- Paperback: 48 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 13, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1499541937
- ISBN-13: 978-1499541939
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,618,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Psalm For The Battle: Reflections on Psalm 18, Christians and Warfare Paperback – May 13, 2014
From the Author
I personally used to be ambivalent about the role of Christians in the military. My father was a Jewish refugee to New Zealand, and a Communist. He served in the New Zealand Air Force during World War II - he once told me he would have been first in line to volunteer to help drop the atomic bombs on Japan - but after the war he refused to accept the medals to which he was entitled, as some kind of anti-war protest. (After he died I wrote to the New Zealand Defence Department to check if the medals were still available. They were, and I have them now in my desk drawer.)
He and my mother became leaders of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and I was raised in the 1950s and 1960s in an intensely anti-war environment. Yet at the same time my uncle - my father's younger brother, who as a boy had been smuggled by Jewish groups into pre-war Palestine - was a career officer in the Israeli army. I used to admire the photographs he sometimes sent us, of him in his uniform, on maneuvers in different parts of the Holy Lands.
I guess that ambivalence about military matters stuck with me. So in middle age, after I became a Christian, if I'd been asked my views about armed service, I might have answered with something vague to the effect that of course we need an army, but that it's better that Christians not serve in it. Because armies are for killing, and Christians shouldn't kill.
Or I might have said that I classified soldiers with lawyers and real estate agents. When you need them you expect them to get down and dirty. Better they not be Christians.
But in 2002 I started blogging, trying to place a Christian spin on events of the day. One of the big issues at that time was the looming US invasion of Iraq, and I became fascinated with notions of how Christians should regard war. I began writing blog posts based on the many questions I had. Questions such as: when can a Christian soldier kill? Does God still speak directly to military commanders, as in Old Testament times? What does a Christian soldier do when ordered on a suicide mission?
(If you are interested, the US Library of Congress subsequently added my blog posts to a special collection of 231 websites it had compiled as an online resource for historians and others wishing to research the war, and they also form the basis of this devotional study.)
I encountered similar issues when I came to write my novel "Brother Half Angel." It is a thriller, about an underground seminary in China under attack from sword-wielding members of a local cult who still pay homage to the bloodthirsty extremists who tried to expel all foreigners from China in the nineteenth century. Members of the seminary - including a pair of idealistic young American missionaries - find themselves involved in tense debate over how far Christians can go to defend themselves.
So this study is primarily about real soldiers and real warfare. But, as we all know, Christians are continually at war, a spiritual battle against a relentless and insidious enemy who is intent on undermining our victory in Jesus. We are reminded of this in Paul's famous words:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
So this is a devotional study for all Christians as we engage in that battle.
Top customer reviews
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It is an excellent study using both cross references in the Bible and commentary from other authors and sources. I especially like the reflections from actual soldiers and leaders as they discuss their life and experiences in the military.
The commentary is well thought out and the presentation is easy to read and understand. I have read several works by Martin Roth and this book, like those, are both well written and clearly presented.
I really enjoyed A Psalm for the Battle by Martin Roth and I highly recommend it to all readers.
[Please note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.]
The question the author poses is this: Should Christians kill as soldiers? The devotional goes through Psalms 18, analyzing each verse as it relates to war.
I found the quotes from Andrew Grills interesting. Grills was an Anglican chaplain with the Australian Defense Force. Another story I liked was the way a British general became an Anglican priest after he retired.