I've developed a reputation as being a pacifist. I suppose this is my own fault. I do throw the term around in casual conversation, and I did participate in the XCCP
project. And there are probably a dozen posts I've authored on Revelife with the term 'pacifist' in the title somewhere.
So it doesn't matter how much I resist the term - I'm probably stuck with it.
But I do resist the term. It seems to imply that there is some ideology - pacifism - that I believe in and adhere to. Or some program - pacifism - that I want to see instituted. And it seems to imply that I believe that the world would be a less violent place if only a few people would put down their guns. And it seems to imply that I view police officers and soldiers and gun owners and professional wrestlers as bad people, engaging in daily sin.
But none of that is true. In fact, the whole matter of pacifism is largely irrelevant to what I believe.
What I believe is that the New Testament models, especially in the life of Christ, what the church and its members are to look like. In fact, in the language of the New Testament, the members of the church take on
the life of Christ, become the body of Christ. This means two things. Unity and love.
In terms of unity, there is only one church, though it exists in multiple institutional agencies. There is one church, present throughout the whole world and across time. When Christians take up arms against other Christians, it is not that they are committing some sin called 'violence.' But they are committing violence against their own body.
So Christians should remain in unity with other Christians. It is madness that a French Catholic and a German Catholic could both receive communion from a military chaplain, and then rush off to shoot one another. But Christians should also love, not only Christians, but everyone. "Enemies" are explicitly mentioned.
The New Testament tells us explicitly the sorts of things it means by love. It means: do good to them, bless them, pray for them, refuse to hit back, refuse to withhold goods from them, lend without expectation of repayment, do not condemn, offer food and drink.
Whatever your views on violence in the abstract, these are the actions Christians are called upon to engage in. This is the church's mission to the world. That is why pacifism is fun to argue about, but completely irrelevant to the life of the church.What are your thoughts on pacifism? Do you think that it's relevant to the church and your beliefs? If pacifism is something really important to you, what makes it so important?