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D.L. Moody There has never been a time in my life when I felt that I could take a gun and shoot down a fellow being. In this respect I am a Quaker.

“Surely, if Christians were forbidden to fight to preserve the Person of their Lord and Master, they may not fight to preserve themselves, or any city they should happen to dwell in. Christ has no kingdom here. His servants must not fight. The Christian may not go to “the front” to repel the foe– for there he is required to kill men. They (referring to the 12 apostles) knew the force of the Lord’s example, and whether to save themselves or to save others— never, never use the sword. Better a thousand times to die than for a Christian to kill his fellow. I do not say it is wrong for a nation to go to war to preserve its interests, but it is wrong to the Christian, absolutely, unutterably wrong. Under no circumstances can I undertake any service that has for its purpose the prosecution of war.”

(NEW Blog:Charles Spurgeon: On War and Christians)

C.H. Spurgeon—  The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel.

I wish that Christian men would insist more and more on the unrighteousness of war, believing that Christianity means no sword, no cannon, no bloodshed, and that, if a nation is driven to fight in its own defence, Christianity stands by to weep and to intervene as soon as possible, and not to join in the cruel shouts which celebrate an enemy’s slaughter.

[Two Links to more Spurgeon Quotes on my  “Blogs and Resources” post.]

General William Booth (Salvation Army) spoke strongly against war: “What is the duty of Salvationists at such a crisis? … One thing is plain―every true soldier of The Salvation Army would cry day and night to God to avert so dreadful a calamity. Let him shut his ears to all the worldly, unscriptural, unchristian talk about war being a necessity. It cannot be a necessity before God that tens of thousands of men should be launched into eternity with all manner of revengeful passionate feelings in their souls … Whatever may be the right method of settling human disputes and preventing earthly calamities, this cannot be the divine plan. This cannot be the will of God.”

Menno Simons

Menno SimonsAll Christians are commanded to love their enemies… Tell me, how can a Christian defend Scripturally retaliation, rebellion, war, striking, slaying, torturing, stealing, robbing and plundering and burning cities and conquering countries?

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George Fox I…denied the drawing of carnal weapons against…any man on earth; for my weapons are spiritual, which take away the occasion of war, and lead to peace.

1660 Declaration to Charles II (by original “Quakers”)                       We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.

Vernon Grounds, late President Emeritus, Denver Seminary– “Unambiguously denounce and renounce war….Recognize that obedience to our Lord Jesus is the master-criterion of discipleship…”

Ben Witherington, Prof. of NT, Asbury Seminary“For me, part of being holy, being pure, being clean, being like Jesus, is being a pacifist.”

David A. Hoekema. Calvin College “The early Christian community understood Jesus’ commands to prohibit the bearing of arms.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer“To believe the promise of Jesus that his followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenseless, preferring to incur injustice rather than to do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way.”

Dorothy Day— We will print the words of Christ who is with us always, even to the end of the world. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, who makes His sun to rise on the good and the evil, and sends rain on the just and unjust.”

Clement of Alexandria “The Church is an army of peace which sheds no blood.” (Protrepticus XI, 116)

Cyprian— “Adultery, fraud, homicide is mortal sin (mortale crimen) … after celebrating the eucharist, the hand is not (i.e. ought not to be) spotted with (the use of) the sword and with blood.”

wars scattered everywhere with the bloody horror of camps. The world is wet with mutual blood(shed): and homicide is a crime when individuals commit it, (but) it is called a virtue, when it is carried on publicly. Not the reason of innocence, but the magnitude of savagery, demands impunity for crimes.

Tertullian— “The old law vindicated itself by the vengeance of the sword, and plucked out eye for eye, and requited injury with punishment; but the new law pointed to clemency, and changed the former savagery of swords and lances into tranquility, and refashioned the former infliction of war upon rivals and foes of the law into the peaceful acts of ploughing and cultivating the earth. And so . . . the observance of the new law and of spiritual circumcision has shone forth in acts of peaceful obedience.

Justin— “We, who had been filled with war and mutual slaughter and every wickedness, have each one–all the world over–changed the instruments of war, the swords into ploughs and the spears into farming implements, and we cultivate piety, righteousness, love for men, faith, (and) the hope which is from the Father Himself through the Crucified One.”

Quotes from Ante-Nicene Fathers  

Printed quotes on video with music background.

