Puckering up for Postmodern Kissing: Civil Society and the Lutheran Entwinement of Just Peace/Just War

[1] Post-September 11, 2001 Lutherans can faithfully participate in the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence by examining once again our own just war teaching. As a sign of the times 9/11 implores us to consider earnestly the deep connections between just war and just peacekeeping and peacemaking.

[2] I say “once again” because Lutherans over the past half century have thought about, sometimes more rigorously than at others, the just war tradition. Justifiable war was debated by “the greatest generation” prior to, during, and subsequent to “the good war,” Studs Terkel’s apt phrase for World War II.1 German and Japanese totalitarianisms epitomized tribulations fully meeting the just cause criterion for starters. Only a few flinched among those who considered the just war tradition their own. The Cold War years beginning in the late 1940s and continuing through the decade of the 1980s were for many a just continuation of war against totalitarianism although now embodied in Chinese and Soviet communisms. The Korean conflict and the Vietnam War, especially the latter, triggered many Lutherans to think seriously about the justification of war and the appropriateness of conscientious objection and civil disobedience. Regarding the Soviet situation, various criteria favored the justification of a prolonged and elongated waging of cold rather than hot war, though the veil between cold and hot nearly wore completely through with the Cuban Missile Crisis as it wore thin and through in various localized proxy wars. During the 1980s numerous Lutherans thought that the veil between cold and hot was clandestinely violated by certain U.S. military and political adventures on behalf of Latin American authoritarian military regimes. Such suspicions increasingly prodded some Lutherans to doubt the modern viability of the just war tradition, leading some to adopt elements of classic Christian pacifist traditions. The escalations of nuclear weaponry and the political doctrines of deterrence, flexible response, and mutual assured destruction became the occasions for Lutherans under the aegis of the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. to again take up the just war tradition.2 Again, some Lutherans turned emphatically toward various Christian pacifist traditions.

[3] The 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union ushered in the post-Cold War era, bringing with it an initial burst of global peace optimism, typified by the rhetorics of peace dividends, the end of history, the new world order, and the like. Such optimism evaporated swiftly. Deeply rooted ethnic and religious strife, kept in check by the superpower stalemate of the Cold War era, quickly burst into violent ethnic cleansing. Full-fledged barbarism! These violent outbursts inaugurated “the return of the just war” tradition.3 Now just war teaching must deal with the legitimacy of humanitarian military intervention in places like Yugoslavia and Rwanda; with issues related to the sovereignty of modern nation states; with whether civil, political, and human rights are truly universal or merely particular Western notions (if universal, then the criterion of just cause is more emphatically met; if particular, then the neo-colonialist implications would not meet the criterion of right intention); and with the ambiguities associated with developmentalism, nation building, and the critiques of paternalism, neo-colonialism, and empire. There are precedents in history for many of these.4 The 1991 Gulf War brought particular attention to the criteria of right authority in reference to the United Nations, of last resort and the possibilities of containment, and of right intention and the oil dependence of Western nations.

[4] September 11 has surely meant “the return of the just war” again. Return II! Terrorism proponents commonly feature their acts as reverse humanitarian intervention-reverse and perverse! Return II of just war moral reasoning also means examining again and more deeply pre-emptive defense as well as the issues related to unilateralism and nation-state sovereignty, also examining intensely the “the wisdom of Westphalia” in general. All of these moral issues, which Return I and Return II take up, are as imposing as they are important. They lie at the core of just war moral criteria and practical reasoning in which, as Michael Walzer puts it, “war is always judged twice”-first, the justice of going to war-when war is right-(jus ad bellum) and second, the justice of the means for fighting in war-what in war is right-(jus in bello).

[5] Morally, 9/11 also entreats us as Lutherans to reconsider the theological entwinement of just war not only with just peacekeeping but also in our time with just peacemaking. September 11’s mandate to Lutherans requires us to distinguish clearly our just war tradition from war realism, from Crusades and holy warism, and from pacifism of various kinds. But, as I will argue, these distinctions will also mean that the just war tradition Lutherans will find noteworthy shares commonalities with the varieties of pacifism.5

[6] The sixteenth-century Lutheran confessors refocused Christian teaching, life and community through the lens of the justification of the ungodly by faith alone. Further, these confessors at Augsburg in 1530 believed, taught, and confessed that faith alone in Christ alone emancipated the church of justified sinners for a comprehensive constellation of vocations, both individually and corporately within God’s created world and for that world. These Augsburg Confession catholics articulated a proposal for comprehensive Christian vocation. In Augustana VI and its Apology they sought the proper relationship between faith and love, and in article XVI and its Apology they took their faith-active-in-love proposal and laid out the implications for political vocations in particular, with additional articles filling out the vocational picture. Here I will 1) consider how these confessors situated just war within the divine constitution of political authority, of its just peacemaking and peacekeeping; and 2) identify the resurgence of “civil society” as a key postmodern condition for promoting the biblical kiss between justice and peace. By embracing “civil society” we pucker up for postmodern kissing.

