How Peace Will Be Achieved

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How Peace Will Be Achieved

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Most people want peace. But few understand how it can be achieved. Sadly, religion is today one of the primary obstacles to peace.

Jonathon Swift, once said, "We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."

Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once touched on this enormous need for love to replace hate when she told the National Press Club in Washington D.C., "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us" (

Jesus Christ spoke even more explicitly of this spiritual solution to human conflicts: "You have heard that it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,' But I say unto you, love your enemy, bless those who curse you, and do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven…" (Matthew 5:43).

When one of His disciples tried to protect Him with a sword, Jesus pointed out the problem with violent responses. He told His disciple, "… put up your sword in its place, for all who take up the sword will perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:51).

Jesus was explaining that man cannot solve his problems with violence. And He lived as He taught. Just before His crucifixion, He told the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36, NRSV). Rather than engaging in violence He, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), allowed Himself to be crucified.

Early Christianity continued to teach that violence and war isn't the answer to man's problems. Origen, a well known theologian of the 2nd century, wrote "for we no longer take up 'sword against nation,' nor do we 'learn war anymore,' having become children of peace for the sake of Jesus."

So what happened? How did this dramatic change come about that the Christian world is now willing and ready to go to war against any enemy? This turnaround took many years to accomplish. For the first 200 years or so, the Christian belief was that only pagans could be in the Roman army. The Roman soldier had to acknowledge Caesar as a god and sacrifice to him at an altar. This practice flew in the face of the original teachings of Jesus and His apostles.

By the fourth century, after the Roman Empire absorbed Christianity as a state religion, the majority belief became that a Christian could be in the army. Fighting for the state became a new "Christian" responsibility.

Theologians from Augustine to Aquinas developed a construct, now known as the "Just War Theory" for Christianity. This theory has two parts. First, Jus Ad Bellum, which is Latin for whether or not it is right or just to wage war. And second, Jus In Bello which defines conduct in war.

Most of Western Christianity has operated on these two premises ever since; as have Western governments. General Montgomery in World War II prayed that God would give his campaign "aid in the struggle." General Patton wrote in his famous Soldiers Prayer "Grant us the victory, Lord."

Philip Schaff quotes Mohammed as requesting: "The Lord destroy the Jews and Christians! Let his anger be kindled against those that turn the tombs of the prophets into places of worship! Let there not remain any faith but that of Islam" (The History of the Christian Church, vol. 4, p. 166). And Sura 9:5 advocates, "Fight and slay the pagans [non-Muslims] wherever we find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war."

During the Crusades of earlier centuries 'Christian' armies often were no different. Papal legates Milo and Arnold once reported: "the divine vengeance raged wonderfully against the city…Our [soldiers] spared neither sex nor condition. The whole city was sacked, and the slaughter was very great" (Schaff, vol. 5, p. 511).

Lasting peace can come only by Jesus Christ returning to enforce the loving laws of the same God Who created us. At this time, "He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples…Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4, New International Version).

For details about how this enormous change in human behavior will be made possible, request or download your personal copy of our free booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom.