Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This Office Opposes the War in Iraq

A lot of people don't know that John Wesley was a pacifist. He could not see how Christianity could possibly be compatible with war and he saved some of his most stinging criticisms for so called Christian countries who went to war against their enemies or (as was most often the case in his day) against each other. In Sermon 22 of his Standard Sermons, Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount Discourse II he recalls how the pagans once observed of the early Christians, “See how these Christians love one another!” But would they say the same thing today?

“These Christian kingdoms which are tearing out each other’s bowels, desolating one another with fire and sword! These Christian armies, that are sending each other by thousands, by ten thousands quick into hell! These Christian nations that are all on fire with intestine broils, party against party, faction against faction! These Christian cities, where deceit and fraud, oppression and wrong, yea, robbery and murder, go not out of their streets! These Christian families, torn asunder with envy, jealousy, anger, domestic jars, without number, without end! Yea, what is most dreadful, most to be lamented of all, these Christian churches! – Churches (“tell it not in Gath” – but alas, how can we hide it, either from Jews, Turks or pagans?) that bear the name of Christ, the Prince of peace, and wage continual war with each other! that convert sinners by burning them alive! that are “drunk with the blood of the saints!” – Does this praise belong to [the Roman Catholic Church]? Nay, verily; but reformed churches (so called) have fairly learned to tread in her steps. Protestant churches too know [how] to persecute, when they have power in their hands, even unto blood. And meanwhile, how do they also anathematize each other! Devote each other to the nethermost hell! What wrath, what contention, what malice, what bitterness, is every where found among them, even where they agree in essentials, and only differ in opinions, or in the circumstantial of religion! Who follows after only the ‘things that make for peace, and [which] edify [others]? O God! How long?” ''

He then closes with a positive exhortation (I'm paraphrasing now). Fear not little flock. God will eventually put an end to all war and religious strife. All people will love as God loves and be made perfect at last. Even though that day hasn’t come yet, be part of the first fruits of that harvest now by loving your neighbour as yourself and ask God to fill your heart to overflowing with such love until “every unkind and unholy temper” is swallowed up in love!

Leaders of the "free world" take note. God puts you on notice - Love your enemies, don't bomb their countries and burn them to a crisp.

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