Thursday, June 2, 2016

Learning How To Think About War

Learning How To Handle War as a Christian

Thoughts on Christian Faith & War

By Dr. Norman Wise

A.  The historic Christian positions

1.  Blind Patriotism: Whenever and however my country fights it is righteous and good.

2.  Nonresistance:  ""But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."  Matthew 5:39 – (

The State can wage war but Christians cannot participate in taking part in any violence against others.  Christians can serve their nation in ways not related to war.  Christians should submit to the government but cannot submit to participating in war efforts because this is not God’s will for the Christian.  The priests of the Old Testament were free of the requirement to go to war.

3.   Christian Pacifism:  "(52) Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword." [Matthew 26:52 NASB] – War is against the will of God since Messiah has come and we are now to be pushing to have the means of production pull away from making war to promoting a prosperous peace for all nations and people.  (Isaiah 2:1-6)

Would act politically to oppose the use of military force by the state as well as refuse to engage in military conflict.

4.  The Just War:  "(14) Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."" [Luke 3:14 NASB]

Christians can as citizens of a political community participate in the defense of their nation or people.  The Christian must show

1.  Just cause – Only defensive wars are legitimate
2.  Just intention – Finding a just peace
3.  Last Resort
4.  Formal Declaration
5.  Limited objectives – Not total destruction
6.  Proportionate means – Only the force needed
7.  Noncombatant immunity

5.  The Crusade or Preventative War:  Book of Joshua

When a war is waged that prevents anticipating the aggression of another or to end abundant evil in another state to establish a more just civil state.   A war is just when its purpose is to establish justice. [1]

This does call upon us to defend and discuss the Crusades of Israel in conquering the Promised Land. 

The Christian World View Perspective

A.  Creation:  War would not have existed in Eden.  We are ordained to live in social communities (nations and empires). 

B.  Rebellion:  With our rebellion against God for the establish of human government with the power of the sword to punish the evil and reward the good has been established by God (Romans 13:1-8).   The government is the minister of justice and is to represent in history the day of just judgment.  

God’s people can be called upon to serve in the government and within the ministry of justice but only if their conscience allows it (Romans 14)

C.  Redemption:  The church is to be prophetic in denouncing evil.  This would include the immoral use of military force.  Our aim should be to be as much as possible “peacemakers”.    War must always be a last and sad resort. 

Discernment must be made about the “baptism” of war into “righteous causes” to manipulate the church into supporting a war. 

D.  Restoration:  After God’s final battle with the rebellious world and the full manifestation of the Kingdom, there will be no more war. 

E.  The real war:  "(12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." [Ephesians 6:12 NASB]

"(3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, (4) for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (5) We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," [2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NASB]

[1] Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide by C. S. Cowles  (Author), Daniel L. Gard (Author)
Did God Really Command Genocide?: Coming to Terms with the Justice of God by Paul Copan , Matt Flannagan 

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