Originally reviewed 5/31/2015 – revised 3/19/2016
The War for Righteousness; Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation by Richard Gamble
In my struggle over the past few years to understand what the real Christ-like view of war should be, I’ve been reading and praying more for understanding and wisdom. I’ve been working on reading this book for some time. It is a documentation of excerpts from the writings and sermons of many prominent Christian ministers prior to the beginning of and during WWI. The point is to show the change in the traditional Christian view of war as a definite evil to the Progressive view that ‘modern’ Christian theology wedded to the Progressive Social Gospel is necessary to bring about the kingdom of God on earth via the Christianizing justifications for State actions, combining church and state.
To sum up, the political and theological camps which I have always assumed to be opposed are actually outgrowths of two or more previous broad groups which were opposed, all mixed through a process of political manipulation for secular goals.
It is apparent that some of the smartest people of the age allowed themselves to be active participants in their own deception. I feel that I have a party to the same kind of self-deception regarding certain areas of my own theology of Christianity and war.
It is humbling to discover that things which I thought were so important, were the mistakes of theologians a mere century ago and not the core truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ that has been transmitted for 2000 years. I come back to the need to remain, as said by Paul in first Corinthians, “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
I recommend this book to any Christian, liberal or conservative, who is struggling with what is the Christian view of patriotism, war, and militarism. You may not change your view(nor should you based on a single book), but you deserve to know where some of your theological ideas about those topics come from.