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This leads me to make the following conclusions:
The first means that trying to impose pacifist principles in a way that applies to everyone all the time, including operations of government, simply cannot be reconciled with treating Romans 13 as applicable to a universal moral order. One may go one way or the other, but not both ways at the same time.
It appears to me that this recent trend among Christian pacifists is stymied by a dilemma from which there is no way out except reverting to traditional pacifist dualism, or else ceasing to be Christian, or pacifist, or both. On the one hand, those trying to apply pacifism universally must rely on biblical authority to establish the sort of moral relevance required to obligate the entire world. But if so, they are checked by New Testament teaching authorizing government use of lethal force. On the other hand, if those seeking to universalize pacifism undermine or reject biblical authority to avoid the relevance of New Testament approval of government using lethal force, they lose the sort of authority required to obligate everyone in the world.
It seems to me these Christians have no way out except reverting to traditional pacifist dualism or ceasing to be pacifist. Some in this dilemma may possibly insist on continuing to pursue universal pacifism at the cost of rejecting Christian ethics, but that would be a disaster of far greater magnitude. Finally there may, of course, be some who knowingly choose to embrace inconsistency, and these we should pity while warning anyone vulnerable to their message.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 08 December 2011 10:12|