The Origins Of Christian Warfare

Christianity Contains Two Serious Flaws

Comment by Christopher King


The Church of England has no authority from Jesus in the Gospels and therefore God to crown King Charles III.  This ceremony, the Ukraine war and 1,700 years of Christian wars originate in the Church's cooperative arrangement with the Roman Emperor Constantine and a flawed view of the bible adopted in AD 325.  Jesus had a project that he called the Kingdom of God.  With Charles III's coronation at Westminster Abbey you will see on television with your own eyes the Church's primary interest and why it has neglected what we would now call a world culture of God. 

The arrangement with Constantine underlies flaws in European Christian culture and wars up to and including the Ukraine war.


It is axiomatic that God is beyond understanding.  Everything that we know about Him comes from Jesus.  It is easy to invoke God for anything whatever.  If it is not consistent with Jesus' teaching it is an invention.  The Church and State alliance since AD 325 has had no apparent problems due to human and environmental resilience.  The problems have been accumulating and are now critical.

For nearly two millenia since Jesus' death, Christian countries have warred with non-Christians and each other. After these limited wars, human recovery, life and hope, no matter the outcome, always happened.  The Ukraine war is different.  With nuclear weapons likely to be used recovery might not be possible.  It was the Christian nations that developed nuclear technology specifically for warfare.  We need to understand not only the Ukraine war but also why the Christian nations have such a history of warfare when they purportedly follow Jesus who is our example of a man of God and peace.

The Ukraine war and the USA's other recent wars are supported by the belief that it is the 'essential country', the 'city on the hill' (from the Sermon on the Mount) and with exceptionalist privileges for military intervention. This is a development of the Christian countries' long history of warfare, contrary to Jesus' teaching.  I'll look at the USA's 'exceptionalism' in another article.

Christian warfare originates in flaws in the theology and practice of Christianity itself.   Teaching of Jesus, his Kingdom and what that is has not kept pace with the social and scientific progress that his intervention generated.  Let's take an overview of how this has occurred.

Several hundred years after Jesus’ death, the early Church came to the notice of the polytheistic Roman Emperor Constantine who, it appears, considered that this religion of peace would serve to pacify his unruly heterogeneous empire.  Constantine converted only nominally to Christianity until he was baptized on his death bed. Nevertheless, he made Christianity the state religion of his empire.  In AD 325 he convened the Church Bishops at the Council of Nicea to settle a theological dispute about whether Jesus was God and at that time became the formal patron of the Christian Church.  This event in support of the Church is well known as the 'Constantinian Shift' or 'Constantinian Settlement'. 

A subsequent series of Nicean Councils compiled our present bible and set doctrine that is substantially unchanged to the present time.  The Councils of Nicea defined Christianity and the future Roman Catholic Church with its relationship to the state.  Subsequent fissions of the Church have generally maintained both the same doctrines and attitude if not relationship to the State.

The Constantinian relationship of Church to State was, essentially, that the Church would confine itself to spiritual matters that in practice meant keeping the population peaceful while the Emperor and subsequent Christian kings dealt with matters temporal of general governance - foreign relations, wars, laws etc.  This arrangement was based on the Church teaching that the entire bible, both Old and New Testaments (OT and NT) is the Word of God from Genesis and the Garden of Eden to Jesus and Revelation.  That is still the case at the present time with few exceptions of minor faiths. 

This view of the Bible was necessary, because the Word of God, as the Church defined it, included the willingness of Israel's God Yahweh (see footnote) of the OT to intervene in the world to support Israel in warfare.  Warfare and the expansion of his empire was what Constantine was particularly interested in and he credited the Christian God with his military successes.

Constantine's death-bed baptism shows that he recognized the flaw that had been introduced into the Church - the contradiction between Yahweh and Jesus' conception of God.  He had created within Christianity, as it was from then on, a composite God or perhaps dual-purpose God whose nature between Yahweh and Jesus' God the believer could choose.  Constantine wanted to be forgiven his sins in killing a great number of people and get to Heaven through Jesus but first to get Yahweh's help in expanding his empire.  Legalistically it makes sense.

