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Home >Theology of Peace and War > Wesleyan Quadrilateral > Reason: Theological Perspective > Christian Pacifism

Christian Pacifism

Christian pacifism derives from teachings and practices of Jesus and the apostles. It was a major factor in early Christianity. Even as other approaches developed, such as just war theory, pacifism has remained a strong current in Christianity.

Some churches, such as Mennonites, Brethren, and Quaker, are strictly pacifist. Other denominations consider some wars to be acceptable but take the pacifist perspective into consideration in their decision making on issues of war and peace. Most of them support members who are conscientious objectors to war.

In this website we offer:

A Short Catechism on Christian Pacifism
Christological Pacifism
Articles on the Web
Applied Pacifism


A Short Catechism on Christian Pacifism
by George Hunsinger

What is a Christian pacifist?

A Christian pacifist is someone who believes that in all situations of human life Jesus expects nothing less from his disciples than love. This love is especially marked by a spirit of forgiveness. Against those who inflict injury it refuses to retaliate, but instead responds with benevolence. "Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who hurt you; pray for those who abuse you" (Luke 6:27 28).

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Christological Pacifism
by Stanley Hauerwas

John Howard Yoder is the great representative of Christological pacifism. He developed his account of Christian nonviolence in his great book The Politics of Jesus, but his account of the distinctiveness of Christological pacifism is perhaps best found in his book Nevertheless. In that book he outlined over twenty types of pacifism, each of which he describes for their virtues as well as their limits.

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Articles on the Web

Christian Pacifism by Myron S. Augsburger
A Practical Christian Pacifism by David A. Hoekema
The Early Christian Attitude to War (1919) by C. John Cadoux


Fellowship of Reconciliation

The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) is a major resource for information on pacifism. Formed in the United States in 1915, it carries on programs and educational projects concerned with domestic and international peace and justice, nonviolent alternatives to conflict, and the rights of conscience. Its membership includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and people of other faith traditions, as well as those with no formal religious affiliation. It is part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) with branches in over 40 countries and on every continent.

A particularly good source is Peace Is the Way: Writings on Nonviolence from the Fellowship of Reconciliation (2000), edited by Walter Wink. Other available writings are identified on the FOR website.


Pacifist/Nonviolence Bibliography
Writings on Christian Nonresistance and Pacifism from Anabaptist-Mennonite Sources

Applied Pacifism

On another page we consider applications of pacifism in the section on Experience: Alternatives to War where we review expressions of nonnviolent action.

The Global Spread of Nonviolence
Nonviolent Practices
20th Century Prophets and Theologians


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