Church Triumphant Ministries Inc. Tribal Mission Outreach Philippines Tagum City,
War has once again gripped the
attention of the world. Regardless of our nationality, something deep inside
each of us says, This is not how it was meant to be!
Indeed, this is not how God intended people
to relate to one another. We were created in his image and designed to love
one another as we love God and ourselves. But sin corrupted Gods wonderful design, opening the way for selfishness, greed,
hatred, conflict, and violence (see Gen. 4:10-11; Rom. -32; James 4:1-2).
Recognizing the need to restrain violence,
the Christian church historically has interpreted the Bible as approving the
use of appropriate force to protect innocent people from harm. This may involve a policeman stopping an assault or an army
protecting its country or an ally from attack.
Sadly, such actions often involve the taking
of human life. Although this goes against Gods original design for human relations and therefore grieves every reasonable
person, God himself has decreed that such actions are necessary and just when done to protect the innocent and restrain evil(see
Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:1-6; Eccl. 3:8).
Since conflict between nations can lead to
horrific bloodshed, the church long ago sought to limit war by establishing
principled guidelines for when and how to wage war. These guidelines are generally referred to as the Just War Doctrine. According
to this doctrine, a war is just if and only if: it has a just cause, it is declared by a proper authority, it is pursued with
a right intention, it has a reasonable chance of success, and it has an end that is proportional to the means used. If war
is commenced, it is also necessary to make reasonable efforts to protect non-combatants from harm and to use force that is
proportional to the desired objective.[i]
These seven criteria are highly subjective.
When applying them to the present war in Iraq, reasonable people
interpret them in different ways. President Bush and his supporters believe
that these criteria have been fulfilled. But there are many others who disagree and therefore oppose the decision to take
military action against Iraq.
What is a Christian to think and do in the
face of such significant disagreement and world-shaking events? I believe it
is appropriate for people in every land to continue to discuss why and how this
war is being pursued, even as we pray for a swift restoration of peace. As
Christians talk and pray, it will be helpful
to keep three foundational principles in mind.
God Is in Control
It is always distressing when nations contend
with one another in war. Forces beyond our control sweep us along to uncertain
ends, and many lives hang in the balance. At such times, we can find great comfort
in the fact that God is sovereign and always in control, even over the hearts of rulers and the course of nations.
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a Water course wherever he pleases (Prov. 21:1).
When the earth and all its people quake,
it is I who hold its pillars firmIt is God who judges: He brings one down, he
exalts another (Psalm 75:3, 7).
Praise be to the name of God for ever and
ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings
and deposes them. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: What have you done? (Dan. 2:20-21; )
It is also comforting to know that God never
exercises his power arbitrarily. He is always good, and he always acts with
perfect justice, whether he blesses a nation or brings judgment upon it (see
Ps. 145.9; Jer. 18:7-10).
I have found it helpful to pray aloud with
these and similar scriptures, reminding myself of Gods power and goodness, and
acknowledging his rule over the nations. I encourage you to do the same. As our confidence in God grows, we can be freed from
doubt and fear, and be able to see these events as an opportunity to confess Christ and serve others.
Our Leaders Need Our Prayers
Regardless of what country they live in,
Christians often struggle to understand their responsibilities in times of war.
On the one hand, we remember Jesus command to love our enemies and his blessing
upon peacemakers. On the other hand, we usually feel obligated to support our leaders and our troops as they go to battle. How can we do both?
The key to resolving this tension is to remember
that God has assigned different responsibilities to different people. On an
individual basis, each of us should seek peace and look for ways to do good
to others, even those who hate us (Luke 6:27-31).
At the same time, we must realize that God
has given civil government the responsibility and authority to promote justice,
protect people from violence, and punish those who do wrong (see Rom. 13:1-4). This is a heavy responsibility, especially
when it involves the exercise of lethal force -- but without this restraint, evil would run rampant and innocent people would
suffer. Thus there are times when those who lead and protect a nation must engage in war (Eccl. 3:8).
President Bush has concluded that this is
such a time. Many people agree with his decision, while others do not. It is
appropriate for people to continue expressing their opinions in thoughtful and respectful ways. We can also hope that future
events will clearly reveal whether the President acted wisely. In any case, it is certain that he will be judged by voters
in the next election, by historians when his presidency is over, and, most importantly, by God, to whom he must one day give
an account for his order to attack.
This is a heavy burden to carry. Therefore,
whether or not we agree that war is necessary, each of us should pray for President
Bush and all national leaders frequently, asking God to give them humility, wisdom, discernment, courage, and strength, so
that they will do what is just, protect the innocent, and restore peace as quickly as possible (1 Tim. 2:1-2; Titus 3:1-2;
1 Pet. 2:13-17).
At the same time, each of us should pray
that our civil leaders would lead us in a careful and continuous examination
of our national agendas and actions (Matt. 7:3-5). Leaders and voters alike are vulnerable to sin and error, which can lead
any country astray. Therefore, we should repeatedly ask God to show us where
our nation needs to change any policies and practices that do not satisfy his standards of justice, righteousness, and compassion
(Psalm 82:3-4; Luke 12:48). As we humble ourselves under Gods mighty hand, he promises to lift and guide us (1 Pet. 5:5-6;
Each of Us Can Still Be a Peacemaker
Even when civil leaders are compelled to
wage war, individual Christians can and should seek to heal relationships and
promote personal reconciliation. In Romans 13, just a few verses before Paul describes the governments right to wield the
sword, he describes the individual Christians responsibility to be a peacemaker:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and
do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Do
not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends
on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It
is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give
him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome
evil with good (Rom. 12:14-15, 17-21).
