Just War Theory: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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54 Responses

  1. richard says:

    i offer this link as a response to your post.
    what do you think?


  2. Duane Arnold says:


    In this case, I would tend to agree with Mr. Charles. By the way, later in his life, Augustine regretted his use of secular means against the Donatists…

  3. Muff Potter says:

    There is no such thing as a just war.
    There is only war.
    And all war is hell (Sherman).

  4. Duane Arnold says:


    That’s certainly the early Church position…

  5. Michael says:

    I find this an almost impossible issue to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion on.

    If there were an opportunity to kill Putin to save thousands…would I do it?


    Is the patriarch of the Russian church a war criminal?


    Like Bonhoeffer, I would act and repent later.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    The questions are manifold… especially given the nuclear, biological and chemical threats. I don’t know that we have the answers…

  7. Michael says:


    I’ve been all for great caution due to the nuclear issue.

    This morning, I’m wondering if it is moral to allow a madman to kill at will to spare ourselves possible terror.

    I just don’t know…does love of neighbor mean defending their lives as we would defend ours?

  8. Duane Arnold says:


    Would that be under “Proportionality—the overall destruction expected from the use of force must be outweighed by the good to be achieved”? I mean in terms of preventing a nuclear exchange…

  9. Michael says:

    I had a comment that evidently got nuked.

    Answering Duane…yes…along with “right intention ” to save innocent lives.

  10. Em says:

    Michael @9:53
    As would a lot of us…. Crazy people should never run a government, but……,.
    It would be difficult to believe in God, were it not for the Bible telling us that here on earth we have an evil adversary who owns our souls until we find God’s provision of Redemption…
    Was it Paul who said, ” How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?”

  11. JD says:

    All my parents could say when I was growing up was: “ the Japs, the Japs, the Japs.”
    A generation later my daughter’s kindergarten best friend was a Japanese girl living across the street from my parents house.

  12. Captain Kevin says:

    Putin not only wants Ukraine, but he’s enlisted Belarus to help him and now is seeking financial help from China. His forces have bombed in western Ukraine, only 11 miles from the border with Poland. It’s as if he wants WWIII.

    If he gets assassinated, I personally will rejoice.

  13. bob1 says:

    What an ugly mess.

    How sad! Looks like Putey is doing the same thing with the ROC that Stalin did. Sadly, the ROC leader seems totally on board. Looks like he won’t be welcome at the Vatican anytime soon!

  14. London says:

    I have ZERO issue praying for Putin’s demise or his removal from power.
    The sooner the better.

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    Time for a revolution…

  16. Gabby says:

    This past weekend, I went to see Bruce Cockburn in concert. Hearing him play “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” left me in tears, and it felt like listening to an imprecatory psalm of sorts (especially thinking of the violent and horrendous actions of Putin and Russia generally). I generally consider myself a pacifist, but I do think there is space to pray those kinds of prayers. I wonder if maybe our propensity to see violence as a way to curb violence stems from our lack of imagination? How can we seek justice while living out the ways of the Lamb?

  17. Michael says:


    “How can we seek justice while living out the ways of the Lamb?”

    Well put…that’s what I’m wrestling intensely with too…

  18. Em says:

    Michael and Gabby
    Pray, pray, pray……🙏

  19. bob1 says:

    Richard Engel of NBC interviewed a Ukrainian woman who said:

    “Putin’s mother is rolling over in her grave because she gave birth to such a nasty ba*tard.”

  20. Em says:

    Could be……

  21. filistine says:

    this one raised some very important questions related to Dr. Duane’s article–and from a rather left leaning magazine, no less…https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/what-if-world-war-iii-has-already-started/627054/

  22. bob1 says:


    A very sobering article from a journalist in Kyiv worried that she might be on Putin’s hit list.

    “Sanctions work, but they have not stopped Putin’s rockets falling from the skies. Now, after Georgia and Syria, those deathly rains have come to my land. What if they come to your land next?”

    Fact is, we live in an interconnected world. Isolationism isn’t a viable option though thanks to our geography, it’s always been a strong temptation.

