Ought Followers Of The Galilean To Be Pacifists? -- By: H. W. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 073:289 (Jan 1916)
Article: Ought Followers Of The Galilean To Be Pacifists?
Author: H. W. Magoun


Ought Followers Of The Galilean To Be Pacifists?

H. W. Magoun, Ph.D.

If the world now bristles with bayonets, it also bristles with questions. They meet the wayfarer on every side. Indeed, they are sometimes almost as pointed and as disconcerting as bayonets themselves would be or actually have been in the hands of the guards found everywhere in Flanders and Galicia. “Has Christianity broken down?” “What is it to be a Christian?” “Can we be Christians if we fight?” “Did Jesus ever preach the Sermon on the Mount?” “Is it practical?” “Can nations ever be governed on such a basis?” “Ought we to disarm?” “Would any one ever attack us if we did?”

These queries and others like them are causing men to throw up their hands, somewhat as the challenge of a sentry on guard halts a stray civilian and leaves him helpless and abashed. Perchance, the intruder wears a uniform. If so, the order comes, “Advance and give the countersign.” Suppose he is unable to do that! It is his business to know it or not be there. What if he gives a false one? Soldiers act first and investigate afterward. They have to. What is likely to happen in such a case? Courts-martial are not held for pleasure or for the health of the offender.

What, then, is the Christian countersign? Is it “Peace at any price”? What is the answer to be when the challenge

comes? Come it will, sooner or later. Which side shall we take our stand on? If we are men, we must take it on one side or the other. Straddling an issue is the act of a coward. Is cowardice one of the virtues of a Christian? Are we Christians when we straddle? Will that solve the problem?

Men were never more at sea with regard to the fundamentals of Christianity than they are to-day. Commentators show a woeful lack of information and, at times, a singular dearth of common sense. They persistently disregard the basic principles of a careful investigation, and they often completely ignore certain vital fundamental elements which must be considered, unless their premises are to be worthless. Moreover, some of the worst offenders in this particular are preachers. They are not only myopic but also astigmatic.

Such men give the Sermon on the Mount a modern setting. That is nonsense. It belongs in an environment such as that found in Sicily, where the mafia holds sway; or, rather, in a country where the blood feud is a duty and personal vengeance is the regular and customary thing in life. Where justice in the established courts is the rule, its object has been attained in large measure, and its application is wholly one of principle. We have no laws making us go a mile to show a stranger the way. Th...

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