The Denison Forum Podcast Episode 11: What does the Bible say about war?

The Denison Forum Podcast Episode 11: What does the Bible say about war? March 7, 2022

Release date: 3/7/2022

Summary: Dr. Jim Denison and Dr. Mark Turman discuss the Ukraine/Russian conflict, why Putin believes the invasion is justified, whether this conflict will devolve into World War III, what the Bible says about war, and four encouraging ways to pray for Ukraine.

Show notes: First, Dr. Jim Denison and Dr. Mark Turman unpack the recent developments in Ukraine. They express admiration for the Ukrainian president Zelensky and the heroic way that Ukraine is holding out against Russia. Then, Dr. Denison talks about the difference between a cold war, a hot war, and the means of conflict in a cyberwar. They also discuss the international backlash against Putin’s move into Ukraine. Then, Dr. Denison relates a difficult reality: The United States is not as prepared for a cyberwar as Russia is. They discuss the risks posing U.S. citizens if that were to unfold. 

They then delve into a discussion of the difference between “eastern” (namely, Russia and China) and “western” worldviews. Dr. Denison unpacks how the individualism of the west means that we prize persons above the “whole,” or the “state.” On the other hand, Putin’s eastern perspective means that he is willing to sacrifice massive numbers to serve the interests of Russia. Dr. Denison shows how authoritarianism plays into this conflict and Putin’s further interests in taking Ukraine. 

At this point, Dr. Denison unpacks St. Augustine’s just war theory with his famous seven justifications, such as self-defense, proportionality, justice, last resort, etc. From Putin’s perspective, from the eastern mindset that serves Russia first above all else, this war meets all the qualifications, while we in the West would say it meets absolutely none of them. This shows how complex war and international politics are. In this context, Dr. Turman and Dr. Denison unfold his likely motivations in greater detail. 

They then go off track to discuss a potential parallel: how Mexico could hypothetically use similar logic to Putin, but within the Western worldview, to regain portions of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and even southern California. This idea of war between the US and Mexico is entirely theoretical, but Dr. Denison covers some history; how America ultimately wronged Mexico by taking land in the 1800s, similar to how Putin is currently trying to take Ukraine. They follow this parallel for some time. Finally, Dr. Denison discusses the origins of the City of God where St. Augustine outlines the just war theory. 

In conclusion, Dr. Denison provides applications for Christians in America. We can rest in the Lord, knowing that he has things under control. He also answers whether any Christians should join the Ukrainian defense. Then, he gives four ways to pray for Ukraine:

  • For God to be glorified and to redeem this war for his purposes
  • For Putin’s heart to change and for him to come to repentance 
  • For miraculous deliverance for Ukraine and in defense of Ukraine
  • For God to use our fear to turn to God, as an opportunity to turn to faith

And finally, Dr. Denison prays himself to close the podcast. 

P.S. Jim’s most pivotal book to date, The Coming Tsunami, is now available on Kindle, hardcover, and Audible.

Resources and further reading:

About the hosts 

Jim Denison, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and the CEO of Denison Ministries, which is transforming 6.8 million lives through meaningful digital content.

Dr. Mark Turman is the executive director of Denison Forum. He received his DMin from Truett at Baylor and previously served as lead pastor of Crosspoint Church. 

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