The Evangelical Universalist Forum

A popular unquestionable assumption?

I don’t quiet see it that way , for I answered his question with the factual evidence that gives you ‘‘the reason why’’ . having a concern for being too worldly [being involved in worldly affairs] :wink: had little or nothing to do with it !

That’s not quite what I had in mind. I believe the Christian thinking was along the lines of “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. and “Those who live by the sword will die by it.”, and a number of other things that were clues that getting involved in those things was a distraction at best.

I have never understood how Christian love, which according to the very testimony and practice of Yeshua, is to be unconditional and at the (potential) cost of one’s own life, could be framed in any other way than to disallow the shedding of blood. The orthoprax/dox Early Church (up to at least 180AD) was so thoroughly against violence, that there were probably more who felt nonviolence should extend to all animals than that it be withdrawn from humans in some circumstances! Origen who is the most important writer on the question of violence (according to Cadoux, CJ 1919), didn’t even raise the difficulty of idolatrous contamination in military service at all. For Origin, bloodshed alone was grounds enough for its rejection. Most leaders of influence had very similar convictions (Lactantius, Tertullian, Clement, Hippolutos, Athenagoras, Tatianus, Cyprianus, Justinus, and so forth – the list is long) and it would seem that the overwhelming majority of laymen held similar convictions. I have also read somewhat widely on this topic, what authors had you read that argued that Early Church pacifism was practiced on the grounds of idolatry alone?

I don’t understand either, how this is opposed to UR either. The force you speak of is greatly different from spiritual/moral “force” – Martin Luther King called this “soul force”; Ghandi called it “satyagraha”. I would just call it “love”. Love is all-powerful, all-compelling, but it cannot be forced upon others nor can it do evil – I appreciate that you would disagree that bloodshed in all instances is evil, but I cannot see how bloodshed in any way can do good to he who shed it (nor do I think anyone, Christian or otherwise, has the knowledge, wisdom or right to do it). Violence can never and has never remedied violence, it only begets it – Ellul’s (J, 1969) book “Violence” demonstrates this very well, and I believe this is a significant part of Yeshua’s warning to Peter in Matthew 26:52.

It is just as the Desert Father, Abba Poemen the Shepherd (saying 177) once said: ‘wickedness does not do away with wickedness, but if someone does you wrong, do good to him, so that by your action you destroy his wickedness’. And just as Christ so thoroughly showed, loving, self-sacrificial servitude alone can and does remedy all wickedness.

I am also surprised you state that this is a widely held belief, let alone unquestionable. Most Christians I know are thoroughly opposed to pacifism, and being a staunch pacifist myself, it has actually cost me immensely (socially). I have found (just like Ghandi) that Christians are more likely to reject that Christ was/is a pacifist, than non-Christians.


Very nice, Andrew! :mrgreen:

Neal, just had a squiz at your introduction… a fellow anarcho-pacifist Christian?! This is truly wonderful news! I count you as a dear friend already! :laughing: It’s kinda lonely being a Christian anarchist, it offends everybody! :laughing:

Hi Andrew and NealIF

I realize my presence here predates your own, but as confirmed pacifists, you might appreciate some conversations that happened here a couple years ago. First is the question I asked Tom in…

Problem: Universalism “shrugs” at God’s violence
[Problem: Universalism “shrugs” at God’s violence)

… the discussion with Tom never took off so I remain curious as to his stance…

Then, at Jason’s invitation, I asked him a similar question and found the ensuing discussion most invigorating and enlightening.

Can UR trump the Myth of Redemptive Violence?
[Can UR trump the Myth of Redemptive Violence?)

My own wrestling with the problem of how we should relate to violence is ongoing, though set aside (till now I guess) for a time.
As I said to James Goetz someplace, I would dearly love to be an actual pacifist but have simply not been able to find a satisfactory application of it…
Seems perhaps you two believe you have…

The statement (by stuart):

seems to have evoked your ire, or maybe disgust, as if it is utterly incompatible with the vision of Christ.