Political Vocation and the Entwinement of Just War and Just Peace

[7] In Augustana XVI the confessors situated justifiable war within a broad constellation of civil and political actions and vocations, identifying them all as “good works of God.”6 The simple, basic question they were addressing is whether Christians can occupy political offices of various sorts, or even make use of any civil laws whatsoever, without such activity being per se ungodly and sinful. This question arose because some forms of Anabaptist theological reflection, virulently anti-papist and claiming Luther’s theology as their inspiration, considered political vocations to be by their very nature totally under Satan’s rule. Some extreme Anabaptists even forbade civil participation like marriage and buying and selling. Especially political authority, with its recourse to the sword, appeared incompatible with God’s activity, indeed, antithetical to God’s activity. These Anabaptist took Jesus’ injunction in the Sermon on the Mount “do not resist an evildoer;” St. Paul’s “never avenge yourselves . . . ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord;” and St. Peter’s “do not repay evil for evil” to mean that God works only through those who do not use the sword in order to resist evil. These questions also arose because certain prevalent forms of Christian perfectionist monastic reflection forbad public redress and in other ways diminished certain civic and political vocations. The confessors grouped all of these civil and political vocations together as creational works of God good for the temporal world and its flourishing. The point of sharpest contention was most often with the various forms of Anabaptist thought that prohibited Christians from participation in political authority with its power of “the sword,” that peculiar, coercive power of last resort belonging in an exceptional way to political authority.

[8] In their critical theology of political authority the confessors looked to Romans 13, along with other biblical texts, in order to legitimate “the sword.” Luther did this with verve in his classic Temporal Authority: To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed.7 Here in 1523 already Luther dealt with the situated question raised by Anabaptists who had challenged John the Steadfast, Luther’s soon-to-be prince. A true Christian could not exercise an office in which “the sword” is an essential component. Because they framed the question in the precise terms of “the sword,” Luther responded within this framework in 1523 and regularly throughout the years. Political authority is never less than a remedy and dike against sin (remedium peccati); indeed, political authority is always such. With “the sword” political authority keeps the “sinful and wicked” “under restraint so they dare not willfully implement their wickedness in actual deeds” (LW, 45, 89). God authorizes this assignment.

[9] The possibility of justifiably engaging in war finds its theological grounding here. For political authority to exercise “the sword” in a just war in order to keep the peace is analogous to exercising “the sword” in a criminal court proceeding in order to keep the peace. “What men write about war, saying that it is a great plague, is all true. But they should also consider how great the plague is that war prevents.” (LW 45, 96) Luther, together with the whole of the just war tradition, upholds a strong presumption against war. Luther encodes this presumption in the very title of his 1527 treatise, Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved (LW 46).8 To go to war political authority must therefore meet a high justificatory bar.

No war is just, even if it is a war between equals, unless one has such a good reason for fighting and such a good conscience that he can say, “My neighbor compels and forces me to fight, though I would rather avoid it.” In that case, it can be called not only war, but lawful self-defense, for we must distinguish between wars that someone begins because that is what he wants to do and does before anyone else attacks him, and those wars that are provoked when an attack is made by someone else. The first kind can be called wars of desire; the second, wars of necessity. The first kind are of the devil; God does not give good fortune to the man who wages that kind of war. The second kind are human disasters; God help in them! (LW 46, 121)9

[10] In order to establish this critical theology of political authority, Luther employed his comprehensive and remarkably enduring and fruitful distinction between the triune God’s two ways of ruling the world-often referred to as Luther’s two-kingdoms teaching.

[11] It is crucial to note, however, that here-and surely quite often-Luther stylized political authority as a dike against sin precisely because the framed issue was “the sword,” which is the necessary dike of last resort when less violent dikes and other nonviolent means are ineffective. But for Luther does this stylization of political authority as a dike against sin exhaust political authority’s divinely instituted assignments? Surely many authoritative interpreters of Luther have assumed so. But, they have done so because they have overlooked the situated way in which the question was most often framed in the context of an emergent and assertive Anabaptist hermeneutic that rejected the law-gospel hermeneutic behind Luther’s two-kingdoms-“both-kingdoms” (better!)-teaching and thereby also rejected normative catholic teaching on political authority and just war.10 Even in Temporal Authority Luther acknowledges that God authorizes a more comprehensive account of political authority than the necessary restraining assignment. Political authority is “to bring about external peace and prevent evil deeds” (LW, 45, 92). To prevent evil deeds, surely! To bring about external peace, surely that as well!

