War! Why does it happen? Is religion the cause? Is it ever right? How should a Christian respond to war? Can Christians fight in a war or act as police officers? How can we be both peacemakers and call the world to repentance?
War is perhaps the final and greatest product of the entry of sin into the world. How Christians should respond to War has been a matter of debate throughout the centuries. Attitudes range from in the name of Jesus we fight, through to Christians should never fight in wars or even serve as police officers. The causes of conflict are many and complicated. There is a common claim that religion lies behind most conflicts. Is this true? How does Christianity relate to other religions? Indeed, what do we mean by religion? The British academic who proposed that religion was the cause of war used the term religion to include all systems of belief. So Atheism, Patriotism/Nationalism, Communism and so on all fall under the rubric of religion. This, however, is not how most people use the term. Christians are called to be peacemakers, Matthew 5:9, and yet Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, Matthew 10:34-39. In no uncertain terms he describes the two roads we all must choose between, Matthew 7:13,14, and says he is the only way to the Father, John 14:6. Yet, don’t such claims automatically create conflict? This is another idea which has become quite common today.
History of warfare – prevalence, cost and causes
Is war ever justifiable?
The Just War argument
Religious wars? What do we mean by religion?
How do our personal conflicts relate to conflicts between nations?
Jesus calls us to be peacemakers and yet said he did not come to bring peace. What do these mean and how do we do it?
Are Christians intolerant? Are we destroying social harmony by insisting Jesus is the only way?
Can you both love someone and yet use force to stop them at the same time?
Joshua - God told the people of Israel to entirely destroy the people of Canaan (Why? How does this apply to us today?)
Matthew 5-7 Sermon on the Mount - especially Chapters 5 and 7
Matthew 10 - the disciples are sent out to preach the Gospel and told of the trouble it would cause. Jesus did not come to bring peace.
Romans 13 - the Christian response to government, v 1-7, and the call to love others for this fulfills the Law, v8-14. See especially 13:4 and a possible reference to
Galatians 5:16-23 Fruit of the Spirit
1 Peter 3 and onwards - deals a lot with how Christian should respond to persecution