“A Peace Church is a church that…
…recognizes that war and militarism are inconsistent with the Gospel of Christ that calls us to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us
…recognizes the harm that violence and war have done to soldiers and their families, to civilians, to the poor, to women and children, to society and to the environment
…supports those who have declared themselves to be Conscientious Objectors
…is ready to take a stand and say no to violence and war in the name of the Prince of Peace.”
—from What is a Peace Church?
At some point, members of every congregation considering becoming a “peace church” must grapple with difficult questions, usually involving genocide, national defense, and respect for current and former members of the US military. Those questions can both reflect genuine curiosity—“What about the use of military force to prevent genocide? Without an active military, how does a sovereign nation defend itself?”—and also can be tinged with accusation—”Do you not recognize that your freedom to hate America was paid for in blood by the very brave men and women whose service you disrespect?”
PPF’s Peace Church Working Group has been attempting to address these and other questions. We’ve been drafting a set of Frequently Asked Questions (or, “FAQs”) for the PPF website and we’re preparing a peace church curriculum for use in congregations.
Spoiler alert: Peace Churches aren’t soft on genocide.
No country—including our own—should be invaded. We respect every kind of service to one’s country; we think non-military solutions and service are more faithful to the Gospel and more effective at achieving lasting peace.
In the process of drawing up our FAQs and developing our curriculum, we have relied upon the experiences of members of the Peace Church Working Group. Now we’re interested to hear the questions that have come up as you and your communities have grappled with what it means to bear witness to the Principality of Peace that is the Kingdom of God. We’d like to join you in wrestling with these questions.
You can find the FAQs here. We value your feedback so be sure to hit us up with any of the questions that are emerging in your own community as you consider becoming a Peace Church.
Sign up for our newsletter to know when the curriculum has become available.
Written by: Rev. Ben Daniel
Rev. Daniel serves at Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, CA