If the New Testament advocates pacifism, why this?

Another interesting little essay from one of my favorite commentators, Dr. Anthony Esolen. I’ve often wondered how absolute pacifism can be derived from the teachings of the New Testament. As Dr. Esolen ably points out, neither St. Paul nor Jesus ever condemn a soldier for his profession, despite ample encounters. Surely the scribes and Pharisees, neither of whom were military types, would be praised–but such is not the case.

We should not praise war, and we should seek to avoid it, but at some point, common sense has to reemerge and we must realize that if we do not protect our neighbor (is that not a form of love?) in times when his life is in danger, are we not committing a grievous error? I read somewhere (I’m too busy to dig out a citation today) that so-called messianic pacifism has its roots in reading into Scripture modern liberal assumptions. Maybe I’ll flesh that out this weekend…


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