Saturday, March 03, 2018

Our Weapons Are Not Carnal (2 Cor. 10:3-5): Clement of Alexandria on War According to the Flesh

Paul specifically professes that Christians do not wage war carnally. Our weapons, he contends, are not fleshly but spiritual (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The inspired apostle seems to allow no room for Christians participating in wars that result in the taking of human life, whether such life can be termed innocent or not. Clement of Alexandria appears to believe that Paul's words in 2 Cor. 10:3-5 apply to carnal warfare. He reports:

"For we do not train our women like Amazons to manliness in war; since we wish the men even to be peaceable. I hear that the Sarmatian women practise war no less than the men; and the women of the Sacae besides, who shoot backwards, feigning flight as well as the men" (Stromata IV.VIII).

Elsewhere, Clement insists that Christians do not even "draw an outline" of bows or swords since they opt for peace. If Christ's professed disciples in Clement's time (generally speaking) would not even trace outlines of war armaments, then how could they actually pick them up and kill their enemies in polemic activity? Furthermore, Clement quotes Paul's words when delineating his apparently pacifistic stance. So, at least Clement, Justin and other pre-Nicenes (including Origen, Arnobius and Lactantius) thought Paul's words applied to carnal warfare and they fittingly encouraged disciples of Christ to eschew such activities.

1 comment:

Duncan said...

Possibly an example of why the father's felt the need to cover this point.