Boyd, pacifism and what not to do

Doug Wilson is at it again. This time he’s taking us through a blow-by-blow (pardon the pacifist pun) review of Greg Boyd’s recent book The Myth of a Christian Nation. Boyd’s book came out while I still worked at Crux and a lot of people were really excited about it. I, to say the least, wasn’t. The contents of the book cater to the John Howard Yoder, Anabaptist, pacifist types. While there’s much to commend the pacifist position (ideally speaking), I’m a bit bewildered by the whole thing.
Here is, in my view, the crux of Boyd’s problem – Wilson outlines it well:

Are women getting raped? Don’t get pulled in. Are children being hauled off
to work in factories? Don’t get pulled in. Are treaties being flagrantly broken?
That’s just the way the world is, ya know? Are thousands of slaves being pitched
overboard into the Atlantic? Satan’s kingdom . . . what can you do? Spiritually
dangerous even to try.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Boyd, pacifism and what not to do

  1. Mark

    Ahh.. John Howard Yoder. I have his “The Christian and Capital Punishment”. I guess its a remnant from hanging out at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisburg, VA (which city incidentally is also the base of Sprinkle Publications). Most of my Anabaptist books come from EMU, although I did even snag a Gresham Machen book from there too!

    Yoder was an interesting fellow. I guess his life/work is tainted by the scandal that occurred towards the end of his life. But I guess there’s much to be said in the fact that he actually submitted to his church’s discipline!!

    I think I may write a paper on my view on Christianity and war and pacifism in general. I’ve had much to think about coming from a pacifist background (the founder of the denomination changed his mind significantly on the issue later in life to the chagrin of his followers. I have a letter from the 1800’s where he defends not excommunicating people who have served in war).

    I’m certainly not a pacifist, though some may think I am because I tend to be picky about which wars I approve of :)

  2. Jeremy W. Johnston

    For a brilliant essay that argues—logically and biblically— against pacifism, see C.S. Lewis’s “Why I Am Not a Pacifist”. It was a lecture originally presented by Lewis to the Oxford Pacifist Society in 1940. The essay is collected in The Weight of Glory ed. by Walter Hooper.

  3. Ian

    That is a very good essay – it’s actually the first thing that I ever read by Lewis.
    Richard Mouw debated Yoder I believe a number of times. I’d like to get my hands on it.

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