The Bible and War by Jerry Vines

The Bible and War
Jerry Vines
Genesis 14:1-2, 13-16
3/19/03

I want to talk with you a little while this evening about the Bible and war. I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say because I do not want to be misunderstood. I don't want anybody to go out of here saying that I am a warmonger or that I am encouraging war. I'm constantly amazed at what people say I say. You should read some letters I get some times that say I said so and so. Everything I have preached here in the last 20 plus years is on tape. Just a whole lot of things folks think they hear me say, I have never said. It's an amazing thing how that process works. If anyone walks out of here tonight and says that preacher is a warmonger and he is encouraging war, you can say to them that they have misunderstood what he has had to say.

I do want to share with you my understanding about what the Scripture says about the subject of war so we will know better how to pray and how to respond as God's people and born again Christians. This is a time of great tension. It is a time of great fear in our land and in our world. It is always good to come to the Word of God and let God speak to us.

In Genesis 14, the first two verses, you have the account of the war of the kings. We are told in verse 1 about 4 kings and in verse 2 we are told about 5 kings. It says "These made war."

Drop down to verse 12. "And they took lot (that is, one of the warring factions), Abram's brother's son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods and departed."

Contrary to what some people may believe or say, the Bible does not teach that there are never any occasions when you ought not to go to war. The Bible does not teach pacifisms. That is not the teachings of Scripture. You will find in the Bible that there are times when God Himself instructed the people to go to war. Ecclesiastes 3, verse 8 says, "There is a time of war and there is a time of peace."

So the Bible does not teach that there are no circumstances ever under which people should ever go to war.

In the fifth century, in the history of the Christian church, Augustine the Christian theologian who is the namesake of St. Augustine, articulated what we call today the theory of a morally just war. You may have heard this terminology used in recent days. A just war. Is this a just war? Though what Augustine said is not a part of Scripture, obviously we test anything, any theologian, any teacher, or any person says, by what the Bible says. It has been generally accepted in the Christian church since the days of Augustine that it is only right for believers to be involved in war if it is a morally just war.

Let me give you briefly the principles of a just war. Number one, it must have a just cause. War is only permissible when it is done to resist aggression and to defend victims. It must have a just cause.

Number two, it must have a just intent. Securing justice is to be the only acceptable motive.

Number three, it mus ...


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