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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 22. Peace, Justice, and
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
nonresistance even in the face of violence and warfare.
Although God created a
peaceable world, humanity chose the way of unrighteousness and
violence.  The spirit of revenge
increased, and violence multiplied, yet the original vision of peace
and justice did not die.  Prophets and
other messengers of God continued to point the people of Israel toward
trust in God rather than in weapons and military force. 
The peace God intends for
humanity and creation was revealed most fully in Jesus Christ. A joyous
song of peace announced Jesus' birth. 
Jesus taught love of enemies, forgave wrongdoers, and called for right
relationships.  When threatened, he
chose not to resist, but gave his life freely. 
By his death and resurrection, he has removed the dominion of death and
given us peace with God.  Thus he has
reconciled us to God and has entrusted to us the ministry of
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.
 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. 
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
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. 
(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.
1. The biblical concept of peace embraces personal peace with God,
peace in human relations, peace among nations, and peace with God's
creation. The Old Testament word for peace (shalom) includes healing,
reconciliation, and well-being. Peace is more than the absence of war;
it includes the restoration of right relationship.
Justice and peace belong
together, since right relationship involves both. According to Greek
and Roman ideas of justice, people should get what they deserve.
According to the Bible, justice involves healing and restoring
relationships. That is a reason for the special concern for the poor
and the oppressed evident in the Bible (Deut. 24:10-22; Matt. 20:1-16;
Nonresistance means "not
resisting." Our example is Jesus, who endured accusation and abuse
without retaliating. Jesus did sometimes confront wrongdoers (Matt.
23:1-36; John 2:13-22), but he did so in a nonviolent way that shows us
how to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21; see 1 Pet. 2:21-24).
2. Peace and justice are
not optional teachings, counsel that Christians can take or leave. They
belong to the heart of gospel message. Sometimes the Mennonite peace
position has been based only on the teachings of Jesus. A biblical
understanding of peace is also based on the atoning sacrifice of
Christ: the atonement is the foundation for our peace with God (Rom.
5:10) and with one another (Eph. 2:13-16).
Similarly, justice is
based not only on Jesus' teachings (Luke 4:18-19), but also on his
atoning death. Jesus' death on the cross accomplished justice. His
crucifixion brought forgiveness and thus restored sinners to right
relationship with God. On the cross Jesus cried out to God on behalf of
a world mired in sinful, unjust relationships. This cry was amplified
by the shedding of his blood, which creates a just, forgiving community
of the new covenant (Heb. 5:7-10).
3. In continuity with
previous Mennonite confessions of faith, we affirm that
nonparticipation in warfare involves conscientious objection to
military service and a nonresistant 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
4. There is no simple
explanation for the practice of war in the Old Testament. The Old
Testament repeatedly points toward peace (Exod. 14:13-14; Judg. 7:2;
Ps. 37; Isa. 31; Hos. 2:18). Both the Old and New Testaments proclaim
the vision of a coming peaceable kingdom (Isa. 9:1-7), preached and
revealed by Jesus Christ (Acts 10:36).
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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