Essay on The Ethics of War and the War in Iraq

6360 Words Nov 5th, 2008 26 Pages
We are here tonight to talk about the ethics of war. Now to some minds this phrase “the ethics of war” will likely cause raised eyebrows. “The ethics of war? What can ethics possibly have to do with war? Isn’t war evil?”

Well, of course it is. War is a terrible thing. The existence and prevalence of war in history is, in fact, ample testimony to the depravity and wickedness of Man. The conduct of war involves the intentional killing of human beings and the destruction of property. War inevitably causes untold suffering. I do not think that any rational person can ever say without qualification that war is good. War is something that we would all rather do without. And as Christians it is our earnest hope that someday God, in his mercy
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Says Hoyt,

Inasmuch as true Christians are “not of this world” (Jn 17:16), but have been chosen by Christ out of the world (Jn 15:19), it is the divine purpose to keep them from the evil in the world (Jn 17:15). One of those evils is the exercise of physical force to accomplish the purposes of life. This includes the use of force in times of peace and also in times of war. (War: Four Christian Views, p.32).

He goes on to say, “Witnessing for [Christ] to the salvation of souls. . . is the supreme business of the church. . . . Believers were to give themselves unreservedly to this task. Military service would exhaust their time and effort” (War, p.41). For Hoyt, the idea that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world and that our weapons are spiritual, not carnal, together with the evangelistic mission of the church, make it the case that military service is prohibited for the Christian.

This view has, it seems to me, several fatal flaws. First, though the Christian is certainly a citizen of God’s kingdom, a kingdom that is not of this world, the Christian is also a citizen of the earthly nation in which God has placed him. Christians have a dual citizenship and are called by God’s word to subject themselves “to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Pet. 2:13). This would seem to imply that Christians should support any just cause that their nation may have including any just war (assuming there is such

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