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For the first three hundred years of Christianity, Christians were pacifists. There may have been the odd exception, but in the main Christians would refuse to fight, kill, or to use violence of any kind towards another person. Then came a complete reversal, the greater majority of Christians were indeed willing to go to war at the command of their Emperor, King or dictator. They were willing to kill, to injure, to use violence, and history has shown just how violent Christians can be, even to one another. However, since that time there has always been a small minority of Christians, a remnant, who wanting to be faithful to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, refused to go to war and refused to offer violence no matter what the circumstances. Often these Christian pacifists were persecuted, tortured, burned, put to the sword, imprisoned or shot as traitors. But these pacifists, far from being traitors deserving death, were simply remaining faithful to their Lord no matter what the cost, even to their own lives? Today more than ever before, Christians are beginning not only to question the legality of when their country goes to war, but as they study their Bibles they are beginning to question whether it can ever be right for a Christian to go to war. It seems that Christians are beginning to realise that war is incompatible with the Christian faith. When we consider the armies of the world number some nine million servicemen and women ready to go to war at the command of their leaders, and there are over twenty-three thousand nuclear warheads ready and waiting to be unleashed on the world (many of these eight times more destructive than the ones that fell on Japan during the Second World War), then perhaps the time has come for all Christians to examine the scriptures, to take seriously the pacifist teachings of Christ, and to work together for world peace. This book, The Christian Pacifist: A Defence of Christian Pacifism, reveals why the church rejected pacifism and why it should return to the pacifist teachings of Christ. It answers many of the objections some Christians have towards pacifism, and it suggests a way forward, a way that is obedient to God and respectful of the brotherhood of mankind, the way of peace for the children of God.
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