Wednesday, March 29, 2006

War and Christanity, Can we talk about it?

I want to say something about the war, religion and pacifism.

In my own tradition, Churches of Christ, we were once a primitive group who believed that our involvement in government and the affairs of governments should be rather limited. The reason for the limited involvement being - that Christians were “pilgrims and strangers in the earthly kingdoms” while we sought the Divine kingdom of heaven.

One of the influential editors of his time, David Lipscomb once said, “When we say that God cares for us, protects us and leads us in the ways of safety and peace, and yet rely on human governments, human arms, death dealing human weapons for protection, our conduct seems to contradict our confession.”*

My tradition, Churches of Christ, is not so primitive anymore. We have gone into the mainstream and we have bought into and paid for the whole idea of the Christian nation, and patriotic duty and legislating morality.

What do we do with John 18:36 where Jesus says, “…My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but my kingdom is not of this world.”

If Jesus declared that his Kingdom was not of this world and would not let his followers fight on his behalf – by what right do Christians take up arms for any earthly kingdom or cause?

I know that this is a sensitive issue because Christian men and women are are serving bravely in the armed forces. But I think this is a topic that should be given some thought and open discussion.

What I see is Christian people ignoring the issue and not discussing it for fear that they will be thought unpatriotic or not supporting our troops or giving comfort to an enemy of the United States.

* David Lipscomb, “Should Christians use carnal weapons?” Gospel Advocate, 30 July 1884, page 486.

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