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President of Bethany Biblical Seminary 

Elgin, Illinois 

A Guided Study Program for Young People and Adults 


Printed in the United States of America 


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The principles of goodwill, nonviolence and nonparticipa- 

tion in war have been cardinal in Brethren history. It is 

within this area that we have perhaps made our greatest 

contribution to the total Protestant world. During every 

war the principles of peace are put to the acid test. We 

recognize that some progress has been made during this 

war in dealing with the conscientious objector. On the 

^ other hand, World War II has demonstrated that a large 

^ number of our people have not followed the peace teach- 

^ ings of the church. 

^ The leadership of the church has a deep feeling that the 
#^ Brethren should continue to make their contribution as a 
peace group. Brethren are no longer satisfied to resist war 
but are eager to eliminate the causes of war. The realistic 
appraisal of our present situation places a heavy demand 
on the church to increase and make more effective its peace 
education program. With this in mind the author of Sev- 
enty Times Seven has made a noble beginning. The book 
gives in a brief review the historical position of the church 
regarding war and the church's relationship to the state; 
the philosophical and Biblical basis for pacifism; and spe- 
cific plans for a peace education program. 

No one in the church is better prepared to write this 
material than Dr. Rufus D. Bowman. Within the past year 
he has published a monumental document, The Church of 
the Brethren and War. Seventy Times Seven is a sequel 
and draws heavily on the material of the former book. 
Throughout his ministry Dr. Bowman has given special at- 
tention to the peace principles of the church. Through his 
research, speaking and writing he has distinguished him- 
self as a prophetic leader in this field of thought. It is a 
professional pleasure and a personal one to commend this 
book to our people for serious study. 

Raymond R. Peters 
General Secretary 
Board of Christian Education 

Elgin, Illinois 
March 1945 


Seventy Times Seven gets its name from the eighteenth 
chapter of Matthew, which has probably been the most out- 
standing Bible chapter in the history of the Church of the 
Brethren. The theme of the chapter is unlimited forgive- 
ness, and the spirit of forgiveness lies at the heart of the 
doctrine of peace. Thus, the purpose of this book is to of- 
fer to the young people and adults of the church a study 
course on peace. 

These thirteen lessons are designed for use in regular 
young people's and adult church school classes, Sunday- 
evening discussion groups and young people's camps, and 
for the individual reader. They are prepared with the dis- 
cussion method of teaching in mind. Questions for dis- 
cussion and resource materials are suggested. Every Sun- 
day-school class or discussion group should have one or 
two copies of The Church of the Brethren and War, which 
is used as a source book for these lessons. New materials 
not found in the source book are added. 

The aims of Seventy Times Seven are to give church 
members information regarding the position of the Church 
of the Brethren on war, to help them understand the Bib- 
lical basis of peace, to lead them to practice the techniques 
of nonviolence, to aid them in seeing clearly and accepting 
wholeheartedly the pathway of living and transmitting our 
Brethren heritage, and to help local churches to develop 
an educationally sound peace program. 

Rujus D. Bowman 

Oak Park, Illinois 
April 1945 


Introduction 3 

Purpose 5 

I. The Church of the Brethren a Peace Church (I) . . 7 

II. The Church of the Brethren a Peace Church (II) . 17 

III. The Church of the Brethren a Peace Church (III) 24 

IV. A Peace Church During World War Two (I) .... 33 

V. A Peace Church During World War Two (II) ... 48 

VI. Seventy Times Seven — The Christian Philosophy 

of Peace 68 

VII. The Biblical Basis for Peace (I) 78 

VIII. The Biblical Basis for Peace (II) 86 

IX. The Church of the Brethren and the State 97 

X. The Christian and War Problems 113 

XL Living and Transmitting Our Brethren Heritage 127 

XII. A Peace Program for the Church of the Brethren 142 

XIII. A Peace Education Program for Local Churches . . 151 

Chapter I 



Scripture Message — Luke 14: 25-33 

The Church of the Brethren began as a peace church. 
The founders took the position that war was contrary to 
the life, spirit and teachings of Jesus. The original Brethren 
community, according to the Memoirs of Alexander Mack, 
was nonresistant. The early Brethren both in Germany 
and in America did not participate in war. John Naas suf- 
fered severely because of his refusal to join the king's body- 
guard. The Annual Conference of 1785, held at Big Cone- 
wago, Pennsylvania, set forth clearly the doctrine of non- 
resistance, showing that the Savior in all his sufferings did 
not defend himself, and that the New Testament gives no 
liberty "to use any (carnal) sword, but only the sword of 
the Spirit, which is the word of God." 1 This decision was 
written by the children of the first members of the church. 
The doctrine of peace was a fundamental principle of the 
Brethren from their beginning. 

Why the Church of the Brethren Started as a Peace 


1. The most significant factor in making the Church of 
the Brethren a peace church was the attitude of the original 
Brethren toward the New Testament. Alexander Mack be- 
came dissatisfied with the formalism, corruption, and lack 
of piety in the state churches. He began to study the New 
Testament and church history with the purpose of redis- 
covering apostolic Christianity. He formed a friendship 
with a noted Pietist, Christopher Hochmann, who exerted 

1 Minutes of the Annual Meetings, Church of the Brethren, 1778-1909, pp. 

8 Seventy Times Seven 

a great influence upon his life. Mack and Hochmann trav- 
eled, preached, and studied their Bibles together. Because 
of persecution they went to Schwarzenau, a place for refu- 
gees. Here an interested group carried on intensive Bible 
study and prayer. At once they put away the unbending 
creeds of the state churches and took the New Testament 
as their rule of faith and practice. They accepted Jesus as 
their personal Savior and his teachings as their guide for 
daily living. Christianity to them meant a life to be lived. 
Alexander Mack became convinced that in order to practice 
in an adequate way the teachings of Jesus and the New 
Testament doctrines, a church fellowship should be formed. 
Hochmann believed in living according to the teachings of 
Jesus, but felt that a church organization was unnecessary. 
The men remained good friends although Hochmann did 
not share in the founding of the church. 

One day during the year 1708, eight souls went to the 
banks of the Eder, near Schwarzenau, Germany. They 
sang, read Scripture, and engaged in earnest prayer. Then 
one member of the company led Alexander Mack into the 
water and baptized him, and Mack in turn baptized the 
other seven. The Scripture read on this occasion was Luke 
14: 25-33. The words, count the cost, were strongly em- 
phasized. These God-fearing people were taking a costly 
step. They knew that persecution would soon come upon 
them. They were breaking with the established religion of 
their day and were forming a church that would have no 
legal status in the Germany of the eighteenth century. They 
were undertaking to follow the will of God no matter what 
the price in suffering. The writer wonders whether they 
did not likewise emphasize the twenty-seventh verse of 
Luke fourteen, "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, 
and come after me, cannot be my disciple." 

The early Brethren accepted the New Testament as 

A Peace Church 9 

their only creed. They started out to live according to the 
Sermon on the Mount. They aimed to reproduce in the 
church the practices of apostolic Christianity. As they 
studied and followed the new Testament they found that 
Jesus and war were incompatible. They just could not 
follow the New Testament without becoming peace-minded. 

2. The political and religious conditions in Germany nat- 
urally made the early Brethren hate war. The Thirty 
Years' War (1618-1648) brought untold suffering to the 
German people. 

Seventy-five per cent of the population throughout Germany 
were killed, while the property loss was even greater, and it is an 
accepted fact based upon carefully gathered statistics, that the war 
set back German material development by two hundred years. 2 

Following the Thirty Years' War, Louis XIV of France on 
three different occasions (1674; 1680; 1688) sent his armies 
into the Palatinate to burn and plunder. The Treaty of 
Westphalia (1648) gave equal rights to Catholics, Luther- 
ans and Reformed but the rights of dissenters were not 
protected. Germany was not united. The country was di- 
vided into small provinces governed by princes and the 
religion of each province was dictated by the prince who 
ruled. The smaller sects had no legal status anywhere. 
Church and state joined in the persecution of all who did 
not accept the established religion. These conditions de- 
veloped in the early Brethren a love for freedom of wor- 
ship and an abhorrence of war. 

3. The influence of Pietism was also an important factor 
in forming the peace position of the church. The original 
Brethren were not Pietists in a strict sense, but they were 
greatly influenced by the Pietistic movement. They be- 
lieved in the life of spiritual devotion for which Pietism 
stood. The spirit of Pietism was that of nonresistance and 
the Pietists were, by and large, pacifists. Christopher Hoch- 

• Sweet, The Story of Religion in America, 32-34. Harper and Brothers. 

10 Seventy Times Seven 

mann was himself a strong pacifist. Hochmann was con- 
verted by Francke, one of the greatest of the Pietists. 
Francke was a student of Spener, the founder of Pietism. 
Through Hochmann to Alexander Mack the central stream 
of Pietistic doctrine entered the church. And this doctrine 
was pervaded with pacifism. 

4. The faith and practices of the Waldenses may have 
exerted some influence upon the early Brethren. Alexander 
Mack in his study of church history undoubtedly became ac- 
quainted with this group. There is a striking similarity be- 
tween the doctrines of the Waldenses and the Brethren. 
They held the Bible as their sole rule of faith and life, re- 
jected oaths and all shedding of blood, and observed the 
Lord's Supper. 

5. The Mennonites and the Quakers originated prior to 
the Church of the Brethren and it is probable that the non- 
resistant principles of these churches had some influence 
upon the Brethren peace position. Alexander Mack was 
acquainted with the beliefs and practices of the Mennonites 
and the Quakers before he founded the Church of the Breth- 
ren. William Penn had made missionary journeys into the 
Palatinate. Mack had traveled among the Mennonites. The 
three churches agreed in their opposition to war and slav- 
ery and in their refusal to take the oath. 

6. Persecution was still another factor in making the 
Brethren peace-loving. History proves that when people 
are persecuted their fundamental beliefs are not eradi- 
cated, but are driven deeper into the moral fiber of the 
people. This was true of the Brethren. Alexander Mack 
spent his money paying the fines of the original members. 
The Schwarzenau congregation was persecuted and Alex- 
ander Mack led the members to Westervain (1720) in West 
Friesland. When the members in the Palatinate were per- 
secuted, they went to Marienborn. When those in Marien- 

A Peace Church 11 

born were persecuted they went to Creyfeld. The church 
at Creyfeld was also persecuted. Arrests, fines, and im- 
prisonments were common. Still the Brethren did not give 
up their faith. They loved peace and liberty even more. 
For the sake of religious freedom the entire Brethren group 
came to America from 1719 to 1733. 

A Peace People in Colonial America 

Through Penn's Charter of Privileges to the Provinces 
and Counties of Pennsylvania, religious freedom was grant- 
ed to the people. The Brethren in the early colonial period 
lived peaceful and sheltered lives under the Quaker govern- 
ment. They maintained their German characteristics, spoke 
the German language, and formed communities of their 
own. They cherished the same peace convictions in this 
country that they had held in Germany. Robert Proud in 
his History of Pennsylvania, published in 1798, spoke about 
the Brethren in colonial days and said that "they also hold 
it not becoming a follower of Jesus Christ to bear arms or 
fight; because, say they, their true Master has forbid his 
disciples to resist evil. . . ." 3 

The great printers, Christopher Sower, Senior and Junior, 
wrote constantly in their periodicals against war, explained 
the Brethren doctrine of nonresistance as meaning willing- 
ness to suffer like Christ instead of fighting back at one's 
enemies, and advocated strongly that the people of Penn- 
sylvania should make peace with the Indians. The Sowers 
held that the Indians should be made peaceable by treating 
them kindly. They went so far as to advocate the payment 
of money voluntarily by the people of the colony in order 
to care for the needs of the Indians. They believed that 
war with the Indians was wrong, and that the trouble with 
the Indians could be settled through goodwill and fair treat- 

8 Robert Proud, The History of Pennsylvania, pp. 345-347. 

12 Seventy Times Seven 

ment. The Sowers expressed in a large measure the thought 
of the Brethren as a whole. On several occasions Brethren 
suffered greatly at the hands of Indians but with few ex- 
ceptions the spirit of nonresistance was practiced. 

Christopher Sower in the Pennsylvanische Berichte of 
September 25, 1761, gives an account of a group of friendly 
Indians who came to Philadelphia to see the Quakers. They 
had come at the invitation of the Quakers but felt that they 
should show their respect to the governor. They delivered 
to the governor three prisoners whom they had liberated 
from other Indians. Their leader, Paponahoal, told the 
governor that they were not getting due compensation for 
their skins in trade, and that they wanted the goodwill and 
consideration of the government. 

Sower then described a conference in Philadelphia on the 
war unrest in which this peaceful Indian chieftain took 
part. Sower reported that the participants in the confer- 
ence admitted that an offensive war was unjust, but that 
the majority of the group held that a defensive war was 
necessary for self-protection. The Indian chieftain, who 
desired peace above everything else, commented that the 
Quakers acted most nearly in accordance with what Christ 
required men to do. Paponahoal then added this significant 
statement: "The white people have a book which God or- 
dered to be written for them. God sent Jesus Christ into 
the world to show them how to live. The white people must 
be very godless when they have such a great advantage 
from this book but live so contrary to it." Sower in the 
article shows his great sympathies with Paponahoars views. 

How a Peace Church Fared During the Revolutionary 


During the Revolutionary War the Brethren aimed to 
be neutral. They naturally abhorred war and hesitated to 

A Peace Church 13 

see the stable government overthrown which had given 
them protection. The Annual Conference statement of 
1779 tells us that the Brethren were not sure whether it 
was the will of God for the newly formed government to 
succeed or for the old government to remain in power. 
They would simply wait and see. Since they had held 
tenaciously to their German customs, many of their English 
neighbors had become critical of the Brethren. In an effort 
to keep peace with the Indians the Sowers had worked to 
keep the Quaker government in power. They circulated 
broadsides among the Germans who came to the polls in 
great numbers and voted for Quaker assemblymen. From 
1740 to 1756, when the Quakers lost control of the govern- 
ment, the Sower publications wielded a great influence in 
continuing a majority of Quakers in the Assembly. The 
governors of the province and others who wanted to de- 
clare war on the Indians became increasingly critical of the 
Sowers and the nonresistant people. 

The Annual Conference of 1785 expressed the peace con- 
victions of the Brethren during the Revolutionary War. 
This Conference declared that loyalty to the will of God 
was above loyalty to the state, held that the commandments 
of Christ "aim throughout at nonresistance," and asked 
"that no brother should permit his sons to go to the muster 
ground, much less that a brother go himself." 4 Muster 
meant military training for the citizens. The Brethren po- 
sition was clear-cut. War was wrong because of the teach- 
ings of Christ, and Brethren were neither to participate in 
it nor to take part in military training. 

The following statement from the Petition of the Menno- 
nites and Brethren to the House of Representatives of Penn- 
sylvania, November 7, 1775, gives further light on the peace 
position. In part it says: ". . . we have dedicated ourselves 

* Minutes of the Annual Meetings, 1778-1909, pp. 9-10. 

14 Seventy Times Seven 

to serve all men in everything that can be helpful to the 
preservation of Men's lives, but we find no Freedom in 
giving, or doing, or assisting in anything by which Men's 
lives are destroyed or hurt." 5 The Brethren were ready to 
save life but not to destroy it. They also indicated to the 
government that they were willing to pay the taxes re- 
quired of them according to Christ's command to render 
unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's, and to God those 
things that are God's. 

At the beginning of the war the Assembly of Pennsyl- 
vania on June 30, 1775, recognizing that there were many 
Quakers, Mennonites, and Brethren in the province, took 
action asking that Associators for the Defense of the Coun- 
try "bear a tender and brotherly regard toward this class 
of their fellow-subjects and countrymen." 6 However, as the 
war progressed and the feeling of patriotism increased more 
criticism developed toward the nonresistant people who 
were designated as non-associators. On November 8, 1775, 
the Pennsylvania Assembly stated that those who did not 
associate for the defense of the province "ought to contrib- 
ute an equivalent to the time spent by the associators in 
acquiring military discipline." 7 On April 6, 1776, the As- 
sembly ordered that all arms be collected from the non- 
associators. * s On June 13, 1777, in an intense spirit of pa- 
triotism the oath of allegiance was passed and according to 
its preamble it was aimed directly at the non-associators. 9 
On October 21, 1777, the Council of Safety ordered army of- 
ficers to collect blankets, shoes and stockings from those 
who had not taken the oath of allegiance and to seize the 
personal estates and effects of those who had aided the 

5 Bowman, Church of the Brethren and War, p. 80. 
« Ibid., p. 78. 
7 Ibid., p. 81. 
» Ibid., p. 82. 
» Jbid., pp. 82-84, 

A Peace Church 15 

enemy. 10 Power was also granted for real estate and goods 
to be sold. 

