Justice & War
- 1 Summary
- 2 Endorsements
- 3 Concepts
- 4 Examples
- 5 FAQ
Justice calls us to help the needy (Psalms 82:3-4), but it’s confusing if we should fight or not (Ecclesiastes 3:8). Correct those who’ll listen (Matthew 18:15), pray for those who won’t (Luke 6:28), avoid evil (Psalms 1:1), flee from physical threats (John 8:59), defend your loved one’s lives (Luke 22:36,38) by disabling not killing (Matthew 5:21), and never initiate physical aggression (James 4:1-2). Never believe violence or war is the answer to justice (Matthew 26:52).
The majority of Christians believe violence should be avoided. Martin Luther King Jr. was a large proponent of nonviolence, a much more peaceful solution to solving racial injustices in the United States.
God’s vengeance was death through holy wars.
While most would agree that peace is better (Romans 12:18), our Lord is a God of war (Exodus 15:3). God is given an exception to enacting vengeance (Romans 12:19) because death is the correct punishment for sin (Romans 6:23), and God never sins (Matthew 5:48). Although the New Covenant is a ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18) and righteousness, the Old Covenant was a “ministry of condemnation” (II Corinthians 3:9). God’s way of enacting condemnation was by telling people to kill those judged (Numbers 31:3), as this is one way to stop evil from spreading (Deuteronomy 22:22).
War must stop for a God of love.
We know God is love (I John 4:8), and love leads to life (John 3:16). God already knew there is more glory in mercy than judgment (II Corinthians 3:9-10; James 2:13), so in His “better” covenant (Hebrews 7:22), He commands us to never initiate physical violence (James 4:1-2). If you kill because you think you need to do so to live, you will die also by violence (Matthew 26:52).
Justice is helping the needy.
Justice is helping those who can’t help themselves: rescuing those facing death (Proverbs 24:11), giving a home to orphans and fighting for human rights of the poor (Psalms 82:3-4), helping widows and those oppressed (Isaiah 1:17), and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9).
Justice is accomplished by correction and prayer.
God’s old sword was a literal one, but His new one is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 10:34). We still fight with many evils (II Corinthians 10:4), but now we do it by reproving and exhorting false ways of thinking (II Timothy 4:2; II Timothy 3:16) and prayer (Luke 6:28) and letting those who will not listen continue doing evil (Revelation 22:11; Psalms 1:1; Matthew 18:17). This is because violence is a cycle that can’t end with more violence (Matthew 26:52), but the subversion of an evil government is only possible by converting their mindset (II Timothy 2:24-25,26).
America’s War for Independence
The United States violated God’s laws during the American Revolution: refusal to pay taxes (Romans 13:6-7) and initiating battles (Matthew 26:52). Although England was being very selfish, the right way to have handled this was to pray for their enemies (Luke 6:28). In doing so, God would’ve guided the Americans on how to correct the English (II Timothy 4:2), which could’ve saved countless lives.
What if others initiate violence against me or my country?
Always choose to flee from violence against yourself (John 8:59), but you are allowed to defend others with weapons (Luke 22:36,38). You must try to disable and not kill, but killing is allowed if necessary (Exodus 22:2-3). Ultimately, God will judge if you needed to kill or not (Matthew 5:21).
What if others won’t stop taking away our or another country’s livelihood?
There are many justifications for war: such as not being taxed fairly or human rights abuses. We agree that you or your government should take every non-violent approach to give justice (Psalms 82:3-4), so long as you don’t riot against the government but try to reform them (I Peter 2:13-14).
What if my government is forcing me to kill in a war I don’t agree with?
Always do what you believe is right (John 7:24), because if you murder someone unjustly, you will be liable for hell (Matthew 5:21). If you are put into prison unjustly, God can free you (Acts 12:5,7), or He may keep you there as a witness (Colossians 4:3).