare aspect? I could go be a chaplain in the military with good conscience. I could go be a medical officer in the military with good conscience. If I was in Ukraine, and someone was like, "What are you going to do in Ukraine?" I can tell you exactly what I do. I would be a chaplain or I would be one of the people, and there's lots of them, who are volunteering by driving around all kinds of resources and food and all of those are things you can do as a Christian. You can not participate in the violence. That's my steel man.

Keith Simon: God bless you. Thank you, for laying it out for us. I think it was great. It was a lot shorter than reading a book. More interesting. You made it fun. And we learned a lot.

Patrick Miller: All right, let's do a steel man of just war.

Keith Simon: Okay. So now, Patrick, it's my time to present the steel man argument of just war.

Patrick Miller: Can't wait.

Keith Simon: So you're going to do for me, what I did for you, and that is ask clarifying questions.

Patrick Miller: And that is ask you a question very early on, which puts you in the worst position possible, but see, you're not as dumb as I am. I went right there. I saw this look in your eyes when we got into the topic of would you protect your wife at home? You're like, " I did it. Somehow, I got him to go to the worst part of his argument, first thing." But here's the deal. I don't need to be right. I don't need to win.

Keith Simon: Oh, you're so holy.

Patrick Miller: I just want to give a fair argument. It's just war, Keith. Take me down.

Keith Simon: All right, so just to make sure everybody knows. After this, we go to questions that we're going to ask each other.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. So that's going to be episode three where we roast each other because we've decided this episode was going to be too long if we included it.

Keith Simon: Okay. So you'll be looking forward to that. All right. So I am, just like Patrick, depending on you to have listened to the previous episode, because I'm going to move through this a little bit quicker. And I assume that you've heard all the Biblical evidence already laid out. Here we go. So let's just start with kind of the definition of what just war is. And when I talk about just war and I think what most other people talk about, at least Christians, because like you had alluded to earlier, there are people who aren't Christians who have some sort of just war philosophy or approach, but what Christians mean by it is some kind of war that's undertaken that conforms to the demands of love, that is trying to pursue justice, that recognizes human dignity, and that operates in a way that is morally measured. So just war is done to try to protect innocent third parties from gross injustice.

Patrick Miller: So I started off with a definition of violence because I felt like that would help our conversation. Do you have a definition of violence and force?

Keith Simon: Yeah, I think that's a great place to start. So the way I am using the word force is in reference to the power necessary to uphold or restore justice and peace. So force is what is required to restore justice. Violence, at least the way I'm using it, I know it's a little bit different than the way that you're using it.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: Is anything that is in excess of that. Anything that is destroying justice, anything that's destroying peace.

Patrick Miller: Okay. So my definition of violence, certainly includes your definition of violence.

Keith Simon: Absolutely.

Patrick Miller: Right?

Keith Simon: But yours is bigger.

Patrick Miller: Mine's bigger. There are things that I would call violence which you would call force.

Keith Simon: Yeah. And I think that's important to me, me partly because the word violence has a lot of negative baggage to it, negative connotations to it. And I want to distinguish between kind of mean spirited, excessive, cruel violence from justified use of force in love of someone else.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, and I think that's fair because my definition of violence didn't allow a lot of gradation. Everything gets lumped into the same category where someone murdering someone else out of cold blood gets the same name as someone who's defending his wife from that murderer.

Keith Simon: And that's kind of what you were trying to distinguish between, I think.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: All right. So my contention is that in a Genesis Three world, which remember is a world in which there is sin, a world between Eden and the restored kingdom, between Genesis One and Two and Revelation 21 and 22, in a Genesis Three world, there is a proper use of force. So it's really important to me, I think, to say that I don't think that just war is on the opposite end of a spectrum of say pacifism, or nonviolence, as you like to call it. I don't see those as opposite ends of a spectrum. What I see opposite ends of the spectrum are pacifism and militarism. And that just is a mediating position between those two. So militarism is a desire to expand a nation's boundaries, to pursue national interests at the expense of other countries. Militarism is done out of joy and pride and vengeance and a lust for power, so it is violent and horrible and ugly and sinful and ungodly.

Patrick Miller: So this would include things like imperialistic conquest, Assyria, Babylon, expanding their borders just for the sake of having more, owning more, being in control of more. This would include what a lot of people call colonialism.

Keith Simon: I think it includes say what Russia is doing right now in Ukraine, right?

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Yeah.

