Philadelphia Revisited While I was


Philadelphia Revisited

While I was in Philadelphia, I took the opportunity to visit the Quaker Meeting House. The Society of Friends was holding an annual meeting at which representatives of 12,000 Friends were meeting and talking about issues important to them. As one would expect from Friends, the war was a major issue, although not in the course of discussion I overheard.

Friends, as you are aware, are pacifists, as are certain of the Mennonite Brethren (perhaps all of them). And I wonder how an ardent pacifist could justify allowing a terrorist government to remain in power. Let's skip the present situation, as it is too close to us and to controversial because it is "of the moment." How could a pacifist justify inaction or mere diplomatic action in the face of the Nazi regime? How could you know of the deaths of thousands of God's people every day and stand by and allow it to happen? Are you standing by? Am I seeing this issue properly.

I tend toward pacifism myself. I rarely find cause to go to war and I see war as the Vatican itself described it, "always a great defeat for humanity." However, I also recognize that the hardness of the human heart causes us sometimes to have no recourse other than to go to war. How would a pacifist justify the position. Obviously, even by just war theory, one must exhaust ever possible diplomatic avenue before war is considered, but once these are entirely exhausted, what remains?

Is pacifism justifiable? Doesn't the Lord want us "to proclaim freedom to those in captivity," and isn't this freedom more than the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ. Doesn't He mean even unto bodily salvation? How do you proclaim freedom to captives if you allow the regime that is destroying them to stay in power.

You can see the reason for my glum state. I am at heart one who believes all such conflict is ultimately a pyrrhic victory. On the other hand, it sometimes seems we are forced to the wall. There were, at one time, powerful liberals in the United States that could bring themselves to justify even Stalin's depradations--a most sobering thought.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 3, 2003 8:07 AM.

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