These actions brought untold sufferings upon the Breth- 
ren. Although the Brethren were neutral in their attitude 
toward the war, their neutrality was misunderstood by 
their neighbors, who became increasingly critical. The 
Brethren were opposed, on religious grounds, to taking 
the oath, just as they were opposed to war. When they 
did not respond to the oath of allegiance there was a gen- 
eral misunderstanding of their position. There were many 
accusations against them, many Brethren lost their proper- 
ty, some were beaten, a few were killed, and the great 
printer and elder, Christopher Sower, was wrongfully ac- 
cused of aiding the enemy. 11 He was severely persecuted, 
his property was confiscated, and his real estate was sold. 
The old man was broken in spirit and never recovered 
from this loss. The Brethren answered this persecution 
through emigration. Many of them moved southward and 
westward. With the destruction of the Sower press the 
leading educational light among the Brethren was gone. 
They became a frontier people without educational ad- 
vantages. Educationally the tragic experiences of the 
Revolutionary War set the Church of the Brethren back 
seventy-five years. 

Suggestions for Study 

1. The book entitled The Church of the Brethren and War, by 
Rufus D. Bowman, should be used as resource material for the first 
three chapters. All article and page references in the study sugges- 
tions in chapters I to III refer to this book. 

2. Notice the Mennonite and Brethren Peace Petition of No- 
vember 7, 1775, to the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania, 
pp. 79-81. 

3. Consider the tragic consequences of the Oath Law on Breth- 
ren history, pp. 82-84. 

™lbid., pp. 83-84. 
"Ibid., p. 97. 

16 Seventy Times Seven 

4. Read the story of what happened to Christopher Sower, pp. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. What has been the central peace position of the Church of 
the Brethren throughout its history? 

2. What factors caused the Church of the Brethren to start as a 
peace church? 

3. Who was the most outstanding peace leader among the Breth- 
ren in colonial America? What was his attitude toward the In- 

4. What was the attitude of the Brethren toward the Revolution- 
ary War? 

5. What factors caused the Brethren to be criticized and perse- 
cuted during this war? 

6. What effect did the Oath Law have upon the church? 

Chapter II 



Scripture Message — Matthew 5: 1-12 

While Luke 14: 25-33 was used at the founding of the 
church, the Sermon on the Mount was basic in Brethren 
life and thought. The reader should keep in mind the 
Beatitudes as the Brethren are followed in their love for 
peace, their struggles for exemption from army service, and 
their sacrifices for the gospel which they endeavored to 
obey. Such great texts as "Blessed are the peacemakers," 
and "Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' 
sake" often came from their lips. The peace convictions of 
the Brethren were based upon the New Testament, and 
the core of the New Testament for them was the Sermon 
on the Mount. How did the Brethren express their peace 
principles during the Civil War period? 

A United Peace Church During the War Between the 


Following the Revolutionary War members who took part 
in military activities were seriously disciplined by the 
church. Brethren were asked not to go on the muster 
grounds even though fines had to be paid frequently to 
get exemption from military drill. The Conference of 1855 
said that individual members had no right to use weapons 
of war in self-defense. 1 

The Brethren opposed slavery likewise on religious 
grounds just as they opposed war. During the war be- 
tween the states there was never any danger of the church 
being divided. The Brethren were opposed to the coming 

1 Minutes of the Annual Meetings, 1778-1909, p. 148. 

18 Seventy Times Seven 

of the Civil War and leaders like John Kline spoke out 
strongly against secession. The Brethren as an antislavery 
people located both in the North and in the South kept 
their love for peace and their brotherly concern for all 
members. The country was divided but the church re- 
mained one brotherhood. 

At the outset of the war, John Kline, the foremost leader 
among the Brethren, claimed that the church was united 
against bearing arms. The records of the church show 
that only a few members yielded to the military pressure 
of the time. The peace position of the church is indicated 
by the action of Dr. Henry Geiger of Philadelphia, who re- 
signed both his ministry and his membership before entering 
the medical division of the army. Those who had been sol- 
diers had to promise to shed no more blood before being 
received into church membership. Brethren were ad- 
monished to wear no military clothing. Church members 
lived in an exclusive fellowship and their convictions were 
protected by the church. Discipline by the church or- 
ganization was strict, and joining the army meant being 

There were inconsistencies, however, in the Brethren 
peace position. In the early months of the war some 
Brethren hired substitutes, although this was not officially 
endorsed by the brotherhood. The church encouraged the 
members "to await the demands of the government, whether 
general, state, or local, and pay the fines and taxes required 
of us, as the gospel permits, and, indeed, requires." 2 Breth- 
ren applied their peace principles more to the overt acts 
of war than to the economic and moral problems of the 
war system. The church had not thought through the im- 
plications of its peace doctrine. Regarding war taxes the 
church urged its members to submit to what the govern- 

2 Ibid., p. 119. 

A Peace Church 19 

ment required, and there was no discriminating protest 
against supporting the war system economically. Then, 
too, the Brethren could hardly be called neutral in their 
sympathies. They were classed as Unionists both in the 
North and in the South. They were opposed to war but 
since it was being fought their sympathies leaned toward 
the North because they did not want to see the Union 
broken up. How can this attitude be reconciled with their 
peace principles? The answer is that there was a dualism 
in the Brethren point of view. They believed that accord- 
ing to the teachings of Jesus Christians should not partici- 
pate in war. But the church belonged to the kingdom of 
God, and the civil government to the order of this world. 
Therefore, the government might of necessity have to do 
some things that the Brethren could not do. They felt 
that it was wrong for Brethren to fight but they had not 
yet applied this Biblical teaching to everybody. 

The Brethren fared much better in the North than in 
the South. There was a more stable government in the 
North. President Lincoln was more sympathetic than 
President Davis toward religious objectors to war. But 
even in the North much work was necessary on the part 
of the peace churches before the law of February 24, 1864, 
was enacted. This law exempted Brethren from military 
service for the payment of $300. D. P. Sayler was the gov- 
ernment contact man and performed a very valuable service 
for the church. The drafted Brethren paid the required 
money and remained on their farms. 

The unstable government in the South, the need of men 
and finances, and the growing hostility toward those who 
would not fight, caused much more anxiety and suffering 
for members of the historic peace churches. Church leaders 
had to work constantly with the government. John Kline, 
B. F. Moomaw, Jonas Graybill and others wrote many let- 

20 Seventy Times Seven 

ters to government officials, visited members of Congress 
and continually kept the claims of the Brethren before 
the lawmakers of the South. At first some Brethren paid 
$600 to $1,500 for substitutes. Then, the law of March 29, 
1862, granted exemption from military service to members 
of churches whose tenets forbade participation in war for 
the payment of $500 and two per cent of the assessed value 
of the applicant's taxable property. 3 Following this, the 
Confederate Law of October 11, 1862, granted exemption 
from military service to members of peace churches for the 
payment of $500 each into the public treasury. 4 As the 
war developed there were constant threats that the law 
would be repealed. President Davis in a startling statement 
on December 7, 1863, proposed drastic changes in the Con- 
scription Law which would have affected the Brethren. 
Because of the seriousness of the draft situation, many 
Brethren crossed the lines into Northern territory. Near 
the end of the war a bill was passed eliminating all exemp- 
tions on religious grounds. 

The Brethren suffered in the South because of the uncer- 
tainty of the draft laws, the large sums of money which 
had to be raised to secure the exemption of church mem- 
bers, and the destruction of property which came through 
Sheridan's march through the Valley of Virginia. Added 
to this, two Brethren ministers paid the price of martyr- 
dom. In Tennessee, John P. Bowman was killed by soldiers 
when he implored them not to take his horse. In Virginia, 
John Kline, the most loved leader among the Brethren dur- 
ing Civil War days, died a martyr to the cause of peace. 
In his death the church lost one of its greatest thinkers. 

A Peace Church Unprepared for World War I 
Between the Civil War and World War I there were some 

8 Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Virginia (Passed in 1861, 
Chap. 25) pp. 50-51. 

♦ Confederate Statutes at Large (First Cong., Sess. II, Chap. 45), II, p. 105, 

A Peace Church 21 

developments in Brethren peace practices which should be 
noted. The problems of pensions arose, for some who had 
served as soldiers were taken into the church. The church 
granted the right of members to receive pensions from the 
government when their army service occurred prior to their 
church vows. The question arose regarding police pro- 
tection to handle disturbances at Brethren communion 
services. The church decided that police protection should 
be used only in extreme cases and that dependence upon 
goodwill and persuasion was more consistent with the 
church's peace ideals. Members were asked not to at- 
tach themselves to the Grand Army of the Republic, which 
was the American Legion of that day. Two peace tracts 
were published around 1900 by Daniel Hays and D. Vani- 
man which gave a clear expression of the church's Biblical 
position. These men were outstanding leaders of the church 
and they based the doctrine of peace upon the spirit and 
teachings of Jesus with "Love your enemies," "Overcome 
evil with good," and "Do good to them that hate you" as 
central emphases. 

The Church of the Brethren, however, came to World 
War I without being prepared for it. From 1890 to 1911 
there was no outstanding Annual Conference declaration 
on peace. The church was engaged in the development of 
its mission and educational programs and its peace prin- 
ciples were taken for granted. Then, too, profound changes 
had come in the character of the brotherhood since the 
Civil War. The church had relaxed the severe discipline of 
its members and had become more tolerant. The church 
exclusiveness gradually passed. Brethren people went to 
public schools and colleges and became vital factors in 
community life. It became harder for Brethren youth and 
adults to break with their associates on the peace question. 
No adequate and consistent peace education program had 

22 Seventy Times Seven 

been carried on within the church. In 1911 the Brethren 
appointed a Peace Committee but this committee had no 
funds with which to work and its activities were not very 
effective. In 1915 the Peace Committee brought to the 
Annual Conference a resolution which was unanimously 
adopted and which put the church on record in direct op- 
position to increased armaments and to this country going 
to war. The prayer of the church was for goodwill to come 
throughout the world. 

How could a Biblical peace church that had not taught 
its peace principles consistently hold its convictions under 
the pressures of World War I? The next chapter will tell. 

Suggestions for Study 

1. Notice how faithfully the leaders of the church worked with 
government officials for the exemption of church members during 
the Civil War, pp. 131-134, 138-142, 147. 

2. Read the account of the Brethren martyrs, pp. 152-153. 

3. Notice how the church handled the problem of pensions after 
the Civil War, p. 157. 

4. Study the peace philosophy in the tracts by Daniel Hays and 
D. Vaniman, pp. 159-161. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. What was the attitude of the Brethren toward participation in 
the Civil War? 

2. Who were the most outstanding church leaders during the 
Civil War period in working with the government? 

3. What considerations for exemption from military service did 
the governments in the North and in the South grant to members 
of the historic peace churches? 

4. Why did the Brethren have a more difficult time securing ex- 
emption in the South? 

5. What were the inconsistencies in the Brethren peace position 
during the Civil War? 

6. What was the attitude of the church toward police protec- 
tion at communion services? 

A Peace Church 23 

7. In what ways did the character of the Church of the Breth- 
ren change between the Civil War and World War I? 

8. Why were the Brethren unprepared for the coming of World 
War I? 

9. When was the first Annual Conference Peace Committee ap- 

Chapter III 



Scripture Message — Matthew 22: 15-22 

The changed character of the church brought the Breth- 
ren into a new relationship to the state. By World War I 
many of the church members were voting and a few were 
holding office. The Brethren as a whole felt that they had 
citizenship obligations and should render a constructive 
service to the country in harmony with conscience. They 
did not consider that service to their country meant the 
support of war. A verse of Scripture frequently quoted 
was "Render . . . unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; 
and unto God the things that are God's." But how about 
the Christian's relative responsibility to his government and 
to God? The Brethren held that the Christian should give 
supreme allegiance* to God, should be guided by the will 
of God as revealed in the Scripture, and should obey the 
government as far as could be done without disobeying 
God's will. This position, however, had to be applied to 
difficult war situations, and in doing this the Brethren were 

A Confused Peace Church During World War I 

At the Annual Conference of 1916 the Brethren again 
expressed their opposition to this country's going to war, 
drew up a resolution which reaffirmed the Biblical basis of 
the church's peace position and sent a committee to present 
the resolution to President Wilson. The Conference of 1917, 
meeting shortly after the United States entered the war, 
emphasized the responsibility of the Brethren to make a 
constructive contribution to their country. 

A Peace Church 25 

While the Brethren were clear in their opposition to war, 
they were confused in the application of their fundamental 
peace convictions to the developing war situation. The 
draft law of May 18, 1917, exempted Brethren from com- 
batant service only. They were allowed service of a non- 
combatant character within the army. The young men of 
the church were being called to camp unprepared to meet 
the problems that faced them. Should they refuse all army 
service, should they accept service within the army short 
of fighting, should they submit to military drill, and should 
they wear the military uniform? On these questions the 
church had no clear-cut position. Some outstanding church 
leaders like H. C. Early and D. L. Miller leaned toward the 
Brethren accepting noncombatant duties like hospital serv- 
ice and caring for the wounded. There were other church 
leaders who advised Brethren to refuse all service within 
the army. The predominant advice given by church 
leaders was that drafted Brethren should obey the govern- 
ment as far as they could in harmony with conscience but 
should not participate in fighting or the taking of life. The 
result was that the great majority of conscripted Brethren 
accepted noncombatant assignments. There were some 
who entered straight army service but this number was not 
very large. Quite a sizable group of Brethren felt that all 
service within the army was wrong. They did not par- 
ticipate in military drill, and would not accept the uni- 
form. They were held in detention camps and later fur- 
loughed to farms or sent to prison. At least sixteen Breth- 
ren reached military prisons. 

The trying experiences young men were having in mili- 
tary camps, the mounting criticisms from young men that 
the advice of the church was not definite, the many ap- 
peals from members and districts for the church to define 
its position, the statement made by General Kuhn that there 

26 Seventy Times Seven 

was no such a thing as noncombatant service under military 
control, led to the calling of a special Conference at Goshen, 
Indiana, January 9, 1918. This Conference took a stricter 
position than the Brethren had earlier announced during 
World War I. The denomination declared itself as opposed 
to any participation in war. Drafted Brethren were ad- 
vised neither to drill nor to wear the military uniform. The 
young men who had accepted noncombatant assignments 
were assured of the goodwill and respect of the church but 
the denomination declared itself as being opposed to non- 
combatant service. The reason for this action was that 
army officials were subjecting Brethren to severe pressure 
to take combatant assignments and even some forms of non- 
combatant activities required men to be armed. The Goshen 
Memorial, however, was short lived. It soon found its way 
to the advocate generals of the army. The officers of the 
Goshen Conference narrowly escaped prosecution. The ad- 
vocate generals held that the Church of the Brethren had 
violated the Espionage Law in advising against the uniform 
and drilling. The Central Service Committee drew up an 
explanatory statement for the advocate generals, and the 
Goshen statement was withdrawn from the mails. Most of 
the Brethren continued to take noncombatant service until 
the end of the war. This was in reality the functioning 
position of the Church of the Brethren during World War I. 

The government was just as confused as the church in 
the handling of conscientious objectors. The law made 
no provision for absolutists who would accept no army 
duties and it recognized only members of historic peace 
churches. At the beginning of the war it was evident that 
neither the Secretary of War nor the lawmakers had given 
sufficient consideration to the problem of conscientious ob- 
jectors. The first drafted Brethren were clearly at the 
mercy of army officials. The President had not defined non- 

A Peace Church 27 

combatant service and those who refused to drill and to 
wear the uniform were placed under the heavy criticism of 
army officers and surrounding soldiers. There were many 
cases of severe punishment. The War Department's Con- 
fidential Order of October 10, 1917, asked for the segrega- 
tion of conscientious objectors into separate barracks, which 
were called detention camps. The Confidential Order of 
December 19, 1917, gave the same consideration to con- 
scientious objectors as had been accorded to members of 
the historic peace churches. 

The President outlined noncombatant duties on March 
20, 1918. Through more than half of the war conscientious 
objectors lived under constant uncertainty. The government 
followed the policy of getting as many objectors as possible 
to take army service, as was indicated by the Confidential 
Order of October 10, 1917. Having the objectors in the bar- 
racks with regular soldiers during the early months of the 
war was an influence toward changing their minds. Even 
the detention camps did not operate altogether as a pro- 
tection of conscience, for there were army officers over them 
who made efforts to persuade the conscientious objectors to 
accept military work. The definition of noncombatant serv- 
ice issued by the President listed many different types of 
duties, but most of them were parts of the war machine. 
No help was given to the absolutists and civilian service 
was not provided for those who could not accept army or- 
ders. Following the issuance of the President's statement 
new efforts were made by military officials to persuade 
those in detention camps to enter the army. There were 
many court-martial cases among those who held that all 
army service was wrong. 

