What We Believe

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they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
… neither shall they learn war any more.
— Micah 4:3

… all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
— Matthew 26:52

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship recommits itself to opposing all war. We maintain that the realism of Jesus is more compelling than the so-called realism that attempts to justify war.

The ever-growing destructive power of war threatens to destroy civilization and many forms of life on earth. To avoid that fate and to build peace requires the repudiation of war. It requires not learning war—not learning to think in warlike ways. Instead, it requires learning and practicing nonviolent methods for resisting aggression and injustice. These requirements flow from the nonviolent life of Jesus Christ and from the scriptural affirmation that God is love.

We condemn military action by any party to a conflict, holding it to be usually counter-productive and always contrary to the Christian gospel. We call upon churches and ethicists to reject “just war” theory. It is a trap that has too long ensnared the consciences of Christians. However admirable its principles may be, no real war can adhere to them.

We believe that God calls us to adopt a “preferential option” for the poor and the powerless. We see nonviolence not merely as having value as an end in itself but also as a strategy of direct action against poverty, racism, degradation of the environment and other forms of “structural violence.”

We call upon all Christian communities, in particular our own Presbyterian Church (USA), to embrace gospel nonviolence as the only stance consistent with Christian discipleship. We invite all persons of good will, and especially followers of Jesus, to work with us in projects aimed at building peace. The making of peace requires no less courage and self-sacrifice than does the making of war.

Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because it did not know “the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-43). Our calling is to study the things that do make for peace, to put them into action, and to summon others to do the same.

We proclaim this message of hope for a world transformed.

Developed by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s National Committee – Holy Week 2015

Companion Document: The Peacemaker’s Creed