Spoils of War and Life Outside of the Academy

There is a saying, “In war, the spoils go to the victor,” and generally that is the case. However, sometimes spoils go to Lepers who by good fortune wander in to a deserted Syrian camp (2 Kings 7:3-8); and those guys sure made out well–eating, drinking, carrying off silver and gold! I feel a bit like that today. Yesterday I obtained a free copy of Black & Tan, generously provided for free (for a short time) in response to recent controversies. And sure, I know “it isn’t a perfect analogy” . . . I am not a Leper, no silver, no gold, but surely you get the gist.

[I]f there is a young Christian to-day in a typical evangelical church who is thinking about joining the Marines and going to Iraq, he does not have to get a Ph.D. in American foreign policy studies first. He can make an honorable decision without that. Now this has ramifications for the study of history, but I am in no way commending it as a basic method of studying history. An infantryman doesn’t need to be a historian to help make history. But historians should be competent historians as they study it, and in their study, meticulous attention to the facts matters. At the same time, “competence” cannot be defined from some neutral place. There is no detached realm of “neutral facts” where believer and unbeliever alike can go and find the pristine data. This is not a historical claim; it is a theological claim about history. We are called to live our lives in a way that realizes there is a world outside the academy. Most of the people in the economy are not economists. Most people who have made history are not historians (Douglas Wilson, Black & Tan, 6).