The United Methodist Church Stand on War and Peace

Book of Discipline 2000 Part IV SOCIAL PRINCIPLES


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165. C) War and Peace We believe war in incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We therefore reject war as a usual instrument of national foreign policy and 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.


164. G) Military Service We deplore war and urge the peaceful settlement of all disputes among nations. From the beginning, the Christian conscience has struggled with the harsh realities of violence and war, for these evils clearly frustrate God's loving purposes for humankind. We yearn for the day when there will be no more war and people will live together in peace and justice. Some of us believe that war, and other acts of violence, are never acceptable to Christians. We also acknowledge that most Christians regretfully realize that, when peaceful alternatives have failed, the force of arms may be preferable to unchecked aggression, tyranny and genocide. We honor the witness of pacifists who will not allow us to become complacent about war and violence. We also respect those who support the use of force, but only in extreme situations and only when the need is clear beyond reasonable doubt, and through appropriate international organizations. We urge the establishment of the rule of law in international affairs as a means of elimination of war, violence, and coercion in these affairs.


Isaiah 61 (NJB)

1. The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me

for Yahweh has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted,

to soothe the broken-hearted,

2. to proclaim liberty to captives,

release to those in prison,

to proclaim a year of favor from Yahweh

and a day of vengeance for our God,

to comfort all who mourn

3. (to give to Zion's mourners),

to give them for ashes a garland,

for mourning-dress, the oil of gladness,

for despondency, festal attire;

and they will be called "terebinths of saving justice",

planted by Yahweh to glorify him.

4. They will rebuild the ancient ruins,

they will raise what has long lain waste,

they will restore the ruined cities,

all that has lain waste for ages past.

5. Strangers will come forward to feed your flocks,

foreigners be your ploughmen and vinedressers;

6. but you will be called "priests of Yahweh"

and be addressed as "ministers of our God".

You will feed on the wealth of nations,

you will supplant them in their glory.

7. To make up for your shame, you will receive double;

instead of disgrace, shouts of joy will be their lot;

yes, they will have a double portion in their country

and everlasting joy will be theirs.

8. For I am Yahweh: I love fair judgment,

I hate robbery and wrong-doing,

and I shall reward them faithfully

and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9. Their race will be famous throughout the nations

and their offspring throughout the peoples.

All who see them will admit

that they are a race whom Yahweh has blessed.

10. I exult for joy in Yahweh,

my soul rejoices in my God,

for he has clothed me in garments of salvation,

he has wrapped me in a cloak of saving justice,

like a bridegroom wearing his garland,

like a bride adorned in her jewels.

11. For as the earth sends up its shoots

and a garden makes seeds sprout,

so Lord Yahweh makes saving justice and praise

spring up in the sight of all nations.