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What Does the Bible Say About..War,Pacifism,Gun Control, and Separation of Church and State?

What about the government calling for war? Are there any kinds of war that are sinful? What about the current conflict in Iraq? There are rumors that this war is for oil. But, if it is really to disarm Saddam Hussein, is this war permitted by God? I guess the real question is what kind of restrictions does God put on government officials (besides the prohibition of putting themselves above God)?

Does God permit the separation of church and state?

What about gun control? Would God permit gun control? Would God hold the weapon or the person accountable for a murder? Should we pass uniform laws restricting weapons or should we just take weapons on an individual basis?

What about weapons of mass destruction? Does God permit the use of weapons of mass destruction, biological or chemical warfare?

What about pacifism? Does God want pacifism?


Many wars have been fought in God's name that were not God's wars. Probably most wars have been for personal or national gain, but they have to be justified in a way that the general populace will accept them. In the potential conflict between the United Nations and Iraq the reasons are complex. Ultimately, though, if a war is fought it will be a purely political war. That is not to say that it will not be one that God can use for his own purposes. As indicated in the book of Habakkuk and other places, God uses evil nations sometimes to punish or warn His people. If we do get into a war, it may be that God is trying to remind His followers that there is no reason to worry about anything, since what happens on this earth is secondary to our attempts to be with God in heaven. Or it may be for any of a number of other reasons.

God permits a lot of things that he doesn't approve of. Jesus said in Matthew 19:18 that God permitted some divorces that were not in accordance with his will. So he may permit separation of church and state, gun control, wars, pacifism, weapons of mass destruction, etc. whether or not he approves of them.

God doesn't say anything in His word relative to gun control. He holds each individual responsible for his own actions (Ezekiel 18), and so would hold the person and not the weapon responsible. Beyond that, his word really doesn't address the issue. The same may be said about weapons of mass destruction.

God has permitted the separation of church and state in many nations. His people, Israel, were to be governed by God himself, but there is no indication that he expected that of other nations. My personal opinion (which is not worth much) is that the freedom of religion we currently enjoy in the United States may be a form of temptation rather than a benefit. God would, of course, prefer to be the ruler of everyone's life, but allows us to choose individually whether we will follow him or not. On a national level, however, he generally doesn't require that the government be a theocracy.

Does God want pacifism? That is an age-old question that many people have never resolved. My answer is usually "yes and no." God would prefer that we treat all men with love and tolerance. (1 John 3:11; Romans 12:18) To what extent, though, are we to be pacifistic? If someone is trying to kill my wife or children do I have a right to defend them? If someone is threatening my country do I have a right to defend it? I gave my answers at What Does the Bible Say About Serving In the Military. Each person must study the scriptures and determine where they draw the line. The answer would also depend on your definition of pacifism, because many people define it differently.