Crusades

<<campaign, battle>>

These were religiously sanctioned military campaigns sweeping from Spain to Jerusalem with the goal to restore Christian control of the Holy Land. There were nine different

   Fight the enemy, not people

crusades, fought between 1096 and 1291 although there were still skirmishes until the 17th  century. The crusades were brutal and evil with vast numbers of people dying from misdirected religious fanaticism that was mainly directed at Muslims although pagans, Jews and troublemakers were also targets. Many people were forced to 'convert' to Christianity. If they refused, they were put to death. The idea of conquering a land through war and violence in the name of Christ is completely unbiblical. Many of the actions that took place in the crusades were completely opposite to everything the Christian faith stands for. The Muslim perception of Christianity is still adversely influenced by the unbiblical actions of those claiming to be followers of Christ. Saul, before he was confronted by the Lord and became the apostle Paul was involved in a similar ‘cleansing’ movement (Act 8:3, 9:1-5). As he sincerely believed the Christian movement was dangerous and detrimental to Judaism he hated and persecuted Christians without mercy.

Christ instructed “Go into all the world and make disciples...” but this is not to be by force as we are told “Don’t do evil that good may result” (Mt 28:19,20; Rom 3:8). People can be taught and persuaded but not compelled by force to believe in or follow Jesus. Following Him is voluntary; He said, "If anyone would come after me..." (Mt 16:24). Elsewhere the Bible states, "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Rev 22:17). Rather, by love, demonstrate the outworking of the good news so people will want to embrace the gospel by choice. 

With a similar philosophy the Inquisitions were a phase of history of the Roman Catholic Church (running for several centuries from 1184) when they tried to force people to comply with certain beliefs under threat of torture.

We can be sincere – but sincerely wrong! Whatever we do should be grounded in the Word, outworking Godly values and done under the Holy Spirit’s direction.

In the past Church evangelistic outreaches were sometimes called crusades, which because of the past association depicted as 'a vigorous aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of a cause' are now called campaigns.

See also: free will, inquisitions, outreach, volunteer, war/warfare, zeal.

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