Contact Us

  • Phone: 250-828-8222
  • Email:
  • Mailing Address: 454 Columbia Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2T5



The Observer

How do we cure the Spirit of War?

Posted by Joshua Claycamp on

It's Monday, April 11 2022. I'm Joshua Claycamp. And this is the observer a Kamloops Christians reflection upon the news from a biblical perspective. In order to help Christians understand how we need to think about current events, we are reminded in the prophet Isaiah that God shall judge between the nations and he shall decide disputes for many peoples.

And in Isaiah chapter two and verse four it says they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore, oh house of Jacob, Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. We look forward to that day on the promise of God's Word in which there will be no more war there will be no more bloodshed and violence as a result of the rage and the anger and the greed of man.

But this is not that day. Recent events over the weekend reminded us of how deadly and how cruel war is. Civilians in eastern Ukraine rushed to evacuate at the urging of local officials as Russian forces masked in the region and struck residential areas there on Sunday. US military officials said additionally on Sunday that they expect Russian troops to carry out a major offensive from the city of Islam to Denise row, a central city that is considered a strategic target in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, which encompasses two breakaway enclaves controlled by Russian backed separatists. across one of those enclaves Donetsk, a fleet of volunteer bus drivers was helping to evacuate residents before an anticipated onslaught by Russian forces expected to come on Monday today, more than 4.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country since February 24.

According to reports from the United Nations, Russian troops have escalated their attacks against civilian areas in Ukraine in recent days, including a rocket attack on a train station on Friday that killed more than 50 people who are trying to flee to the east of the country to the west. And indeed, in some of the most shocking reporting on the war to date, images were shown of a miss of a Russian missile that had inscribed on the side of it to the children. It seems that soldiers were deliberately attempting to target civilians and specifically addressed their war their weaponry towards children. This is just particularly offensive and heinous as we consider all of the events unfolding. Ukrainian leaders and Western allies warned that the risk of civilian casualties would only increase. Britain announced on Saturday that it would supply Ukrainian forces with missiles that can target aircraft, tanks and even ships analysts say anti ship missiles would be a notable addition to Ukrainian forces which have struggled against Russian ships off operating off of Ukraine's coast.

As we look at all of this, we as Christians cannot help but grieve. I am reminded of the Baptist faith and message which says it is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness, in accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ, they should do all in their power to put an end to war. The true remedy for the war spirit, of course, is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the supreme need of the world is the acceptance of his teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of his law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace. And as we enter into this Easter weekend, as we prepare on Friday to celebrate what is known throughout Christendom as Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified, looking towards Sunday, Easter Sunday, the day of the resurrection of our Savior, we cannot help but notice that the peace that Jesus died in order to secure between lost and sinful humanity and the heavenly Father above is not present in the conflicts, and in the war that we still see prevalent in this world.

Today, as we consider all the tragedy that is taking place in Ukraine and in Western Europe, it's important for us to step back and to remind ourselves that this war is precipitated by sin within the human heart. And as these actions have been undertaken by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, we see that the decisions he is making influence not only those who are within the governing and ruling class of Russia, but it trickles down to the entire population. There is an element in which the sinful and selfish desires of Putin are indeed infecting and corrupting the entire population around him.

We see this in the reporting that is coming out of Russian media outlets, writing for dry use.com An article was published over the weekend that begins, quote, Marina Dube Rova, an English teacher on the Russian island of shock Hollen in the Pacific showed an uplifting YouTube video to her eighth grade class last month in which children in Russian and Ukrainian sing about a world without war. After she played it, a group of girls stayed behind during recess and quizzed her on her views. Ukraine is a separate country, a separate one, Mr. Brava 37 told them no longer one of the girls shot back at her. A few days later, the police came to her school in the port town of Korsakov. In court, she heard a recording of that conversation that she'd had with her students. Apparently, she had been recorded by one of her students. The judge handed down a $400 fine for publicly discrediting Russia's armed forces. And then the school fired her she said for a moral behavior.