Because of the shortage of farm labor, the Farm Furlough 
Law was passed on March 16, 1918. On May 31, 1918, the 
judge advocate general advised the Secretary of War that 

28 Seventy Times Seven 

no conscientious objectors could be furloughed to farms. 
After months of idleness in detention camps a plan was de- 
vised for using the energies of many religious objectors to 
war in constructive pursuits. But even this did not remove 
the young men from the supervision of the War Depart- 
ment. Objectors to war either had to fight, accept army 
service short of fighting, work on farms at privates' pay, or 
go to prison. The only exception to this rule was that a 
limited number of conscientious objectors were permitted 
to join the Friends' Reconstruction Unit. 

Each individual case, also, had to be carefully reviewed. 
The Secretary of War appointed on June 1, 1918, a Board 
of Inquiry to handle all cases of conscientious objectors. 
Of the 3,989 men considered by the Board of Inquiry, 
1,300 were assigned to noncombatant service, 1,200 were 
furloughed to agriculture, 99 were furloughed to the 
Friends' Reconstruction Unit, 715 were placed in Class 1, 
remaining in camp after the armistice, 225 were placed in 
Class 2, and 450 were general court-martial prisoners. It 
appears from the records of the War Department that more 
than 80 per cent of religious objectors changed their minds 
either before or shortly after reaching camp. 1 The War 
Department indicated that this was due to the character 
of the treatment accorded them as prescribed in the Order 
of October 10, 1917. 2 The record of court-martial pro- 
ceedings and the punishments in prison for sincere religious 
objectors to war is not a bright page in American history. 

A great many of the Brethren bought Liberty Bonds dur- 
ing World War I. The church did not consider the economic 
implications of its peace principles. The functioning posi- 
tion of the church in its relation to the war was that of 
noncombatant service. There was no farsighted states- 

1 Statement Concerning the Treatment of Conscientious Objectors in the 
Army, p. 25. 

2 Bowman, Church of the Brethren and War, p. 203. 

A Peace Church 29 

manship shown either by the Church of the Brethren, by 
the government, or by the army in handling the conscien- 
tious objector problem. The result was that a confused 
peace church was set to the task of re-evaluating its peace 

A Peace Church Moving Forward to a Stronger Peace 


Following World War I there was a strong revulsion 
against war on the part of the members of the Church of 
the Brethren. Some of the strongest peace leaders of the 
denomination came out of the disillusioning war experi- 
ences. Practically every Annual Conference between the 
world wars made a strong declaration on peace. The An- 
nual Conference of 1932 declared that "all war is out of 
harmony with the plain precepts of the gospel of Christ." 
The peace teachings of Christ were applied to the state as 
much as to the church. The church's opposition to war was 
held to be both "ethical and religious." The Annual Confer- 
ence of 1935 declared for the first time in Brethren history 
that "all war is sin." The dualism in the Brethren peace 
philosophy was gone. War was considered to be wrong for 
all peoples and nations. 

The Conference of 1938 interpreted the attitude of the 
church toward those who enlist for military service. Even 
though those who entered straight army service went 
against the advice of the church, they were not to be disfel- 
lowshiped, but were to be brought back through brotherly 
love into harmony with Brethren teachings. This position 
of tolerance was a great contrast to the strict discipline of 
Civil War days. The Annual Conference of 1940 under 
the shadow of conscription reaffirmed the church's con- 
viction that all war is sin and took a strong position against 
conscription and preparation for war. The special Standing 

30 Seventy Times Seven 

Committee meeting held in Chicago, December 18 and 19, 
1940, to face the problems caused by the coming of con- 
scription, advised all Brethren young men "that noncom- 
batant service within the army is inconsistent with the 
teachings of the Bible and the Church of the Brethren." 3 
This action was in accord with the resolution adopted by 
the Conference of 1938 as recommended by the Advisory 
Committee for Conscientious Objectors that "services of 
any kind within the ranks of the army" are "considered not 
consistent with the historic peace position of the church." 4 
The Conference of 1941 reaffirmed that "war is sin, uncon- 
ditionally and always" and "an utter repudiation of all 
that Jesus taught and exemplified in his life." 5 The Breth- 
ren faced the coming of World War II with unusually strong 
peace pronouncements. 

Between world wars I and II, the Friends, the Menno- 
nites, and the Brethren increased their co-operative work. 
The most important meeting of these groups was the one 
held at Newton, Kansas, October 31 to November 2, 1935, 
in that a peace statement was issued and a Continuation 
Committee was formed. This Continuation Committee be- 
came very active in planning joint peace projects. Two 
conferences with President Roosevelt were arranged. The 
conference of February 12, 1937, informed the President 
regarding the peace convictions of the three groups, and 
the conference of January 10, 1940, reaffirmed the historic 
peace position of these churches and outlined a suggestive 
plan of procedure for the government for providing alter- 
native service for conscientious objectors in case of military 
conscription. The Brethren gave vigorous opposition to 
military conscription and war, not only in these statements 
to the President, but also in the resolution on behalf of the 

s Ibid., p. 249. 
«Ibid., p. 259. 
» Ibid., p. 249. 

A Peace Church 31 

denomination presented by Paul H. Bowman on July 30, 
1940, to the Military Affairs Committee of the House of 
Representatives. The co-operative work of the historic 
peace churches laid the foundation for the formation of the 
National Service Board for Religious Objectors and for 
continued co-operative relationships during World War II. 

The Church of the Brethren was active in the promotion 
of peace activities and comprehensive peace programs be- 
tween the world wars. It would seem on the surface that 
the peace teaching of the church must have been wide- 
spread and effective. But there were outstanding weak- 
nesses in the program. There was no general supervision 
to see that local churches carried out the peace teaching 
programs which were recommended. Then, too, the pro- 
grams themselves consisted largely of the distribution of 
literature and the giving of peace lectures without the or- 
ganizing of discussion groups on peace problems in which 
through stimulating discussions, the sharing of ideas, and 
the direction of reading, points of view are challenged and 
changed. The great masses of Brethren young people and 
adults were not effectively taught. It is probable also that 
the strong peace pronouncements of the church did not al- 
together reflect the attitude of the church as a whole. 

How did an untaught peace church fare during World 
War II? The next chapter will tell. 

Suggestions for Study 

1. Read the interesting account of the Goshen Conference and 
what happened regarding the church pronouncement, pp. 180-187. 

2. Trace the various steps of the government in dealing with 
the conscientious objectors during World War I, pp. 195-226. 

3. Notice especially the Annual Conference Resolutions of 1932 
and 1935, pp. 237-238, 241-243. 

4. Read the story of the visits to the President, pp. 272-281. 

Ibid., pp. 283-285. 

32 Seventy Times Seven 

5. Consider the advanced position that the church took in advis- 
ing against all service under military control, pp. 248-249, 259-263. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. Why were the drafted Brethren confused regarding the type 
of service to accept during World War I? 

2. What type of military service did most of the conscripted 
Brethren take in the first world war? 

3. What was the prevailing attitude of army officials and the 
War Department toward conscientious objectors? 

4. What happened to the boys who refused all army service? 

5. What was the functioning position of the Church of the 
Brethren on peace during this war? 

6. In what ways did the Brethren move forward toward a 
stronger peace position following World War I? 

7. What church conference declared that all war is sin? 

8. What significant united actions were taken by the Mennon- 
ites, the Friends, and the Brethren? 

9. What were the weaknesses in the church's peace program be- 
tween the world wars? 

10. What service did the church give to young people regarding 
service within the ranks of the army? 

Chapter IV 


Scripture Message — Matthew 5: 13-24 

There were many leaders in the Church of the Brethren 
who were eager to see the brotherhood give a peace testi- 
mony to the world. They felt that the disillusioning ex- 
periences of World War I should be a lesson to the church. 
They created and promoted strong peace programs among 
the churches. They truly wanted Christians to be "the 
light of the world," the Church of the Brethren to be like 
a "city that is set on a hill," and all Brethren to let their 
light "shine before men." How strong was the church's 
peace testimony during World War II? 

A Vital Peace Testimony Through Annual Conference 


The first Annual Conference after war was declared, 
held at Asheville, North Carolina, in June 1942, reaffirmed 
the Brethren faith that the way of love offers the only solu- 
tion to personal and social problems, declared that the New 
Testament contains the answer to the confused questionings 
of the times, commended the "young men who are making 
their testimony for peace in following the courses offered 
by our government for conscientious objectors," asked the 
churches to follow with their interest and prayers the 
young men who have gone into the military service of the 
country, and in the conflict between the will of God and the 
demands of the state, the members were urged to say with 
courage and devotion, "We must obey God." 1 

The Annual Conference held at McPherson, Kansas, June 
1943, one year and a half after the war started, declared its 

1 Minutes of the Annual Conference, 1942, pp. 45-46. 

34 Seventy Times Seven 

faith "that in the midst of the present tragic war the 
church's historic conviction that violence in the relations 
of men is contrary to the spirit of Christ must be reaf- 
firmed." 2 The Conference also passed a statement com- 
mending "those who are expressing the historic peace posi- 
tion of the church." 3 

The next year when the Brethren assembled at Hunt- 
ingdon, Pennsylvania, for the Annual Conference of 1944, 
they issued one of the most far-reaching peace state- 
ments ever made by the brotherhood. It is significant in 
that during the nation's trying war situation, the Church of 
the Brethren unequivocally reaffirmed its peace principles, 
recognized that many of its members were compromising 
with the war system, and thereby called the entire church 
to repentance. This decision is quoted in part: 

From its beginning the Church of the Brethren has been opposed 
to war. In every war it has testified to this conviction and faced 
the embarrassment and trials of those who dissent from the belief 
or action of the majority. In the years before the present war we 
reaffirmed this position in strong words. In 1935 we said, "We be- 
lieve that all war is sin; that it is wrong for Christians to support or 
to engage in it; and that war is incompatible with the spirit, exam- 
ple and teachings of Jesus." In 1938 we said, "Our supreme allegi- 
ance is to Christ. Today many Christians are finding themselves 
faced with a conflict between this allegiance and the demands of 
the state. We believe that in such a conflict a Christian must be 
true to his faith. ..." Recognizing that these statements were 
more easily made then than now, we do in this 1944 Conference 
unequivocally reaffirm them as the historic peace conviction of the 
Church of the Brethren. 

On the other hand, we must concede that the church has by no 
means fully adhered to this conviction. In common with all Chris- 
tians we are culpable for not doing more to prevent this war and for 
being so inadequately prepared to meet it according to our faith. 
Many members are profiting financially from war employment and 

2 McPherson Conference Resolutions, The Gospel Messenger, June 26, 
1943, p. 11. 

a Ibid., p. 11. 

During World War Two 35 

prosperity. Not all of our leaders have spoken with a clear voice 
as our young people asked for counsel. Thousands of our boys are 
serving in the armed forces. 

We believe it appropriate, therefore, to call the entire church to 
repentance for its failures and inadequacies in this great crisis, a 
repentance to be expressed in unfaltering effort to correct our pa^t 
mistakes and prevent future war, or, if that once more proves im- 
possible, to abstain from participation in it. 4 

The Board of Christian Education, which has charge of 
peace education in the church, spoke in behalf of the Breth- 
ren as a whole in a statement entitled Maintaining the 
Brethren Way of Life in Time of War. It follows: 

We recognize with deep concern the increasing trends toward 
external control of our home life, our school life, and our com- 
munity life by the developing plans for V-homes, the High School 
Victory Corps, Citizens Service Corps, and other aspects of Civilian 
Defense. Because of public opinion, many of our people feel co- 
erced into conforming against their own consciences, even though 
verbal and printed statements regarding the above plans emphasize 
only voluntary participation. 

We, like our fathers, "deem the overruling of the conscience as 
wrong" (Annual Conference, 1781), and we are equally determined 
to maintain in our own day the way of life which they tried to fol- 
low in their day. To these ends we declare that: 

1. We will maintain fellowship with all those who conscien- 
tiously take part in military service because they feel it is the will 
of God for them, even though we believe they are departing from 
the historic peace position of the church. Recognizing the need of 
redemption in many aspects of our own lives, we will endeavor to 
maintain a kindly, redemptive attitude toward those who are swept 
along with the current. It is our sincere conviction that we should 
place no greater strain upon the consciences of others than we place 
upon our own. 

2. We will maintain the historic doctrine of our fathers "not to 
go to war nor to learn the art of war," and will encourage all of our 
members to avoid any kind of activity which weakens that doctrine. 
We cannot support any activity of major military significance in our 
life at home, at school, or elsewhere in the community. However. 

* Huntingdon Conference Minutes, 1944, p. 52. 

36 Seventy Times Seven 

we Brethren can help to provide food, clothing, shelter, health and 
safety, and recreation up to the limits of our ability. One of our 
guiding principles is the serving of the neediest "women and chil- 
dren first." 

3. It is not consistent with our peace doctrine for our members 
to take part in any activity or program which promotes war. The 
use of High School Victory Corps emblems, V-home window stick- 
ers and similar emblems seems to us to be inconsistent with the 
foregoing statement. As long as participation is voluntary, we rec- 
ommend that our people ignore all pressure toward taking part. 
Should participation become a matter of regulation or law we urge 
our members to ask for rights of Christian conscience. 

4. We urge our local churches and other church organizations 
to provide constructive activities for our own members and others 
who are conscientious objectors to war efforts. We recognize the 
fact that we can give our sincere support to some activities in the 
Civilian Defense program. Efforts are being made to develop addi- 
tional suggestions and materials for constructive community serv- 

5. We urge our ministers and other leaders to maintain an un- 
broken fellowship in the church and to provide increased fellow- 
ship for all those who may suffer social disapproval for the sake of 

6. If it becomes necessary, we shall seek to provide additional 
or separate educational opportunities in order that the faith of our 
fathers may reach a greater fulfillment in our children and in our 
children's children. 5 

Committee: Dan West, Paul Kinsel, L. Avery Fleming, Warren 
D. Bowman, Raymond R. Peters. 

As far as official pronouncements are concerned, the 
Church of the Brethren has kept its teaching clear. World 
War II has brought no change in the peace position of the 
Brethren. The church itself believes that all war is sin and 
that participation in war is wrong. 

Serving Those Who Differ 

During the war the local churches generally exercised 
tolerance toward all who went into the armed forces. There 

5 Copy of the original statement in the possession of the writer. 

During World War Two 37 

were no efforts to discipline those who went contrary to the 
church's advice. Soldiers and C.P.S. boys on furlough were 
often in the same church audiences and both received a 
hearty welcome from the church people. Many ministers 
through a well-organized plan had the church members each 
week to write to several young men in the C.P.S. camps, 
hospital units, and armed forces. 

The Church of the Brethren maintained a definite Min- 
istry to Servicemen under the leadership of Merlin Shull. 
He appointed about sixty Brethren ministers to visit boys 
in military camps, and at least two thirds of them were 
active in this work. He discovered homes near military 
centers which opened their doors in hospitality to Brethren 
who were soldiers. Bulletins were sent quarterly to all 
men in service keeping them in touch with the program of 
the church. The moderator of Annual Conference wrote a 
letter yearly to all drafted men. Merlin Shull kept the 
addresses as far as possible of all men in service and wrote 
personal letters to a great many. He believes that some 
of the wisest and best peacemakers among the Brethren will 
come from the group that he served. 6 He cites such letters 
as the following as the reason for this conviction: 

Here's a money order, inclosed, for ten dollars. I'd like you to 
use it for war relief. Thanks for the certificate for the last five dol- 
lars I've sent you. Before that I believe I sent you six dollars — if 
it's possible I would like a certificate for those as well as this ten. 
If certificates are only for fives and not sixes, make it out for five 
and I'll make the score even with four next month. I want the 
certificates just in case they press me to buy defense bonds — now 
war bonds, I believe. 

The spirit of killing and hate is so widespread that even though 
I'm training in an Evacuation Hospital, I feel I should do something 
that will be effective right now, to relieve the pain and trouble the 
world is rocking under. Army life isn't bad at all. If one follows 
the given schedule he'd live to be a ripe, old man — that is, if it 

6 Personal letter from Merlin Shull, Elgin, 111., Jan. 28, 1943. 

38 Seventy Times Seven 

weren't for the end for which we're being trained. How we all 
crave to have this mess done with and get back to our loved ones 
and homes. 7 

Why Have So Many Brethren Accepted Military Service? 

