Professor Greg Bahnsen, whose death 10 years ago was a defeat for the Christian Apologetic world, but a victory for God’s great providence, has left us with some great treasures in a myriad of topics. In a radio interview recorded months after the Iraq War in 1991, Bahnsen elaborates in what is to be a thoroughly Biblical foundation for going to war. This discussion is found in more detail in a three-part series on “Just War” found in the Covenant Media website. These will be two summaries of his many points. Further, due to the relevant nature of his arguments, they can also be applied to the current war in Iraq.
1) Does the US have the right to police the world and save humanity from their dictators? Bahnsen answers that in no place in Scriptures does God ever grant the right for a nation with greater power and wealth to send their armies to other nations in order to save them from their chaos. Bahnsen further notices that in the Kuwait scenario, the troops were not even allowed to celebrate their religious holidays (Christmas) due to the Islamic laws of the land. In other words, nations around the world want the support of the U.S. but do not want to grant them religious freedom once they are there to aid them. Here is where Bahnsen is brilliant. He argues according to Scriptures that a nation’s top priority is to protect his/her own citizens (Romans 13) before protecting others citizens from other lands. As a side note, we are all aware that though the U.S. has not been struck again since 9-11 we have been and are being invaded every day by illegal immigrants and educational tyranny by the secular elite who are inherently anti-American.
Bahnsen concludes this section by stating that nations want the privilege of citizenship (meaning they want the same protection due to American citizens), however, they do not want the responsibilities of citizens (that is, they do not want to submit to the authority of those saving them nor do they want to allow their deliverers any rights; whether religious or otherwise). Simply, to use a Biblical analogy, they want a king’s army without giving allegiance to the King.
2) When do we have the right to attack? Here Bahnsen is clear and cogent. The right to attack is only when there has been sufficient evidence of threat against our nation. Of course, the obvious question arises: “When can we know that there is a clear threat?” In this case, Bahnsen acknowledges the difficulty inherent in such a question but notes that unless the citizens of a nation are not clearly in danger, then warring against another nation is un-Biblical. One example of such a clear threat (to use a modern analogy different from Professor Bahnsen for the sake of relevance) is if Iran declared that they have in their possession nuclear bombs and are ready to strike the U.S. within three weeks. In this case, Bahnsen affirms that preemptive strikes are necessary and desirable for the protection of the nation’s citizens.
As anyone who reads can see that these arguments can be perfectly addressed in the current war on terror or in Iraq (which is supposedly where the war should be fought first). The question at stake is not whether Saddam Hussein should be tried for his crimes, (my opinion is that since there is such clear evidence he should be charged and executed immediately) for everyone in their right minds agree that he should be taken out of power; the true question is: “Has God granted the right for any nation to spend their citizens’ money (and as we know much more than was originally intended), their citizens’ lives and much more to defend another nation?” These questions and more must be addressed if we are to develop a clear Biblical view of war.