Keith Simon: They're expanding their borders for their national interests out of national pride. That's a militarism that can occur in any country.

Patrick Miller: And you're saying your view sits in the middle between that and probably a form of pacifism that I wouldn't even affirm.

Keith Simon: Right.

Patrick Miller: So radical pacifism which would say, all force, all violence, in all circumstances is not okay. Whereas I've made a lot of qualifications right around my view.

Keith Simon: Right. Yeah. As I listen to your view, I thought you and I are closer, which it shouldn't shock me, is that we're closer than someone who just hears just war and pacifist or nonviolence might at first think. So just war then is trying to find a position in a Genesis Three world that recognizes that injustice exists, we have to love our neighbor, and sees force as being a good way to love our neighbor. See, I don't think force is evil in and of itself because I think God uses force. And if force by itself is evil, then that would make God a sinner. So it doesn't quite make sense to me that force in and of itself is wrong. And also think of something like Proverbs 24: 11. Now we mentioned a bunch of verses in the first episode, but here's just one.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, read it.

Keith Simon: Just a reminder. Rescue those who are being led away to death, hold back those staggering towards slaughter."

Patrick Miller: And you think the way to do that in this view would be through violence.

Keith Simon: One way. I don't think it's the only way. I think there's a lot of ways that we could rescue those being led away to death.

Patrick Miller: Okay.

Keith Simon: But I think force is one way to do that.

Patrick Miller: Okay. So let's get to the goal. What is the goal of using force?

Keith Simon: Yeah, I think this is a good question. The goal is a just peace. And I think a just peace is different than peace alone. So what we're not looking for is the absence of conflict. And I feel like, not necessarily you, but a lot of pacifists out there are looking for just the absence of conflict. But I think that's the kind of piece that maybe mafia bosses have. That we have peace among the families, the warring families, but it's not just. There's a lot of people being manipulative, taken advantage of, harmed in the process of this peaceful mafia run town. What we're looking for in a just war worldview is justice, the kind of peace that comes from justice. So Aquinas says, " Peace is not a virtue. It's the fruit of a virtue." So if force is used to bring about justice, I think the Christian can engage in that, and we got to still get to more qualifications, but I think the Christian can engage in that wholeheartedly. So C. S. Lewis wrote in The Way To Glory, he wrote an essay on Why I'm Not a Pacifist. And as you know, C. S Lewis was a World War I vet and really had a horrible experience in World Ear I.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: Brutal experience.

Patrick Miller: Wouldn't really talk about it.

Keith Simon: No, but he comes back and after that writes, Why I'm Not a Pacifist. And he says that way too many people, fight their battles, fighting battles, " with a long face," meaning dourly, sadly, reluctantly. And he says, " No, that shouldn't be your approach. You should be able to fight the war with enthusiasm because you're making sacrifices to bring about justice." One more quote, this one from Reinhold Niebuhr, who was writing in 1930s. And this is talking about the rise of Hitler and Nazism.

Patrick Miller: And he used to be a pacifist. He changed his mind on this issue.

Keith Simon: Well, Hitler changed a lot of people's minds, right.

Patrick Miller: Yep.

Keith Simon: I mean, to some extent he changed Bonhoeffer's mind, which I know you referred to earlier. So this is what Niebuhr says. He says, " It is not possible to disavow war absolutely without disavowing the task of establishing justice." So here, just to be clear. The people from just war believe that what we are looking for is a just peace, and in order to bring that about, it may be necessary to use force to accomplish that.

Patrick Miller: So let's spend a second now and talk about the history of just war, because I mean, I would love to talk about what the Bible says about it, but since it doesn't come from the Bible, it's easier to go straight to history. So I'm just kidding. Well, I'm kind of kidding.

Keith Simon: No, you're not kidding at all.

Patrick Miller: Let's talk about the history of just war. Where does this come from and how do we think about it?

Keith Simon: Well, you talked earlier about how the early church did not believe that Christians could be involved in war and that the early Christian worldview is more of a nonviolence or a pacifist in nature. And the more that I looked into it, I don't think I agree with that. Even Richard Hayes, who you quoted earlier and who is himself a pacifist, says that the evidence is much more uneven than your average pacifist would tell you. Yes, it is true that there weren't a lot of Christians involved in the Roman military in the very earliest stages, right after the New Testament is concluded. And part of that is because the early church thought that Christ was returning soon, so they weren't involved in a lot of things in the world. They thought Christ was coming right back so why get involved in anything? Another big reason that there weren't a lot of Christians involved in the military is that in Rome in order to be a part of the military, you had to take these oaths to the emperor and you had to proclaim that he was the high priest. You had to practice these sacrifices to the Imperial cult. You know that Caesar is Lord, Caesar is God. And so a lot of Christians were compromised, not because of the actual killing, but because of the religious implications of just being a member of the Roman military.

Patrick Miller: If I can add to your steel man, because I'm not afraid of strengthening your argument, I would say that the examples we have of Christians leaving the Roman military are explicitly exclusively because of idolatry. So there are people who leave the military. We don't have any written examples of people doing it because of violence. It's always because of idolatry. And that doesn't mean that violence didn't have a part of the picture, but again, that would be an argument from silence, and you know how I feel about those.

Keith Simon: You know, Patrick, is feeling confident when he is helping my steel man argument.

Patrick Miller: Well, I'm just trying to do one to you as I wish you had done unto me.

Keith Simon: You can tell what he's doing. Yeah, I get it. I get it. I get it. But I think you make a good point and I just want to take it one more level up. And to say that we know there are Roman soldiers who are Christians and we don't have any call in the early church for them to leave the military. So it is an argument from silence, but you would think maybe there would be some people saying, " Hey, all you people becoming Christians, you should find a new profession." We know that there were Christians there because in the 170s, we have multiples sources who tell us about a Roman Legion called the Thundering Legion. And they were out fighting against the barbarians. They didn't have any water. The soldiers all prayed. It rained. And Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, gave Christians credit for saving that Legion and ending up winning the battle against the barbarians. So we know there are a lot of Christians in the Roman military because the emperor is acknowledging them and giving them credit for winning this battle. Never do we see anybody saying, " Hey, you Christians, you need to get out." None of the church fathers do that. Right? So then we come to Augustine who you talked about earlier and-

Patrick Miller: Post Constantine, just to give people, because everybody's history isn't all-

Keith Simon: Fair enough. So Augustine's born in about 350.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, late 300s in his ministry.

Keith Simon: And dies in about 430, something like that. Right?

Patrick Miller: And he's living through a really tumultuous time. Constantine becomes a Christian in the early 300s. By the mid 400s, the Roman empire is essentially no more. It's completely fallen to the barbarian hoards of the north.

Keith Simon: Well, and if I understand it right, Rome starts to fall apart. People start blaming Christians for it falling apart, so Augustine writes City of God to explain how it's not the Christian's fault. The Christians are loyal both to Rome and to the kingdom of heaven. They're people of two kingdoms. So I guess my point in all this, and I don't have to go through all the details, is I think the history of the early church is more mixed than some people might think. Here's why this is important, because pacifists sometimes say, " Hey look, the early church was pure. They kind of had it right on all these things. And then once Christians got power through Constantine, everything started getting corrupted after that." And I'm not quite buying it. Now, by the time you get to the Reformation, now it's completely different than it was before Constantine. So Martin Luther says that just like every other profession, a soldier can do their job well or poorly, sinfully or justly. So Luther sees war as bad, but he sees it as the best of bad options. One of the reformers Zwingli out of Switzerland, was an actual military soldier, a mercenary even. But you do have this strand coming out of the Reformation, that's called the Anabaptists, or the radical reformers. And they were persecuted by the state church. So they came to the conclusion that the Christian church needed to withdraw from the state, that Christians shouldn't be involved in political office, they shouldn't be involved in government, they shouldn't be involved in the military. And to be honest, when you go through your argument for pacifism, you sound a lot like an Anabaptist. We should withdraw, live in the kingdom of God, let the kingdom of the world do their thing. And I don't think the Anabaptists quite got a lot of stuff right.

Patrick Miller: I'll take this. I critiqued you for taking your ideas from pagans and you can critique me for taking my ideas from deeply committed Christians. Everybody's got to have their thing, but you're right. The Anabaptist, at least from the Reformation forward, so if we're not talking about the early church, were the first group to really reclaim the doctrine or the idea, I shouldn't say doctrine, the idea of Christian nonviolence.

Keith Simon: And the way they did it though, is what I think is important is they did it by saying Christians need to separate from the world, separate from government, separate from all the power structures of the world. We need to go over here and live out the kingdom of God on earth and let all those worldly people do their worldly thing.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: So I think that's the roots that bore the fruit of pacifism.

