In the decades since my book Principles of War was first published, many changes have taken place in the sophistication of weaponry for physical war. We now have “smart” bombs and guided missiles that are very accurate. If a cruise missile were fired from Boston, it could be guided through the goal posts at JFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
The principles of war have not changed. Superior weapons have always had an effect on the outcome of a battle or war. However, superior weapons have not guaranteed the outcome. The morale of combatants, the reason for fighting, and most of all, the implementation of the principles of war, are the main guarantees of victory.
The United States lost the war in Vietnam because of the practical disregard of these principles. We had no clear political or military objective. We had clear superiority in weapons, training, and men. But morale was low, and the men did not know why they were fighting. If they did know, the people at home did not know. The Viet Cong, in contrast, knew where they were going and observed the principles of war. I will mention other examples of violated principles in the appropriate chapters.
In the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraq, we had clear superiority in weapons, training, and morale. In addition, we observed the principles. Ultimate and limited objectives were clearly stated. Even with multinational forces, and with different services in the same theater of war, there was clear unity of command and clear cooperation between units. The blockade of Iraq, the interdiction of the lines of communication, and the encirclement of Iraq’s Republican Guard showed clear understanding of the principle of lines of communication.
We as Christians may not have learned as much in the last twenty years as the military has learned. Even so, there are some positive signs in the prosecution of the war in world evangelism. The most positive sign is the aggressive translation, retranslation, publication, and distribution of the Scriptures in modern languages. The next most positive sign is prayer meetings for revival. Both of these are using the principle of the offensive. Other good signs are changes in mission organizations so that the doctrine of operation is not fixed. More versatility and flexibility is allowed.
However, there are a few things that we are still doing wrong. We are still using the challenge/volunteer mode of recruiting instead of teaching obedience. We are still teaching loyalty to organizations and methods that hinder obedience to God and cooperation with other units.
Many individual Christians and married couples in Christian work are emotionally and/or morally fouled up. If these people are in leadership, this affects the morale of everyone and results in a consequent nonaggressiveness in evangelism.
Our hospitals for casualties are staffed by casualties and by sympathetic but misguided people who accept the casualties as permanent casualties. People are not being healed so they can get back into battle; they either become permanent invalids, or the cure is planned to take the rest of their natural lives.
In upcoming posts, I will discuss the principles of war and how they apply to Christians as we fight the spiritual war today. If you would like to read it all at once, you can find it in my book Principles of War.