Jump directly to the Content

Wars You Can't Win

Sometimes church wars are winnable; sometimes they're not.
—Andre Bustanoby

As a teen during World War II, I kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings recounting the battles raging in Europe and the Pacific. Every evening at 6:00, I tuned in to Gabriel Heater on WWOR in New York, wondering whether he'd open his radio newscast with "Ah yes, there's good news tonight" or, "There's bad news tonight."

After World War II, we knew that wars could be just, and they were winnable.

I felt drawn to the military. I enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean conflict, and in 1965 I almost went to Vietnam. I seriously considered a commission as an army chaplain. A retired colonel in our church talked me out of it, though, arguing that the congregation needed me.

Vietnam, however, taught us all a bitter lesson: some wars are unwinnable.

During my years as a pastor, I experienced both kinds of wars within the church. Sometimes church wars are winnable; sometimes they aren't.

Winnable war

In 1950 my fiancée, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Police Work Nearly Broke Me
Police Work Nearly Broke Me
I was a narcotics officer on the brink of suicide when God began his mighty healing work.
Editor's Pick
Pastors in Pain, Christ Can Redeem Your Suffering
Pastors in Pain, Christ Can Redeem Your Suffering
After many difficult years in ministry, I lost the strength to pastor. But Christ met me in weakness.