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Christian Warfare: Did the First Christians Engage in War?
You may or may not know this, but the Christians of the first few centuries after Christ refused to kill, even in war. Even as late as A.D. 325, the Council of Nicea decided:
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Those who endured violence and were seen to have resisted, but who afterwards yielded to wickedness, and returned to the army, shall be excommunicated for ten years. (Canon 12 of the Council of Nicea,)
They would not fight with swords, and they did not join the military. (You will see in the notes at the link to Canon 12 that the famous scholar Karl von Hefele argues that this canon only refers to fighting for the cause of Emperor Licinius against the supporter of Christians, Emperor Constantine. He is a respected scholar, but the canon does not say that.)
They did, however, fight with spiritual weapons. They believed their prayers were more effective than any sword could ever be.
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