Just War Principles - Summary

By Staff
Jul 1, 2006

Principles for Engaging in War

Just cause.

  • The cause of initiating war must be just.

Competent authority.

  • War cannot be initiated justly except by those who hold the proper authority and responsibility.

Comparative justice.

  • The moral merit on our side must clearly outweigh the moral merit on the other.

Right intention.

  • The intention of going to war must be to obtain or restore a just peace. Desires to punish or humiliate are not adequate intentions.

Last resort.

  • All non-violent alternatives must be exhausted before resorting to war.

Probability of success.

  • If the prospect of success is hopeless, war is not justified no matter how just the cause.

Proportionality of projected results.

  • The good expected must be greater than the estimation of anticipated costs.

Right spirit.

  • War should be regarded as a tragic necessity.

Principles for Conducting War

Proportionality in the use of force.

  • No action should be taken that generates more harm than good.

Discrimination.

  • A strong distinction must be maintained between combatants and non-combatants. Non-combatants must never be deliberate or primary targets of military action.

Avoidance of evil means.

  • No use of evil means (even for a just cause).

Good faith.

  • As much as possible, the enemy must be treated in good faith in order to keep open the possibility of reconciliation.

Just War Principles – PDF

Further Learning

Learn more about: Citizenship, Christian Citizenship, Church and State, Persecution, War,

You May Also Like

VIDEO: How do large families fit into church?

By Thomas Willis - Apr 1, 2014

Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Daniel Darling, ERLC, illustrate how the Church can assist some of its most important members.

“I would encourage pastors to create a context where parents don’t feel like they’re interrupting the service if their kids are there,” Allen said.…

Read More

German homeschoolers denied asylum

By Erin Roach - May 14, 2013

A German homeschooling family has been denied asylum in a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals.…

Read More
Statement of Principles on North Korea: Its Suffering People and the Threat of its Regime Christian Citizenship - Religious Liberty