Minister’s Letter – September 2013

Dear Friends,

The question of attacking Syria because of the use of chemical weapons has been the big issue in the news recently.  And it is a very difficult question.  It’s caused me to consider what Christianity has to say about war and whether we can contribute anything to the debate.  Some Christians would be firmly in the pacifist camp and some might see war or the use of force as a necessary evil for the greater good.  I don’t know what I think and I can’t give you an easy answer.

Some might say that, given the history of violence done by Christians (sometimes even in the name of Christ), Christianity can’t helpfully contribute anything.  But I think we can.  I greatly admire the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was an out-and-out pacifist.  However, he felt that he was being called by God to take part in the plot to assassinate Hitler.  He didn’t try to justify his actions, but recognised that he might be doing something sinful so that others didn’t suffer.

War is bad.  Maybe we are sometimes called to use force but it is never righteous or good.  The best we can hope for is that our actions have some effect for good and that God is merciful.