(13) "You shall not murder.
New King James Version Change your email Bible version
Despite so many religious leaders' endorsement, the "just war" doctrine is antithetical to Christianity. The sixth commandment absolutely forbids it. Jesus' teaching in the four gospels and the apostles' teaching in the rest of the New Testament clearly stand against it. What can be simpler than "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9), "You shall not murder" (verse 21), ". . . turn the other [cheek]" (verse 39), and ". . . love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (verse 44)? And these plain instructions are from only one chapter!
The apostles are similarly of one voice in this matter. Paul writes:
Repay no one evil for evil. . . . If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord [Deuteronomy 32:35]. Therefore "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head [Proverbs 25:21-22]." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
He later says that "we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal" (II Corinthians 10:3-4), meaning Christians do not fight with physical arms but spiritual powers. James calls Christians who "fight and war" "adulterers and adulteresses" who make themselves enemies of God by applying the unrighteous methods of this world (James 4:1-4). Finally, John writes, "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (I John 3:15).
Some may contend that these teachings do not apply because they are instructions to individuals—but are not nations merely large, organized groups of individuals? The principles apply just as well in a macrocosm as in a microcosm. Killing on a national scale is just as ungodly as killing on a personal one.
There is a major problem in today's Christianity, even among so-called fundamentalists: hypocrisy. The vast majority of supposedly Christian ministers and churches have traded the truth of the Bible—the Word of God—for unrighteous mammon, political gain, or popularity. Their unregenerate hearts are revealed by what comes from their mouths, "for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders . . ." (Matthew 15:18-19). Rather than walk the difficult path to eternal life, they have taken the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14), the way that is "right in [their] own eyes" (Judges 21:25), the "way that seems right to a man, . . . the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Jesus Christ will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:23).
There is a great deal of wisdom in the old saw that religion and politics do not mix.
— Richard T. Ritenbaugh