Thoughts on War in the Bible and Terrorism in the 21st Century, Essay 4

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For an introduction to the series, see here.

It was is looking to be a timely discussion tensions rising again around the Korean Peninsula, Rodas examines Isaianic impulses toward peace in a country at war. He first tells his story of how he came to his conclusions on biblical theology of war and the impetus of this search, followed by a thorough review of Isaiah’s prophecies dealing with Hezekiah, a king who in the midst of a war turned to human innovations instead of relying upon YHWH. It is not about what we can do, but about who we are that confirms what we should do.

Rodas begins his essay by detailing his personal pilgrimage during the years which he spent in war-torn Guatemala. It was in the midst of this struggle that he searched for ‘an appropriate evangelical response’ to what was happening around him, and as we know now, war and terrorism in general. In this struggle, he began to dialogue with voices such as Niebuhr who seemingly urged responses within the “ethics of responsibility” (p62). But, this was not to Rodas’ liking and was countered by the theology of Stanley Hauerwas. It was here that he formed his notion of response to violence as a test of identity. He expands this personal theology as he examines the attack faced by Hezekiah as recorded from the prophet’s viewpoint in the Book of Isaiah.

Throughout the remainder of the essay, Rodas is able to build up the notion that because those who hold to the legacy of Jewish monotheism as preached by Isaiah hold to a unique God, then we have a unique identity which requires a unique response to war and terror. And what is preached of a righteous king was never fulfilled an earthly king, which as we now live in the Kingdom of Christ, it behooves us to know our identity. If we identify with Christ, then we accept that while the Kingdom is come and is coming we must actively participate in it (p78).

In the end, maybe the best way to say what is happening so far in this book is “If God is our Warrior, then why not let Him fight?”

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