Patrick Miller: And I think it's worth adding. I mean, they're not alone. You have the Quakers, you have the Mennonites, you have other movements that do come out of this, take the exact same boat, the Moravian brotherhood. I mean, there's a large number of people, and they're mixed bags. Some of these people are the people who led the early evangelistic missionary movements. And so there's a lot of credit to be due.

Keith Simon: Yeah, they're great people.

Patrick Miller: But I agree with you, and I'm going to go with you and say, yeah, I don't think the right solution to the problem is to just pull yourself entirely out of the world, to pull yourself entirely out of any state business. And I couldn't square that with examples like Daniel and Joseph.

Keith Simon: Yeah. We'll get to that, I'm sure, in the questions we have for each other.

Patrick Miller: That's good.

Keith Simon: But let's see if we can move on and just give us a description of what just war is.

Patrick Miller: Can I ask a question really quick before we go there?

Keith Simon: Oh, before we get there.

Patrick Miller: Because I'm just looking through the notes.

Keith Simon: Just a clarification, right?

Patrick Miller: This is a clarification because I don't know if we're going to talk about it. Obviously, in my section, I went all the way from self- defense to very briefly military, and here we're just talking about just war, which is what we set up, so I'm not critiquing you, but are you going to talk about self- defense, neighbor defense, any of those questions?

Keith Simon: When I was thinking about this, I wasn't thinking of the same paradigm.

Patrick Miller: That's fair.

Keith Simon: That you were. I could speak to those things, but I hadn't delineated it quite enough, but I will tell you this is that I agree with you on self- defense, probably. I mean, I have some questions about it, but essentially I do agree on self- defense that Christians should not defend themselves. On everything else, I probably disagree.

Patrick Miller: Okay.

Keith Simon: But we can talk about that later.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: So in a just war, what we're saying is that we need to use force morally. Not all force is moral, but we can use force morally. And that is if it's working toward a just peace. So there are several different elements to a just war theory and different people emphasize different ones. Aquinas, Augustine, modern thinkers, they all have the ones that they like to emphasize, but it let me just run through them so that people can kind get an idea of what makes a just war just.

Patrick Miller: And before we hop in, because this is a question I have, is this a rubric? In other words, like, do you have to check all these boxes to be declared a just war? Or is this just a set of questions that you ask? And so yeah, maybe we've got six or seven categories, four out of seven that's enough. Like just so people are hearing this the right way.

Keith Simon: I think that's good. It's not a theory as much as a set of questions a government, which we'll see why it's a government here in a second, needs to ask themselves before they go into a war. And I don't know that you have to check all the boxes. I think that some of these deal with should you go to war and some of them deal with how should you practice the war once you're in it.

Patrick Miller: And for your steel man, do you have any strong feelings just in terms of, I think you have to get these ones. I'm wobblier on these ones. I don't know if you're going to go through that.

Keith Simon: One of the critiques that I think can be made of just war is that these are vague and nebulous, and in a person's hands who really wants to go to war, they can find justification wherever they want to find it. In other words, they can manipulate the evidence to fit these questions.

Patrick Miller: So they're kind of subjective.

Keith Simon: They're very subjective, but a Christian, who's honestly, faithfully, trying to do the right thing should can to account these questions to ask whether a war is just. And you're trusting the person being as objective as possible.

Patrick Miller: So your point is, if you're asking these questions in good conscience.

Keith Simon: Yeah. I think that's a good way of saying it.

Patrick Miller: And you're able to self reflectively evaluate what are my personal motivations, what are my personal allegiances, and these are helpful questions to guide you through the process.

Keith Simon: The first one is just cause. So the reason you're going to war is really important. So a just cause is something like to rectify or prevent an injustice. See, just war advocates recognize that there's something worse than war, and that is oppression or gross injustice or crimes against humanity. And that all human beings have this responsibility to love their neighbor, and that might require the use of force. So the first question to ask is this a just cause. So for example, national interests, expanding our borders, national pride, to gain access to oil fields or to other natural resources, those are not just causes to go to war. War should not be an aggressive act. It should be on behalf of someone else or it should be because you've been attacked. Make sense?

Patrick Miller: Makes perfect sense.

Keith Simon: Okay. So the second one is right intention. This goes to motive. So you could have a wrong motive, and like we already kind of said pride, reputation, vengeance, national gain, territorial expansion, those are wrong motives. The right motive is the greater good of a justly ordered peace. So think in terms of World War II. There are concentration camps. That's a just cause to intervene on behalf of others that they would not be murdered in the concentration camps and we are going to overthrow Hitler and reestablish a good government in Europe. That would be an example of a just intention, a right intention, of going to war.

