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I heard three conservative AM talk show hosts yesterday warn of an impending WWIII. Their belief is that the current state of affairs in Japan, Korea, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere is brewing into a "war to end all wars."

I don't doubt it. I can't. I'm no world scholar. I don't have the facts these sources have or the brains with which to prognosticate a different outcome from them.

So, assuming they're all right and soon the U.S. will be drawn into armed conflict not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but on the Asian peninsula as well, what can be done NOW rather than later by Christians world-wide to sew peace instead? Anything?

It's one thing to cry out against war once it's broken out - that's easy - but to work on preventing it as soon as it seems a possibility (and even before) is the hard task of the disciple of Christ. Ideas?


Anonymous maxwedge said...

Pray! First thing, go to the father.... Pray for peace, for sanity to return to those with abso-freakin-lutely none! I really don't think this will get any better (I've been wrong before though... just ask my wife!). But pray for his will. Anyone who has any doubts about their salvation or has never accepted Jesus as their savior..... Do it now! Spread the message and of God's love to those that are not saved.

At the risk of exposing my tinfoil hat..... I truly believe the time is short. Never in the history of the world have so many things been in place to fulfill end-time prophesy! Read about the stuff the Iranian president believes in, the stuff about the 12th Imam returning and all that and see hohw they are motivated to pick a fight.... and go nuclear! The time will come, like a thief in the night! When the trumpet sounds it will be too late. Be sure of your salvation! And Pray! Pray! Pray!......

Anonymous maxwedge said...

Here's some stuff the Iranian President believes in.... Scary!



Anonymous ann said...

tinfoil hat...that's funny.

I agree. Pray. The IMB sent out an "urgent prayer" message. I thought it was going to be about a missionary with a sick child, or something, but it was for this.

As they say, "Prayer is the muscle that moves the hand of God," and "Prayer works."

Anonymous ichthusonmyfoot said...

To echo my siblings, pray; but pray in faith. If we're not believing God to be answering our prayers and not looking for a change in the world, what does it avail? And we should not only pray "peace on earth" in reference to political unrest throughout the world, but also for peace within the Church. If we can't begin to show love and be peacable with our own family, how much less we are sowing love and peace among the lost! I'm not talking about tolerating our neighbors, but LOVING them. Like Jesus loves them...and like Jesus loves us. If we bear the name of Christ, we are to be like Him and to be His reflection so that others may see Him instead of us. I think if we ALL were to not just smile and say "hi" to those whose names we might not know, but through that smile and maybe even a "how are you?" spoken with sincerity, unlock a door that others may be curious enough to open to find out just what that spark in our lives is.

Blogger Amy said...

It will be sad if Japan makes an attack of any kind. Truly, it is a peace loving nation. Most Japanese wish to stay as far away from war and fighting as they can. Of course there are some who want to have more than their SDF, but the majority do not. Those who do, long for more independence from the States than they have. One of the most informative and humbling experiences of my life was visitng the Peace museum in Hiroshima. I have to admit, it's a little freaky, all this unrest, as I am hoping to return to Japan next year.
You know, we are instructed in the Bible to live in peace so far as it depends on you. We don't have a lot of control. Education, grace, understanding, trusting in God, are the ways that we can hope to avoid war. Of course praying. But I think loving others and loving God are the ways in which we can prevent the occurence of war around us. I don't know, I'm just thinking. I'm not sure we can change the world circumstances, but I think we can be a picture of Christ in them.

Anonymous andy said...

Steve Martin used to suggest giving every child a banjo at birth. No one can be angry while they're playing the banjo.

Anonymous jwv said...

So much of what is happening around the world is based on fear. It is very reactionary. We should be far more proactive in doing good. If the money that is used in the war against terror were spent on proactively reaching out to the poor and the broken in this world, it would make the world a better place.

After World War II the United States invested heavily in their relationships with Europe through the Marshall Plan. Today it is still reaping the benefits of that. The US should learn their own lessons from the past and put them into action!

This is true on an individual level as well. So much of our christianity is exclusive. We need to become more inclusive in our thinking. We all have an individual responsibility in doing good as well.

