Are Christians allowed to kill in self defense? I am having a debate with someone right now and believe that they are not, citing these passages:
Romans 12:19 ESV: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Matthew 5:38-39 ESV: You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 26:52-54: Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?'
They are arguing these passages --
Matthew 10:16: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Luke 22:36: Sell your cloak to buy a sword.
How do we reconcile these seemingly contradictory statements?
It is very interesting the way in which you couched your question: “Are Christians allowed to kill in self-defense.” That assumes that you believe that even though Christians are not supposed to kill on purpose, “in self-defense” seems to introduce an exception, that is, that there are times when it may be justified to kill another human being. Let me give you my personal and very honest opinion and the reasons why. Christians are not allowed to kill, period. Not even in self-defense. Did Jesus encourage his disciples to defend him at Gethsemane? No. He told Peter to put away his sword “for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) Does that mean that when attacked one cannot defend himself/herself? No. It means that one should not “kill” in self-defense. When attacked, there are things one can do short of killing the other person.
When the concept of self -defense is taken from the individual to the collective realm, it allows for what is called the “just war” theory which, for me, goes also against the spirit of the gospel. War, in whichever form, is collective murder, and therefore, always wrong. In my opinion there is no justification for it whatsoever.