The Christian Nation

Should a Christian country engage in war? Firstly, there is a great difference between a country that is founded on Christian principles, and a country that is governed by followers of Jesus. In the hypothetical case of a truly Christian country, we can draw strong parallels to God’s protection of Israel. The example that a Christian country is to look to is that of Hezekiah; when faced with evil, he prayed and trusted God’s providence; and the enemy literally died at his gates.

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8 thoughts on “The Christian Nation

  1. Hi Mike,

    I love your topic as a whole, and pray that the research and results may be fruitful.

    I was discussing a similar topic with my Jehovah’s witness neighbour a couple of months ago, as they do not engage in warfare of any kind.

    I realise I am probably a lot less read (both biblically as well as other sources) on the topic, but I like to think of it similarly to Luther’s thoughts on how we are to serve those around us, and the application of the 2nd commandment – to love our neighbour as we would love ourselves. Especially in the light of no other specific revelation (such as the prophets of the OT), if this means we must defend our fellows from injustice/abuse etc that we would not have on ourselves then that is what we are called to do. Our neighbour, however would include our enemy who we are also called to love.

    I don’t know how far this scales – to locality, to state, to nation? Also there are, of course, issues with why are certain interests (especially oil and other natural resources) seem to be brought to the fore as cause for war and “defence”. Case by case basis, I guess, but for me, definitely not an outright “no”.

    Regards,
    Edwin.

  2. I’m going to deal with this later, but the big question for Luther (and Augustine before him) is: what is love?

    The biblical definition is dying for someone – not killing for them.
    Loving the oppressed person involves working to serve them, proclaiming the gospel to them and their oppressors, and being willing to die for them.
    Remember, the oppressor is your neighbour, too.

  3. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for helping me think this through.

    Agree with you about the opressor/enemy also being our neighbour (mentioned in my original comment).

    Also as mentioned I haven’t quite thought through how that command to love my neighbour “scales”. I would defend my family and loved ones to the point of giving my life, but also think I would defend them to the point of using deadly force if necessary. So my love for my family would involve killing for them to prevent them from harm.

    (By the way, hopefully I am not talking about gangland violence to “protect” “family” from sinful actions etc. Just a dad doing his job.)

    Many blessings to you!

  4. I hear you, but I’d challenge the legitimacy of killing to protect our families.

    I understand the powerful protective instinct that we have towards our families, and you have put forward a position that I held until about two years ago – but is it biblical?

    If it is right to kill to protect another person, why didn’t the church fight to protect Jesus? Or Stephen? Or Paul?

    My concern is this:
    We have clear commands pointing us to non-violence in the face of evil
    We have clear examples of this in Jesus and the Apostles
    We have no examples of exceptions
    On what grounds do we walk away from the pattern of life both demonstrated and commanded by Jesus?

    I have been working very hard to demonstrate the biblical framework of pacifism. Any counter argument must be biblical.

    I know you haven’t had time to put your full argument forward, and I’m not trying to discard your position because of that.
    However, I’d challenge you to re-consider whether ‘violent defence of family’ is really a Christian concept. Are there biblical grounds for it, or is it a human argument based on our definition of what is loving?

    Remember, the key point is that violence is not our only option, nor is it even the most effective one. God has given us divinely powerful weapons – prayer and proclamation – that tap into his sovereign control of the universe. Compared to those, violence is a waste of time.

  5. Thanks for the food for thought. It’s also great to see a Christian “constantly reforming” in practise as you have been challenged to change to biblical truth as you see it.

    I need to go back to the Bible (fantastic result!) to look for more cases that may point to my argument (if there are any). On the point of “violent defense of family”, how Lot treats his daughters when he received visitors is always food for thought as well.

    With the injunctions regarding personal pacifism, with that I am quite clear (at the moment) on my personal duty to myself – to turn the other cheek, to forgive, to allow God to be the ultimate judge, to love my enemy. However whether I can stand to see clearly sinful action being performed on my neighbour, that is a different matter. How I would cry out for defense and someone to come to my aid if I was under attack. Could I be that person of assistance to someone else?

    I’ll have a think indeed, and really do look forward to reading your paper. Originally I had wanted to do my paper on something along the vein of to “To what extent should Christians aim for legislating Christian values?”.

    (By the way, don’t feel compelled to answer my comments – I look forward to reading your paper and fleshing things out afterwards when hopefully you have graduated and have time to teach me.)

  6. *My* future paper?!? I thought I had finished with all of my studies in 2007. 🙂 My M Div project ended up being classified under “Church History” as “Compare and Contrast Calvin and Luther’s theology of church and state.”.

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