One of the most serious problems confronting the Church 
of the Brethren is to understand why so many of her young 
men entered military service. On July 15, 1943, there were 
776 Brethren boys in C.P.S. camps, hospitals, experimental 
farms, and other forms of detached service. 8 Merlin Shull 
at a later date completed a survey of Brethren congrega- 
tions to find out how many Brethren men had been drafted 
into the various types of service. His survey covered 222 
congregations. It indicated that about 80.5 per cent of 
the Brethren men drafted had gone directly into the armed 
services, about 11 per cent had taken noncombatant service, 
and 8.5 per cent were in Civilian Public Service. This 
would mean, in terms of the whole brotherhood, that 10,069 
Brethren had been drafted, 8,105 have gone into the army, 
1,104 have gone into noncombatant work, and 864 have 
chosen C.P.S. 9 Considering the peace position of the 
church, why have so many Brethren entered the armed 
forces of the nation? 

Answers From Church Leaders 

Merlin Shull from his contacts with the Brethren in the 
army offers the following reasons why so many have taken 
military service: 

1. Young men were inoculated with propaganda. 

2. Many preachers never mentioned the peace position of the 

3. Some of our members believe that noncombatant service is all 
right. If the church would have educated for noncombatant 
service more army boys would have gone that way. 

7 Copied from the original by the writer. 

s Report of Brethren Service Committee, June 30, 1943. 

9 The Gospel Messenger, July 22, 1944, p. 10. 

During World War Two 39 

4. The letters show that most of the boys in the army believe that 
they are doing the right thing and that it seems to be necessary 
for this war to be fought. 10 

J. E. Miller tells why he thinks so many Brethren have 
gone into the army: 

Nearly all of our education has been in public school, printed 
material, the radio and the movie — none of which stress Brethren 
teaching. Our pastors and ministers have not been as outspoken 
against war as were the old Brethren. Our boys' fathers have been 
and are working in defense factories; naturally, they are not strong 
against war, and their sons enter the army. Never before did the 
government make so strong an effort to catch the ears of the young 
people, and to train them for war. 11 

Ross D. Murphy, pastor of the First Church of the Breth- 
ren of Philadelphia, says that "the appeal of the mechani- 
cal" is one reason why so many young men choose army 
service. 12 He holds that young people are living in a me- 
chanical world, that they are taught mechanics in high 
schools, industrial schools and colleges, and that young men 
dream of operating a big machine or an airplane. This 
appeal frequently is stronger than the voice of the church. 

M. R. Zigler, Secretary of the Brethren Service Commit- 
tee, the man who has traveled to more local churches and 
districts during the last twenty years than any other Breth- 
ren leader and who is working at the heart of the con- 
scientious objector problem now, states why he thinks the 
peace program failed: 

The peace program failed because we failed at other spots. The 
fellowship of the Church of the Brethren has been diluted. The 
program did not get to local churches. Church people hardly know 
what they believe. Public pressure has gotten us. We aren't dis- 
ciplined to go against public pressure. The Sunday-school litera- 
ture was not developed along Brethren lines. The colleges have 
not been pacifist training centers. It is harder to break with the 

10 Ibid. 

"Personal interview with J. E. Miller, Elgin, 111., Dec. 31, 1942. 

12 Personal interview with Ross D. Murphy, Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 1943. 

40 Seventy Times Seven 

community now. Those who have the religious motivation, those 
most like the old fathers of the church, are standing for the peace 
principles best. 13 

H. L. Hartsough, Secretary of the General Ministerial 
Board of the Church of the Brethren, spent five months, 
January to May, 1942, as the official Brethren visitor to 
army camps. He visited 15 army camps and saw around 
375 Brethren boys. He states that the Brethren in the army 
fell into three classes. The first group was made up of 
marginal members of the church and represented 15 per 
cent of the total. These young men had never received 
the teaching of the church. They went into the army like 
everybody else. The second group represented 35 per 
cent of the total. They were the finest caliber of Brethren 
boys in the army. They ranked very high in their home 
communities. They were from fine Brethren families. One 
half of them rationalized. They did not apologize. They 
believed that war was wrong, that the teachings of the 
church were right, but that this war was different. Hart- 
sough said that their talk sounded much like the Christian 
Century and that they were probably influenced by it. 
The other half of this group was represented by those who 
were there because they felt it was the best policy. They 
were not motivated by great convictions but by what 
seemed to be most expedient. 

The third group represented 50 per cent of the total. 
They were boys in good standing in churches, the plain or- 
dinary boys who drifted into the army because it was the 
easiest thing to do. They did not take the trouble to de- 
fend themselves with their draft boards. Hartsough said 
that everyone in this group apologized for being there. 
They were not proud of it. They always asked about the 
CO. camps. 14 

"Personal interview with M. R. Zigler, Elgin, Illinois, July 21, 1943. 
u Personal interview with H. L. Hartsough, Elgin, Illinois, January 26, 

During World War Two A\ 

Hartsough comments: 

Our peace program had made tremendous progress. It had 
taken all of the glory out of war. The parade was gone. The boys 
were not really proud that they were in the army. . . . The longer 
the boys had been in the army the more edge had been taken off. 
. . . The trend away from peace will probably not come from the 
boys. The trend may come from the church. 15 

Answers From Regional Fieldworkers 

The Brethren churches in the United States are now su- 
pervised by six regional fieldworkers, and five of them 
were appointed since the outbreak of the war. They have 
a splendid opportunity to study local church and district 
conditions. A letter was written to these regional workers 
January 28, 1943, asking for their help in making this study. 
The regional executives gave the following reasons why 
they thought such a large number of Brethren entered 
the army: 


1. Lack of adequate peace teaching in local churches 6 

2. The social pressures of family, friends and community . . 4 

3. Financial reasons. Many do not like to serve for nothing 
while the church supports them 4 

4. Indifference of church members — lack of enthusiasm for 
the historic peace position of the church by local leaders . . 3 

5. Appeal of the spectacular and popular 2 

6. Some ministers theologically sympathetic with war 2 

7. The conviction on the part of young men that this war is 
different 2 

8. The colleges failed to teach pacifism 2 

9. The peace position in recent years was formulated by 
idealists, college students and other church leaders, who, 
for the most part, have thought far ahead of the average 
member 2 


42 Seventy Times Seven 

10. Many 18- and 19 -year-olds were caught before they had 
maturely studied the matter 1 

11. Many Brethren homes are militarily nationalistic I 16 

Answers From Camp Visitors 

The camp visitors over the brotherhood who are constant- 
ly keeping in contact with young men in army camps also 
gave their opinions about Brethren boys going into the 
army. A letter was written on January 28, 1943, to all min- 
isters who were selected as camp visitors. Thirty-six re- 
plies were received. The following reasons were stated 
as to why Brethren accepted army service: 





1. This war is different and must be fought to preserve free- 
dom. Duty to country 19 

2. Lack of peace education in the home and church 15 

3. Social pressure — the influence of family, friends and the 
community 14 

4. The remuneration offered in the army 11 

5. Lack of conviction — do not believe in the peace tenets 
of the church 7 

6. Accepting military service was the easiest and most un- 
embarrassing way 4 

7. Lack of knowledge of their C. O. rights under the law . . 4 

8. Marginal members — indifferent to the church 2 

9. Lack of religious motivation in their peace attitudes ... 3 
10. One's inability to escape the responsibilities of total war 1 

Regional workers and camp visitors agree that lack of 
peace education, social pressures, and the economic prob- 
lem are basic reasons. One camp visitor said, "Of the C.O.'s 
who lived here in the city, when the pressure came, they 
felt they would rather crucify their own conscience than 

16 Summary of the answers received through personal letters from re- 
gional fieldworkers. 

During World War Two 43 

to have their families suffer in prestige or from lack of 
support." 17 

Another camp visitor said: 
One boy told me that he had not heard of our peace teaching 
until he was about ready to go. On the other hand some of them 
had heard of it but when the war came the leaders of the churches 
stopped this teaching. Some asked me why. Some felt that this 
war was different and that we must forget our teachings so long as 
certain leaders are at large. Others were working in defense fac- 
tories and felt that it was not right to claim IV E. Frankly, I feel 
that many of our church leaders have fallen down at this point. 18 

Answers From Local Churches 

The writer on February 19, 1943, sent a questionnaire to 
200 local churches. Since the membership of the Church 
of the Brethren is approximately 75 per cent rural and 
small town, and 25 per cent city, 75 questionnaires were sent 
to churches in the open country, 75 to churches located 
in towns with less that five thousand population, and 
50 to churches located in large urban centers. Considera- 
tion was also given to the distribution of the churches over 
the United States. The membership of the Church of the 
Brethren is 179,843 with 1,019 local churches. Therefore, 
the 200 churches represented one fifth of the total church 
membership. The churches were selected so that they 
represented a membership of 36,012 (12,008 located in cities 
and 24,004 in the country and smaller towns). 

One hundred forty-nine answers were received from the 
first mailing. The questionnaire was sent a second time 
on June 18, 1943, to the churches which had not answered. 
In response twelve replies were received. There were 61 
answers from country churches, 56 from churches in small 
towns and 44 from' churches in large cities. Eighty per 
cent of the churches replied to the questionnaire. The 

"Personal letter from Milton C. Early, Omaha, Nebraska, February 5, 1943. 
18 Personal letter from John C. Eller, Crab Orchard, West Virginia, Feb- 
ruary 9, 1943. 

44 Seventy Times Seven 

replies represented approximately 16.89 per cent of the 
total membership of the denomination, divided as follows: 
9,612 members from small town churches, 9,569 members 
from country churches and 11,199 members from city 

The one hundred sixty-one local churches answered the 
question, "What are the reasons Brethren boys have given 
for going into army service?" in the following ways: 

Responses From Churches 

Small Coun- 

Town try City Total 

1. "I want to do my part. I don't want other 
boys out there fighting for me." "This war 
is different." "It is necessary to fight to 
preserve freedom and religion." Patriot- 
ism-duty to country 29 22 18 69 

2. "There is no pay in C.P.S." "Need sup- 
port for wife." "Fear effects upon busi- 
ness if C. O. position is taken." "Can learn 
a trade in the army." "Do not want to be 
a burden on the church." "Want a job 

after the war." The economic problem... 15 10 14 69 

3. "Don't want to be called yellow." "Will 
be called cowards if we go CO." "My 
friends are going to the army; why 
shouldn't I go too?" Social pressure — the 
influence of family, friends, classmates, 

and community 11 19 11 41 

4. "Did not know the church's peace posi- 
tion." "Neither ministers nor parents ad- 
vised me to go C.P.S." Inadequate teach- 
ing in home and church 8 10 10 28 

5. "This thing has been forced on us and the 

sooner we get it over the better" 9 7 7 23 

6. Marginal members — indifferent to the 

church 11 6 2 19 

7. "I just can't see the C. O. stand." "The 

CO. is too idealistic — not practical." .... 4 3 7 14 

During World War Two 45 

8. Members worked in defense plants and 

couldn't get C.P.S 2 2 

9. "Hospital work is not wrong." 1 1 2 

10. Wrongly advised by draft boards 1 1 2 

11. "If we enlist we will get what we want.". . 1 1 

12. "Not much difference where one serves. 

All industry contributes to the war effort." 1 1 

According to the replies from local churches giving the 
statements from the young men themselves, duty to coun- 
try, social pressure, the economic problem, inadequate peace 
teaching, the feeling that the war was forced upon them, 
indifference to the church and lack of sympathy with the 
CO. position were the primary reasons why Brethren boys 
went into the army. A study of the replies indicates that 
lack of vital peace teaching should be given a larger place 
than is indicated by the schedule. It could hardly be ex- 
pected that the army boys would mention inadequate peace 
teaching as the reason for their accepting military service. 
However, if the Brethren had carried on a thorough peace 
education program in the local churches, it is probable that 
more young men would have withstood social pressures and 
the influence of propaganda. The reports show that propa- 
ganda, the economic problem, and the influence of friends 
and community have been stronger in motivating action 
than the program of the church. 

According to the regional fieldworkers, the failure to 
teach peace in local churches, social pressures, the economic 
problem, and indifference to the church head the list as 
reasons for the large trend toward army service. The camp 
visitors mention the same basic reasons but add loyalty 
to country as the most important influence in turning young 
men toward war, and lack of sympathy with the peace tenets 
of the church as another important consideration. The re- 
plies from individual church leaders likewise present the 

46 Seventy Times Seven 

same fundamental reasons but add the appeal of the me- 
chanical, members working in defense plants, lack of re- 
ligious motivation, and the idea that accepting army service 
appears to many young men to be the best policy and the 
easiest thing to do. 

There are doubtless a great many reasons why Brethren 
have entered the army but according to the replies the 
following seem to be the most outstanding reasons in the 
order of their importance as emphasized by the various 

1. The belief that this war is different. Duty to country. Patri- 

2. Lack of peace education in home and church. 

3. Social pressure — influence of friends and community. 

4. The economic problem — no pay in C.P.S. 

5. The belief that this war was forced upon the country and 
that there is nothing to do but jump in and get it over. 

6. Members indifferent to the church. 

7. Members unsympathetic to the peace tenets of the church. 

8. Entering the armed service the best policy and the easiest 
thing to do. 

9. Lack of knowledge of the CO. rights under the law. 

10. Lack of religious motivation. 

11. Appeal of the mechanical. 

12. Members working in defense plants. 

13. Some ministers theologically sympathetic with war. 

14. Many 18- and 19-year-old boys were drafted before they had 
maturely studied the problem of war. 

A Suggestion for Study 

1. Read the entire peace resolution of the Huntingdon Annual 

Questions for Discussion 

1. Has there been any weakening of the church's peace testi- 
mony through its official pronouncements? 

During World War Two 47 

2. In what ways is the church serving those who differ? 

3. Approximately how many drafted Brethren are in combatant, 
noncombatant and Civilian Public Service assignments? 

4. Why have so many Brethren entered straight military serv- 

5. What relation does this fact have to the lack of peace educa- 

Chapter V 


Scripture Message — Ephesians 6: 10-24 

The Church of the Brethren historically based its opposi- 
tion to war fundamentally upon the life, spirit, and teach- 
ings of Jesus. War to the Brethren was wrong because 
Christ said so. Even in World War II this basic position 
of the church did not change. Instead, the Annual Confer- 
ences held during the war made strong peace pronounce- 
ments. But the church experienced the unusual thing of 
having for the first time in Brethren history the majority 
of the drafted Brethren enter straight army service. The 
studies set forth in the previous chapter explain why. The 
Scripture message from Ephesians 6 also sheds light upon 
this problem. It is difficult for the Christian to stand against 
evil without putting on the whole armor of God. Nothing 
but the strongest peace convictions supported by the help of 
God will enable individuals to stand against the pressure of 
propaganda for war. The feet of the Brethren youth and 
adults were not sufficiently "shod with the preparation of 
the gospel of peace." They were not given the "shield of 
faith," "the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, 
which is the word of God." They were taught peace in 
general ways but not with such spiritual power as to reach 
the motives, habit patterns and emotions which control 
conduct. With this picture in mind, the reader can well 
look at the denomination as a whole. 

Did the Church of the Brethren Maintain or Weaken Her 
Peace Convictions During World War II? 

The great majority of the church leaders who will prob- 
ably have most to do with making the church decisions fol- 

During World War Two 49 

lowing the war support the church's peace teachings. The 
regional fieldworkers, the teachers in the seminary, the 
young people's secretary, the secretary of the Brethren 
Service Committee, the secretaries of the General Mission, 
Ministerial and Christian Education Boards, the editors of 
the Gospel Messenger and the Sunday-school literature, the 
manager of the Brethren Publishing House, the general 
boards members, the majority of the pastors of local church- 
es, and a strong minority of the laity upheld the church's 
peace convictions. The authorized delegates from local 
churches and districts for the Annual Conferences held 
since the war showed no tendency to weaken the church's 
peace statements which are on record with the government. 
The denomination as a whole constantly increased its sup- 
port to Brethren Service, including the C.P.S. camps. Many 
denominational leaders approached the writer regarding 
plans for a stronger peace education program following 
the war. There seem to be enough strong peace leaders in 
the denomination that no change will come soon in the 
church's official position. 

On the other hand, taking account of the peace leader- 
ship in the church does not tell the whole story. There 
were more strong militarists among the Brethren in World 
War II than in World War I and they were more vocal. 
What happened to the local churches? The study referred 
to in Chapter IV will yield valuable information here. 

