Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia





Pacifism.

A. term coined apparently ca. 1905 in reference to attempts to settle internat. disputes by peaceful means; in wider definition it has more gen. reference to use of peaceful means rather than violence. Reasons for pacifism are usually given as either religious (e.g., Mt. 26:52) or humanitarian. Oriental philosophies contain elements of pacifism. See also Buddhism; Gandhi, Mohondas Karamchand; Confucianism; Taoism.

B. Pacifism seems to have been the accepted view in the early ch. Some early fathers opposed military service (e.g., Tertullian, On Idolatry, or De Idololatria, xix, and The Chaplet, or De Corona, xi; Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, or Divinae Institutiones, VI, xx).

After Christianity was given legal standing and imperial support (see Constantine I), Christians helped keep peace in the empire. Augustine* of Hippo (e.g., The City of God, or De civitate dei, XIX, vii) spoke of “just wars.” Waldenses* first condemned war, finally fought in self-defense. Bohemian* Brethren first opposed, later permitted military service. Pacifism also played a part in the hist. of Dunkers (see Brethren), Dukhobors (see Russian Sects), the Soc. of Friends,* Shakers,* et al.

The 1st peace soc. was organized August 1815 NYC; others soon followed in Am., including the Ohio Peace Soc., Massachusetts Peace Soc., Am. Peace Soc., and others, till ca. the 1850s, in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and some toward the interior of the country. In Gt. Brit. a similar movement ran parallel, beginning ca. the same time; ca. 1867 it spread to the Continent, later to Norw., Jap., S. Am., and elsewhere. Interrupted by the Civil War, the peace movement began anew in Am. with the organization of the Universal Peace Union 1866. After interruption by WW I, pacifism reemerged with renewed vigor. In WW II pacifists were silenced or liquidated in Ger. and Russ. In Eng. and Am. they were recognized and, if possible, assigned to civilian work or noncombatant service in the armed forces; some were imprisoned for refusal to perform any service.

C. Peace socs. in Am. include the Fellowship of Reconciliation, affiliated with the Internat. Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Internat. Confederation for Disarmament and Peace. AMR

See also Adventist Bodies, 3.

A. L. Huxley, Science, Liberty, and Peace (New York, 1946); R. M. Jones, The Church, the Gospel, and War (New York, 1948); C. C. Morrison, The Christian and the War (Chicago, 1942); R. H. Bainton, Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace (Nashville, Tenn., 1960); G. H. C. Macgregor, The New Testament Basis of Pacifism (new and rev. ed. 1954) and The Relevance of an Impossible Ideal (1941), both reprinted together in I vol. (Nyack New York, 1960).


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod


Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
800-248-1930
(Staff Switchboard)
888-843-5267
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions

 

Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online