Skip to comments.200 Christian Theologians & Ethicists Question the Nation's "Theology of War"
Posted on 10/22/2004 8:18:48 AM PDT by areafiftyone
Conference Call: 200 Christian Theologians and Ethicists Question the Nation's "Theology of War" and the Ethics of War on Terrorism
To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor, Religion Reporter
Contact: Deryl Davis, 202-328-8842 ext. 214 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Deanna Murshed, 202-328-8842 ext. 257 or email@example.com both of Sojourners
As the debate over the war on terrorism continues, 200 Christian theologians and ethicists today issued a new "Confession." Because of a deep and growing concern about an emerging national "theology of war," the increasingly frequent language of "righteous empire," and official claims of "divine appointment" for a nation in a "war" on terrorism, more than 200 seminary and college professors have signed "Confessing Christ in a World of Violence."
A media conference call with the initiators of the confession will be held today at 2 p.m. EDT on 866-865-2701, Code: 104238
Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners, explained: "A climate in which violence is too easily accepted, and the roles of God, church, and nation too easily confused, calls for a new confession of Christ. No nation-state may usurp the place of God." The statement identifies five points that are central for followers of Jesus, and rejections of the current teachings that nullify those points.
The key points of the confession are:
-- Jesus Christ knows no national boundaries. We reject the false teaching that any nation-state can ever be described with the words, "the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it."
-- Christ commits Christians to a strong presumption against war. We reject the false teaching that a war on terrorism takes precedence over ethical and legal norms.
-- Christ commands us to see not only the splinter in our adversary's eye, but also the beam in our own. We reject the false teaching that America is a "Christian nation," representing only virtue.
-- Christ shows us that enemy-love is the heart of the gospel. We reject the false teaching that any human being can be defined as outside the law's protection.
-- Christ teaches us that humility is the virtue befitting forgiven sinners. We reject the false teaching that those who are not for the United States politically are against it.
The statement concludes: "When the church is in danger of being co-opted by a theology of nationalism and militarism, we must faithfully confess Christ. We believe that peacemaking is central to our vocation in a troubled world where Christ is Lord."
The full statement and list of more than 200 signers is available online at: http://www.sojo.net/petition/signers
The statement was initiated by Richard B. Hays, Duke Divinity School; George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary; Richard V. Pierard, Gordon College; Caryn D. Riswold, Illinois College; Glen Stassen, Fuller Theological Seminary; and Jim Wallis, Sojourners.
Signers come from a broad spectrum of schools, including Fuller Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Gordon College, Wheaton College, Calvin College, Hope College, Harvard Divinity School, North Park Seminary, Asbury Theological Seminary, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, Baylor University, Westmont College, Pepperdine University, Candler School of Theology, Interdenominational Theological Consortium, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Methodist University, Union Theological Seminary, and numerous others.
Sojourners is a voice and vision for social change and publisher of award-winning Sojourners magazine, SojoMail e-zine, and www.sojo.net Web site. Founded in 1971 asa faith-based organization, Sojourners provides an alternative perspective on faith, politics, and culture through its monthly magazine, e-mail services, Web site, media commentaries, and public events. Ecumenical and progressive, Sojourners lifts up the biblical connection between social justice and spiritual renewal and nurtures community by bringing together people from the various traditions and streams of the church. Sojourners also hosts an annual program of voluntary service now in its twenty-first year.
/© 2004 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
These guys are not real Christians anyway.
These are liberal "christians". The five points are not in any way in line with what my church teaches.
Well the scripture lawyers need some attention as well.
They don't even understand history. That is not why America is called a Christian nation.
1 Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
I believe C.S. Lewis addressed this issue better than anyone 60 some years ago in the context of WWII. All the points made in this article have been refuted a long time ago.
Only a "theologian" unlettered in Greek could make this mistake.
In Greek there is a specific term for a personal enemy (echthros) and another for a military one (antikemai).
The Gospels use the word "echthros" in the sense of a personal enemy - someone with whom we have a personal quarrel, animosity, etc.
