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READINGS Strobel: Objection #7 Hindson & Caner: War, Roman Catholicism, Christian Identity Aryanism, Homosexuality, Eastern Orthodoxy

2 Perspectives Christians view accounts of church abuse and violence as anomalies Critics view them as evidence of a willingness by the Church to impose beliefs through coercion and force “When Christians get enough power in a society, they will use any means to increase that power.” Military Judicial

3 Examples often given The Crusades The Thirty Years War
The Inquisitions Salem witch trials Anti-Semitism Appeasement of Nazism Apartheid See an experienced Crusades-era apologist respond to objections about the Crusades at

4 Answering Objections to Christianity
Objection #1: “Many terrible things, like the Crusades or the Inquisition, have been done in the name of Christianity.” Answer: When terrible things are done in the “name” of Christ, those who do it are in the wrong. Doing something in the Lord’s “name” does not necessarily make the person right (Matthew 7:21-23). Christianity, when practiced according to the New Testament, does not lead to terrible things, but peace and goodness (Galatians 5:22-23).

Answer: The fact that you call it hypocritical proves you believe Christianity has an absolute code…based on Jesus Christ Violence in Christianity Crusades, Inquisition: Do they follow Jesus’ example, or were the leaders simply borrowing the name? “Well, Jesus did say Lk. 22:36-38: “Sell your cloak and buy a sword” Matt. 10:34: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”

6 The Imprecatory Passages
A Cry for Justice

7 Examples from Psalms "Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave.“ - Psalm 55:15 "O God, break the teeth in their mouths." - Psalm 58:6 "May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous." - Psalm 69:28 "May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.” - Psalm 109:9 "How blessed will be the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." - Psalm 137:9

8 NT Examples Matthew 23:13 - But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthew 26: And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 1 Corinthians 16:22 - If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

9 NT Examples Galatians 1:8-9 - But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 5:12 - I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 2 Timothy 4:14 - Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Revelation 6:10 - And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

10 Which Psalms are Imprecatory?
Psalms 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 83, 94, 109, 129, 137, 139 and 140 each have passages that can be viewed as containing curses or prayers for the punishment of the psalmist's enemies.

11 Inadequate Explanations
“The Old Testament represents a lower morality than the New Testament.” “These are nothing but inspired records of uninspired and evil emotions.” “The imprecations are in reality prophesies of judgment.” “The Psalmist has divine insight into the matter and that justifies his declaration.”

12 Guiding Principles of Interpretation:
The Psalmists are probably not planning these actions; they are probably calling on God to carry them out. See Exodus 15:6-7 and Deuteronomy 32:35-36 Many of these imprecations are concerned with God’s glory being vindicated. See Psalm 28:4-5, Psalm 64 and Psalm 69:6 The early Christians called on God to take notice of their enemies. - Acts 4:23-30 A careful reading of Romans12:17-13:10 will demonstrate that God’s just punishment of the wicked frees the Christian to love his enemy.

13 Practical Lessons: The Psalmists take judgment seriously. This is seen in the imprecatory Psalms. The imprecatory Psalmists hate sin. There are two themes that we need to see in these Psalms. Righteous indignation. Concern for the Name of God. The Imprecatory Psalmists live in hope of the deliverance of God.

14 Can we use these Psalms? David did not take his own revenge.
Twice he refused to kill Saul - 1 Samuel 24:1-12; 26:5-20 He refused to harm Absalom Samuel 18:5 He refused to kill Shimei Samuel 19:18-23 He thanked Abigail for convincing him not to avenge his own disgrace at the hands of Nabal – 1 Samuel 25:32-35 David did good to his enemies. - Psalm 35:12-14 When David perceived his enemies to be implacable foes of God, he cried out for justice. Paul does the very same thing! Admittedly the language is less vivid. However, a cry for justice always seems to be appropriate. See Amos 2:6-8, 5:7-24, 6:12

15 One more thought This may not be personal vindictiveness. In many cases, it may be a prophetic foreshadowing of what will happen at the last day when God casts all his enemies into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). We would do well to leave such final assessments to God, and realize our own corrupt inability to hate anything as we ought (to correct Aristotle’s quote).


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