At the end of your response to Q 0527, you imply that it is wrong to take up arms against your oppressors. What does that make of the Mandelas of Africa and other liberated countries? -- Charles Gutu

Mandela effected real change only after being imprisoned and renouncing violence, isn't that right? The real question is, what did Jesus say about how we are to treat our enemies. How do you read this? -- DJ

I agree about how we are to treat our enemies as Christians. I suppose the whole concept of "freedom" from oppression or bondage means one experiences some violence of some sort. But how would Christian Europe protect or rid itself of Nazism if not by violence? Is it practical to do a "Gandhi" in all cases? What if the other cheek is "crushed" -- do we turn to the other to get "crushed" also? I do wrestle with this issue. -- CG

We cannot be certain a "Gandhi" would have worked against Hitler. However, what governments do is very different to what individual Christians do. (You and I are not states, are we?) The ancient church believed that their prayers were of far greater value against the enemy than killing. So, even if all true Christians refused to kill Nazis, that doesn't mean Hitler would have won. Almost the same number of people would still have fought on the Allied side. But the war might have been shorter! (What a thought!) -- DJ