Christians and churches are entrusted with the ministry of peace and reconciliation. Different cultures, religions, philosophies, and organizations have varying concepts on how such a state would come about. “Koinonia ton Ekklesion” (literally, “League of Churches”) is a famous Encyclical issued from Constantinople “unto all the Churches of Christ wherever they be” asking for understanding and cooperation among all Christian churches of both East and West. Peace to a Christian is the presence of Christ within us that "reconciles" us to God. Through Tom, I realized that I had truncated biblical peace to fit my own values, needs, and preconceptions. To do otherwise would be against Scripture. Thus, we who profess the cross of Christ must live cross-shaped lives if we seek to extend the peace of Christ into the world. Willoughby Hyett Dickinson, Baron of Painswick (1859-1943), member of Parliament; in 1931 he was elected chairman of the International Council, an important agency of the World Alliance. Wherever there is conflict, whether inside individual hearts, or within families, or among brothers and sisters in church, or between different ethnic groups, or even between warring nations, Christ “wages peace” as his disciples wield the paradoxical power of the cross. and every tongue should confess Twelve laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2020, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. When I read verse 2 with its call to humility, gentleness, and patience, I immediately think of one of the founding members of Irvine Presbyterian Church, a man named Jack. With aching hearts, losses in their families, and destitution in their nations, and with understandable distrust evoked by opposition and falsehood, they still joined together in saying “Our Father” and “Forgive us our trespasses”, and in brotherly consultation. Notice, too, that peace among people is not limited to a few close relationships. The Conference of Churches in Neutral Countries [Neutral Church Conference] issued statements on (1) the unity of Christians; (2) Christians and the life of society; and (3) Christians and the law. Both Tim and I are fairly active thinkers and robust communicators. Within contemporary society, some Christians focus their efforts on justice for the unborn, while others ignore this issue altogether, claiming that racial injustice deserves our primary attention. But we must face reality. In these relationships we experience genuine peace, yet not the fullness of peace. As Christians, we live fully in this world, facing its brokenness head on, but not trapped forever within it. 16. By Ven. (Matt 5:9). I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, the home of God is now among his people! His failure to fulfill Jewish expectations led to his being rejected by his own people, while his insistence on the presence of God’s reign brought about his crucifixion at Roman hands. It is ultimately going to require the return to earth of Jesus Christ, and the setting up of the Kingdom of God, to bring true, just, lasting peace. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. It impacts races, ethnicities, and even nations. We later also approached through delegates those Christian and other bodies which were most closely interested in these problems. God’s grace enables us to forgive, genuinely and fully, what we could never do on our own. Many advocates of social causes, including many Christians, do not ground their efforts in God’s Word. The Neutral Conference addressed a letter to the Continuation Committee for missions, established in Edinburgh12. How can people without discipline and self-control promote peace in the world? It was he who, after stressing in Stockholm his faith in world peace in the name of Christ, added: “I may be a fool, but if so, I am God’s fool.”. More importantly, I was beginning to teach Nathan how to be a person who admits his mistakes and who forgives others. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. Every single time he did this with humility, gentleness, and patience. And in all interactions, treat people with gentleness, remembering that they are precious to God. The way many Christians use this language may keep those who use it from missing the biblical sense(s) of peace. Through his Sunday broadcasts, his voice has reached the ears – and we hope also the minds and hearts – of many more people than that of any other preacher in the history of the church. What an astounding reality! In accordance with the new constitution, the four presidents act in turn for two years at a time. 47. “(3) We are convinced that the time must come when existing treaties have to be revised in the interest of peace, but we maintain that all international disputes and conflicts which cannot be solved through diplomacy or mediation must be settled through arbitration by the International Court of Justice or some other court of law acknowledged by both parties.”. It was Constantinople which on its own initiative, and quite apart from our efforts, issued a missive in 1920 concerning “Koinonia ton Ekklesion”, a church community or a church union31. But individual Christian communities are sometimes quite fragile. The Buddha taught that peaceful minds lead to peaceful speech and peaceful actions. It is our story as well. . What a relapse from the time when we in this world experienced the presence of Jesus Christ among us! Jesus maintains the Jewish interconnection of righteousness, justice, and peace. And this doctrine, which confines war within man, is the only one able to bring peace to the nations.”. The first is the Bishop of Haderslev, Valdemar Ammundsen40, one of the experienced leaders of the ecumenical work and president of the World Alliance for International Friendship founded at Constance at the outbreak of the war, which now has committees in over thirty countries. 