Thursday, August 03, 2006

methodists and war

I just finished reading Francis Norwood's Story of American Methodism. Traditionally, and especially after WWI, Methodists have taken the stance that war is incompatible with Christian teaching. I came across an interesting statement issued by the Council of Bishops in 1940, shortly after the US got involved in WWII, condemning US participation. It read,
"We roundly condemn the processes of war even while accepting the awful alternative, not of our making, forced upon us by the selfishness and perversity of men. From a measure of the guilt of this, none of us is free."
Interesting, huh?


Anonymous said...


Do you believe in the "Just War" theology or do think that all war is morally wrong?

Are we all called to be pacifists and martyrs?

What if the U.S. did not engage in war Japan, Germany, and Italy in WWII? What a different world it would be. We could have been living under a dictatorship right now.

It is not Biblically based but I agree with Winston Churchill's statement,"Evil triumphs when good men stand by and do nothing".

That can mean taking a pacifist stand and going to jail for it. That can mean preaching against an evil government and being executed for it.

Theological question: How would Jesus' teaching gone over in the time of David in the wars with the Philistines?

Could David have brought the Philistines to the Lord instead of slaughtering them?

Should our tax money be spent building and providing weapons of mass destruction to the Israeli Defense forces to root out their enemies from the land promised to Israel by the Lord?

John Flores
Frisco, Texas

Jennice said...

In the 1940s there was a lot of antiwar sentiment in America. This was just coming off the damage and destruction of the Great War. Few nations at the time were clamoring for war. (except the aggressors) This statement seems to fit in with the environment of the time. The horrors of war were fresh on the minds of people and understandably many wanted to do everything possible to avoid another war. Unfortunately, in the case of WWII, many nations were left with no other choice but to go to war. War has been an unfortunate reality throughout history, and although there are many ways to avoid war I do believe that there are times when we are called and morally obligated to respond in war. Its easy to say in times of calm or relative safety that we should not be involved in wars, but as we sit by and watch our global brothers and sisters perish from unjust aggressors we begin heaping guilt on ourselves. (ps - this is not a political statement about a current war today. I am more writing this from the perspective of what I know about WWII.)

John said...

It's a very good book.

Jason Woolever said...

ya, it is very good.