Anzac – Following Jesus at a time of war

The goal of this is to get a loose handle on two different responses to war that Christians have chosen.  It’s a complicated subject and carries emotion. Different stances are possible, but none are easy.  We’re doing this to acknowledge Anzac day, our history, but also because it’s worth having this kind of discussion when war is not at our immediate doorstep.

It might be worth starting by each person telling any stories of their links to war. Many of us have them. We have however lived at time when war has not threatened NZ.  That means we need to be careful of others, and aware that our discussion is not as earthed as it might be at other times. 

If you imagine that you are an 18 year old boy and have been called up to serve, what would you do ?

Have a look at the two arguments below and compare them, Which are you drawn to ? 


Just War


God is Just. As Christians we are

obliged to work for justice,

especially on behalf of the

oppressed. Psalm 98:1-2, Isaiah 10:1-21, Luke 1:52

Jesus made no distinction between private and public morality. His command ‘do not resist one who is evil’ applies socially as much as personally.

The sinful nature of human beings and the fallenness of our social order mean that people and societies do not act justly. Our aggressiveness needs to be restrained.
James 4:1-6

The Old Testament *often used to justify wars, points more characteristically to the way God worked by miracle (i.e. through exodus) through his people’s vulnerability and trust in him rather than chariots.

Exodus 14:33ff, Judges 7:19ff

True Peace is based on the ordering of society.

Psalm 85:10, James 3:18, Isaiah 11:4-11

Jesus sets aside his power

His example of a non-retaliation is the christian response to evil. Matt 27:11

God has Ordained the authorities of the state to specific and Limited role in punishing Evil

Romans 13:1, Peter 2:13-17

The role of the state is to maintain order within society, it is not legitimate to use Romans 12 for questions of International warfare. The christian way is of witness to the ‘peace making gospel of love : we are to overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21

The Cross of Christ shows the willingness of of God to wage war on the powers of Evil to the point of self sacrifice .

Eph 6:10-20, Col 2:15

The Way of the cross is the way of self giving love and non-violent resistance to violence John 15:13 – let him without sin cast the first stone

Stanley Hauerwas suggests that we have never tried a true christian response to war. That would be for us to send our best to stand in the way of the guns.   – What do you think ? 

What implications might this have concerning refugees ? 

Close by praying for the places of war that you are aware of .

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