by Ben Kinchlow

Most of you over thirty will recognize the title as a popular anti-war anthem during the Vietnam era. The clear message of the writer was, "absolutely nothing! War has absolutely no substantive support and few, if any, "truly intelligent people" support war was his position.

I am not in favor of war for the sake of war. Wars should not be fought for conquest, oppression, or religious reasons, but there are times in human history when war is necessary.

In the news, you will hear cries of outrage concerning innocent children, journalists, and other assorted civilians who have been "brutally" murdered by callous American "invaders". There will be much hand wringing and breast beating by these "guardians of the public good" against America's "unprovoked, premeditated first strike assault on the innocent Iraqis." I want to express perfectly my deep grief for the loss of a single human life. Each person is valuable beyond compare. However, at this point, the count of civilian dead is so small as to be unbelievable in a war the size and scope of this present conflict. The number of civilians killed in the Iraq/Iran war, not to mention the soldiers, numbers in the scores of thousands. Saddam Hussein deliberately, and with premeditation, murdered tens of thousands of Kurds, with both conventional and chemical weapons. Not a single peep of protest was heard from the peace activists!

You hear a multitude of counselors, commentators, and secular, Christian, Muslim, and other religious pundits offer a variety of explanations about the current Iraqi conflict. All have an opinion, but none have all the facts. Neither do I profess to have all the facts or "the" answer, but I submit the following for your consideration:

Some learned Christian leaders have been asked by the media, "What is God's position on war? Why would God allow innocents to be killed in war? Why would God allow a "9-11" in America, and random acts of terror elsewhere?" Some have claimed ignorance" I have no idea why a loving God would permit this?" They blame specific segments of society, the church, and even God "This is the judgment of God". Other learned "gentle-people" had "no clue on how or why things like this occur", and still others blame Satan or American imperialism.

These positions all demonstrate a lack of knowledge of, or ignorance of, these fundamental truths

The Divine design of man
God is not a cosmic cop
Man-to-Man, and God-to-Man

God is a Sovereign and man is a sovereign, but a sovereign nonetheless. A sovereign means, "autonomous, independent, free from all external control". In short, man "an immortal sovereign" (all men live forever) has the power of self-determination and the power to exercise free will for good or evil. Man is endowed with "decisionability" - an attribute composed of these Greek concepts:

Dunamis:  the power to act
Exousia:  the delegated authority to act

As a sovereign immortal, man is by design, by office, by nature free to act as he chooses, whenever he chooses, without external control or restraint. Saddam Hussein is a perfect example. To answer the question, "Why would God allow a Hitler, a Stalin, a Mao Se Tung, or a Hussein to operate without Divine intervention?"God is NOT a cosmic cop, so He does not, will not, cannot prevent any acts of free will committed by His "federal head" man. The "why" of this is crucial.

"A sovereign state is independent and free from all external control, enjoys full legal equality with other sovereign states, governs its own territory, selects its own political, economic, and social systems. It has the power to enter agreements with other sovereigns to exchange ambassadors and decide on war or peace." Man is such a sovereign, designed in God's image and intended by God to be secure in his own person. God Himself insists on this security. Any attack, therefore, on a sovereign unit (state or man) is an act of war! This is not permissible. God intended a measured, appropriate, equivalent response to any attack on another sovereign - "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, lash for lash."

The response begins "life for life". The only moral equivalency for taking a life is taking of the life of the taker by a designated authority capital punishment. It was instituted in Genesis by God to ensure that man could live in a society free from assaults on his person. Crime is not a game of cops and robbers. It is an act of war by one sovereign upon another, and this act presupposes a measured, appropriate, equivalent response. (Read Exodus 21:22-25)

And what of law and grace? Tune in next month.

Note: This article first ran in the May 2002 issue of your national award-winning, Connection Magazine.

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