Friday, June 30, 2006

Holy War in Deuteronomy?

Here is a copy of a paper I wrote recently as part of my studies. It discusses the concept of 'Holy War' in relation to the book of Deuteronomy, also touching on the issues of 'genocide':



  1. Hello, Craig,
    I thought that I'd visit your blog. How is everything going with you?

    I read your paper on Holy War in Deut. It was interesting, and well done, Craig. I hope you got a good grade on it.

    I was wondering what application this may have for our day, if any.
    Can we ever say that the LORD is fighting on our side if our nations go to war?

    I liked your comments on "innocent" women and children.

    Did you know that Palestine is accusing Israel of imprisoning innocent women and children?

    Thank you for your paper, and happy blogging.

    I have just recently started a blog. Like you, I see it as mainly a place to record my own thoughts for my own entertainment. :-) I can't figure out how to add a photo, though.

    My daughter couldn't help me, either. I have to work on that.

    God bless, Craig, and please take care,
    Donna L. Carlaw

  2. Hi Donna.

    Regarding whether we can ever say the LORD is fighting on our side if our nations go to war, I did make this comment at the end of my paper:

    "Before concluding, it must also be pointed out that the distinctions of this present age, between the two comings of Christ, do not allow Christians to wage a Holy War against their enemies in the same way that Deuteronomic Israel could. Chiefly because the church consists of those from every nation, tribe and tongue, and is not a theocratic nation-state wielding the power of the sword able to wage war against another nation state. Similarly, with the awareness of eschatological realities that the true people of God are His elect, and the enemies the reprobate, the unbelieving elect are hidden from physical sight and unable to be distinguished from the reprobate. It would be impossible to isolate the reprobate to wage war against them. Hence we should desire and pray for the salvation of any individual, with true compassion and love, though we know there will be an ultimate condemnation of all God's enemies."

    Further, even if there happened to be a clear situation where Biblical justice and truth were on our side, while the LORD would be on our side in principle, even then I doubt that we could say He fights for us, to such an extent as to guarantee success, as in the OT. Sometimes the way of the cross may lead to suffering for righteousness sake, awaiting ultimate vindication at Christ's return.

    I also don't think modern Israel has any claims to the protection of the LORD or the promised land etc today. I think they lost those privileges when they rejected Jesus. In the coming of Jesus, that which was typified by OT Israel was superceded by the arrival of the true kingdom of God. Eg the land is now the whole universe, and the people come from every tongue, tribe and nation, with Jesus as the King. (Having said that, I still think there can be a place for a mass turning of Israel, and God's special favour towards the blood-descendants of Abraham, but explanation of that is for another day :-)

    I don't know how to add photos yet either, or upload files, if these things are possible. I suspect for both you may need to store the photo or file at a different location, and then reference it on the blog. Via HTML that is one way to include a photo I suppose.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!


  3. Hi, Craig,
    I thought that I'd come to your blog to bug you here - as if it's not enough bugging you get on the TL list. :-)

    I am glad to see that you don't seem to have any latent Theonomist tendencies. I was wondering if you have had any time to think about Christian "just war" theory.

    I am not totally sure what to do with Israel. I have not seen any reason to leave my pre-mil position - though I'm not dispensational, nor do I believe in pre-trib rapture and all that.

    I think that MacArthur is right about all that"stuff". How's that for a cop out?

    God bless, Craig, and happy studying,
    Donna L. Carlaw

  4. Hy Donna.

    Ah, the TL List.. what have I gotten myself into ;-)

    I haven't thought a lot about just war theory. What in particular about it? I could probably sum up my thinking so far very simply:

    A. There is such a thing as a 'just war'.
    B. That is not the same as an OT 'Yahweh war'.
    C. A 'just war' is not guaranteed to succeed in this age, depending on what's at stake (I think God made sure who won WW1 and WW2).
    D. I'm glad I'm not in a position of power to have to decide whether to go to war or not, as I couldn't give a foolproof and exhaustive list of criteria for whether a war is just or not, especially if you are thinking of starting one!

    As for what I said before about Israel, I will add two more things. I like to think of it as God covenanting with the nation (not every individual), and He will keep his promise to be their Saviour, despite their rebellion. Where sin abounds, grace superabounds! Also, I can't really see another fully-blown kingdom of David/Solomon happening. You couldn't have that without resurrecting the temple, Mosaic law etc, and that is just not going to work with the coming of Jesus. Doesn't NCT tell us that ;-) [BTW I once had a visiting lecturer from USA, solid Presbyterian, but also historic pre-mill. Almost had me convinced to go with pre-mill. But as I look back, I'm not really sure what he did with the temple etc...]