There is not a word in the New Testament that hints that the Church is at odds with the State because the State is violent. When the Church is walking in the light and finds herself at odds with the State it is always because of statist idolatry, not because of violence.
Those who believe that violence is redemptive or ideal, those who yearn for wars so that greatness may be achieved, are idolaters. They are looking for blood sacrifices that are not grounded in, or imitative of, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They believe that war is essential to our humanity, and every Christian who knows that we are destined for resurrection life knows that this is false.
But those who believe that violence is normal or practical are in a different boat entirely. Violence against murderers will be normal and practical just so long as there are people about who think for various reasons that murder is normal or practical.
That civic judgment that restraining violence is a practical necessity might be accurate or erroneous, depending on the conditions, and the accuracy of the judgment depends entirely on whether fit recipients of civil coercion are on the loose and spreading their mayhem.
If there are bad actors about, then the civil magistrate actually does not have the right to withold violence. Where justice is not speedily executed on the criminal, there the heart of man is filled to do evil things (Ecc. 8:11). The magistrate who does not pronounce sentence on the wicked, when it is within his power to do so, is as culpable as the criminal himself.
The State, at least in its present manifestations, exercises violence. Is this good or evil? If the violence is directed against a serial rapist and murderer, the State’s violence is obedient and holy. If it is directed against those who refuse to worship the image of Nebuchadnezzar, then the State’s violence is evil. The issue, the dividing line, is always idolatry, and nothing else.
Idolatrous violence, and let us call it vilence, is evil because of the holy name that it has to oppose as it seeks to justify that violence. But are the mechanics of violence and coercion themselves contrary to the nature of the Trinity? Not a bit of it, not any more than auto mechanics are. If the auto was tuned up in order to make a better getaway car for the bank heist, then the mechanical application was sinful. If it was tuned up to get the ambulance to the hospital in time to save a life, then it is good, not evil.
The Church throughout her history has frequently found herself at odds with the State, but this was because the State did not want to bow down and submit to the authority of Jesus Christ (even if they had technically done so).
But from the first, the faithful Church has not found herself at odds with the State because of violence as such. When has there been a collision with the State because the State hunted down a deranged murderer, conducted a fair trial, and put him to death? There is not a hint of disapproval in the New Testament for this kind of thing, and a number of indications that, as far as the apostles were concerned, when it came to hunting down bad guys (who really were bad guys), all systems were go.
If Paul had done anything deserving of death, he did not resist the death penalty (Acts 25:11). He taught that when the magistrate was whacking evildoers (and not God’s saints), the magistrate was acting as a vicar of God (Rom. 13:4). John the Baptist assumed in his teaching of certain soldiers that they would be staying in the army (Luke 3:14). And Jesus, the bane of moral perfectionist-fussers everywhere, praised the centurion who had more faith than could be found in all of Israel (Matt. 8:10).
Has the Church collided with the State? Certainly. But was it because the State was violent? Rather it was because the State, when it acts as a rival to God, wants to aim that violence in the wrong direction.
I have said this many times and in many ways, and it is a lesson that many Christians have a hard time learning. There is no virtue or vice to be found in a transitive verb. Before we know if there is sin involved or not, we have to know the circumstances, and before all else, we have to know what the direct object is. If someone says that “Henry loves blank,” do we know the character of Henry yet? We don’t know if blank will be filled in with mom, apple pie, God, ice cream, child pornography, or Satan. And not until then will Henry’s character will be evaluated properly.
So it turns out the State was violent in its treatment of blank. Evaluate this ethically, drawing moral conclusions about the Trinitarian deficencies involved in it, and you must do so without knowing whether this violence was directed against Ted Bundy or your sainted aunt. Good luck.