Will there be peace in the world in our time? Not until Jesus, the Prince of peace establishes His kingdom following the Day of the Lord. The greatest argument against pacifism is the misunderstood passage that Jesus has brought a sword, but this is the sword that divides in relationship to the truth, not the sword that kills. "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

Jesus predicted wars and rumors of wars. True, but we are not just to sit idly by and wait for the millennium to overtake us without doing something about ushering in the new age of peace. There is no doubt but that there will be trouble and war and tribulation in the land, especially in these last days of restoration but we are called to build the temple of God, we are the remnant that will establish the peace. Even so - look out:

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, you that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.
You have been warned, you want peace? stay out of the affliction. You want to be part of the restoration of the temple? get out of Babylon first.

We still have the responsibility to do something to bring in peace and whatever our actions, there will be good coming out of it. Among those who have chosen to live by that dream are Christian pacifists and peace activists inspired by compassion, prophetic and biblical vision, blessing, and command.

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

Probably the misguided Christians are the ones that think that peace is something that comes from the devil, a left-wing conspiracy dominated by long-haired hippie peaceniks and we as Christians are not called to any kind of peace movement or activism of any kind. That is the attitude that has caused the oppressive governments to flourish. Other Christians have regarded particular wars as occasions of Christian duty, pointing to biblical understandings of war as a divinely sanctioned means for combating intolerable threats to life, liberty, and faith. If that is true, there is still a need to promote peace and to think otherwise is to submit to a false spirit. Jesus: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Ten Commandments: "Thou shall not kill." Moses: "For the Lord your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." The Psalmist writes: "Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause. For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land."

We may generally regard the pacifists as those that are against war and violence. Muzorewa - "How should these Christian families react to these acts of unprovoked savagery? Should they continue to strive peacefully against brute force? To act in self defense at such times is, I believe, to use 'righteous violence'. It is as a last response, taken in self-defense, when all non-violent methods have been tried and spurned by our oppressors. There are those that are freedom fighters. This is why they support the armed struggle. The pacifist must ask himself how anyone professing a doctrine of love can prefer evil or put up with oppression."

Paul wrote "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil." Being a child of the sixties, this passage had been a stumbling block until I understood that it is the government itself that has become the evil and resisted the original freedom and constitutional basis that America in God's grace was founded on. Were the American patriots who fought in the Revolutionary war, wrong? Are the people's movements in the third world wrong if they resist the right-wing death squads and the violence of oppression against their families? If violence is done to the people in the name of nationalism, is it wrong to resist them? I must ultimately realize that there is the higher power that is over those that have rejected the ordination of God and it just might be that ordained power that God is giving us as well to resist what is evil. If the powers that be, resist the ordinance of God and become a terror to good works in themselves and shall receive damnation, who is to say that we are evil for resisting them? Only the powers that seek to preserve their privileged positions and economic interests will argue against us.

In my own case, I dodged the draft in the sixties by joining the Marine Corps reserves and never got out of California. I was part of unit close to San Francisco that marched against the Vietnam war. That would be considered treason and cowardice for some but if there is a righteous attitude of pride that I could take in my life, this would be at the top of the list. The only Vietnam vets I know or knew, either died over there, became mentally ill, are drug addicts or are now homeless on the streets. I may have loved my country but I was ashamed at what was happening and believe that if others can not join me in my shame of an unjust war that they are under a delusion and have taken the mark of the beast. Can you imagine a Christian father that would rather see his son enlist in the military than demonstrate for peace. The apostate church is full of them. Is that not delusional insanity?

True Christians are not cowards for standing up for our faith, we would just rather face lions in the arena than be forced to kill a man. Tertullian wrote: "Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaimed that he who takes the sword shall also perish by the sword?" Origen sees the kingdom of God as being fulfilled completely in the hearts of believers when he states "For we no longer take up 'sword against nation' nor do we 'learn war any more,' having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader."

Many of the actions led by Gandhi, King and other apostles of non-violence more visibly reflect similarities to an industrial strike than to the traditional ways of religious non-resistance. Whether it is physical violence or spiritual violence, violence suggests destructiveness, which is intrinsically evil when it effects persons. Violence takes many forms, much of it is less obvious than physical violence, namely economic exploitation, injustice, discrimination and oppression. Force and violence are present in the world as we confront it, and we cannot proceed as if they were absent.

There are three basic types of non-violence: 1. non-resistance. 2. passive resistance. 3. active nonviolent resistance or nonviolent direct action of an affirmative or aggressive kind. Civil disobedience or civil resistance is a form of nonviolent direct action that involves breaking the law.

We must understand this: just because Jesus said that He is bringing a sword does not invalidate what He did on the cross. The teaching and example of Jesus are essentially pacifist and reveal, especially on the cross, an alternative method of meeting and overcoming evil which renders all violent methods obsolete. He was beaten, scourged, and nails driven into his body and He still forgave them. The purity of His love in the face of the most evil event in history is the supreme example for us to follow. Our warfare is spiritual and in all circumstances, the church is bound by that ethic. We may demonstrate, we may blow our trumpet in prophetic denunciation, we may protest louder than any of the others but there is no example of Jesus for us to make war, rather He did not raise His voice to prevent being obedient to the cross and Peter was rebuked for raising up the sword. Jesus knew that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, did He tell us to stay and fight, no, He told us to get out at the first opportunity. There are of course the sincere but unenlightened Christians that argue on the contrary, that the teaching is not necessarily pacifist, but again, it is a false spirit and not one of love. There will be revival in the land but it will not come from the war-mongers, it will come from the children of God who make make every effort to broker peace.

Pacifism indeed appears as a dangerous modern heresy to the fundamentalists, especially in the United States. Now that the cold war is over, the military and local police have turned toward the American people itself and now we are the enemy. This hasn't changed since the terrorist attack on 9-11. It is the conservatives and Christian right that oppose the peace movements. Hermann Goering, the Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II gives us a good example of the fascist warmongering that has engulfed America: "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." Isaiah: "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goes therein shall not know peace. Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness."

In legislating for an ideal kingdom, Jesus' teaching was a pacifist attitude. His ethic was non-resistance, forbearance in the face of aggressive evil and taught us that we are to love our enemies. Did Peter suggest that we are to be pacifists or to seek war?  He wrote:

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Peter learned his lesson, will we? Give peace a chance.
[190, 220, 222, 300, 97, Haggai 2:9, Matthew 5:9, 10:34, Romans 13, Exodus, Deuteronomy, John, Psalms 35:19-20, Isaiah 59:8-10, I Peter 3:10-11]

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