Friday, August 18, 2006


My good friend and brother, Joe Cathey, has published a series of posts on pacifism: here, here, here, and here. I have been interacting with him in the comment section, but thought it would be good to create a full blown post.

First, let's be clear about one thing: Christians have disagreed about this issue for centuries. Disagreement should not break communion; disagreement should be from an attitude of love and respect for the other person. Joe and I had lunch together at AAR/SBL last November and we are planning another one this November. I like Joe and respect him, but I disagree with his stand on war.

Second, a definition is in order. Pacifism is from two Latin words: pacem facere. Translated: To make peace. It isn't related to passive, it is active.

Third, Peace in biblical language is not just the absence of war! Shalom in Hebrew has a much wider meaning than that. The root $LM in the intensive (piel) has the meaning of paying ones debts. It has to do with a wholeness, even a sense of justice. That is the goal of pacifism. To accomplish biblical justice and wholeness.

Yikes! I have to get to work. More later...

1 comment:

Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...


You have said more in this post than I have in all three of mine. I wish I could write like this! Thanks for your input in this discussion!