Now, we are in 2022, with Vladimir Putin attacking a free and sovereign nation. Ukraine benefited from the perestroika reformation, and I find my thoughts in sympathy with the Ukrainian people. War is a last resort and must be resisted at all costs. However, this conflict feels different. Ukraine did not openly provoke Russia with war. Putin took it upon himself to carve a destructive path across Ukraine, targeting civilians and besieging their land. As my mind muses over this conflict while watching the horrific news reports on television, I believe if any country is justified in fighting an invasion, it would be Ukraine.
St. Augustine of Hippo, a great political and biblical thinker is remembered for his thoughts on just war (jus ad bellum). Though he did not originally coin the term just war, he certainly wrote about the topic. He recognized in his classic work, The City of God, the depravity and sinfulness that humans can inflict upon each other. Additionally, he acknowledged both an earthly city (tampered by sin) and a heavenly city (created for God’s purposes). He accepted the concept from Romans 13 that we must obey the authorities placed by God on earth and that government was meant to keep society from destroying itself. In short, his primary thought on the topic of just war concerned controlling sin and that the established order wielded the sword. Even modern theologians such as Paul Ramsey and Reinhold Niebuhr (Christ over culture) argued for jus ad bellum—the right to enter war.
With Putin blocking social media in his country and civilians in Ukraine unjustly attacked, Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s cry to defend his country remains appropriate. On March 5, 2022, Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine at the Poland border for a press conference. The two officials crossed the line from Poland into Ukraine and Kuleba proclaimed, “Ukraine will win this because this is the peoples’ war for their land, and we defend the right cause.” As the Ukrainian’s fight to protect their land, families, and country, Ukraine’s just war is unfortunate, but a necessary means for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are praying for a peaceful resolution.
May all Christians in both the East and West, follow the words of
St. John Chrysostom, thoughts on Ephesians 4:26-27...
"We are commanded to have only one enemy, the devil. With him never be reconciled! But with a brother, never be at enmity in thy heart."