Jesus instructed his followers 'love your enemies'.  By contrast with Yaweh, Jesus' God is a God of love and forgiveness who loves humankind and will bring the Kingdom of God. This was as a radical change from the conception of the late Bronze Age God who supported warfare, executions and needed burnt sacrifices that persisted in Israel at Jesus' time.  This was glossed over by the Church, clearly because the cooperative relationship to Constantine and the State was vastly preferable to the persecution that it had previously experienced.  The heroism of Israel in warfare with Yahweh's assistance was more immediately helpful to the State than Jesus' Kingdom and still is.  That gloss-over remains the case in Christianity's teaching and relationship to the State.

With state patronage the Church became immensely powerful, rich and corrupt acting in its own interests rather than preaching Jesus' future Kingdom, that is, converting people to Jesus, his God and the future of humanity on earth rather than Heaven.  The Church preached itself and its interests as the Bride of Christ.  The mass was in latin to an illiterate population with the bible explained as suited the Church’s interests.  Dissenters were killed, persecuted and massacred in periodic inquisitions, eg the Albigensian Crusade and Spanish Inquisition.

Deviation from the Roman Church's doctrine was not tolerated and new scientific discoveries were suppressed as subversive, eg the scientist/philosopher Giordano Bruno burned at the stake as late as 1600. There was the close escape from a similar fate by Gallileo Gallilei the astronomer.  Earlier, in 1536 William Tyndale had been burned at the stake as much for his criticism of the Church’s corruption as for translating and printing the bible in English, which destroyed the Church’s monopoly on interpretation.  People could read Jesus’ instructions for themselves.

We should note that the Church's practice of killing dissenters or reformers who threatened its orthodox (in the general sense) views was consistent with its view of the bible as a whole as God's word.  This is what Yahweh authorized the Israelites to do.  To this day the Church asserts that Israel's God and Jesus' God are the same God. That is clearly not the case.  Jesus changed our conception of God. (I have discussed this with a number of intelligent Christians who cannot understand it. Several have become very angry.  It undermines their conception of God, Christianity and how they have always perceived the world and events in it. More on this elsewhere).

Above all, from AD 325 the Church neglected preaching the Kingdom, that is, preaching Jesus’ God and the future of humanity.  The mission that Jesus gave his followers and the Church was essentially, to have everyone think like Jesus.  This is explicitly said in the Churches.  Notwithstanding, to this day the Church uses Jesus to legitimize its status but still neglects its mission and teaches the OT without distinction from the NT.  These are two major flaws in Christian theology, practice and culture - teaching two different conceptions of God and failure to teach Jesus and his Kingdom as its primary objective. 

At present, particularly in the test of its view of the Ukraine war, the Church appears to be paralysed by its doctrinal contradictions that it accepts as the price for an easy, sheltered relationship with the State.  Until the present, what progress has been made in changing the world to Jesus’ way of thinking has been made over time by a small minority of Christians who have understood Jesus, not by the Church itself. 

Committed missionaries have carried out Jesus' work with Church support but the Church has never seen this as its primary purpose.  Just as importantly, there are individuals such as Julian Assange, who publicized the USA's war crimes in Iraq, viciously persecuted by the USA.   Brian Haw camped outside the UK Parliament building for ten years in protest at the Iraq war.  Edward Snowden revealed illegal secret spying on its own and world citizens by the USA government.  These individuals acted for moral reasons, that is, what they believed to be right, all at considerable cost to themselves.  As far as I know they are not practicing Christians but have apparently accepted Jesus’ ethics from our culture and collective subconscious, in brief, our shared model of the universe and our place in it.  This is where the Kingdom of God is being constructed.

