A.A. Hodge on War
Mark Nenadov quotes an excerpt from A.A. Hodge’s commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith. Hodge “was the son of the theologian Charles Hodge and was the principal of Princeton Seminary from 1878 to 1886:
“It is very difficult to decide in particular cases when it is right for a Christian nation to go to war…But the following general principles are very plain and very certain: — War is an incalculable evil, because of the lives it destroys, the misery it occasions, and the moral degradation it infallibly works on all sides…In every war one party at least must be in the wrong, involved in the tremendous guilt of unjustifiable war, and in the vast majority of cases both parties are in the wrong. No plea of honour, glory or aggrandizement, policy or profit, can excuse, much less justify, war; nothing short of necessity to the end of the preservation of national existence.
In order to make a war right in God’s sight, it is not only necessary that our enemy should aim to do us a wrong, but also
- That the wrong he attempts should directly or remotely threaten the national life; and
- That war be the only means to avert it.
Even in this case every other means of securing justice and maintaining national safety should be exhausted before recourse is had to this last resort.”