Whew! That’s tough in many ways I suppose, but for me I had a breakthrough for this problem when reading Walter Wink (bless me, but am unable to recall/find the reference just now) and he admitted that there are certain circumstances in which the evil confronted is so abject and total and irrational that to submit to it willingly is in fact to enable it. That is to say, that the model of Ghandi simply can only “work” in an environment wherein the adversary is capable of being moved by the passive challenge to his threats. For the sad fact of reality (and history) is that there are evils which are unmoved by such appeals to conscience. To hear Wink admit this was very instructive for me…

Now I do fully admit to a deep dissonance to hating violence, and being convicted of it’s ultimate futility, but at the same time wanting to find shelter under her wings. Thus the appeal to complete passivity in all circumstances, as a reflection of the revealed nature of Christ on the Cross simply does not – and cannot – hold as a model for the way a Christian is to live and order his life to my way of thinking. Great vision to cherish, and hope for, but not a proper model on which to live.

The path of passivism (I used to speak of complete passivism; as if there is a more moderate type… there isn’t) is a path which exchanges a certain set of evils for another. For to employ passivity in the face of evil against an innocent is to partake – yes enable and allow – in violence against that innocence. Hardly what we envision in the Cross. Passivists tend to hate this kind of reductionism but have no real argument against it.

To stand by, in passivism and nonviolence, while an innocent is tortured and violated IS to participate in their victimization. It’s just that simple; heinous and offensive as we may find it. (This is of course the dynamic that Dietrich Bonnhoffer saw so clearly as he witnessed the churches impotence against the evils of Hitlers regime…)

So I’m not quite sure how you will take this, and not sure how appropriate this discussion is for this thread, but I do worry about the supposed superiority of a stance of passivism which simply ignores the realities of it’s own participation – and inaction – in the face of abject evils. Sure: a passivist may ignore the threats to his own body, but to do so with the life of another is to participate (even chosen INaction is in fact an “action”) in the very violence being exercised against that innocent.


Thanks Bob. I’m looking forward to continuing this discussion with you. (I think there is a strong connection between pacifism and UR, we shall have to discuss this one day!) And I’ll check out those threads sometime. I will just make a few notes for you to consider but I’m not sure I will be able to reply frequently. The following only outlines my position in the crudest sense and will probably seem a bit out of touch with reality. I’m not sure whether you inquiring about war, or just personal attacks on oneself and one’s family. But I think they are ultimately the same in essence, so I have provided a smattering of thoughts that may cover both.

I mentioned Ghandi twice in my last post, and this may have misrepresented my views. Many pacifists tend to venerate Ghandi. I should clarfy: I don’t. And I actually think Christian pacifists would do better to analyze his choices, then automatically framing him as a good model of Christ. I certainly think his example is of interest, but it should be noted Ghandi ditched any meaningful satyagraha as soon as he took office. This isn’t a criticism of satyagraha. This is a criticism of office (an obviously anarchist critique, of which I’m not at all embarrassed by). In my opinion, this is grossly under-published by pacifists (and non-pacifists for that matter).

The Christ had the same vision as every other prophet. One Kingdom of peace, love and liberty, under God. I believe violence is utterly incompatible with that vision, for sound scriptural and logical reasons.

I’m having trouble understanding your position. Are you saying that though you are convicted (in some way) against violence, knowing it is impotent, you will still accept and use it? And that because of this conviction, nonviolence is not a model for the way any Christian is to live and order his or her life? If so, this is just an issue of faith, and a matter for prayer (perhaps read Matthew 6:24-34). There is nothing I can really say or do to make you abide by your own convictions. (But to tell you the truth, as an unmarried, I kind of agree :wink: I don’t think abstinence is a particularly great model to live by either. Sure, I wholly sympathize with the sentiment, but in practice it’s much more difficult – and I frequently do forsake the model in my heart. But you know, with God’s grace, I just try and live it anyway. Why? Because I am trying to become like God, who is perfect, good and also lives by this model.)