    As Americans we’re more isolated from a Soviet/WW III threat. But the Europeans have been living with it for decades.

    Thank you for this link.

  23. Em says:

    bob1, intercontinental ballistic missiles? We aren’t isolated anymore…… Dunno, though, do i……

  24. Nathan Priddis says:


    So. On a random Tuesday, after only a couple of decades of an increasingly affectionate relationship…

    Big Eva..starts asking herself who she has been sleeping with? Who is that masked.. 1980’s ex- KGB officer? Did she really fall for a bash the gays pick-up line?

    The Kremlin has a long history of co-opting the Church. I think it’s obvious Evangelicalism was attracted to the aura of power, along with sexual control and repression.
    But the Trifeckta is sex, power and money, so the cliche goes. That begs the question..

    Has Big Eva been influenced by foreign donations?

  25. bob1 says:

    Just heard Timothy Snyder, Yale historian and expert on eastern Europe and Russia, on MSNBC.

    He said the repression of free speech is worse currently under Vlad than it was even under Stalin.

    You can get 15 years in prison if you use the word “war.” He said that was more extreme
    than Stalin.

    He also said folks in Russia who put Bible verses on a placard, or have absolutely nothing on their placards, have been arrested.

    Beyond barbaric.

  26. bob1 says:

    On the rare occasions I look at Xn Post, it’s for laughs and gratitude that I don’t consider myself an evangelical anymore.

    It’s sad to see these Soviet apologists twist like a pretzel, trying to justify the evil that is Putin.

    Truly, as Lenin said, useful idiots.

  27. Em says:

    “Thank God for free speech; it lets us know w by o the idiots are!.”. 🐵

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    If I had a rocket launcher…

  29. Officerhoppy says:

    Bruce Cockburn!

  30. Dan from Georgia says:

    Bob1 – I waste time at the CP site daily and am amazed how most of the writers there and many of the commenters have their heads so far gone that they can’t see plainly what is in front of them.

    And I was holding back my tongue quite a bit about where the writers and commenters heads are….

  31. pstrmike says:

    I’m still working through this regarding a just war. How far does it extend? Only when nation rises against nation? Or when individuals, who are intent on pursuing the greater good, take action to eliminate the tyrant? Or overthrow the rule of their king who lives across the ocean? And only if they are politicians and not ecclesial leaders (we need to stop calling them pastors)? Isn’t the various forms of passive resistance a form of a Just War. Isn’t it fair to say that a Just War can be something other than taking up actual arms and meeting the enemy on the battlefield?

    I don’t know that we can draw definitive lines here. Perhaps thinking that we can do so misses the point. It is not as easy as simply “going with our gut.” We are to defend the poor and fatherless, but to what degree are we called to do so? How far do we go to defend justice?

  32. Duane Arnold says:


    All good questions. The “rules” assume a legitimate state authority. Increasingly, that is not the case. We might also wonder what about when a once legitimate state authority goes “rogue”. I think we are in new territory here…

  33. richard says:

    if we are to serve a God who willing went to his death for us, who always said “love your enemies”, if one asks for your shirt, give him your coat too, go two miles if asked to go one, His teaching always spoke of sacrifice, humility, and putting others first, who came and lived in a time when He and His country were under a brutal occupation, I don’t believe there is any instance where a follower of Jesus could lay claim to any “just war”.
    Jesus is about overcoming injustice through submission. His kingdom is not of this world. If anyone thinks their 70-80-90 years on this earth is of any import in light of eternity, they are mistaken.

  34. Officerhoppy says:

    I dunno Richard. While i believe what you said is generally true i am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 “ a time for war and a time for peace”.

    If i were in Ukraine, I’d be fighting for my country—not submitting.

    But granted, i tend to be more practical than spiritual.

  35. Michael says:

    As best as I can discern at this point, Richard is correct in what the Scriptures teach.

