News & Current Events
justin_gatlin — 2017-08-11T20:21:19-04:00 — #1
In light of the conflict with North Korea, I wonder how well you all believe the tenets of "Just War Theory" line up with the Bible.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory#Jus_ad_bellum quoted here for convenience:
gao_lu — 2017-08-12T03:16:17-04:00 — #2
I may stand alone on this, but I think the only just war is the war God specifically commands. I don't think that has happened in millennia, although I suspect it will happen at least one more time.
dave_l — 2017-08-12T10:14:02-04:00 — #3
There are some who believe a Just war is impossible in the nuclear age. I hold this view. But also believe Christians should not be unequally yoked with, and be under the power of unbelievers in State or professional militias. There are other reasons for believers shunning military service that wind up in endless hypothetical situations asking "what if"? But not being unequally yoked with unbelievers is undebatable.
justin_gatlin — 2017-08-12T16:13:50-04:00 — #4
I think Romans 13:4, while specifically applied to law enforcement, can plausibly refer to war to stop the actions of evildoers. Luke 3:14 seems to support "soldier" as a legitimate vocation. Many wars in the Old Testament do not include a specific commandment from God, although this is admittedly an argument from silence. With these secondary references and no direct teaching forbidding war, I am curious where your perspective comes from.
I think Exodus 22:2-3 probably gives a universal principle of the morality of self-defense, of which was is merely an organized form.
gao_lu — 2017-08-12T19:06:38-04:00 — #5
I agree that Rom 13:4 could apply to war as you describe it. Non-Christians will go to war and God seems to weave that into the fabric of His purpose such as stopping evil-doers. Still, I am not convinced that war is ever necessary or justified. The greater question here, to me, is whether Christians ought to participate in such war.
Jesus does not tell the soldiers they cannot be soldiers, however, soldiers did a lot more than go to war. We do not know that the soldiers were believers in Jesus. We only know that Jesus took a "teaching moment" to make a point completely unrelated to war. I don't think we can justify war by Jesus response in that instance, although I see why some people might do so.
I haven't studied wars and commands of God, but I would speculate that:
1. God never intended wars to be fought the way they were - even those fought by Israel - rather He would fight certain battles for them. This argument may be weak, but it should be considered.
2. Any war God did want to be fought came by a specific command. Plenty of wars were fought which was not His will. Again this is speculation because the Bible is silent on the specifics of this.
This passage is not likely speaking of God's heart for us to kill or wound intruders, but for legal ways of handling such conflicts that did occur. The Law "allowed" many things or were not specific in forbidding them when, as we know from Jesus' teachings, God's standard is not just "desert justice." Don't lust, don't be angry (try to go to war while anger-free).
Curiously, Mission Aviation Fellowship was started by a group of WW2 pilots who wanted to use their technology for something other than killing. They agreed to use technology to take the Gospel and life to those people whom they were formerly killing. Likewise, rather than to be yoked to an ungodly state (and a soldier is truly yoked) in bringing cursing and judgment, destruction and death to my enemy; I choose to teach and live my life, as Jesus taught and lived His life, in bringing love, forgiveness and life to my enemy
More importantly for us:
1. How can I pray "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" and pull the trigger?
2. How can I love my enemy and pull down my sniper rifle to kill him (when often he is not even my enemy, he is just some youth doing what I am doing without any clear reason why)?
3. How can I turn the other cheek and lob a grenade?
4. How can we agree with God that "vengeance is mine [God's]" and drop bombs on people who "need some vengeance in their lives."
5. If man can point a machine gun at his enemies (soldiers today rarely kill their enemies--they kill some mother's son who would love them in another setting) and obey Jesus' teaching to bless and not curse, to do good and not evil, to and to pray for those who might despitefully use him and then go ahead and blow the "enemies" bodies to bits then perhaps that is a just war. Do you really think so? Some of those "enemies" like our good Christian soldier, are "image bearers" of God. Or were.
6. Show me a brigade that ever existed in the last 2000 years that loves Jesus, worships Him, praises Him and then goes out and thrusts a bayonet into the heart of strangers who are only doing the same thing at someone else's command.
7. "Just war" is man's idea. There is no Biblical support for "just war" that I can imagine.
Jesus teaching override all, even explaining God's heart in the Law and His will for us today in this age of knowledge of Jesus Christ (the bar is a little higher than before) and the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us.
There are sometimes some difficult decisions. Often violence comes in a continuum or possibilities and we can create endless "what if" scenarios. I cannot and would not try to answer them all, but I think the best answer is to prepare NOT to go to war rather than to prepare to go to war. The better solution is to resolve NOT to kill or harm but to love and forgive--and then see what God works out from there.
[Free note: If the military was all (and only) about jumping out of airplanes and tearing around the desert in tanks and making huge explosions and rescuing people, I would be the first to join!]
alex_vaughn — 2017-08-14T00:18:41-04:00 — #6
My opinion is that war is rarely 100% just and is never executed in a purely just manner. How does this apply to Christians and churches? Christians and churches don't go to war, nations do. If you are a Christian and a soldier in the midst of an unjust war, what should you do? If as a soldier in a just war being ordered to take an unjust action, what do you do? Those questions seem more difficult to me.