In terms of a military adversary it's not a personal matter - it's a matter of one's family's and country's survival. It is not an act of love to refrain from destroying someone who is trying to kill your family. In fact, such restraint is an act of hatred or indifference toward the people whom you have a responsibility to love and honor.
We reject the false teaching that any human being can be defined as outside the law's protection.
Nowhere in Scripture or in traditional Christianity does there exist a notion that all individuals are entitled to legal protection. In fact, the Old Testament expressly assumes the opposite is true and the New Testament does not make any claim to refute the Old Tetsament position.
Terrorists are, legally speaking, spies and according to the laws of both God and man they can be put to death without benefit of legal process.
This is nothing more than the continuance of the decline of our nation's seminaries (or rather "cemeteries"), which is a good thing.
How would these people have had us respond on 9-11? Should we have given the terrorists another airliner or two full of innocents to crash into more buildings? They seem to ignore that the Islamo-fascists want to bring an end to Christianity...if they succeed there will be no "no world where Christ is Lord." Had we listened to people like this in WW-II we would have beening singing kumbayas on the way to the gas chambers.
This is still America, right? They don't need your approval before expressing their opinion.
Excellent points. But this is the kind of stuff that is frequently (intentionally or otherwise) overlooked, resulting in a misrepresentation of biblical teachings.
Areafiftyone neither stated nor implied that such approval was required. Areafiftyone was simply asserting the right to opine that these theologians are a disgrace and that their document is an intellectual and moral embarrassment.
I didn't say one thing about them needing my approval. I implied that Leftists love the idea that the so-called christian conservatives are against Bush's war (as they call it). The Leftists get their jollies off of this stuff.
Who the heck asked you for your opinion anyway!
I was simply responding to this comment, knowing that it was rhetorical on your part, but still just a gentle reminder that differences of opinion are still allowed.
It matters not who they are or how one gets their "jollies".
They AREN'T Christians. Christianity has never been interperted as not supporting the right of the individual or state to protect and defend itself - no religion worthy of the name is a suicide pact.
Furthermore, these same scripture twisting hypocrits probably approve of gay marriage, ordination of homosexual clerics, murdering babies in the womb and other horrific and un-Biblical heresies which would have astounded both Reformation and Counter-Reformation Churches in the 1500's and 1600's.
These guys/institutions have been leaning "left" for a long time. This was bound to happen. Civil war in the Church is coming, based on the rejection or adherence to Truth.
It behooves Christians to believe in the concepts of "...turning the other cheek..." and "...going the extra mile...". "As much as it is up to you, be at peace with all people...".
However, we are also called to be good stewards and protectors of those under our household, and the household of God.
As a good steward of my wife and children, the overriding principle would cause me to beat the crap out of anyone wanting to harm them, defile them, oppress them, violate them, ... well you get the point.
I'm fascinated, and disgusted, by these so-called promoters of "Christian" concepts of peace. The illogic of the concept of "Christ love" somehow trumping our responsibility to our families and communities in the face of tangible (read 3000 WTC dead) is impossible to reconcile. Did the God of the Old Testament die on the cross, or did He graciously bring into the world a deeper understanding of the battle between the spiritual and the material?
These people act like the unforgivable sin is to protect your country by fighting evil. Oh yeah, I forgot. They don't really believe in evil. Everybody's good. Just misunderstood.
Ummm....How can you say they're not "real Christians?" I don't know that I agree with their stance on this issue, but many of those on the list are respected theologians and committed followers of Jesus.
I'm puzzled by your response.
Has something struck a chord that you thought areafiftyone was requiring that the Sojourners, et al, receive his approval?
As for your "who the heck asked for your opinion?", you've been at FR long enough. Nobody asks us for our opinions...we're all just arrogant enough to believe that our opinions are worth the time it takes to post them. Aren't we?
I just reread your post again, and I think I've figured out my confusion.
The "Who the heck asked you for your opinion?" remark above the line in your post was meant to represent a quote from areafiftyone's original quote!
I thought you were commentating, strongly, on areafiftyone's position.
"Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners..."
That's all you need to know.