I admit that I am yet to begin reading Wink! It’s on the list! I plead with my youth! :smiley: I know it might seem like semantics, but I do not advocate mere submission. I believe in subjection. But yes, appeals to conscience are not guaranteed to work. Just as responding with violence is not guaranteed to work. Non-pacifists always presume their own actions have ultimate control over every scenario, but this is simply not true. God doesn’t guarantee that anyone can evade suffering in this life unfortunately – Christ and His early church were pacifists (I make no apologies, I’m just stating how it is) and it cost them much, much suffering. And non-pacifists always presume their opponents are so thoroughly determined to practice the grossest of evils, but this is also not true (or at least knowable). It might seem really strange for an ECTer to tell a URer this, but I don’t honestly believe our universal, unconditional, suffering love will ultimately fail (…why would God’s, I hear you say?). There is not one man on earth whose image of God is so fragmented, so lost, so covered in the muck of sin, of ideology and of hatred that he is so totally impervious to the testimony of selfless love. Love just never fails. There is no one irredeemable. There is no one who cannot be reconciled. But yes, most tragically, it could take thousands of lives (and thousands of years in UR) to recover him. But let’s remember that Nazi soldiers were not calloused robots, many of them were Christians who felt their families were at risk (from Jews and others) and were prepared to use any means possible, such as violence, to secure that. They were willfully manipulated by a Power (eventually embodied in the Nazi State). Others, elsewhere at that time made the same preparations and so too are Christians today. It is important to keep this in our perspective.

I think we shouldn’t forget that violence is an evil cultured in other violence. Nazism, for example, was an inheritance of a previous war, the fall of American capital – when will we learn?, and a perverse, violent religio-cultural tradition. All evils are best removed by destroying their spiritual root (this is thoroughly biblical). Christians should be actively engaged in removing the conduits of violence (in the world and in their own lives) before the violence is made manifest. Of course, you probably agree, but I would argue that this is done by, with and through the (universal, unconditional, suffering) love of God.

I think you are mistaken, not in your conclusion, but in your framework. No pacifist-proper advocates passive-ism because God hates indifference. Especially in regards to the oppression of the poor. The whole OT testifies to this. I hate it too. And Christ certainly was not indifferent. I thoroughly agree that we don’t see this in the cross. Christ was not passive while the devil reigned and ravaged in God’s children, and neither should we be. So I agree with you that passivism enables and allows violence (and that there is no counter-argument), but disagree that pacifism equates to this passivism. I think the false dichotomy of passivity/flight—violence/fight is the main problem here. Jesus offered are more excellent way. A third way. One that recognizes both the humanity and wickedness of enemies. I’m not going to comment on practical ways that this can be demonstrated now.

But what happened to Bonhoeffer? He along with everyone else that was dragged into the plot was brutally executed. It did not temper Hitler, it hardened his resolve to purge more. If I remember correctly, Bonhoeffer did not permanently forsake pacifism and did so only as a desperate attempt of compassion – to sin under the grace of God.

It might seem coldly theoretical (especially in light of Bonnhoeffer), but I just don’t really understand how violence could be the best option. Sending someone to hell (eternal or otherwise), when your occupation is reconciliation, cannot be considered obedience to that ministry, or an expression of love towards that person. If he is not going to hell (eternal or otherwise) you have just slain your brother in Christ (and I shouldn’t need to say how perverse and disgusting this is). Reconciliation solves the problem of broken relationships between man and God, and between man and man. Violence doesn’t solve the problem, it just ignores it by destroying its subjects. And I’m being pretty soft here, war in particular is more akin to going to someone’s country and bombing their family in retaliation, or what you think they or someone in their community might do. Yoder (1992, p.21) likened the comparison on the individual level to “a man entering my house to fight my wife because he fears my neighbour might sometime want to attack his home”. Of course, I’m probably not addressing the innocents that we’re particularly fond of, and this is important. But I must note that it is not altruism to propose that I should defend my wife or my children or my compatriots – I do so precisely because they are my own! For as long as I maintain this in war, it follows that I have no meaningful obligation to defend the wife or children or compatriots of my attacker. Men do not argue with a concern for their neighbours, as innocent parties, but because they are theirs. Although this is a response, we cannot say that this is the Christian approach. For Christ, all are neighbours – all are brothers, all are sisters – including the most violent and contemptuous of them (indeed, even the Samaritans!), and all deserve help and compassion. Sure, members of your family and community are neighbours, worthy of help (by virtue of their humanity), but so is your attacker (Yoder 1992). Therein the third way of Yeshua should be employed.

