Jesus… the Prince of Peace or a god of war?
- The Peace Church Challenge
- The original Apostolic church through the 4th century refused enlistment in the military and participation in war because they felt that under Jesus of Nazareth the era of the Messianic Kingdom had arrived and the prophesies now materialized, for them to “turn their swords into plows and their spears into pruning hooks and not learn war any more.” Isaiah 2:4. As a result of this, early Christians were persecuted and even executed. Since that time however, Christian nations have been involved in war and military aggression, manufacture of munitions and weapons, and increase of soldiers and military personnel. Refusing to adhere to Jesus of Nazareth and His Apostles’ gospel of non-violence and religious objection to conscription and military service, Christianity as a religion has capitulated over the centuries to the demands of the state. How did this change in doctrine occur?
Under Emperor Constantine the Great during the 2nd quarter of the 4th century a metamorphosis occurred in the corporate Christian Church: the realms of state and church were merged together and the Christian religion became the state church. Under the subsequent Ecumenical Councils the Christian Church was redefined in terms of Greek philosophy and primarily Plato. This did not make the Roman Empire “Christian,” but made it the materialization of Plato’s dreamed Republic. Since that time and especially with the publication of Augustine’s Just War Theory, denominations of the Christian Church have supported every war that their respective state declared. For almost 1,700 years Christianity and its priests, ministers and elders have provided for the state recruits from among the members of their respective congregations to continue military aggression. In essence, the Christian Church as a corporate body has betrayed its founder by refusing to acknowledge him as Prince of Peace. Some denominations have even created their own military campaigns, such as the Crusades.
Never have priests and ministers corporately voiced to their congregations for their members not to enlist in the military, to refuse conscription, and not to have a vocation in the manufacture of weapons and munitions. Because of failure of Christian denominations to return to Christ’s original concepts, war continues generation after generations, with “wars and rumors of war” and its devastation of the lives of innocent people, property, culture and civilization. It is no wonder that the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi once stated, “The only people who do not think Jesus was pacifist are Christians.”
Only the Christian Church can stop the tide of the devastating results of war and military aggression. Only by returning to its Apostolic roots can the Christian Church fulfill its responsibility to do so as an obligation to its founder Jesus of Nazareth, who said, “Put down that sword Peter, for whoever takes the sword will perish by the sword.”
- ECAPC.org – Every Church a Peace Church
- ChristianPacifism.com: The Conflict of Ages — A Treatise on the Dichotomy between Military Service and the Kingdom of God