New printed list Best single compilation of early Christian quotes

And a web page of  early Christian quotes here

And more quotes, early Christians to present

Pentecostal Pacifism

“From the very beginning, the movement has been characterized by Quaker principles. The laws of the Kingdom, laid down by our elder brother, Jesus Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount, have been unqualifiedly adopted, consequently the movement has found itself opposed to the spilling of the blood of any man…”

THEREFORE we, as a body of Christians, while purposing to fulfill all the obligations of loyal citizenship, are nevertheless constrained to declare we cannot conscientiously participate in war and armed resistance which involves the actual destruction of human life, since this is contrary to our view of the clear teachings of the inspired Word of God, which is the sole basis of our faith–Assemblies of God, 1917

The Crucified One

Corcovado jesus

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9 thoughts on “Pacifist Quotes

  1. Thanks, Michael. These are terrific!

    May I humbly suggest, however, that they outline a Jesus Followers’ Scriptural requirement to wage peace, not war … non-violently. Jesus was in no way a passivist, in my opinion.

    • Thanks, Gary, I agree. I have not heard anyone describe Jesus as passive. But I have heard people confuse the two words passive and pacifist which have no relationship at all. And no one could rightly describe Moody or Spurgeon as passive.

  2. It is excellent to see Christians actually sharing Christ’s message of peace! Here are some more quotes, from a variety of Christian traditions:

    Alexander Campbell–”War is not now, nor was it ever, a process of justice. It was never a test of truth—a criterion of right. It is either a mere game of chance or a violent outrage of the strong upon the weak. Need we any other proof that a Christian people can in no way whatever countenance a war as a proper means of redressing wrongs, of deciding justice, or of settling controversies among nations?”

    Alexander Campbell (same speech)–”But to the common mind, as it seems to me, the most convincing argument against a Christian becoming a soldier may be drawn from the fact that he fights against an innocent person–I say an innocent person so far as the cause of war is contemplated. The men that fight are not the men that make the war.”

    Ezra Heywood wasn’t exactly a theologian, but this particular quote of his seems relevant:

    Ezra Heywood–”Then war is wrong–wrong yesterday, wrong today, wrong forever; not an evil merely, but a sin and a crime. To Christians, the character of Jesus should be decisive on this point. Was he right in going to Calvary, or should he have marched against Pilate as a Major-General? It was the Cross that made him the moral lawgiver of his race, and has affixed his name to the highest civilization of history.”

    Alfred H. Love was also neither theologian nor pastor, but he wrote to a friend encouraging him to reject military chaplaincy:

    Alfred H. Love–”A religion that needs the defense of the sword is not holy, nor worth defending.”

    Donald Benedict, who died just a few years ago, signed a statement with seven other Union Theological Seminary students refusing both to seek conscientious objector status and to be drafted–they refused the special privilege of conscientious objector status which they thought still legitimized war. The following quote is taken from that statement:

    Donald Benedict–”To us, the war system is an evil part of our social order, and we declare that we cannot cooperate with it in any way. War is an evil because it is in violation of the Way of Love as seen in God through Christ. It is a concentration and accentuation of all the evils of our society. War consists of mass murder, deliberate starvation, vandalism, and similar evils. Physical destruction and moral disintegration are the inevitable result. The war method perpetuates and compounds the evils it purports to overcome. It is impossible, as history reveals, to overcome evil with evil. The last World War is a notorious case of the failure of the war system, and there is no evidence to believe that this war will be any different. It is our positive proclamation as followers of Jesus Christ that we must overcome evil with good. We seek in our daily living to reconcile that separation of man from man and man from God which produces war.”

    Maybe not a pacifist, but still an ardent opposer of the war in Iraq and a source of some good anti-war statements:

    Pope John Paul II–”War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity.”

    Pope John Paul II–”I belong to that generation that lived through World War II and, thanks be to God, survived it. I have the duty to say to all young people, to those who are younger than I, who have not had this experience: ‘No more war’ as Paul VI said during his first visit to the United Nations.”

    Pope John Paul II–”War is the most barbarous and least effective way of resolving conflicts.”

    Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School–”Because Christians believe we are what the world can be, we can act in the hope that the world can and will positively respond to a witness of peace. That witness begins with Christians refusing to kill one another in the name of lesser loyalties and goods.”

  3. Pingback: Pacifism? - Page 2 - Christian Forums

  4. Wow, great stuff. Do you have a source I can refer to for the AOG one? Most pentecostals I know are pro-war in the ‘right’ circumstances – whatever that means.

    Also, I always ask the question (but get an evasion instead of an answer) to this: is it loving your enemy to kill them? Do you consider that they may not even know Christ and you are consigning them towards hell because of war?

    Bookmarked and will be coming back for more!

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