Fighting in wars

michael_legna's picture

drp,

I am starting this new thread in response to something you said in the Interpreting Scripture with Scripture thread.

I agree with all you say about the fact that to truly believe in Jesus we must obey His teachings, but I think we differ on some aspects of what those teachings are. That is why I cannot agree with the following:

drp said -
Back to your question about my point. In both World Wars and in other arenas (of which N. Ireland is only one), “believing Christians” assaulted each other with all sorts of weapons. They “believed”, but can we say they “followed”? They were firmly within an orthodoxy (Protestant or Catholic), but were they Christians in their behavior? (Mt 23:3)

I see no indication of any change on the part of the leaders of the various “Christian” nations. Do you? They still “believe”, but are they any better at “following”?

If not, where do we turn? Is it possible to find good, practical leadership in the bible? And just what must we do to “follow” Jesus?

Of course Jesus taught us to love one another, but love does not always involve peace.

That is why Paul tells us:

Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Sometimes in order to protect the weak or to stand up for truth and virtue one must resist evil.

Jesus Himself resisted evil when he drove the sellers out of the Temple (Lt 21, Lk 11).

I myself have made a personal decision never to take another life (because it removes that person's last chance to accept Christ as their savior) but I can certainly see defending myself and family and loved ones short of the point of force intending to cause death, and I can certainly see how others may not be led to that same decision through their understanding of Christ's teachings.

I guess I would ask you where the Scriptures teach in a consistent, unified method that we cannot go to war, fight and even kill to defend that which is right? What is the specific Scriptural basis for this, and how does it address all the scriptures which speak to the followers of God and Christ who did just that?

But of course this needs to be a separate thread so the moderator does not remove the posts as being off topic. :)

michael_legna's picture

Christians and War

God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations (Exodus 17:16; Deut 20:16-17; Num 31:2; 1 Samuel 15:3; Joshua 4:13). God also ordered the death penalty for numerous crimes (Exodus 21:12; 21:15; 22:19; Leviticus 20:11). So, God is not against killing in all circumstances, but rather only murder. War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a necessary thing. In a world filled with sinful people (Romans 3:10-18), war is sometimes inevitable. (Mt 24:6; Mk 13:7; Lk 21:9). Sometimes the only way to keep sinful people from doing great harm is by going to war with them.

Eccl 3:8 declares, “there is…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. We also know Jesus is always in perfect agreement with the Father (John 10:30), so we cannot argue that war was only God’s will in the Old Testament. God does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). We also know that Jesus’ Second Coming also is exceedingly violent. Revelation 19:11-21. He will come to wage war against those who persecute His Church and oppose His teachings. So if we are to model ourselves after Him (1 Peter 2:21-23) we should oppose those (even wage war against those) who oppose His Church and His teachings. We must temper this with being careful not to assume our judgment is equal to His (so as to be sufficient to know with certainty when war is just or not), but we cannot let that stop us in each and every instance from being able to act.

Christians should not desire war, but neither are Christians to oppose the government God has placed in authority over them (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17). The most important thing we can be doing in a time of war is to be praying for godly wisdom for our leaders, praying for the safety of our military, praying for quick resolution to the conflict, and praying for minimum casualties – on both sides of the conflict.




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