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War

By R. J. Rushdoony
May 01, 2000

War is inevitable in a fallen, sinful world. The basic form of war in the Bible is God's law. God's law declares war on various forms of sin. A theonomic society will be less likely to have military wars because it will identify the main form of sin as in itself. Restitution, the restoration of God's ordained social order, is basic to this dealing with sin in society. Society is thus in a constant state of war against sin - against internal sin. Law's restorative role is basic; its heart is restitution, re-establishing the broken order.

When we lose the theonomic perspective, law and the courts begin to go astray. Humanism, man's idea of order, then replaces God's law and order. Humanistic law sees as basic man's "order," which, in essence, is rebellion against God and is subversive of society.

Today, too much of the world and the church is in rebellion against God. It is amazing that so many churchmen are antinomian. How dare they disagree with God!

In talking or thinking of war, most people think only of military war. Here the Bible is against offensive war, but is not against defensive warfare. This is not acceptable to many people. What would have happened, they say, if we had not waged war against the Nazis, or prepared to do so against the Marxists? They do not stop to consider that from day one all such regimes were financed by loans and pacts by us. Why not terminate such orders by withdrawing all support? Or do we want war?

War has become basic to the modern state. In the early 1950s, I heard a man argue that war was basic to prosperity, and that the U. S. needed wars big and little and would wage them for years to come. We are doing so, and we currently have troops all over the world, in as many as sixty countries, I have heard. Whatever the number, it is considerable.

War is widely condemned, but as long as people like the social and economic results, it will continue.

The "moral" justification for war is interventionism. It is the belief that, as the moral force in the world, a pharisaic faith, we have a moral duty to intervene everywhere. Because of this faith, the twentieth century moved from one crisis into another.

The church is one of God's basic instruments of warfare. It seeks to get to the root of wars, sin. Yet too often the church has been a rubber stamp for statist policies. Sin is the problem, but an antinominian church has forgotten what sin really is, or how to deal with it. 1 John 3:4 tells us that "sin is the transgression of the law" of God. If you are an antinomian, you have no definition nor knowledge of sin and are a part of the problem.

We must define sin and war Biblically, not politically. We must wage war God's way, not man's. Too many churchmen want peace with both God and the world, an impossibility. When we are at war, we should know who or what the enemy is.


Topics: Biblical Law, Philosophy

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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