In 1987, the blurb for the first English edition of War and the Gospel warned that ‘the problem of war is as old as the Christian faith, but it has assumed a greater urgency in our own time’. This remains grimly true after almost 40 years. In the decade after World War 2, Jean Lasserre made a clear and vigorous case for an exegetical grounding of our attitudes towards war in the modern world. He states that ‘Christian theology should start from the Scriptures, not from preconceived ideas’.
With the super-powers of the United States and the USSR at each other’s throats and the threat of nuclear Armageddon on the horizon, Jean Lasserre penned this sober investigation into how Christians should think about war and violence. He begins with the pacifism of Jesus, his teachings and his examples in the New Testament. Questions are raised as to when it is morally obligatory to disobey the state, and whether lethal force can be justified in prisons and by our police forces, a topic that has seen renewed relevance during the first quarter of the twenty-first century. War and the Gospel remains a serious discussion of issues that are, sadly, evergreen.