[12] Both divine assignments are crucial in order to fully situate Lutheranism’s account of just war. David Yeago has offered a generally helpful exposition of Lutheranism’s confessional teaching regarding just war.11 Yeago notes that he is giving a theological account “in which ethical criteria of ‘justness’ grew directly out of distinctively theological teaching on the nature and purpose of civil government.”12 He does not primarily examine the ethical criteria themselves or their application to present circumstances. Still, in helpful ways he does consider the criterion of “just cause” and its application to a post-9/11 situation. His more tailored theological account is appropriate and indeed needed today among Lutherans. I too will take up the more distinctly theological teaching of the Lutheran Confessions, not the otherwise crucial matters related to criteria and relevance.

[13] Yeago’s confessional text is a portion of paragraph 6 of Article XVI in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession. From this paragraph Yeago highlights three moves that are especially important.

First there is the reference to Romans 13 as the central scriptural locus for discussion of the authority of government.

Second, on the basis of Romans 13, there is the focus on judgment, or “retribution,” as the focus of an account of government: . . .

Third, war is subsumed under this “judicial” account of government: war is listed along with decisions of courts and punishment inflicted by law as species publicae vindicate, types of public judgment on wrongdoing.13

[14] Yeago rightly identifies the Lutheran confessions’ location of the war possibility within “types of public judgment on wrongdoing,” that is, within political authority’s divinely constituted retributive, judicial office. On target! No quarrel if I am allowed to state the situation in the way I have. However, Yeago states the situation in a slightly different way and the slight difference is consequential! Note how he makes his third claim: the confessional teaching about war is subsumed under this judicial account of government. The wording of this third claim matches the way he puts his second claim: judgment, or “retribution,” as the focus of an account of government.14 His second claim regarding the confessional teaching about political authority is the more comprehensive claim. But this second claim is not the stated topic of his paper so he does not argue with the rigor that its comprehensiveness deserves. Rather, he too readily asserts its truth and moves on to his stated topic of war. If someone, however, disputes his second claim about confessional teaching, then one must also dispute his third claim because he embeds his comprehensive second claim within the wording of his third. I disagree with the way that he puts his second claim but I desire to agree with the point of his third claim. To redeem his point about war I must first dislodge that point from the precise wording of his second claim.

[15] Let me state my claim about the confessional teaching about war in order to register to what extent I agree with Yeago. Just war belongs to judgment, to the retributive, judicial office of political authority as constituted by God and this teaching finds its biblical voice with special clarity in Romans 13. Furthermore, I concur fully with Yeago’s point that “retribution” is not blind rage, as too many facilely think, but is God’s “resolute opposition to all that threatens or corrupts his creation.”15 Likewise, public judgment as retributive, and therefore war when justifiably necessary, is at its core a peace-keeping task. Given the extent and depth of sin and evil, peace-keeping is surely necessary, divinely instituted and constituted, and thereby godly and honorable. The confessions, and Luther as well, are quite clear that God’s assignment to political authority to judge and retribute wrongdoing is to “keep the peace.”16 These are clearly theologically right and scriptural teachings in my judgment.

[16] What is the problem with Yeago’s second claim about the confessional teaching regarding political authority? Yeago asserts that the judicial, judgment task is the only constitution or the only central constitution of political authority by God. This means that God confers on political authority only a peace-keeping office. Yeago is too one-sided, too exclusivist, too reductionist here. His general account of political authority is not comprehensive enough, scripturally speaking and confessionally speaking.17 Paul Ramsey’s prescient caveat pertains: “a Lutheran can so stress the need for restraint of sin that he loses sight of justice and the other community values that also belong to the essence of political authority and the action of rulers.”18 Strikingly, Ramsey does not think that Luther and proper Lutheran teaching succumb to that one-sidedness.

[17] The more comprehensive account will not undermine or weaken Yeago’s contention that just war is a divinely constituted type of public judgment on wrongdoing but will, indeed, strengthen that point. God’s constituting assignment to political authority to render public judgment on wrong doing and thus to keep the peace is coupled in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions with God’s constituting assignment to political authority to make peace and make it with justice. Luther makes this point specifically and emphatically in his famous 1530 exposition of Psalm 82, his treatise on the prince as political authority. Yeago cites this exposition but does so only to reinforce his more one-sided claim. He collapses Luther’s three coordinated “offices” into one, or actually into two. Yeago’s first point about political authority’s divine constitution astutely reflects Luther’s own first point based on Psalm 82:1. Yeago makes this point biblically by way of Romans 13 rather than Psalm 82:1. No quarrel here. Yeago, however, ignores Luther’s second insight based on vs. 2 and subsumes it into Luther’s third point based on vs. 3. Yeago does, nevertheless, identify rightly and defend elegantly in my judgment Luther’s biblical claim regarding the third office, the judicial office, to keep the peace, which makes even war a possibly justifiable “necessity” (LW 13, 56).