If Jesus should return bringing the Kingdom of God from Heaven that will be wonderful.  In the meantime the evidence of European Christian culture is that by following Jesus we get incredible benefits individually and in society.  In any event, whatever the Kingdom might be, we will be doing the right thing in following Jesus' instructions.  Because of the above flaws as well as other theological flaws, Christian culture is collapsing.  It appears that the centre of chaos is primarily in the minds of conspirators in the USA with regressive notions about God - or none at all - although its effects are visible in Ukraine. 

The Church has wasted 1,700 years in self-indulgence while neglecting its mission, using Jesus' name but suppressing those who took him seriously.  This was sufficient time to bring the entire world to a knowledge of Jesus and the basis for a peaceful world.  Another effect of the Constantinian Settlement and the Church's neglect of its mission was the divergent birth of Islam which is based primarily on the OT but accepts Jesus as the Messenger of God.  When Muhammed (who became the Prophet - PBUH) wanted to eradicate idol worship and to know who God was he rejected Christianity which, from the Koran he knew about.  

I have personal experience of neglect of mission within the Anglican Church.  Clearly, if the Churches were to take Jesus seriously they would be in immediate conflict with those states in which they enjoy their privileges - currently with regard to the Ukraine war.  I have written both to the Bishop of Southwark and direct to the Archbishop of Canterbury, suggesting that the Church might take the initiative in having the European Churches make a joint ethical appeal for a cease-fire in Ukraine.  I have also asked to meet with the Bishop of my Anglican diocese.

Although I should not have thought my proposals to be controversial, the Bishop is too busy to see me.  I did not ask to see Archbishop Welby but was assured that he prays for Ukraine.  Unhappily however, he has taken sides in this war.  

Archbishop Justin Welby has visited Ukraine.  The BBC quotes him (December 2022) as saying that "justice demands that there is defeat" of "an evil invasion" and that Ukraine must not be forced to accept a peace deal with Russia.  This is the British Government's position.  I don't think that Archbishop Welby visited Ukraine when the USA-installed Ukrainian government was attacking the ethnic Russians of the Donbass.  He does not appear to be aware of the USA's murders, arranged by Victoria Nuland to effect its 2014 Kiev coup that is the foundation of the USA's aggressive war.  Is he currently aware that the Ukraine government, French and German mediators used the 2014/15 Minsk peace Agreement to deceive Russia and arm Ukraine for war prior to Russia's invasion?  He clearly supports Boris Johnson's collaboration with the USA to dissuade President Zelensky from making any agreement with Russia when they were talking.  This perpetuated the war and subsequent deaths of tens of thousands.  This isn't following Jesus.

From his comments on defeating Russia, it's clear that Archbishop Welby believes that Israel's God and Jesus God are the same god. His predecessor, Rowan Williams accepted a certain difference but expressed it positively as an extension of 'God's dispensation' of support from Israel to the wider world. This did not address the basic difference.  Rowan Williams publicly opposed the Iraq war but did not attempt to move the Church on the matter of warfare.  As a quick solution, we can think of the Bible theologically as a record of Israel's learning of God's nature, from Abram's Akkadian/Sumerian culture of polytheism and human sacrifice, via Moses' monotheism, evidently learned in Egypt from the followers of Akhenaton, to Jesus' God of love and forgiveness.  God is always the same but we're learning more about Him.

The Church's view of Jesus is the same as if we were living two thousand years ago. For example, the demons that Jesus cast out would now be thought of as cases of mental dysfunction - which takes nothing away from his results.  Recently in discussion an Anglican priest told me that I was influenced by demons and showed clear signs of fear.  Our view of reality has changed over 2,000 years - due to Jesus.

Pope Francis blames NATO for the Ukraine war as the Wall Street Journal complains, reported by the Corriere Della Sera .  He has evidently received an accurate briefing but would do better by a neutral stance and organizing the European Churches or World Council of Churches to press for a cease-fire and negotiations.  At this point there's no point in dwelling on blame and propaganda statements or even the facts of its commencement. We need pressure to simply stop the war, reflect and talk. 

