I would like to offer a pastor’s perspective on the present war in Kuwait.

The Bible teaches that God has ordained governments to restrain evil and execute vengeance on evildoers. To this end he has put a sword in their hands; he has given them a mandate to use all necessary force in the cause of righteousness (Romans l3:l-7).

But what happens when a government is no longer righteous? Then, it would appear, God must raise up other governments to judge it. This is the sad but necessary rationale for a just war.

In the present conflict, I believe that the U.S. and its allies are serving as instruments of divine judgment against a profoundly evil government, one that rules by fear, cruelty, and deception. Our goal is to liberate Kuwait from this oppressor, and our hope is that somehow, in the process, Iraq itself may be liberated as well. Thus, it is a just cause, worthy of our support.

However, having said all this, I want to issue a solemn caveat. For the Scriptures make it clear that though a nation may indeed be fighting for a just cause, if that nation itself is not right before God, it too can suffer devastating loss and humiliation (Judges l9-2l).

This brings us back to the present conflict. Yes, our cause is just. But my fear is that we–in the aggregate, as a nation–are not just. Along these lines, let us therefore ask ourselves several hard but worthy questions.

Could God, through this war, actually be calling us to repentance? Will he grant full victory to a people that expels him both from their institutions and their private lives? Will he bless a people that kill, abuse, and neglect their children, both born and unborn? That lust after violence and pornography? That glorify rebellion against legitimate authority? That wink at promiscuity, perversion, infidelity, greed, and arrogance?

In the face of war (as well as recession and drought), our politicians often call on us to pray. Good. But perhaps the first call should be to self-examination, and the first prayer for the grace of repentance. Then, God willing, we will recognize our own sins and turn back to him for forgiveness, healing, and wisdom and strength to walk in the way that is good.

Here–in the deep places of the heart–is the real war; and here is the true path to peace.

Dean Davis
Santa Rosa, Ca.