In my previous post I wrote, Here is how the King James Version translates James 4:1&2–“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.” Here’s how the Message Bible puts it: “ Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.”
In the Bible, the first coveting led to the first murder that led to the first family feud, or war. In Genesis 4:1-16, Cain killed his brother Abel. And wars have been with us through the years. Jesus spoke about “wars and rumors of wars.”
Arguably the greatest Christian theologian of all time, Augustine, developed the theory of the “Just War.”
Perhaps the most agonizing war to God is a “Civil War,” which is anything but civil but when brother fights against brother or, in America’s case state against state–though some actual nuclear families were split by that conflict.
My missionary biography interest over the past 13 years (shameless plug because the book was published last year), Titus Coan wrote and lived this phrase: “If ever I became a disciple of Christ, I then became a peace man.” (Advocate of Peace, January 1873) His completely pacifist Quaker friends, the Beans, disagreed with Coan on his view of the War of Rebellion, as he called the Civil War.
Coan wrote to the Beans in August of 1865 “that they may ‘honestly differ’ on various subjects and still maintain their Christian friendship.” (page 378 in Titus Coan biography) Though Coan supported the Union cause, he wrote of war as a demon. In 1862 he wrote in The Advocate of Peace, “The demon of war is unchained, and his foot-prints are marked with ‘tears and ashes and blood.'” (379, Coan biography)
Coan laid out the origin of the Civil War and indicated that pastors in both sections of the country were at fault. “Here was the calamity now upon our country. Had the professed Christians of the United States, North and South, taken this stand twenty, or ten, or even five years ago, this awful war would, in my humble opnion never have rolled its waves of fiery ruin over the land. The true spirit which rises in intelligent opposition to war, involves in it the elements of opposition to all the causes of war. It is the spirit which “deals justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God [Micah 6:8]. Ministers and disciples of “the Prince of Peace” [Isaiah 9:6] should have this spirit and they should have it in full and glowing action.”
And so we come to Putin’s war against Ukraine. He wants what he does not have. It is a sort of Civil War, because many Ukrainians and Russians are “cousins” and even closer in some cases.
Last July Putin wrote about what he wanted to do. Then we started hearing rumors or wars. This is an unprovoked, unjust war, started by one man. Seldom in the annals of history has there been such consensus (See the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly votes and unity (see NATO and the United States.
Glory to God. Glory to Ukraine.