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Christians in US Need to Support Israel in Word and Deed

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Penny Nance By Wednesday, 08 November 2023 02:43 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

"War is hell," said Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman during the U.S. Civil War, "You don't know the horrible aspects of war."

It is true, few of us know the horrible aspects of war.  As we are seeing in the news reports of death and carnage from Gaza and we continue to see the horrifying images and stories of the vicious attacks on Israel by barbaric Hamas terrorists, we in America cannot imagine the suffering, the anguish and grief that our Israeli friends are experiencing.

Yet, we see militant pro-terrorist radicals in U.S. streets and on college campuses calling for a cease-fire of Israel's multi-pronged offensive against Hamas.

Hamas' targeting of innocent women and children, babies in their cribs, of the elderly and people who have done them no wrong is a moral evil. Backed by the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately declared war on Hamas and began planning the military strategy that would destroy this heinous group, their enemy.

But is war ever justified? Can we as Christians ever support more potential killing?

Theologians, scholars, civil and military leaders have grappled with this very issue for centuries.

The Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," that Christians and Jews alike understand to be God's law, is a non-negotiable. There is no equivocation for violence that would cause the intentional destruction of innocent human life. Some Protestant denominations have used this commandment to claim there can be no justification for war and have refused to serve in the military during wartime.

However, the church, the universal body of Christ, has always believed that there are times when it is necessary to kill in order to protect the innocent. We call this threshold the Just War Theory.

From the early centuries of the church when the doctrines of the faith were being instituted following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the question over how Christians engage with nation states and with powers in the face of conflict has been clear.

St. Augustine, the 5th Century Bishop of Hippo in North Africa and author of many important written works including "The City of God" and "The Confessions," established the doctrine for the obligations of citizens, including Christians, to fight if necessary.

Augustine believed that war was always the result of sin, of an evil so heinous to God's plan for life. But he said war was also the remedy for sin and therefore it could be justified.

The rulers of states, Augustine believed, had an obligation to maintain peace, and this obligation gave them the right to wage war in order to maintain peace, to ensure justice and even impose punishment.

Justice should guide states to use force only to defend and uphold the common good and,  most importantly, defend the innocent. The stories of the innocent being tortured and cruelly maimed and killed brings me to tears.

Injustice is a greater evil than war, according to Augustine, and it is proper to carry out a lesser evil if it would prevent a greater evil.

So, the question in looking at Israel's war on Hamas is if those waging it do so with the intention of doing good. Punishing the enemy, which is what many feel would be justified, is not a sufficient motive on its own, according to Augustine. Vengeance or revenge should not be the motive.

No question Hamas' actions were an act of a grave evil against the Israeli people and there is no question that the reaction by Netanyahu and the Knesset is right and just, at least to those who can see the situation with clarity.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century theologian, systematically applied the view of Augustine, expanded and formulated it into specific criteria for military action in his "Summa Theologica II-II." Apply the criteria to the current situation in the Middle East:

  • Having just cause.
  • Being a last resort.
  • Being declared by a proper authority.
  • Possessing right intention.

The intention of Israel to never allow Hamas to slaughter innocents again has been its  declaration for war.

  • Having a reasonable chance of success:

The battle trained and tested Israeli Defense Forces have faced terrorism for decades and are prepared.

  • Being proportional to the means used:

Israel is going to great lengths to only target the enemy, and to prevent hits on non-combatants, especially women and children.

Our hope is for peace. But make no mistake: War is justified in order for Israel to continue to exist. Hamas wants to finish the job that Adolf Hitler began and rid the world of Jews.

Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. U.S. Christians need to support it in both word and deed. We must pray for minimal loss of life and change of heart and mind of those who perpetrated the evil that caused this war. We must pray for the safety of the innocent children in Gaza who are also victims of Hamas who have no respect for human life and thus, using their own inhabitants as human shields.

We pray for God to protect the innocent but to smite evil with His sword of justice. We stand with Israel!

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization, oversees more than 500,000 members and 190 Young Women for America chapters. Named as one of the top four most powerful pro-life female voices by the Christian Post and by Newsmax as one of the 100 most influential evangelicals in America, Nance is a national leader on messaging and policy. Read more Penny Nance Reports — Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Injustice is a greater evil than war, according to St. Augustine, and it is proper to carry out a lesser evil if it would prevent a greater evil.
israel, war, christians, support, united states
Wednesday, 08 November 2023 02:43 PM
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