United Methodists, Southern Baptists, and War

I thought it might be interesting to look at statements on war from United Methodists and Southern Baptists.

Here first is the statement from the United Methodist social principles:

We believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We therefore reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy, to be employed only as a last resort in the prevention of such evils as genocide, brutal suppression of human rights, and unprovoked international aggression. We insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them; that human values must outweigh military claims as governments determine their priorities; that the militarization of society must be challenged and stopped; that the manufacture, sale, and deployment of armaments must be reduced and controlled; and that the production, possession, or use of nuclear weapons be condemned. Consequently, we endorse general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

This is from the Southern Baptist’s document, The Baptist Faith and Message, and I suppose we could see this as a Southern Baptist statement on war.

XVI. Peace and War

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

Although I’m sure there are differences in the way each denomination views the documents here, I find it interesting that the SBs give no possible excuse for war, whereas we UMs suggest war can be employed as a last resort.  What differences do you see?

4 thoughts on “United Methodists, Southern Baptists, and War

  1. I read the SBs as saying that the only way to end war is to convert everyone to Christ.

    If I’m reading it properly, it says that war is not acceptable, but the SBs don’t expect us to do anything to stop it beyond prayer.

    The SBs are saying what individual Christians should do. The UM position is talking about what nation’s should do.

  2. You’re right j. Unfortunately that’s a very short-sighted position to hold. One need only think of several violent wars between Christians throughout history.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

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