I do lovingly caution you, that if one does not thoroughly prepare himself against violence in these times of “peace”, he cannot do otherwise in times of war. His spirit will be automatized to respond in violence (unless God forcibly interjects). And when one prepares to use violence, one can never hope to secure meaningful peace. His very choice has determined that violence be an outcome – it will necessarily end tragically for someone. All of this might just depend on your faith (I don’t mean this to offend, but faith is not measured evenly).

Although it grieves me, I don’t hate those who do make that decision – I know I might make that decision one day. But I will count it as a failure to love on my part. I know my opinion doesn’t have much weight: I’m not married (I don’t even have a girlfriend at the moment), I don’t have children and I have never directly experienced violence. My pacifism might sound cold to others, but I assure you, it pains me immensely – even if it is only theoretical. I am to most though, foolish; I am like a child…

Anyway, that’s it. This was much longer than I had the time for. I hope it helps answer some of your questions, and raises even more! If you assent to pacifism being taught in scripture, but cannot fathom how it could be effective in practice (which I think is where you’re at), I warmly recommend you read: Yoder JH (1992) “What would you do?” (available for purchase). It’s an easy, short and enjoyable read and may cover some of your concerns. If you would prefer a wonderfully peculiar, but rather simple and systematic overview, that covers some of the practical issues of pacifism, I heartily recommend Ballou, A (1846) “Christian non-resistance: in all its important bearings, illustrated and defended” (available for free download or for purchase). It actually changed my life completely a number of years ago. Not sure how far along you are with it all, so I don’t mean to offend if any of this has been patronizing.


I apologise for my late reply as I have been away [everybody] I also apologise Melchizedek if it came across that I misunderstood you !

Hi Andrew:

No worries; I appreciate very much your thoughtful observations.

I wish I had waited to write what I did till after I had caught up on my sleep! I badly conflated pacifism with passivism and that does not reflect my thinking. For my part I define pacifism as eschewing violence in all circumstances. Passivism then suggests inactivity and utter unwillingness to resist creatively or otherwise. For instance the examples of Jesus advising his followers to turn the other cheek, and walk the second mile, and give him his undergarment also are great illustrations of creatively resisting oppression.

But the frustration of what I was referring to can be illustrated with a few examples:

  1. For a country, say the USA, what would have been a more “loving” action: dropping the atom/hydrogen bombs which killed many, but effectively ended the war – OR – not dropping those bombs, sparing those thousands, but in effect dooming the war to an eventual end the conventional way with the loss of millions. It’s a horrible calculus, but even inaction has predictable consequences; consequences which the one choosing inaction simply must own.

  2. If an intruder enters my home with intent to harm my family, to refuse to defend them with necessary violence is to chose his violence against my family over my own violence against him. I simply cannot see my refusal to use violence in defense of my family’s lives as anything but participation in and enabling of that very violence which I claim to detest. Do I hate that dilemma? Of course I do but this is the reality of living in a sinful world. Does my violence against the intruder ultimately “solve” anything? No; but it does allow my family to live on. Forced to choose between the life of the intruder or the life of my wife, I’d be a fool not to choose hers. Where is the moral nobility in choosing the intruder’s over hers?

  3. Christ’s refusal to save Himself on the Cross with violence is rightly admired. But don’t we find it unimaginable that Christ would have stood by and watched a similar thing be done to, say, a child? Doesn’t it seem obvious that love demands protection of the innocent – even if with violence? To refuse to employ violence to save the innocent is to allow and enable the very thing I say I abhor!

