How should we negotiate our dual identities, as followers of Christ and citizens of a democratic state, when the state goes to war? Contributors engage the Bible's alarming images of war, the teachings of Christ, and the long and difficult debates on peace and war in Christian history.
The ancient Israelites reached no consensus about holy war, just war, and pacifism. Yet Revelation cross-examines the claims of divine blessing upon the civil order, especially when it is violent and economically exploitative. The War of the Lamb, notes Harry Maier, "transforms holy war in a way that finally renounces violence as the means by which God's purposes are achieved."
Does just-war thinking apply to terrorists who don't play by its rules? Can practices of just peacemaking guide us to proactive actions that dry up the sources for terrorist anger and recruitment?
Violent crime wounds our society, with over two million citizens incarcerated. "Restorative justice helps us think about harm in a holistic way," Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz writes, and so it responds better to the needs of victims, offenders, and the community.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to help us explore Christian attitudes on peace and war. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.