Reports From Local Churches (161 Reporting) 

Small CI lurches 

City Town Country Rep't'ng 

1. Number of members in each group 

of churches 11,199 9,612 9,569 

2. The attitude of the local churches 
toward C.P.S. boys 

(a) Respect for stand taken, friendly 32 33 38 103 

50 Seventy Times Seven 

(b) Attitude is mixed — some for and 

some against 6 15 13 34 

(c) Neutral—little enthusiasm but 

conscience is respected 3 4 l 8 

(d) Members generally are critical 

of those who take the C.P.S. position 3 4 5 12 

Attitude of local churches toward 

(a) Respect for stand taken — toler- 
ant and friendly 33 41 50 124 

(b) Neutral— little enthusiasm but 

conscience is respected 1 6 7 

(c) Members generally disappointed 
at those taking noncombatant serv- 
ice (prefer C.P.S.) 3 3 

(d) Attitude is mixed — some mem- 
bers are favorable and some not ... 2 2 7 11 

Attitude of local churches toward 

(a) Respect for position taken — tol- 
erant and friendly 34 34 46 114 

(b) Combatants held as honored he- 
roes 3 9 12 

(c) Neutral — little enthusiasm but 

willing to respect conscience 7 7 

(d) Attitude is mixed — some for and 

some against 3 6 12 21 

3. What percentage of members are 

working in defense industries? 37 14 6V2 

4. Are members generally buying war 
bonds and stamps? 

(a) Yes, generally buying them 31 

(b) A substantial minority buying them 6 

(c) A few members buying them ... 4 

(d) Members not buying them 3 




























During World War Two 51 

5. Are members buying civilian bonds? 

(a) A few buying them 24 

(b) Not buying civilian bonds 20 

6. Are members generally supporting 
C.P.S. camps? 

(a) Generally supporting them .... 24 

(b) Partially supporting them 17 

(c) Practically no support given ... 3 

7. The attitude of the members toward 
the official peace position of the 
Church of the Brethren 

(a) Generally favorable toward the 
official peace position but feel that 
this war is different. The govern- 
ment needs their help and the axis 
must be defeated. Propaganda had 
changed their minds 24 28 30 82 

(b) The same peace position as in 
past years. Minds of people not 
greatly changed by war 18 22 27 67 

(c) Members generally think the 
peace position too difficult and needs 
to be restated 2 6 2 10 

8. What must the church do to main- 
tain its peace position? 

(a) Do a better job of teaching par- 
ents, children and young people, es- 
pecially in peacetime 34 34 46 114 

(b) Carry on a strong program of 
relief, reconstruction and commu- 
nity service, and give a positive tes- 
timony for peace and goodwill 14 

(c) Teach the Christian basis of pacifism 7 

(d) Practice peace in daily living . . 

(e) Discipline members for going to 
war 1 

(f) Eliminate church quarrels 

t » • » » 

































52 Seventy Times Seven 

(g) Put C.P.S. boys in more danger- 
ous situations 

9. The peace education program dur- 
ing the last ten years 

(a) Very little peace teaching in the 
local church 26 

(b) Sermons on peace given 21 

(c) Discussions on peace in young 
people's classes and groups 15 

(d) Special courses on peace organ- 
ized 9 

(e) Peace programs and dramas pre- 
sented and literature distributed . . 8 

(f) Group meetings to discuss the 
draft laws 4 

(g) Churches which had a strong 
peace program, including sermons, 
discussions, special classes and 
meetings to discuss the draft law . . 2 3 

10. Has your church been reading 
Matthew 18 before baptism? 

(a) Yes 30 

(b) Not consistently 14 

11. Is a peace pledge required as a 
covenant of church membership? 

(a) Yes 8 

(b) No 36 

12. Do you still have complete free- 
dom of speech? 

(a) Yes 35 

(b) Yes, with the exercise of caution 9 

(c) No — there is active opposition in 
the congregation to statements 

against war 7 4 11 

Do you feel free to preach sermons 
on peace during this war? 

(a) Yes, without reserve 31 35 37 103 



















During World War Two 53 

(b) Yes, with tact, only emphasizing 

the general principles of goodwill . . 10 13 20 43 

(c) No — believe that people do not 

want to hear sermons on peace now 3 7 4 14 

Is there any embarrassing factor in 
your congregation? 

(a) No 22 30 34 86 

(b) Yes — the presence of parents 

whose sons are in the army 7 18 4 29 

(c) Brethren viewpoint must be pre- 
sented cautiously to prevent divid- 
ing congregation 15 8 20 43 

13. What is happening to the Church 
of the Brethren now? 

(a) Church members are compro- 
mising and the church is in danger 

of losing its peace testimony 15 22 14 51 

(b) No major change has taken 
place in the peace convictions of the 

church members 6 9 10 25 

(c) The Church of the Brethren is 
changing from a negative antiwar 
emphasis to a positive program of 
relief and goodwill. It is gaining a 

sense of mission 12 7 12 31 

(d) There is a decided change in 

favor of the Brethren peace position 1 8 7 16 

14. Pertinent observations from ministers: 

"The leadership of the church is too far ahead of the member- 

"I recently baptized a soldier." 

"Our church is no longer an old-time Dunkard church. It goes 
along with the rest of the world." 

"A period of reaction against war is bound to come." 

"A girl in my church joined the WACS." 

"Most of my people admire the peace position of the church but 
they are working in defense plants." 



54 Seventy Times Seven 

"There are a few ministers working in defense plants." 

"It makes it hard for the rest of us when ministers* children go 
to war." 

"From several visitations in military camps, I am amazed how 
clearly our boys in the military camps see the value of our pro- 
gram. Many of them are sorry they did not take a C. O. stand. 
One of them said to me, The boys in the C.P.S. camps differ 
from the boys in the army in that they are bound together by 
a higher ideal/ After the war many of the soldiers will be on 
our side." 

"We need to rebuild the whole Brethren way of life and faith." 
The older people are unwilling to be C.O.'s at all in their role 
as citizens." 
There is an abysmal ignorance of intelligent pacifism even 
among the C.O.'s." 

"The young men who have gone no farther than public school 
and are farmers are in favor of the peace position." 

"The church is emotionally against the war but economically for 

"Whenever you find a minister who comes from Bethany in re- 
cent years you find a peace-educated man." 

"After ten years of thorough peace teaching, it should be made 
a test of fellowship in the church." 

"Two families criticized me for preaching peace and left the 

"At times during the last two years I have been heckled a few 
times when explaining our work, but that has vanished." 

Summary of Findings 

No claim is made that these questionnaires present sci- 
entific data. They are simply reports and observations of 
161 ministers and have the value of indicating trends in the 
church during the war. The reports represent 16.89 per 
cent of the church membership. 

1. The great majority of the churches respect the con- 
sciences of the young men who have chosen C.P.S., non- 
combatant activities and armed service. Most of them treat 
all the boys alike. However, more criticism is indicated 

During World War Two 55 

among church members toward those who have entered 
Civilian Public Service than against those who have gone 
into the various branches of armed service. 

2. A much larger percentage of members are working in 
defense industries in cities than in small towns and in the 

3. Forty-six per cent of the churches reported that the 
members generally were buying war bonds and stamps, 
while sixteen per cent indicated that a substantial minority 
and seventeen per cent that a few were purchasing them. 

4. The reports show that civilian bonds are not being 
bought by the Brethren to any large extent. 

5. Most of the churches are supporting C.P.S. camps, 
even those that are critical. Many parents who have sons 
in the army are supporting C.P.S. 

6. Practically fifty per cent of the churches reported that 
propaganda had changed the minds of many of their mem- 
bers, that while the church's peace position was held as 
an ideal they felt that this war was different and had to 
be fought. About forty-two per cent of the churches seemed 
to be holding steady in the face of propaganda. 

7. In order to maintain the church's peace position, sev- 
enty per cent of the ministers held that a strong teaching 
program is necessary, twenty-seven per cent advocated a 
peace testimony through relief and reconstruction, while 
others favored teaching the Christian basis of pacifism and 
a greater degree of peacefulness in daily living. 

8. Sixty-four per cent admitted that very little peace 
teaching had been done in their local churches during the 
last ten years and only seven churches could be rated as 
having carried out a strong peace teaching program. 

9. The churches generally are still reading Matthew 18 
before administering baptism but this time-honored prac- 
tice of the church is being dropped by some churches. 

56 Seventy Times Seven 

10. The requiring of a pledge from members not to go to 
war as a covenant of church membership has been dropped 
by 62 per cent of the churches. 

11. About three fourths of the ministers said that they 
had complete freedom of speech, 64 per cent felt free to 
preach sermons on peace during this war, but 45 per cent 
held that because of opposition to peace statements and 
C.P.S., the presence of parents in the congregation who had 
sons in the army, and division of opinion among the mem- 
bers, it was best for the unity of the church to exercise care 
in the statements made about the war. 

The replies from local churches indicate that there is 
a great lack in the peace education program, that war 
propaganda has changed the minds of a large percentage 
of the church members, that a substantial minority of the 
members worked in defense industries, and in almost one 
half of the churches the members generally purchased war 
bonds and stamps. 

Considering the number of young men who have gone 
into the army, there seems to be no other conclusion than 
that the Church of the Brethren, in spite of the fact that 
it is still officially pacifist, in reality during World War II 
moved some distance from its historical peace convictions. 
The educational program was weak and propaganda had 
its effect. Many church members for the time being gave 
up their peace convictions. The peace testimony of the 
Brethren is threatened. 

Reports From Regional Fieldworkers 

The regional workers gave the following answers to the 
questionnaire of January 28, 1943: 


1. Are the churches holding steady under the war strain? 
(1) Whether a local church holds steady depends much 

During World War Two 57 

upon the pastor 1 

(2) Churches are growing more steady as time goes on . . 3 

(3) Other issues are straining church relationships more 
than the war issue 1 

a. Are the churches moving toward the peace position of the 
church or away from it? 

(1) The churches are about holding their own, moving 
neither toward nor away from the peace position 3 

(2) The adult church is less antiwar than it was two years 
ago 3 

b. What is the attitude of the church toward the Civilian 
Public Service camps? 

(1) People in the churches are divided on the C.P.S. 
program 1 

(2) The attitude of the church toward C.P.S. is favorable 4 

(3) The churches are fairly well satisfied with C.P.S. 
camps 1 

c. Are more or fewer Brethren boys in your territory going 
into the army? 

(1) More boys going into the army now 3 

(2) About the same number going into the army as before 3 

2. Are the members generally buying war bonds, civilian 
bonds, or supporting the program of the church? 

(1) Many church members are buying war bonds 3 

(2) The war bond situation is difficult to determine but 
some are buying them 3 

(3) The purchase of civilian bonds is negligible 6 

(4) The support of C.P.S. is commendable 4 

(5) Seventy-five per cent of the churches are supporting 
C.P.S 1 

(6) Perhaps 10 to 20 per cent of the members are support- 
ing the program of the church 1 

3. What was lacking in the church program that so many 
Brethren boys went into the army? What must the church 
do in the future to change the present condition? 

58 Seventy Times Seven 

(1) Lack of adequate teaching 6 

(2) "If we would increase our strength toward universal 
goodwill we must change our parents, our church officials, 
and our college professors. Pressures from without will 
constantly be too strong against our sons to stand up 
against, if these three great institutions in our ranks are 
appeasingly nonchalant. Then, too, our pastors must be 
thoroughly trained in this viewpoint before entering up- 
on their work as pastors." 1 

(3) "To remedy the situation is but to get to the basic 
needs. Begin with the ministry. I am of the opinion that 
we should be more concerned about the attitude of the 
future ministry in our church. We should certainly accel- 
erate our educational program in every avenue possible." 1 

(4) "We need some type of revision along church mem- 
bership lines. . . . This would mean discipline and dis- 
fellowshiping in many places." 1 

(5) For the future, the church must train leaders in the 
peace position 2 

4. To what extent are the members of the churches work- 
ing in war industries? What effect will this have upon the 

(1) Many church members are working in war industries 5 

(2) "Have an ever-growing group working in war indus- 
tries. This has aided in convincing the youth that the 
older people can't take it." 1 

(3) "As a member goes deeper into war work just to that 
extent does his interest and participation in the program 

of the church wane." 1 

(4) "We will have more pacifists twenty years from now 
from among the men who served in the armed forces than 
from among those who earned $20 a day in war indus- 
tries." 1 

The reports from local churches and regions agree that 
quite a number of members bought war bonds and worked 
in defense industries, that the majority of churches had a 
good attitude toward C.P.S., that the percentage of drafted 
Brethren going into the army continued to increase, and 

During World War Two 59 

that the great weakness in the church program had been 
inadequate peace teaching. 

Reports From Camp Visitors 

The returns from the questionnaires of January 28, 1943, 
to camp visitors gave the following information: 



Each Answer 

1. 723 Brethren boys were visited in more than thirty army 
camps over the United States. Those visited represented 
approximately 9 per cent of the Brethren boys in the army, 
February 1, 1943. 

2. Of the 723, there were 167 in noncombatant service, or 
about 23 per cent of the total. This is higher than the re- 
ports from local churches indicate, but it may be explained 
by the fact that several medical centers, like Camp Grant, 
contained a large number of young men in noncombatant 

3. Attitudes of Brethren boys in the army to Brethren boys 
in the C.P.S. camps: 

(a) Not critical, tolerant — feel it is a matter of individual 
conscience 26 

(b) Say that the C.O.'s are wrong in philosophy 3 

(c) Say that C.P.S. boys are shirkers 1 

4. Attitude of Brethren boys in the army to the peace 
position of the church: 

(a) Believe in the peace position of the church but hold 
that they have an obligation to the government in this 
time of crisis 19 

(b) The peace position is fine as an ideal but unworkable 
now 8 

(c) Every case is different — some boys are in sympathy 
with the church peace position and some are not 3 

(d) Critical of the church's peace position 3 

(e) Love the church more than ever before and are in 
sympathy with its peace convictions 2 

60 Seventy Times Seven 

5. What the church will have to do to maintain its peace 

(a) Do more teaching 16 

(b) Make a greater testimony for peace through world 
service 13 

(c) Teach and preach the New Testament basis for 
pacifism 10 

6. A significant comment: 

I have letters in my file from about eight or ten boys making 
definite statements that they are very sorry that they ever came 
to the army. One said, "If I would only have taken my mother's 
advice." Some of these say that they came into the army because 
some of their friends went and they couldn't stand the social pres- 
sure to go the C.P.S. way. 

It seems from the reports of camp visitors that the Breth- 
ren boys in the army on the whole had a wholesome at- 
titude toward those who have chosen Civilian Public Serv- 
ice. The majority of them seemed to believe in the peace 
position as an ideal but felt an obligation to their country 
in this crisis. The reports indicated that there may be 
truth in H. L. Hartsough's claim that the trend away from 
peace will not come from the boys in the army. If the 
disillusionment following World War II is anything like it 
was after World War I, some of the strongest peace leaders 
will come from among those who served in the armed 
forces. And Hartsough holds that the disillusionment has 
already set in. It is probable that the Church of the Breth- 
ren is in more danger of losing its peace convictions from 
those who worked in defense areas than from the young 
men drafted into the service. The camp visitors agreed 
with the local churches and regional workers that a greater 
peace education program is necessary if the historic peace 
testimony of the church is to be maintained. 

The Brethren Publishing House and the Church's Peace 
The Brethren Publishing House, Elgin, Illinois, usually 

During World War Two 61 

has a hundred or more employees working in the plant. 

The majority of the employees are not Brethren. The writer 

asked the manager through a letter to explain how he 

handled the war bond situation. The following letter was 


April 5, 1943 
Rufus D. Bowman 
3435 Van Buren 
Chicago, 111. 

Dear Brother Bowman: 

I received your letter a few days ago, asking for some additional 
data relating to the way we solved the government bond problem 
at the Brethren Publishing House. We neglected getting this let- 
ter out because of the immense amount of business getting ready 
for the Board meetings. 

It is well known that the promotional part of government bond pur- 
chases was left largely to the life insurance companies in the com- 
munity especially as it is related to your problem of purchasing 
through publishing house, factory and plant like our own. 

At the very beginning I invited the insurance men to my office for 
an interview. They went over the plan in detail. I also invited to 
my office Mr. Brubaker and Mr. Hoff in order that we might have 
complete understanding of the problem. After their presentation 
was made I asked for the opportunity to interpret to them Selective 
Service as it is related to the CO. problem. This was done rather 
completely, I believe. The two men from the insurance office hap- 
pened to be Presbyterian. When they saw that there were over 
200 boys from their church in C.P.S., they began to talk about the 
common problem rather than isolate the Brethren as the only C.O.'s. 
After the insurance men understood our C.P.S. problem, they con- 
cluded the employees in the Brethren Publishing House could 
either have a deduction for government bonds or have a similar 
deduction for the Brethren Service Committee. 

We called a meeting on house time and let the insurance men pre- 
sent the plan to all employees. After their meeting with our em- 
ployees, government cards furnished by the insurance men were 
given to every employee in the Brethren Publishing House. The 
next day the following memorandum was placed on the bulletin 

62 Seventy Times Seven 

Because some of our employees who have religious ob- 
jection to the purchase of war bonds have requested the 
management to give them the privilege of taking on a 
similar method for Brethren Service, Brethren Service 
cards may be secured at the office if the employee so de- 
sires to make that type of deduction. 

