Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Does The Bible Teach Pacifism?

The Bible teaches that when Jesus Christ comes back again there will be no more war. Imagine what a wonderful world it could be if the $600 or $700 billion the world spends on arms every year were devoted to peaceful pursuits. We could use that money to build roads, harbors, dams, and bridges, and to irrigate fields, and to provide cultural pleasures and things of beauty for the world, and to alleviate human suffering and need. War is hell. Only madmen would wish it continued.

But we live in a time when evil is increasing instead of diminishing, when some men seem to be controlled by selfishness and madness, when some men are bent on the subjugation of other men. As long as such attitudes exist, righteous men must stand against evil. I know there are some Christians who believe that war and their participation in it are morally wrong. While I respect their views and must allow them to follow their consciences, I do not believe the Bible teaches pacifism. The Bible teaches us that we are to lift the yoke of oppression from those who are downtrodden and oppressed. The yoke of oppression is not lifted by prayer alone. Action is necessary.

Sometimes we can bring change peacefully, through democratic processes. At other times freedom must be won through the use of military force. I do not know where this world would be if the United States had failed to respond to the challenge of Adolf Hitler during World War II. Fortunately, history records many examples of countries that have come to the rescue of other, weaker nations in times of distress.

People should think of what pacifism might mean on a personal level. If your sister, mother, or wife were being attacked by a gang of thugs, you would want someone to come to her aid. If such an attack happened and people just stood and watched, without helping, the indifference would be as bad as the crime itself. As citizens we demand effective protection from attacks against our persons. What is true on an individual scale is also true on an international scale.

We should also note that battles have been won by the strength of prayer and praise. Jehoshaphat won a war by sending people to sing and praise the Lord. As they did, the huge army that had assembled against him began to crumble in confusion (see 2 Chronicles 20:20-23). Nevertheless, Jehoshaphat had the army gathered anyway. The soldiers were there, even though they did not have to use their weapons.

When Joshua went to Jericho, he had an army prepared. They did not have to use their weapons because God fought for them (see Joshua 6:15-21). In many instances when Israel went into battle, its soldiers did not have to fight because the enemy fled. But they were ready to fight all the same. God is able to defend a nation without any use of arms. Prayer can be used of God to win wars even today. However, secular nations such as the United States can establish their foreign policy based on the miraculous intervention of God only if their people and policies reflect obedience to His will.

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson. 

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