Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence (Book Review)

Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence

Like many American Evangelicals, I grew up seeing no contradiction between following Christ and using violence. I’ve always thought that the 1611 and a 1911 go together better than peanut butter and jelly. And until recently, I owned both. (I still have the Bible.)

But my long-held thoughts on such things have been challenged by what I see in the Bible—particularly the teachings of Jesus.

Here’s the problem I’ve come against. Jesus commanded his followers to love everyone, including our enemies. Love is not just a side-issue for Christians; it forms the very core of what it means to follow Jesus. And love is an action, not a sentiment. So how could it be possible to love our enemies while deliberately inflicting harm on them?

With such questions in my mind and new convictions being formed, I was delighted to hear about Preston Sprinkle’s book, Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence.

Preston was raised with beliefs similar to mine. Early on, he saw no problem with Christians using violence. But he too has been convicted by what he sees in Scripture.

His book is divided into several main sections. The first deals with the Old Testament and the violence found throughout. Here we see how God worked with Israel, slowly moving them closer and closer to his ideal. The next section examines the New Testament, pointing out the clear mandates for Christians to avoid violence. The third section looks at church history to see how the earliest believers handled this subject. Finally, various objections and potential exceptions are discussed in the last section.

What I love most about this book is that it is squarely based on the Bible. There is no hippie pacifist sentimentality here, just an honest examination of the text of Scripture.

Furthermore, Preston acknowledges that there are plenty of debatable areas within this subject. He holds fast to the clear commands and principles in the Bible while being upfront about opinions he voices to work these things out. You won’t find in this book a legalistic set of rules about how Christians must act in light of these teachings.

Fight is a great starting-point for those who may have never considered the question of violence, and it is a great encouragement for people like me whose convictions have shifted. You may not agree with every point Preston makes (I’m not sure that I do either), but this is a book that will definitely get you thinking, and that’s always a good thing.

I highly recommend Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence. It is available in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook formats. Thank you, Preston Sprinkle and David C Cook, for sending me a copy to review.