Patrick Miller: All right. Number three.

Keith Simon: Proper authority. So private people don't get to declare war. That power was given to the state. So this is Romans 13. So I can't declare war. Will Smith can't declare war on Chris Rock. I can't declare war. War has to be done by those who have been given authority by God. So this is John 18 and 19. Jesus before Pilate, " You have this power because God gave it to you." It's Paul, before the courts in Acts 25, "You have this power because God gave it to you."

Patrick Miller: Okay. So proper authority, by the way, also Romans 13, 2 Peter, other passages we mentioned, this was the one when I was saying, " Hey, where can you back load a lot of Bible passages into?" This one really makes a lot of sense to me. The Bible does seem to pretty clearly teach that there are authorities that have the power of the sword. Now again, I've got my caveats around whether Romans 13 is about war or policing and we can have that debate. Nonetheless, if you think it's about more than policing, this is one of those ones where I actually have to say, yeah, there's a lot of Bible verses on this.

Keith Simon: Right? You and I are going to disagree with whether Christians can participate in it.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: I think you acknowledge that God has given government that authority. It's just whether Christians can participate.

Patrick Miller: I'm lending my strength to your steel man right now and saying-

Keith Simon: God bless you.

Patrick Miller: -proper authority. That seems to be a key one.

Keith Simon: So another one about whether you should go to war is last resort. In other words, have you tried diplomatic things? Have you tried, in our modern terminology, you might say sanctions? Have you tried to broker peace? And you have to say, " Yeah, we feel like we've satisfied all the legitimate avenues open to us to avoid war, but those failed. So now we're going to use force to accomplish the justly ordered peace." So one more on whether you should go to war is does this war have a reasonable chance of succeeding in its objectives? Now that's super subjective. I mean, how in the world could you know that ahead of time? But you don't want to go into war and cause a bunch of damage and destruction and death when you can't really accomplish the objective that you have. If you know there's no way we're going to be able to overthrow this tyrant and bring about a just peace, then you probably just have to sit this one out.

Patrick Miller: So I realize this isn't a just war situation, but does have kind of funny overlap with the home intruder example I brought up, which is, if I said I could shoot the home intruder, one of the questions you might ask is my reasonable chance of success. Because why do you have this? It's because if you go to war with someone you can't beat, you might cost not just them, but your own country, your own people, tremendous life. And it's not worth losing the life if you can't win. And so there's some interesting overlap there of just evaluating on a practical, pragmatic level, can we do it? Or are we going to end up losing more than we could gain?

Keith Simon: So just war advocates recognize that war does a lot of damage. I mean, it's horrendous. We're seeing that, like we already said, in Ukraine right now. And so you can't be cavalier about entering the war. That's militarism. Militarism is cavalier. Just war is not. We have to be reasonably sure this is going to do more good than harm before we enter into it. Now there's a couple other criteria, but these are used for how to conduct the war. And one of those is proportionality. In other words, if someone crosses your border and steals something, you don't drop a nuclear bomb on them. So you use the least amount of resistance, the least amount of force that you can, to accomplish your objective. And then you avoid non- combatants. Now you recognize in a war, unfortunately, sadly, non- combatants are going to be killed, but you do everything you can to prevent that. You never aim or target non combatants. That's why, say the war in Ukraine right now, is getting so much criticism is because they are indiscriminately bombing hospitals-

Patrick Miller: Residential areas.

Keith Simon: Yeah.

Patrick Miller: It's awful

Keith Simon: Where people live. It is awful. Now, to be fair, until recently you couldn't distinguish between non-com combatants and combatants. Like right now, the United States can be really sure about where it's targeting at least the vast majority of time, and hit a military installation. But if you look at the history of warfare, that's a really recent invention.

Patrick Miller: It's funny that you say that.

Keith Simon: The smart bomb.

Patrick Miller: Because I almost went the opposite direction, that it's harder in modern warfare to not target combatants.

Keith Simon: No.

Patrick Miller: Now we'll get into this in the questions, because there's actually lots of stats around how many non- combatants are killed in war. But here's where I was going with it was. A lot of our weapons are so explosive and powerful that it's often difficult to limit the amount of people that you destroy. So I mean, you can bring up Hiroshima or nuclear weapons, it's great example of that's really hard to target

Keith Simon: Read Bomber's Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell. And he walks you through how after World War II, we got a lot better at devising ordinances that get to strike more accurately. So think how does Israel do war? Israel does war by dropping warnings on residential areas. " We're going to bomb this in 15 minutes. Get out." How does Russia do war?

