For the past several weeks, I’ve been leading a Sunday School class at my church discussing the Social Principles of the Methodist Church. Today we discussed the last two sections of the Social Principles, “The Political Community” and “The World Community.”
In section I of the Political Community section, Military Service, the Methodist Social Principles state, “We deplore war and urge the peaceful settlement of all disputes among nations. From the beginning, the Christian conscience has struggled with the harsh realities of violence and war, for these evils clearly frustrate God’s loving purposes for humankind.”
In the section on “The World Community” paragraph B says in part, “We affirm the right and duty of people of all nations to determine their own destiny. We urge the major political powers to use their nonviolent power to maximize the political, social , and economic self-determination of other nations rather than to further their own special interests.”
We go on, in paragraph C of the section to say, “We therefore reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy, to be employed only as a last resort in the prevention of such evils as genocide, brutal suppression of human rights, and unprovoked international aggression. We insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them, that human values must outweigh military claims as governments determine their priorities; that the militarization of society must be challenged and stopped….”
But it really all comes down to the 22nd Chapter of the Book of Matthew. Jesus was challenged by the Pharisee?s to define the Greatest Commandment. In verse 34 he responded, ?Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.? 38?This is the first and greatest commandment.? Jesus didn?t stop there. Without missing a beat he went on to say in verse 39, ?And the second is like it: ?Love your neighbor as yourself.??
In verse 40, just to be sure the dense Pharisees of that time (and maybe for some people of today) got the message, Jesus goes on to say, ?All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.?
A 15 year old girl is receiving death threats for an anti-war video she made. It is available at Peace Takes Courage. I caution you in advance…the images are disturbing, but you should watch it.