Hauerwas on Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount

In a wonderful exposition and summary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s and John Howard Yoder’s readings of the Sermon on the Mount, Stanley Hauerwas makes this statement in view of those who call these two “pacifists.”

Bonhoeffer and Yoder were pacifists, but…this description is inadequate. ‘Pacifism’ suggests a position that can be abstracted from what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Bonhoeffer and Yoder understand nonresistance to be the refusal to respond to evil in kind, but to resist evil by using the weapons provided by the Sermon on the Mount. (Sermon on the Mount through the Centuries, p. 221).

And, Christian love for others (even the enemy) is one of the most powerful “weapons” in our arsenal. One of Hauerwas’ sticking points in his essay is that both of these interpreters of Matthew have concern that the church of Jesus Christ must become “a visible alternative to the world” (p 222).


One thought on “Hauerwas on Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount

  1. Great notice. It isn’t just about being “pacifist,” but about actively being Jesus in the world for the sake of those in the world.

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