What is a christian pacifist

    what is a christian pacifist

    Christian Pacifism

    Jun 03, Christian pacifistswho believe that Jesus life and teaching are at the center of the Bible, the lens through which we read the restsee in Jesus sharp clarity about the supremacy of love, peacableness, funslovestory.comted Reading Time: 7 mins. Dec 18, Christian pacifistswho believe that Jesus life and teaching are at the center of the Bible, the lens through which we read the restsee in Jesus sharp clarity about the supremacy of vulnerable love, peacableness, and funslovestory.comted Reading Time: 4 mins.

    Question: "What does the Bible say about whaf Pacifists refuse, on moral or religious grounds, to bear arms or engage in any type of physical resistance. They believe that all disputes can and should be settled in peaceful, non-violent ways. Pacifists are usually conscientious objectors in times of war.

    Some religious groups, such as the QuakersMennonitesand the Amish how to make friends on pokemon x, make pacifism an how to get rid of oral herpes fast part of their doctrine.

    Some Christians claim that the Bible commands pacifism. They cite passages such as the Sermon on the Mount as evidence that the New Covenant has rendered irrelevant any Old Testament examples of righteous war. Christian pacifists believe that following Jesus means doing only as He did, and He never promoted killing enemies Matthew They claim that the power of love should be strong enough to how to remove lino glue the staunchest enemy and that we are iss to be peacemakers, not soldiers Matthew Pacifism is an admirable goal, but is it realistic?

    Does pacifist thinking work against terrorist groups or fascist dictators? What happens to pacifists and their families when terrorists threaten? The no-war crowd seems to forget that their freedom to exercise pacifism was bought with the blood of non-pacifists. Those soldiers did not die because they loved war. They died, in part, so that future pacifists could expound freely about their sincerely held beliefs without fear of death, torture, or imprisonment by those who refuse to consider peace.

    Without non-pacifists, there would be no pacifists. Despite what Christiqn pacifists would have us believe, God is crhistian a pacifist. The Bible is filled with examples of God taking bloody vengeance on His enemies Isaiah 6; ; Deuteronomy And those examples are not limited to the Old Testament. It is impossible to read the book of Revelation without seeing the Lamb of God in His role as the Lion of Judah Revelation ; The imagery is clear that Jesus will overcome His enemies with war Revelation This is the same Jesus iis is quoted by pacifists to support their cause.

    In short, personal pacifism should be the goal, to a large degree, of every follower of Christ. We are called to live in peace, as much as we are able to do so Romans ; Hebrews We should be willing to turn the other cheek Matthewlend freely Lukeand even be cheated if it means not dishonoring the name of Christ 1 Corinthians When peace is an option, we should pursue it as far as it will go.

    But when the lives and liberties of others are threatened, a higher law draws us to their defense Proverbs 12; John When a nation needs to defend itself from those who would destroy its peace, true peacemakers join forces to protect it.

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    May 07, The Christian in a political position serves the goal of effective government just like a secular person, but the Christian is a witness to the higher values of Jesus Christ. Christians ought never to use a powerful government position as a means to achieve Christs goals for funslovestory.comted Reading Time: 8 mins. Pacifists reject all violence. They do not think that conflict should be dealt with by resorting to war. They think that other peaceful methods should be used. The early Christians interpreted. Practical Christian pacifism is grounded in faithfulness and hope, but also in realism. It provides not only a moral basis for dealing with conflicts but a framework within which to carry on the vital task of building structures that can eventually eliminate war and its causes.

    Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, However, he does not extensively explain what he means by pacifism. Beyond that simple assumption, however, the term pacifism is used in many different kinds of ways. We wish to be very clear at the outset that our intent in this essay is to argue in favor of a particular, contestable understanding of pacifism. We thought that perhaps it would be helpful to begin with some examples of what we consider to be mis understanding pacifism, and then go on to give a short case for what we will call Christian pacifism allowing the rest of the book to be an exploration of the epistemological consequences of our view so that readers may judge it and its consequences more fully.

