Monday, October 25, 2004

200 US Theologians Challenge "Theology of War"

Because of a deep and growing concern about an emerging national "theology of war," the increasingly frequent language of "righteous empire," and official claims of "divine appointment" for a nation in a "war" on terrorism, more than 200 seminary and college professors have signed "Confessing Christ in a World of Violence."

The key points of the confession are:

-- Jesus Christ knows no national boundaries. We reject the false teaching that any nation-state can ever be described with the words, "the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it."

-- Christ commits Christians to a strong presumption against war. We reject the false teaching that a war on terrorism takes precedence over ethical and legal norms.

-- Christ commands us to see not only the splinter in our adversary's eye, but also the beam in our own. We reject the false teaching that America is a "Christian nation," representing only virtue.

-- Christ shows us that enemy-love is the heart of the gospel. We reject the false teaching that any human being can be defined as outside the law's protection.

-- Christ teaches us that humility is the virtue befitting forgiven sinners. We reject the false teaching that those who are not for the United States politically are against it.

The statement concludes: "When the church is in danger of being co-opted by a theology of nationalism and militarism, we must faithfully confess Christ. We believe that peacemaking is central to our vocation in a troubled world where Christ is Lord."

The full statement and list of more than 200 signers is available online at the Sojourners website.