[18] Luther keenly picks up on the biblical comprehensiveness of three offices and on the biblical ordering of the three. Both the biblical comprehensiveness and the biblical ordering are theologically relevant. The first office is itself the divine establishment of political authority whose divine purpose is temporal “peace” in order to “have the world . . . to live in” (LW 13, 44-45). Luther uses the metaphor “savior” to name this first office. Luther means savior, of course, in the sense of God’s left-hand kingdom where political authority is both representative of God and instrument of God’s hand. The third divinely anchored office is about keeping temporal peace, the judicial office. It is when Luther talks about this third office that he also speaks about “the sword” and war. Biblically and theologically this leads him to name this third office “deliverer” (LW 13, 58).

[19] The biblical comprehensiveness and the biblical ordering are theologically relevant. The second divinely constituted office of political theology, located in Psalm 82:2, is “to help the poor, the orphans, the widows to justice and to further their cause. But, again, who can tell all the virtues that follow from this one? For this virtue includes all the works of righteousness . . .”19 Keeping the peace, the third office, is surely necessary even when the justice that makes peace peaceful is meager. But meager justice is still justice and justice making is biblically included and ordered secondly, and this comprehensiveness and ordering is theologically consequential, as we shall see. The integrated integrity of the three offices entails a vigilance towards enlarging the justice in just peacemaking that meets the vigilance required for the other two offices.20 Luther picks up the connection between the sword of peacekeeping and the justice of peacemaking by emphasizing “the two parts” of peacekeeping, “laws and arms.” “For this reason they [various rulers] are depicted on their seals with a book in one hand and a sword in the other, as a sign that they administer law and peace. Law is wisdom and should be the first of the two; for government by force without wisdom does not last” (LW 13, 55). Surely this connection is why war ought to be waged only justly, both going to and while in war.

[20] Luther continues his reflections on the second office of just peacemaking by employing the metaphor of a great and comprehensive hospital, “a general, true, princely, indeed, a heavenly and divine hospital.” This metaphor is not judicial but rather a restorative and wellness metaphor, a providential, benefic, manorial, commonweal metaphor. This hospital serves “especially the really poor people.” Furthermore, “it preserves rich or poor, his living and his goods for everyone, so that he does not have to become a beggar or a poor man.” “[T]here are many who are not beggars and do not become beggars. For them the overlord is providing in this hospital. For so to help a man that he does not need to become a beggar is just as much of a good work and a virtue and an alms as to give to a man and to help a man who has already become a beggar” (LW 13, 53-54) These metaphors imagine just peacemaking. And Luther extols this second divine assignment to political authority with the highest possible penultimate praise.

In a word, after the Gospel or the ministry, there is on earth no better jewel, no greater treasure, nor richer alms, no fairer endowment, no finer possession than a ruler who makes and preserves just laws. Such men are rightly called gods. These are the virtues, the profit, the fruits, and the good works that God has appointed to this rank in life. It is not for nothing the He has called them gods; and it is not His will that it shall be a lazy, empty, idle estate, in which men seek only honor, power, luxury, selfish profit, and self-will. He would have them full of great, innumerable, unspeakable good works, so that they may be partakers of His divine majesty and help Him to do divine and superhuman works. (LW 13, 54-55)
[21] Luther’s name for political authority’s second divine office is “father” (LW 13, 58) and for Luther fathers are “partakers of God’s divine majesty.” At least since his 1520 Treatise on Good Works Luther had placed political authority within the purview of the fourth commandment (LW 44, 80-100). It is the demand to “honor” that regulates this placement within the commandments. Political authority’s first and second offices of savior and father gain confessional standing in a forthright way because Luther includes them in his explanation of the fourth commandment in his catechism. Here he makes clear that the parental office of political authority, like the other forms of parental-like authority, entails “a majesty concealed within them.”21 So, political authority “should bear with honor the three divine offices and names . . . [and] should be called a savior, father, deliverer” (LW 13, 58). Confessionally, therefore, a comprehensive theological account of political authority must draw both on Augustana XVI with its Apology and on the fourth commandment in Luther’s catechisms. Finally, Luther weaves this comprehensive theological account of political authority into his exposition of the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer in his Large Catechism. Here he addresses “everything that is necessary . . . to our entire life in this world.” He sums up his argument there by musing how “fitting if the coat of arms of every upright prince were emblazoned with a loaf of bread instead of a lion or a wreath of rue, or if a loaf of bread were stamped on coins . . .” Here again Luther promotes all three offices of political authority.22

