But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

The following months have witnessed increased tensions among the world’s superpowers. Russia has attempted to annex portions of Belarus and Georgia, to the protestations of an almost fiscally bankrupt NATO. The United States has issued harsh rebukes to China over its attempts to control the...

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During the Christmas season of 1999, while living in Russia, I read George Weigel’s extraordinary biography of John Paul II, Witness to Hope. It was not the first time I had reflected upon John Paul II, but it was the first time I understood the magnitude of his life. Over the course of...

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Thursday, 14 May 2020 07:25

Does God Exist?

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Does God exist?

As a Christian writer and speaker, I get this question all the time. And while my approach to answering it differs based on the context and the person asking, my answer is always the same: “Yes, God exists. God is real and He has communicated Himself to human beings through...

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Praise be to Allah…. Allah Most High has struck America in its most vulnerable spot, destroying its mighty buildings, praise be unto Him. Look at America—filled with terror from north to south, east to west—all praise be to Allah!

Thus began Osama bin Laden in his “Oath to...

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In the twenty-first century, war has morphed into something historically unrecognizable. Our conflicts are qualitatively and quantitatively unlike those in the past. What’s more, war will morph even more in upcoming years. Today’s wars are more about cultural and religious animosity...

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Thursday, 07 May 2020 22:59

The Case for Humility in Our Coronavirus Era

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During the past two months, media hysteria that had been directed toward 2020 presidential candidates is now mostly being directed toward the epidemiologists, cultural commentators, and elected officials who are publicly discussing their views about how to manage the COVID-19 crisis.

Cable news...

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Sunday, 19 April 2020 20:00

Why Is Sex So Complicated?

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If there’s one thing about sex just about everyone can agree on, it’s that sex is complicated. But complicated doesn’t mean (as some assume) that sex is bad. Quite the contrary: sex is complicated precisely because it is so good, valuable, and powerful.

According to the creator of...

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There are few statements more mistaken than “all is fair in love and war.” The moral law applies in every context, including even on the battlefield. Thus, the just war tradition recognizes and affirms a moral symmetry between criteria for deciding whether or not to make war (“jus...

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The first two decades of the twenty-first century have been rife with war and threats of war. Jihadist-related deaths have increased from an average of roughly 2,500 innocents per year from 2001 to 2006 to a peak of 44,000 in 2014. ISIS waged deadly attacks and genocidal...

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I am often asked—by skeptics, by agnostics, by atheists—how I could possibly believe Jesus rose from the dead. My answer? “There’s plenty of evidence that, yes, he did. He really did, literally and physically, walk out of his tomb.”

In the past few weeks, though,...

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Monday, 06 April 2020 08:04

Politics Christian Witness in a Secular Age

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Friends, I participated in a ZOOM conference this week, in which I spoke for 45 minutes on the topic of “Politics and Christian Witness in a Secular Age.” Following the talk, I fielded questions for another 45 minutes. If you’re interested, the talk has been posted at my new...

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Sunday, 05 April 2020 05:30

8 Recent Champions of the Just War Tradition

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In recent posts, we described the essence of the just war tradition, contrasted it with pacifism and jihadism, and described its foundations in ancient thought and its development through the medieval and early modern eras. In this post, we will explore the work of selected twentieth-century just...

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As COVID-19 continues to disrupt and distress people around the world, it has been necessary for many churches to cease gathering on Sunday mornings. For all churches, this transition has been difficult. But pastors of smaller churches, which usually do not regularly livestream services and do...

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Thursday, 02 April 2020 01:44

7 Tips: How to Adapt Quickly to Online Teaching

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As COVID-19 continues to disrupt and distress people around the world, many colleges, universities, and seminaries have switched on-campus classes to online media such as video conferencing or recorded lectures. For students who are unfamiliar with online learning, the abrupt switch will...

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Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to permanently close places of worship that resist the city’s order to pause services during the coronavirus outbreak.

De Blasio mentioned that a “small number” of religious communities had ignored his order to pause...

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Sunday, 29 March 2020 05:30

7 All-Stars of the Just War Tradition

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As we noted in a recent article, the roots of the just war tradition are found both in the Graeco-Roman tradition and in the biblical witness. Even so, many modern histories of the early church assert that the early church was universally pacifist. In fact, if you mentioned the word...

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The United States has suddenly come face-to-face with a feeling most humans in history have experienced: the dread and fear of a sudden and unavoidable death. No vaccine is available to save us. No amount of caution is certain to spare us.

But unlike many people in past history, we are, for the...

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What is the genealogy of the just war tradition? If we trace its roots, will we find them planted in religious or secular soil? The answer is “both.” The just war tradition emerges primarily from two streams of thought: the ancient Graeco-Roman world and the biblical writers of the Old...

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In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, various governing authorities have called for the cessation of public gatherings, including church gatherings. In my own state of North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper gave an executive order forbidding public gatherings of more than 100 people. This...

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Saturday, 14 March 2020 17:00

Why I am a Proponent of the Just War Tradition

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Of the three logical categories in the ethics of warfare—pacifism, jihadism/crusaderism/militarism, and just war—the just war tradition alone is properly realistic. It is anthropologically realist, in that it alone recognizes the limits to what can be achieved in a world populated with...

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We live in a secular age. This is not to say that we live in an era in which most people are atheists or agnostics. But it is to say that we live in an era in which many or most people live their lives without real reference to God. It is to say that we live in an era in which Christianity has been...

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Tuesday, 10 March 2020 04:43

Why I am Not a Jihadi

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There are only three logically consistent options when choosing an ethical framework for understanding matters of war and peace. At one end of the spectrum is pacifism, an ethic that wishes to achieve peace by refusing to take up arms. I reject pacifism as a form of idealism, unsuited for the real...

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Friday, 06 March 2020 02:38

Why I am Peaceful but Not a Pacifist

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Some readers may be surprised to learn that pacifism is not a monolithic ideology. In fact, in Nevertheless: The Varieties of Religious Pacifism, Christian pacifist John Howard Yoder lists twenty-nine varieties of pacifism. Yoder’s list, which is confined to religious forms of pacifism,...

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In Book 19 of City of God, the great theologian Augustine (354-430 A.D.) argues that all human beings desire peace. Even war is fought to achieve peace. Augustine writes:

For even they who make war desire nothing but victory—desire, that is to say, to attain to peace with glory. For what else...

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The current news cycle has witnessed a flurry of activity surrounding the latest round of peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the United States. Many are hopeful that these could bring an end to America’s longest war. Seventeen long years have passed since U.S. troops first deployed to...

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