Patrick Miller: Oh yeah.

Keith Simon: Well, they just indiscriminately bomb everything. How does United States do war? Well, the United States can put a missile through a window that it wants to put it in on the third floor of a building.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. No, this'll be fun. We'll talk about drone strikes. We'll have the conversations around how those go. This is going to be good. I'm loving this. I'm glad you're so confident. Let's keep going. Hey, you know what I'd love to hear?

Keith Simon: Little yes. The Bible.

Patrick Miller: The Bible. Remember I started there, spent about 20. You have done your more quickly than me. So there's merit.

Keith Simon: There's a shock.

Patrick Miller: There's some merit to your argument. Now again, you're just convincing people of what they already believe, so a little bit easier than I have. And I do think I've been a little easier on you doing this, but you've made it 30 minutes in without really talking much about the Bible. Let's get there.

Keith Simon: Well, because I was saving the best for last. Strategy, strategery.

Patrick Miller: Strategery.

Keith Simon: Strategery. So John the Baptist in Luke Chapter Three, he meets up with soldiers and he's talking to them about the kingdom of God. People are coming out to repent, to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. And he talks to these soldiers and they say, " What should we do?" And he tells them, " Do your job ethically." He does not tell them, " Repent of your killing." He doesn't tell them, " Leave this profession. This is not what the kingdom is about. You're in the wrong place." Now we see lots of soldiers and military officials inside the New Testament. So we see the palace guard in Philippians Four, we see Cornelius, the centurions. We've talked about those in the previous sections so we don't need to belabor it much. But I do want to say this, is that nowhere in early church history or most importantly in the Bible, do we see anyone telling these military officials or military soldiers, either one, that they need to leave the military. But what we do see is that sometimes Jesus does tell people that. So for example, he tells the prostitutes that they need to leave prostitution. So it's not as if Jesus is against telling you that you need to change professions. So I think it's significant that John the Baptist nor Jesus tells people they need to leave the military.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, I think this is a really good point because it means whatever position you take in Christian nonviolence, you have to have a way of accounting for how to do a military job or policing job and still be committed to Christian nonviolence. Because if you can't do that, you're exactly right. Someone would've told these people to quit their jobs

Keith Simon: Well, and one more example of that is in Acts 19, you've got these magicians who come to faith and they have a book burning where they publicly burn all their magic books. So we understand that there are people who come to faith in Christ and they can't do their profession any longer and stay in the kingdom, so they are publicly told by Jesus to leave or they publicly burn the bridges. They can't go back anymore. That's never done with people in the military. Now when you get to the Sermon on the Mount and I realize that's where you built most of your case and rightly so, I just don't see anything in the Sermon on the Mount about protecting a third party. I see a lot about personal insult or personal attack or personal abuse, and I think that I agree with you that the Christian should not not be defending themselves through any sort of violent means. But it never says anything about a third party. So I guess my point is, I don't think the Sermon oo the Mount ethics have a lot to say to just war. So Peter in a sword in Matthew 26, when Jesus is being arrested and Peter cuts the guy's ear off. I don't think that is about just war. I think what he's saying is, " Look, Peter, God has a plan here. This is happening to fulfill the scriptures," which is right there in that passage. " And He doesn't need you to interfere with what His plan is." So I don't think it speaks to just war. I think in the Romans 12, 13 debate, Romans 12, he's talking about how a person lives in their personal lives. He's talking about personal ethics, " Don't take vengeance. Here's who takes vengeance. And that is the government takes vengeance." And I think the government is given that authority by God to punish wrongdoing. So there is a Biblical passage where right authority and just cause and right intention is all laid out. God has given you the authority for the punishment of evil doers. And then that's repeated in I Peter Chapter Two. So I think, you know, you said earlier, can a Christian support the death penalty? And you said, " Yes, you do support the death penalty. But a Christian couldn't be the one who-"

Patrick Miller: Pulls the switch.

Keith Simon: -pulls the switch. I think that I disagree. I would agree with Luther who says that a Christian can be the hangman, but he can't hang a person he knows is not guilty.

Patrick Miller: I'm sorry, I'm just loving. I've now got this image in my head of a lethal injection executioner asking for the court records of the murder case that he's doing the execution on just so he can double check that he's not murdering someone wrongly.