So yes, it’s a terrible dilemma and of course I should first seek to exhaust every creative alternative I am capable of imagining.
Anyway, I think you would enjoy reading the discussions I mentioned above. Jason Pratt made some compelling observations and I continue to ponder this problem in the context of how violence might be seen as excusable in the face of UR. (ie since God’s going to save/reconcile/redeem all, whats the problem with a little violence?) And that of course bothers me a great deal…



‘‘we are all brothers’’ , I am well familiar with the distorted message from Yoder and his imposing of an ideology that is foreign to the text ,as I am familiar with the other authors who promote the same ideology , that is in some ways separate from the question at hand that I have answered ! [giving far more believable reasons why ‘‘that are verifiable’’] than the assumption because that is precisely what it is, ‘‘an assumption’’ that they were pacifists . As for the writings of the early Christians I am also familiar with those as well, and one on the surface of it , makes it appear that assumption is correct however a careful honest reading of all that was written reveals a different story, one in which they weren’t against war per say , nor were they against all forms of force [lets use that far more accurate word rather than the emotive ‘‘violence’’]
I have viewed the other post that you mentioned but did not participate ,as for the other scholars , are you asking because you are open to the possibility that your position is incorrect ?
as for contradicting u.r. ,putting it in very basic terms , the gist of part of u.r. goes like this - GOD loves even the most evil among us and will one day use a form of forced [notice that word] punishment * born out of his love [note that word also] to bring correction - much like a loving father I would suggest who smacks his child [using force] to bring correction out of love , but remember if you are going to be consistent with a pacifist position you must reject all forms of force ‘‘violence’’ because all forms of force are evil ! in a similar way to the often related issue of anarchism , to be consistent [remember the world political system is evil] you should refrain from all involvement including commenting on politically related topics !

perhaps I should ask you the question I have engineered ? one in which I haven’t had a morally satisfying answer to by any pacifist in fact the last one squirmed and avoided it for two months. or perhaps I could share with you my modern paraphrased version of a popular parable ?*

Brother, you can call it whatever you want as long as it actually reflects what you mean. “Force” is simply not an accurate term in regards to this discussion. If I push my car, I am exerting force, this is simply not violent – and simply not relevant either. So if you want to subscribe a new term to violence (without the “emotional baggage”) do so. As for myself, I am retaining this useful word. But I did not say Christ and His early church were against all forms of force (I said the very opposite in my first post). I said they were against violent force.

Of course, anyone with a modicum of good conscience, humility, or academic integrity has to be open to new discoveries in scholarship. As research student, I must have this, as I am not allowed to hide behind unsubstantiated claims. But I just haven’t found any new discoveries in this area. But as I am immensely open to learn (-- I’m here as an open non-URer to do just this, mind you), I would dearly love to read your preferred scholars as soon as I get the opportunity. As I asked earlier, who are they and what works of theirs do you recommend?


Sorry, I really wasn’t intending to respond to anyone else for the rest of this week. But I shall get to your post this weekend hopefully. I should really do some work this week :laughing:

good examples here here especially to no. 2 as for example three this is a classic used in support of pacifism utterly failing to take into account the fact that Jesus had a unique mission to fulfil that we are not called to mimic in any way shape or form
[allowing himself to be murdered]
back to your last statement in number 2 ‘‘where’s the nobility …’’ EXACTLY

‘‘we are all brothers’’
I am not offended goodness I’ve had both non -u.rers and universalists throw scathing levels of anger towards me . one universalist recently told me [in effect] that [wait for it ‘‘I’m going to hell for daring to oppose pacifism’’ so I am not offended by anything you have said that being said I disagree with quiet a bit of what you have responded with for example

‘‘brother you can call it whatever you like…’’ the fact is pacifists point blank refuse to use the word that fit’s the picture with far more clarity than [in my words’s] the emotive deliberately used word ‘‘violence’’ , might I suggest that the police force and armed forces are called that for a very good reason !

