Apart from those who profit from it, no one likes war. It kills our young men and women. It destroys civilized societies. But the Christian worldview will allow us to neither glorify nor eschew it. The sad fact is that neither war hawks nor pacifists should be comfortable within the Christian worldview. War is always hell for the very few who ever have to engage in it. But sometimes it can be immoral not to go to war.
Romans 13 specifies that God created the institution of government. And He did so not only as a means of organizing His people but as a way of subduing evil. Paul is very specific about the fact that “the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4 NIV). The immoral actions of nation-states that engage in conduct like unwarranted violence, unprovoked military attacks, or genocide must be met with righteous resistance. A pacifist view would allow evils like these to go unchecked. And that would be immoral for the opposite reason. So, God instituted government as His proxy to “wield the sword” in cases where stopping immoral behavior is required.
It is breathtaking to consider how drastically the nature of warfare has changed in just the past ten years. Today, our leaders face not only the looming threat of the use of 3GW nuclear weapons in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but the simultaneous existential effects of 5GW in our own country. Now, Fifth Generation Warfare makes the difficulty of applying JWT even worse. Fifth Generation Warfare employs drugs, drones, and cyber warfare including the use of social media.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with JOURNAL author Bob Perry about his online article, “Just War 5.0 On the Evolution and Application of Just War Doctrine in the Modern World.”
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