8.24.2007

True Peace

Wars with no end in sight are unpopular, and currently, the United States finds itself embroiled in such a war.

Because of this, it has become increasingly popular to trumpet the cause of peace, and among Christians (especially those of the blogging variety), I have observed the growing belief that all war is wrong and that it is, inherently and fundamentally, un-Christian.

I disagree with this viewpoint. Don’t get me wrong. I hate war. I think it is a terrible thing which should be avoided whenever possible, and should only be considered as a last resort, but I do believe that sometimes, war is the only option (World War II would be the classic support of this viewpoint).

Christians are called to be peacemakers, and it should always be our goal, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, to reconcile rather than to incite.

But sometimes, I think the peace that Christ came to bring about is misunderstood.

My friend Robb Hadley wrote a very good article on peace the other day that I really appreciated, and he put it better than I could:

When Jesus was born, “Peace on earth” was proclaimed by angels (Luke 2.14). If you define peace as all people on earth holding hands with flowers in their hair singing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” Jesus failed completely. If you understand that Jesus came to make peace with God and with each other available, then real peace is possible (Ephesians 2.15–16).
How would things be different if people would strive after the eternal peace of Christ as eagerly as they seek the uncertainty provided by man-made treaties?

8 comments:

Paul Murphy 8/25/07, 2:42 AM  

I'm going to write a book "The Myth of the Surgical War" It'll be great. I'll do that right after my movie script.

Luke 8/27/07, 10:37 PM  

Hmm, as that doesn't have much to do with what I was talking about, I don't really have a response. Good luck with that?

Will 8/28/07, 4:01 PM  

I abhor war as well. I think part of the problem with the current conflict is how to obtain peace. Can peace be ultimately obtained if our soldiers continue to occupy a fledgling democracy? Or can peace be obtained by withdrawing those soldiers? More importantly, will the peace that is obtained be a lasting peace?

Luke 8/29/07, 10:34 AM  

The unfortunate thing is that it looks like the answers to your questions are:
(1) It doesn't look like it.
(2) It seems highly unlikely.
and
(3) I can't imagine that it would be.

It's not an easy situation at all.

will 8/29/07, 10:31 PM  

Funny how "The Great War" was the war to end all wars.

Justin 8/30/07, 10:19 PM  

Wars are going to happen until the Kingdom is completely manifest on earth.

But Christians, as peacemakers, and as people who are the reflection of Christ today, should not participate in war, nor support it.

Our allegiance isn't to a flag or a country or an ideology. Its to Christ. And Christ was willing to lay down his life rather than fight. The early church did the same. And I will too.

Luke 8/30/07, 10:54 PM  

Will,

Yeah, I agree. I mean, people are generally short-sighted in an historical way when catastrophic events happen, but seriously, peace after The War To End All Wars only lasted 20 years.

That has always amazed me.

Luke 8/30/07, 11:20 PM  

Justin,

I appreciate the comment, but I disagree with you.

First of all, even though this wasn't the main point of your comment, I don't believe we're still waiting for the Kingdom.

Christ's Kingdom was/is the Church, and has already been established. This is pretty clear when Jesus tells His disciples that some of them wouldn't die until the kingdom had been established (Luke 9.27).

I can't say how I would feel as a Christian were I actually in combat, but sitting here at my computer typing this, I disagree with you that Christians should be pacifists.

There are several standard arguments which I've never seen explained away adequately (Cornelius being a "devout" man who was never told to give up his soldiering ways, Jesus being fairly warlike Himself in the temple, God repeatedly demanding the Israelites to go to war in the O.T., etc.), but I'll just mention one in a little more detail:

Would Paul have exhorted us to put on the "Full Armor of God" if real pieces of armor were inherently the tools of sin? I don't think so.

To apply the principle to a different metaphor, I can't imagine him imploring Christians to put on the garments of prostitution, the robes of false prophecy or, say, a NY Yankees Jersey. :)

As Christians, we should seek to avoid conflict in our personal lives, but I believe that we have the duty to be subject to our governments unless doing so violates the law of God or our own consciences.

I don't believe going to war violates the former, and as of now, it doesn't violate my conscience either. It does apparently violate yours, and I respect that.

I absolutely agree that our allegiance to Christ should trump all other allegiances. I just don't see the two allegiances to be in conflict in this particular instance.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Hope you stick around.

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