THE Independent says that “none but a Quaker will assert that war is never right.” Then there are a good many Quakers in the world who are not recognized as Quakers. And from the vast numbers of people who profess to be Christians, there should be millions who would “assert that war is never right” whether they were Quakers or not.
War is never right simply because the conditions which allow war to be possible are absolutely wrong. There was war in heaven. That is the first war that ever was. It was made by the devil. And plainly it was not right. That was the origin of war: and that is the spirit of it ever. How, then, can it ever possibly be right?
Yet when it is said with reference to the nations as they are, that war is never right, it is like saying to the natural man that sin is never right.
It is true that sin is never right; but the natural man will still continue to sin. He cannot do anything but sin a long as he is the only the natural man, so long as his nature is unchanged.
To tell a man whose nature is unchanged, who is not spiritual, that sin is never right, and expect him not to sin, while retaining that unchanged nature, would be but a mocking platitude. And to tell him that sin is right, would be worse. And this would argue that the one who expected him not to sin while retaining his unchanged nature, also expected him to be his own saviour: and this because he who expected all this knew of no Saviour who can give another nature and change the natural man to a spiritual man, from sin to righteousness.
He who knows the Saviour who can change the natural man to a spiritual man, who can give him another nature, who can deliver him from sin and from sinning, does not expect the natural man not to sin. While he may tell him that sin is never right, he will also tell him that the only way that he can cease from sin and do the right, is by being saved from sin, by being made partaker of the divine nature, by being changed from the natural to the spiritual man, by being born again.
It is precisely so as to war. War is never right. Yet so long as men possess the warring nature, they will make war. And for the churches to tell the nations that war is wrong, and then expect the nations not to make war, while still unchanged from the warring nature, is but a mocking platitude. And for the churches to tell the nations that war is right, is far worse.
For the churches to expect the nations not to make war, while still possessing the warring nature, is nothing but to argue that the people of the nations can change their own natures, can deliver themselves from themselves, and can be their own saviours. And that is nothing but for those churches to confess that they know of no change for deliverance from the warring nature to the peaceful one.
And that in turn is for those churches to confess that in nature they are only like the warring nations; that in nature there is no distinction between the churches and the nations; and that there is essentially a union of the churches and the nations.
But that is all wrong. There is an essential distinction between the true church and any nation. And this because of the essential distinction between the natures. The nations are natural; the church is spiritual. The nations are human only; the church, though composed of human beings, is composed of human beings who are all partakers of the divine nature. The nations are of this world only; the church is not of this world. And being thus essentially distinct in their natures the church and the nations can never have any fellowship, any union, nor any connection to any extent in any way whatever.
And so the church can and does tell to the nations that while it is true that war is wrong, yet the only way that they can ever be free from war is to be freed from the warring nature, and made partakers of the divine nature of the God of peace as manifested in the Prince of peace. The only way is for each one to be born again, to be born from above, to be translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, which kingdom is “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
A. T. J.