War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. A study of James four shows James contrasting the grace that Jesus gives and the conflict that comes from a world full of strife. Fights, quarrels and war come from our passion and the inner turmoil from our own impure motives, greedy covetness and evil desires. James is more reminiscent here of the Old Testament prophets rather than a Christian evangelist, a message of condemnation and rebuke. You desire what you do not need and when you cannot get it, you take it by force, leading to hatred, murder and envy and even then can't get no satisfaction.

James had been contrasting the different types of wisdom and comparing the Godly with the fleshly. A Godly source produces desires that bring peace with our brethren and purity of life through humility and good works; the opposite is from the devil and our evil thoughts and words. He goes on here to say that contentions in the world show the lack of spiritual wisdom from above that should identify the seeker after God. Because the world has not followed Godly wisdom, these lusts produce fights and quarrels.

The condition of the human race is one of perpetual warfare. What the naive call peace seems to be just an interlude to regroup for more war, a temporary waging of war and overt conflict by other means. Strife and contention in the church is not from the Lord, it arises from prideful lusts through carnal sources and is the cause of the evil in the world that leads to war. Although James is not addressing the church directly, it must be frankly acknowledged that many in the church have these same spiritual battles arising in their hearts. Christians throughout the centuries have started their own wars out of the same lusts for money and power that the world has.

The most ignorant facet of Christianity includes those from the church that thinks anti-war movements and efforts toward peace are evil. They have allowed the adversary to delude them into thinking that war is an acceptable response to the problems of the world. Rules for war have been undertaken as if there is some morality in it. Cicero had stipulated that war is legitimate only under the auspices of the state. Its object is to vindicate justice and restore peace. Violence must not be wanton. For the Christian, war is primarily a moral problem, and every moral problem is ultimately theological, not political. If the problems of the world could be solved by war, all the wars should have had a positive impact by now. The overwhelming fact is that wars have caused many more problems than they have ever solved. Missing the blessed promises to peacemakers, many Christians have become open protagonists to war and part of the problem, not the solution.

Nuclear weaponry has drastically changed the nature of warfare, and the arms race poses a threat to human life and human civilization, which is without precedent. Peace is the fruit of order and this peace will only be achieved fully in the kingdom of God of the future but do not be deceived, there is also the present kingdom. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." A theology of peace should ground the task of peacemaking solidly in the Biblical vision of the kingdom of God, then place it centrally in the ministry of the church. Fierce nationalism and misplaced patriotism is the common thread that dominates the warmongers in America. They would rather wage war than take steps to prevent it. War is elevated to such heroic proportions here that the greatest idols in television and movies are the ones that can kill the most people with the greatest explosions and the least amount of effort. Even with all the obvious clues pointing to a sick society, there are those so naive as to wonder why young people today are becoming so violent. America is worshiped by so many of her citizens, that any amount of casualties inflicted upon a perceived enemy is allowable to save even one American life. They cry foul concerning human rights in other countries but only when the American economy is threatened. Economic oppression, imperialism, human rights abuses and exploitation are always fair game in any society that is favorable to American economic interests.

Although war has unjustly been one of the ways in which men have attempted to correct what they perceive as injustices, at the present time it may be that war has become too expensive and too dangerous as a means of moving the world toward a more just order. We know all too well that war will not stop until the Prince of Peace finally takes over.

The American feminist, the late Emma Goldman, is quoted as saying "Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism.... Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all others."

There have been great anti-war movements in the United States, climaxing in the great victory of the American people to halt an unjust war in Vietnam. The sad realization that for the most part, the Christian church here opposed those of peace that the Lord had used and is an clear indictment upon the church, signaling the judgment to come for Christian America. What made America great and what God had blessed her for are the same freedoms that the right wing church so ardently opposes: free speech, the right to speak out against injustice, demonstrations and the right to protest. Conservatives hate these things because it threatens their comfortable, luke-warm circumstances and will do all she can to dismantle the civil rights advances that America cherishes. The true patriots are those that denounce the abuses and the war mongering that America is guilty of but are deemed traitors by those that sanction war. The sense of community suddenly becomes the evil and only the selfish family values and misplaced flag waving patriotism is seen as the good. A severe judgment is coming to a murderous country that causes fire to rain down upon innocent civilians in order to punish the leadership.