Finally, I struggle with the concept of a world war 3 based on these examples. I find it hard to connect the dots between the situation in Korea and Israel!

Anonymous maxwedge said...


I disagree with the motivation being fear, but I can see why. I believe it to be hate. There are those that preach the death of Israel and hate for the West, not because they fear but because they hate. Copy and paste the links above into your browser and see where the Iranian leadership is being motivated from. Hezbollah is being funded by these guys, and they have strong relationships with Syria. Look at their reactions to events like 9-1-1. They were cheering in the streets and passing out candy to their children. Is that America's fault? No it is way deeper than that. Giving money will not solve the problem. Only the return of Christ.

If you've ever been somewhere like the Pandhandle of Texas and looked to the horizon and seen a big black thunderstorm approaching. Get prepared folks, it's gonna rain.

Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

It's been really hard living and working in Washington since 9/11. Reminders of the declining illusion of peace and safety are everywhere--bomb sniffing dogs and armed snipers work the subway stations; equipment that detects the first chemical whiff of a dirty bomb and a citywide spy camera system are monitoring away; my office mail is x-rayed for bombs and then sent to Ohio for anthrax-killing radiation treatment before it winds up in my box.

Wait...you know, on second thought, maybe it's easier living here--easier to be aware of my absolute need to pray and rely on the Lord not just for my personal safety but for Him to move and guide the man who lives in the big white house down the block from me and the other leaders around the world who are nearly as powerful and just as sure as he is that they're the ones who are right.

Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous ann said...


This is a link to "Goy for Jesus," a "Jews for Jesus" blog. Once you're there, click to read the cartoon.

Blogger Seth Ward said...

Start passing out "Peace has Broken Out" like it's candy.

Maybe pitch it to Billy Joel or Garth. Not that this will cause spontaneous peace throughout the world but things like songs, poems, movies... they can make a dent.

Did you see the Nightline special on Rich Warren? Pretty cool stuff that he is doing for peace over in Rwanda.

I must admit, it is getting pretty scary over that little sliver of land by the sea.

Blogger Rachel said...

I'll be honest in saying that your question overwhelms me to think about...I am neither content to rely on government or to simply pray. Obviously prayer is where we communicate with God, and He shows us His plan. But this is not something I think can be asked on the fly. All I know is there is a growing discontent inside of me, one that is very hard to describe.

Something that I have wanted to do for a while now is go into war-torn countries and to live among the people there...and then to write articles about and do a photojounralism project with it as well...to let God work on me while I'm there and somehow communicate what needs I see.

I have a feeling it won't come clear what we can do until we have a physical connection to the problems at hand, by going ourselves or by sending someone there (be it in our own country or abroad.)

Sorry Shaun. I'm at a bit of a loss.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Me too, Rachel and that's why I asked.

Blogger chris said...

I pray for peace every night with my children and I would never limit the one true God. But another part of me realizes that we live in a broken world. These things must take their course as we keep our faith in the God who is in control ultimately. I'm not so sure that it is the mission of Christians to save the world from itself, politically. Our mission is to be light and salt, to reflect the character and nature of Jesus, and to live out our faith in community with one another by loving and forgiving as Jesus did. Everything else will happen as God has planned it. I'm not saying to give up and stop praying. I'm saying, God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..." But let not our will be done but God's. http://noeo.wordpress.com

Blogger Rachel said...

Amen Chris...another thing I see is how much we seem to "limit" God in our own minds. But that is one thing He has reminded me of all this time...He's so much bigger than this, and as long as we seek to be in the center of His will, we can find peace...the kind of peace that has nothing to do with guns or wars or politics or any other circumstance. Then, and only then, can we truly begin to make a difference for His kingdom.

Anonymous maxwedge said...

Pray for the safety of the people of Israel, and the Lebanese. The Lebanese have been held hostage by Hezbollah and Syria for years and reallly just want to be left alone. Syria assainated the Prime minister of Lebanon last year.

