“Christians and War” American Sentinel 13, 14, pp. 210, 211.

TWO bishops of the M. E. Church have given assurances that if war should come the Methodists will be “ready to answer the call as in days gone by.”

How anybody can profess to be a Christian and profess to know the Scriptures, and yet talk war, is a mystery exceedingly difficult to explain.

The direct command of God, which all Christians who know the Bible profess profoundly to respect, is “Thou shalt not kill.” Now how can any man sincerely respect that command and at the same time go to war. War means the killing of people. In war it is intended to kill people. In war every possible effort is made to kill people. Then, of all people, how much does a professed Christian who goes to war really believe in the command “Thou shalt not kill”?

Again: When John the Baptist came as the forerunner of Christ, preaching to people that they should believe on Christ when he should come, he was asked by those who were already soldiers, “What shall we do?” And the answer came direct, among other things, “Do violence to no man.” Now how can any man go to war, and yet do violence to no man? War in itself is violence and only violence. War seeks only to do violence to men. Christians profess to be loyal to the principles of Christianity. One of these fundamental principles is “Do violence to no man.” How then can by profess Christian be loyal to his profession and yet go to war, which does violence and only violence to man.

Again: When the perfection of Christianity was ushered into the world by the birth of Jesus, the word which accompanied it was “Peace on earth, good will to men.” War is not good will to men. It does not intend good will to men. When these promised Methodists go to war, they do not go to preach peace on earth, nor good will to men. These bishops in promising Methodists for war are not preaching unalloyed peace: true they use the word “peace,” yet it is always peace with a “but.” And peace with a “but,” is about the same as war with a “but.”

Again: One of the Lord’s disciples in a perfect crisis, drew a sword to make war. Jesus said to him, “Put up [211] thy sword.” How then can any man really respect the word of Christ and yet take the sword and go to war? How can any man really respect this word of Christ, and yet promise that his brethren shall take the sword and make war?

Again: When two of the disciples of Jesus thought that some people ought to be wiped off the earth, he said to them, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of; for the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” War means the destruction of men’s lives. War cannot be made without destroying men’s lives. War is intended to destroy men’s lives. But this is not Christianity. Christianity is not to destroy men’s lives; but to save them. How then can any man have respect to Christianity or loyalty to its principles, and yet make war?

We are not here discussing any question as to whether there ought to be war between the United States and Spain. That is a question to be decided altogether by those who bear the sword and in whose province all such things lie. We are simply calling attention to the words of Christ and the principles of Christianity, and the contrast between these and the words and actions of professed Christians who talk war and promise to engage in it.

Christianity is one thing; war is another and far different thing. Christians are one sort of people: warriors are another and far different sort of people.

A. T. J.

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