    I also discern that I don’t have enough of the Spirit to keep me from wanting vengeance on tyrants…and would be willing to execute such…

  36. Everstudy says:

    Richard / Michael,

    I think I can agree with that in a situation where I am personally attacked. But how does putting others first allow me to not defend my neighbor if attacked?

    This issue comes up occasionally when discussing gun control and the right to have a gun for personal protection.

    But what about your neighbor’s protection? How does one apply “If one asks for your shirt, give him your coat too, go two miles if asked to go one” when it’s my innocent neighbor being attacked?

  37. Michael says:


    In my opinion the NT does not make any distinctions between circumstances and only allows for the state to bear the sword.
    I don’t like this at all, but have to wrestle with it anyway.

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    A prayer of Pope Francis…

    Forgive us for war, O Lord.
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
    Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
    Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
    Lord Jesus, a 20-year-old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
    Lord Jesus, who still behold armed hands in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!
    Forgive us, O Lord.
    Forgive us, if we are not satisfied with the nails with which we crucified Your hands, as we continue to slate our thirst with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
    Forgive us, if these hands which You created to tend have been transformed into instruments of death.
    Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother;
    Forgive us, if we continue like Cain to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
    Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labors, if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
    Forgive us for war, O Lord. Forgive us for war, O Lord.
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You! Hold fast the hand of Cain!
    Illumine our consciences;
    May our will not be done;
    Abandon us not to our own actions!
    Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
    And when you have held back the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.
    O Lord, put a halt to the violence!
    Stop us, O Lord!

  39. Gabby says:

    “And when you have held back the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.”

    Yes and amen. Lord, have mercy and forgive us!

  40. JimmieT says:

    Duane Arnold@ 1:56pm
    With all due respect why would I or any other true believer in Christ and His gospel have any interest in a prayer of Pope Francis?

  41. Michael says:


    Maybe because he is a believer and head of the largest Christian denomination on the planet…I understand that among the hillbillies Catholics aren’t considered Christians, but we don’t accept that here…

  42. JimmieT says:

    Sorry- cannot in good conscience buy it. Spent too much time studying the cults including the Catholic Church. Also not sure who the “we” are. Do you mean every contributor or just a select few?

  43. JimmieT says:

    Hillbillies- to your shame you have arrived at a new low and have insulted many.

  44. JimmieT says:

    Michael- if there is no room at this site for my opinions or input just say the word but please don’t call me names(hillbillies). By the way- I was pastoring when you were still in diapers.

  45. Michael says:


    If you were pastoring while I was in diapers…you are a very old man.
    I’m 63 years old.

    I will not tolerate any orthodox Christian group to be framed as outside the faith.


  46. Duane Arnold says:

    “With all due respect why would I or any other true believer in Christ and His gospel have any interest in a prayer of Pope Francis?”

    1. Because he is a brother in Christ.
    2. Because he has fostered good will and closer relationships with evangelicals and charismatics than almost any previous Pope.
    3. Because he is the leader of a church with 1.2 billion adherents.
    4. Because he is actually a very well trained and educated theologian.

  47. pstrmike says:

    Fitting for Saint Patrick’s Day. RIP, Dolores.

  48. DH says:

    The problem with accepting all orthodox groups is they can have polar opposite theologies and doctrines and still be orthodox, truth is sacrificed for the greater good.

  49. Michael says:


    I define orthodoxy as assent to the ancient creeds and confessions of the church.
    Different theologies and doctrines do not bother me…as long as orthodoxy is held.
    Those truths are beyond argument…the other “truths” are matters of personal understanding and preference.

  50. bob1 says:

    I really like the concept of generous orthodoxy…if I’m not mistaken, I think it’s also the name of the welbsite of Fleming Rutledge the Anglican theologian and preacher. Don’t know if she originated the term…

  51. Alan says:

    A useful repost.

  52. The New Victor says:

    richard, that’s a stumble. I saw my mom robbed blind and even in danger from people she tried to help who took advantage of her, and it was hard to deal with 120 miles away though I did the best that I could. What is the bigger sin? Submitting unto death or failing to protect your family?

    Truthfully, if struggle with this if it were Red Dawn since I have kids.

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