One might expect the European Christian Churches to unite in pressing vigorously for a cease-fire and negotiations.  The population of Europe is in a state of war fever.  The Churches might counter this without blame or criticism by an appeal based on Jesus.  They appear to be paralyzed or even ashamed of Jesus in this new age when all religions are equal and no-one should be offended.  Christianity must re-discover Jesus and its mission. 

Archbishop Welby is surely aware that Jesus is not concerned with justice.  He is concerned with love and forgiveness with solutions found in these.   As the Apostle Paul interprets Jesus: 'overcome evil with good'.  A follower of Jesus would take a politically neutral but ethical position.  The Ukraine war is a situation when insistence on enforcing justice, even correctly attributed, could lead to nuclear war.  There is common ground between Ukraine and Russia in Jesus' ethics, despite the flaws in Christianity.  This is where the European Churches and Europe's population as a whole should meet.  Jesus' principles are latent in the minds of Europeans but overcome by war propaganda and theological confusion.  An appeal by the Churches could raise the principles of Jesus' culture and his God to mind. 

We know that the European states want to have a war because Angela Merkle confessed that they used the Minsk agreement as a deception to arm Ukraine.  The United States rejects China as a mediator.  This is a European war and the European churches are now the best possibility for influencing their respective governments.  Do they trust in Jesus or do they not?  Unhappily, I am not hopeful that they will take up this challenge with its risks, but this is my appeal.

This conflict between the ethics of the OT and NT has been bridged in the case of warfare by the invention of the 'just war’, a concept that Tony Blair and his advisors applied to the aggressive Iraq war based on his and USA lies.  I recall Tony Blair responding on television, "Well, we'll kill fewer people than Saddam Hussein."  Saddam Hussein was hanged for gassing 2-5,000 Kurds (although many thousands more in the Iran/Iraq war).  Blair and Bush's Iraq war killed perhaps a million people directly or indirectly and made millions more refugees.  There is no such thing as a 'just war' in Jesus mode of thinking. The task of Christianity should have been, from 325 AD onward, to have acted as the conscience of the state to prevent warfare in general.  The Church was and still is unwilling to do this because it is unwilling to pay the cost of losing the State's patronage.

The Bush/Blair Iraq war with its propaganda and lies is being replicated in Ukraine, now against a nuclear armed country.  I'll repeat, there's insanity here, a detachment from reality.  The Church's teaching has led many Christians to believe that a nuclear war would be part of God's apocalypse from the book of Revelation, that Jesus will imminently return in Israel and a nuclear war is unimportant because they'll go to heaven.  People from our local church have told me variations on this.  This is not taught directly by the Church.  It seems to be how people create coherent world views in their own minds of the conflicts between the OT, NT, the Church's doctrines and events in the material world.  There might be 'underground' groups within the Church with these notions.  They might be coherent world-views but they are not related to reality.  In the minds of political leaders such notions are demonstrably extremely dangerous. 

Jesus makes sense of it all.  God loves humanity and he's given us the world in which we now know we evolved.  Everything needed to coordinate with God's creative nature can be condensed into the one model prayer and four simple principles that Jesus gave us.  These are the guide to our personal creativity, the progress of our society and culture. 

The Coronation of King Charles III

On 6th May at Westminster Abbey, Archbishop Justin Welby will place the crown of State upon the head of King Charles III by God's will or with His authorization as the case might be.  The Archbishop will anoint him with holy oil, blessed by God.  When you see this you will see with your own eyes in the 21st Century the relationship between the Christian Church and the State that was arranged for mutual benefit with Emperor Constantine in AD 325.

