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The Bible says: "As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all
men." For Quaker merchants in Boston and Philadelphia (1600-1700) this
meant sending ships to sea without cannon. It meant rusting the purpose and
sovereignty of God -- confronting violence in the name of peace. Quakers,
Mennonites, and Brethren were driven from their homes and lost everything they
owned to both Americans and British during the Revolutionary War. The world was
at war and it threw its wrath and violence indiscriminately against those who
attempted to be peacemakers. In the Princeton meetinghouse today, blood stains
remain on benches where British and American soldiers lay side by side as
Friends, biblical peacemakers, ministered to thy dying on both sides.
A peacemaker confronts violence and brings it under God's judgment. Be it emotional and physical violence in marriage, or parent and child, violence between employer and employee, or the violence of crime and corruption, a peacemaker always sees an alternative to strife. He always pursues reconciliation, always understand the potential of God's mercy and grace. Peacemakers are ambassadors for Christ, as though god were entreating through them on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. Peacemaking begins with your mate, you in-laws, in your neighborhood. It begins at work, or it begins in school.
A peacemaker of the New Testament is patient, kind, not jealous -- he or she
does not seek his own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong
suffered -- bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
things (1 Corinthians 13:4,5, NASB).
A PEACEMAKER RESPECTS GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY.
Whereas a pacifism not based on the Bible, but based upon a "will not" political philosophy, may see government as the enemy, not so a biblical peacemaker. "Rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil." (Romans 13:3 NASB) The three Christian fellowships given privilege of carrying the peace mission in the world historically have always respected the servant of government. They take seriously the Bible's admonition that "entreaties and prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kinds and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life." (1 Timothy 2:1,2)
PEACEMAKING IS THE WAY OF SUFFERING.
The Bible command that we "...pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14 NASB) Peacemakers are conquerors for and through Christ. They were the men, women, and teenagers who gave up their lives by the hundreds on Roman crosses and in Roman arenas. These peacemakers confronted violence and brought the Roman empire to its knees.
Mennonite, Brethren, and Quaker peacemakers for 400 years have been in the
middle of battlefields caring for the wounded and dying of both sides. They have
been in the midst of racial hatred and strife lifting a standard for God. They
have chosen the way of suffering, the way of the cross.
Peacemakers in the home, the community, or the world of nation-states may end up being hated and rejected by both sides of a controversy. But then, biblical peacemaking is the way of suffering.
PEACEMAKERS TRUST IN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
Friends in Ireland gathered for the Ulster Quarterly Meeting of 1798 in the middle of terrible bloodshed and carnage. Rebel and English forces alike committed horrible atrocities in the struggle.
David Sands of New York felt led by God to visit the Quakers of Ulster in his traveling ministry. He records some of his experiences as Friends went to Wexford for their meeting. The road to the meeting house was strewn with bodies, but trusting in the sovereignty and protection of God, Quaker men, women, and children made their way to worship safely. They marched to the drumbeat of another kingdom; they were in this world, but not of it.
Now, my friends, I come to the key issue of this presentation.
Have you discovered your place among the soldiers for Christ? Have you joined the Lamb's war? Are you living in the Spirit that takes away all occasion for war? Have you herd the call from the Captain of our salvation? Are you a peacemaker? Have you explored the New Call to peacemaking?
Reprinted from The Evangelical Friend, February, 1980.