What about the Christian and Karate?
Can someone be a Christian and still practice Karate?
Doesn't God just want me to turn the other cheek and move
If you are struggling with answers to questions like these, perhaps the
information on this page can be of some help.
Is it right for Christians to defend themselves via the
martial arts when the Bible says to “turn the other cheek”?
Yes. We believe that Scripture allows Christians to use
offensive force for self-defense against crime and injustice. If
self-defense is scripturally justifiable so long as it is conducted without
unnecessary violence, then so are the martial arts (the physical aspect
Background: Since pacifism is not on trial here, but self-defense, the
following background provides a biblical case for self-defense rather than
attempting to dismantle the arguments for pacifism.
Though the Bible is silent regarding the Asian martial arts, it nonetheless
records many accounts of fighting and warfare. The providence of God in war
is exemplified by His name YHWH Saboath (“The Lord of hosts” – Ex. 12:41).
God is portrayed as the omnipotent Warrior-Leader of the Israelites. God,
the LORD of hosts, raised up warriors among the Israelites called the
shopetim (savior-deliverers). Samson, Deborah, Gideon, and others were
anointed by the Spirit of God to conduct war. The New Testament commends Old
Testament warriors for their military acts of faith (Heb. 11:30-40).
Moreover, it is significant that although given the opportunity to do so,
none of the New Testament saints – nor even Jesus – are ever seen informing
a military convert that he needed to resign from his line of work (Matt.
8:5-13; Luke. 3:14).
Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus revealed to His disciples the future
hostility they would face and encouraged them to sell their outer garments
in order to purchase a sword (Luke. 22:36-38; cf. 2 Cor. 11:27). Here the
“sword” (maxairan) is a “dagger or short sword [that] belonged to the Jewish
traveler’s equipment as protection against robbers and wild animals”. It is
perfectly clear from this passage that Jesus approved of self-defense.
Self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human
love. Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his
life for his friends” (John 15:14). When protecting one’s family or
neighbor, a Christian is unselfishly risking his or her own life for the
safety of others.
The late Francis Schaeffer put it this way:
The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the
manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my
particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in
this poor world in which we live – this lost world – means that we desert
the people who need our greatest help. What if you come upon a big, burly
man beating a tiny tot to death and plead with him to stop? Suppose he
refuses? What does love mean now? Love means that I stop him in any way I
can, including hitting him. To me this is not only necessary for
humanitarian reasons: it is loyalty to Christ’s commands concerning
Christian love in a fallen world. What about the little girl? If I desert
her to the bully, I have deserted the true meaning of Christian love –
responsibility to my neighbor.
J.P. Moreland and Norman Geisler likewise say that:
“. . . to permit murder when one could have prevented
it is morally wrong. To allow a rape when one could have hindered it is an
evil. To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is
morally inexcusable. In fact not resisting evil is an evil of omission, and
an evil of omission can be just as evil as an evil commission. Any man who
refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails
Because martial arts is a controversial issue with
potential for causing other Christians to stumble, why does K.O.R.E. choose
to practice martial arts?
First, we believe that it is possible for a Christian to
practice martial arts completely divorcing the Eastern religious philosophy
and mysticism – even learning scripture in the process. Second, as K.O.R.E.
attempts to reach out into its Judea, we are willing to embrace controversy
for the sake of the Gospel. Of the two to three million martial arts
practitioners in the United States, 40 percent are children between the ages
of seven and fourteen. This represents and highlights enormous possibilities
for K.O.R.E. to attract unchurched children interested in a martial arts
While we are excited about the evangelistic opportunities afforded by a
martial arts program we nonetheless do not take lightly the responsibility
as leaders to be careful not to cause a Christian brother or sister to
stumble (Rom. 14:21). We understand that it is possible that a Christian
might become disillusioned seeing a respected brother or sister practicing
the martial arts, thinking that such involvement is a compromise of the
faith. Or perhaps a weaker Christian might conclude (for example) that it’s
okay to practice Zen meditation since his more mature brother practices the
martial arts, thereby (apparently) giving approval for all that is involved
in the martial arts.
There are two approaches one may take in dealing with a Christian brother or
sister who is stumbling: 1) Complete abstinence from the activity. Because
of the great potential for expanding the kingdom of God through the
incorporation of martial arts, we have chosen not to exercise this approach.
2) Clarification of lack of information or misinformation. It is our opinion
that much stumbling over martial arts takes place because of a lack of
understanding. As we become aware of ones who become stumbled we are
committed to determining specifically what issue has become the point of
offense (e.g., the use of physical force, the “chi” force, or meditation).
We will then address the issue, clarifying any misconceptions the person may
have (e.g., physical force is to be used for self-defense only; there is no
use of “chi”; Eastern meditation is off limits). We trust that such efforts
will satisfactorily relieve the brother or sister’s concern.