Is war justifiable personal self-defense?

The writer, who was baptized in 1973, founded the Likeminds Nonaligned Forum on the Internet in 1995. He has been married to the former Carrie Irwin for 24 years. The Stanczaks, who have two daughters in college, reside in Texas. They regularly fellowship with a nonaligned Church of God congregation in Waco.

By Rick Stanczak

ROUND ROCK, Texas--A discussion on the "morality of war" is raging on the Likeminds Internet forum, with much support for war being posted from forum members who cite Scripture to back their points of view. Justifiable personal self-defense can be logically extended all the way to world war, say some Likeminds members.

However, let us explore some philosophical questions:

What is a martyr for Christ?

Does one become a martyr when one dies fully defending oneself physically, or can one be a martyr only by standing up for principle without final resistance unto death?

Did any of the New Testament martyrs put up a physical fight before they were martyred?

Why don't we see a "Christian militia" taking up arms and fighting persecution in the New Testament?

What is free moral agency, and is it a fundamental right endowed by the Creator? Can one exercise free will in a combat zone?

How do you feel about that other poor slob dressed up as an enemy soldier who has also been given no choice by his government but to fight to the death or be put to death for refusing to fight? Do you think the enemy's foot soldier is any different from you?

War ends when one side has been completely crushed, with countless annihilation of human lives and property, but could the tragedy of war end philosophically if everyone refused to fight?

What if they called a war and nobody came?

Walking in the Spirit

I know this sounds stupid because evil will prevail until the world ends and there is no more flesh alive, but what about those who walk in the Spirit now?

Should we not resist even the evil concept of war and its mindless, faceless, anonymous obliteration of human life?

If we can't exercise choice, we have personally lost all human right to reason, to walk in the Spirit. Only by standing on principle can we truly be a martyr for Jesus Christ.

"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not . . .

"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up" (James 4:1-10).

". . . After these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand" (Revelation 18:23-24; 19:1-2).

Feet in both worlds

This present evil world is not the utopia we desire in the Kingdom of Heaven. The people of God have a foot in both worlds: the temporal and the spiritual. Yet God has a plan for mankind that includes continuation of life and conditions on earth until our Lord returns and thereafter.

It is His desire that men resist the devil and stand up for justice.

Yet war is utter hell. Each person is responsible in conscience for his faith in action.

I do thank Almighty God for the courageous soldiers who do fight the evil in this world and protect our freedom. I pray for their protection and moral execution of their duty against the enemies of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

May God deliver us from evil!

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