**** There is the very real danger of this escalating and possibly going nuclear. It is rumored that there are WMD's (chem-bio weapons) hidden in the Bekka Valley of Lebanon and harbored by the Syrians. These supposedly came from Saddam's stash and are in Lebanon under Syrian-backed Hezbollah control. Hezbollah is sponsored by the Iranians and harbored in Lebanon by the Syrians. If these rockets have been modified to be inserted into the warheads of the Qassim rockets that are hitting Haifa...? Israel will lose it's mind and hit Syria, Lebanon, The Bekkaa valley will become a smoking hole in the ground, and Iran get its wish of producing martyrs. Everyone else had better stay out of the way. Makes me think of the song by THE-THE "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" on the Mind Bomb album

Islam is rising
The Christians mobilising
The world is on its elbows and knees
It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds

I couldn't get the links to work..... If you want to see them you'll have to copy/paste into browser.
There are more credible sources from the Defense Dep't and some Congressional testimony and stuff, but they take too long to get through to get to what is in the article:

This is a particularly interesting view of the BEkkaa Valley coming from a guy who's been in the region for about 30 years:

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Pray is a partner to and not a replacement for action.

Look at all the Christianese and sloganizing that comes flying out of our mouths when faced with big problems. Don't know what to major in? "I'm seeking God's face on that." Single and living with mom at 37? "I'm waiting on God." WWIII right around the corner? "We live in a broken world but God is in control."

Now, all this true of course. We do pray. We do ask God to be active as a way of reminding ourselves that He already is. We do recognize that Adam and Eve kicked off this whole mess eons ago (or 6000 years ago if you graduated from a Christian private school ; ) ) We do get still and listen. We wait etc.

All that's true. But then I think of all the talented people living in Nashville waiting for a record company to knock on their door. I think about how their theology of "waiting on God" has lulled hem into inaction. The most talented people don't get record deals. The most pro-active talented people do. And this action is no replacement for God or prayer but BECAUSE of God and prayer. Aren't we not only the pray-ers but also the answer to the prayer prayed often times?

So, let's agree to the following overstated facts and move on to strategy, action, and solutions:

1) God is in control.
2) Human nature is destructive.
3) Prayer is necessary.

Now, how can we be God's answer to our own prayers for peace?

This missing link comes to mind: The Church world wide is not connected as it was in he first few centuries. It's large now to be - some would say. But if it were, if the Western Church were connected to the Middle Eastern and Asian Church - and there is one - what could be done for them and through them to end the poverty and violence disrupting peace at the moment?

Another thought. How may Christians are there in the various military forces warring around the world and about to participate in this supposed WWIII? What if they all refused to fight? Idealistic? Of course. But what if? Would war still persist at the same intensity and duration? But again, to mobilize such a movement of resistance would take communication with the entire world wide Church - and that doesn't exist.

How could that be created?

Anonymous Stephen said...

maxwedge said: Pray for the safety of the people of Israel, and the Lebanese.

And for the safety of the people of Syria, Palestine, and Iran, especially the Christians in those areas.

Blogger chris said...

With all due respect Shaun, what you describe is not "humanly" possible. Unfortunately, the so-called "leaders" in the Christian world are just as divided as the secular world when it comes to the theology of war and peace. Many have accepted the world's view of justice through violence. They sanction war for many reasons: justice to protect the innocent (maybe the most understandable), punish evildoers, punish freedom-haters, punish democracy-haters, punish violence on others. Many Christians have bought into this kind of thinking and are ready to stand for what is "right" based on the position of their particular nation-state. When national leaders are quoting Scripture and basing their actions on Biblical verses such as, "...governments do not bear the sword in vain..." the sincere Christian may struggle with what to do, what action to take. It is possible, based on the teaching going on in churches in the US (and probably many other countries)that authentic Christians differ on the subject of war. The only thing we can do is speak about and live out (love is an action, not a concept) the nature and character of Jesus and contrast it against the message of different gospels, i.e.American-Dream gospel, the American nation as annointed savior of the world gospel.

Where pray and action combine: Pray that God inspires His children to think like Jesus and pray that men have the courage to act accordingly. The result of this may not be peace for this world but in the next.

The idea of Christians fighting Christians for the glory of nation-states is a message that must be declared. The rest is up to the individual heart. How can it be done? Only through every media source available. It's quite simple, yes?

Blogger Jules said...

