Grateful, not joyful

The horrors of World War I turned many thoughtful men and women into pacifists, including the Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. But in the 1930s Niebuhr witnessed the rise of Nazism in Germany, a movement based on rabid anti-Semitism and dangerous theories of Aryan racial superiority. Niebuhr decided that armed resistance is sometimes the lesser of two evils and is sometimes the moral imperative even for Christians. He said that Christians should resist evil and fight tyranny with a clear conscience—but also with a heavy heart. When Christians take up arms they are fully aware of the reality of sin not only in the aggressor, but in their own hearts as well.


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