[22] Luther expands on issues within the purview of just peacemaking in his 1534-35 exposition of Psalm 101 written with Prince John Frederick in mind. Here he extols “natural law and natural reason as the source from which all written law has come and issued” (LW 13, 160). He praises how expansivly God has spread throughout the world these just peacemaking resources of natural law and natural reason (LW 13, 155-158) and has provided people who can tap into these natural gifts. Beyond praise he examines for his time the promises and perils of the connections of natural law, reason, and positive law.23Further, Luther establishes a link between political authority and human dominion in the world, which God constituted already in the Garden of Eden before the Fall (Genesis 1-2) (LW 13, 198-199).24 This link parallels both the comprehensiveness and ordering of political authority’s first two offices. The significance of Luther’s reference to Genesis 1-2 lies in the surd in the world that sin unleashed represented in Genesis 3 by Fall. The surd of sin forever necessitates the sword. Sin’s wickedness breaks out in Genesis 4:14-15 and Genesis 9:6. As Yeago rightly notes, “This for Luther is the entry of a new factor into human history . . .”25 At this God puts “the sword” into the hands of political authority never to be removed so long as political authority exists.26 While numerous other authorities are constituted by God and are also permitted and/or required to pursue just peacemaking, God ordinarily and peculiarly assigns “the sword” only to political authority. Here is a difference that surely makes a difference! Still, political authority is mandated by God to pursue temporal, just peacemaking. Surely, political authority’s just peacemaking helps to strengthen the critical distinction between just war peacekeeping and war realism. Isn’t the comprehensive temporal pursuit of just peacemaking indeed the firewall that prevents just war prudence from devolving into a mere mask for covert war realism?

Civil Society as Sleuth and Sluice for Just Peacemaking

[23] In 1986 General, U.S. Army (retired), John W. Vessey, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a serious Lutheran, made a remarkable argument precisely along these lines.

Those of us in military service take seriously the words of the Second Vatican Council that “all those who enter military service in loyalty to their country should look upon themselves as custodians of the security and freedom of their countrymen; and when they carry out their duty properly, they are contributing to the maintenance of peace.” [Vatican II, “The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World,” para. 79] And Britain’s great Field Marshall Lord Montgomery said that the soldier must be the enemy of the beast in man and of none other, the helper and guardian of what is best and good in man. With the help of God there is much which we can do to maintain the peace. Certainly we should not accept the present system of deterrence by threat of violence as the ideal situation. It is our moral duty to do what we can to advance the cause of peace, and not peace merely as an absence of war but as “an enterprise of justice” (Is. 32:17).27
[24] How under postmodern conditions do “just war tradition” Lutherans advance the biblical cause of peace as an enterprise of justice? Let me merely name three poignant ways without doubt among a host of other worthy ways. The first way I have suggested previously. We can get to know our pacifist fellow Christians, and all pacifists for that matter, all along the continuum that pacifism is. It is honoring and wise that we attend seriously to the critical side of their traditions, better still that we take in their positive peacemaking side.28 Undoubtedly, they possess experienced wisdom that Lutherans generally speaking do not yet enjoy. Secondly, Lutherans can continue to engage the matters of justice in our time. This is as imposing as it is important! Justice itself is no mean task in its own right yet alone the task to make justice evermore current.29 Both tasks are as imposing as they are important. Both tasks are best pursued in the arena that my next point tries to elucidate.

[25] Thirdly, Lutherans are savvy institutionally speaking, at least oftentimes. This third point is worth further conceptual embellishment. When I say savvy about institutions I mean institutions in the sense that Robert Bellah does when he elucidates “the institutions we live through.”30 Our institutional competence does not extend equally to all institutions, especially not to large-scale economic institutions or to large-scale governmental institutions particularly on the federal level. Rather, our institutional savoir-faire and best practices have been concentrated in what today is called “civil society.” It is in civil society that we Lutherans have frequently exercised our critical participationist doctrine of vocation.31 To capitalize on our best practices in civil society does not, of course, imply that we omit learning new just peacemaking practices in less than familiar institutional systems. Indeed, we need a more adequate understanding of the crucial just peacemaking contribution that civil society provides for the economic market and the political state as well as for the more intimate spheres like family and friendship. What then is civil society?