Book Review: Why the Left Is Not RightThe Religious Left: Who They Are and What They Believe by Ronald Nash Published in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - December 1997 by Doug Bandow http://www.fee.org/vnews.php?nid=3918
When it comes to religion and politics, most media attention is focused on the right. And it usually isnt positive coverage. Religious conservatives are presented as threatening Americas constitutional balance, womens right to choose, gays civil liberties, and much more.
Yet religious activism runs both ways. As Ronald Nash, a professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, notes in Why the Left Is Not Right, there is an active and diverse religious left in the United States. To be sure, these people, who once proudly proclaimed their liberal or radical connections, now describe themselves as moderates and centrists, notes Nash. But their policy positions remain unashamedly left-wing.
Nash divides the religious left into three parts: liberal mainline Protestants, liberal Catholics, and left-wing evangelicals. Theres no doubt where Nash stands. He argues that these groups have been used (willingly or unwillingly) by the Democrats for electoral purposes and have helped demonize politically conservative Christians. A prolific author and entertaining speaker, Nash obviously views himself as among the demonized right.
In his view, the central argument is not whether people of faith should be concerned about peace and justice, but what those terms mean. The evangelical left has appeared to have simply assumed the standard liberal understanding of the words and then discredited anyone (including their politically conservative brethren) who understood the terms differently and who pursued the objectives of peace and justice in a different way.
Perhaps the greatest value of Why the Left Is Not Right is that it shows how political activism by people of faith is neither new nor restricted to conservatives. Indeed, even as evangelicals were receiving exaggerated public attention for entering the political process, mainline Protestant denominations were promoting Democratic political causes domestically and communist revolutionary movements abroad. It is a story worth remembering when the media and political establishments pour obloquy on traditionally less active evangelicals and fundamentalists as they seek to protect themselves and their values from government intrusion.
Much the same politics has been on display within the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics were once thoughtful enemies of secularism, humanism, and the liberal welfare state, writes Nash. Many still are, but as Nash puts it, large cracks have appeared in the political and social thinking of many educated Catholics. The 1985 Pastoral Letter on the economy, for example, was as political as anything emanating from the Christian Coalition. Even more radical have been specific segments of the church, such as the Maryknoll Order.
However, Nash devotes most of his attention to the lesser-known left-wing evangelicalism. He argues that the New Left and the adversary culture of the 1960s spawned political liberalism among Protestants who purport to hold a more conservative, orthodox theological view. Nash focuses on three leading leftish evangelicals: Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine; Ron Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action and author of Rich Christians in a World of Hunger; and Tony Campolo, sociology professor, well-published author, and presidential confidante.
The scrutiny is warranted, though Nash seems more skeptical of the trios good intentions than is justified. Wallis, for instance, lives his beliefs. Two decades ago Wallis moved his magazine to a poor section of Washington, D.C., and formed a community of the same name. At the same time, however, he has, as Nash points out, remained imbued with the leftist Zeitgeist of the 1960s. The boat people fleeing communist Vietnam, Wallis wrote, were leaving to support their consumer habit in other lands. Their departure should not be taken to discredit Vietnam. Walliss views toward Cuba and Nicaragua were similarly skewed.
Walliss economic opinions also were long solidly collectivist. The collapse of socialism abroad seems to have chastened himhe now calls himself centrist and asserts that he is independent of Democrats and Republicans alikebut he remains wedded to interventionist policies. Conservatives, Wallis charges, retain an attachment to institutions of wealth and power, preference for the status quo, and the lack of a strong ethic of social responsibility. Unfortunately, while Wallis now criticizes abuses by government, he underestimates how the activist state promotes concentrations of wealth and power, supports the status quo, and undermines social responsibility.
Similar is Nashs case against Ron Sider. Sider is a gentle spirit who has borne substantial liberal criticism for his opposition to abortion and gay rights. Unfortunately, however, on economic policy he has always placed intentions before results. Thus, as Nash documents, Sider has long advocated the sort of government intervention that has been tried and found wanting throughout this century. While criticism is rife of the Christian Coalition for seemingly attaching itself to the GOP, Nash points out that Ron Sider, the person who comes closest to being a moderate member of the evangelical Left, has himself spent years trying to elect liberal, typically Democratic, candidates to public office.
