United Church of God

Treasure Digest: Early Christian Pacifists

You are here

Treasure Digest

Early Christian Pacifists

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Christianity Today published a commentary Oct. 28, 2003, showing historical records of early Christians opposed to military service and war.

"Pacifism is characteristic of the early centuries of Christianity in someone like the North African apologist Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), who regularly warned Christians to distance themselves from pagan culture. He wrote: 'How will he serve in the army even during peacetime without the sword that Jesus Christ has taken away?... We are not allowed to wear any uniform that symbolizes a sinful act' (On Idolatry 19.3).

"The third-century Roman Presbyter Hippolytus wrote the Apostolic Tradition, Canon 16 (ca. 215 A.D.) which opposed serving in the military as a matter of church discipline: 'A soldier in the lower ranks shall kill no one. If ordered to do so, he shall not obey, and he shall not take an oath. If he does not want to comply with this directive, let him be dismissed [from the church].'"

You might also be interested in...