All rights reserved by the author
Homer Dewayne Shappley
All rights reserved by the author
Homer Dewayne Shappley
Conflict and WAR or PEACE and SECURITY
Which do you want? And I?
If we could ask every teenager, young adult, and mature person around the globe of Earth, surely the great majority would answer: “Peace and Security.” No matter their country, race, social bracket, financial state, or religion.
A majority, but not all, for there are actually men and women young and older who obviously thrive to some degree on Conflict and War. Especially those who purposely choose the military as a profession. Maybe most of these, even of the highest echelons, love and laud the “power and the glory, the adventure and adrenalin, the commands and medals” of the earthly “military,” yes, until certain Death at the hands of
the enemy stands triumphantly before them. Then, perhaps most who experience those last shattering seconds of their life might wish they had chosen the Flag of Peace for life on earth instead of the Flag of War.
Do you want World Peace and Security? Do I? Yes, I really do most fervently desire it.
Do you know that the United Nations, with 193 nations as members, has a Security Council “charged with ensuring international peace and security?” In efforts to fulfill that purpose, the UN has carried out thirteen peacekeeping missions since its beginning, using 81,000 military personnel from 121 countries, at a cost of nearly $6.7 billion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations
Now, if the UN has such great problems in
“ensuring international peace and security,”
what in the world can you and I do to help bring it
about? Will there continue to be wars periodically, like the one initiated by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, on February 24, 2022?
Probably so, as long as there are politicians and professional military with the “aggression-war mindset” and enough people to keep them in power. What can we peacemakers do about them? At the very least, not admire or glorify them, nor vote for them if we have the right to vote. If not, live in peace each with his/her own self and all people we are in contact with, regardless of whether they choose “Conflict and War” or “Peace and Security.” Each and every one of us who wants peace being an agent and example of it.
CHURCHES and Earthly-Physical-Material Warfare
If you are in a church, what about the position of its leadership on War and Peace? Does your church leadership approve and promote earthly-physical-material warfare?
Any person who reads the Bible with normal intelligence and understanding would rationally conclude, it is to be assumed, that the Creator God it reveals is a God of Peace, not of war. His Son Jesus Christ, being the very “image of God” his Father (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15), “came and preached peace to” the Gentiles who were “far off, and peace to” the Jews “that were nigh.” Ephesians 2:17. Saying: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9. His message for all human beings is “the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15
People, including some who are nominally in churches, who know just enough about the Bible to be dangerous to themselves and others they may influence, may be heard to say: “I don’t like the God of the Old Testament. An angry God of plagues, enslavement, bloodshed, vengeance, and war. Definitely not a God of compassion and peace.”
Yes, on occasion he can be that kind of God and forthrightly presents himself as such, amply explaining against whom and when, making it diaphanously clear for the understanding and objective that his fiery wrath falls only on rebellious, hardened, recalcitrant, irredeemable peoples who
have resisted his every effort to save them, leaving him no other recourse but to punish them according to their entrenched mindset and evil deeds.
Do you honestly want to know the true God of the Old Testament? His treatment of the Israelites under their king Zedekiah is a perfect example of his longsuffering, love, and compassion “until there was no remedy.” 2 Chronicles 36:11-16
Zedekiah, king for eleven years, “did evil… did not humble himself… rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear allegiance by God… stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against… God. … all the officials of the priests and the people were very unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations… they defiled the house of the Lord… Yet… God… sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His
dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against His people until there was no remedy."
What, then? A very patient, loving Father God who tries “again and again” to save his elect people from their deep evil and hardened hearts “because He had compassion” for them! “…until there was no remedy.” 2 Chronicles 36:16. Do we get that? He unleashes severe punishments, including physical death, on segments of populations, even on a national scale, only when “there” is “NO REMEDY!” Do we see him thus, and understand him?
For his justice demands that he thus acts. Only people who want “a god of total tolerance for whom there is no sin, no evil, just circumstances and outcomes for which no individual human being should be called to account; a spineless, malleable god bereft of convictions and morals,” consider that justness of the only true and living God to be unjust, harsh, unloving, an evil in and of itself.
By the way, that same “just God” of the Old Testament manifests himself in the very same way in the New Testament. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10, among numerous texts.
God, “the Father of spirits,” (Hebrews 12:9) of yours and mine, hope you believe it, “desires ALL MEN [generic for “men and women”] to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16. “God is love.” 1 John 4:8. Definitely a “God… of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
Furthermore, “…the kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy…” Romans 14:17. A “kingdom… not of this world… not of this realm.” John 18:36. Whose citizens, “though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” of “arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge
of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we [Paul and the other apostles] are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. Our “obedience is complete” when we die “in Christ.” Revelation 14:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. Any “punishment” on earth administered by biblically qualified bishops (elders, pastors) or evangelists (Acts 14:23; :1 Timothy 3 and 4; Titus 1; 2 Timothy 4:1-5) is to be strictly spiritual, never physical.
The apostle Paul instructs the church in Corinth to “punish” an adulterous member by refusing “even to eat with such a person,” the purpose being to get him to repent, which he did to his credit. 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11. Any “destruction of his body” was to be carried out by Satan, absolutely NOT by the church. 1 Corinthians 5:5. “For our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against… rulers… powers… WORLD FORCES of this DARKNESS, against the SPIRITUAL FORCES of WICKEDNESS…” Ephesians 6:12.