pacifism contradicts u.r. I believe my simplistic example is wholly valid, those destined for the lake of fire won’t be eager to leap in they with have to be forced. and said punishment is forced ergo if you are to be consistent regarding pacifism you must reject u.r. noting however you aren’t committed please explore the many strong arguments in it’s favour and the evidence that backs it up. *

without going into to much detail [as I’m low on time] your response on the issue of force and your argument of force is either good or evil, I find to be faulty as force itself isn’t of necessity either good or evil-it’s just a thing [force]

as for informing you of the said scholars my reluctance is due to the suspicion of past debaters saying the same things then either bagging said scholars of never responding to my further questions .so forgive me I’m still contemplating this :wink:*

You’re presuming in this instance, that America had full and reliable knowledge about the scenario and how it would inevitably unfold. If a military planner makes a strategy from hypothetical circumstances (informed or not), he makes untested and unverifiable assumptions about the enemy’s psychology and power. We might not see this in our Hollywood understanding of war, but that’s just how it is (Yoder, 1992). War is not so predictably mechanical. I grant that a military think-tank does have some (or much) intel, but I don’t think this makes war justifiable. As it were, the Nazi Germany war-economy, by this time, had become largely impoverished and morale was certainly weak, even at the top of the power pyramid. Was it foreseeably guaranteed to stop the war? Was it right to stop one holocaust, with another? And to shed that blood personally and directly?

We just cannot forget that Nazi Germany’s ability to go to war, was largely dependent on her people, just as much as America or anyone else. Grossly manipulated or not, it is the people (generally the uneducated and impoverished classes), who have to actually fight them. Everyone complies because there is a peculiar consensus that it is morally noble to shed blood for something greater. As for myself, I don’t want a part of that ungodly war machine and I choose to serve as priest and prophet for the Kingdom of God.

There are a few thing to say about this, but I’m waiting on an invitation by stuartd to participate in his similar dilemma. I’m not sure whether it’s the same engineered question he spoke of previously. (Stuartd? Would you like me to respond to this?) Many of your concerns would probably be addressed there. If I’m not invited, I will respond to your scenario here.

The beauty of this example is that it largely answers your own question. You and I, as children of wrath, were going to be on that cross. Christ didn’t just stand by and watch. He actively offered up his life for us. But it also gets a lot richer than that: He did this while we (these children) actually participated in the violence. So I agree that not saving those you can save is abhorrent. But I prefer to follow Christ’s example in doing so by offering up my life.

Then after every natural, creative alternative, both reactive and proactive, has been exhausted, we rely on supernatural providence. (I don’t think this is generally done by those who remain adamant that violence is justified as the option). Finally, we freely give up our life. There is nothing else God can expect us to do.

Well, I find this rather inconsistent with the tenets of pacifism (or Christianity generally). But that said, pacifists are sinners. We have emotions too, we only intend to keep them subordinate to a radically universal love.

I think the terms “the Police Violence” or “the Armed Violence” might just rock our political sensibilities a little too much… I’ll pick up the terminology problem below.

I politely disagree. As I said earlier, force in its broadest sense is not rejected by pacifists. Pacifists only reject force that is destructive, a force that is (destructively) coerced, a force that is violent. We accept force that is creative, a force that is compelling, a force that is redemptive. So if God does employ force for redemptive purposes, (as UR argues) and not for destructive purposes (as ECT and Annihilationism argues), than this certainly does not disprove pacifism – it argues in favour of it. If God does want to engulf men in consuming love, there would be no real objection by pacifists.

That’s precisely what I was said. The term force is ambiguous. I did not say it is either good or evil. I said it is neither good nor evil. It is just an exertion and can be used for destruction or for creation. As I have written twice before:

It then follows that this term cannot be used interchangeably with the term violence, because violence is:

destructive by every definition. It is always a bad force. If it ceases to be destructive, it ceases to be violence.
I hope that clears up any misunderstanding.

