No Christian—and for that matter, “no soldier worth his salt” (as General Schwarzkopf put it)—should be “pro-war.” We should desire peace. And yet there is disagreement on how to define the peace for which we aim and how to achieve the peace we envision.

On one end of the spectrum are pacifists, who wish to achieve peace by laying down their weapons. They deny that the use of deadly force can ever be justified and thus argue that Christians must address any threat in a non-violent manner.

At the other end of the spectrum are militarists, who wish to achieve peace by picking up their weapons. They assume the authority to impose their ideological vision on a recalcitrant world through lethal force.

What unites pacifists and militarists, however, is their idealism. Both visions wish to achieve the ideal state of peace in the here-and-now.

Situated between these extremes is a view of warfare—the just war tradition—that is realist rather than idealist in practice. 

To read the rest of the article, originally published at LifeWay Voices, click here.


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