This is why I am not a pacifist…

The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live—this lost world—means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.

Let me illustrate. I am walking down the street and I come upon a big, burly man beating a tiny tot to death—beating this little girl—beating her—beating her. I plead with him to stop. Suppose he refuses? What does love mean now? Love means that I stop him in any way I can, including hitting him. To me this is not only necessary for humanitarian reasons: it is loyalty to Christ’s commands concerning Christian love in a fallen world. What about that little girl? If I desert her to the bully, I have deserted the true meaning of Christian love—responsibility to my neighbor. She, as well as he, is my neighbor.

We have, in the Second World War, the clearest illustration anyone could ask for on this point. What about Hitler’s terrorism? There was no possible way to stop the awful terror in Hitler’s Germany without the use of force. There was no way. As far as I am concerned, this was the necessary outworking of Christian love in the fallen world as it is. The world is an abnormal world. Because of the fall, it is not what God meant it to be. There are many things in this world which grieve us, but we must face them. We never have the luxury of acting in a merely utopian way. Utopian schemes in this fallen world have always brought tragedy. The Bible is never utopian.

We all grieve at any war, and especially at the prospect of nuclear war. But in a fallen world there are many things we grieve over but must nevertheless face. Since World War II, Europeans more than Americans have wanted the protection of nuclear weapons and have demanded this protection. We have arrived at a crazy place, with a wild proliferation of nuclear weapons on both sides. Clearly there must be discussion here, and reduction of this capability if possible. But the fundamental factor has not changed: Europe, even more today than in Winston Churchill’s day, would be under the threat of Soviet military and political domination if it were not for the existence of NATO’s nuclear weaponry.

In connection with this, it is interesting to note the recent comments of Yves Montand, the French left-wing movie actor. Montand, incidentally, is the husband of Simon Signoret who has been known as the voice of the left for thirty-five years in France, and who has been deep in leftist political activity in Europe. In light of this, Montand’s recent statement is remarkable: that the present peace movement and peace demonstrations are more dangerous than Stalin himself.

Unilateral disarmament in this fallen world, especially in the face of aggressive Soviet materialism with its anti-God basis, would be altogether utopian and romantic. It would lead, as utopianism always has in this fallen world, to disaster. It may sound reasonable to talk of a freeze at the present level, or to say, “We won’t ever use atomic weapons first.” But if we think it through, either of these equals practical unilateral disarmament. It must not be forgotten, in this connection, that a freeze does not impose constraints on existing weapons; no present guarantee of safety would be achieved by such a measure.

One can understand the romanticism of liberal theologians in these matters, since liberalism does not agree with the biblical stress on the fallen nature of this world. One can also understand the pacifism of the “peace churches”: they have always taken Christ’s command to individuals to turn the other cheek and misguidedly extended it to the state. They ignore the God-given responsibility of the state to protect its people and to stand for justice in a fallen world. Both of these points of view are understandable; but both are mistaken. If they carry the day and determine government policy, then the mistake will become a tragedy.

Francis Schaeffer, from The Great Evangelical Disaster, kindle location 1151

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