You may be interested to have the results of these two deduction 
plans following that period. Fifty-four of our employees purchased 
government bonds, totaling a weekly deduction of $57.00, which as 
you see figures $2,964.00 per year. Forty-two of our employees 
signed up for Brethren Service Certificates, totaling a weekly de- 
duction of $40.85, which as you see figures $2,124.20 per year. 

You may be interested to know that we have had this going a little 
over a year, and as far as I can see there is no letdown among those 
that are purchasing Brethren Service certificates. If anything, the 
percentage would be slightly increased at the present time. 

One interesting fact was that the life underwriters wished to see if 
it was necessary when they reported our employees to Springfield 
to report those members of our group who are buying Brethren 
Service certificates. Washington wrote back to Springfield and 
Springfield wrote back to the local life insurance men that in the 
future the Brethren Publishing House need not report any giving 
or lack of giving of those employees having deductions to support 
C.P.S. You readily see what this meant to the rest of our employ- 
ees who are buying government bonds. It does not penalize them 
where a large percentage of the people are not buying war bonds. 
I hope this letter may be helpful on the problem. 

Sincrely yours, 

E. M. Hersch, Manager 

The manager gave those who preferred to buy war bonds 
the democratic right to do so, worked out a plan to ac- 
comodate those who desire to support Brethren Service, and 
exercised no pressure in behalf of war bonds. In fact, 
throughout the war, he has consistently supported the 
program of the church and has turned down government 
bids for the printing of war materials. 

During World War Two 63 

Bethany Biblical Seminary and the Church's Peace Position 

All the faculty members of the seminary are in favor of 
the church's peace position. The young ministers are taught 
the historic ideals of the church, the Biblical basis of peace 
and the techniques of nonviolent action. In the early days 
of the bond sale drive, the seminary received the following 
telegram from the United States Treasury Department: 

Washington, D. C. 
January 15, 1942 

To Bethany Biblical Seminary 
Chicago, 111. 

Secretary Morgenthau is very anxious to learn whether you have 
Defense Savings Stamps on sale in your institution or plans for 
such sale. Would appreciate an answer this week. An outline of 
Treasury program to supplement your efforts will be mailed you in 
the near future. 

Signed, Orville S. Poland 

The faculty members voted unanimously that the follow- 
ing reply be sent: 

Bethany Biblical Seminary 

Chicago, 111. 

January 17, 1942 
Mr. Orville S. Poland 
Defense Saving Staff 
United States Treasury Department 
Washington, D. C. 

Dear Sir: 

I am replying to your telegram of January 15. Bethany Biblical 
Seminary is the Theological Seminary of the Church of the Breth- 
ren. The historic position of the Church of the Brethren is known 
to our government. We are supporting, as individuals, the Civilian 
Public Service Camps and constructive forms of Relief Work. It is 
our interpretation that in our democracy, the purchase of Defense 
Stamps and Bonds is an individual and voluntary matter. We 
question whether churches and Theological seminaries should be 

64 Seventy Times Seven 

asked as institutions to sponsor this program. If this interpreta- 
tion is not acceptable, we request you to grant an interview with 
leaders of the Church of the Brethren. 


Rufus D. Bowman, President 

The seminary has sold no defense bonds and stamps but 
Brethren Service certificates have been kept on sale in 
the bookstore. The majority of the students work part- 
time at Sears and Roebuck. Some of their managers at 
first used pressure to get them to buy war bonds and 
stamps. Several mass meetings of students were called by 
student leaders to discuss the problem. The students ap- 
pointed representatives to go to the managers and explain 
the peace position of the church and to inform them that 
the students were supporting Brethren Service. Individual 
students were also asked to make proper explanations. The 
problem was solved by exempting Bethany students from 
the necessity of purchasing war bonds, without any student 
losing his job. 

The Brethren Colleges and the War Situation 

The General Education Board, representing the six Breth- 
ren colleges and the seminary, brought the following recom- 
mendation to the Council of Boards, which was approved by 
that body, November 11, 1942: 

The Council of Boards recognizes the critical situation which 
today confronts our colleges. They now represent what is perhaps 
the most critical area of our church life. We commend our trus- 
tee boards and faculties for their endeavors to serve the nation as 
fully as possible in a war crisis and at the same time support the 
historic position of the church in regard to war and peace. We 
realize that our trustee boards may momentarily be called upon to 
make decisions which for the time being might jeopardize the con- 
tinuance of our college program. This council desires to urge our 
colleges to do all within their power to keep liberal education alive 
and free in our country, and to continue to defend and interpret the 

During World War Two 65 

traditional position of the church in regard to freedom of conscience 
and participation in war. We call upon the families of the church 
to send their children to our own colleges more faithfully than ever 
before and we urge gifts and donations to the colleges by individu- 
als and churches on a more generous basis. We the Council of 
Boards pledge our combined efforts to rally to the colleges the 
financial support of the Church, if in defense of the peace principles 
of the Church they suffer loss of students and of finances. 1 

This declaration shows the concern of the educational 
institutions to support the historic peace principles of the 

The Brethren colleges are a product not only of denomi- 
national support but of community interest. For a number 
of years they have had a large non-Brethren attendance 
and during the year 1941-42 three of the colleges had more 
non-Brethren than Brethren in their student bodies. How- 
ever, the record of the colleges in the support of Brethren 
peace principles during the second world war was probably 
better than that of the church as a whole. Even though 
all the colleges were approached by the government re- 
garding the taking of military units, not one Brethren col- 
lege accepted a military unit on its campus. While the pro- 
grams of other colleges were financed by government mon- 
ey, Brethren colleges out of loyalty to the church suffered 
the loss of income and were forced to make many adjust- 
ments in personnel and budgets. Outside of the regular ac- 
celerated program the colleges made no major curricular 
changes. Freedom of conscience was granted to both paci- 
fists and nonpacifists in the student bodies. The community 
attitude toward the colleges was good and the fact that 
these colleges are owned by a historic peace church did not 
seem to be any large factor in the decrease of students. 
The presidents of the colleges are becoming increasingly in- 
terested not only in continually making the Brethren col- 

1 Minutes of the General Education Board, Church of the Brethren, Elgin, 
111., November 11, 1942, pp. 2-3. 

66 Seventy Times Seven 

leges strong institutions for academic training, but also in 
leading them toward becoming creative centers of Brethren 
life and thought. 

General Summary 

The Church of the Brethren has a strong minority group 
holding firmly to her peace principles. This group includes 
the majority of the outstanding church leaders. However, 
according to the reports from local churches, regions and 
camp visitors, including the large number of young men 
who have gone into the army, the majority of members 
seem to have been vitally affected by war propaganda and 
have slipped away from the peace position of the church. 
The large number of adult members who supported the 
war economically and worked in defense areas seems to 
be more dangerous to the future peace convictions of the 
church than the young men who were in the army. The 
ministers, regional workers and camp visitors agreed that 
the greatest lack has been a strong teaching program. The 
Church of the Brethren today stands as one of the historic 
peace churches whose peace testimony has been weakened 
by the war. Whether the strong peace minority in the 
church can carry on an educational program of such strength 
to conserve the Brethren peace testimony in a world mov- 
ing toward a greater degree of government control over 
persons, only the future can tell. 

Two questions, however, should be asked. Does the fact 
that the majority of Brethren have supported the war sys- 
tem make war right? What is the Christian's basis for 
knowing what is right and what is wrong? Seventy Times 
Seven will give the Christian doctrine of peace. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. Do you think that the Church of the Brethren maintained 
her peace convictions during Warld War II? 

During World War Two 67 

2. What was the prevailing attitude of local churches toward 
drafted Brethren who were in combatant and noncombatant serv- 
ice, and in Civilian Public Service? 

3. Approximately what percentage of the Brethren supported 
the war economically? 

4. What effect did war propaganda have upon the minds of the 
church members? 

5. What did the reports show from local churches, regional 
workers and camp visitors regarding the peace teaching program 
of the church? 

Chapter VI 


Scripture Message — Matthew 18 

One of the most terrible facts in our world is the wide- 
spread increase of hate. The pathway of redemption from, 
hate is through reconciliation. The heart of reconciliation 
is forgiveness. Both forgiveness and reconciliation are ex- 
pressed in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. This has 
been the most outstanding Bible chapter in the history of 
the Church of the Brethren. It has been read through the 
years before baptism as a basis for instructing the candi- 
dates for church membership regarding their conduct in 
human relationships. It contains the central idea of Breth- 
renism, which is reconciliation. In fact, Alexander Mack, 
Jr., in his memoirs gives the practice of Matthew eighteen 
as one of the reasons why the Christian fellowship now 
known as the Church of the Brethren was founded. 

The theme of the chapter is unlimited forgiveness. Simon 
Peter thought he was becoming very gracious in spirit 
when he said, "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against 
me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?" This was a 
high standard, wasn't it? It is very difficult to get Chris- 
tians to forgive one time. The rabbinical standard was 
three times and after that forgiveness was not required. 
But the Master brushed aside all limitations and conditions 
and said, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Un- 
til seventy times seven." Forget the mathematics of it. 
Seventy times seven means unlimited forgiveness. 

The Christian Philosophy of Peace 69 

Seventy Times Seven in Relationship to What Goes 


The disciples had asked Jesus the question, "Who is 
greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" In response to this 
inquiry, the Master gave the discourse contained in the 
eighteenth chapter. He dramatized the kingdom by plac- 
ing a child in the midst. He told his disciples they must 
become like little children, possessing the childlike quali- 
ties of purity, humility, trustfulness, teachableness, and 
love. They were not to despise these little ones for they 
were precious with the Father. The Master made it clear 
that the first requirement of his disciples was Christlike- 
ness in character and disposition. 

The chapter moves quickly into a revelation of the prin- 
ciple of personality. "For the Son of man is come to save 
that which was lost." The mission of Jesus was the redemp- 
tion of personality. If Jesus thought so much of persons, 
how about the Father? "Even so it is not the will of your 
Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones 
should perish." And the Father's attitude was further ex- 
pressed through the man who had a hundred sheep, and 
who left the ninety and nine and went into the mountains 
to seek the one which had gone astray. The preciousness of 
persons in the mind of Jesus was really the attitude of 
God toward persons. Matthew eighteen taken in its re- 
lationships shows that unlimited forgiveness is linked with 
Christlikeness of character, which in turn is related to the 
spirit of the Son and the Father, who made persons the 
central value in the universe and the redemption of per- 
sons the central work of the kingdom. 

Seventy Times Seven Means a Faith 

"I say not unto you, Until seven times; but, Until seventy 
times seven." From whence does such forgiveness come? 

70 Seventy Times Seven 

Are these simply the words of a Palestinian Jew without 
any significance beyond? Were they words to Simon Peter 
without any application beyond the limits of eastern hori- 
zons? Or does seventy times seven express the nature of 
God? Does the character of Christ shine through? Is the 
soul of the universe opened so that we see its nature? Is 
the redemptive process which transcends all limitations of 
time heralded to the ages? 

Seventy times seven as a faith is undergirded by the 
Christlike God. "He that hath seen me, hath seen the 
Father (John 14: 9). Jesus is the perfect revelation of God. 
Through Jesus God spoke a Word. Through Jesus God ex- 
pressed his Spirit. Through Jesus God gave us a valid 
picture of his nature. Through Jesus we know that God 
is Christlike and is doing a Christlike work in this world 
for the redemption of men. The Christlikeness of God 
is a fundamental concept for makers of peace. The deity 
of Christ is central in the Bible and in Christian doctrine. 

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only be- 
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16). That's 
universal, isn't it? And it identifies the spirit and mission 
of Christ with that of the Father. 

"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the 
Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not 
of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth 
the works" (John 14: 10). Isn't this clear as to the Father's 
spirit and mission through Jesus? 

"I and my Father are one" (John 10: 30). One in word, 
spirit, nature, and mission. 

We have discovered here the Rock of Ages. It is not a 
relativity. It is the supreme Absolute of the universe. 
God's expression of himself through Jesus! The words of 
Christ having God through them! The soul of the uni- 

The Christian Philosophy of Peace 71 

verse epitomized in the character of God through Christ! 

From this central reality the Christian can say with 
certainty that Christ and war cannot be reconciled. Some 
people try to reconcile the two but they cannot. "Blessed 
are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children 
of God" (Matthew 5: 9), says Jesus. But the Savior did 
not stop there! "Love your enemies, bless them that curse 
you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them 
which despitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 
5: 44). And still the Master went further! He lived it! 
He went to the cross! He bore all suffering and shame in 
winsome silence! The cross becomes through him the 
Christian's deepest experience and the supreme redemptive 
event. It is God's method of dealing with evil. Also Christ's 
method, and our method! The way of the kingdom of God! 
War teaches men to hate. Christ teaches men to love each 
other. War destroys personality. Christ through his 
followers redeems personality. War destroys fellowship 
between peoples, builds walls of partition. The spirit of 
Christ builds fellowship between peoples and nations. War 
makes the will of the state supreme, and men become the 
tools of machines. Jesus makes the will of God supreme 
and men become the children of their heavenly Father. 
War is contrary to the teachings of Christ, the spirit of God, 
the disposition of the universe, and the highest welfare of 

Seventy times seven as a faith not only means undergird- 
ing our convictions with the Christlike God; it includes 
faith that persons represent the central value of the uni- 
verse. The Creator made man in his own spiritual image 
with capacities for fellowship, growth, and achievement. 
Man was the highest order of creation. God so loved per- 
sons that he gave his Son for their salvation. Christ so 
loved persons that he lived for them, taught them, and 

72 Seventy Times Seven 

finally died for them. God's love, Christ's love, the sacri- 
ficial atonement, are central realities of the Christian re- 
ligion. Christ died to reconcile man to God. And accord- 
ing to the teachings of Jesus anything is sin which harms 
personality and breaks man's fellowship with God. Through 
Jesus one sees that persons are too precious to become the 
objects of brute force and engines of death. Through him 
man sees his reach, what he is meant to do and be. "Be- 
loved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet ap- 
pear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall 
appear, . . . we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3: 2). That 
is the eternal goal of man's development — to be like him, 
and his service — to help make others like him. 

Seventy times seven as a faith not only means the Christ- 
like God and the preciousness of persons; it is faith in the 
overcoming power of love. "Be not overcome of evil, but 
overcome evil with good" (Romans 12: 21). This means 
the exercise of an active ministry of reconciliation. Those 
who believe in peace are not to allow war to go on without 
doing something about it. Christians are to attack war and 
sin of all kinds by the power of the soul. The overcoming 
of evil is to be through nonviolent means — through the 
exercise of love and forgiveness. It is faith that love is 
the strongest influence in the world, and will win if prac- 
ticed long enough and by enough people. It is the moral 
force centered in these words, "Do good to them that hate 
you." This moral force is the most redemptive power in 
the world. The exercise of hate and vengeance, fighting 
until the enemy is completely crushed, develops ill will 
which will last for generations. The exercise of understand- 
ing and goodwill, the practice of fair dealing, the mani- 
festation of concern for the economic welfare of others, 
and the recognition of racial equality break down the re- 
sistance of enemies and create friends. But some say that 

The Christian Philosophy of Peace 73 

the moral force of love will not work when gangsters are 
abroad. But what makes gangsters abroad, the exercise of 
goodwill or imperialism? What continues gangsters in the 
world, the settlement of international difficulties on the 
basis of fairness, or upon the basis of imperialistic ambi- 
tions? War has been tried and has been found wanting! 
The whole earth is stained with its blood! The time is 
here to try reconciliation based upon forgiveness and love. 
The moral force of love may not always protect our homes 
and our land. But in the perspective of God it will win. 
The offer of goodwill and fair dealing will in the long run 
undercut the power of ruthless rulers and shake the founda- 
tions of their thrones. It is hard for people to keep on 
killing those who do not fight back. There is something 
in human nature which responds to the right hand of friend- 
ship and the kiss of peace. Love is the strongest force in 
the world. As Christians we should use it. If it doesn't 
win we should still use it, and climb Calvary's cross and 
die with him who took to the earth like a grain of corn 
in order that the redemptive power of the full-grown stalk 
might bless the world. 