If the UK wishes to have a King, that is well and good, but you will search in vain for any of Jesus' words in the Gospels that might give this ceremony any authority from God.  There are none.  Indeed, Jesus likened the  religious teachers and leaders of his time to white painted tombs, beautiful on the outside but inside full of dead peoples' bones and corruption.  That simile fits the history of the Church's murders in God's name and collusion with warfare.  Archbishop Welby's words about Russia are an encouragement to warfare and killing at the present time.  He has no authority from Jesus to crown, on God's authority, King Charles III or any King, much less one whose country is pursuing aggressive warfare (please see previous analyses of the facts on this website).

Consider the incongruity of the UK's Monarch  also being head of the State Church purportedly based on Jesus.  It is an elevation that even Emperor Constantine did not aspire to.  

When winning a nuclear war is thought to be possible, rationality has failed.  When the senior leader of the Church that uses Jesus' name encourages warfare, our ethics and civilization are collapsing.  We need God's solutions.  They're found in our own minds through Jesus.  We need to let go of what we think we know or have been told. Thinking about Jesus and his instructions and we'll find our own solutions.  It's through Jesus that we understand God.  If you don't believe in God, as a quick explanation, think of God an hypothesis that works.  These four instructions, with their emergent properties, carry all Jesus' message:

Love God - appreciate the amazing fact of your existence in the material world
Love your neighbour as yourself - how we should live with each other
Love your enemies - overcome evil with good
Preach the Kingdom of God - teach Jesus and in doing so create the
   culture that is his Kingdom.  

Jesus is taking humanity to perfection.  The fishermen who immediately followed him without question saw in him their own perfectibility.  What that means exactly cannot be foreseen, but the trend is clearly positive.  We are living with the effects of his intervention even though poorly taken forward.

Please note how Jesus summarizes the entire Old Testament's relevance in his first two principles, which are from the OT.  He gives two more of his own.  These two summarize Jesus' own message.  His four clear instructions define his and God's nature. Moreover, we have an objective, Jesus' world culture, to work toward. It's not something to sit in Church and wait for him to bring.  Nor did he come to have his followers crown kings in God's name or liberate countries by bombing them and killing people by increasingly efficient methods.  "The Kingdom of God is within you", with Jesus within your mind. That is the psychologically correct translation.  (ἐντός entós, en-tos'; inside. These translations concur: NKJV, ASV, YLT, Web, HNV, Vul, TR, NAV, RUK60)

Why believe what I say - or governments or Christianity that's static in a cultural mix of 2 - 4,000 years ago?  Whether of Christian, other Faith or none, please read the Gospels and consider Jesus' life and his words.  Followers of Jesus were burned at the stake by the Church so that you can do that.  You might ask who I am to say this of Christianity, King Charles and the good Archbishop.  Although a member of the Anglican Church I'm not a Christian as defined by the Church's accommodation with Emperor Constantine and the State.  I'm a follower of Jesus.

What is to be done?

We're considering the model of the world that's is in our minds and how it causes actions and outcomes in material reality. 

We're being herded toward having our world ruled over by the elites of the Military-Globalist Complex who have enriched themselves, given us wars ever since WWII and are willing to use nuclear weapons.  We don't know what's in their minds, but it isn't Jesus.

Alternatively we can continue the cultural trend of social and material progress  initiated in Europe by those who understood Jesus, now a model for the world.  The emergent properties of Jesus' instructions lets us understand what each of us should do.  In general, the work to be done is to understand and apply Jesus' teaching.  That is how to make a better world without warfare.

This article is an introduction to a view of Jesus' Kingdom as a culture based on God's nature of love and forgiveness that he initiated in material reality.  I'm continuing it separately here

Footnote: The name Yahweh is used here to distinguish Israel's God, ie the Mosaic conception of God from Jesus' conception of God who he calls only God or Father.  Yahweh means 'I am' as a simple statement of existence by the One God rather than a distinguishing name. Written as YHWH without vowels and called the tetragrammaton. This was at a polytheistic time when Gods were thought of in anthropomorphic terms, as related to phenomena such as storms, material places, objects, eg forests and idols, eg the biblical teraphim, household Gods.

8th April 2023