Christian Pacifism, a Second Look.

A while back I talked a bit about my frustration with folks who plaster peace-loving bumper stickers all over their cars but fail to see that they are doing the same thing as the ones they rail against.

I got a great response from a friend asking clarification about what I think of Christian pacifists.  Here’s a bit from her reply that I found particularly good.

I can say that I am acquainted with many deeply spiritual and Christian people-authors, activists, and people I know directly-who are highly motivated for peace, with their ideologies directly informed and shaped by the Gospel of Christ.

In my response to her, I (hopefully) clarified that I have nothing against pacifism as an ideology, but that it can never be based on anything other than a peaceful relationship with God.  I think that only pacifism that is based in a Christian worldview of having achieved (by virtue of the cross) peace with God has any real power in bringing about real peace in our world.  All other brands of pacifism (and especially the agnostic, New Age, hyper-environmentalist, humanist version so prevalent here in Asheville) are impotent, precisely because they are simply another in a long line of worldviews that ignore our most fundamental problem both as a society and as individuals–our enmity with God.  And they are an attempt (just like radical Islam is an attempt) to force others to their way of seeing the world.  The bigoted response of these “pacifists” against what they see as bigotry is astounding.

Though I’m not sure where I stand on pacifism as an ideology (I’d most likely fight someone that was trying to hurt my wife or children), I do think that apart from Christianity, there can be no peace.  What about you?  What do you think?  Comment Below.

8 Replies to “Christian Pacifism, a Second Look.”

  1. Ben, I can’t comment in an elegant speaking way, you have such a great way of putting things and is why I love following you and Jacq.
    I am not quite sure of how to say this but it is in his design. I believe there is the peace within us when God resides there. Everyone has their beliefs but as I read the Bible I see where God has led his people to war. I believe the way Israel consistently turned from God and returned repeatedly and wars fought between the tribes is an example for us as all things in the bible are for teaching. Peace on Earth is what we wish for but true peace among people will be seen in glory. War is never a good thing but sometimes it is necessary. In a world filled with sinful people war is inevitable. Mind you murder is not in the same category. Sometimes keeping sinful people from doing great harm to innocent people is by going to war. I know some people have said that God speaks of war in the Old Testament and Jesus did not in the new. But Jesus is always in perfect agreement with the Father and the Father does not waver or change. The second coming will be a great war we are taught, right? I read if Hitler had not been destroyed by WW II how many more millions would have been killed by him? If the Civil War had not been fought how much longer would African Americans suffer as slaves? Ecclesiastes 3:8 declares, “There is:a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

  2. Thanks for the post, Ben. I am aware of the Just War theory, and am also aware of the fact that people rarely change their minds from reading blog comments 🙂 I did just want to point out though, that Christian peace is not to be treated as a benign wish, but I think it’s also the hard work of loving as Christ did. For me, this presents a conflict in supporting war when so often, innocent civilians, created in the image of God, are killed. I certainly don’t mean to say that I have an answer, I guess the purpose of this post is just to declare my intention and encourage other believers to pray for peace through Christ, on individual, community, national, and global scales. Thanks for listening.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Keeley! I’ve been all over the map on what I feel about war, and I still don’t really know, to be honest. What I do know is that even Ecclesiastes 3:8 will be made right someday. There will no longer be a time for war.

  3. Keeley, you underestimate your words. Reading your blog I realize wish is not what I should have wrote. I do pray for peace and love between us always and all Christians should. And I believe that as a Christian the thought of another life ending and not knowing whether that life KNOWS God hurts to the core. I guess I am responding because I love reading everyone who posts to Ben and I get a lot from them, so do not think your words do not get someone thinking because they do. I am so pleased with the outreach Ben has and those who engage in his ministry.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Debbie! Thanks also for exhibiting a real teachability, even online! What a breath of fresh air.

  4. Peace can happen, but it won’t happen completely until Christ returns. However, the idea of peace is what all Christians should desire. I have an air freshener in my car that is a peace symbol and I am proud of it. I think the Iraq war is bogus and we should have never gone there, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed there. However, the Bible does say there will be wars and rumors of wars.

    Other examples of peace is turning the other cheek, or loving your enemy, etc. I pray for peace and know a day is coming when it will happen.

    1. Thanks for the comment Zac. I agree that the real peace starts when Jesus comes back. But he does come back with a sword coming out of his mouth, which I don’t think can possibly be a metaphor for peaceful coexistence with his enemies. There’s a war before there’s peace. That’s not a political statement or a defense of American foreign policy, but just a statement that peace doesn’t mean absence of wars.

  5. Deb, thanks for posting after my comment! I really appreciate what you said. I too am grateful for Ben’s posts and get a lot out of them. Also, Zac, right on. I agree with the things you have said, and also with your final comment Ben. Thanks for the conversation.

Comments are closed.