Peace and War
Is it ever right to go to war?
What does the Church teach?
The Methodist Church teaches that war is contrary to the spirit,
teaching and purpose of Jesus Christ. On the other hand Jesus did
not condemn the Centurion (Luke 7:1-10) or even Pilate himself for
being part of the military arm. Instead he reminded Pilate that he
had received his authority from a greater power and remained
accountable to that power (John 19:10-11).
So is force ever justified?
The Christian pacifist does not necessarily condemn the use of
every kind of force, but refuses to employ force unaccountably or
to destroy others, for example in either personal or State
The Christian non-pacifist does not justify every war, but
reluctantly recognises that violence (force) may be used when
authorised to defend against aggression, to rectify a breach of a
boundary, or to restrain or replace a 'notorious and tyrannical'
despot. The Church upholds the right of individual members
conscientiously to choose between these positions, and offers
pastoral support to those on both sides of the debate.
What is the Church's stance on nuclear and chemical
The Methodist Conference has frequently condemned the possible
use of all weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological and
nuclear. It has described the use and threat of use of
nuclear weapons as immoral. It is critical of the arms
trade and in particular the trade in landmines and instruments of
restraint (prison irons) and torture.
Isn't there something the Church can do to help stop
Peace making is the creative and positive quest for the
well-being of humankind and the planet on which we all live. All
Christians can seek to create a way of life deliberately designed
to overcome evil with good and to promote justice for all.
Source: Methodist Conference Statement on Peace and War, 1957,
and subsequent resolutions. Text reproduced with permission from
"What the Churches say on moral and social issues" (Christian
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