[26] The ELCA’s Peace in God’s World comes closest to the notion of “civil society” when it uses the category of “non-governmental organizations.”32 Civil society is that great plurality of different kinds of associations, affiliations, networks, movements, and institutions for the prevention and promotion of this, that, and the other thing.33 This teeming plurality is regularly attuned to how societal and cultural problems and injustices resonate in the private life spheres. Its core medium is social solidarity. It researches causative factors, distills critical issues, gives them a moral language and cultural energy, and transmits them in amplified forms to the political public spheres for democratic processing. Civil society becomes political voice. A critical share of civil society solidarity arises where and when the everyday lifeworld meets the market economy or the political state. But it can also arise from within the everyday lifeworld itself-so domestic violence, for instance. Beyond identifying and framing social, cultural, and moral problems and injustice, it also commonly makes proposals for moral and cultural formation and, significantly, proposals to the political state for legislative, judicial, and administrative processing. Furthermore, it constantly assesses such processing and thus is the crucial sociological space for ongoing accountability all along the way. Civil society can also inform the market economy in like fashion. Civil society acts as the institutional sleuth and sluice for just peacemaking within deliberative democracies and their globalization.34 None of this is automatic! None. These are matters of civil society citizenship, political citizenship, and Christian ecclesial vocation on a global scale. Global civil society as well is emerging at the intersections of national sovereignty, economic globalization, and postnational identities. Again, these dynamics are as imposing as they are important. At stake is nothing less than the postmodern kiss of justice and peace.

End Notes

1 Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation (New York: Random House, 1998); and Studs Terkel, The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984). For brief, accessible primers on the basics of just war theory see James Turner Johnson, “Just War,” in The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, eds. J. Childress & J. Macquarrie (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986); also A. F. Holmes, “Just-War Theory,” in New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology, eds., D. Atkinson et al. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995). For thorough standard accounts of just war tradition see Paul Ramsey, The Just War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1968); Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (New York: Basic Books, 1977; James Turner Johnson, Just War Tradition and the Restraint of War: A Moral and Historical Inquiry (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981).

2 <>Peace and the Just War Tradition: Lutheran Perspectives in the Nuclear Age (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986).

3 The phrase comes from The Return of the Just War, eds. M. P. Aquino and D. Mieth (London: Concilium Series, SCM Press, 2001). This is a helpful collection by thoughtful Roman Catholics.

4 See Walzer, 51-108.

5 I have been served by Duane Cady’s analyses regarding the distinction between war realism and just war tradition and also regarding the varieties of pacifism. See his From Warism to Pacifism: A Moral Continuum (Philadelphia: Temple Universithy Press, 1989). Also see Robert Phillips and Duane Cady, Humanitarian Intervention: Just War vs. Pacifism (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1996). The general superficial portrayal of pacifists by both war realists and just war doctrine apologists runs something like this: “Pacifists are few and often are taken to be well-meaning but naive, morally upright but unrealistic, insufficiently pragmatic, idealistic in the extreme.” Not so, says Cady. “Pacifism is a complex and subtle range of value positions on morality, peace, and war, not the stereotyped extreme of conventional wisdom. The varieties of pacifism have emerged within a just-warist value tradition, to some degree building on and extending that tradition” (Phillips & Cady, 32-33. For other expositions of the varieties of pacifism see John Howard Yoder, Nevertheless: The Varieties and Shortcomings of Religious Pacifism (Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 1992); also Edward LeRoy Long, Jr., War and Conscience in America (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1968). Cady delineates two parts to pacifism: opposition to war, the critical side of pacifism, and pacifism’s positive peace side where peace is not the absence of war but rather specifiable peaceful conditions. Cady notes that all pacifists accept some degree of both features of pacifism. As varieties of pacifism exist, so also do varieties of just war theory exist. Still, I consider the varieties of just war theory to be a relatively coherent and continuous tradition. Traditions, of course, change and develop over time and circumstance-and can also disassemble if not vigilantly cared for-and this is undoubtedly true for the just war tradition. As a working hypothesis I accept Alasdair MacIntyre’s description of tradition as “historically extended, socially embodied argument” (After Virtue, 2 nd ed. (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 221-223). On the basic assumptions behind war realism also see Walzer, 3-33. Martha Stortz’s rightful critique from a just war tradition perspective of the Civil War Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s amoral pronouncement, “War is hell!” is essentially a critique of “war realism” (“Thinking the Unthinkable: Just Deliberation on War,” Journal of Lutheran Ethics (October 2002).

6 Robert Kolb & Timothy Wengert, eds. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 49. For a fuller account of these issues see my “Toward a Lutheran ‘Delight in the Law of the Lord’: Church and State in the Context of Civil Society,” in Lutheran Perspectives on Church and State, eds. Robert Tuttle & John Stumme (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, forthcoming) (hereafter “Lutheran ‘Delight'”).

