Who Can Stand Against It? The “Good” War and the Beast of Revelation

Ted Grimsrud—May 13, 2011

[Adapted from a chapel sermon, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, October 5, 2010]

For baby-boomers such as myself (born in 1954), World War II was in the background during our formative years. It was the most destructive event, by far, in all of human history.

However, we still don’t really understand that war and its impact. We would do well to try to come to terms with what happened then, and its on-going presence in our lives. As I reflect on World War II as a Christian, I find myself struggling to find hope. This struggle, perhaps paradoxically, leads me to the book of Revelation. Let me explain why.

I personally have several reasons for trying better to understanding World War II.

I always encounter the long shadow of World War II in discussions with students. For many, the ideas of pacifism are new and foreign. Every semester I face the question, What about World War II? Doesn’t it prove that war at times is necessary—and that pacifism is unrealistic?

No wonder students raise these questions. They have grown up with images of the “Good War.” They hear our leaders, including President Obama, evoke the war against Hitler to show that the only way to pursue the right in extreme circumstances is by force. Continue reading “Who Can Stand Against It? The “Good” War and the Beast of Revelation”