Sunday, March 16, 2014

Is War Ever Justifiable?

John Adams, the second president of the United States, said, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." Do you believe war is ever justifiable? Explain. This was a question we challenged our 115 middle school students with recently, and three groups said war is always unjustifiable, one group said war can be justifiable, and one group gave the pros and cons to both sides. I can understand why the majority of young people would think war could never be justified.

I'm a certified U.S. history teacher who has visited the Independence Hall of Koreathe Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museumthe Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, and the War Remnants Museum (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) so you could say I've educated myself a little about the atrocities of war. To say war can be ugly and horrible is quite the understatement. We are an absolutely sick bunch, but unfortunately, there are times when wars should take place.

I am all for being peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44); however, I'm not going to simply pray for someone who breaks into my home. I'm definitely going to pray, but I'm also going to make war because I have a duty to protect my family. Wickamania will be unleashed, and it ain't gonna be pretty. We have a duty to forcefully protect human life against those who forcefully attempt to harm human life. To take a pacifist route would most likely result in more violence and harm being done. If pacifism was biblical, we should not only get rid of the military but police officers. Can we say absolute chaos?

The bottom line is the world is filled with sinful people, and sometimes the only way to stop sinful people from killing others is to go to war (e.g., American slave owners, Hitler). God is clearly not against every war. There are numerous Bible verses showing that the sovereign LORD of hosts (armies) is not a pacifist (e.g., Deuteronomy 20:16-17, 1 Samuel 15:18, Ecclesiastes 3:8). When Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, returns, he will make war (Revelation 19:11-21). We should be constantly praying for wisdom and peace, but we must understand that there will always be conflict until we see the New Heavens and New Earth. Come, Lord Jesus. Come.