24. Sad, yes; horrified, indeed; but not surprised. Without knowing what lay ahead for my family, I knew beyond any doubt that God would take care of us. God himself will be with them. Some religious traditions minimize or even deny the reality of sin and its results. The broken cannon which ended in a bush on the battlefield is no longer horrifying. It occurred to me that I should apologize. Thus it opens the door so that they might begin to live in God’s peace and to join the ranks of divine peacemakers. The greatness of Christ is due in no small part to the fact that he did not merely issue certain rules and doctrines dependent on the special conditions of His time and the prevailing cultural atmosphere, which would soon have become obsolete; he gave Himself, His person, and a doctrine of goodwill, which will be forever valid and which cannot be circumvented by any shortcuts or shortsighted simplifications. We should, therefore, strive with all our might for Christian unity of mankind and we should be generous in our small circles to prove that the brotherly unification of mankind is not an idealistic dream of utopians but a realistic aim, inseparable from the Gospel.”. Perhaps they are still here – not the great army of the slain but the multitude who sacrificed everything – those so far away, ‘higher than thoughts can reach’, but yet so near that they can whisper into our hearts without words. Do we now stretch out our hands to one another more willingly? Tasked with a mission to manage Alfred Nobel's fortune and has ultimate responsibility for fulfilling the intentions of Nobel's will. Many of us in different countries and of different creeds, both in the Old World and in the New, asked ourselves this question and realized that more could be done for peace by a Christendom united at least in its most essential principle: to live according to the commandment of love. Already we can see heaven arising on the horizon, but the dawn tarries. How else would he learn how to admit his own mistakes? The other half includes his willingness to admit his mistakes and seek forgiveness, not to mention to be held accountable for his behavior. If you would judge Jesus Christ by some of those who profess to follow Him, you might think that Jesus would be an advocate of individuals’ expression of disdain and even hatred toward their enemies and of nations’ r… God’s promise of blessing to Israel through Isaiah uses similar language: “I will make your towers of sparkling rubies and your gates and walls of shining gems. A faithful and talented Christian, she wrote many beloved hymns, including “Take My Life, and Let It Be Consecrated.” her relatively short life was filled with difficult challenges. That doesn’t invalidate what I’m about to say, however, because my advice comes from the Scripture, not from my own inconsistent experience. Second, ask God for direction concerning which ministry of peacemaking to invest in. The paper added: “Let the church take the lead in showing the world the unity of Christ’s followers in their obedience to Him.” A leading article in a later issue described such a conference as an inescapable duty, with unique possibilities in the present situation. The whole history of the Church is one continual effort to form the conscience of people, help them by her preaching and sacraments to establish peace in individual hearts, in families as well as in Nations. Quietness and confidence will fill the land forever (Isa 32:15-17, NLT). When I was young, I watched Christians pummel each other verbally over American involvement in Vietnam. 32. After about four miles of uphill hiking we came to upon the dazzling cascades of Mist Falls. For some, a Christian commitment to peace demanded immediate withdrawal. First of all, we do so by announcing the peacemaking work of Christ on the cross. In my last post in this series, I spoke of the centrality of forgiveness in peacemaking. But patience is necessarily for all the little things others do that aren’t sinful, but just bothersome. If something about the church begins to get on your nerves – and, believe me, something will! I can tell you from experience that there are at least two groups to whom hardly any Christian and spiritual question has been of more interest. However, Christians should not wait for full agreement before they start practicing the duty of love imposed by the Master. They were called by God, and they spoke on behalf of God. The biblical vision of the peace that lies ahead helps draw us near to God. Prayer. The appeal of November 14, largely the work of the laureate, was a call for “peace and Christian fellowship”. It would have been so much easier for Jesus if he had simply joined the Zealots, who fomented violence against Rome, or the Sadducees, who tolerated partnership with the Romans, or the Pharisees, who by the time of Jesus focused on personal piety instead of social reformation. Jesus entered the world as the one who would fulfill the mission of the Suffering Servant, thus bringing divine peace. Similarly, the biblical slogan “Peace on earth” doesn’t mean much unless God deals with the basic human problem of sin. But I have known the peace of God that is “far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” Such peace first came to me when I was in junior high. Through unity and cooperation, the Evangelical Church, too, can become a world power. That’s too bad, but that’s the way it is. The outcome of the meeting in December, 1917, was a declaration of faith in brotherhood, justice, and peace. (Rom 5:1), For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Charles Core (1853-1932), Christian Socialist; bishop successively of Worcester (1901-1905), Birmingham (1905-1911), and Oxford (1911-1919); interested in Workers’ Educational Association. Now we can forgive even if someone will not own up to having wronged us. Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934), German field marshal in World War I, president of Germany (1925-1934). Armistice Day saw men passing on in great numbers to those other lands which cannot be mapped by physics, mathematics, and medicine. Peace doesn’t come along just because baby Jesus was born in a manger. But Jesus came to bring an unanticipated kind of peace. The great of the world have fallen, organized power is broken, old gods are sated with blood and hatred. Knowing God’s Peace: Some Practical Advice. All individuals and all nations should strive toward this end to the best of their ability.” “The love of one’s own people and one’s country should not be defiled by unfriendly feelings against other people.” Such inculcation is a duty even of the authors of history textbooks. In a nutshell, you must be a peacemaker. Lecture at King’s College on a United States of Europe and the League of Nations; see the (London) Times (May 22, 1929). Lukas Strinopulos Germanos (1872-1951), first archbishop of Thyateira, with responsibility for all Greek Orthodox communities in western and central Europe; representative of the patriarch of Constantinople to the archbishop of Canterbury. Our voices, not yet united in an Ecumenical Council2 as they are today, were weak against the thunder of cannons. This conjunction calls to mind Adolf von Harnack’s greeting to the Ecumenical Conference in 1925: “This council is the synthesis of the church’s history.”. The Ecumenical Council speaks for her two other main divisions. We can still hear the death rattle of our wounded friends. Some Jews believed that, if he were the Messiah, Jesus would usher in a season of painless prosperity. The End of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)? What is Progressive Christianity, and is it biblical? Does anyone believe that a Scandinavian government would break an agreement and refuse an offer by another nation to conciliate or arbitrate between them? Ernst Frithiof Lönegren (1862-1937), bishop of Härnösand (1909-1934). In desperation I cried out to God for help. No, I have come to bring strife and division! True peace will always include right-relationships, just treatment of all persons, wholeness in all dimensions of life, and divine blessing to boot. This is the mission of the Institute. The war was to teach hatred instead of love. Doing more than you have time to do will quickly steal away your inner peace, and thereby enfeeble your attempts to be a peacemaker for others. (John 14:27). Even before Jesus was born, one of his relatives proclaimed what God was about to do: By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79). Jesus’ birth was only a prerequisite to his final peacemaking effort, something we celebrate during Holy Week, not during Christmas. But it is much easier, emotionally, to forgive one who says, “Yes, I was wrong. Kaspar Kristian Piene (1868-1949), secretary-general of the Norwegian Student Christian Federation (1903-1929). He is not a politician. God’s people have looked forward to this time for centuries. Peace with God and peace within our souls do not exhaust the potentialities of peace through Christ. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Things appeared hopeless, however, because Hitler insisted on Germany’s right to annex a substantial portion of Czechoslovakia. But it’s only half of the equation. God doesn’t try to sweep them under the rug of religious pretense, and neither should we. John Calvin (1509-1564), French Protestant theologian of the Reformation. Though we face the pain of this world head on, we don’t surrender to it. Life was stolen and death awarded in its place. Christians are people who live now in intimate fellowship with God and with God’s people. The Old Testament conception of peace is closely related to the New Testament notion of fellowship. Many peacemaking actions are clearly taught in Scripture and therefore require little debate. Mankind realized that the whole world had to find a new direction. Make a personal commitment to nonviolence. The larger a country’s gender gap, the more likely it is to be involved in violent conflict, according to research in Valerie Hudson’s Sex and World Peace (2012). My father worked as a computer analyst in the aerospace business in Southern California. For it is from within, from the hearts of men, that their evil thoughts arise.” If peace is to become a reality on our earth, it must be founded in the hearts of the people. God of peace, During this season of Advent, we watch for your coming reign of peace. Hitler did promise, however, to resolve all future differences through consultation rather than military action. Paul writes, “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom 8:6, NRSV). Paul reiterated this same thought, making more explicit the connection between fixing our thoughts on God and prayer: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Therein lies the way to peace. They won’t repent quickly enough. I can’t begin to resolve these complex issues here. Every elementary textbook in Christendom ought to contain something similar to the following, which appears in a modern catechism: “Just as law and justice prevent violence within the state, so shall they also rule between the states and prevent war. 33. The end came just before Advent. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.” (Rev 21:1-4). He seems to assume that his fellow Christians owe him forgiveness, which is true, of course. Sixth, don’t just sit there, do something! Because of passport difficulties in the West, the assembly had to be restricted to churchmen from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. And when this legal obligation has been fully realized, Christians and the church must unswervingly observe it, even in case of conflict. We seem to think that we can make peace among people without mentioning the One who alone is the source of true peace. Scripture connects inner peace specifically to peace among people: “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. When your brothers and sisters listen to you and pray with you for guidance, they’ll also help you to distinguish between God’s call and your own immature enthusiasm. and the relationship of Islam to Muslim terrorists. Perfect peace in the midst of severe physical pain, that’s beyond our comprehension. The granite walls of the glacier-carved valley shone in the bright Sierra sunlight. An Introduction to Advent. What a joyful sight at Jay’s wedding, where several of these young men were dressed up in their tuxedos, truly Jay’s brothers in Christ. While we on the one hand pursue long-range discussions concerning our holy faith and the church ordinances, we must, on the other hand, follow immediately the command of our Master. Without exception, all these men appreciated the weight and importance of this matter. I prayed today in the Capella Johannea, belonging to the Church of the Priests, which he founded. In 1932 the Council postponed the general meeting intended for 1935 because of the world economic depression. What To Do If Someone Sins Against You: The Teaching of Jesus, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/, his commentary on this New Testament book. First, the peace of God isn’t the result of some formula. Yet she continued to live actively, especially in her song writing ministry. By the indwelling Spirit, we step into the future, enjoying peace with God and all its benefits . or, at least, we Christians have complicated what was meant to be simple. Their ministry was multi-faceted. 