As I mentioned last week, I will be posting a blog on the issue of peace each Friday. Here is a rough outline of where I intend to go:
Jesus on Peace
What he taught and said
How he lived out his teaching
How Christians have
interpreted Jesus’ words in history
Early church and response to persecution
Augustine and Just War
Crusades and Holy Wars
Pacifism—Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonites,
Manifest Destiny and Violence
MLK, Civil Rights and Non-Violent
War on Terror
Other Views on Peace
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
For me, peace issues begin with an examination of Jesus’ teachings and life. It’s not just that Jesus taught peace, but that he lived out his message. It is in his Sermon on the Mount that we first get a taste of how Jesus feels about it, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9) I read that passage hundreds of times before truly wrestling with it or, rather, letting it wrestle with me. What did Jesus mean by it and what does the rest of what he had to say in the sermon have to do with being a person of peace?
I don’t think we can fully understand the life of Jesus on this earth apart from knowing what he believed about peace and how it was to be lived out in a world full of violence, under the tightening fist of oppression from the Romans as well as from within his own religion. As we look at his life in the context of his society and religion, we see what a powerful statement he made with his words and actions.
Next Friday, I’ll dig into Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount. Feel free to let me know if you see anything missing in my outline you would like to see me address. Until then, . . .