Thursday, November 12, 2009

War, Peace and the Pinnacle: Part 1

This post is from a response I made to a former member of my congregation after he e-mailed me a question. One of our fine Baptists, Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, made a statement concerning a position on war and foreign policy determined by President Bush on Iraq. The issue of chief concern was Dr. Land’s saying all Baptist agreed with the President’s response to 9/11. My answer, concerning some of my thoughts on the complex issues of war, peace, foreign policy and a Cross Disciple’s response, follows.

A Reply to a Letter on the Iraq War

Your facts about the war in Iraq seem right to me. But even if they are perfect and rightly interpreted, facts are never enough for “triune solutions”! We’ll never know if the WMD evidence at the time supported our response or not. I do see an Islamic country with a democratic government as the “camel’s nose” to our security. Yet life is always “a mixed bag,” just like Moses’ “mixed multitude.” For the last several centuries Islam declined to poverty and weakness, though they had leaders who remained radical. In our day they have become again rich, powerful and even more radical.

U.S. diplomacy always rises or falls to the level of a current administration’s “sin level” … I’d include every president from Wilson to Obama in our WWI to Iraq/Afghanistan drama. Our foreign policy has not been perfectly consistent or ethically rational even though that was our goal. How consistent and rational can a foreign policy be when our options and leaders are in constant flux? Even if one course of action is worse or better, inconsistency and irrationality are the causes of policy. This is true from Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears to L.B.J.’s “no win” in Vietnam.

Mankind will never be able to govern themselves in a lasting, peaceful, righteous and fully beneficial way. They may insist on keeping their dream of building “a good Tower of Babel” but they will never finish it! General Patton, addressing his troops before Operation Overlord in WWII, knew all the peace conferences, diplomatic negotiations, treaties, charters and international organizations, etc. may look good and sound good, but they were all useless when it comes to stopping war. It won’t work. “The quickest way to get [this war] over with is to go get the [madmen] who started it.” Christians, even the ones most committed to the Cross, are both as brilliant and confused as all other parties involved when it comes to motives, diplomacy, policy, integrity, comprehension and war making. We are all generational victims of our cultures and our times. It makes no difference if one is a devoted Christ Disciple in England, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Israel, Korea, Brazil, India or America, etc. We are all prisoners to the different levels of our fellow citizen’s falleness. Human efforts will never eliminate war or establish a truly just government. I would confidently say our U.S. founders did the best job of it throughout all of history. America has been the greatest nation in 4,000 years of civilization when it comes to creating the most freedom, the most prosperity, the most opportunity, the most equality, the most progressive justice, the most benevolence, the most influence, the most idealism and the most economic and military power! It has provided these benefits to the greatest number of its citizens, more than any other nation that has ever existed.

This is all according to God’s design. His truest, deepest people come to see that the kings and kingdoms of this earth are just continuous and temporary passing dramas for proving again and again that our fallen and broken humanity will never fully face the Lord’s reality and learn His heart and His ways. Only those who follow Jesus after the manner of His cross really learn, find and overcome (Mt. 11:28-30; Luke 9:21-27). Only the most earnest Cross Disciples of Christ the Savior truly “catch on to what’s really going on” and walk the earth with His light, for His significance and contribute to His glory!

The best Christians with the most brilliant and gifted minds about “human government” can only “tinker with it” and “tweak it.” They can make it better and more just, but they will never fix it! The next generation of non-learners will always force their own ignorance, short sightedness and mistakes on any government. In Romans 11:32, Paul summarizes all of mankind’s unjust and inept governments and their dilemmas of failed deliverance with these words, “For God has put all mankind in the prison house of disobedience (they can’t deliver themselves) so that He may have mercy on them all (as they come to their senses)” (H.D.M. translation).

1 comment:

monsihodgson said...

I really like this.It is well said and written.