Category Archives: War and Peace

War and Peace – Part 8 – Words from a 20th-Century Prophet

In June of 1984, while I was en route to a two-year assignment at a mission hospital in Shirati, Tanzania, I attended the Mennonite World Conference in Strasbourg, France. There, in front of an audience of about ten thousand Mennonites from around the world, author and professor Ron Sider delivered the most compelling address I have heard anywhere. Sider is, of course, best known for … Continue reading War and Peace – Part 8 – Words from a 20th-Century Prophet »

War and Peace – Part 7 – Hippolytus

A much briefer statement on Christians participating in the military comes from the third-century bishop Hippolytus. As with Tertullian in my previous post, I must caution that no reasonable person would take Hippolytus’ writings as authoritative at the level of Scripture, and there are plenty of instances within his writings (nude baptism, for one) that we clearly don’t care to emulate today. That said, the … Continue reading War and Peace – Part 7 – Hippolytus »

War and Peace – Part 6 – Tertullian

I want to present to you some very interesting writings by some of the church fathers regarding participation in the military. In doing so I am not claiming that the early church was monolithic in its stand against the use of violence, for if it were, the writers I’m about to cite might not have had to make their arguments at all. There have been … Continue reading War and Peace – Part 6 – Tertullian »

War and Peace – Part 5 – My Own Evolution

Throughout my posts to date I have been careful (and I hope it shows) to qualify my statements with the perspective that I am not absolutely sure that no Christian can ever use violent means for any reason. I sense that some of the commenters so far (and I am grateful for your input–keep it coming!) probably feel a little more strongly on this than … Continue reading War and Peace – Part 5 – My Own Evolution »

War and Peace – Part 4 – Matt. 5 vs?? Rom. 13

I’m tempted in my discussion of war and peace, to start from the top, outline the full Biblical case for nonviolence, and enter into dialog with major objectors to that case. I’m not going to do that–now at least–primarily because I really don’t think I’ve got much to add to what has been said far more eloquently by others. I will rather reiterate a few … Continue reading War and Peace – Part 4 – Matt. 5 vs?? Rom. 13 »

War and Peace – Part 3 – True Lies and Tom Clancy

When I hear many Americans discussing the appropriate contexts for the use of deadly force, I have noticed that there are some pretty key assumptions underlying the discussion that rarely–if ever–get examined. While I don’t want to get into the chicken-egg question of which causes which, I would suggest that popular entertainment may give us a useful window onto some important fallacies. Although I believe … Continue reading War and Peace – Part 3 – True Lies and Tom Clancy »

War and Peace – Part 2 – Life and Death Decisions

Wisdom can be found in many places, not all of them holy. In The Lord of the Rings, the great J.R.R. Tolkien made a profound observation: “Many live that deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” (Fellowship … Continue reading War and Peace – Part 2 – Life and Death Decisions »