||Who are we and why the name Pacifist Christian?
This organization is composed of individuals who proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth is the risen Lord and long-awaited Messiah, whose death on the cross and subsequent resurrection make possible the forgiveness of sins and a spiritual rebirth for all human beings. As believers in Jesus, we strive to obey his teachings as found in the Bible.
We use the term pacifist because in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus charged his disciples to live as peacemakers (Latin: pacifici, hence pacifists) within a world filled with sin. We regard Jesus instructions to love your neighbors and your enemies (Matt. 5:43-44) as divine commandments that clearly prohibit us from participating in any act that would result in the taking of human life. Thus, by using the term pacifist, we distinguish our organization from other peace organizations that may include members, who while seeking global peace, still approve of military actions for just wars or other activities that cause human deaths.
Because we are disciples of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we refuse to participate in wars or enlist for military service. Instead, we believe that our true spiritual service is to fulfill Jesus Great Commission: to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matt. 28:19-20).
This organization was founded in July, 2001 by William Elster, M.Div, Ph.D., who has professed pacifism from the time he committed his life to Jesus at the age of seventeen. He is a high school and university educator whose essay The New Law of Christ and Early Christian Pacifism was published in Essays on War and Peace: The Bible and the Early Church, ed. W. M. Swartley (Elkhart, Indiana: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1986). In 1999, Elster wrote, "Fighting the Higher Battle: The Life and Times of Dr. Henry Hitt Crane," a dissertation on one of American Methodism's foremost pacifist leaders of the twentieth century.
Why start another religious peace organization?
Although other worthy religious peace associations exist, this organization stresses first and foremost that Jesus, the Son of God, is the Lord of the universe. Our adherence to his teachings on love and pacifism proceed from our belief that Jesus is the second person of the triune God, that both the books of the New and Old Testament are divinely inspired, and that Jesus New Covenant supersedes the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. Membership in this organization, therefore, is open to all Christians, regardless of denominational background, who share these same beliefs.
Many other religious peace groups hope to eradicate war within our lifetime through educational campaigns and political means. Although we commend such efforts, we realize, sadly enough, that wars and rumors of wars will continue until the time of Jesus Second Coming (Matt. 24:6). Unfortunately, a fallen, sinful world separated from God will not, indeed cannot, carry out the love commands of Jesus. Yet, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus can usher Gods love and peace into our communities and the world.