A rightist evangelical response to the peace summit

A few days ago, I offered some positive reports from peace summit participants. Here’s a report from a less impressed observer. In “Evangelicals for Peace Eye Return to Eden,” a representative from the Institute for Religion and Democracy repeats accusations that evangelicals interested in nonviolence are starry-eyed idealists who lack a realistic sense of this world’s violence. Here’s a taste:

The conference highlighted many current weaknesses both in Middle- East policy and in perceived Evangelical attitudes towards Muslims. Speakers cautioned against the sustained military-industrial complex because of its financial risk, and they advocated for faith-based diplomacy. However, the conference at times strayed towards an oversimplification of theological principles surrounding war and its justification and tended to neglect the role of prudence in policy.This overarching attitude of the “Evangelicals for Peace” conference presupposed that war is never the “answer” without considering deeply the theological and prudential processes that lead to such a conclusion. Such an oversight is an affront to the traditions of both pacifism and just war.

It’s worth noting, as does the author of the article, that a new “just peacemaking” paradigm, which attempts to marry pacifist and just-war perspectives using pragmatic techniques, is emerging under the leadership of Glenn Stassen of Fuller Seminary. Check out his books here and here.

4 Replies to “A rightist evangelical response to the peace summit”

  1. The conference “strayed towards an oversimplification of theological principles surrounding war and its justification” only if you consider Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount an “oversimplification of theological principles.” The comments of the observer you quote prompt me to recall the quote by Chesterton: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried”

    1. Chesterton was not a born again christian, he had much of the world’s wisdom, was a thinker, just never came to faith in Jesus Christ alone. Maybe he came close just never quite got there.

  2. This is a much more nuanced report from IRD than there post prior to the conference. I think it is a bit unfair to what I heard at the conference in that there was not really a focus on pacifism in most of the presenters. It seems a bit like judging a conference on fighting poverty for not talking about the merits of wealth enough, and then judging that people are against all wealth.

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