The theory could be twisted in the wrong hands—or misapplied by the well-meaning—but the principles have helped Christians think about complicated conflicts, even when clear answers aren’t obvious.
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted that while war is horrible, it is “sometimes, horrifyingly enough, justified when doing anything else is an even worse option.”
Chuck Currie—a minister in the United Church of Christ and a supporter of former President Barack Obama—responded to Jeffress’ remarks by saying the pastor endorsed a theology of war “in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus, the prince of peace.”
Like others, Currie rightly wants to avoid war, but Christians must confront the grim task of dealing with the effects of sin in a fallen world. Sadly, Currie skirts the one ultimate remedy for the sinfulness that leads to war and racism and every other human conflict: the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sins.
In an Easter sermon in 2009, Currie quoted a Princeton dean denying the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and Currie added, “Jesus did not go to the cross as part of some vengeful God’s need for a sacrifice.”
He also said whether Jesus literally rose from the dead doesn’t matter—a theological stance the Apostle Paul directly rejects in 1 Corinthians 15: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Magistrates must deal with complex questions of civil order both at home and abroad, but Jesus’ followers know His sacrificial death for sinners and His literal resurrection from the dead remain the only lasting hope. It’s a message Christians can offer their neighbors, as fears of war and flares of racism continue.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a pastor who preached in Britain through the darkest days of World War II, reminded Christians not to abuse the blessings of peace while we still have them. When peace is threatened or fraying, we have a far greater sense of its blessing.
But Lloyd-Jones pointed out the Bible teaches the purpose of peace isn’t merely for us to live comfortable lives, but to use our lives for the glory of God and the good of others. In days of fragile peace, those opportunities abound.