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Archive for November 18th, 2009

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2009/11/18

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 (the entire chapter here)

This is part of the Beatitudes. Jesus said it, that settles it; therefore, I believe it. But what does it mean? I have heard people claim that it means Jesus wants us to be pacifists. I have seen it written in such a way. But is this actually true?

I earlier wrote an article where Jesus also said for His disciples to arm themselves with modern-at-that-time weaponry. I intentionally left the citation void, but provided it in the commentary shortly thereafter.

Luke 22:36 says “[Jesus] said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

There is nothing pacifistic about that. Nothing at all. So, did He change His mind? No.

Hebrews 6:16-18 says

16Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. 18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

Since many places in the Bible, Jesus indeed called Himself Providence, and the Jews very clearly understood that, Jesus is Providence. And Providence, who cannot lie, has an unchanging purpose. Thus, the “peacemaker” line and the “sell your weatherproofing for weaponry” line cannot be contradictory. One cannot be pacifist while the other demands arming yourselves. And since one very clearly demands arming yourselves, the prior cannot be pacifist. QED.

Let’s look at some definitions from Dictionary.com.

Peacemaker

peace⋅mak⋅er
  /ˈpisˌmeɪkər/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pees-mey-ker] Show IPA
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–noun
a person, group, or nation that tries to make peace, esp. by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight.
Origin:
1375–1425; late ME; see peace, maker

Related forms:
peacemaking, noun, adjective

Synonyms:
intermediary, conciliator, mediator, arbitrator.

Peacekeeper

peace⋅keep⋅er
  /ˈpisˌkipər/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pees-kee-per] Show IPA
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–noun
1. a person who maintains or restores peace and amity; mediator: Mother was the peacekeeper in our family.
2. a soldier, military force, etc., deployed to maintain or restore peace: American marines sent abroad as peacekeepers.
Origin:
1570–80; peace + keeper

Pacifist

pac⋅i⋅fist
  /ˈpæsəfɪst/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pas-uh-fist] Show IPA
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–noun
1. a person who believes in pacifism or is opposed to war or to violence of any kind.
2. a person whose personal belief in pacifism causes him or her to refuse being drafted into military service. Compare conscientious objector.

Pacifism (further down in the “pacifist” link)

pac·i·fism (pās’ə-fĭz’əm)
n.

1. The belief that disputes between nations should and can be settled peacefully.
2. a. Opposition to war or violence as a means of resolving disputes.
b. Such opposition demonstrated by refusal to participate in military action.

As shown, a peacekeeper may necessarily be of a military force. Pacifism does not fit here. There are those who will not abide any peace and will only be stopped by military force. I must be clear here. Peacekeepers do not at all reconcile differences. They merely maintain a peace between differing people. That is all.

Peacemakers work to reconcile those who are fighting. That means, bringing the very antagonistic views to the table. And if one party refuses? The only way to make peace is to cause the warring sides to stop warring. And there are times when an aggressive side can only be stopped by matching that aggression. So, in those cases, a war must needs be faught in order to make peace. As someone elsewhere so wisely said, “Sometimes the opposite of war is not peace; sometimes it is slavery.”

If a peacemaker is not willing to go to battle, the aggressive side will just overthrow by default. And, if we’re lucky, we’ll be enslaved. If we’re unlucky, we’ll be dead.

Now, a pacifist will refuse to fight, regardless. A pacifist will refuse to be part of the military, the selfsame entity that provides the might to make a peace.

Clearly, pacifists are not the same as peacemakers, or the far-weaker cousins, the peacekeepers. And, clearly, Jesus did not tell anyone to be a pacifist.

Posted in Christianity, politics, Religion, society, truth, war | Comments Off on Blessed Are The Peacemakers

 
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