Christian Pacifism: It’s A Bible Thing.

Jim Foxvog from Plow Creek Mennonite Church in Bureau County, Illinois, has a great page set up on the biblical basis for Christian pacifism. This is an excellent source of scripture quotes for forming one’s conscience on the issue of pacifism and faith.

Plow Creek Mennonite (mission statement: “A global village practicing the peace of Jesus”) is a great Christian community providing a powerful spiritual witness in middle America. Stop by and visit if you are ever in rural Tiskilwa, Illinois.

“What would Jesus do? [WWJD] ” Christians rightly ask. Jesus was perfectly capable of self defense.  He chose not to defend himself, to let his enemies kill him and even asked that his murderers be forgiven.  We are to follow in his ways.  There’s a great bumper sticker: “Whom would Jesus bomb?” [WWJB]  We are specifically called to follow Jesus example of suffering love and non-retaliation (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus died for the life his enemies (Rom 5:8,10).  Jesus gave this as the specific reason to love our enemies, “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:45 ) — to be like him! Jesus was questioned about the death penalty.  God specifically commanded it in the Old Testament.  Jesus did not say it was undeserved.  His answer: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” (John 8.7).  Does not the same reasoning apply to a nation seeking to “punish” another “evil nation”?

God will take care of us and is fully capable of handling those who do evil. We should not fear people, even those who could kill us (Matt 10:28).  This is the basic truth, not some sweet cliché. We are conquerors in all things by being in Jesus — nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:37-39).

It is a deeply held popular belief that the only way to stop evil is with by violent force.  This is the theme of most adventure stories of all genres, of comic books and TV shows and movies.  If we trust violence more than we trust God, this is idolatry. God’s truth is that our real enemies are spiritual (Ephesians 6:12) and are to be opposed by spiritual means (2 Cor 10:4). Our culture teaches us to oppose evil with violent force. But God, who created the universe,  shows us that the world is not founded on violence, but is built and designed differently.  Love is what works because that is how the totality of all that is was designed.–Jim Foxvog (Biblical Pacifism: Christian Pacifism is Scriptural Position)

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Dennis January 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Nice work. I teach a course called “The Bible and Peacemaking” and many Christians have little (or maybe even no) problem with the teachings of Jesus regarding loving our enemies. The difficulty is how we are to understand the Hebrew Bible and the sometimes violent actions God asks of his followers (e.g., sacrifice your only son, kill all the Canaanites, kill all the Amalekites, etc). The Old Testament is still the Bible. One challenge is to interpret the Hebrew Bible in its context without resorting to making it any less the word of God (i.e., only treating the New Testament as canonical and hence authoritative). I believe we can see a “trajectory of truth” moving from the harsh warfare of the Hebrew Scriptures to a “more excellent way” in the New Testament.

    edit
  • Michael Snow February 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Christian Pacifism: Fruit of the Narrow Way {Friends United Press) is now in E-Book format for Kindle, Nook, and PC.

    http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Pacifism-Fruit-Narrow-ebook/dp/B005RIKH62/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

    If you would care to review it, I would be glad to send the word doc.
    You can read the 1st chapter with the Amazon “Look Inside” feature.

    edit

Leave a Comment