The pacifism debate continues

While I have been quiet here for some time until today, I have been continuing to discuss pacifism with John Hobbins on his blog, primarily in the comment thread of this post and also in some comments on this one.
Here is a taster. John wrote to me:

You are staking out a position … which seems to have little foundation in the biblical witness, Christian tradition, or current sensibilities. …

I don’t wish to caricature your position, but I do wish to point out its weaknesses.

I replied:

This position has “little foundation in the biblical witness” only for those who do not include the Sermon on the Mount and the rest of the teaching of Jesus in their canon. Perhaps those red letters in so many American Bibles are taken to mean that these words should be ignored.

Yes, my position has its weaknesses. So did Jesus’ position, so much so that he was crucified. But God vindicated him. I believe that God will ultimately vindicate my position, not necessarily by making it prevail, but certainly by bringing about in his eternal kingdom the pacifist vision of Isaiah 2:4 and 11:6-9.

0 thoughts on “The pacifism debate continues

  1. Peter, I hate to be pedantic, but the vision of Isaiah as you refer to it is not a pacifist vision, but a pacific one. That is, no-one is under threat, attacked, or in need of either violent or non-violent resistance strategies. It is about peace acheived. By contrast both just war theories and pacifist theories are about how to acheive peace. That is, I think, quite different, and not what these texts were about. In any case, you probably need to read on Isaiah 11:14.

  2. Yes, Doug, you are right, pacific not pacifist, but this is the goal of the pacifist which is not going to be realised by belligerence and not easily by “just war” attitudes which so easily descend into “just is what my government calls just” and then to “my country right or wrong”. How 11:12-16 relates to 11:6-9 is an exegetically complex issue.

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  5. Peter I’m commenting here. And I think I’m done there unless there is some indication that “things” will be controlled. And I don’t have much optimism. You’ll have my address with this comment.

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