Quote, It says though, they've all plunged into some kind of madness, Mr. Brava said in a phone interview reflecting on the pro war mood around her with President Putin is direct encouragement. Russians who support the war against Ukraine are starting to turn on citizens whom they consider to be the enemy within. The episodes are not yet a mass phenomenon, but they illustrate the building paranoia and polarization in Russian society.

Citizens are denouncing one another in an eerie echo of Stalin's terror, spurred on by vicious official rhetoric from the state and enabled by far reaching new laws that criminalize any kind of public dissent. There are reports of students turning in teachers and people telling on their neighbors and even the diners at the next table in a small in a mall in western Moscow. It was the no to war text displayed in a computer repair shop and reported by a passerby that got the store's owner Murat gratia, detained by the police.

In St. Petersburg, a local news outlet documented the furor over suspected pro Western sympathies at the public library. It erupted after a library official mistook the image of a Soviet scholar on a poster for that of Mark Twain. In other words, they observed an image on a poster inside a library that they thought was that of American literary author Mark Twain and reported the library to the government officials. The government officials responded only to discover that in fact, the poster the incriminating evidence that allegedly portrayed the image of Mark Twain actually portrayed the image of a Russian scholar in the western region of Kaliningrad the authority sent residents text messages, urging them to provide phone numbers and email addresses of provoca tours in connection with the special operation in Ukraine. Russian newspapers reported they can do so conveniently through a specialized account. In the telegram social media messaging app, a nationalist political party launched a website in fact urging Russians to report pests within the web within the social media app.

Quote, I am absolutely sure that a cleansing will begin Demetri Goodson netsoft, the Member of Parliament behind the website said in an interview, predicting that the process would accelerate after the active phase of the war ended. He then clarified, well, we don't want anyone to be shot unnecessarily. And we don't necessarily even want people to go to prison.

So what he means then is he wants a cleansing but exactly what kind of cleansing he is referring to he himself is rather vague and ambiguous, but it's it is the history of mass execution and political imprisonment, particularly in the Soviet area in the Soviet era, and the denunciation of fellow citizens encouraged by the state government that is now at the present time looming over Russia's deepening climate of political repression.

Mr. Putin set the tone in a speech on March the 16th, declaring that Russian society needed a self purification direct, quote, self purification, in which people would, quote, distinguish true patriots from scum and traders, and simply spit them out like a fly that accidentally flew into their mouths and quote, In the Soviet logic, those who choose not to report their fellow citizens could be viewed as being suspect themselves according to what Putin just said, quote, in these conditions, fear is settling into people again said Nikita Petrov, a leading scholar of the Soviet secret police, and that fear dictates that you must report and quote.

In other words, what's happening in Russia at the current time is not at all different than what we saw within fascist Nazi Germany. During the rise of Hitler with the implementation of the Gestapo. We see increasingly that loyalty to the state and the state as defined by President Putin is measured in terms of a willingness to turn in to report those who disagree with the state, you may be in agreement with the state, you may in fact support the war in Ukraine. But that that is not enough. According to Vladimir Putin, if you do not support the war in Ukraine, with such fervor and such religious devotion as to be moved, and willing to turn in your neighbors who may disagree with the government, then you simply are not loyal enough. In March, Mr. Putin signed into law, a new bill that punishes public statements contradicting the government line on what the Kremlin terms is its, quote, unquote, special military operation in Ukraine, with a penalty of up to as much as 15 years in prison. It was a harsh but, according to the Kremlin, necessary measure, given the West's misinformation war against Russia.

Prosecutors in Russia have already used the law against more than 400 people, according to the OBD info rights group, including a man who held up a piece of paper with eight asterisks on it, no to war, it read in Russian, and it had eight letters. That phrase has eight letters. And so in attempting to say no to war, but doing so in a coded signal he wrote, he held up a sign that had eight asterisks on it, and he was charged and sentenced with that expression being held up, Aleksandra baya said quote, this is some kind of an enormous joke that we to our misfortune are repeating. She said the head of op eds in the legal department, she went on to say that there had been a sharp uptick in the frequency of people reporting on their fellow citizens in order to avoid the potential possibility of themselves going into prison if it were revealed that a neighbor or close relative did not support the war and they had not reported on that neighbor or that relative. Well, repressions are not just done by the hands of the state authorities she said they are also done by the hands of regular citizens.