Modern warfare today is done from a distance and is waged on computers as if a video game. This type of war has become a weapon far more dangerous than any of the evils from which it is supposed to defend us. More and more, technology will serve as the medium of war to be waged from afar, taking passive aggressiveness to new heights. In a purely materialistic, greedy capitalistic society such as ours, war is big business. The United States Military is used today, not to defend its borders but rather to maintain control over the world's resources. War and the threat of arms is still the best way for the strong to dominate the weak to force them to cave in to their economic ideology of self-interest. A mighty military society has the power to control the economic forces of the workers of the nations around them purely to enrich their own. They may call it humanitarian aid, a just cause or even peacekeeping but it is the same oppressive aggression for economic gain and vainglory that avarice always has been.

America is always looking for an enemy to dominate in the name of democracy, if is there is not a clear-cut enemy, like the terrorists, it will make one. The drug-war is a prime example. Instead of treating drugs as a moral and medical problem, it is made into a criminal problem where force of arms and prisons are used to take away more freedom. The drug war has brought war to the streets, alienated the people, discriminated against color and economic status, forced the police, justice system and government in hateful situations, costing billions of dollars and leaving the situation worse than before. Then it is allowed to spread internationally where more oppressive butcher regimes are funded and armed to combat their own people and the church. Insane. Drug offenders are to be corrected; not punished by a totalitarian self-righteous society that hates them to the point of casting them aside as if they have no worth. Jesus loves them and wants us to deliver them and lift them up, not tear them down and drive them away from the church. The church has replaced compassion with oppression and thinks that they are doing God a favor by combating peace and social justice. At the current rate by 2010, there will be more people in prison than in college. It is shameful situation to see the church in a position of being so inward that it turns its back on those that they are called to save. In his book, Where Do We Go From Here? Martin Luther King, Jr. warned us that we face a choice between division and desperation on one hand, or cooperation and strength on the other hand. The choices have not changed but the division and desperation has won over the church.

The prophet Micah tells of better days: "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hill; and people shall flow into it. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Joel however predicts doom beforehand: "For behold in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem. I will gather all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead for them there... Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble the heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause your mighty ones to come down, O Lord."

The preparation for Armageddon is not just to prepare for war but literally, "sanctify war," that is, by sacrifices and proper ceremonies.

We need not become involved on the side of the shooting wars of this world, we might not even let these wars and rumors of wars concern us. There is nothing that we can do to completely abolish war in the world but at the same time we must do all we can to bring about peace when we are confronted with the choice. There is however, another war brewing in the world today and that is the civil war in the church itself. Those that are involved in the restoration movement are of the full-gospel, five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors united together as the remnant to speak as one. Those that war against this movement will be those in the church that are united against the last day revival and oppose the fullness of the Holy Ghost and the prophetic movement. We are not to be involved in this war either. Our cause is to bring the gospel of the kingdom to the poor and disenfranchised and to allow Jesus to live His life through us to them. The arrows of hatred will be aimed at us and we will be maligned, insulted and misrepresented by many in the church. Our arrows are sharpened with the points of truth and we need not aim them to anyone but those that will accept the message. Soon it will be taken to the streets but do not worry. The warmongers will stay in the comfort of their own church and will not step out to bother us. Content with the confines of their own four walls, they will pray the prayer of limited faith that will not even penetrate the ceiling. It is up to us to act as the body of Christ in holiness as His Bride to win the war that has already been won.
[22, 97, 191, 281, 386, Micah, Joel]

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