Liestal, Switzerland – While “deeply shaken” by the terror caused by IS (Islamic State) militias in Iraq and Syria, “we believe that the situation does not render pacifist convictions obsolete,” declared the faculty of the Theological Seminary Bienenberg in a mid-September statement.
The statement – entitled “Using violence against violence?” – questions the growing support for military intervention as a “moral responsibility compatible with the Christian faith.”
“A peace church position is not equivalent to apathetic passivity,” notes the faculty statement. “We are convinced that evil must be confronted.” They advocate the following alternative means of action: prayer; nonviolent peacemaking operations, help for refugees and the practice of “just policing.”
The statement responds to the objection that the Christian pacifist position is “idealist and naive.” The statement also challenges those who find Biblical support for “necessary violence”, citing instead God’s protest against the “logic of violence” in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
“We know that it is only possible to express some of these thoughts when at a safe distance from violent conflicts,” acknowledges the statement. “However, we do not want to let ourselves be paralyzed by helplessness and resignation, but rather we carry on, humbly and with the help of God’s Spirit, in the ‘hunt for peace’ (Hebrews 12:14) as best as we are able.”
Bienenberg is a school founded by the Mennonite churches of France, Germany and Switzerland.
To read the complete faculty statement in English, click here.
To read the complete faculty statement in German, click here.