Nationalistic Pride & War

Jeremiah 48:29; Zechariah 9:6; 10:11; 11:3; Jeremiah 13:9
       We have heard of the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.
       The pride of the Philistines.
       The pride of Jordan.
       The pride of Assyria.
       The pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Pride is one of the distinguishing characteristics of puny man, and has been one of the chief causes of all the contentions, wars, devastations, systems of slavery, and ambitious projects which have desolated and demoralized our sinful world.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The Christian message does not denounce patriotism. There’s nothing wrong in it. It’s a poor man who doesn’t love his country and his nation. There’s nothing in the Scriptures against that; it is God who has divided up the nations, and described and defined the bound of their habitations. It is God’s will that there should be nations. But it is not God’s will that there should be nationalism―an aggressive nationalism. There’s nothing wrong, I say, in a man honouring his own country and delighting in it, but it is utterly un-Christian to say “my country right or wrong.” That’s wrong. That is fatally wrong. That is flying into the face of the Scripture.

C. H. SPURGEON: Wherever great powers have interfered with smaller and inoffensive nationalities, for the sake of increasing their territory, or their influence, they are very guilty; and wherein nations have shown a feverish irritability, or a readiness for war, they are also to be censured. Is not war always a conglomerate of crimes?

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): War is the slaughterhouse of mankind, and the hell of this present world.

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER (1772-1851): No man in his right sense can believe that is a right thing for men to destroy each others’ lives. For a man to shed the blood of his brother, is murder: to shed the blood of hundreds, is murder on a large scale. There is no excuse for war but dire necessity. As long as possible, every nation should avoid war; but a state of warfare may be forced upon a nation. Self defence is the first law of our nature, and is a duty. On the contrary principle, the lawless and violent would have every thing in their own hands, and the virtuous and peaceable would be the prey of the wicked. But still, it is an evident truth, that every case in which human life is taken in war, is a case of murder; some persons must be accountable for the shedding of all the blood which is spilled. And if this be so, then that nation which, without sufficient reason, commences a war, or provokes a war, has an awful responsibility resting on it; and so also, when a war is in progress, that nation which refuses to make peace, or insist on unreasonable conditions, is guilty of all the blood which may be shed, and all the misery produced.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Crusades for the recovery of a holy land so called―by the way, latterly, the most unholy in the map of the world―and wars for the support of religion, are an insult to the Gospel, and blasphemy against God!

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Let men who delight in the cruelties of war remember that their day is coming.

C. H. SPURGEON: A teacher was once instructing a class in patriotism and nationality. He happened to see the national flag hanging up upon the wall, and he asked a child, “Now, my boy, what is that flag?”
      “It is the English flag, sir.”
      “And what is the use of it?”
      The truthful boy replied, “It is used to cover the dirty place in the wall behind it.”
      I need not interpret the parable.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I believe there are many outside the church today because in the First World War the Christian church so frequently became a recruiting station…But the Church in the New Testament is not identified with any nation or nations.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The man who is content to sit ignorantly by his own fireside, wrapped up in his own private affairs, and has no public eye for what is going on in the church and the world, is a miserable patriot, and a poor style of Christian.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I am profoundly convinced that what is keeping large numbers of people from Christ, and from salvation, and from the Christian church, is this awful confusion of which the church herself has so frequently been guilty―There are certain things which should never be confused―Well, let me put if first by saying that [the Christian message] is not a great appeal for patriotism…
      If ever a man was proud of the fact of his nationality, it was the apostle Paul, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin, Philippians 3:5. He was a narrow nationalist. He despised the others; the Gentiles were dogs outside the pale. Ah, yes! but [after his conversion to Jesus Christ] the thing he glories in, you remember, is this: in whom ye also have trusted, Ephesians 1:13; the Gentiles have come in, have been made fellow heirs with Jews, the middle wall of partition has been broken down, there is no longer Jew nor Gentile, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free, male or female, all are one in Christ, Colossians 3:11. That’s the Christian position…Here is the way to break down that kind of nationalistic spirit that leads to war―the belief that we are always right, and everyone else always wrong. It’s as wrong in nations as it is in individuals. It’s always wrong. So that the Christian message is not an appeal to patriotism, and if Christianity is ever portrayed in that form it is a denial―a travesty of the message!―and it is misleading in the eyes and the ears of those who listen to it.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): It is astonishing what nonsense some people will talk in the pulpit. When I was out the other day, I heard of a man who had been preaching on modern improvement; and, amongst other things, of the merciful way of making war since the invention of gunpowder, which proved so much easier a death than that inflicted by the ancient weapons. He got rightly served for his pains; for they have called him the gunpowder parson ever since…I preach Christ crucified; and when that ceases to my only theme, may I cease from the pulpit.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Christianity has not come into the world to put an end to war; it has not come to reform the world. What has it come for? It has come to save us from the destruction that is coming to the world. This Book asserts a judgement, an end of history. God in Christ will judge the whole world in righteousness, sending those who have turned their backs upon Him, refused His offer of salvation in Christ, to everlasting perdition, and ushering the saints into the glory of a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” 2 Peter 3:13.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): There we shall hear the voice of war no more.


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