We will fight for peace, but we will do no violence.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Thoughts from the blog of Tim Suttle: 

Why is the Christian peace movement so small? Why are so many Christians willing to engage in a search and destroy mission around issues like homosexuality (upon which Jesus did not comment), or insistent upon adherence to Jesus’s teaching on divorce, and yet so willing to ignore the clear command to “love your enemies,” that is part of the very same chapter of Matthew as the divorce teaching?
For most of us as evangelicals, the faith of our fathers and grandfathers did not include any kind of strict adherence to Jesus’s teaching on violence. Christian non-violence was never mentioned as a possibility in my Southern Baptist upbringing. In fact Matthew 5:38-48 remained indeterminate in all of my discipleship and training until I ran into Stanley Hauerwas, John Howard Yoder, as well as many of my professors and fellow students at seminary. That Jesus’s teaching on non-violence is so largely ignored or misunderstood in the general culture has to be at least part of the reason Reza Aslan’sZealot could become a best seller. Anyone steeped in the tradition of Christian non-violence would quickly point out the way Aslan completely ignored huge swaths of Jesus’s life and teaching, especially the way that non-violence is essential to a Christian understanding of the gospel.
The obvious exception to this would be the Anabaptists. I often think that God preserved two important doctrines among the Anabaptist people. The first is the gospel of the kingdom of God (as opposed to a gospel of sin management & how to get into heaven when you die). The second is the doctrine of Christian non-violence. The Anabaptists are now powerfully and prophetically teaching the rest of us these essential doctrines to the wider church.
Stanley Hauerwas often says that Christians are not committed to non-violence because they think it will be an effective strategy to rid the world of war. Christians are committed to non-violence because they cannot imagine any other way to live in light of the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I find it ironic, then, that for the most part the opposite is true. Most Christians in our society cannot imagine livingnon-violently in such a violent world. We have no imagination for what it might mean to respond to our dog eat dog world by turning the other cheek, offering our cloak & tunic, and going the extra mile. I had been following Jesus for at least twenty-five years before anyone challenged my thinking in regard to violence and war and Jesus’s teaching on the matter.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

[Subversive Radio Podcast] NOT PEACE BUT A SWORD?

Why did Jesus say he came "not to bring peace, but a sword?" if he really expected us to embrace peacemaking?

Keith Giles explains in this special [Subversive Radio Podcast].

Monday, February 24, 2014

Where Does God's Kingdom Come From? by Josh Lawson

There has never been a mightier man to walk the earth than Jesus of Nazareth. His moral, emotional, and spiritual strength was unparalleled by anyone of his day. It remains unmatched to this hour.
Yet his message was unequivocaly one of non-violence.
The first three centuries of Christian history following his advent into the world attest to the fact that the overwhelming majority of those who first followed in Christ’s way upheld this conviction of non-violence with great passion. Soldiers abandoned their posts upon coming to the Lord. They refused military service. When struck upon one cheek they offered the other.
This practice only began to change with the unholy alliance of church and state under Constantine in the third century. What little evidence there is to suggest otherwise is not difficult to refute. Keith Giles has written an article recently that explores this notion in more detail, which I highly recommend you read.
Even still, living in America today it is hard to refute Gandhi’s painful observation: “The only people who don’t see Jesus and his teachings as non-violent are Christians!”
What is the reason for this quandary? It is simple, really.
Under interrogation by Pilate Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36).
Note that Jesus’ disciples did want to fight to keep him from being handed over. This is because, like Jesus said, they still thought his kingdom was of and from the world. Right up to the moment of his ascension they were still clinging to this belief (see Acts 1:6).
Also note that there is a difference between God’s kingdom being from the world and its being for the world. Just because His kingdom is not of the world does not mean it is not for the world. On the contrary, it is. This simply goes to show that it is not advocating any form of spiritual escapism to proclaim that God’s kingdom is not of this world.
So why did Jesus’ disciples want to fight? Why did Peter draw his sword and cut off one man’s ear? Simply because they thought their Rabbi’s kingdom was of the world.
And why do some of Jesus’ followers still want to fight today? Why do they support war and the military industrial complex? For the same reason. There remains a widescale confusion as to where God’s kingdom is coming from. Nevertheless,
God’s kingdom is not coming from a world where men fight to overthrow regimes and establish new orders. God’s kingdom is coming from heaven where the battle is won by a Lamb laying down his life.
So it would do us well to take a fresh look at the words of Jesus. If you’re not sure where you stand in regards to this issue you may want to consider the testimony of the first three centuries of Christian history prior to Constantine. Something was different, and you owe it to yourself to find out what that something was.
There was a reason Celcus said of the Christians: “If everyone were to act the same as you, the national government would soon be left utterly deserted and without any help, and affairs on earth would soon pass into the hands of the most savage and wretched barbarians.”
There was a reason Martin of Tours proclaimed: “I am Christ’s soldier, I am not allowed to fight.”
There was a reason Tertullian declared: “When Christ disarmed Peter, he disarmed every soldier.”
Behind all these words there is a deep and positive reality, and you can be sure it is not any form of cowardice or escapism. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the cross is mightier still.

Friday, February 21, 2014



Saturday, March 15, 2014
at Biola University
13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, California 90639


Our Fighters:

*Mike Izbicki - Former Naval submarine officer who read the Sermon on the Mount and is now a conscientuous objector.

*Dr. Thomas Crisp - Co-Founder of PFC and Professor of Philosophy at BIOLA.

