Compiled and condensed from the writings and speeches of Ralph D. Winter.
Captured by the War
There has never been another war the scope of the Second World War. Our country has never really been jeopardized [since then]. We weren’t jeopardized by the Viet Nam War, or the Korean War, or by what happened in Rwanda. We have never been running for our lives [like we were in] the Second World War. The point is that every single citizen of this country—like in no other period since then—became captured by that war.
The famous philosopher of yesteryear, Mortimer Adler, made the observation that what the world needed was the “moral equivalent of war.” That is, an attitude of all-out war effort not fighting against flesh and blood, but a similarly massive, urgent, intense, sacrificial concentration of human beings against not humans but human problems. I would add, against an enemy that is not human and whose very existence is denied apathetically by even most Christians today. Not since World War II has America seen all out mobilization of the general population to support the cause of attaining victory over what was almost universally acknowledged to be a great evil.
Wars in the past have typically gotten started because of some massive and aggressive challenge, like the sinking of the Lusitania (WWI), or the bombing of Pearl Harbor (WWII). The closest thing to that might be a global plague of the sort that killed from 50 to 100 million people in 1918 - far more people right after World War I than were killed in the war itself. But even that might not lead to the kind of total war which the United States and other nations experienced in what we call the Second World War.
There is no likelihood that the equivalent of a Pearl Harbor is going to happen that would rally the social resources of the world, or even Christian resources, or more particularly, the Evangelicals. But it is easily possible to imagine that the force of the Lord’s Prayer “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” would require us to do everything we possibly can, not just to exhibit fantastic personal sacrifice, but to mobilize as much of the Christian world and the non-Christian world as possible.