There is a story told by U. J. Jones in an old history 
about the Brethren at Morrison's Cove, Pennsylvania. Jones 
said that these Brethren did not believe in fighting back. 
They wouldn't protect themselves. He said that they took 
the first part of Cromwell's advice, "Trust in God," but not 
the second part, for they would not "keep their powder 
dry." In fact, Jones claims that this was an ingredient 
they did not know at all. One day Indians swooped down 
upon them and began to kill their loved ones. The Breth- 
ren, instead of fighting back, bowed their heads and ut- 
tered over and over again, "Gottes Wille sei gethan" (God's 
will be done). After killing and scalping thirty of the 
Dunkers, the victorious warriors marched triumphantly 

74 Seventy Times Seven 

away. The surrounding people called them foolish. But 
the Indians never forgot the people who wouldn't fight back. 
Years afterward during the Revolutionary War some of the 
old Indians were asking whether the "Gotswiltahns" still 
lived in Morrison's Cove. There is something winsome 
about sufferinjg love. 

Seventy Times Seven Means a Spirit 

It is faith in the Christlike God revealed through Jesus, 
but this includes the expression of a spirit. God's spirit 
is that of love and forgiveness. Yes, unlimited forgiveness! 
And Christians are links in the chain through which this 
spirit is given to the world. Brethren should be instru- 
ments for the communication of God's spirit. "I say not 
unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times 
seven." A Christian cannot be Godlike and Christlike and 
hate anybody. No! A Christian cannot be Christlike and 
hate the Germans, the Japanese, and the Italians, in the 
home community and in the world of nations. And love 
for these people is nothing less than a quick stopping of 
war, a fair and just peace, and equal opportunity for all 
peoples to the economic, cultural, educational, and spiritual 
goods of life. "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, 
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, tem- 
perance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5: 22-23). 

Matthew eighteen illustrates the necessity for this spirit 
with the parable with which the chapter closes. A certain 
king took account of his servants and found one who owed 
him ten thousand talents. The king was going to sell all 
that the servant had but the servant begged for patience 
and promised to pay all. The king was moved with com- 
passion for the servant and forgave the debt. This same 
servant went out and found a fellow servant who owed 
him a hundred pence. He laid hands upon him and de- 

The Christian Philosophy of Peace 75 

manded payment. His fellow servant begged for mercy and 
patience, but he would not grant it. Instead he threw him 
into prison, till he could pay. But the lord of the servant 
heard about it and called the servant whom he had forgiven 
back to him and said, "O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee 
all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldst not thou 
also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I 
had pity on thee?" Forgiving others and being forgiven by 
the Father are connected. God's forgiveness of us is con- 
ditioned by our forgiveness to others. "For if ye forgive 
men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also for- 
give your trespasses: but if ye forgive not men their tres- 
passes, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" 
(Matthew 6: 14-15). Christian peacemakers must live in 
the spirit of that which they aim to accomplish. 

Seventy Times Seven Means a Technique 

It is winning the erring brother through forgiveness and 
understanding. There is another part of Matthew eighteen 
to which reference has not been made. This spirit of un- 
limited forgiveness, coming through God and Christ, is to 
be applied to all human relationships. "Moreover if thy 
brother shall trespass against thee, go tell him his fault be- 
tween thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast 
gained thy brother." This is the technique of reconciliation. 
The one who is offended takes the initiative. He goes in 
the spirit of love and forgiveness, not to win his cause, but 
to win the offending brother. He goes in the power of love 
to get the man. He does it through goodwill, the bringing 
about of understanding, and through handling the matter 
quietly. The wounded heart goes out to express love for 
the heart from which the arrow was shot. 

If this process of reconciliation fails, the follower of Christ 
is not to give up. "But if he will not hear thee, then take 

76 Seventy Times Seven 

with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or 
three witnesses every word may be established." The help 
of a few neighbors and friends without advertisement may 
be sought in order to bring about reconciliation, but un- 
limited forgiveness is still the motive. 

If this process fails, the follower of Christ may ask the 
church to aid him in affecting reconciliation. "And if he 
shall neglect to hear them tell it unto the church: but if he 
neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an 
heathen man and a publican." But the unlimited forgive- 
ness is to operate still. This offending brother who has re- 
fused to be reconciled is henceforth to be regarded as an 
object of conversion. 

These are the techniques of reconciliation — forgiveness 
for those who have wronged us, the innocent one going to 
the guilty to win him, the quiet approach without advertis- 
ing the wrong, bringing about understanding through talk- 
ing things over in love, when failing in reconciliation get- 
ting the help of friends and church, overcoming evil through 
the moral force of goodness, exercising love and forgiveness 
even toward those who will not be reconciled, and bearing 
the cross silently through all the difficult relationships of 
this redemptive process. 

When the writer was a boy on a Virginia farm, there was 
a rogue in the community who would steal our corn and 
apples. To the dismay of other people, my father would 
sometimes have this man work for him because he felt that 
his family needed the money. My father treated this rogue 
with the utmost kindness and never spoke an unkind word 
about him. When the man came to die he called for my 
father, made a confession of how he had lived, and asked 
for prayer. My father discovered in the man's house a 
dusty Bible, opened its pages and read Scripture, knelt down 
and prayed for the man who had wronged him, asked for 

The Christian Philosophy of Peace 77 

his restoration to health and to his family, and gripped his 
hand when he left as a friend and brother. That is God's 
redemptive method; it is the technique of reconciliation. 

Matthew eighteen is a solid foundation for the Christian 
doctrine of peace. But does the Bible as a whole teach 
peace? The next two chapters will tell. 

Suggestions for Study 

1. Read the entire eighteenth chapter of Matthew. 

2. Compare this chapter with the teachings of the Sermon on the 
Mount, and also with Luke 14: 25-33 which was used at the found- 
ing of the church. 

3. Look up other Scripture references in the New Testament 
which give the teachings of Jesus regarding war. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. What are the fundamental reasons why war is wrong? 

2. Is it ever Christian to hate? 

3. How should the Christian practice the spirit of peace in his 
home, church and community? 

4. Does the gospel of peace apply to our attitudes toward other 
peoples like the Japanese, Germans and Italians? 

5. What are the techniques of nonviolent action? 

6. How should these techniques be applied in dealing with 

7. Which is the more likely to change enemies into friends, the 
use of military force or goodwill and fair treatment? 

8. If the use of goodwill fails, should the Christian fight or exer- 
cise suffering love and follow Jesus to the cross? 

Chapter VII 

Scripture Message — Matthew 5: 38-48 

Principles of Biblical Interpretation 

Does the Bible teach war or peace? This is a funda- 
mental question facing the Christian today. In answering 
it, four principles of Biblical interpretation are suggested. 

1. God through Christ is the central source of New Testa- 
ment authority. Jesus is the key which unlocks the treas- 
ures of the New Testament. The Old Testament looks for- 
ward to him. The New Testament clusters around him. 
The solid ground for New Testament authority is that God 
spoke his Word through Jesus. The first question applicants 
are asked before the act of baptism is "Dost thou believe 
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he brought 
from heaven a saving gospel?" The Church of the Brethren 
from its origin has had a profound belief in the trustworthi- 
ness of Christ. Brethren have believed in the finality of 
Jesus. This principle of interpretation is essentially Bibli- 
cal, too. It is established by the words of the Savior him- 
self: "I and my Father are one" (John 10: 30). "All things 
are delivered unto me of my Father" (Matthew 11: 27a). 
These Scriptures are consistent with a total view of the 
Master's life and thought. 

2. The consistency of Jesus' life with his teachings. Breth- 
ren have had a unique appreciation for the ethical teachings 
of Jesus, and have emphasized the life of Jesus right along 
with his ethical principles. It is important to see whether 
the Master lived what he taught. 

3. Scriptural teachings should be interpreted in relation 
to the context. It is true that there are many texts which 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 79 

like nuggets of gold contain great truth within themselves. 
But all texts are illuminated by the context and many can 
be rightly understood only as they are viewed in their im- 
mediate connections and larger relationships. Interpreting 
the Bible through selecting isolated texts often makes for 
misunderstandings and misinterpretations. People should 
be led into the heart and spirit of the Bible, should see 
Jesus Christ at its center, and should follow the develop- 
ment of great doctrines through its various books. The 
Bible is the Word of God, the Christian's guide for life, 
but it needs to be rightly understood. 

4. The Old Testament should be studied in the light of 
the New. The Old Testament is filled with divine teachings. 
It is the sacred record of man's experiences of God and of 
God's progressive revelation of himself to man (Hebrews 
1: 1-2) . In the Bible there is a constant growth in man's un- 
derstanding of God. The character of God has not changed, 
but man's conception of his character has changed. Through 
all the ages the Father wanted man to know him as he really 
is. Some of the prophets touched high peaks in their 
glimpses of the divine nature. But only as God sent his Son 
into the world was man to see the true character of the 
Father. Jesus then is the perfect and complete expression 
of the spirit and nature of God. 

Brethren theology may be briefly and simply stated. The 
teachings of Christ are authoritative because of his deity. 
They are the blueprints of the kingdom, the ideals by 
which Christians are to live, and thus are not to be under- 
stood in terms of the relative standards of any age. God 
through Christ is the central source for New Testament 
authority, and the light from which the Old Testament 
should be studied. 

80 Seventy Times Seven 

Basic Teachings of Jesus 

There are many teachings of Jesus which cannot be dis- 
cussed in this chapter. There are three fundamental teach- 
ings, however, which summarize his gospel, and which give « 
the heart and spirit of the Savior. They are (1) love of God 
and love for neighbor; (2) God as the loving Father of all 
races and nations; (3) and the cross as the way of life. 

1. Love of God and love for neighbor go together. In 
answer to the lawyer in Matthew twenty-two Jesus sum- 
marized the law and the prophets as loving God with all 
heart, soul, and mind and loving "thy neighbor as thyself." 
Consistent with this he expounded the Golden Rule: ''There- 
fore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do 
to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7: 12). He placed 
his blessing upon the peacemakers and declared that "they 
shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5: 9). From 
his lips came the parable of the good Samaritan, in which 
Christ showed that the true neighbor was the person who 
showed mercy on one in need. He taught that one's neigh- 
bor is not defined in terms of geography or color. All 
peoples are to be considered as neighbors worthy of justice 
and goodwill. Even those classed as enemies are to be 

The Christian is sometimes perplexed regarding how to 
exercise this love for neighbor. Jesus gives the answer: 
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12: 31). 
But what does this mean? Does it mean the love of affec- 
tion which lies at the heart of beautiful home life? The 
writer was puzzled over this question when a boy for there 
lived a man in his community who would get drunk al- 
most every week end, frighten his family, and cause a gen- 
eral excitement among the neighbors. How could a boy 
love this man like himself? Naturally, this Scripture does 
not mean the love of affection, but the love of compassion 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 81 

and prayerful interest moving out to redeem. It means do- 
ing good unto others, preaching the gospel to those who do 
not know it, and giving one's self sacrificially that others 
might have life to the full. Love of neighbor means that 
unselfish concern that all peoples of the earth might have 
the same conditions of life which make for peaceful, health- 
ful, and spiritual living which the follower of Christ claims 
as his own. In reality it involves equality of opportunity 
economically, socially, intellectually, and spiritually. And 
this is the pathway to peace. 

How to love God sometimes also baffles the Christian. 
"God is a Spirit" (John 4: 24), says Jesus. He is Person- 
ality. God as Spirit thinks and feels and wills. Men as 
spirits created in his image also have the capacity of think- 
ing, loving and choosing. Jesus revealed the character of 
God as that of holiness and love. God's will for man is 
that he might be redeemed through Christ and grow in 
Christlikeness. Therefore, loving God means to obey the 
Word of God; to surrender one's entire life to the will of 
God; to set one's love on the pure, the beautiful and the 
good; to develop in one's mind concepts of truth in harmony 
with Christ's teachings; and to make seeking the kingdom 
of God the all-absorbing goal of life (Matthew 6: 33). 

2. The Fatherhood of God is also a central teaching of 
the Master. Jesus did not originate the word Father but 
he gave new content to the Christian concept of God's fa- 
therhood. Jesus spoke of God as Father 168 times. It was 
the habitual thought of Christ. He saw the Father as hav- 
ing an intimate, tender, and loving relationship to his 
children. He proclaimed the infinite love of God in sending 
his only begotten Son for man's salvation (John 3: 16). He 
described traits of the divine character as being impartial 
kindness, goodness and mercifulness. After enjoining love 
of enemies he gave as the reason for this complete love, 

82 Seventy Times Seven 

"that ye may be the children of your Father which is in 
heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the 
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Be 
ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is 
perfect" (Matthew 5: 45, 48). He taught that the father- 
hood of God is individual, universal, and unconditioned by 
either race or nationality. When the publicans and sinners 
drew near him, and the Pharisees criticized because he as- 
sociated with sinners, the Master spoke the parable of the 
lost sheep (Luke 15: 1-7). He recognized each soul as 
having infinite value. Paul interpreted the fatherhood of 
God when he said that God "hath made of one blood all 
nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth" (Acts 
17: 26a). The great apostle in the letter to the Ephesians 
summarized this doctrine in the words, "One God and 
Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you 
all" (Ephesians 4: 6). 

Love of neighbor, love of God, and God's impartial father- 
hood of all peoples do not leave any room for war. War 
changes love of neighbor into hate. War makes God a 
tribal deity instead of a universal Father. 

3. The cross as the way of life means suffering wrong 
rather than fighting back. Instead of seeking revenge, Je- 
sus asks his disciples to pray for those that persecute them. 
Cross-bearing is to be a normal part of the Christian's ex- 
perience. "If any man will, come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 
9: 23). Love is to govern all human relationships as de- 
scribed in Matthew eighteen. This love is to be no passive 
thing. It is the innocent suffering for the guilty to redeem 
the guilty. 

Matthew 5: 39 needs Romans 12: 21 to complete its mean- 
ing. The Brethren doctrine of nonresistance has often been 
based upon the Master's words, "But I say unto you, that 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 83 

ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy 
right cheek, turn to him the other also." This means that 
the Christian should not resist in the spirit of hate the per- 
son who would wrong him. But it certainly does not mean 
acquiescence in evil. The nonresistant statement of Jesus 
is followed by the positive command to "do good to them 
that hate you" (Matthew 5: 44). This is the same teaching 
that is given by Paul: "Be not overcome of evil, but over- 
come evil with good" (Romans 12: 21). While the Christian 
is to exercise no retaliation for wrongs suffered, he is to 
overcome evil through the power of the soul. He is to 
attack sin of all kinds nonviolently and bring about de- 
sirable changes through the power of forgiving and suffer- 
ing love. Christians should even work for a warless world, 
for followers of Christ are to be peacemakers. 

Does the New Testament sanction war? Chapter six an- 
swers this question doctrinally. War is found to be out of 
harmony with the Christlike God, the preciousness of per- 
sons, the overcoming power of love, and the spirit of un- 
limited forgiveness. This chapter endeavors to answer the 
question Biblically. Love of neighbor, love of God, the 
fatherhood of God, and the way of the cross all repudiate 
the war system. 

Is the Sermon on the Mount Meant for Christians Today? 

There are many who agree that the teachings of Jesus do 
not sanction war but they hold that these sayings of Jesus 
were meant for particular individuals at a particular time 
and are not relevant to the complex problems today. It 
is true that Jesus lived when the world was smaller and 
when the conditions of life were more simple than now. 
But he proclaimed principles of life which are eternally 
true. They do not depend upon any age for their validity. 
To claim that the ethical ideals of Jesus are invalidated for 

84 Seventy Times Seven 

human conduct because of the limitations of the Master's 
geographical location and historical outlook in reality leaves 
no ground for a Christian ethic based upon the teachings of 
Jesus. Give up the ethical teachings of Jesus and the 
Christian has no standard for judging right and wrong ex- 
cept the confused relativisms of today. And these rela- 
tivisms are landing the world in chaos. God's Word through 
Christ gives the Christian eternal truth to live by. 

There are others who claim that Christ's words from the 
Mount are perfect ideals not meant for this age, but for the 
kingdom of God which is to come. They hold that Christ's 
teachings are to be realized in a perfect society to be ushered 
in by the direct intervention of God. In the meantime 
Christians are to be content to follow the way of Jesus to 
the extent that is possible under the circumstances. And 
since the circumstances are so difficult, the adherents of this 
view consider the ethical teachings of Jesus impracticable 
as the way of living now. 

The Christian should notice, however, that Jesus did not 
give any evidence that obedience to his teachings was to be 
postponed. He called disciples to follow him and intro- 
duced them to a way of living untried before. The central 
theme of his preaching was the kingdom of God, which 
meant the reign of God in individual and social relation- 
ships. He meant that his teachings were to be lived. His 
disciples were not to adjust their living downward in har- 
mony with surrounding practices, but were to live right- 
eously in spite of everything. "For if ye love them which 
love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the pub- 
licans the same?" (Matthew 5: 46). The early church re- 
garded Jesus' words as requirements for Christian con- 
duct. The following statement is an indication of how 
early Christians lived. "And labour, working with our own 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 85 

hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suf- 
fer it" (1 Corinthians 4: 12). 

