Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Totally Destroy" North Korea??? Or LIBERATE North Korea??? 3 Principles of Just War.

Today, President Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea. While I would support a military effort to LIBERATE North Korea from its evil dictator and his regime, destroying a country full of many innocent citizens is outrageous. It is true that government has a responsibility to protect its citizens. But there are also rules for conducting just and necessary warfare. The President said our cause is a "righteous" cause. If that is so, then we must conduct ourselves Righteous-LY. Here are 3 Principles of Righteous, or Just warfare:  

1. Offer Terms of Peace

When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you and serve you.

The ancient world consisted of city-states, which were like individual kingdoms. God's army, Israel, was not allowed to attack without first offering terms of peace. If the city laid down their arms and surrendered, they would become like a territory, paying tribute to Israel, but also receiving the protection and blessings of the Kingdom. There was peace, protection and prosperity in the surrender.

It is appropriate to offer North Korea terms of peace that include surrender, require the immediate end of its nuclear program and surrender of all ballistic missiles, nuclear devices and technology. But it is also important to offer mutually beneficial trade, like the peace and prosperity which are frequently mentioned in Scripture with regard to foreign relations. This includes food, goods and services and most importantly religious freedom and protection for its own citizens and for missionaries and foreigners within their borders.

2. Do Not Harm Innocents
The rules of Holy War were for ancient Israel only, not modern America or any other nation for that matter. We should never even use the term Holy War, because our nation is not Israel and because it incenses radical Islamists, who we do not need to provoke. But there are aspects of God's righteousness displayed through these rules that we can learn from.

If they refused to surrender and war was fought, all the men of the city would have been considered its fighting force--army--not innocents. But the women, children and even livestock were never allowed to be harmed. They would have become part of the nation of Israel and became their responsibility to take care of. Going to war against a nation's leadership means that we become responsible for the citizens of that nation. We have neither mandate nor permission to kill every single member of an enemies army as Israel did. The world lives under a different covenant. But I believe we are justified in going to war against them when necessary. And we DO have a clear Biblical mandate to protect the innocent. This means that dropping a nuclear bomb on a city or country with innocents present is absolutely wrong, completely out of bounds and never an option. Surgical strikes to take out military targets, weapons and tech are highly advisable and if peaceful options fail, the deaths of North Korean soldiers, while sad and tragic, fall within the boundaries of justifiable warfare. We also have the option of offering terms of peace on multiple occasions, even after hostilities begin and we should pursue these options to the fullest extent possible.

3. Don't Destroy The Land
When you besiege a city(state) for a long time while making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them if you can eat of them. Do not cut them down to use in the siege, for the tree of the field is MAN'S FOOD.

We should avoid warfare that destroys land and food or prevents people from returning to a good and peaceful life when the war is over. We have read about not destroying cattle and not destroying fruit trees. Again, this speaks to caring about the well-being of our fellow man and for those who will live there after war has ended. Nuclear destruction and fall out violates this principle. The New Testament calls on us to feed our enemies. This goes beyond the Old Testament mandate to simply not destroy something and calls on us to do better in our treatment of other human beings. When we go to war with a nation's leadership or army, we become responsible for its innocent citizens.

We must have compassion on the citizens of every nation. War is destructive and all peaceful means of resolution should be pursued first. Just war seeks to preserve peace by putting a stop to evil. The ultimate goal is not to display power, but to protect human life. My sincere hope is that if we show mercy, compassion and genuine human concern for the well-being of the citizens of North Korea who are suffering under the regime of this tyrant, perhaps hardened hearts may be softened and wisdom will prevail.

Our goal should be to keep America and allies under threat from North Korea safe while providing food, safety, religious freedom, protection and the hope of a better life for the citizens of North Korea.

In the meantime, let us Pray:

I urge that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people--for kings and ALL those in authority, that we may live peaceful/tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Here is a link to my previous post on this subject which covers the same 3 principles of warfare, but elaborates on the differing roles of church and state, citizens and government in dealing with such problems:

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