“The Lord is a Warrior; the Lord is His name” - Exodus 15:3
I am not only a Christian, but also a Fundamentalist. Sometimes that requires me to step away from the comfortable platitudes of Conventional Christianity – you know, where Jesus never ever says anything controversial or difficult to understand, and is cool with whatever the society of the day wants to embrace – and seek out the truth. After looking through the Bible for direction on the question of War, it has finally dawned on me that just maybe God wants War sometimes, and when He does, we are obliged to obey.
Oh yes, this kind of thinking treads into dangerous waters. I have not forgotten the Crusades, after all – but actually that’s part of what got me started thinking that way. You see, while most people seem to believe that the Crusades started when a bunch of Christian leaders and kings decided to invade peace-loving Arab lands, in actual fact one motive for the Crusades was that the Muslims had been conducting a Jihad – not unlike the one they seem to want to start up again now – for several centuries, and this included raids and various marauding nastiness across Southern and Western Europe. It occurred to the leaders of a number of European countries that if they mounted an organized offensive, they might very well push back the Muslims from European land. To make a long story overly short, that goal was achieved. I say ‘overly short’, because the Crusades included chapters and events which have sullied the Church and shamed decent people who should have done better, and who will have to answer to God for choosing a dark path. Obviously, when we discuss War, the Christians will always find it imperative to sort out the justice in their course, because we know we will be held to account for our decision.
But before I discuss the present condition, I want to point out what the Bible says. I used to believe that the men who pleased God were peaceful, and if by that one means “peace loving”, that still applies. But throughout the Bible, God has often done violence and called men to violence. In Genesis Chapter 14, Abraham leads a band of specially trained men to rescue family and recover their property, against a military force from five invading kings. In Genesis 19, God personally destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Later, when the Hebrews come to the promised land, God specifically orders the formation of am army in Numbers Chapter 1, and when they come to the promised land, God orders battle. In Deuteronomy 2:24-25, for example, God commands “See, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his country. Begin to take possession of it and engage him in battle. This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you." From there the Old Testament is, well, pretty bloody. It has caused a lot of people to reject the Old Testament as a book speaking God’s truth. Warriors are praised extensively; it’s no coincidence, I think, that David is both Israel’s most famous Warrior and the king who received God’s promise of an eternal line of kings.
Why would this be? If one accepts, as I do, that God speaks truth to us through the Bible, why would War be something God would tolerate, let alone call good? Anyone who has seen a battle firsthand, to paraphrase Bismarck, would be slow indeed to desire War. It is a grave and irrevocable step to choose War.
But History tells us that War serves a useful purpose, indeed seems to be the only way certain conditions may be remedied. The tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church as it existed during the Medieval years could not end without the Reformation and all its chaos. And that came after the expulsion of the Muslim invaders from Europe. The nation which first stood for the rights of individuals rather than governments came into being only by revolution, and Slavery was expunged from most nations only through Wars, as was the case with open-sea piracy. Blackbeard feared only the Navy.
Hitler was defeated only by War. The same for Tojo. And those forces which were allowed to avoid Warm proved a pestilence on the world, like Pol Pot and the Soviet Union. And they brought their own Wars into being, anyway.
It is a naïve lie which some people tell themselves, that War will leave them alone if they just ignore it. War must be fought, or else it will seek out victims, often weak and vulnerable ones. Why else is Darfur such an abomination?
Here is where we see the virtue of War. Some of us know people in the military, and I will say with no embarrassment that there is nothing like the American soldier. They are strong and sure and smart, but most of all they understand their identity. They stand between all that is good in America, and those would harm that good. They stand for the rights of those unable to do so on their own. They are not policemen, because where they go there is no law but force and might, but they establish Law and Order. They are not government, because where they go there is only Chaos and Confusion, but they establish republics for the people who live there. They see things too horrible for ordinary people to bear, and they bear them. They face enemies more evil than ordinary people believe can exist, and they destroy them. They take on responsibilities which ordinary people think are impossible, and they succeed. Every nation which stands alongside America finds a sure friend, and every nation which stands against America, though it may take generations to finish, they are doomed.
This all comes by the grace of God. It would take a long time, and no doubt start an even noisier argument to explain why we are so blessed, and on what that blessing depends. But for here and now, the matter is simple enough to accept that, so long as we fear God and obey Him, this War against Terrorism and Islamofascism, is good, and we shall prevail.