Subscribe Register Login
Thursday, August 17, 2017, 10:44 a.m.

ADVERTISEMENT

Top Picks - Mobile App

OPINION

Christian advice

By JOHN STONESTREET BreakPoint.org

This article was published August 12, 2017 at 2:08 a.m.

The war rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. turned nuclear this week, literally. Thankfully, Christians have thought about these things before.

U.S. intelligence now believes that North Korea--currently under the rule of a despicable, evil, irrational dictatorship--has capability to mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Kim Jong Un has said he'll never give up his pursuit of nuclear weapons, and just this week he threatened attacks on the U.S. mainland and the U.S. territory of Guam. In response, President Trump warned that if these threats continue, North Korea will face "fire and fury like the world has never seen."

Rhetoric aside, the president does face a very grave dilemma: how to prevent North Korea from following through on its threats. The prudential and moral considerations here are colossal. He and our entire national security team need our prayers.

What he doesn't need is bad advice. One evangelical adviser made headlines saying that the president had been anointed by God to "take out" Kim Jong Un by "by any means possible."

"By any means possible" is a Machiavellian response, not a Christian one. And I know Chuck Colson would have said so, too.

Chuck, a former Marine captain and adviser to President Nixon, was no pacifist. But he was a disciplined Christian thinker who talked frequently about "just war theory." He knew the rich wisdom about war from those who had gone before was an antidote to hyper-emotional reactionism.

To give you a taste, here's Chuck from 2009:

"For nearly two millennia, Christian thinkers starting with Augustine . . . have developed what is known as the just war theory. For a war to be seen as just, it must meet several conditions. It must be waged by legitimate authority. The cause itself must be just, as well as the intention behind going to war. War must be a last resort, waged by means proportional to the threat. We must not target non-combatants, and we must have a reasonable chance of success."

Let's unpack this criteria. First, the intent of the war has to be just. Is preventing an irrational dictatorship from using nuclear weapons a just cause? Yes, but it raises other questions. Is a pre-emptive strike morally just? Chuck felt so in certain cases, and he cited Christian precedent. But in the years after the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, he admitted that hindsight showed the intelligence leading to the attack was faulty. So U.S. intelligence must be correct about the status of North Korea's capabilities.

Second, for a war to be just, there must be a reasonable chance of success. That means success must be achievable, and it must be defined. In this case, is it the toppling of Kim Jong Un, or just removing his capability of producing and delivering nuclear weapons?

Third, is war a last resort? Are all other avenues closed? This is almost always the final hinge on which a just decision swings.

As Chuck said back in 2009, these are tough questions for any leader. And he knew, having served in the White House at the side of a president.

So Christians, we must pray to the God of history and nations for wisdom for our leaders and for a just end to the evil regime in North Korea. And, in our words, whether we're advising the president or own children about this situation, we must be thoughtful and morally considerate, not emotionally reactive.

Editorial on 08/12/2017

Print Headline: Christian advice

ADVERTISEMENT

Comment on: Christian advice

To report abuse or misuse of this area please hit the "Suggest Removal" link in the comment to alert our online managers. Read our Terms of Use policy.

Subscribe Register Login

You must login to make comments.

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1 total comment

WGT says... August 13, 2017 at 9:20 a.m.

If there were a god. If a christ ever existed. As it stands at the moment, it is the will and the heart of men to decide.

( | suggest removal )

  • page
  • 1
Click here to make a comment

To report abuse or misuse of this area please hit the "Suggest Removal" link in the comment to alert our online managers. Read our Terms of Use policy.

ADVERTISEMENT

SHOPPING

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

Top Picks - Mobile App
Arkansas Online