Weariness and Rewards

Running Shoes

Weariness is the enemy of all noble things. G.K. Chesterton
Let us not become weary in doing good. Galatians 6:9

Surveying the cultural landscape a Christian is easily discouraged. All around, where there once stood truth, now there are lies. How did we reach a place where sodomy is right, where nine men decide that killing children is not murder, where you can decide whether you want be a boy or a girl despite what your plumbing is, where we have two politicians running for president who not just bad politicians, but wicked people who in previous generations would have been laughed off stage or thrown in prison, and in the church numerous denominations have already jumped off the cliff and others are sliding that way? How did we get here?

There are numerous factors in this decline. The failure of Christians to preach the Lordship of Christ, the lack of church discipline, and the fact that many believers send their children to government schools are some of the factors contributing to the current state of the American church. However, as I read the above quote by Chesterton a new reason for the decay struck me. Many have become weary.

I have nine children. I understand weariness.  It is hard to press forward day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Too many Christians have become tired. I have friends who havegiven up. Oh, they still call themselves Christians, but the truth is they stopped fighting the good fight long ago. Pastors became tired of preaching Christ and Him crucified, so they began to preach Jesus the great therapist who will cure all your ills. Some became weary of the scorn of the scientific establishment, so they accepted evolution and higher critical theories of the Scriptures.  We became weary of raising children for the Kingdom, so we sent them somewhere elsewhere or didn’t have them at all.  We became weary of shepherding the flock, so now we buy them and keep them like so many customers.  We became weary of looking like bigots and prudes so our sexual morality has eroded. There were not great theological shifts for many, no great changes in doctrine. Instead the world wore us down. Continue reading

Approximate Justice & Just War Theory

I have benefited from the book War, Peace, and ChristianityReading it has given me a better understanding of the terms that surround just-war theory, as well as numerous other sources to read.  I plan on quoting from the book in the coming days. Here the authors give their reasons for the authority of the state, which I generally agree with.

The state’s authority exists for the purpose of preserving and defending the rights of its members. Its authority is legitimate to the degree that it carries out this mandate. Just-war thinking arises out of certain fundamental convictions-for example that justice is due all human beings, that approximate (versus absolute or perfect) justice is discernible, and that this approximate justice is worth attaining and preserving. This mode of reasoning applies equally to domestic or international concerns.

This quote contains two key insights that I have gained from reading the book. First, we will rarely, if ever, get justice perfectly right. We use our reason, nature, conscience history, and as Christians God’s Word to guide us to an approximate justice or as a Christian would say, true, but imperfect justice. But while we may not be able to make things perfectly just we can make them more just. The failure to attain perfect justice does not make the pursuit of justice hopeless or waste. There is a post-modern mindset that says if we ever get it wrong we should not do it all, after all who really knows if a war is just or not? Innocent people are harmed when thinking like this becomes common.

Second, the idea summed up on the last line has been helpful for me.  The authors frequently compare the local police to international affairs. Their point is that the same principles apply in defeating a kidnapper that apply in freeing a state that has been occupied by a foreign country. It is more complicated on an international scale, but the principles do not change.  If I saw a man purposely burning down my neighbor’s house, I would call the authorities or stop him myself. I would not sit there and go, “Well that is none of my business.”  This is true on the international scale as well. That does not mean America should jump in to solve every possible problem. But there are some situations where America or some other stronger country coming in to help a smaller country is not just necessary it is morally obligatory.