Chris Erdman has a great post called “Jesus Christ Says ‘No’ To War.” I love his line, “War is a failure — that is an empirical fact.”
As followers of Christ, the living Prince of Peace, I cannot fathom any way we can rationalize war. Evil cannot be used to overcome evil. Violence cannot be used to overcome violence. And please don’t quote Old Testament stories about God telling Israel to go to war and kill off certain groups of people. That was a different time, culture and part of God’s developing Story for creation. Christ’s life has transformed the Story, taking it to a new place. Jesus has redefined what it means to be human and God’s people. He and his followers have given us a vision of where all of this is going — a renewed world without war, violence, murder, hatred and chaos. And like Christ, his followers are to pull the future into the present by living it now through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is divine living love.
Any argument in favor of war from a nationalistic, political or economic perspective must bow to God’s eternal perspective. Christ has come. He has inaugurated his Father’s kingdom coming to earth, a vision that must fill our imagination and must rearrange and redirect our lives. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
The closest we can come to any kind of rationalization for war is to claim that in our broken world war is a terrible inevitability. Is war necessary at times? Perhaps. But that simply affirms Erdman’s claim — war is a failure. It’s our failure as human beings and more specifically our failure as the God’s people to bear God’s image and to bring his future into our present.
Erdman’s words need to be heeded:
“Jesus Christ says “no” to war. Utopian? No more so than our more approved visions for the world. Jesus Christ may be the most realistic answer the world will ever know. Love is the only power on earth worth its salt. It is the great cause and must now be dared. The state cannot do it, but the church can; it must. Only the church can lead the world into its future.”