Again, in most cases, the punishments related to war criticism, criticism had been limited to financial penalties fines for the more than 15,000 anti war protesters that had been arrested in Russia since the invasion began on February the 24th. Fines are the most common penalty though some were sentenced to as many as 30 days in jail, but some people are being threatened with far longer prison terms.

In the western city of Penza, another English teacher, Irina Jin arrived in class one day and found a giant Z scrawled on the chalkboard. The Russian government has been promoting the letter z as a symbol of support for the war, after it was seen painted as an identifying marker on nearly all of the Russian military vehicles used in the invasion in Ukraine. Miss Jen told her students that as far as she was concerned, this z which some student had scrawled on the chalkboard looked to her like half a swastika. Later, an eighth grader asked her why Russia was being banned from sports competitions in Europe. And Mrs. Jen responded, quote, I think that it is the right thing to do until Russia starts behaving in a civilized manner. And until Russia starts behaving in such a manner, this will continue forever. A girl responded to Mrs. Jin, her teacher by saying quote, yes, but we just don't know all the details to which Miss Jen retorted. That's right. You don't know the details. You don't know anything at all. She was of course, alluding to the fact that the Russian government is tamping down on freedom of the press and is propping up its own propaganda machine. Miss Jen and saying you don't know anything at all was essentially saying that's correct. We have no way of knowing what it is exactly. Our government is doing.

A recording of that particular exchange between Miss Jen and the student appeared again on popular a social media account telegram that often posts inside information about criminal cases. The Federal Security Service, which is a successor agency to the KGB, called her in and warned her that her words blaming Russia for the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol. Ukraine last month were quote 100% a criminal case and quote, she's now being investigated for causing grave consequences. Under last month's censorship law, punishable with a term of anywhere from 10 to 15 years in prison. Miss Jen, who is currently 45 years old said that she found little support among her students, or from her school and as a result, she felt forced to quit her job earlier this month. When she talked in class about her opposition to the war. She said that she felt hatred toward her radiating from some of her students. My point of view did not resonate in the hearts and the minds of basically anyone she said in that interview.

But others who have been the targets of denunciation by fellow citizens drew more hopeful lessons from the experience on Chicagoland island after local news outlets reported on Mr. provas case, one of her former students raised $150 In a day for her before Mr. Brava told her to stop and said that she would pay the fine herself. On Friday, Mr. Brava handed the money over to a local dog shelter. In Moscow, Mr. Grachev, the computer repair store owner said he found it remarkable that not one of his hundreds of customers threatened to turn him in for the no to war texts that he had prominently displayed on a screen behind the counter for several weeks following the invasion. After all, he noted he was forced to double the price of some of the services because of Western sanctions, surely angering some of his customers but instead of being angered many thank Tim, the man who apparently did turn in Mr. Gracia was a passerby that he refers to simply as grandpa, who he said twice warned his employees late in late March that they were violating the law that had recently been acted by the Russian government. Mr. Gracia of 30 fives, who is 35 years old said he believed the man was convinced that he was simply doing his civic duty by reporting the store to the police, and he most likely did not have access to any information regarding the war. Beyond state propaganda. Mr. Gracia was fined 100,000 rubles, which is roughly equivalent of around 1200. Canadian a Moscow politician wrote about the case on social media including Mr. Gauchos bank details for anyone who wanted to help enough money was raised to cover the fine within two hours Mr. Grachev said he received 250,000 rubles in total, he said from about 250 separate donations, and he plans to donate the surplus to OVD info which provided him with legal aid.

Quote, In practice, we see that not everything is so bad quote, he said in an interview, Mr. Gracia was now pondering how to replace his no to war sign. And he is considering this quote, There was a sign here for which a 100,000 ruble fine was imposed. And quote, that is a clever way of saying that he continues to oppose the war. One wonders if it isn't too clever by half.

