Just War Theory and Evangelism Part 2: Jus in Bello
This week we continue our 5-part series on just war theory and evangelism by looking at jus in bello, or the “rightness of the conduct of war.”
There is a right way and a wrong way to wage war.
There are wrong ways to share your faith too.
Today’s post is part two in a 5-part series relating components of just war theory to the field of evangelism.
We’ll continue to juxtapose physical and spiritual warfare, and we’ll compare the rightness of waging war with the rightness of sharing your faith.
Here is a quick review of the concepts covered in this series (click each one to jump to the previous posts):
- Jus ad Bellum: the rightness in going to war
- Jus in Bello: the rightness of 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”)
This post covers jus in bello, or the “rightness in the conduct of war.”
Here we’ll cover two jus in bello criteria for engaging in physical warfare:
Proportional Means: this concept states that only the required amount of force should be used to accomplish the objective. This has great application to the realm of evangelism. You must start from where the person is at, and every person is different. A seeker on the verge of a faith commitment may only need a nudge in the right direction. Introducing complex theology and counter-arguments is probably neither desired nor required at that point. However, someone with a more apathetic disposition may benefit from a deeper apologetic.
Noncombatant Immunity: In war, you don’t target noncombatants. Doing so can forfeit your right to the Geneva Convention protections and lead to war crime indictments. What defines a combatant in the field of evangelism? Pride. Pride is a spiritual cancer and the culprit behind the world’s most infamous fallen angel. If a heart is pride-free, you have an obligation to do no harm. However, arrogance can justify the use of painful truths which will undoubtedly injure their pride-filled heart.
You have no duty to retreat when under a venomous spiritual attack. You can and should stand your ground by sharing the truth in love. You can’t do this without preparation. The Christian can reference Ephesians 6 and put on the full armor of God before defending the truth under the banner of 1 Peter 3:15:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (NIV)
Have you been a victim of spiritual war crimes?
Or could you be charged with them? . . .
- 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.