Onward Christian Soldiers!

November 28, 2005

Here's a bizarre piece from Mark Coppenger at the Baptist Press.
FIRST-PERSON: War: Why does God let this happen? - (BP)

He asks why God lets war happen. He writes, "It would be presumptuous to claim you know why our Sovereign God allowed or caused a particular war to happen..."

God may have allowed a war—such as the current Iraqi one—but did He cause or want it? All major Christian denominations except for the Southern Baptist Convention argued against the current war. SBC leaders felt it was God's will. Apparently now that poll numbers for the war are quite low, they feel that they must remind us that God wanted it and so we should not question it.

Coppenger goes on to list reasons why God "might use war." The first one he list is "To make human 'diamonds.'" He gives the example of the main character in Hotel Rwanda as a "human diamond" created by war. What?! So God would want thousands of people to die so one person will be a better person?! What kind of messed up and evil god does this man serve?!

Another problematic reason he gives is "To teach theology" (can you just imagine Jesus deciding to teach His disciples by starting a war?) Perhaps we should teach theology the way Jesus did—through stories and scripture. Coppenger should remember that Jesus scolded Peter for using his sword and healed the man who had been struck (I guess Jesus did teach theology by ending a war!).

Another messed up reason offered is "To parade His handiwork." Apparently by being brave in the middle of war and death, soldiers then bring praise to God. However, what really happens in war is that God's handiwork is destroyed (unless Coppenger does not believe that our enemies are also God's handiwork).

Yet another reason he gives is "To draw people to Himself." Again, thousands die—and many of them without knowing Jesus—so some can come to Jesus. Can't there be more peaceful and effective ways to witness and bring people to God. Maybe if we Christians were doing a better job it would not take a war to make converts (I guess, using this logic, Adolf Hitler was one of the greatest missionaries of all time as he—with his "Christian" beliefs—started a world war).

This sick theology should disturb all Christians (and beware because you never know who the next victims of Coppenger's crusade may be). If you have not seen it yet, check out the movie The Kingdom of Heaven. It offers some insights into the problems of the crusade mentality, and should disturb you (especially when, as the hymn states, the soldiers march into war with the cross of Jesus going on before).