One Last Chance

Most Americans simplify the issue of war in Iraq to either anti-war or pro-war. When the ladies at the church asked me if I was for war, I answered, "No, I'm not for war." Then I added, "I don't know anybody who is. In fact, I've joined a group of religious leaders to urge people to fast and pray this week that God might miraculously intervene and bring an end to Saddam Hussein's terrible, dangerous tyranny in Iraq so that war becomes unnecessary." But I wanted to assure them that if nothing happened this week to stop war, I thought President Bush had made a case that war was justified. In this terrorist age, for the security of America and the stability of civilization, weapons of mass destruction cannot remain in Saddam's hands. We have to remember that war is an extension of the authority God gives the state to restrain evil. And it is entirely biblical. The power of the sword, remember, is given to government by God to preserve peace in a fallen world. The peace marchers in cities around the world have good intentions but wrong anthropology. Their presupposition is that if you don't do anything, everybody will live together peacefully. They have forgotten our fallen nature. Evil is the normal condition in this world, not the exception. Christians have a totally different understanding of this issue. We don't see war with Iraq as aggression or even as primarily a military action. We don't see it as conquering or defending territory. Rather it is, as Thomas Aquinas put it, an act of Christian love. Out of love of neighbor, we are even willing to use arms to protect the innocent. Christian charity will not look the other way when innocent people are being put in grave danger. This week a letter has been sent to churches throughout the country urging fasting and prayers for peace in Iraq. Joining me in signing the letter were: Mark Earley, President of Prison Fellowship; Jerry Falwell; Franklin Graham; Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things; and Joe Stowell of Moody, among several others. Before our troops go in to remove Saddam and destroy his weapons of mass destruction, we are asking Christians to pray that God, in His providence, will miraculously intervene so that war becomes unnecessary. The president made it clear last Thursday: Saddam can disarm. He also indicated that if Saddam was out of the picture, the new government could disarm. Scripture is full of examples of God bringing down unjust tyrants. He can do it again. Pray for these things. Peace is our first choice. If there is not some resolution, then, of course, we must act. After much serious prayer and deliberation, aware of the solemn responsibility I bear, I have come to believe that the president is right. Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq must be eliminated -- weapons that could otherwise fall into the hands of terrorists and be used against us and others. If peace does not come through voluntary disarmament and we are forced to send in troops, pray for a quick conflict, the safety of our forces and the Iraqis, and that a long peace may result. This is a momentous week. More is at stake at this moment than at any time I can remember since the days of World War II. May God give us all wisdom and grace. May righteousness prevail. For further information: "Middle East: A Call to Fasting and Prayer," a letter to the Church and its leaders, Ash Wednesday 2003. BreakPoint Commentary No. 030221, "The Big Job before the War: Praying and Fasting for Saddam." "President George Bush Discusses Iraq in National Press Conference," The East Room, White House Office of the Press Secretary, 6 March 2003. "Secretary Powell's Remarks at U.N. Security Council Meeting," White House Office of the Press Secretary, 10 March 2003. BreakPoint Commentary No. 020306, "Loving Your Neighbor: Just War and Charity." See the BreakPoint Fact Sheet on Just War Theory. Mark Gauvreau Judge, "The Resenters: Moralism without Morality," BreakPoint Online, 21 February 2003. See the series on evil on the "Worldview for Parents" page. Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, The Problem of Evil (Tyndale, 1999).


Chuck Colson



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