Keith Simon: Well, he is executing someone at the authority of the state, who was given that right to determine who should be punished and how they should be punished by God. So remember the state there, Nero-

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: -is called the servant of God.

Patrick Miller: I'm only laughing because of the Luther quote, he says a Christian could be a hangman, but he can't hang a man he knows to be not guilty. So it does apply that you actually have some due diligence as an executioner. I don't know why I find this funny.

Keith Simon: Well you can't do it knowingly. Yeah, I don't find it funny.

Patrick Miller: I just I'm imagining this person, " Making sure before I execute this guy, that it's for real."

Keith Simon: So here's where I think you and I really have most of our disagreement is I think we could get really, really close to agree on most things. Or I really think that most of our disagreement, and I might be wrong, you might show me that's the different, is the relationship between the Christian and the state. Because in just war a Christian should be involved at every level of the state. So therefore, if Christians are involved in every level of the state, then they're going to have to make decisions on behalf of the state about who to punish and how to punish, how to wage war, how to do policing. That is an authority given to the state by God, and as leaders within the state, elected officials in the United States or appointed or however you got to be involved in Nero's empire, that Christians are going to carry those out. And I think what I hear you saying is, " No, Christians should not be involved in those things." But of course, in my steel man argument, I'm going to tell you about people you know, about Daniel and Joseph and Nehemiah and Mordecai and Esther who held leadership positions in the state of pagan nations. And you know that it was messy. You know they were involved in things they would've rather not been involved with. You know they were involved in making policy that were went against God's will. They had to figure out where do I draw the line? Like Daniel, he took the new name. He let himself get enrolled into the Babylonian leadership academy. But he wouldn't eat the food. And I'm sure that was complicated. I'm sure it wasn't black and white to him exactly where to draw the line. So I see Christians as people who should be involved in the state and therefore I think that they are going to, under God's authority, punish evil doing. They are going to use force in order to bring about a just ordered society. And that's who we want there. Conscientious, Jesus loving, Christians making those decisions instead of abandoning the state, is my steel man argument.

Patrick Miller: So I know this is your steel man argument. I just want to make sure that in your steel man, you aren't putting things in my mouth that I very clearly did not say during my steel man.

Keith Simon: I'll do whatever I want.

Patrick Miller: Because what I never said, throughout this entire thing was that Christians can't or shouldn't be involved at various levels of the state. What I explicitly said is there are lines which you may not cross in your particular job. And I would contend with you that actually on that level, you and I have a strong amount of agreement. In fact, I think there are probably jobs inside the government that even you would say, " Yeah, I don't know if a Christian should do a job like that." And so-

Keith Simon: Can you give me an example?

Patrick Miller: I would guess that if you were talking to a Christian who said they wanted to take a job in the CIA and their primary job, because they're breaking all the laws by telling you, was to help plan and execute political assassinations, you might say, " Yeah, I don't know if that works with just war theory and having the right authority."

Keith Simon: Well, remember that the state is the one. It's not up to each individual Christian to figure out whatever policy. It's not as if we can understand all the policies that led our government to do this or that or the other. Every Christian doesn't sit in judgment of all those policies. God gave that authority to the state and the state has to decide and you kind of have to go along with it unless you're really sure that this is wrong. So no, I would not have been in the gas chambers with Hitler doing that. And maybe you think the CIA example is the equivalent of that, and it may very well be. I'm just saying that somewhere there's a line where you're accountable for it, but I think that is blurry.

Patrick Miller: I think we probably do draw the line different places, but no one can walk out of this podcast saying, " Patrick doesn't think people should be in government." Because that would be-

Keith Simon: Well, we're not sure yet. We'll wait till after the questions and answers.

Patrick Miller: Because that would be an absolute falsehood. And I think you can hold both these views. And again, the lines are going to be drawn in different places. And I think you actually brought up a spectacular example with the guy who's inside of the death chambers in World War II, who has to answer the question. I mean, this was the debate that, My boss told to do it."

Keith Simon: Right. I understand.

Patrick Miller: Right? And so I'm saying all this to say, we're actually in agreement. We are in total agreement that Christians should be inside of the government and that there are lines to be drawn and there are jobs not to be taken.

Keith Simon: So I think Christians are citizens of two kingdoms. That we are citizens of the heavenly kingdom and we're citizens of whatever kingdom we live in.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: For us it is to be in the United States.

Patrick Miller: Amen.

Keith Simon: And I think we have to figure out how those two loyalties work together.