Part of me wants to agree on the unity of all the churches, Shaun. I want to see believers taking resposibility for the orphans, widows, and destitute.
Another part of me looks to prophecy and says, "One world religion may be the beginning of the end."
My personal goal becomes to start here. In my everyday life, am I looking for opportunity to share Christ? Next, am I looking beyond my borders and boundaries to share Jesus? Am I willing to go to the rest of the world, war torn or not, to share the only hope that will bring true peace? I can't start with the thought of WWIII. I must start within my own neighborhoods.

Blogger Kathryn said...

i used to be afraid of such phrases as this: "Nuclear", "end times", "fulfillment of prophecy". Now I realize that such fear is paralyzing and for me it was selfish. I wasn't living for Christ as much as I was with my jittery self fretting as to whether world events were converging into a picture of Armageddon. I had to snap out of it. I'm not ignorant to what the Bible says about events. I prefer to concentrate on staying close to God, learning to listen to him and accept his guidance and from there carry all of that into all of my interactions and relationships with others. I have responsibilities as someone who follows him and I can carry them out only because he helps me to.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Another part of me looks to prophecy and says, "One world religion may be the beginning of the end."

Are you joking?

Blogger Amy said...

ok so the churches unite. how? we live really far away from each other. missionaries might be a great way to get connected. but buliding those sorts of connections and partnerships take a lot of time, work, and travel. (we are trying to do that in our demonination right now)transformation within the american church would help. but how? my experience has been that people are not really open to non-conventional ways of thinking. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, I'm just trying to figure out how it would all work.

Blogger GrovesFan said...

I think the "one world religion" comment may be unclear. At least I'm reading it as not one world religion, but all "religions" being accepted as OK and genuine; "whatever works you" kind of thing. Prophesy does say that the false church will be raised up by the anti-christ and the false prophet. Then, it will be done away with and all will be forced to worship the anti-christ or face persecution/prosecution. Taking the mark of the beast will be the outward sign of allegiance. Of course we could debate the sequence of the "end times" until the rapture, but the sequence isn't important, just the outcome, which of course we already know.


Blogger Shaun Groves said...

We're a bunch of strangers "connected" right now by a BLOG! WIthout even trying to I've built a blog, for free, that allows people from all over the world (mostly the US) to talk to each other.

Now, if technology can accidentally do that could we intentionally do that WITH added security, more connectivity, etc? Could technology make this world wide connection of the Church possible?

Of course the more impoverished branches of the Church (third world churches, for instance) may not have the access to this technology but representatives from countries that do could theoretically be witnesses to their needs and represent them on-line. I'm just thinking out loud here. What if?

Would it be possible to redistribute the wealth and talents of he Church to better met the needs of millions. COuld tech help?


Blogger euphrony said...

In the Truth in Humor? post, maxwedge said
"Remember Neville Chamberlain? What would the world have been like if instead of getting the non agression treaty with Hitler, the Brits would've popped a cap in him?"

This statement is a bit blunt. I decided to post a response here, as it seemed more in topic. What, indeed, would the world have been like? Millions of Jews would likely have not died in camps, the state of Israel would not have been resurrected leading to a likely more stable middle east region. But the anti-Semitic sentiment strong at that time in Europe would also not have been abated, and as it continues to grow even today the Holocaust that may have come could have been much worse. We do not know what the results would have been, and we never will. (For an interesting "What if . . ." scenario, read Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card, which presents a fictional option for Columbus not brining destruction to the New World, but the peace of the Gospel.) What we have to ask ourselves is if what we are doing is God’s will. Would it have been God’s will to assassinate Hitler or did God’s will include the destruction Hitler strewed about the world? Look at Elisha’s run-in with Hazael in 2 Kings 8:7-15. Knowing the evil that Hazael would do to his own people, Elisha weeps but does nothing to stop Hazael from rising to become king of Aram. I do not think that this is because of Elisha was weak and spineless or unwilling to shed blood. I think it was God’s will. We should not rashly say that such-and-such should have been killed long ago, because we may be simply looking through our own limited eyes and not at the vast landscape that Jehovah is tending around us.