This passage echoes Jesus teaching that we
should love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27-28, 35-36).
Here are some practical ways that you can put these commands into practice in
this time of conflict, regardless of where you live or what you think of the war in Iraq.
Mourn with those who mourn. All of us should
grieve deeply with those who lose loved ones due to war or other forms of violence,
whether in Iraq or other countries that struggle with deadly strife. We Christians should share not only our tears and words
of comfort, but also our time, energy, and material resources to minister to them and help rebuild their lives. We should
also pray that these events would make us more compassionate toward people outside our country who suffer oppression, persecution,
Remember Gods mercy to you. All true peacemaking
springs from what Jesus Christ did on the cross to reconcile a fallen world
to a holy God (Rom. 5:1-8). We cannot truly love our enemy or do good to those who hate us until we see that God has done
exactly that with us. When we recognize our own sin, acknowledge the eternal judgment we deserve, and stand amazed at his
offer of mercy and forgiveness, then and only then can individuals respond lovingly to acts of violence and do the hard, unnatural
work of peacemaking
Pray for those who have done wrong.Praying for an enemy is not easy. Even
when we get past our feelings of hatred and our desire for revenge, we struggle to know what to pray. Should we follow Davids
example and pray for justice to come upon them (Ps. 28:4), or should we follow Jesus example and ask God to forgive them (Luke
23:34)? As we remember our own need for Gods mercy, I believe we must do both. We can pray, Lord, display your love for justice
and prevent further evil by bringing guilty people to account in this life for what they have done. At the same time, Father,
display your love for mercy and magnify the glory of the gospel by bringing these people to repentance and faith in Christ,
so that whatever temporal judgment they face at the hands of men, they might experience the eternal forgiveness that you purchased for us by the infinitely precious blood of Christ.
Stand up for the persecuted. Pent-up fear
and anger in many countries is being sinfully vented towards innocent people
of certain ethnic descent or religious beliefs. Christians should be the first ones to stand up for the oppressed (Ex. 22:21;
Isa. 1:17). In addition to preventing individual acts of hatred that would propagate further violence, your loving intervention
could open the door to share the gospel with people whose religious belief has been shaken and whose hearts have been opened.
Make peace with those around you. Although most of us are not engaged in war and would not kill someone with our hands, all
too often we kill others in our hearts. As 1 John 3:15 warns, Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer. The tumultuous events
of our day could produce a harvest of peace and reconciliation if each of us were now inspired to fight the cancer of sin
and estrangement on a personal level, seeking genuine reconciliation with a
spouse, child, parent, friend, co-worker, or anyone else we may have offended.
Study and teach peacemaking. In times of
war many people are searching for better ways to deal with conflict. The time
is ripe to wrestle with practical issues of confession, confrontation, justice,
restitution, and reconciliation. Please do
not let this incredible teachable moment pass you by. Dig into Gods Word and
see what he has to say about these life-changing matters, and then teach others
what you are learning about peacemaking (1 Pet. 3:15-16). Engage your children, talk with your friends, start conversations
at work, lead a Sunday school class at church. Now is the time to learn and to teach!
Share the gospel of peace.Above all else, seize every opportunity to be an ambassador
of reconciliation by pointing people to the Prince of Peace (2 Cor. 5:16-21). War and death are suddenly very real to everyone
in the world, and questions about evil and judgment abound. People who would have brushed the gospel aside not long ago are
suddenly open and marvelously interested in talking about eternal matters. The fields are truly white unto harvest, and there
can be no greater peacemaking than to help others to be reconciled to their God.
War has come upon us but it need not overcome
us. Now is the time to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ as we never have
before. Even as national leaders carry out their legitimate yet heavy responsibilities
of protecting innocent people from harm, lets seize every opportunity to share the love of Christ and promote personal peace
and reconciliation. In doing so, we can redeem these dreadful times and fulfill one of the most wonderful promises ever given,
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God".
Keep us in your prayers, insite of challenges
we are moving forward to plant more churches and making deciples of the Lord
Jesus. Pray and be a part of God's mission in the Philippines among the Tribal people in the Mountain.
WE need your Partnership:
$20 a Month for Train more workers for the
Great Harvest. The Harvest is pentiful but the Laborers are few, help us to
train more workers by praying and sending Love offering to help to train more
$25.00 A month to help church planting to
build the church in the mountain area.
$15 a month to help Crusade and seminars
in the Tribal Villages in Mindanao Island.