Again, as we look at events unfolding in Russia and Ukraine, we are reminded that there is a division that is working its way throughout society, there must be a logical outworking, within every society, about what is going to be held as the ultimate goals and the ultimate values of that society, every nation, every country bows before some idol, and the citizens, the members of that society who make up the population of that country are over time, all pressed, all encouraged, and all eventually forced to conform to the values which that idol espouses. We see this happening in the West, we certainly have seen it happening in Russia. And it has happened before. As we look at all of these things, we know that there is indeed a great division, but the greatest division of all comes as a result of our being separated and isolated from Jesus Christ. The greatest division of all is the hostility that exists between fallen mankind, and a holy and holy and just God. This is the message of the gospel. The end of war comes as a result of surrender to Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul writing in second Corinthians chapter five says, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the whole the new has come. And we might apply that in the current context to the spirit of war which is bound up in the heart of every individual. Not only are we at war with God, but that rebellion against God leads us to being engaged in war and struggle and strife Life against our fellow man. But when anyone places their faith in Jesus Christ, they become a new creation, as Paul says the oldest passed away, the new has now arrived. He goes on in second Corinthians chapter five, to say all this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That is in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. But of course, as we look at this, we are reminded that indeed, Jesus ministry on this earth unleashes its own most bitter of all forms of warfare, Jesus comes to bring peace between all those who would seek to have a relationship with God. But in bringing that peace, He unleashes war upon the earth.

He says in Matthew chapter 10, don't think that I have come to bring peace to the earth, I haven't come to bring peace, but a sword, For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law, and a person's enemies will be those of his own household,

We certainly see this within Russia, we have certainly seen this within various historical examples throughout the past, most recently, Nazi Germany, whenever the state takes a place of supreme importance. And whenever the government is upheld, as being that of an idol over the country, over the nation, we see that over time, there is a logical working out of these values that lead the citizens of that state, that lead the worshipers of that idol, to denounce and to attack and to turn against all those who do not share the values of that idol and do not indeed worship that idol. This is the logical progressing of idolatry in the heart of sinful mankind. And Jesus says that when he comes to establish righteousness based on faith in what he has accomplished on the cross, it will be no different. He does not bring peace by dying on the cross. He ultimately divides society, those who want peace with God, from those who continue in their rebellion against God. And that's why Jesus says, don't think that I have come to bring peace, I haven't come to bring peace, but a sword. He goes on to say, Whoever loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of me.

But the promise remains, whoever finds his life in this life will lose it. But whoever loses his life, for Jesus sake, will indeed find it. And so as Paul says in Romans chapter five, since we have been justified by faith in Christ, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. But the spirit of war is tamed and subdued by faith in Jesus Christ. And as Christians, we have a calling from the Lord, to proclaim that good news to the entire world as we look at events unfolding in Ukraine. As we look at the terror that is ravaging within Russia, the solution remains the same. We must preach the kingdom of Jesus Christ. As we enter into Holy Week this week. This is the message which we must all continue to proclaim. Jesus is the answer for the war spirit.

As the Easter weekend approaches, then, I invite you to join us at First Baptist Church for Easter Sunday, April, the 17th. The worship service will begin at 10:30. And we will hear of the Lord's resurrection of His coming back from the dead and defeating the power of death. It will be an incredible weekend of worshiping God. And as a result, we invite you to worship God with us this coming Lord's day, if you want to know what the answer is, to the events unfolding in Ukraine, and to the war that is ravaging this world. If you want to know how it is that these things can be solved, you must first understand what it means to make peace in your own heart with the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Thanks for listening to the observer. I'm Joshua Claycamp. And you can follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.com forward slash Joshua Claycamp. The observer is a ministry of First Baptist Church where Christians seek to discern the news differently. For more information on First Baptist Church of Kamloops go to first Baptist Kamloops dot o RG or for more information on first Baptist classical Academy, just go to first Baptist classical dot O R G and I'll meet you again tomorrow for more of the observer.

Tags: jesus, students, idol, peace, war, jen, christians, world, people, day, ukraine, russia, soviet, russian, reminded, kamloops, reported, brava, russian government, ukrainian forces