    Pacifism is evil. Some non-pacifists are strongly anti -pacifist. Pacifism for them is seen as a refusal to take responsibility for the necessary use of violence to stop evil people in our rough-and-tumble world. This includes Christian leaders and theologians as well. The right-wing American pundit, Michael Kelly, wrote a widely circulated op-ed essay for the Washington Post shortly after the September 11, , attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. They are objectively pro-terrorist.

    Therefore they are on the same side. So, according to these two Popes and to Michael Kelly, pacifism seems largely to be understood as the refusal to fight back or even to support fighting back in the face of evil.

    As such, it is directly complicit in the furtherance of said evil. Pacifism is Irrelevant. Pacifism is Worldly. For Social Gospel pacifism, he asserted, there is no sinful world to be renounced. Human beings are inherently good, hence they are not in need of personal salvation.

    Sin is not a personal, but rather a social evil, for these pacifists. Their only salvation is a social salvation. According to this view, Christ is not the redeemer of humankind, but rather our example.

    Along with this unwarranted optimism about the character of social life in the real world, Hershberger also believes that pacifists are way too sanguine about the use of force in trying to implement their social ideals.

    It is a form of coercion or compulsion. It seeks to compel the enemy to give up. Hershberger, then, rejects pacifism because it too thoroughly conforms to a violent world. In its optimism about human possibilities, it minimizes the depth of sin and violence that inevitably characterizes this fallen world.

    And, it ends up being too comfortable with accepting worldly tactics of coercing othersthese tactics ultimately contradict the message of Jesus. Pacifism is passive. Theologian and activist Walter Wink does not reject pacifism because it is anti-war or anti-patriotic. Nor, contrary to Niebuhr and Hershberger, does he believe that social justice compatible with the message of Jesus is possible in the real world.

    He does not accept their characterization of the message of Jesus as being the basis for separation from social justice concerns or incompatible with the use of nonviolent resistance. So he does not reject pacifism because it is too optimistic or too interventionist. It is endlessly confused with passivity.

    For Wink, pacifism is passive; but nonviolence is active. Pacifism is harmless and therefore easier to accept than nonviolence, which is dangerous. Gandhi had utter contempt for nonactive pacifism.

    It is not an authentic concept but simply the abnegation of something else. Is it possible that this despised term might actually be able to do the work needed so we can convey in a positive sense our commitment to making peace in our broken world? Pacifism: A Brief History. Rather, we simply want to articulate one proposal for understanding pacifism as a positive and attractive perspective over against the negative associations summarized above. It was not listed in the Complete Oxford Dictionary.

    According to the Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary in , the first occurrence came in at an international peace conference as an English version of the French word pacifisme , used to express opposition to war.

    We are conscious that some may be uncomfortable with this conception of peace. It may seem that we place peace higher even than God, effectively making peace into a God. We confess to be puzzled by this concern. To say that God is peace or God is love or just or any other appropriate adjective is obviously not the same as to say that peace is God or that love is God and so on.

    When one reverses the nominative case, one loses narrative specificity, storied concreteness. Starting with Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus embodies a broad and deep vision of life that is thoroughly pacifist, even if he did not explicitly address participation in warfare.

    We will mention four basic biblical themes that find clarity in Jesus, but in numerous ways emerge throughout the biblical story. These provide the foundational theological rationale for Christian pacifism. They include first and most basic, the love command that Jesus gave as a summary of the biblical message. Which is the greatest of the commandments, someone asked Jesus according to Matthew We see three keys points being made here that are crucial for our concerns.

    First, love is at the heart of everything for the believer in God. Second, love of God and love of neighbor are tied inextricably together. The third point is that Jesus understood his words to be a summary of the Biblethat is, what Christians now call the Old Testament. He quotes Deuteronomy and Leviticus directly in making his statement. In his call to love in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus directly links human beings loving even their enemies with God loving all people.

    Near the beginning of this Sermon, he makes it clear again that his message of peace follows directly from the Bible what Christians call the Old Testament. From the start, the Bible presents God as willing peace for human beingsfor all human beings.

    Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Following after Jesus, we find in later New Testament writers a parallel portrayal of the centrality of love, even for enemies, as a reflection of the way God loves. A little later, Paul who also understood himself as, like Jesus, capturing the core message of the Bible [i. So, the first and most basic biblical theme grounding Christian pacifism, finding clarity in Jesus but reflecting the biblical story as a whole, is the centrality of the love command.

    The love command provides the central building block for Christian pacifismboth in the positive sense of establishing love as the highest ethical standard that can never be secondary to some other possibly violence-justifying ethical value and in the negative sense of providing the basis for rejecting the participation in war as a morally acceptable choice.

    Our second biblical theme compliments the love command. Jesus articulated a sharp critique of power politics and sought to create a counter-cultural community independent of nation states in their dependence upon the sword. The Empire executed him as a political criminal. However, Jesus practiced an upside-down politics. He did not say these represent two totally different realms of life. He said, to the contrary, that these visions compete, with contrasting visions for the ordering of social life among human beings.

    Jesus, however, directly rejected the notion that this new movement he initiated would seek to imitate, even replace, Rome as the dominating Kingdom Empire based on its military might. Rather, Jesus created a movement meant to operate within the nations and empires of the world as an alternative society operating according to the word of God rather than the rule of the sword. The community Jesus founded actually modeled itself after the pattern established long before during the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah.

    He encouraged people of the covenant to seek the wellbeing of whatever society they were part of while at the same time maintaining their distinct identity as people of Torah Jer This tale concerns the failure of nation-state-centered, sword-oriented politics to be a viable vehicle for sustaining the people of God as people who will bless all the families of the earth. The call to be a blessing, first given to Abraham, was later reiterated when both the prophet Micah and the prophet Isaiah foresaw a time when the nations of the world would come to Zion to learn the ways of peace, turning their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks Isa ; Mic In light of Jeremiah and Jesus, we may see this prophecy being carried out not through the violence of the standard nation state, but through the peaceable witness of counter-cultures scattered throughout the world in various nation statescounter-cultures that center their lives on the consistent embodiment of the double command to love God and neighbor.

    The power of the sword-wielding state proved not only to be unnecessary for the carrying out of this promise, it actually corrupted the promise almost beyond recognition. Thus, Revelation echoes the choice Jesus presented his followersjoin uncritically in the social order where rulers lord over their subjects, or join in an alternative social order where greatness is manifested in servanthood. One is the way of power politics and death ; the other is the way of suffering servanthood and life.

    These two alternatives are about life in the here and now. Jesus displayed a profound optimism about the potential his listeners had to follow his directives for life. So, when Jesus calls upon his followers to love their neighbors, to reject the tyrannical patterns of leadership among the kings of the earth, to share generously with those in need, to offer forgiveness seventy times seven times, he actually expected that this could be done. The biblical problem is that in spite of their capabilities for faithfulness, human beings nonetheless all too often turn away.

    And in turning away, in worshiping idols, human beings find themselves in bondage to social dynamics of oppression, greed, and violence. However, from the start, the remedy is always at handsimply turn back, repent and trust in God.

    Faithfulness may then follow. Everything that he said in the months that followed presupposed that repentance that is, simply turning back to God is all that it takes for people to enter into fellowship with God and live as people of humility, people who hunger and thirst for justice and peace, people who persevere even in the face of persecution and suffering.

    When Jesus called his followers to make kindness and love, even for enemies, the kind of priority that can never be overridden by some other value that is, when Jesus established the basis for pacifism , he expected that this indeed would be possible.

    So when he calls his followers to share in his cross he calls them to embody pacifism. This violent response led to stubborn hostility toward Moses and his work that empowered the Hebrews. Jesus is portrayed as simultaneously the one who suffers violence without retaliation, the one whom God honors and exalts, and the one who serves as the true ruler of the world.

    When we view Christian theologically through pacifist lenses, we will see that several key theological motifs naturally take a distinctly pacifist slant. Trinitarian CuesJesus as God.

    One of the distinctively Christian theological affirmations is a Trinitarian understanding of God. God broke through the borders of our standard definition of what is human, and gave a new, formative definition in Jesus.

    Yoder argues for the normativity of a thoroughly pacifist Jesus for all Christians.


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