Another common objection to nonviolence comes in Luke 22:36-38. In verse 36, Jesus tells his disciples to sell thier cloaks in order to buy a sword. That seems like a pretty open-and-shut case, doesn’t it? If Jesus tells his disciples to buy swords, then he can’t be teaching nonviolence, can he?
But then we have verse 38. The disciples tell Jesus that they have two swords. Jesus responds bg saying “That is enough.” Wait…what? Two swords is enough for what? It is certainly not enough for a war, or even a small rebellion. Heck, two swords aren’t even enough for individual self-defense, considering there were twelve disciples.
So what are two swords enough for? And why did Jesus tell them to buy swords anyway?
Perhaps the most common objection to nonviolence is that it simply doesn’t work. Of course, the first question that comes to my mind is, “Work for what?” If you mean “Nonviolence doesn’t get rid of all the violence in the world”, or something along those lines, you’re right. Nonviolence doesn’t work for that. Having said that, there are numerous examples of when nonviolence has worked. Rather than copy and paste examples that others have worked hard to gather, I will simply send you to this website for a timeline of nonviolence throughout history.
The question that must be asked, then, is “What is the goal of Christian nonviolence?” In other words, if we say that nonviolence does or does not work, we have to ask, “Work for what?” We’ve already come close the answer in a previous post. We find the answer in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically Matthew 5:13-16. The goal of Christian nonviolence Continue reading