Tony Campolo is probably the most public of the three, given his high-profile contacts with President Bill Clinton. Campolo also criticizes government, but seems committed to statist remedies when it comes to solving specific problems. Nash doesnt stop his criticisms here, however; he goes on to question Campolos evangelical credentials, given the latters views on such issues as abortion, feminism, and the environment.
Through his analysis, which concludes with chapters on economics and poverty, Nash shows how even the best-intentioned of religious believers can come up with solutions inimical to the interests of those they wish to serve. But Nash, who has been on the receiving end of endless left-wing barbs, puts an unnecessary edge in his own analysis. Perhaps nothing irritates Nash more than the evangelical lefts flirtation with Bill Clinton.
Yet the opinions of Wallis, Sider, and Campolo reflect ignorance rather than malice. Ive met and debated all three. All want to help those in need, seem to have been affected by the decline of statism, and were willing to acknowledge contrary arguments. They deserve to be criticized, not demonized.
Why the Left Is Not Right deals seriously with an important subject. Despite the public perception that religious activists gravitate toward the right, many people of faith have embraced collectivist remedies despite the ill effects on those most in need. In short, Nashs basic thesis is correct: the left is not right. 
Zondervan 1996 222 pages $10.99 paperback
Doug Bandow, a nationally syndicated columnist, is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of Beyond Good Intentions: A Biblical View of Politics (Crossway).
If, say, someone slapped me or attacked me in some other non-life-threatening way, my Christian responsibility would be to turn the other cheek.
If that same person did the same thing to my wife or my daughter instead, my Christian responsibility would be to beat them to within an inch of their life.
One has a Christian duty to submit to humiliations, indignities etc. as part of carrying one's cross. One also has a Christian duty to prevent others from being humiliated and treated with contempt and abuse.
Yes. What occurs to the individual is secondary to our responsibility to protect, nurture, and heal others. Sometimes the way to the spiritual is through the temporal.
However, if allowing someone to harm me ultimately harms my family (through denial of my income earning ability, my love as a dad, etc.), then I am in abrogation of my commitment to them. Thus, it becomes necessary to protect myself, as a support to them.
Were I to not have these relationships, my responsibilities are freed to accept whatever denigrations come my way, in order to exemplify the Lord's love, as expressed on the cross.
Since O'Reilly had a couple of guys on his program last night from the Religious Left - one of whom was specifically referred to as being affiliated with Sojourners - the flagship magazine of the Religious Left - maybe we should request that he give equal time to a capitalist like Ron Nash (see post #28).
Saul Alinsky - The Religious Marxist-Left follows him "religiously". Their magazine? Sojourners:
Saul Alinsky's books: Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals
In the 60's, as a radical hippy-type mentality herself at Wellesley, Hillary Clinton was so enamored of Saul Alinsky and his *methods* she wrote her senior thesis under his mentoring.
Barbara Olson's book, "Hell To Pay" which dissects Miss Hillary, used Alinsky's comments as chapter lead-ins.
(Barbara Olson died in the plane that hit the Pentagon on 9-11)
There is a chapter in Rules for Radicals that details how to steal an election.
It was an exact blueprint of what happened in Florida 2000.
1 - Question the validity of the vote - done by pre-arranged phone banks in St Louis calling democratic voters to ask if they had mistakenly voted for Buchanan
2 - Demand a recount.
3 - Try and forment a rabble on the streets - Remember Jesse Jackson's (failed) attempts at that?
4 - Litigate
5 - Obfuscate, keep counting..
If you read the book you will be amazed at how closely the plan was followed..
44 posted on 04/09/2003 3:27:55 AM EDT by Wil H
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, UNBELIEVABLE NEWS compiled by James W. Harris
Hillary Clinton's Mystery Thesis
Recently syndicated columnist Jack Anderson was doing a story on Hillary
Clinton, and in the process his staff requested a copy of her 1969 senior
thesis from Wellesley College. It was a seemingly simple request, since
normally college theses are public record, available to anyone.
