Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Christian Theory Of Just War 3


May Christians remember that a crucified Jesus Christ was God's remedy for the evil powers that animate wicked men and nations. Let us purpose to fast, pray for and serve lands like Iraq – and Iran – caught in the grip of such forces. Let us commit to go to those lands and, if necessary, lay down our lives while armed not with an M-16 but with John 3:16.

I tell my students that we discuss such sorrowful events not because we hate America or we are nihilists without hope. To the contrary, it is because we believe in a sovereign, all-powerful, all-good God – Creator of the universe, Redeemer of us His elect company, and Sustainer of our weak needy souls – and we want to better know how we may please Him, and what are the obstacles and temptations to our doing so.

It is the truest patriot who loves his country enough to call her to task when she is in the wrong. Let the brave soldier who wears the uniform descended from Washington and those who froze at Valley Forge; from those who charged – and stood – at Cemetery Ridge; from those who scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and those who drove their torpedo planes into the teeth of the Japanese carrier force at Midway – let that soldier refuse the order which calls him to war on the innocents. For such an order is an immoral order and should not be obeyed by any American soldier.

And let the Christian clothed in the white robes of righteousness and descended from the Lord of eternity declare that attacks on innocent women and children are a blot on history and on the nation who commits such atrocities. Ultimately it is our humanity that is the collateral damage, we Americans, especially we American Christians – if we remain silent. ...

Christianity and Avatar
by John J. Dwyer article link
February 24, 2010 LewRockwell

... I support discussions of Avatar that enfold Cameron's "religion" and its flaws and dangers. That being said, recent attacks by professing believers – some of them Christians working in or around the motion picture industry – accusing the film of being "Anti-America, Anti-Military" announce the speakers’ own cultural and nationalistic idolatry, if not their ignorance of the gospel itself. Of course, if a Christian chooses Fox News, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter books, and National Review magazine as their primary news sources, they'll be surprised to learn that our country's "military-industrial complex" – to use the famous words of that war hero and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower – has for generations acted as Cameron depicts it in Avatar.

Conservatives who deny the undeniable truth of our (often "well-intentioned") violent, rapacious, money- and power-fueled imperialistic behavior all over the globe are – well, they need some good teaching of the true "Christian history" sort. We should be thankful Cameron did not make Stephen Lang's villainous character in Avatar a Bible-spouting fundamentalist, as so many of our "noble warriors" actually are. (I was particularly struck by the recent story of a leading American arms manufacturer engraving Bible verses inside the barrels of the guns it made to kill people with.)

Christians moan and groan over the Church's ineffectual impact on the world in general and our country in particular. Christians who make (tax-deductible) money off other Christians moan the loudest about it. But why should a holy God honor the efforts of fools? (The biblical sense of a fool is one who refuses to learn.) Those spouting "Anti-America, Anti-Military" epithets about Avatar – and other recent films that criticized our tragic attack on Iraq – behave as stubborn, stiff-necked fools, and place themselves in the perilous role of opposing the Christian gospel of peace, humility, gentleness, purity, sacrifice, suffering, repentance, reconciliation, and redemption. So far as they labor in that direction, they act as enemies of Jesus – not because they criticize non-Christian films, but because of the unbiblical views they hold that animate this portion of their criticism.

Let us criticize those aspects of James Cameron's work – and anyone else's – that fall short of Scriptural precepts. And let us learn from such work when it casts light on our own blindness. We Christians who elect and re-elect warmongering politicians; who sacrifice our sons to serve as hired killers for Caesar; who confuse and terrify a watching world of unbelievers as we baptize our brutal military colossus with Christian symbols, imagery, song, and emotion; who cow our own pulpits into silence when they should be aflame with holy zeal and jealousy for God over such wicked idolatry – we are the villains of Avatar.

Christians should be men and women enough to own up to our shortcomings and assess where we need work to become more conformed to the image of Christ (Isn't that what we teach our children and grandchildren?), even when God chooses to use His enemies and ours to teach us some of those lessons. After all, He was no friend of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, or Romans, as is evidenced by "Where are they now?" But He used them all in His sovereign, Providential plan for sanctifying His people.

As I wrote seven years – and a couple of wars – ago, it is past time for the followers of Jesus Christ to put down our M-16s and to go forth into all the world with John 3:16 as soldiers of the cross and not Caesar.

John J. Dwyer serves as Adjunct Professor of History at Southern Nazarene University and Oklahoma City Community College. He is former chairman of history at Coram Deo Academy near Dallas, Texas. He is author of the new historical narrative The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War. His website includes a five-minute preview video about the book. He is also the author of the historical novels Stonewall and Robert E. Lee, and the former editor and publisher of The Dallas/Fort Worth Heritage newspaper.

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