It's not easy to know how to be a Christian in wartime. One reason is that no one duty applies to every Christian. Though this war somehow fits into God's providential plan, it's often difficult to discern what our individual role in it is. Phillip Jensen, dean of Saint Andrew's Anglican Cathedral in Sydney, Australia, tried to answer that question on March 23, the first Sunday after the war began. He could not give guidance for every possible Christian response in a single sermon—for example, there is nothing here about the many worthwhile peacemaking efforts Christians are pursuing in hotspots like Palestine, Ireland, and Colombia. But Jensen still managed to cover a lot of ground and give direction for believers all across the globe. A condensed and edited excerpt.
It was one of the first men to use total war, American Civil War General William Sherman, who used to say, "War is hell!" He was both right and wrong.
It is hellish in its horror and destruction: the unleashing of the forces of evil.
It is hellish in its suffering. The four horsemen of Revelation 6 riding out to conquer and fight, to impoverish and to kill, are the realistic images of war. For with war comes not only conquest and hostility, but also economic disaster, illness, and death.
It is also hellish because it is the consequence of and judgment upon sin. It is the Lamb who opens the seals that release the four horsemen—the Lamb who died to take away the sin of the world and has risen to rule and put into effect the plans and purposes of God. It is the Lamb, Jesus, who sends the four horsemen into the world as part of the judgment of God upon sinful humanity.
But war is not hell. Like all human self-willed chaos, it is only the foretaste of hell. The four ...1