Sunday, May 27, 2007

Should we feel guilty for having a Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is when we remember those who died in service to our country. Yet there has been debates for centuries over the issue of how Christians should view war.

There are churches in Iowa called "Church of the Brethren." In their documents they take a non-volence (no war) view.
Action of the 1991 Annual Conference: The report from the General Board study committee on PEACEMAKING" THE CALLING OF GOD'S PEOPLE IN HISTORY [ ] In this document they make bold statements like:
Finally, in 1935, the church declared that "All war is sin," a statement which was conveyed to President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull as war clouds gathered in Europe.
How can they state that all war is sin (when they are a "Christian group")?

From a biblical view we can't say that all war is sin. Check out the following:
  • Exodus 15:1 Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, "I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
    2 "The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him.
    3 "The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.
    4 "Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.

  • Exodus 17:8-9 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.

  • Deuteronomy 1:29-30 29 "Then I said to you, 'Do not be shocked, nor fear them. 30 'The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes . . .

  • Numbers 1:45 45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers' households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel,

  • Numbers 31:3 3 Moses spoke to the people, saying, "Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD'S vengeance on Midian.

  • There were defensive wars in ancient Israel (2 Samuel 5:17-25; I Chronicles 18:1; 2 Samuel 21:15-22).
    2 Sam 5:17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold.
    19 Then David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?" And the LORD said to David, "Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand."
    25 Then David did so, just as the LORD had commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

    Questions to think about:

  • Was it right to stop Japan from killing our American citizens in Hawaii? Yes.

  • Was it a just cause to stop Hitler with military might? Yes.

  • North Korea invaded South Korea with military force on June 25, 1950.
    Was the Korean War (1950–1953) a just war? Yes.
    *A "just war" can be one’s love for their neighbor.

  • Pacifism could result in even more harm to the world because it would give wicked people free reign.

  • If Hitler and his war machine had not been challenged militarily, many more would have died under their oppressive rule.

Dennis Prager had a good article called, Blue America: The land of the easily offended, in which he said:

To cite but one of many examples, take the widely held liberal slogan "War is not the answer." It is pure irrationality. War has ended more evil than anything the left has ever thought of. In the last 60 years alone, it ended Nazism and the Holocaust; it saved half of Korea from genocide; it kept Israel from national extinction and a second Holocaust; it saved Finland from becoming a Stalinist totalitarian state; and according to most of the people who put "War is not the answer" stickers on their bumpers, it saved Bosnian Muslims from ethnic cleansing.

Read the article here:

  • Here are some other articles to check out:

THE CHRISTIAN AND WAR, William D. Barrick, Professor of Old Testament at The Master’s Seminary

The Paradox of War and Pacifism, by Mark T. Clark, Ph.D., past chair of the political science department at California State University, San Bernardino and former faculty member of the University of Southern California, served as a consultant to the U.S. government on National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Clark served in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1973-1977.

If you are looking for a good book on ethics, check out John S. and Paul D. Feinberg's, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway, 1993). The chapter, "The Christian and War" is really good (pp. 345-382).

Even though Memorial Day is to honor those who died in military service to our country, I want to say thank you to the men and women of our church that have served in the military.

I am thankful to have men in our church that fought during WWII in the thick of the battle to stop Hitler's evil genocidal machine.

I am thankful to have a man in our church that lived in a foxhole in South Korea to help keep the aggressor of North Korea from taking over.