Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: War Is Not Christian

Keith Giles released his latest e-book, War Is Not Christian, fittingly on Memorial Day. I downloaded it and read it over the last few days and it is a brief but interesting exploration of a topic that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the church.

I have to admit it wasn’t what I expected but that is probably because I didn’t pay attention to the description. War Is Not Christian is a series of shorter writings that generally tie together on the topic of non-violence. I was expecting a more comprehensive, cohesive book but that doesn’t diminish that what Keith wrote is thought-provoking and more than a little unsettling.

Some chapters didn’t seem to fit. I wasn’t 100% sure why they were included in the book. In other places I had to question where Keith was going. On more than one occasion Keith references Gandhi, once saying that he has a “basic faith in Christ” and that he was “not a Christian per se” but that he read the Sermon on the Mount every day. I get concerned when someone who by all accounts denied the divinity of Christ is given a pass because they followed some of the moral teachings of Jesus. I don’t care if Gandhi read the Sermon on the Mount every hour of every day, denying the divinity of Christ reduces Him to a mere moral teacher. A great one for sure but not the King of Kings and not the Lamb of God.

Having expressed a few concerns I will say that most of this collection of essays is well worth the reading. Even where I disagreed I was challenged to think anew about some of the questions that Keith raised that I have settled in my mind. While I would not use Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. as paragons of Christian non-violence, I think Keith raises the right questions and that is enough in this day and age when violence, military glorification and redemptive violence are cheerfully accepted among the church.

This is a quick read and quite inexpensive at $1.99. While it is not in any way a comprehensive look at Christian non-resistance, it was not intended to be and it serves as a good launching point (for a more comprehensive look at this topic check out Guy Hershberger’s War, Peace and Nonresistance). If you are looking for a good introdouction to this crucial topic, check out War Is Not Christian.

No comments: