Does The Bible Support War?

Does The Bible Support War?

by Jesus Centric 4 Comments

While the Bible doesn’t approve of war for every cause, and while it encourages peace with all persons (Rm 12:18), it nonetheless indicates that peace and justice sometimes require war (Mat 24:6). We are not referring to murder which is indicated clearly Exodus 20:13.  in This is made clear from many considerations. First, the Bible does not prohibit all taking of life in all cases. For instance, killing in self-defense is justified (Ex 22:2), as is killing in capital punishment (Gn 9:6). The government is divinely authorized to use “the sword” (Rm 13:4), as Jesus Himself recognized (Jn 19:11). Second, under the law, God spelled out the rules for warfare for Israel (Dt 20). Third, while Jesus forbade His disciples to buy a sword for spiritual purposes (Mt 26:52), He urged His disciples to buy a sword if needed for protection (Lk 22:36-38) Fourth, John the Baptist did not say that armies should be abolished and did not call for repentance from serving in the office of a soldier (Lk 3:14). War, although has its servers consequences and is terrible, it is also inevitable.

War Under Government

The Bible commands Christians to obey their government (Rm 13:1-7; Ti 3:1; 1 Pt 2:13-14). however, there are limitations to such obedience. When the government commands worship of idols or kings (Dn 3:6), forbids preaching the gospel (Ac 4-5), or orders the killing of Children (Ex 1), then it is a believer’s duty to disobey. Likewise, if a government engages in unjust warfare, believers may dissent. However, like Daniel (Dn 6), the three Hebrew young men (Dn 3) and Peter (Ac 4-5), those who disobey the government will likely suffer the consequences by the state.

Just Reasons for War

 “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” Ecclesiastes 3:8.

God on occasion commanded Israel into war (Exodus 17:16; Numbers 31:1-3, 1 Samuel 15:1-3). Many Biblical characters were are heroes and men of blood. There are just reasons for war in the Bible. First, it must be declared by the government (Rm 13:4). Second, it must be in defense of the innocent and/or against and evil aggressor (Gn 14). Third, it must be fought by just means (Dt 20:19). The war itself, if acted on properly was not a separation from the presence of God. The sacred ark of the covenant, symbolizing the presence of God, was often taken into battle (1 Samuel 4:3).

Should Christians be a Complete Pacifist

No. Of course, we should and do always encourage peace. In addition to the above reasons for a just war policy, biblical arguments for total pacifism are flawed. For example, Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek (Mt 5:39) refers to a personal insult (like a slap on the face), not bodily harm. Indeed, even Jesus refused to turn his cheek when smitten unjustly (Jn 18:22-23). The exhortation to love our enemies does not preclude the use of force to restrain them from killing us (cp. Paul’s instigation of government intervention for his protection in Acts 23).

A frequent criticism of pacifism is that it amounts to surrender to aggression, and the evil which results could be much worse than the evil of a war. We have nothing against pacifists which unfairly reap the benefits of freedom earned by those willing to sacrifice their lives in war. However, pacifists reply that pacifism does not mean being passive; it is active peacemaking through nonviolent means. They point to the success of nonviolent resistance movements such as the Swedish and Danish resistance to Nazism in World War II, Gandhi’s independence movement in India, the civil rights movement of Martin Luther King in the United States, and the Solidarity labor movement in Poland. Many Christian pacifists see nonviolence as the only way to alleviate the vicious cycles of oppression, hatred, war and revenge that have dominated human history.

In a nutshell – seek peace, always. Human life is precious to God. Only if push comes to shove and it is absolutely necessary then we pick up our swords and fight by the grace of God against the enemy. Spiritually we are always at war, wearing God’s armor and at times that could mean literal war.




Jesus Centric
Jesus Centric

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