BEACHY AMISH MENNONITE CHURCHES Duty to the State
We believe in submission to every law of the land that does not violate the laws of God (1 Peter 2:13-17). We invoke the blessings of God upon our national leaders and are thankful that under their administration laws have been made that allow the Christian to exercise a conscience void of offense. We must pray "for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Timothy 2:1,2).
We believe taxes are a legitimate option of the state and are to be paid without resistance. "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt. 22:17-21). "Wherefore ye must needs be subject, . . . for conscience sake . . . for they are God's ministers. . . . Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor" (Rom. 13:5-7).
We believe we cannot participate in any type of personal investments that directly support war efforts. We view these investments as being a violation of the Biblical principal of non- resistance.
Registration and Conscription
We look with disfavor upon military registration and conscription. Nevertheless, should these become mandatory, we can support alternative service under civilian or church administration.
If any individual takes the position of non-cooperation to registration and the draft, in keeping with the Scriptures the constituency would consider this action valid only if the person manifests a deeply-held conviction based upon solid Biblical evidences.
We believe conscription of women is a social and spiritual hazard. This would militate against women's Biblical role as "keepers at home" (Titus 2:5) and against the God- ordained distinction between men and women as revealed by the Scriptures (Deut. 22:5; 1 Cor. 11:3-16). Therefore, we earnestly pray that our government may continue to grant exemption to women.
We believe war and armed force are contrary to New Testament principles for Christians. Jesus has forbidden His disciples to engage in any form of revenge or resistance by such means. Christians are commanded to return good for evil, "put up the sword into the sheath," or to "beat their swords into plowshares" (Matt. 5:39-44; Jn. 18:11; Rom. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:9; lsa. 2:4; Micah 4:3). (See also Dortrecht Confession, Article XIV)
According to the Scriptures, therefore, it is inconsistent for Christians to participate in military service—whether combatant or non-combatant, whether in defense or offense.
In the event that our country becomes involved in war or violent conflict the Bible instructs us to maintain a spirit of Christian love and goodwill, avoid hatred and hysteria, and be obedient to all governmental laws and regulations that are not in conflict with Scriptural teachings. We are to turn the other cheek, rather than to retaliate (Matt. 5:39; Rom. 12:19). If necessary, the Scriptures require us to flee or suffer the spoiling of our goods (Matt. 10:23) rather than to inflict injury on any person, even on an enemy. "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luke 9:56).
(Excerpted from Statement of Position on Peace, War, and Social Issues, 2004)
For further information, contact: David Miller, PO Box 73, Partridge, KS 67566
Mennonite Central Committee
1. We believe that God created the world and all its inhabitants as good. Despite human sin, God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit continues to offer forgiveness and reconciliation to all. As we personally acknowledge our sinfulness and repent, we are reconciled to God through Christ our Savior, united with the church community, and entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. (Acts 2; II Cor. 5)
2. We believe that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has saved us and proclaimed peace to us. This message of peace is central to our witness to God's suffering love which is redeeming the world. (Is. 53; Luke 1-2; Matt. 5-7; Eph. 2)
3. We believe that God calls the church to demonstrate by its life the gospel of peace, which it has received through the reconciling work of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Nurtured by the Holy Spirit, the church gives this witness through expressions of love, peace and justice within its own community and beyond. We believe that God is creating a people— the church—as a sign of God's renewal of the world. (I Cor. 12-14, I Peter 2-3; I John)
4. We believe that peace is the will of God, and that there is no peace without justice. God calls us to abandon hatred, strife and violence in all human relations, whether between individuals, within the family, within the church, among nations and races, or between religious factions, and to pursue a just peace for God's whole creation. (Is. 2:1-5; Rom. 12- 14)
6. We will strive to show by our lives that war is an unacceptable way to solve human conflict. This calls us to refuse to support war, or to participate in military service. When war or war preparations lead to the conscription of ourselves, our money, or our property, we will seek alternative ways to serve humanity and our countries in the spirit of Christ. We support ministries of conciliation which search for peaceful resolution of conflicts. Recognizing the subtle ways in which our loyalties and resources can be conscripted in modern industrial states, we will strive to continually examine our complicity in systems which treat others as enemies.
(From A Commitment to Christ's Way of Peace, 1993)
For further information, contact: Mennonite Central Committee, PO Box 500, Akron, PA
The Mennonite Church
Article 22. Peace, Justice, and Non-resistance
We believe that peace is the will of God. God created the world in peace, and God's peace is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who is our peace and the peace of the whole world. Led by the Holy Spirit, we follow Christ in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, and practicing non-resistance even in the face of violence and warfare.
Although God created a peaceable world, humanity chose the way of unrighteousness and violence.1 The spirit of revenge increased, and violence multiplied, yet the original vision of peace and justice did not die.2 Prophets and other messengers of God continued to point the people of Israel toward trust in God rather than in weapons and military force.3
The peace God intends for humanity and creation was revealed most fully in Jesus Christ. A joyous song of peace announced Jesus' birth.4 Jesus taught love of enemies, forgave wrongdoers, and called for right relationships.5 When threatened, he chose not to resist, but gave his life freely.6 By his death and resurrection, he has removed the dominion of death and given us peace with God.7 Thus he has reconciled us to God and has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation.8
As followers of Jesus, we participate in his ministry of peace and justice. He has called us to find our blessing in making peace and seeking justice. We do so in a spirit of gentleness, willing to be persecuted for righteousness' sake.9 As disciples of Christ, we do not prepare for war, or participate in war or military service. The same Spirit that empowered Jesus also empowers us to love enemies, to forgive rather than to seek revenge, to practice right relationships, to rely on the community of faith to settle disputes, and to resist evil without violence.10
Led by the Spirit, and beginning in the church, we witness to all people that violence is not the will of God. We witness against all forms of violence, including war among nations, hostility among races and classes, abuse of children and women, violence between men and women, abortion, and capital punishment.
We give our ultimate loyalty to the God of grace and peace, who guides the church daily in overcoming evil with good, who empowers us to do justice, and who sustains us in the glorious hope of the peaceable reign of God.11
1 Gen. 1-11. 2 Isa. 2:2-4. 3 Lev. 26:6; Isa. 31:1; Hos. 2:18. 4 Luke 2:14.
5 Matt. 5:44; 6:14-15. 6 Matt. 26:52-53; 1 Pet. 2:21-24. 7 1 Cor. 15:54-55; Rom. 5:10-11; Eph. 2:11-18. 8 2 Cor. 5:18-21. 9 Matt. 5:3-12.
10 Matt. 5:39; 1 Cor. 6:1-16; Rom. 12:14-21. 11 Isa. 11:1-9. Commentary
In continuity with previous Mennonite confessions of faith, we affirm that non- participation in warfare involves conscientious objection to military service and a non- resistant response to violence. Our peace witness also includes peacemaking and working for justice. Peace witness is needed even when the nations in which we live are not at war. Ministries of mediation, conciliation, and nonviolent resolution of everyday conflict can express our commitment to Christ's way of peace.
(From "Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective," Herald Press 1995, Reprinted by Permission)
For more information, contact: Peace and Justice Committee, Mennonite Church, PO Box 173, Orrville, OH 44667-0173; <firstname.lastname@example.org>; www.mennolink.org/peace