News of the Week

In the most recent issue of Faith Today magazine there is an article called, “A Christian response at one year of war in Ukraine.” You can find it here. It’s hard to believe this conflict has been going on for a year. And, sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any immediate prospect for its conclusion or what such a conclusion could possibly involve. Indeed, it seems like our best hope and most fervent efforts ought to move in the direction of diplomatic solutions and preventing escalation.

I suppose much could be said — and has been — about the politics of the situation. Even though most western countries are offering more or less full support of Ukraine, there is debate about how much support should be given. For instance, check out this debate on the subject from Unherd. Like many current events in our culture, the conflict in Ukraine is proving divisive among those coming from differing political perspectives.

While I get that the relationship between faith and politics is complicated, there is an important sense in which Christians ought to be non-partisan. That is, our job is not to argue that one party or political leader best represents the Christian worldview or even to seek one that does. Not that we should never argue that a particular policy is best for human flourishing from a Christian point of view. But we should never think or allow ourselves to believe that political solutions or particular political leaders can bring us salvation. Our hope is never in politics but in the redemptive power of God.

For perspective on world events, Scripture is instructive:

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand,
and the rulers conspire together
against the Lord and his Anointed One:
“Let’s tear off their chains
and throw their ropes off of us.”

The one enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord ridicules them.
Then he speaks to them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath:
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will declare the Lord’s decree.
He said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.
Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with an iron scepter;
you will shatter them like pottery.”

So now, kings, be wise;
receive instruction, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with reverential awe
and rejoice with trembling.
Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry
and you will perish in your rebellion,
for his anger may ignite at any moment.
All who take refuge in him are happy.

Psalm 2

There’s also this passage from the prophets:

In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s house
will be established
at the top of the mountains
and will be raised above the hills.
Peoples will stream to it,
and many nations will come and say,
“Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us about his ways
so we may walk in his paths.”
For instruction will go out of Zion
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will settle disputes among many peoples
and provide arbitration for strong nations
that are far away.
They will beat their swords into plows
and their spears into pruning knives.
Nation will not take up the sword against nation,
and they will never again train for war.

Micah 4:1-4

Nothing we can do as human beings can bring a complete end to war and conflict, national rivalries or aggression. There will always be nations and rulers who seek power and control, who plot to expand their influence. Psalm 2 bears witness to the truth of this. Any solutions we are able to put in place are always temporary and imperfect. Thankfully, one day the Lord will bring peace and bring an end to all violence, as we see in Micah.

In the meantime, we need to do what we can to adopt a Christian posture towards the events of our world. What I appreciate about the article in Faith Today is how it emphasizes thoughtful, practical ways Christians can respond to this continuing conflict. On this score, we don’t have to be politically polarized to pray, to assist refugees, and to admonish our leaders with concern and wisdom. Because we are acting out of a worldview that acknowledges only the Lord can and will usher in a kingdom in which there will never again be a conflict like the one that has been going on between Russia and Ukraine for the last year.

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