No worries. In the meantime I’ll retain my view that the early church was clearly pacifist as evidenced by their written testimonies.

forgive me for the complete lack of time I sometimes have where I can devote to jumping on the Internet and posting and responding [there are other post’s here I would like to respond to also but I simply don’t have the time right now]
as for my reluctance [forgive me for this also] but as I intimated , it is based on a long history of sad interaction with ‘‘Christianity’’ , you see my questioning of yourself [being open] stems from not only that history but the self apparent notion that Christians largely don’t want to listen they just want to argue ! the evidence I get from you is your launching into an almost point by point ‘‘refutation’’ against me, this naturally leads me to the conclusion that you aren’t to dissimilar in that regard
you can continue to believe the early Christians were pacifists but as I stated one of the scholars who has written on this very issue who is a pacifist from a pacifist tradition has stated emphatically ‘‘the evidence is mixed’’ a damningly honest comment if ever there was one ! [mixed for a very good reason I believe]
might I suggest that you do as the bible suggests ‘‘seek the truth’’ and by that I take it to mean reading pretty much ‘‘everything’’ on the given topic. most Christians read one maybe two or three books on an issue [they also tend to either just read their fav. authors or those authors who seem to be saying what they already believe thus re-enforcing said beliefs] I prefer to read everything I can get my hands on both for and against a position , this would mean that you would have to read books addressing the just war theory [from a pro position] where more than one of them address this issue [early Christianity] but something tells me that you are not as ‘‘open’’ as you say you are !

My point by point refutation was not against you. I only wanted to clarify our terminology before we got to scriptural exegesis or history or anything else. But as I said, I am open to new scholarship and good reason on this stuff, but I just can’t take your word for it. If you’re saying that I shouldn’t adopt what are for me, the clear teachings of Yeshua as I understand the early church to have believed, then you should have a good reason to present. I’m open to this, but it has to actually be presented. You keep saying this, but I need to see it for myself. If a pacifist tradition in the early church is questionable then you need to help me. If I am shown to be thoroughly wrong, I will, with the grace of God, repent. I’ll do the hard work of reading. I just want to know what to read. So what pacifist scholar said “the evidence is mixed”? In what context? And what extent did he mean by this? There were rogue Christians who believed all sorts of interesting things (as they do now), I am concerned about the general consensus of the church and its prominent leaders and theologians, before Constantine.

Yeah, I agree. And indeed I haven’t read everything on this subject – I’m young and am interested in more subjects than pacifism. However, I have read countless works against my position (admittedly, few in book-form) and so far they haven’t adequately addressed what I’ve found in pro-pacifist works.

Anyway brother, God bless. If you don’t want to continue, that’s okay, I wish you the best. May the God of Peace show you all Truth.

my contention still stands , I detect lip service openness

try - J Daryl Charles - ma , phd Westminster theological seminary, he is associate professor of religion and ethics at union university and is director and senior fellow of the bryan institute for critical thought and practise. he served as 07/08 William E.Simon visiting fellow in religion and public life in the James Maddison program in American ideals and institutions ,Department of politics , Princeton university in his book ‘‘between pacifism and jihad’’ or the co-authored work with
Timothy J Demy [thm,thd,ma phd ] associate professor of mlitary ethics at the us naval war collage Rhode Island in
‘‘war peace and christianity’’

these are just two of the authors who survey the authors who specifically address the early Christians and pacifism you will find the answer to your question there [they aren’t the only authors who dispel this popular myth]

as for jumping in on my other post you are free to do what you want [it appears you are just inching to] in-spite of one of your earlier comments on being rather busy it seems you have plenty of time to devote to opposing me !


I’ve been meaning to read the former book for a while. It’s on the list :slight_smile: I think I’m familiar with the arguments used though. But thanks, I will read this – perhaps not this month, this year, but I do intend to read it!

No, I am ridiculously busy, but I make the time. Thanks, I might skip that topic though. Quite frankly you’re a tad hostile towards pacifists, so you’re probably not going to listen to anything I do present, and I think NealF has probably said most of what I would say anyway.