Just War Theory and Evangelism Part 1: Jus ad Bellum
This post introduces the concept of jus ad bellum, or “the rightness in going to war,” and marks the beginning of a 5-part series which relates components of just war theory to the field of evangelism.
A common theme on this blog will be the juxtaposition of physical and spiritual warfare. Just war theory is studied by politicians, generals, lawyers and explores the concept of justice and morality in war.
This series will compare the concepts studied to pursue the rightness of waging war and relate them to the rightness of sharing your faith.
Each post in this series will cover one of the following concepts:
- Jus ad Bellum: the rightness in going to war
- Jus in Bello: the rightness in the conduct of war
- Escalation of Force: the rules of war
- Proportionate Response: the sensibility of war
- Jus post Bellum: the rightness after the war (also known as “just peace”)
Jus ad bellum deals with the rightness in going to war. Certain conditions must be me before a nation is seen as justified in beating the war drums. Here are a few Jus ad Bellum criteria which can also apply to jus ad evangelizandum, or “the right to evangelize.”
- Normandy, 1944.
Right Intention: as with any action, right intention is one of two qualifiers to deem an act as a moral act. The second is that the act itself must be a right act. If either the act or the intention is wrong, then we are not complete in fulfilling our moral duties. Spreading your worldview in the pursuit of financial gain or personal fame would fail to meet this criteria.
Just Cause: what gives us just cause to share our faith? Truth. If your worldview is true, then you are justified in sharing that worldview with others. If you are unsure whether your worldview is true, you have a duty to investigate it before sharing it. If you are knowingly spreading falsehoods, then you are acting with wrong intentions.
If you are confused as to whether or not truth even exists at all, I can understand why. But I can also assure you that truth exists and is knowable. Seek it and you will find it.
The Aim of Peace: Evangelists must always have peace in mind as the ultimate aim before engaging in spiritual hand-to-hand combat.
Before you dismantle someone’s argument leaving them in pieces, you should have a plan to help put them back together again. The Christian worldview includes loving your enemies and helping them find the path which is right and true.
In other words,
- Share with the right intentions
- Share only the truth
- Wage war only in the pursuit of peace
What criteria would you add to Jus ad Evangalizandum?
- Sonic Boom(er) Blues
- Caution: I Have a Sword and I Don’t Know How to Use It
- Fighter Pilot: Fighting for Rights and Freedom
About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.