The Basics

/The Basics

Articles in this section provide a basic overview of Jesus’ approach to peacemaking, defining terms and elaborating on the fundamentals.

Putting “But What If…” Questions In Their Proper Place

Frequently, when Christian pacifists claim that Jesus taught His followers to never use violence, critics respond with a barrage of “But what if…” questions: “But what if someone comes to rape your wife?”  “Christian pacifism sounds lovely, but what about Hitler?  If you were a Christian during WWII, would you just let him commit genocide?”  “But what if you have the ability to violently prevent one terrorist from killing hundreds of innocent victims?”  “But what if someone comes to hurt your children?” […]

What Can A Centurion’s Faith Teach Us About Peacemaking?

In Matthew 8:5-13, we read the staggering account of a senior military officer in the Roman army requesting Jesus miraculously heal his beloved servant.  In the middle of talking with this centurion, Jesus pauses and commends the man’s great faith.

Sometimes people use this passage as evidence that Jesus approved of military service.  However, as I hope you will soon see, not only is this interpretation incorrect, but it entirely misses the point Jesus was attempting to make.  When Jesus commended the centurion’s faith, He was actually teaching two lessons that are foundational to His peacemaking approach. […]

Violent Pacifists & Peaceful Soldiers

Once, after teaching a workshop on the early Christian attitude to war, a fellow urban missionary named Aaron White told me the story of his close friend who was a military soldier.  One night Aaron’s friend confessed to him that he hated Mahatma Gandhi.  He hated that Gandhi’s pacifist teaching and way of life made his own attempts to work for world peace look evil. […]