Sunday, May 04, 2014

Thoughts on non-resistance

I've just listened three or four times to a debate put on in Boston recently.  The issue at stake was the "Just war" idea and (as crazy as it may sound) whether Christians should fight.  The participants were (copied from the web site):

On one side of the question, arguing for were two Christian scholars;

  • J. Daryl Charles (Ph.D., Westminster Theological Seminary) teaches in the Honours Program at Berry. He has written 14 books on ethics, Christian engagement in the public square, and just war.  He is widely regarded as a leading authority on the Christian just war tradition.  His books include Between Pacifism and Jihad (InterVarsity Press Academic, 2005), War, Peace, and Christianity (Crossway, 2010), The Just War Tradition (Intercollegiate Studies, 2012), and America's Wars (forthcoming).
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  • Peter Kreeft (Ph.D. Fordham University) is professor of philosophy at Boston College.  He is the author of over 67 books on philosophy, theology and Christian apologetics.  A gifted thinker and speaker, he speaks at universities and churches all over the world.  He draws inspiration from influential figures such as Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, and C. S. Lewis.  His books include Making Sense Out of Suffering (Servant Books, 1986), Socrates Meets Jesus (InterVarsity Press, 1987), and a Handbook of Christian Apologetics (InterVarsity Press, 1994). 

Interestingly, Mr Charles comes from an Anabaptist (Quaker) background whereas Mr Kreeft is a noted Catholic apologist.

Defending the historic teaching of the Church (non-resistance) were:
  • David Bercot is an attorney (J.D., Baylor University), author, and speaker.   He has numerous books on the subject of the early church, where he emphasizes the simplicity of biblical doctrine and early (pre-325 AD) Christian teaching over what he would call the complex and compromised body of theological understandings built up over the centuries that have come to be thought of as orthodoxy.  His most well known books are Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up? (Scroll Publishing, 1989), and A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (Hendrickson, 1998). 
  • Dean Taylor and his wife Tania were both in the U. S. Army when they realized that, as committed Christians, they had to come to grip with Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount on loving one's enemies.  They ultimately left the Army in a new and sincere quest for truth, determined to follow Jesus Christ under the banner "no compromise."  Mr. Taylor is a widely sought speaker who regularly addresses the question, "What if Jesus really meant every word He said?"  His best known book is A Change of Allegiance (Radical Reformation, 2008). 
Not surprisingly Mr Bercot and Mr Dean represent the Anabaptist position fully and besides knowing them personally, thought they did an excellent job of presenting the simplicity of Jesus' words and actions.

If you'd like to hear this debate (or get a copy) you can go to this link:

http://www.followers-of-the-way.org/justwar2014.shtml