Archives for : September2014

How would you apply just war theory to the present international crisis and imminent war on Iraq?

Just war theory is not so much a theory as a set of questions we should ask about any war. I think the questions are good questions. But they almost never lead to a consensus. Those who favor a war can usually argue that there it is being fought for a just end, with public declaration, prospect of victory, etc. Those against it can usually find flaws in the argument. Of course a nation going to war never does so from absolutely pure motives, is never sure about the prospect of victory, etc. So these arguments usually end indecisively.

Of course just war theory isn’t the Bible. It’s a tradition that goes from Aristotle to the Stoics, and it has then been adopted by Christians like Augustine.

But in the end we must make our ethical decisions sola Scriptura. There are some broad biblical principles that bear on war: the sanctity of life first of all. But Scripture is pretty realistic about war. It recognizes that it’s not always possible or desirable to protect all non-combatants, for example. Basically, it recognizes that war is hell and for the most part you just have to put everything into the war and end it quickly.

I know of course that arguments about “biblical principles” tend to be as inconclusive as arguments about just war theory. But I think the Bible is helpful in that it loosens things up. It doesn’t require the ethicist to micro-manage how many weapons are used, etc.

Obviously a Christian will never advocate killing anywhere unless it is a genuine responsibility of the civil magistrate, carried out with a serious regard for human life, even knowing that some human life must be sacrificed to attain the objective.

And I don’t know of anything in the Bible that rules out a pre-emptive strike, though just war theory generally abhors that. (Compare Harold Brown’s article with Arthur Holmes in the book Five Views of War (Zondervan, I think)). Certainly in Israel’s wars in the time of Joshua, Israel took the initiative.

In the present situation, I tend to trust the in I think the civil magistrate may sometimes, in order to protect his own people, make a pre-emptive strike. Or: he can neutralize the enemy with less loss of life by a pre-emptive strike, than by waiting for the enemy to attack. So I would support my government in an attack on Iraq. The agreement of the UN would be a nice thing, but it is morally irrelevant.

“What does the Bible say about Christian tithing? Should a Christian tithe?”

Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches giving is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.

Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.

The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/tithing-Christian.html#ixzz3D7y597zf

What does the Bible say about interracial marriage?

The Old Testament Law commanded the Israelites not to engage in interracial marriage (Deuteronomy 7:3–4). However, the reason for this was not primarily racial. Rather, it was religious. The reason God commanded against interracial marriage for the Jews was that people of other races were worshippers of false gods. The Israelites would be led astray from God if they intermarried with idol worshippers, pagans, or heathens. This is exactly what happened in Israel, according to Malachi 2:11.

A similar principle of spiritual purity is laid out in the New Testament, but it has nothing to do with race: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Just as the Israelites (believers in the one true God) were commanded not to marry idolaters, so Christians (believers in the one true God) are commanded not to marry unbelievers. The Bible never says that interracial marriage is wrong. Anyone who forbids interracial marriage is doing so without biblical authority.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., noted, a person should be judged by his or her character, not by skin color. There is no place in the life of the Christian for favoritism based on race (James 2:1–10). In fact, the biblical perspective is that there is only one “race”—the human race, with everyone having descended from Adam and Eve. When selecting a mate, a Christian should first find out if the potential spouse is born again by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:3–5). Faith in Christ, not skin color, is the biblical standard for choosing a spouse. Interracial marriage is not a matter of right or wrong but of wisdom, discernment, and prayer.

A couple considering marriage needs to weigh many factors. While a difference in skin color should not be ignored, it absolutely should not be the determining factor in whether a couple should marry. An interracial couple may face discrimination and ridicule, and they should be prepared to respond to such prejudice in a biblical manner. “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” (Romans 10:12). A colorblind church and/or a Christian interracial marriage can be a powerful illustration of our equality in Christ.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/interracial-marriage.html#ixzz3CSDkLzRC