Christian Karate?

 

  • 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 on?


If you are struggling with answers to questions like these, perhaps the information on this page can be of some help.

Also check out:
Martial Arts: The Christian Way

Question:  

Is it right for Christians to defend themselves via the martial arts when the Bible says to “turn the other cheek”?


Answer:

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 only).


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 them morally.”




Question:  

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?


Answer:

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 program.


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.



 

                               

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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