When War Is Justifiable According To The Bible.

RALPH DROLLINGER says that if Jesus calls his followers to be “peacemakers,” then how could any Christian, member of the President’s Cabinet or Congress support the idea of going to war? The answer is: “Blessed are the peacemakers…” This is one of Jesus’ beatitudes relating to how believers should live their personal lives (Matthew 5:9). But there is a distinction to be made between Jesus’ instruction concerning personal behavior and the responsibilities he sets forth relating to his ordination of the institution of 13 government (Romans 13:1-8 and 1 Peter 2:13- 14) that Christian members are called to serve.

In an Old Testament (OT) parallel, in the sixth commandment, the Hebrew word for murder is ratsakh in the phrase “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), but note that this word is different from those that God uses it in Scripture to refer to his people killing people (enemies) in times of war. Instead, for this week and beyond, given Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the world’s growing response, let’s take a closer look at what Scripture has to say about war. When Jesus returns, he will wage war against the nations led by the Antichrist (cf. Revelation 19:11).

In Deuteronomy 20, God himself sends Israel to war. Therefore, this study is not so much about whether or not God tolerates war; He tolerates it. God’s acceptance and use of war in a fallen world is not difficult to understand when we consider that it is through its use that God often manifests His attributes of justice and righteousness. Indeed, this study is not about whether God is for or against war, the answer to that question is evident in Scripture.

This study is more about what kind of war is acceptable or unacceptable in his eyes. To gain a biblical understanding of God’s view of war, we must first examine what the Bible says is the role of God’s institution or government. This role must be clearly distinguished, contextualized and separated from the passages that deal with individual responsibilities, as indicated in the preamble. Not making this distinction that Scripture itself makes leads to confusion, as if the Bible contradicted itself, which it does not.

Second, to understand what just wars are, one must examine whether the basis of internationally accepted just war theory is biblical. Are each of the eight principles that make up this theory supported by Scripture? If so, what passages of God’s Word underlie each precept? In other words, are each of the eight precepts “captive of Christ” (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:5) so to speak?

Finally, a study on war would not be complete without examining the two main camps opposed to the just war theory: the Christian pacifist and the non-interventionist (the latter camp is populated by Christians and non-Christians). How do advocates of these beliefs attempt to support their views, and are these views based on the Bible? Therefore: this study should prove most useful for thinking clearly about the current crisis. Examining these topics in this order will certainly assist the official in building sound, biblical convictions regarding the proper use of war.

This text is an extract from the book “Why This Tumult Among the Nations?” written by Jérémie TCHINDEBE.

We invite you to read the following article “The Just Cause: A Reason to Go to War“.

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