Charles ReedA consideration of the challenges and opportunities which the concept of a just war poses to the churches.
Reviewed together with Crime by TJ Gorringe.
These two titles are part of a series entitled ‘Changing society and the churches’, the purpose of which is to consider the challenges and opportunities which secular issues pose to the churches. In Crime the author discusses the nature of crime in an advanced industrial society. Its chapters relate to key words in the Christian scriptures - law, justice, punishment, scapegoat, victim, forgiveness, church - and there is a useful discussion of 'shalom'. Everybody is concerned about street crime but the author states that that there are far more victims of business and state crime. The comments about biblical criminals like Cain or David might be useful in sermons though no biblical characters are included in the inadequate index. An index of scriptural references would also be useful. The author makes much of Winston Churchill's statement that the mood and temper of the public about the treatment of criminals is one of the unfailing tests of the civilisation of a country. There is another Churchill quotation in Just war? In 1943 he described the allied war effort as a collection of warrior nations 'walking in the fear of the Lord, very heavily armed and with an increasingly clear view of their salvation'. The book contains detailed discussions of the first Gulf war, 1990-91 (Triumph without victory) and the second Gulf war, 2001-2003 (Victory without triumph). In a postscript the author concludes that it is hardly surprising that churches have increasingly been dismayed by the development of the foreign policy of the USA.
Reviewed by Ken Bakewell
A discussion of the nature of crime in an advanced industrial society.