“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9, NKJV)
There is so much violence in the world today. It seems like nearly every day there is some new outbreak of violence somewhere in the world that is getting worldwide media attention. Even here in our own town, we hear reports nearly every day of another shooting or fight or armed robbery or other act of violence against a neighbor. While much of this is the result of hopelessness and a general lack of respect for human life, a great deal of the violence we read of today is perpetrated in the name of religion. That is extraordinarily sad and disturbing!
As a Christian, I teach people – as frequently and as clearly as I can – that a person’s life depends on them being converted to Christ. I teach that the only hope of true life, liberty and happiness is to be found in the Christian religion, i.e. true New Testament Christianity. However, the emphasis of that teaching is their spiritual wellbeing. If a person rejects the Christian religion, or even mocks and ridicules Christ, I would never dream of responding with an act of physical violence against them. Christianity is a religion of peace, not violence.
Some will, no doubt, want to bring up historical occasions when those practicing a corrupted form of Christianity were responsible for acts of physical violence. However, the idea of “conversion by the sword” is not, and never has been, an expression of true New Testament Christianity. All such instances were the result of a twisted and corrupted form of Christianity, which wasn’t Christianity (cf. Gal. 1:6-9), being used for political and national conquest.
Christ did not allow His disciples to fight physical battles in His defense or to spread His kingdom by force of arms (Jn. 18:10, 11). He said His kingdom was not of this world (Jn. 18:36). He said that if His kingdom were an earthly kingdom then His disciples would engage in physical warfare to defend Him and His kingdom. When people point to so-called Christians as an example of violence in the name of religion, they are pointing to a man-made system that is not true Christianity. It is a system that corrupted true Christianity to try and make it a physical, earthly kingdom.
Paul said that Christians are supposed to seek peace with all men (Rom. 12:19). He also said that the weapons of the Christian warfare, in the fight to defend and spread the kingdom of Christ, are spiritual and not carnal (2 Cor. 10:4).
Why is the world becoming more and more violent all the time? I believe it is because the number of true Christians is decreasing. If we want peace in the world we must work all the harder to convert more people to Christ. Remember the days of Noah? How was the world described then? “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11). Remember how many were ready to get on the ark when it was time? Eight people in the whole world! (1 Pet. 3:20).
Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), He rules the kingdom of peace (Lk. 2:14) with the gospel of peace (Rom. 10:15; Eph. 6:15), and He is the only hope of peace in a violent world! Christianity is the true religion of peace that can overcome any religion of violence.