7 See Luther’s Works 45 (St. Louis and Philadelphia, 1955-1986) (hereafter LW). For an account of other biblical passages that Luther brings to bear on these questions see my “Lutheran ‘Delight.'”

8 See For Peace in God’s World, ELCA Social Statement (1995), 6. Also see Gilbert Meilander, “Whether (in This Nuclear Age) Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved,” in Peace and the Just War Tradition, op. cit., 89. For Luther’s connection between the peacekeeping sword in war and the peacekeeping sword in criminal court see Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved (LW 46, 98f.).

9 Luther’s distinction between wars of desire and wars of necessity is the critical distinction between war realism and the just war tradition. For an insightful analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of war realism that became embedded in late nineteenth-century Germany during Otto von Bismarck’s Kaiserreich and that led up to World War I, see John Moses, “Bonhoeffer’s Germany: The Political Context,” in The Cambridge Companion to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ed., John de Gruchy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 3-10.

10 With this phrasing I do not mean to imply that there are not different trajectories even within the normative teaching on political authority and just war. There surely were and still are.

11 David S. Yeago, “Just War: Reflections from the Lutheran Tradition in a Time of Crisis,” Pro Ecclesia X.4 (Fall 2001):401-427.

12 Ibid., 403.

13 Ibid., 403-4.

14 At various other places throughout his essay he uses slightly different wording that strengthens this comprehensive claim in precisely the direction that I find problematic. For example: judgment is “the focus of an account of government,” or again, “the emphasis on judgment as the central function of government,” or again, “this ‘judicial’ account of government,” (p. 404), or again, “to concentrate government on the specific task of judgment” (p. 407), or again, “the peace-keeping, judgment-rendering central function of government,” (p. 410) or again, “to concentrate government on the specific task of <>judgment” (p. 407).

15 Ibid., 408.

16 LW 46, 96.

17 Yeago’s reductionism on this score is completely dependent upon the interpretation given by Oliver O’Donovan in his remarkable book, The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)-though a remarkable book I have several weighty disagreements. The major one is as follows. O’Donovan consciously gives two different accounts of political authority, one from the Old Testament and one from the new. In the Old Testament political authority, rooted in Yhwh’s kingship, consists of three assignments: salvation, judgment, and possession-inheritance (op. cit., 36-66). In the New Testament, focused primarily on Romans 13, there is a consequential shift. “What has now [in the New Testament] changed is the privileging of this [judgment] aspect of governmental authority, so that the whole rationale of government is seen to rest on its capacity to effect the judicial task. Here, it seems to me, is a novelty not anticipated either in classical or in Old Testament sources. If one of the three elements of political authority could be seen as privileged over the others in ancient Israel, it must surely be that of possession. Government was given to safeguard Israel’s existence in relation to the land and the law” (op. cit., 148). O’Donovan’s focus on the three divine assignments of political authority is quite on track and his exposition of possession-inheritance with regard to political authority is quite fruitful. Possession-inheritance is the biblical way into political authority’s just peacemaking and it makes the judicial office absolutely necessary. I’ll have to wait for another occasion to offer a fuller critique of O’Donovan and an alternative reading. O’Donovan’s Old Testament three divine functions perhaps correlate with Luther’s three offices though I will reserve judgment on that point for another time.

18 Ramsey, xiii. In a similar fashion Harold Berman notes the inherent tension, even inherent contradiction, within the Western legal tradition between keeping order (law as order) and making justice (law as justice) (Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition M(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 18-23. Wolfhart Pannenberg, for instance, thinks that Luther did reduce political authority to curbing evil-a position similar to Yeago&=javascript:goNote(39s, who one-sidedly misjudges Luther-but Pannenberg also thinks that Luther is too “narrow ” biblically and underestimates, biblically speaking, political authority’s divine constitution regarding justice-a position contrary to O’Donovan and thus to Yeago, but a position that I agree with (see, Pannenberg, Anthropology in Theological Perspective (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985), 448-450).

19 LW 13, 53.

20 I am not prepared at this time to suggest that there is a hierarchy of vigilance that is needed regarding the three offices although that question should be explored. For instance, totalitarianism violates the first office and thereby severely undermining offices two and three as well. Therefore, a supreme vigilance regarding totalitarianism appears necessary. Even more urgently, totalitarianism severely threatens the preaching of the gospel and general religious freedom which even more urgently requires a supreme vigilance regarding the first office of political authority. Does the relationship between the second and third offices also entail some sort of hierarchy of vigilance? Perhaps. Such a question raises the question of militarism and its critique, an important question that is beyond the scope of my inquiry here. But let me be clearly understood, I am not equating war in the sense of just war with militarism. Just war, understood as the combination of ius ad bellum and ius in bello, is not militarism.

