Dear brothers and sisters,
I am praying that the president Bush will decide the things from His own conscientious conviction, and not to be trapped by anyone who surround him. His style of government was said as not leadership type, but controller type at the time of inauguration, and it might have been a weak point for him.
For me the present situation looks like a trap for the USA. To pursue the rightful authority including the sword, USA needs to be more eye-opened to the legitimacies which have been discussed outside the allies, even among the enemy.
The background of Hitler and the background of Islamic radicals are different. Hitler was really Anti-Christ type. Hussein is also a fascist type, but expressing many kinds of stresses which the third world feels against USA now.
USA must recognize such international mood, and try not to be isolated internationally.
Presently 60 nations out of 190 nations in UN are listed for the coalition, but when you see the list, situation is far from persuading. No nation in Middle East except Kuwait. Many are small nations from former USSR and Eastern Europe. Many small nations less than 200,000 population are collected from the Pacific for this purpose. Most nations agreed to USA are not because of the legitimacy of the war, but for the benefit of being with USA. Unfortunately Japan is typical among these. Various polls show the fact that Japan is divided about the support to USA, and the people who agree to support USA are because we need help against N. Korea.
How USA sees own wealth and power is the matter now. Has USA been an ideal servant of the enormous talents from the Lord?
When USA seizes the oil of Iraq, then the power of Arabic nations decrease, then the general financial support to terrorism will decrease. It seems the ultimate aim of this war as the self-defense of USA.
But this won't decrease the hatred and stress of the world. USA needs to learn to share more of its wealth to the world. USA should be ready to become poorer to establish fairness in the world. So there must have been a repentance of USA before the Lord as the start to deal with the matter of September 11 and terrorism.
I have been thinking and praying. I think I am gradually seeing important fact that there is an unbalance between the legitimacy of the sword against Hussein and the necessity of the social repentance of the West. If only the legitimacy dominate the discussion, then the third world people (not only the Islam) will frustrate, but if repentance of the lack of effective sharing is heartily done with it, then everything will eventually goes to the right track.
If USA tries not to understand such problems, but just looks to disarm the illegitimate terrorism by its power only, it will eventually not taken as the rightful exercise of the power against terrorism, but the oppression against the Islamic people's legitimate cause. It will eventually be expressing the idea that Islamic people's idea is not worth enough to be heard at all. Then the discrimination to the Islamic people will become apparent, and then it will make American Attack, though it is against terrorism, the new "Crusade" against Islamic people and its thought. The Crusade is not Biblical method at all, and great hindrance for our mission.
There is no justice in terrorism, but there is just reason among Islam's criticism against USA. USA must have ears to hear. It is not the matter of whether the one is conservative or liberal. We, the conservatives, must wise enough to hear enough from the world with loving ears.
So this case is different from Hitler's, since under the terrorism there lays truth to be heard. Hussein used this as his opportunity. It is bad. The method of terrorist is very bad and can not be tolerated. But we must not ignore some of the reasons. So the majority of the world has been deliberate when it considers this danger of terrorism. USA must not justify its own status.
"Self-defense" of the richest nation sounds selfish among nations. USA tries to defend its prosperity too much. USA has been doing everything they could to defend its wealth. Sadam was empowered during the Iran-Iraq war by whom? It was USA who gave huge aids to Sadam to compete against emerging threat to its wealth in the Middle East: Iran. It was just the same as the case of Afghanistan, where USA tried to help Taliban to compete against USSR. So USA should also be aware of its historical responsibility.
For Christian regime, Jews should not occupy any advantage. When converted to Christ they are our brothers, but presently Israel is one of the most stubborn countries for Christianity. Among Palestinians who has been killed by Israel we have Christian more. But the prosperous Jewish power affects USA's policy to defend the wealth.
My comment was not intended against the respect to the God's given authority of the government.
Calvin had long-time struggled with the civil magistrates at his city, and, as you know, even once deposed from the city. This relationship to the civil magistrate was a major concern for his theology in praxis. So that he needed to have such deep conviction about the respect to civil magistrate to maintain legitimate balance while he spoke often critically about the issues of the city. So this did not meant any silence of the conscientious opinion from the Bible of the act of the civil magistrate.
We always need to speak conscientiously to the government as another independent authority of Christ, His church. It is spiritual independence or freedom of the faith of the church which is under His kingship of grace. For this purpose the Presbyterianism had occurred. The no-political-speaking tradition of the southern Presbyterian (former PCUS) after the civil war was not rightly Presbyterianism in this sense.
