Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto [e].
- Westminster Larger Catechism
Q.136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves [c], or of others [d], except in case of
- • public justice [e],
- • lawful war [f], or
- • necessary defence [g];
- the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life [h]; sinful anger [i], hatred [k], envy [l], desire of revenge [m]; all excessive passions [n], distracting cares [o]; immoderate use of meat, drink [p], labor [q], and recreations [r]; provoking words [s], oppression [t], quarreling [v], striking, wounding [w], and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any [x].
Importance: 10,000/yr vs. 10,000 per day. What is the tendency of an institution which has developed processes, infrastructure, and networks, dedicated to regular, on-going, systematic killing?
Support for "the State" ultimately derives from this idea of "necessary defence."
or necessary defence [g];
[g] Exodus 22:2-3 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. Ver.3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Are you a "Pacifist?"
One conclusion which can be drawn from this [text - Exodus 22:2] is that a threat to our life is to be met with lethal force. . . .
In Proverbs 25:26 we read that "A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well." Certainly we would be faltering before the wicked if we chose to be unarmed and unable to resist an assailant who might be threatening our life. . . . For a man to refuse to provide adequately for his and his family's defense would be to defy God.
What Does the Bible Say about Gun Control? - Larry Pratt
Does Exodus 22 mandate lethal force?
The text calls for execution of the one who uses lethal force in self defense! (Except at night [Romans 13:12].)
The primary reason people don't want to be "pacifists" is "self-defense." Pacifists continually meet objections like those of Bacchiocchi:
It would be morally irresponsible to turn over one's wife to a rapist just to "keep peace."
This is a "straw man." I've never met a pacifist (and I've met hundreds and lived with several) who would say to a rapist, "Here she is. Go for it. And peace to you." A pacifist believes in evil, and believes violence is evil. A pacifist would take prudent steps to stop evil, avoid evil, catch evil off guard, and evangelize evil, but would not, as many non-pacifists seem to advocate, start out immediately with lethal force. Many 2nd Amendment zealots would pull out their gun at the drop of the hat. At least that's the way they talk. Probably they are a bit more rational in real life.
In fact, in "real life" most people who oppose "pacifism" don't even have a gun, or aren't really prepared to use it if their home were invaded. On the other hand, they also aren't prepared to respond with creative non-violence to an attacker.
Here's a simple question that will prove you are a pacifist.
Imagine you are "Star Trek" Captain Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise. You are walking down the street of a planet in the Deltoid Galaxy with one of your never-ending stream of beautiful women at your arm, when a large burly alien with the tattoo "I AM A RAPIST" across his forehead jumps out from a dark alley, grabs your female companion and says "I'm going to rape this woman!" You pull out your Phazer™ gun and . . . here's the question:
Do you set the Phazer to "stun" and quickly put the rapist to sleep and call the proper authorities, or do you set your Phazer to "maximum molecular disruption" and utterly obliterate the rapist, ending his life?
When given such a choice, only a sociopath would choose annihilation or lethal force. Everyone else is a "pacifist." It's that simple.
- Submit to Invading Armies
- Submit to Enslavers
- Submit to Attackers
End of Lesson, Day 125
For Further Study:
- Is "Deadly Force" Ever Justified?
- "Self Defense" and the Way of the Cross
- Does Jesus Command His Followers to Take Up a Sword?
- The Sinfulness of Anti-Pacifistic Abstractions