*More to be announced.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Choose Love, Not War — Just like St. Valentine!

Over at, Shane Claiborne recounts the legends of our favorite cupid of a saint, the V-man himself. No, not that one—St. Valentine!

Among the countless tales of the Roman saint are testimonies of his subversive resistance to Roman empirical wargames by "marrying young couples preventing the men from going to war."

The rest of what Shane tells is the story where giving valenties comes from, and it's well worth the (quick) read. See it all here. [Spoiler Alert: It involves acting like Jesus]

And remember, when you bite into that cheap chocolate heart, you've got this subversive, war-resistant, enemy-loving Saint to thank.
subversively marrying young couples preventing the men from going to war - See more at:
subversively marrying young couples preventing the men from going to war - See more at:
subversively marrying young couples preventing the men from going to war - See more at:
subversively marrying young couples preventing the men from going to war - See more at:
subversively marrying young couples preventing the men from going to war - See more at:
subversively marrying young couples preventing the men from going to war - See more at:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Personally, I am not at all interested in a world filled with pacifists. Pacifism, in itself, is of no interest to me whatsoever.

But what I am very interested in is a world filled with people who love Jesus and take His commands seriously - including His commands to love our enemies, and practice extravagant, preemptive love to everyone within arms reach.

Pacifism implies a dedication to political peace, and while I am certainly not against a more peaceful society, the main thing that drives me is the Gospel of Jesus, and putting the teachings of Jesus into practice. These teachings and commands are explicity centered on being proactive lovers of God and lovers of people.

To me, this is not a gray area. Jesus is crystal clear. He says that we should be marked by our exceptional displays of love for one another, for the stranger, for the poor, and even for our enemies.

"But Jesus knocked over some tables in the Temple!" people shout. Yes, he did do that. But he did not do so in order to set an example for how we should behave. For that we need only turn to the dozens of commands and numerous, vivid examples Jesus gave us to follow.

Like the time he washed his disciples feet and said, "They will know that you are my disciples if you love one another" (John 13:35) Or the time when he stood up on a hillside and proclaimed loudly, "You have heard it said, 'love your neighbor and hate your enemy' but I say to you, love your enemy, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matt. 5:43-45) Or when he said, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Don't even tax collectors do that?" (Matt. 5:46)

Following Jesus means doing what he said to do. One of those things is to love, and not to hate. Another is to bless and not to retaliate. Another is to forgive and not to take vengeance ourselves.

As followers of Jesus, we should already be very well acquainted with the concept of transformative love and the power of forgiveness and mercy to change a person from within. Isn't that how we arrived here with a cross on our back and our footprints in the sand next to His?

If so, let us not abandon the path that Jesus has laid out for us. It is a path of peace. It is a path of extravagant, proactive, audacious love in the face of violence, hate, and anger.

Our weapons, remember, are divine. Our weapons are powerful. Our weapons demolish demonic strongholds. Our weapons (which are not of this world) are mighty. More powerful than AK-47's. More effective than missiles. More explosive than nuclear warheads.

If you believe that, and if you follow Jesus, the time to start putting these things into practice is now.

Pacifism will not save us. But following Jesus will.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jon Foreman: "Sorrow" (Bad Religion Cover)

"Sorrow" | Jon Foreman
The Glasshouse | Pomona, CA

A Bad Religion cover song

Father can you hear me?
How have I let you down?
I curse the day that I was born
and all the sorrow in this world

I'll take you to the herding ground
where all good men are trampled down
Just to settle a bet that could not be won
between a prideful father and his son

Will you guide me now for I can't see a reason
for the suffering and this long misery
What if every living soul could be upright and strong?
Well then I do imagine

There will be (sorrow)
Yeah there will be (sorrow)
And there will be sorrow no more

When the soldiers lay their weapons down
or when the kings and the queens relinquish their crowns
When the only true messiah rescues us
from ourselves it's easy to imagine

There will be (sorrow)
Yeah there will be (sorrow)
And there will be sorrow no more

There will be (sorrow)
Yeah there will be (sorrow)
And there will be sorrow no more

Yeah there will be (sorrow)
Yeah there will be (sorrow)

And there will be sorrow no more

Be Crucified

Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others.

Be crucified, but do not crucify others.

Se slandered, but do not slander others.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity.

Suffer with the sick.

Be afflicted with sinners.

Exult with those who repent.

Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone.

Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all.

Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly.

Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them.

And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character.

-St Isaac the SyrianSee More

Monday, February 10, 2014

Remember Jesus: Lee Griffith

"We must remember Jesus. Wherever and whenever Jesus is not remembered, those who claim the name of Christian have shown a special proclivity to give allegiance to race or ethnicity, wealth or weaponry, empire or liberation army, or any of the other numerous powers laying claim to lordship. When there is failure to remember the one who died on the cross, crucifixion follows. When there is failure to remember the one who rose from the grave, the graves are filled. Terror is a sign of dismembered community. Terror is also a sign of spiritual crisis, of a faith that has failed. To remember Jesus, bread is broken, cup is shared, community is formed. All violence is an attack upon community. All violence by Christians is also an attack upon the memory of Jesus."

Lee Griffith, "The War on Terrorism and the Terror of God", p. 48

(Post suggested by David Marshall)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Orwell: Against Empires

"For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been Bogged with bamboos – all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt. But I could get nothing into perspective."
— George Orwell