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Some Strategies in the Fight for Peace

This entry is part 34 of 42 in the series Christian Theology of Public Policy Course

This essay continues the Christian Theology and Public Policy Course by John Cobin, author of the books Bible and Government and Christian Theology of Public Policy.

Considering the spiritual battle raging between God and Satan, it should come as little surprise that the spread of God’s kingdom often does not occur peaceably. Paradoxically, the Lord is both the “God of peace” and the God who assails the kingdom of Satan: “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20), implying that His judgment will come upon Satan’s kingdom in both the spiritual and temporal realms. The Christian’s civic duty should be similarly directed. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and yet He tells us: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). The reason is simply that even though a battle rages in the spiritual world between principalities and powers (2 Corinthians 10:4-6, Revelation 12:7; Jude 1:9; Daniel 10:13), this battle spills over into time and space, being manifested principally through conflicts between Christians and false religion or the state. However, God’s kingdom has invaded the world, casting out Satan’s kingdom and disrupting the false “peace” that Satan gives (Luke 11:21).

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The Christian Fight for Peace

This entry is part 33 of 42 in the series Christian Theology of Public Policy Course

This essay continues the Christian Theology and Public Policy Course by John Cobin, author of the books Bible and Government and Christian Theology of Public Policy.

Some things are worth fighting for and at times struggling for peace forms a part of our civic duty.

Christians may justly fight, when prudent, either by rhetoric and diplomacy or by political power and arms—especially when their purpose is to quell the evil intrusions of the interventionist state. In order to establish sanctuary in a fallen world, Christians may thus forcibly oppose tyrants or other criminals who attempt to undermine fundamental rights through destroying life and property.

In chapters 7–9 of A Christian Manifesto (1982), Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer argues that there is a point at which a Christian must take up arms against the state. He maintains that resisting tyrants is ultimately part of a Christian’s civic duty. Following the feisty preacher John Knox and Samuel Rutherford in Lex Rex, Schaeffer says that prior to violent action, a Christian must take certain steps as his civic duty: (a) petition elected officials, (b) utilize the courts to establish precedent that favor Christian values, and (c) flee when persecuted (if possible). He notes that the actions of the American Founders were justified because they followed this prescription, having petitioned the Crown and finding nowhere to flee (or perhaps having no need to flee given that the Crown was already so remote from them), observing that the Crown had lost its legitimacy when it became a lawbreaker. Thus, not doing one’s civic duty by forcefully resisting the King would have been sin. For a Christian to do nothing in the face of collectivist or interventionist tyranny is to permit injustice and violence in society—clearly a sinful action for those who are commanded to “pursue peace” (2 Timothy 2:22; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 3:11). (1)

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Give Me Liberty

Continuing in our series of posts leading up to the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, it seems appropriate to hearken back to the words of a very wise American hero, who, like…

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