This article originally appeared in the January 14, 1991, issue of Christianity Today.
On November 19, in Paris, 34 member nations of NATO and the Warsaw Pact signed the European Security Agreement. After more than 40 years of East-West confrontation, the danger of the Cold War seems finally to have given way to peace.
By contrast, that same day in the Persian Gulf region, war came a giant step closer. Saddam Hussein matched George Bush's military escalation with his own announcement that he would now send another quarter-million troops to the Saudi Arabian border. Though we pray it never happens, at press time war seems imminent.
As the President struggles to make clear his case for direct action, most Americans agree Iraqi aggression must be resisted. For the U.S. and its allies to have the power to restore justice and not to do so may actually be immoral, which is why we sympathize with our President when he draws the line against Iraqi aggression. But the tremendous cost of human life that comes with war should lead us, as Francis Schaeffer suggested, to "draw the line only with tears." As Christians, we need to urge caution against chauvinistic nationalism and ethnocentric pride. We must guard against the seductive euphoria of war, especially technowar in a faraway place against a people we don't understand very well. But beyond that, what is our message to the church? And from the church to the world?
First, we must acknowledge that two major wars and hundreds of regional conflicts have not improved human nature. Individuals and nations remain locked in the iron grip of sin with all of its cruelty. The next war may protect territorial interests, but only the redeeming and transforming power of Christ will change hearts ...1
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