Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 3 (Final)

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Three fairly significant biblical examples appear to support a believer’s participation in the military:[1]

  • Jesus’s approval of a king who waged war against wicked people (Matthew 21:33–41).
  • In Luke 3:14 John did not command them to resign from military service, but to be content in that position with its wages. Their behavior was to be just and honest — even while remaining soldiers.
  • In John 18:36 Jesus stated that it would have been proper for His disciples to defend His kingdom with swords if it had been an earthly kingdom.

In addition, New Testament writers employ a variety of military metaphors to describe the character of the believer:[2] the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–20), being a “good soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3–4), and waging spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:1–6).… Continue reading

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Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 2

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Just war advocates normally base their stance upon passages revealing the divine origin and approval of government and its functions. Romans 13:1–7 forms the anchoring text for developing their view of governmental authority in the lives of Christians. The apostle Paul represents the government as a divinely constituted authority (vv. 1, 2). Hodge argues that

It was to Paul a matter of little importance whether the Roman emperor was appointed by the senate, the army, or the people; whether the assumption of the imperial authority by Caesar was just or unjust, or whether his successors had a legitimate claim to the throne or not.

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Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 1

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Scripture disallows seeking peace at any price. Some apologists argue that even believers must draw the line somewhere to stand up to the forces of evil. Wherever one stands, Christians need to be pro-active. As Friesen, Langan, and Stassen observe in their introduction to Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War, “terrorism requires more than an ethic that says terrorism is unjust, it requires an ethic that points to practices that prevent it.”[1] Some events create a time for war rather than a time for peace — when it would be un-Christian to not act unspeakably toward someone, perhaps a terrorist or terrorist organization.… Continue reading

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“Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day

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Each Memorial Day our nation takes time to formally recognize the ultimate sacrifice of our servicemen and servicewomen who died in battle. In 1868, a few years after the Civil War, General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day to remember fallen soldiers of that conflict. He selected May 30 as the day to decorate the graves of those soldiers who died in defense of their nation. No particular battle had taken place on that day during the war. The observance became know as Decoration Day. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield (later to become President), spoke at Arlington National Cemetery.… Continue reading

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The Coming Doom of Elder Rule

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Weather and history, facilitate two other professions: the “forecaster,” an individual who states with varying degrees of accuracy what the weather will be like tomorrow; and the “futurist,” those who forecast, also with varying degrees of accuracy, future trends in society, business, politics or multiple other arenas. Another occupation, the consultant, also forecasts, but mainly recommends some action to either take advantage of the trends or to mitigate against damage the potential storm may cause. The church consultant, like me, is no different. I try to examine history and the “weather” and then make some educated predictions with a view to helping churches either exploit or expiate their situation.… Continue reading

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