My issue is that John MacArthur seems to miss that Jesus IS the Truth and He is not at war but has passed on the ministry of reconciliation to us... with that we are to contend for the faith... contend is to strive for...
JM teaches we are to "defend" the truth... and if Jesus is truth how can any mere man defend Jesus? Also, it states nowhere in scripture to "defend" truth... it says we are to contend for the faith.. (I have recently written on this here)
The difference between defend and contend is this...
A champion boxer defends his title... but a contender strives to win the title but has yet to attain it.
We are to defend the Gospel. but that defense is not about bashing people with "truth" rather, it is about being ready to give an answer to the hope (Jesus) that is within us. And we are to do this with humility and gentleness and not be like the world whose tool is of Satan called "war".
God is not the father of war. Satan is, for he is the destroyer... God is the Creator... to declare war is to align oneself on the side of Satan.
Now, before one quotes a passage about God telling the Hebrews to "kill them all" it was because God promised to curse those who curse them and bless those who blessed them... and on occasion a pagan people who did no know God, were blessed by Him... as in the case of Jonah.
God is not about war... he is the God of Peace... of Love and reconciliation... to attach a satanic thing as war is an abomination.
God is our defender and Truth needs no defending as it is more powerful than lies just as darkness flees the Light.
I just cannot see how one can justify war and declare it in God's name... God fulfills His promises and all the wars in he OT are about keeping the promise to Abraham so that God’s grace will be known to all men.