Is it not, then, perfectly clear that the God of the Bible wants to be and is, fundamentally and essentially, a “God of Peace,” of love and compassion, that Jesus Christ his Son lives up to his title as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), that their spiritual Kingdom (Ephesians 5:5) is the Kingdom of Peace, that their only warfare is exclusively spiritual-moral-mental, “not of the flesh,” using only spiritual armor and weapons? Ephesians 6:10-17. That, since the Kingdom of Christ and God is “not of this world,” it can never enter into official, political, secular, material alliances with kingdoms, nations, and empires of this world, publicly declaring itself for or against this or that worldly power, taking up material arms and making earthly-physical-material war? That it is, by nature and mission, above and beyond all that? Of a realm unto itself, able to exist as a positive entity within any earthly realm as long as it is granted the freedom to do so?
How, then, is it conceivable that the leaders of the two, numerically, greatest churches of Christendom, namely, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Catholic Church, have, through long centuries, intertwined themselves with secular, political, worldly powers, even adjudicating to themselves authority over them? Going so far as to make earthly-physical warfare on behalf of or against one or another of them? The history of the Common Era (Christian Age to Christians) abundantly proves that they have. And so have some of their Protestant prodigies. The Pope of Roman Catholicism has, at times, had his own earthly army, and even today has his Swiss Guard.
How is it possible that Vladimir Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, and All Rus since January 27, 2009, who was, “according to material from the Soviet archives… a KGB agent,” publicly declares himself in favor of the war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, blessing “the Russian soldiers fighting there?” Pitting the Russian Orthodox military against the Ukrainian Orthodox military to mien and kill each other? Preaching war instead of peaceful coexistence. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarch_Kirill_of_Moscow#Support_for_the_Russian_invasion_of_Ukraine,_2022
To top it off, during the reign of Patriarch Vladimir Kirill, “a Patriarchal cathedral (Патриарший собор) in honor of the Resurrection of Christ, ‘dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War [World War II], as well as the military feats of the Russian people in all wars,’ [has been] built in the Patriot Park in the Odintsovsky District,
Moscow Oblast.“ It is the “Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces… Russian: Главный храм Вооружённых сил России (Храм Воскресения Христова.” This cathedral was inaugurated on June 14, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Cathedral_of_the_Russian_Armed_Forces
Do you perhaps wonder if the “God of Peace” and the “Prince of Peace” are pleased with it, honored by it? Built “in honor of the resurrection of Christ,” but “dedicated” to the “military feats” of a nation “in all wars.” Indeed!
Something is entirely wrong here. Do you see it? Surely you do in the light of all the information presented above on the true nature of God, Christ, and their Kingdom “not of this world."
How could Christianity produce such churches and leaders? You will already know and understand if you have knowledge of what Roman Emperor Constantine I did when he “converted” to the Christianity of his day. For he is the
one who convoked the first Nicene Council in 325 CE, presided over it, forced the Arrian majority of bishops present to vote in favor of the Athanasian minority to approve the Trinitarian dogma, thus binding the church to the state, and sent his military forces to persecute and kill hundreds of thousands of Christians in that time who refused to submit to the Nicene Creed. It is absolutely verifiable history. From that fateful time, a majority of Christianity wed secular-political-military powers in the most unholy of unions.
Have you perhaps been born, first physically, then spiritually, of that ungodly union? Of course, not of your own will and decision as an infant and child but through an upbringing in deeply-rooted, powerful traditional religion and culture. If so, what will you do about it?
Can you contribute to World Peace and Security if you are active in a church that undermines that ideal? You may try but will perhaps always be seen as a “Christian supporting Conflict and War” because you are a member of a church that does, supporting it with your membership, presence, and, it is to be assumed, your money.
Making WAR on YOURSELF
Can you contribute to World Peace and Security if you make mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and even physical war on yourself? And/or on family members, neighbors, acquaintances of any kind, people in power, even society in general? Consciously or unconsciously? Are you afflicted with an aggressive, confrontational, belligerent state of mind, attitude, demeanor, spirit? If so, how could you ever be at peace with yourself?
Would you like to have relief and healing? A substantial decrease in so much belligerence and striving, internal and external? To enjoy the relaxing, pleasant benefits of personal peace and the productive potential and avenues for development it opens up?
The Prince of Peace offers you and every human being that kind of peace. He says: “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27. The God of Peace offers his own peace to all who want it. It is “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” that “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
How does that “peace of God” work to “guard… hearts and… minds” in times of spiritual-moral conflicts and wars? The key is that It works for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” Being in him, we can understand how it works.
How does one arrive at being “in Christ Jesus?” By believing in him and obeying his “gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15. True “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6) leads inexorably to true repentance and baptism (immersion in water) “for the forgiveness of
sins.” Acts 2:36-47; 22:16. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Galatians 3.27
Those who, thus, come to be “in Christ Jesus” clothe themselves, metaphorically, “with Christ,” that is, make all his teachings, attitudes, attributes, and examples their own to the maximum degree possible, thinking and acting like him in all the circumstances of life on earth. This is the power that guards their hearts and minds, and gives them an inward, powerful, stable peace of unequal quality that no earthly power can take from them, not even Satan himself!
It is yours if you want it.
A great part of the power of the “peace of God” to guard hearts and minds comes from learning to think on what he thinks on. That is summed up in the following statement:
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Text and Document Composition by Homer Dewayne Shappley
Questions or doubts? I would be happy to hear from you. email@example.com
Category: Enlightened Understanding and Intelligence.
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