My main concern is so-called "problem of globalism" of USA. Does the president of USA alone have legitimacy to govern or responsibility to defend the whole world? People in the USA do not have much daily concern to other country and their history very much. So they tend to ignore the fact that USA should always recognize its legitimate limitation in the world rightly. I feel the people of USA tend to think own nation too great, and USA-nationalism is not always Biblical. The church in USA should keep herself within the sound separation from the nation and freedom to criticize the nation Biblically. It is the real cause of independency of the Presbyterian polity.
Difficult problem for us is the fact that unbelieving rulers have also Christ's given authority, according to the Bible. So we must take this fact for granted to deal with the matter rightly before Christ. It is always important point for me to establish criticism against such ruler logically, when I refuse to obey to the emperorism in Japan.
Calvin's students in Scotland did express obedience to the kings, but they boldly spoke against the king when they felt needed to speak from the Biblical principle even in political issues.
I believe I need to speak against the emperolism (national Shintoism) of Japan when it reigns against Christ's kingship here in Japan.
For Japanese RP, we do not have preference between Republican and Democrat. It is domestic matter for USA. For us being a Republican is not the matter to be RP at all, since there is no Republican Party in Japan at all.
It is good for RP Christians in US to speak in the political issues at USA, but I hope to see RP to be more international and freer from domestic political tie. I want to see RPCNA speaks more free from American political balance as the servant of the true King Jesus. When RP people speak against USA government from strictly Biblical perspectives regardless the American political parties, it will be the way to regain real cause of the Covenanter in USA. In this sense, no-vote tradition was a safe guard for our political freedom of conscience in the past, regardless it should be imposed as Biblical requirement for the membership or not.
Let us pray more for the nations and think more to become more effectively the salt and light for His kingdom.
Biblical moral code expressed in the past decisions of Mr. Bush has been mostly good in general. So I do not want to see him stumbled by unbalanced immaturity on his war logic. We would like to see him open his ears enough to the oppressed people of the world, while presenting the exercise of his sword.
In Japan many media are accusing Christians as seeing Bush being a faithful Christian. Because of this war, Japanese public became more critical against Christianity.
I am not the one who agitates the idea. But I have seen no Japanese RP church member here who supports the war decision of Mr. Bush and USA heartily. Even some members openly pray for the immediate end of the war at our meetings. Even elders are also quite critical.
This difference of climate between USA and other nation like Japan is from whether the one sees the necessity of West's societal repentance or not.
All the more vague logic for outsider like us is the so-called connection between September 11 and Iraq. More Mr. Bush saying about this connection, more the logic becomes vague. If he just says about Iraq, it is more consistent, but it now sounds like "revenge" which is clearly prohibited for Christians in the Bible.
The term "self-defense" is not persuading to us, outsiders. Especially Japanese has been limited by the Japanese constitution which was prepared by US military regime after WW2 concerning to the military power. Our constitution declares that we do never pursue the way of the war as the method of solution of international conflict. So Japan now only maintains the "self-defense" force. This constitution prohibits us to have aircraft carrier, missile, bomber etc. So we have been used to think "self-defense" in strict sense. The way US people use this term now looks so loose for us, and almost non-sense. Rather they should honestly say it as invasion for the rightful purpose. Actually the people of Iraq feel this war as invasion now. The idea of preventive war sounds selfish and not persuading.
For us the true world leader must see the reasons of hatred to USA, too, and plan to solve it as well as facing the immediate danger of terrorism.
North Korean threat and blackmail against Japan is real. N. Korea kidnapped many Japanese youths to make them spies. Missiles will reach within 10 minutes to Japan anytime. Today Japan launched new satellites to watch over N. Korea, but even such pure defensive effort seems to cause N. Korean anger more. It is apparent that N. Korea is much dangerous than Sadam, but USA's attitude is not consistent. Surely attacking N. Korea is more dangerous, and it is real danger for Seoul especially, so US government can not move so quickly. But Japanese people feel too much justification of attacking Iraq is inconsistent in view of immediate nuclear danger from N. Korea. Sadam has not even been proved enough yet about mass-destructive weapon. But N. Korea says clearly that it has.
But we Japanese can never think only about the threat, but the backgrounds. We Japanese did invade into Korea, enslaved the people there, ordered not to teach Korean, and killed the people who were against worshiping the Japanese emperor. So we can not simply accuse against N. Korea. We always need to see the background of their anger and reasoning, and try to express our repentance in our deed, as well as defending the safety of our present nation. I think the same should be said for USA.
The RPs in USA should distinguish them from unbiblical American nationalism. America has not been always ideal country biblically. America's freedom and democracy are the gift from God's grace, but not consistently Biblical in history. So there is much to repent while USA aggressively performs in the agent of sword.
Thank you very much for your patient reading.
Sincerely in His service,