Justice & War

Summary

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).

Endorsements

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.

Concepts

War

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

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).

Examples

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.

FAQ

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).