• Jerry Starling

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THE CHRISTIAN AND PACIFISM


I grew up as a pacifist. When I had to register for the draft, I applied for Conscientious Objector status. I did not receive that, but did receive a 1-A-O card. That meant non-combatant service only.

Over the years, my views changed somewhat to admit the possibility of a just war, though these seem to me to be few and far between. James 4:1-3 seems to identify the source of the majority, if not all, wars.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (NIV)

I have just stumbled across a series of blogs by Tim Archer in which he is promoting pacifism.

I have been concerned that many American Christians seem to be following the path of Constantine more than the path of Jesus. Constantine was the Roman Emperor who first legalized Christianity in the early 4th century A.D. Toward the end of his life, he was baptized. He gave preferential treatment to the Church as it was then in exchange for the support of the Church.

Prior to that time, Rome had persecuted the Church (and would again later, at least for a short time).  After that time, the Church and the Roman government became almost the same thing, with more and more governmental matters being taken over by the Church. By Medieval Times, the government had become subservient to the Church. While some Roman Catholics see that period as “The Golden Age of the Church,” most historians see it as a time of great venality and corruption. When spiritual authority and civil authority combined in one, the adage proved true: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I fear that if some Christians of today had what they wish for, a similar result would follow.

American patriotism and Christian faithfulness are not synonymous. While I believe it is certainly possible to be an American patriot and a Christian, we must recognize a vast gulf between allegiance to any nation of men and allegiance to Jesus Christ. We cannot serve two masters. While we give to Caesar what is his, we must give our heart, soul, mind and strength to our God.

Enough of what I think. Here are the blogs by Tim Archer from his blog site: The Kitchen of Half-baked Ideas

  1. Consistent Life Ethic
  2. Moral Legacy of War
  3. Decline of Pacifism in Churches of Christ
  4. Decline of Pacifism in Churches of Christ: Cordell Christian College
  5. Pirates & Passports (Maybe technically not a part of the series, it does introduce something germane to the discussion)
  6. Is Pacifism on the Rise?
  7. Pacifism, Not Passivism
  8. Passion and Pacifism
  9. Peace Between Pacifists and non-Pacifists
  10. Pacifism Homework (In this blog, Tim links to earlier posts of his that deal with this subject)
  11. The Bible and War: General Abraham
  12. The Bible and War: Living by the Sword in Genesis
  13. The Bible and War: Battles in the Wilderness
  14. The Bible and War: What the Law of Moses Says
  15. The Bible and War: The Conquest
  16. The Bible and War: The Time of the Judges
  17. The Bible and War: United Israel
  18. The Bible and War: The Psalms
  19. The Bible and War: The Divided Kingdom
  20. The Bible and War: Old Testament Prophets
  21. The Bible and War: A Non Pacifist New Testament Reading
  22. The Bible and War: A Pacifist New Testament Reading
  23. If You Don’t Have A Sword
  24. Onward Christian Soldiers?
  25. The Sword-bearing Prince of Peace
  26. Good Soldiers of Jesus Christ
  27. Is Cornelius Like Onesimus?
  28. Making a Case for Non-Participation
  29. No Greater Love
  30. Hypotheticals and Hitler
  31. The Case for Non-Participation: Citizenship
  32. The Case for Non-Participation: Jesus’ Teachings
  33. The Case for Non-Participation: Deceit
  34. Air Brushed History
  35. Why Are the Americans So Bad?
  36. Myths America Lives By
  37. Honoring the Sacrifices of War
  38. Provincialism and Patriotism
Since this is a series in process, there are likely to be additional posts by Tim. From time to time, as these occur, I hope to add later links to those posts. You can check back here to see those later – or subscribe to his blog yourself.
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One Response

  1. Thanks Jerry!

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