That’s quite a conversation starter but it’s the question I was asked in an open Q&A recently. We had been surveying the headline news and discussing how we apprehend, apply and then communicate to others the mind of Christ on the matters of the day.
As there are every day, there were headlines related to war and rumors of war. There always are. Today’s headlines happened to be about a proxy-war in Yemen and the ongoing civil war in Syria and the threat of war in the Middle East. War is, sadly, a part of reality in a fallen world.
The question “where are you when it comes to war,” was a question seeking to place me on a spectrum ranging from one form of idealism to another. At one end we have idealists who consider everything a war and every war worth fighting to the bitter end. At the other are pure pacifists who never see any justification for war and imagine there are always ways to broker peace if only those on opposing sides would sit down and talk.
Discerning the mind of Christ on the matter requires that we understand the redemptive arc of history, the reality of where we live in terms of that history, the God-given role of governments to restrain evil, and the witness of God’s people who sow peace even as we put on the full armor of God every day. In answering the question I recall offering up some combination of those threads but I’m not sure I tied it all together in a meaningful way.
So, where am I when it comes to war? I hate war but I also recognize it’s just use in those circumstances where war is the lesser of two evils.
I want to be a person who sows peace (James 3:18) but I am also a person who every morning, before I enter into the world where the Enemy of God is waging war against men’s souls, I consciously put on the full armor of God that I might take my stand.
Jesus made clear that wars and rumors of wars would be part of our experience until the very end. And that end, by the way, is going to be the ultimate war.
I understand the ideal of pacifism and I recognize the religious zealotry that leads to jihadism. Where the first is insufficient to the challenges of reality, the latter is inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not consider realism the middle road between the two but the road we must walk as followers of Christ who are in the world as Ambassadors of a Kingdom not yet fully realized here and now.
Let me hear from you. Where are you when it comes to war?