28. Together with the Christians in all nations at war, we are deeply aware of the incompatibility between war and the spirit of Christ, and we would, therefore, like to stress some main points regarding the part to be played by Christians in community life. Others found the strength to stay away from risky involvement with gangs. 1, pp. We must not forget that there are two doctrines of progress. Had we not pronounced on every Christmas Day “The boot and the bloodstained cloak worn by the soldier in battle shall be burnt and destroyed by fire… Eternal peace must be secured and sustained by law and justice”? The Old Testament prophet Isaiah, for example, had a vision of divine peace conquering the whole world: In the last days, the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem will become the most important place on earth. in heaven and on earth and under the earth, Second, you can make peace within your fellowship by being “patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” (Eph 4:2). This theme appears throughout the Scripture. I would love to hear your thoughts regarding what else we can do to try to prevent violence and cultivate peace in our fragile world. After discussions and correspondence, the organization of the meeting was undertaken by three of us: myself, the Bishop of Oslo, an eminent and scrupulous person of outstanding culture, and the Bishop of Själland3, the indefatigable champion of the unification of churches. If efforts toward peace are to get anywhere, they must be more realistic than in the past. Don’t make us move. This subject was discussed at the International Congress of Historians in Oslo in 1928. The Lord blesses them with peace. The Social-Ethical Institute has a scientific task. How can we bring God’s peace to the world? It was here that Söderblom made his proposal for the international ecumenical conference which was eventually held in Stockholm, 1925. In place of sorrow, we will delight in the fullness of joy. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. We want the churches to be officially or at least semiofficially represented – and this is truly difficult to bring about. 22. well, sort of. Scripture calls us to make peace in every dimension of life and to seek justice in this world. Secretarial duties were effectively performed by the untiring Knut B. Westman, who had previously been in China but is at present a professor at Uppsala10. 29. Will the desire for brotherhood be stronger? Jens Frøllich Tandberg (1852-1922), bishop of Oslo (1912-1922). I just couldn’t escape from the grip of fear. Saint John Chrysostom (c. 347-407), one of the Fathers of the Greek Church, patriarch of Constantinople (398-404). This doctrine should be applied earnestly and with mental acumen in every age, and particularly in today’s unparalleled socio-ethical revolution. The death of Jesus not only brings reconciliation between individuals and God, but also creates reconciliation among people by exploding the hostility that keeps us from living peacefully together. Beneath, the reality of suffering there is the goodness of God’s creation. Peace with God includes intimacy, blessing, and the unimpeded flow of divine love. Nathan Söderblom - Nobel Lecture: The Role of the Church in Promoting Peace. Note: You may download this resource at no cost, for personal use or for use in a Christian ministry, as long as you are not publishing it for sale. A further draft, drawn up on the initiative of the Swedish foreign minister, was presented in December, 1927, to the secretary-general of the League of Nations. Seeking the Peace of Christ: Introduction. Jesus promised to give his followers supernatural peace: I’m leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. Paradise and peace: these two ideas are inseparable. The clop of horses’ hooves, the beat of drums, the blast of shiny trumpets go before. We can say without ingratitude or unfaithfulness to the special gifts in Christian experience and thinking which each church has received from God throughout history, that this unity, found at its strongest at the Cross of Christ, can and must be improved in our way of life and in preaching. As we meandered through the pine and cedar forest, the trail gradually climbed up the narrowing canyon. Of the many active international commissions, I have mentioned only one; namely, that which has been given the task of formulating a code of ethics. There will be a division between father and son, mother and daughter, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law (Luke 12:52-53). In all its history, the church had never before seen representatives from all over the Christian world united in sincere self-searching and in a common resolve which can be expressed by the prayer of St. Bridget: “Lord, show me the way and make me willing to take it!”. What should I do to begin living as a peacemaker?”. As God’s peacemakers, we must take the message and substance of peace into the whole world. Even to get up from her bed was painful. The joint invitation described the purpose of the congress as a declaration of Christian unity and an expression, before the world, of the belief that the values of Christendom transcend those of individual nations without in any way detracting from their importance. 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