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War: Four Christian Views Paperback – April 1, 1991
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All four make compelling cases, partly because the New Testament does not directly address the issue of what a Christian or Christian community's response to war should be. The history of the Christian church will show how very differently popes, rulers, and Protestant communities viewed involvement in war.
Augsburger makes a compelling case for pacifism. What is attractive about pacifism is that it so brilliantly proclaims to the world a different way, the Way of Christ Himself who eschewed violence against those who mistreated him. The community then places its faith only in God for its protection. This position thus is naturally connected with the refusal to be politically involved, which it has historically accompanied in the Mennonite and other pacifist communites.
Hoyt says Christians can serve their country, but only in non-combat roles, as the Christian is bound not to perpetrate violence to another human. I must admit I was strongly attracted to this - and I'm sure this probably has reflected the views of many conscientious Christians once drafted. But this breaks down, because it sets up a double standard.
Holmes presents the classical doctrine of "just war". The problem with this is that a "just war" is hard to come by. Acting completely in accordance with it requires that no military forces attack territory or citizens belonging to the aggressor -- only retaking territory the enemy has taken -- thus being purely defensive. Reality tends to make conducting a "just war" impractical and unwise -- the Allies would have stopped at Germany's borders in World War II.Read more ›
Dr Hoyt is a dispensational seperationalist whose eschatology leads him to a position that Christians should be personally against violence but should not try to discourage their country's war effort and can even join it in a non-combatant role. The weakest position also happened to get the weakest defender. Dr Hoyt is a sincere old time Bible preacher with obvious passion for the things of God and the mission of the church...but he is not a skilled debater or a convincing author and is generally outmatched throughout the discussion. Augsburger briefly summarized the position in order to distinguish his from it and gave it a better treatment in 2 paragraphs.
Dr Augsburger is a much more formidable presence (perhaps the most formidable presence of the four) as the voice of pacifism and makes a stirring case for active non-violent intervention after the style of the cross and Dr King. I could not help wanting him to be right. And regardless of if he is, he does his job in championing the strict Sermon on the Mount ethic which any Christian has to come to terms with.
Dr Holmes, in his defense of the just war position, made the best use of the format. He was gracious but pointed in his comments. He stayed on message, effectively conveying a concise and immanently defendable thesis before we even got to his chapter.Read more ›
This topic is worthy of thinking through, because it relates to our understanding of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and also to the character of the God who is revealed in the Bible.
The four writers each present persuasive cases. If this makes you uncertain about your previously held views, it will have been worth reading the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would not recommend this book to someone wishing to study the Christian views on war. The chapter on just war theory is the most scholarly of the four and provides the best data... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
How should Christians view WAR? This book gives four possible biblical views. Something for every Christian to consider. A great study group conversation starter.Published on January 26, 2012 by J. R. Bobo