I, for one, support the war that was launched against Hussein in Iraq. Pray for peace, but act when you believe that God calls you to act. We are not promised an earthly kingdom of heaven, as some try to instate through laws, and we are not promised an earthly peace. When is working for peace working against God’s plan? When is working for war contrary to God’s plan? I’ll admit that this is bigger than me. No answers here, just circular thoughts as I hope to spiral in on the mind of Christ. I've been reading this series series hoping to find a few answers beyond pray and wait, but I don't know that I have. With a three year old girl and a wife at home, the last thing I want to see is a world war, but how do you avoid any conflict on such a scale between parties that have such fundamental and seemingly irreconcilable differences? I am honestly at a loss.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

What does "God's will" look like? How do we discern it? How has he revealed it?

Part of the answer I believe is this:

God has shown us what perfect humanity is in the model human Jesus. He puts skin on His priorities, character, loves and hates when He sends Jesus to earth. Imitation of Jesus is commanded in the New Testament by Jesus. FIsherman are "called" to follow Him. He teaches that a disciple must be like His Master.

Jesus also teaches that to see Jesus is to see the Father. Jesus acts as the Father acts in human form. Jesus teaches us to be like our Father in Heaven: perfect. We achieve this perfect behavior and thinking through the imitation of Christ. As Christ imitates the Father, so we imitate Christ and in doing so we imitate the Father.

So following God's will or discerning His calling is not as mysterious and impossible as I once thought in my early twenties. It is modeled for me in Christ.

Now, does this mean that God's will for me and you, that His calling, is for us to grow beards, wear sandals, work with wood, be homeless and eat Mediterranean food. No. The imitation of the Father by Christ and the imitation of Christ by disciples seems to be limited in scope to relating rightly to God and to man.

Fr instance, when Jesus says we're to be perfect as the Father is perfect Jesus explains in what way the Father is perfect - what part of His perfection He's concerned with us imitating: providing for and sustaining the life of the good and evil in the world. Loving the enemy.

He says the Father brings life-giving rain and sun to the good and evil, the just and unjust, the righteous and unrighteous, the pagan and rescued. And follows this description of God the Father's reckless indiscriminate provisional love with a command for us to imitate it.

So, at least part of God's will or calling for Christians is to imitate Christ and the Father by loving as indiscriminately as they do.

It's not possible for me to be an historian skilled enough to decide who I need to love and not love, to kill and not kill, in order to make things turn out well for humanity. God never tells us to imitate Him by being all-knowing. He never tells us things will work out well for humanity if we obey Him either - or all that well for us in this life. What He asks for is imitation without regard for self - without regard for how well things will turn out for any of us.

Do we care how things turn out? Absolutely. But how things will turn out is not the rudder on God's will for us. Being faithful imitators of God as modeled by Christ is at the center of His will. It's what He's asked for.

Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. A direct command. No need to guess. I find that when I'm wondering what God's will is I'm generally running from what I suspect His will to to be. I'm in denial and looking for anything more beneficial to me that can be passed off as God's will to ease my conscience. But, hey, that's just me.

Anonymous Brian said...

Shaun, what about the Old Testament use of military force to decimate those who were the enemies of God?
I am hardly advocating wiping out groups of people, but why would God have sanctioned and even commanded it?
Is it possible that sometimes evil must be done to prevent greater evil?

For example, if you were hiding Jews in your home during WWII, and Nazis knocked on the door and asked if you were hiding any Jews (as was undoubtedly the case for many WWII-era German Christians), would you have to tell the truth? Wouldn't this be as good as committing murder? In other words, must lesser evil sometimes be committed in order to prevent a greater evil?

Is allowing vast armies to slaughter countless civilians the political equivalent of saying "Go, stay warm and well-fed" and doing nothing for the temporal needs of a person?

I don't claim to know yet.

While you are the best modern advocate I know of for the necessity of non-violence by Christians, you don't have me fully convinced. I am curious to hear what you think.


Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Brian, I'm about the worst advocate for Christian non-violence I know but I'll try to answer your question at the risk of veering this post off topic - which was what can be done BY THE CHURCH to prevent or lessen the supposedly impending WWIII on the horizon.

