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Biblical Ethics and Social Change$
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Stephen Mott

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199739370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199739370.001.0001

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After All Else—Then Arms?

After All Else—Then Arms?

(p.143) 9 After All Else—Then Arms?
Biblical Ethics and Social Change

Stephen Charles Mott

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the argument from the New Testament for a posture of absolute nonviolence and the theoretical context for political revolutions. It begins with a discussion of biblical support for the claim that the taking of life cannot be justified by any duty or good, including the overthrow of violence and tyranny. It then cites examples in Scripture of movements overthrowing governments that have become illegitimate due to their opposition to the will of God. It also considers what the New Testament says about violence by focusing on the story of Jesus Christ and the absent Zealots and His exemplary suffering; the place of love in armed force; when love requires arms; and the relationship between justice and arms. The chapter concludes by stressing the importance of the teachings and Spirit of Jesus in preserving revolutions from their own excesses.

Keywords:   nonviolence, political revolutions, violence, Scripture, New Testament, Jesus Christ, suffering, love, arms, justice

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