Patrick Miller: Amen.

Keith Simon: And I think that's where it gets really difficult. So I don't think it's about use of force or not use of force. I think the harder questions are going to deal with how those kingdoms operate? But let me just jump for a second to the practical. And I think one of the things the pacifist has to do is say, "I am willing to let people die. I'm willing to let injustice rule. I am willing to let Hitler do his thing instead of intervening." And I don't think that's the loving thing to do. I think the loving thing to do is to use force to go in and to stop Hitler.

Patrick Miller: I am really looking forward to the next section where you ask me that question.

Keith Simon: Justice without force is a myth. Justice without force is a myth because there are always evil people, and evil people must be hindered. That's a quote. I forgot by who. I didn't write down. I thought I'd remember and I didn't. Anyway. Now this is all true in the Genesis Three world. So don't give me, in the kingdom fully established here, in Eden or in Revelation 21 and 22. I'm talking about a Genesis Three world. That's why I started it with that.

Patrick Miller: I cannot wait for our roasting because it sounds like you've got some great questions for me already. I'm not even going to try to answer them right now. I've got some great questions for you on this nice pagan view that you've laid out for our listeners. No, in all seriousness, one of the things I hope you're walking away with. One of the reasons why Keith and I wanted to do this is that we think it's actually important to model to people, how to, in a fun, charitable, way, debate about ideas. And also in a charitable way admit where you have strengths and weaknesses. Again, we started this whole thing off by saying neither one of us has airtight arguments. This is not a clear black and white issue. Now we're both convinced of our positions and we'll argue for those. But at the end of the day, we have a ton of agreement here. We both agree that when Jesus returns there will be no war, there will only be peace. We both agree that any Christian involved in any form of force or violence should be self- reflective. It's not just something you do without thinking. It's a serious matter to take someone else's life into your hands.

Keith Simon: We agree on so much. We agree on the self- defense issue, that Christians should not use violence to defend themselves.

Patrick Miller: Can I say I was surprised? I thought you were going to go the other way.

Keith Simon: Oh really?

Patrick Miller: You took one of my good questions out of my-

Keith Simon: Thank goodness. We believe that Jesus' kingdom is not advanced by force. So we don't think that we should pick up the sword and compel other people to be Christians by threat of violence. We both believe that we need to disentangle Jesus's kingdom from empire theology that has been popular in the United States, that says that the United States is God's chosen country and whatever the United States chooses to do then that's what's best and if we are militaristic and go to war and involve ourselves in all these international feuds, that that's good, because God's on our side. No, we don't want to do any of that. So we agree on quite a bit.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. And I think both of us would say that, well, you can tell me if this is true. I would far rather have someone in your position than someone in the militaristic.

Keith Simon: Oh, absolutely.

Patrick Miller: And you would far rather have someone in my position than-

Keith Simon: In the militaristic position.

Patrick Miller: Than the militaristic or the-

Keith Simon: Pure pacifist.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. The extreme pacifist.

Keith Simon: Now, I'll say that you're less of pacifist than I thought you were going to argue for.

Patrick Miller: And you're actually less of a violent man than I thought you were. Okay. So make sure to tune in for our next episode where we will do the official roasting of just war and Christian nonviolence.

Keith Simon: Thanks for listening. If you found this podcast helpful, make sure to subscribe and leave a review.

Patrick Miller: And make sure it's at least five stars.

Keith Simon: Stop. No, just be honest. Reviews help other people find us.

Patrick Miller: Okay. Okay. At the very least you can share today's episode. Maybe put it on your social, your favorite text chain.

Keith Simon: And if you didn't like this episode, awesome. Tell us why you disagree on Twitter, @ truthovertribe_. We might even share your thoughts in an upcoming newsletter.

DESCRIPTION

Today on Truth Over Tribe, we're bringing the second episode in a 3-part series about just war and non-violence. In the first episode, we covered the biblical theology of violence (go back and listen if you haven't already!). This episode features Keith's and Patrick's steel man arguments on just war vs. non-violence. The final episode will end with a debate between the two.


Today, you'll hear Keith and Patrick each present their steel man arguments. Patrick's position is for Christian non-violence, which he describes as different from pacifism. He defends his stance by answering the question, "What does the Bible actually say about war?" Keith, then, makes a biblical case for just war, stating that it seeks to protect innocent third parties from gross injustice. Keith presents his argument with four key questions that a government should ask themselves before deciding to go to war. Tune in now!


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