Monday, August 21, 2006

What about the just war theory?

The just war theory is frequently used to justify war. While a popular argument, it is based on a faulty assumption. It was formulated by Augustine in the 5th century, after the Roman Empire had become “Christian.” The argument assumes that the state is the instrument of God, similar to the way that Israel was the chosen nation of God. This is problematic; there never has been and never will be a “Christian” nation. God primary instrument in the New Testament is the Church, just as His primary instrument in the Hebrew bible was Israel.

The assumption that a certain nation of point of view is the one ordained by God in a conflict is especially prominent in the United States. Our history is filled with people who believed that the New World was a new starting point ordained by God to become “His chosen” in the world.

In actuality, Hebrews 11 points out that as Christians this world is just a waypoint on the path to a real home:

These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Further, the scriptures repeatedly state, “`Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ saith the LORD.” How can that be true if we don’t give Him a chance? We are called to be salt, but if the salt is the same as the unsalted in actions, what do we have to conclude about the salt?

A friend of mine loves to ask the rhetorical question, “Does a fish know it is wet?” Good point. Do we know we are part of the current culture? That requires a commitment to hear what God is saying, even—especially—when it runs counter to what the culture around us is saying.

Just some idle musings on a Monday morning.

1 comment:

Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...


What of Romans 13:4?