February 28, 2015

The Official Southern Baptist Position on Peace and War

Many Evangelicals (including quite a few Southern Baptists) seem to be itching for the U. S. to become entangled in another interventionist war in the Middle East. In the midst of all the calls to war, I thought it might be helpful to remind everyone of the SBC's official position on peace and war as found in our confession, the Baptist Faith and Message.

The Baptist Faith & Message (2000):
XVI. Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
I'm not, strictly speaking, a pacifist, but I am an advocate for just war.

The Pocket Dictionary of Philosophy & Apologetics:
just war theory. The ethical theory that Christians may legitimately fight in wars, but only when certain conditions are met. Those conditions include the following: the cause must be just; the war must be waged by a legitimate government; the means used must be moral; the war must be a last resort; and there must be a reasonable chance of achieving the goals of the war.
Ask yourself: Are we really at the point of last resort (or are we merely reacting to the fear-mongering and propaganda of the government and the mainstream media)? Do we really have any reasonable chance of achieving our goals (the primary goal being lasting peace in the Middle East)?

And, if you really want to have some fun, ask yourself this: Has any conflict in which the U. S. has been involved since WWII fit the above definition of just war?

We would do well to remember these words from our Lord, "All who take the sword will perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52).

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