An Open Letter to Lew Rockwell & Laurence M. Vance
Dear Lew…and Laurence,
I realize it is perhaps unusual to write an open letter to two individuals at the same time. I’m not sure if it is copasetic or not, but, I suppose it really doesn’t matter.
You both write for the Lew Rockwell website (LRC) with you Lew, at the helm. Laurence, you are a columnist there, and a fine one at that. In fact, I visit the site on occasion to find I’m not the only one in the world who shares similar conclusions on so many issues political and otherwise.
However, there is a common thread of belief that seems to run through all of the columnist there at LRC that I find disturbing, and if I may say (and obviously am going to) is misleading to your loyal readers.
It has to do with your common view of Jesus Christ as ‘the Prince of Peace’, which I most certainly agree that He is. I rejoice for His title, for God has declared it to be true in His Word, yet you and I have different understandings of that title, and therein lies two concerns of mine: first, in your misleading of your readers on issues of Christianity and war, and, in your own misunderstandings of the same.
It is my hope and prayer you will give come away from this letter, at the very least, of seeing the difference between accepting God’s written truth of the title versus both of your understandings of Christianity and war which are obviously influenced and driven by your preferences. There is a danger in that my friends.
Laurence, in this post on Christianity and War, you said this:
Although I am a Bible-believing Christian and a theological and cultural conservative, I write extensively about the biblical, economic, and political fallacies of religious people, and especially on the topic of Christianity and war. This is a subject where ignorance abounds in both pulpit and pew, and most of it willful ignorance. This is a subject that exposes Bible scholars as Bible illiterates. This is a subject that turns Christians into disgraceful apologists of the state, its leaders, its military, and its wars. This is a subject that reveals pro-life Christians to be two-faced supporters of wholesale murder.
Now, when it comes to acknowledging willful biblical ignorance in both pulpit and pew, you’ll have no argument with me. There’s more than that, as many professing Christians these days are enamored with celebrity preachers, popularity and Christian leaders often times soaked with political correctness, playing religious politics, and in many cases, let’s face it, are not using their heads for anything more than a hat rack and hearts full of lusts for popularity. That last one is why we have so many cowards in the pulpits – they’re afraid of proclaiming the truth. Compromise is always more popular….an healthier on the resume.
Now, Lew….and Laurence, I want you to know that I agree with you on a number of things, but to get to the point, I’ll quote Laurence here again because this sums up the thread of misunderstanding on a myriad of columns found in most of the posts on this subject by most of the columnists at LRC.
If there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, torture, militarism, the warfare state, state worship, suppression of civil liberties, an imperial presidency, blind nationalism, government propaganda, and an aggressive foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace. It is indeed strange that Christian people should be so accepting of war.
I agree there is much wrong within Christendom today. I agree that true believers should abhor state worship, oppose blind nationalism, government propaganda and especially an imperial presidency. Churches that honor soldiers and the military on Sunday mornings are guilty of rank idolatry and attempt to share God’s glory with another, and that is beyond wrong, it is sin for which they should repent.
I myself am an agrarian in philosophy, in the sense of the Vanderbilt fugitives of the 1930’s. I refuse to fly the American flag at my home because I know America ceased to exist long ago. I know the constitution was brushed aside when that devil Lincoln dismissed it, suspended habeas corpus, and raised an army in order to invade his own country – to rape, murder, pillage and oppress the godly people of the South. The man was America’s first of many Caesars, and quite frankly, I despise his name and the thought of the war of northern aggression still gets to me. My St. Andrews flag lies in state, neatly folded, and I’ve been known to wear my bonnie blue flag pin when I speak publicly, without shame. No one in my family is allowed to sing the ‘Battle Hymn’ at anywhere or anytime because we know what it means and it is not Christian at all. I will not pledge allegiance to any flag because the Bible makes it clear that allegiance of a child of God belongs to God alone. And yes, it rips my gourd to know that every time I buy a coke or brush my teeth I’ve contributed financially to supporting foreign wars we have no business being in. The little guy is being pushed out of business by corporate and federal incentives. Yes, these things are true.
But you are referring to my Lord and my God in a way that Scripture does not, and that fact eclipses all the other issues. Both of you, in fact, have misunderstood what Scripture really says about Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace. Both of you seem to be reading into Scripture what you want it to mean so it fits nicely with your presuppositions regarding Christianity and war.
You see Lew….and Laurence, Jesus was not, as much as you would like Him to be, a pacifist. No no no sir. Jesus was never a pacifist at all, and you must understand this.
Nowhere does the New Testament address modern issues like unilateral disarmament, use of weapons of mass destruction, the morality of war, governmental policies on foreign relations, police brutality, etc.. The reason is because the Bible deals with principles, not specifics on these things. Jesus Himself as well as His apostles were silent on these things.
Nowhere in the New Testament did the Lord Jesus or His apostles ever tell anyone that any government should disarm or express disapproval of the righteous use of force. There is no Scripture teaching us that a nation should not have an army. Now, if we argue against a standing military in the U.S., we go to the Constitution, but that’s another matter. The Old Testament supports and addresses the righteous use of violent force against others and, with the silence of the New Testament on this issue, it stands eternally. Jesus is God, and in Scripture, God commanded wars and military action.
The point is this, in all your comments about the irony of Christians following the Prince of Peace and still supporting war in one way or another, you fail to understand that when Scripture speaks of Jesus as the Prince of Peace, it refers to Him as the only means of peace between man and God the Father. That’s what it means by the title of the Prince of Peace. Scripture says:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
Before His ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus Himself spoke of the peace He came to bring:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27
You are telling your readers that Jesus, as the Prince of Peace, desires us to have peace as the world knows and gives, a worldly peace, without wars and just, righteous use of violent force, and that my friends, is your misunderstanding of Scripture. You are reading into the Bible what simply is not there.
You see, one of the first blessings a Christian receives from God upon being saved is peace with God, not peace in pacifism!
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1
Do you see it there? Peace with God, not peace of the world. And such a peace can only be obtained as a gift from God, apart from works, through the substitution of Jesus Christ, fully man, fully God, who suffered the wrath of His Father in our place, as our substitute. Christ for us! All that He lived and has done, for all that we are and have done.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! – Luke 2:14
I pray this letter has been of useful help and finds you both well.
In His service,