Not, however, in this case. Anderson was told that the current Wellesley
president had created a new rule in 1992. The new rule, Anderson says, is
that "...the college would seal the senior theses of any Wellesley grads
who were either the first lady or the president of the United States."
(Perhaps not coincidentally, the president of Wellesley is a long-time
friend of Mrs. Clinton's.)
Okay, Anderson asked, can you just tell us the *subject* of the paper? No.
Well, was the new policy enacted at Clinton's request? Again, no answer.
Perplexed and intrigued, Anderson contacted Hillary's White House press
corps. He was assured it was no big deal, and that he'd be sent a copy of
the paper, along with an explanation of why it had been sealed. Several
weeks passed, however, and no thesis appeared. Finally he was told that no
copy would be coming -- and no explanation would be given.
Eventually Anderson and his staff discovered some answers on their own.
Hillary's thesis, it turns out, was a critique of Lyndon Johnson's "War on
Poverty" programs. Her conclusion: community-based government anti-poverty
programs don't work.
Which may explain all the secrecy, since President Clinton recently called
for federal funding for a number of... community-based government
(Source: column by Jack Anderson and Jan Moller)
I have often looked for her Senior Thesis and have only read Class of 1969,
on the occasion of Wellesley's 91st Commencement, May 31, 1969.
Where she followed Senator Brooke 'in attack mode'.
34 posted on 04/08/2003 6:37:29 PM EDT by fight_truth_decay
She's not the only disciple:
Daley, Jackson, and Sharpton appear to be following the revolutionary
tactics advocated by yet another Chicago militant: the late Saul Alinsky.
Alinsky, a life-long Marxist, was a Chicago organizer who was dedicated to
winning at all cost. He once wrote, "The most unethical of all means, is
the non-use of any means." In simple terms, "Do whatever it takes to win."
If that means lying, cheating, and stealing--so be it. Win at any cost.
Alinsky dedicated his book, Rules for Radicals, to Lucifer, who, notes
Alinsky, "is the first radical known to man who rebelled against the
establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own
Saul Alinsky's strategies are clearly at work in Florida. One of his
teachings is that "Truth is relative and changing." We are seeing this in
the behavior of Gore operatives who change election rules after the fact
and redefine "dimpled chads" as votes for Al Gore. Another Alinsky dictim
teaches that "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." The vicious attack
against Katherine Harris is a prime example of this tactic. One of
Alinsky's more memorable comments is this: "To hell with charity. The only
thing you get is what you're strong enough to get--so you had better
The spirit of Saul Alinsky is alive and well in Florida's election battle.
His spirit is also alive and well in the heart of Senator-elect Hillary
Clinton. Alinsky was a friend and mentor to Hillary. In fact, she adored
this Marxist so much that she wrote her senior college thesis on Alinsky's
organizing tactics and strategies.
35 posted on 04/08/2003 6:48:55 PM EDT by fight_truth_decay
Hmmm - separation of church and state? Respect for Israel? Respect for Life? Defense of one's family? I keep forgetting that 9/11 didn't happen - we Americans are so imperialistic and arrogant and need to "invade" a country just because we are morally superior! Terrorism is a myth (as Michael Moore testifies)! How dare we not join in unity with other nations, even those we "consider" against us? (I'm being very sarcastic because I'm so sick of THEIR arrogance and self-righteousness).
http://www.kfuo.org/ie_main.htm has the audio of an interview with Ron Nash about "Everything you need to know about The Religious Left." Scroll down to October 11. You can download an MP-3 also
These are Leftist that act like termites inside the Church - they want to hollow theChurch out until it is nothing more than a vessel for Socialist Claptrap. It's a mix of heresy and pure ideology, masked by phony theology.
On the subject of whether it is morally right or wrong to declare war on the terrorists, I say kill them all and let God or Allah sort it out.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
These guys are not real Christians anyway.
Not only would they bare their thoats to the Fanatic's knife
but ours as well.
I can say that because there's a public record of their beliefs and activities.
You can respect them if you wish.