Do a google search for "shlog hauerwas" and you'll find four posts of audio from theologian/ethicist Stanley Hauerwas which answer some of your question - or at least give ONE answer to your questions.

He addresses the question about Old Testament wars. I've added to that answer in the comment section of those posts. I can't add anything to those answers but I'll summarize them at the end of this comment.

I'll start though with whether or not it's sometimes necessary to commit a "lesser evil" to prevent a "greater evil" I have a few thoughts but don't have the space and time here to give the most thorough answer. Here are some bullets though...

-Let's say for discussion's sake that some rules were made to be bent from time to time under certain special circumstances. Can the government discern when it's OK to "bend the rules" and when it's not? Does it have a history of making good judgments of whom to kill and whom not to? To do so it would need to be able to discern the meaning of words like "justice" and "mercy" and "peace" and "sin" and it cannot without Christ at it's center - He defines them all. Has our government done a good job of defining these words and acting justly, bending the rules at the right times, throughout it's history.

-It has not. One example. Most Americans - Christian or not - look back on Hiroshima and Nagisaki and call them mistakes. But at the time we said we were preventing war by destroying theses cities and the innocent people within them. History proved this to be poor discernment on our government's part. Well intentioned maybe, but ultimately a poor decision. This is not to say American government and people are worse than any other but it does not discern justice well, the same as other governments.

-Maybe the Church is better at deciding when the rules can be broken to avoid greater evil. It should be since it has Christ to model and therefor define justice, peace, mercy etc for it. Has it done better?

-Sometimes but not always. Hitler had an army in part because Lutherans and other Christians fought for him. If the Church had lived non-violence in Germany Hitler at the very least would have had a smaller army (a third smaller by one estimate I read - don't know how accurate that is though) and could have not had enough of an army and allegiance from his citizens to do the harm he did. So the question really isn't, in my mind, what Christians should have done when the nazis knocked on their door, but rather a)what should they have done when Hitler began speaking hate against jews and the elderly and sick and b)what the Church should have done to discipline its members who served in Hitler's army? We can't make up for the Church's mistake in supporting a madman who kills millions by killing a few more can we?

Here's the summary of my understanding of the circumstances that made OT wars "right" - as promised:

-1. OT Wars were fought by a small number against a larger number so that God got the credit for victory. Men were sent home by God even - so that the army would be dwarfed by the enemy's. 2. God declared the wars and everyone knew it - on both sides of the conflict. 3. Only Yaweh followers were in Yaweh's army. (Not the case with the US military). Only non-Yaweh followers were in the enemy ranks. 4. God's army did not kill fellow God followers. (Not the case in the middle east today or Nagasaki and Hiroshima) God's people gave God credit after the victory which was always theirs.

-So the rules were bent by God followers for God advancing reasons and not for the spread of a non-religious political ideology or empire. Innocents were not killed. Fellow believers were not killed. Fellow believers weren't harmed in any way. God made the clear command to fight. etc etc. Are any of these the circumstances of today's wars?


-If we break the prohibition on violence by Jesus to stop more violence (and probably begat more violence as a result) can I break the prohibition on adultery if I find a woman who loves God more than my current wife does or steal music or DVDs because I want to share the message about Jesus on them with people? There's no end to the kind of exceptions we can dream up. I'm willing to make an exception for warring if someone can tell me how we arrive at the exceptions - not just on this issue but on all of them. What's the rule for figuring out when we can break the rules? It's inconsistent and hypocritical to say there's an exception to THIS command by Jesus to sustain the life of my enemies and not kill them but there isn't an exception to every other command by Him. Why is only THIS command against violence open to exception?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for commenting so long after the fact, but this thread caught my eye.

I disagree strongly that "most" historians agree that Nagasaki and Hiroshima were mistakes. Yes, that is the opinion of many historians today, but you can find just as many or more who will agree that the bombings were very necessary to prevent an invasion of Japan, which would have resulted in possibly the worst casualties our country would ever incur; and that doesn't scratch the surface of what would have happened to the Japanese people themselves. No, "history" has not proved this a poor discernment at all; rather you have formed an opinion on the matter. No problem there, but please, it is not fact, and I would ask you not to pass it off as such.


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