A Pacifist View of Syria that You Might not Expect

A Pacifist View of Syria that You Might not Expect September 5, 2013

I really appreciate Greg Boyd’s clarity and wisdom on the issue of Syria. Here’s an excerpt from a recent blogpost:

The first thing I’ll say is that I don’t believe that being a kingdom pacifist (viz. on who swears off violence out of obedience to Jesus) means that one must embrace the conviction that governments are supposed to embrace pacifism. Many people assume this, and I’ve found that the implausibility of this position is one of the main reasons some people reject pacifism… I don’t believe Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on the need for disciples to adopt an enemy-loving, non-violent lifestyle was ever intended to serve as a mandate for how governments are supposed to respond to evil.

To the contrary, in Romans 12 and 13, Paul explicitly contrasts the call of disciples to swear off violence as they love and serve enemies with the way God uses governments… The important point for us to see is that Paul forbids disciples to ever engage in the very activity he says God uses governments to accomplish – namely, taking vengeance (ekdikēsis). We are to leave “all vengeance to God,” in other words, and one of the ways God takes “vengeance” is by using sword-wielding governments. This doesn’t mean that God wants governments to be violent. It just means that, since the governments of this fallen world are going to be violent, God is willing to get involved in them by “ordering” (tassō) their violence to bring about as much good as possible….

So what do I think America should do in response to the Syrian crisis? The most important thing I would say in response to this question is this: whatever my opinion on this matter might be, I couldn’t consider it a distinctly kingdom opinion…

And if Obama answered “yes” to all these questions [various questions about the wisdom of using violence in Syria], I’d ask him if he’d allow me to ask one further, slightly more personal, question: “Brother Obama, as a professing follower of Jesus, how do you reconcile your position as Commander in Chief with your allegiance to Christ?”

"I am a seminary student and I do not see concrete proof in a Rapture. ..."

Why the Rapture isn’t Biblical… And ..."
"Good luck on trying to politely tell those who favor Patriarchy or complementarianism that you ..."

Mutuality in the Church for the ..."
"yup, have you ever heard a Hungarian pronounce Gyorgi? George is WAY easier. I've never ..."

Name Change Myth: Saul Never Became ..."
"The usual strawmen and abysmal research from someone with an axe to grind...and still manages ..."

Why the Rapture isn’t Biblical… And ..."

Browse Our Archives