21 Book of Concord, 401.106. For a more thorough discussion of this question in The Large Catechism see my “Lutheran &=javascript:goNote(39Delight.'”

22 Ibid., p. 449-450.72, 75.

23 I address some of these issues in “Lutheran &=javascript:goNote(39Delight.'”

24 Luther&=javascript:goNote(39s own contextualized reflections on political authority’s just peacemaking office can best be seen when Luther offers theological grounding and moral reasoning to city counsels and magistrates. Here one finds Luther waxing eloquent about justice and community chests for the poor and the oppressed, education for those deprived of education, and the economic injustice of usury. For rich insights regarding Luther and just peacemaking in the cities see Carter Lindberg, Beyond Charity: Reformation Initiatives for the Poor (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993). Also see W. D. J. Cargill Thompson, The Political Thought of Martin Luther (New Jersey, Barnes & Noble Books, 1984). Thompson helpfully contrasts Luther with dominant Swiss reformed theologians: “Whereas the reformed theologians, taking their inspiration from Acts, saw poor relief as a function of the church and linked their proposals with the revival of the office of deacon, as described in the New Testament, Luther seems to have regarded poor relief as being properly the function of temporal government-an activity for town councils. In practice there was no doubt no great difference, since the deacons in Geneva or Strasbourg tended to be virtually civic officials, but it reflects Luther’s views of the differences between spiritual and temporal authority” (op. cit., 166).

25 Yeago, 405.

26 See my “Lutheran &=javascript:goNote(39Delight.'” for further exposition of Luther at this point.

27 Peace and the Just War Tradition, op. cit., 117.

28 For examples, see Marlin Miller and Barbara Nelson Gingerich, eds. The Church’s Peace Witness (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994); Glen H. Stassen, ed., Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1998); Jeffrey Gros & John Rempel, eds., The Fragmentation of the Church and Its Unity in Peacemaking (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001); and Joseph Fahey & Richard Armstrong, A Peace Reader (New York: Paulist Press, 1987).

29 For a couple of brief, accessible accounts of the basic issues that arise when trying to exposit “justice” see William Werpehowski, “Justice,” in The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, eds. J. Childress & J. Macquarrie (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986); also Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Justice and Peace,” in New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology, eds., D. Atkinson et al. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995). Karen Lebacqz&=javascript:goNote(39s study of the rich, complex, and fragmented variety of basic models of justice and the differing implications that each model makes is important to note less someone assume that what justice is is obvious, a mere common sense or common place thing (Six Theories of Justice: Perspectives from Philosophical and Theological Ethics (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1986)).

30 See Robert Bellah and others, The Good Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), 3-18.

31 For a fuller account of critical participation see my “Lutheran &=javascript:goNote(39Delight.'” In Augustana XVI the confessors locate “critical” in so-called “Peter’s clause”-clausula Petri- Acts 5:29. John Stumme also uses that terminology in “A Tradition of Christian Ethics,” in The Promise of Lutheran Ethics, eds. Karen Bloomquist & John Stumme (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998), 4.

32 Rightfully, Peace in God’s World (p. 10) recognizes the critical weight of NGOs and I-international-NGOs. Still, negative identities-what one is not-tend to slouch toward dissolution, fragmentation, and purposelessness. As a sociological category “civil society” harbors a more vigorous positive identity and mission, an identity and mission ripe for just peacemaking. This drawback of Peace in God’s World comes because it still imagines a world too “modern” in my judgment. For instance, Peace in God’s World shapes its “Tasks” section around the threesome of culture, economy, and politics. Civil society is the accompanying institutional side of culture that is the key sleuth and sluice for grounding a vigorous political arena of deliberative democracy. Peace in God’s World’s “modern” framework has nongovernmental organizations ironically too subsumed under the political. Still, with this important modification Peace in God’s World can usher us in a more postmodern direction, characterized by global civil society and deliberative democracy among other features.

33 For a fuller description of civil society, of its identity, mission, and resurgence within deliberative democracies since 1989 see my Critical Social Theory: Prophetic Reasoning, Civil Society, and Christian Imagination (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), chapter 5. Here you can also find a bibliography of the burgeoning research.

34 See Critical Social Theory, chapters 5 and 6 for an exposition of three models of democracy: liberal, republican, and deliberative. For examples of the critical contributions that civil society makes toward just peacemaking see Elise Boulding, ed., Building Peace in the Middle East: Challenges for States and Civil Society (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, in association with the International Peace Research Association, 1994).

Gary M. Simpson

Gary M. Simpson is Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.