I read a blog by my friend Brian LePort here which linked to a blog by Nick Norelli here where each of them were discussing whether or not they were pacifists (and what the correct definition of pacifism is). I weighed in, but I'd like some additional feedback. I argue that Biblical pacifism (which is the only kind that matters to me) is not about total non-violence, but rather about defending the weak and the innocent. If I see two school children fighting in the yard, I can break up the fight with minimal force - I'm bigger than they are and far stronger. Punching them in the face or breaking their arms would be entirely inappropriate, and I would have sinned. However, if I see someone assaulting an elderly woman on the street, and when I intervene, I then become the target of the assailant's violence, then I have a Biblical right to defend myself to the degree necessary to subdue and restrain the assailant until the authorities arrive.
The question then becomes, "Is it ever appropriate to use deadly force?" My answer is a tentative, "Yes." If someone broke into my home and stole my television and my Apple products (God forbid!), I would be distraught, but I have insurance and they can be replaced. I would let them take it and go and allow the police to do their jobs. But if someone broke into my home and came after my family, I would use whatever force necessary to protect them, up to and including deadly force if there were no other options. I also believe that not only do I have a Biblical right to do that, but I submit that I have a Biblical obligation as the man of the home to protect my family.
There was some commentary about early Christians who were persecuted by the state, and how they embraced the attacks as forms of worship and an honor. I think there is a dramatic difference between being persecuted for your faith and being assaulted for your wallet. If someone sexually assaults my wife, they aren't doing it because she is a Christian. That isn't persecution that anyone should endure, and I think Christians who hide behind misquoted passages of scripture are as much sinning as people who abuse the text to justify violence.