Terrorism, as evidenced by the 9/11 bombings leaves detrimental impacts not only in the United States but all over the world. Thus, it should be countered and eradicated in order to promote and safeguard peace and order. Written from a Protestant point of view, Charles shifted from the traditional view propagated by other religious organizations and sects. He rebuffed the "overwhelming presumption" that the use of military force and the use of any form of force is immortal. He argued that "peace is not the absence of war" but attainment of peace has a high prize-that God is sovereign above all but every person as a steward, is accountable to Him in safeguarding peace. Charles strongly asserts that violence can be used in order to attain peace and justice.
The author, instead of promoting the traditional viewpoint of pacifism or the use of violence in countering global problems like terrorism, argued for the use of just war. Just war became a mediating factor which lies between the maxims of pacifism and jihad (holy war). Hence, his book is a good introduction of what just war is as well as its justification.
Charles (2005, p. 19-20) defined just war as follows: "The just war position-an expression of consensual Christian thinking through the ages-seeks to mediate this tension [pacifism and war]. This mediating position is rooted in a certain Christian realism: we must never believe that nothing is permissible or anything is. There are occasions in which, reluctantly, we need to apply coercive force even if it means going to war, for the protection and preservation of a third party." He went on saying that not all war is unjust. Thus, war is being justified by the motive of why it is waged.
Charles should be credited on his exposition of the premises of just-war. According to the evangelical scholar, "natural law" should be a fundamental foundation to the theory of just-war. He asserts that "The just war thinker holds certain truths to be self-evident. The very premise on which just war rests is that there is a universal moral sense that informs human beings on what is good and just over against what is evil and unjust" (Charles, 2005, p. 119-124). This claim of Charles is strongly supported by the Bible. In Romans 2:14-15, the apostle Paul wrote that all individual, even non-Christians possess "the just requirements of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness."
After going over this major premise, Charles went on to discuss the essential components of just war. According to the author just war should be associated with just cause, right intention, proper authority, non-combatant discrimination, last resort, and proportionality. This just war premises are very essential in justifying the use of force in order to attain justice and protect a third party.
Between Pacifism and Jihad: Just War and Christian Tradition presents moral clarity in an era where morality is blurred by different philosophies in our current post-modern era. Charles has been successful in evaluating a social issue in the global times within a definite moral framework. The deterioration of moral values did not hinder him to make an examination and justification of the just war theory.