God was in Christ and the teachings of Jesus have been 
and are the Christian's pillar of cloud by day and fire by 
night. The writer makes no claim that human efforts will 
bring the kingdom of God on earth. At best those redeemed 
through Christ are only instruments in the hands of God to 
carry forward his work. When man in obedience to the 
divine will co-operates with the active work of God in the 
world, fruitage for the kingdom is realized. How far man 
guided by God's Spirit will be able to bring the kingdom of 
God on earth, the writer does not know. The question of 
when or how a more direct initiative of God may come in 
the historical process, the writer leaves with the wisdom of 
the Father (Matthew 24: 36). Sometimes the day seems 
dark, for evil is powerful in the world. But this one thing 
is sure, the followers of the Lamb of God are to be candles 
of the Lord, and are to live and serve according to the prin- 
ciples of the Master. If the darkness lingers, Christians are 
to be stars in the night. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. What four principles are suggested to guide the student in 
Biblical interpretation? 

2. What is the foundation for the authority of the New Testa- 

3. What are the basic teachings of Jesus which form the Chris- 
tian philosophy of peace? 

4. Are the ethical teachings of Jesus to be taken as the Chris- 
tian's standard for righteous living now? 

Chapter VIII 


Scripture Message— Matthew 26: 47-75 

The Scripture message suggested for this chapter shows 
Jesus in the hands of his enemies. How did he act under 
the fires of criticism and persecution? He answered Judas' 
kiss of betrayal without bitterness. When they laid hands 
on him and took him, he exhibited the meekness of a suf- 
fering servant of God. When a friend of Jesus used his 
sword, and cut off the high priest's servant's ear, he said, 
"Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that 
take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matthew 26: 
52). The Master definitely discouraged resort to violence 
on the part of his followers, and encouraged them to en- 
dure injuries meekly. In the council of Caiaphas as the 
chief priests and elders sought false witness against him, 
"Jesus held his peace." When Peter, his own disciple, de- 
nied him, the Master only returned a look of disappoint- 
ment and sadness. Did Jesus live what he taught? 

The Consistency of Jesus' Life With His Teachings 

Scholars throughout the centuries have found no genuine 
inconsistency in the ideals and conduct of Jesus. The Mas- 
ter taught the fatherhood of God and constantly lived in 
the consciousness of his relationship to the Father. It was 
the Father who sent him; to whose will he was submitted; 
who did "mighty works through him"; whose words he 
spoke to men; and who answered his prayers for spiritual 
guidance to endure the trials of the day. In Gethsemane 
he cried, "Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; 
take away this cup from me; nevertheless not what I will, 
but what thou wilt" (Mark 14: 36). 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 87 

He taught the impartiality of God's fatherhood, the worth 
of persons, and love for neighbor, and lived those prin- 
ciples throughout his ministry. When the disciples rebuked 
Jesus for spending time with children, he took them up in 
his arms and blessed them. On the way to heal the daugh- 
ter of a synagogue ruler, an outcast woman pressed through 
the crowd and touched the hem of his garment. The Mas- 
ter turned, spoke to her in kindest terms and said, "Thy 
faith hath made thee whole" (Luke 8: 48). Ten lepers on 
the roadway cried out for mercy, and Jesus healed them. 
One day he stood at Jacob's well, and a Samaritan woman, 
an alien by Jewish tradition, came to draw water. The 
Savior broke down the class barrier and pointed her to the 
living water. The scribes and Pharisees brought to him a 
woman taken in adultery, and claimed that according to the 
law of Moses she should be stoned. But instead of stones 
Jesus gave her understanding and forgiveness. He invited 
himself along home with Zacchaeus, the despised taxgather- 
er, won his confidence through fellowship, and painted this 
publican a picture of the man he was meant to be. He 
called fishermen to be his followers and thought of them 
not in terms of what they were, but what they were to be. 
In the sight of Jesus all persons were precious, and there 
were no color or class barriers. Sins like race prejudice, 
economic injustice, and war were to the Master sins against 
God because they treated human personality with con- 
tempt. The teachings of Jesus make it clear that anything 
is sin which destroys personality. 

Jesus consistently lived by the principle of "nonresist- 
ance," although it was not a negative principle of action. He 
"steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9: 51), 
knowing what that meant. He had taught the people, had 
loved them and lived with them. Still he saw them re- 
jecting his words of life. The Master felt that there was 

88 Seventy Times Seven 

one thing more he could do for persons. He could die for 
them. The way of the cross was a chosen way. It was 
God's way for the Savior of men. The cross became 
through Christ the supreme act of redemption, and the 
greatest moral force in all the world. Giving life for 
others, dying for others when it doesn't have to be done, is 
the most powerful redemptive act in life. Jesus could 
have escaped the cross, but he deliberately chose to suffer 
and die for others instead of using military force. He placed 
his trust in goodwill and suffering love. In the council of 
Caiaphas, in the judgment hall of Pilate, before the curious 
Herod, and when the soldiers pressed on his brow a crown 
of thorns, Jesus kept his poise and suffered their mockeries 
without bitterness. On the cross in the agonies of death he 
said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they 
do" (Luke 23: 34). He died with a prayer of forgiveness 
on his lips. 

It has been claimed by some that the denunciatory say- 
ings of Jesus are inconsistent with his peace teachings. It 
is true that Jesus denounced sin in plain terms. He told 
the scribes and Pharisees that they were like whited sep- 
ulchers and full of hypocrisy (Matthew 23). He spoke of 
Herod as "that fox" (Luke 13: 32). He said that it would 
be better for one to suffer the worst earthly penalty than 
to "cause little ones to stumble" and thus harm an immor- 
tal soul (Matthew 18: 6). But Jesus in these passages did 
not endorse violence. There is a difference between a stern 
rebuke and the use of violence. In reality Jesus affirmed 
the principle of personality. He realized that pharisaic self- 
righteousness was an obstacle to the kingdom and meant the 
doom of the Pharisees themselves. Jesus never compro- 
mised with sin. He saw God's moral law working in the 
universe and understood the consistency of the justice of 
God with the love of God. He knew that people reap what 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 89 

they sow and that the universe is made that way. Jesus 
believed that his followers should never lie down in the 
face of evil. He thought that sin should be exposed cou- 
rageously and overcome through the guidance of God's 
Spirit and the exercise of suffering love. The nonresistant 
Christ was one who did not allow evil to go unchallenged. 

Misunderstood Passages 

A total view of the life and teachings of Jesus leaves no 
place for war or the spirit of war. But aren't there sayings 
of Jesus, sprinkled through the New Testament, which give 
a different picture? Weren't there some occasions when 
Jesus implied that it might be necessary for his followers 
to use material force? To answer these questions certain 
Scripture passages must be studied. 

1. Was the cleansing of the temple inconsistent with the 
pacifism of Jesus? "And he found in the temple those who 
sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money-changers sit- 
ting; and having made a scourge of cords he drove out all 
from the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and poured 
out the coin of the money-changers and overthrew the ta- 
bles" (John 2: 14-15). The translation is from the Greek. 
The student should notice that John is the only gospel 
which mentions the "scourge of cords." Matthew 21: 12, 
Mark 11: 15, and Luke 19: 45 do not mention it. A correct 
reading of the Greek also makes it clear that the whip 
was not used on people, but only on the animals. Matthew, 
Mark and Luke use the words cast out which in essence 
mean to expel or send out. Jesus had gone to the temple 
at the Passover according to the Jewish custom. His right- 
eous indignation was aroused because the temple was being 
desecrated by an illicit traffic in animals for the sacrifices. 
The scene in the courts appeared more like an Oriental 
market than a place of worship. The money changers were 

90 Seventy Times Seven 

unmercifully cheating the pilgrims who had come to wor- 
ship. Jesus "poured out the changers' " money (gave it 
back to them) , overthrew the tables, drove out the animals, 
and sent away those who were dealing dishonestly. There 
was no violence in his action. He did nothing to imply en- 
dorsement of war. He was preserving the temple as a 
"house of prayer for all the nations" (Mark 11: 17). He 
was clearing the outer court so that the Gentiles might con- 
tinue to have an approach to the temple. The moral au- 
thority of his words brought immediate action. It is im- 
portant to note, however, that the ethic of Jesus in its 
uncompromising attitude toward sin probably included a 
discriminating use of force. It was not military force or 
violence, not force which destroyed personality, but force 
exercised in love for the sake of righteousness. It seems 
that the cleansing of the temple bears this out. 

2. Did Jesus commend the centurion's occupation or his 
faith? "Jesus marvelled and said to them that followed, 
Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, 
not in Israel" (Matthew 8: 5-10). There are those who 
claim Jesus implied in his dealing with the centurion com- 
mendation for the work of a soldier. This interpretation 
seems to be far from a reasonable understanding of the 
incident. Jesus said nothing about this man's occupation. 
He was not dealing with that. The centurion's servant was 
sick. The Master responded to the call of need. He 
started toward the centurion's home and the soldier cried 
out, "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my 
roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be 
healed" (Matthew 8: 8). Then Jesus commended his faith. 
Do not Christian leaders today find it possible to commend 
the religious faith of a soldier without endorsing the war 

3. Did the man who prayed for his enemies come to 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 91 

bring a sword to the world? "Think not that I came to 
send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" 
(Matthew 10: 34). This is one of the most misunderstood 
passages. It is sometimes argued that Jesus foresaw that 
war would be inevitable and that his kingdom would some- 
times be promoted through the waging of war. However, 
this scripture does not have war in it at all. The word 
sword literally means division. It stands for the persecu- 
tion, criticism, and dissensions which are bound to come 
to those who commit their lives fully to Christ. The 
Christian life brings division in convictions and practices 
between those who follow Christ and those who conform to 
the world. "He that loveth father or mother more than me 
is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter 
more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 11: 37). 

4. Did the Savior who refused to compromise with the 
militarism of Rome endorse wars and rumors of wars? 
"And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be 
not disturbed: for it must needs come to pass: but the end 
is not yet" (Mark 13: 7). This passage is a part of the 
apocalyptic of the gospel. The prophecy of war and ru- 
mors of war proved tragically true. Jesus saw that the 
sins of man were going to bring wars, but he did not endorse 
them. Neither did he give any indication that his disciples 
were to take part in them. He asked his followers not to 
be troubled, for these things would take place (must needs 
be) in the natural course of the sinful world. In fact, Mark 
13 shows that there will be a separation of spirit between 
the followers of Jesus and the people of the world. Christ's 
people will be delivered up to the councils, and hated of 
men for his sake, but he that endureth "unto the end, the 
same shall be saved" (Mark 13: 13). 

5. If the kingdom of Jesus {< were of this world," would 
he have his <c servants fight" (John 18: 36)? Jesus explained 

92 Seventy Times Seven 

that his kingdom is not of this world, is not defended by 
force of arms, and therefore his servants did not fight when 
he was delivered to the Jews. But there are those who hold 
that Jesus did not oppose war when waged by the state, 
and that he opposed military force only in relation to his 
kingdom of love, which is not of the order of this world. 
This interpretation is inconsistent with a comprehensive 
view of the spirit and teachings of Jesus. He taught that 
his kingdom was not of this world because it was different 
in character. His ethical teachings were applied to indi- 
viduals and to all society. There is no dualism in the prin- 
ciples of Jesus. He does not propose one set of ethics for 
churchmen and another for statesmen. 

6. Did Jesus grant that weapons may be used in self- 
defense? "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, 
and likewise a wallet; and he that hath no sword, let him 
sell his cloak and buy one. For I say unto you, that this 
which is written must be fulfilled in me. And he was reck- 
oned with transgressors: for that which concerneth me hath 
fulfillment. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two 
swords. And he said, It is enough" (Luke 22: 36-38). This 
is a difficult passage to understand and is one that has per- 
plexed scholars of the Bible. There are those who say that 
Jesus endorsed armed defense. But here again the complete 
picture must be seen. It is true that in that bandit-infested 
country it was customary for travelers to carry weapons 
for self-protection. In this passage Jesus seemingly did 
not tell the disciples to put aside the weapons which people 
then normally carried for self-defense. When, however, the 
sword was used for violence, Jesus ordered the sword "put 
up again" into "its place" (Matthew 26: 52). Jesus did not 
allow military weapons to be used for his protection. The 
disciples were not far enough away from their old habits 
and customs to follow the ideal of Jesus completely. These 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 93 

scriptures viewed in relation to the whole life and teach- 
ings of Jesus carry no endorsement of war and bloodshed. 

7. Do the parables of Jesus imply the Master's support 
of war? "But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, 
and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city" 
(Matthew 22: 7). There are other similar statements from 
the parables. But all of them are simply parabolic illustra- 
tions and do not show either support or disapproval of war. 
Each parable is given to teach some great moral and spir- 
itual truth and needs to be understood in terms of the les- 
son it teaches and not the language in which it is given. 
The point in the parable of Matthew 22: 1-14 is that un- 
worthy guests are rejected in favor of others. 

8. Did Paul approve of warfare because of his use of mili- 
tary metaphors? "Put on the whole armour of God, that 
ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" 
(Ephesians 6: 11). The context shows that Paul did not 
have military warfare in mind at all. Paul is contrasting 
the ordinary warfare with the Christian spirit and life. The 
wrestling is not "against flesh and blood" but against 
"principalities, against powers, against the rulers of dark- 
ness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high 
places." The warfare of the Christian is against evil and 
his weapons are those of the Spirit, embodied in the Word 
of God. 

There are other misunderstood passages in the New Testa- 
ment but these are sufficient to show that they of them- 
selves do not teach war. Then, too, a sound interpretation 
of the Bible means that isolated Scripture passages should 
be studied in relation to the consistent picture of Christ's 
life and words as revealed in the gospels. 

The Old Testament and War 
It has already been noted that the Old Testament should 

94 Seventy Times Seven 

be interpreted in the light of the New. Jesus at the heart 
of the New Testament is the complete expression of the 
spirit, character and word of God. The Old Testament is 
composed of the Law, the Prophets, Psalms and Wisdom 
Literature. The careful and prayerful student of the Bible 
can discover a progressive development of man's under- 
standing of God. Those who hold that God endorsed the 
wars described in the historical passages of the Old Testa- 
ment are up against the problem of deciding whether God's 
character changed because he revealed himself through 
his Son as a God of Peace. It is more consistent with 
fundamental Christian truth to believe that God's char- 
acter did not change, but that man through Jesus came to 
see what God has been through the ages. There are records 
of war then in the Old Testament which need to be under- 
stood in the light of more perfect truth. This method of 
Biblical interpretation is exactly in accord with that of 
Jesus when he said, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, 
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto 
you, that ye resist not evil: But whosoever shall smite 
thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Mat- 
thew 5: 38-39). 

The central teachings of the Old Testament, however, 
make for peace, and the Old Testament taken as a whole 
teaches peace. The fundamental moral law of the Old 
Testament as found in Exodus 20 taught, "Thou shalt not 
kill." This moral law was the forerunner of the great com- 
mandments, love of God and love of neighbor, and laid a 
foundation for the doctrine of peace. Joseph, sold into 
Egypt by jealous brothers, returned good for evil when the 
tables were turned and his brethren stood fearfully before 
him as the ruler of Egypt. Proverbs says, "If thine enemy 
be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give 
him water to drink" (Proverbs 25: 21). The prophets 

The Biblical Basis for Peace 95 

preached righteousness and repentance and thus empha- 
sized peace. Amos was a great preacher of social right- 
eousness. Hosea gave a vision of the loving heart of God 
grieving over his erring children. His great teaching was 
the love of God. Micah pictured the nations as sharing 
in the blessings of the Messianic age and uttered the great 
prophecy, "And they shall beat their swords into plow- 
shares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not 
lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war 
any more" (Micah 4: 3). Isaiah described the character 
of the coming ideal Ruler "of the stock of Jesse." "For 
unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the 
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall 
be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting 
Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9: 6). In the great picture 
of the coming Lord in Isaiah 53 the spirit of peace and that 
of suffering for the redemption of others is expressed. 

The Old Testament is not a book of war. There are 
records of wars in it but primarily these wars were due to 
Israel's sins. There is a difference between what God de- 
sires, and what he permits because of the sins of man. 
The moral law of the Ten Commandments delivered from 
God to Moses as a guide for the people is a revelation of 
God's fundamental thought. This moral law forbade kill- 
ing and also false witnessing against neighbors. The doc- 
trines of both peace and nonresistance are found in the 
Old Testament. 

Suggestions for Study 

1. Make a list of the basic peace teachings of Jesus in the New 

2. Make a list also of the outstanding peace statements of the 
Old Testament. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. Was the life of Jesus consistent with his peace principles? 

96 Seventy Times Seven 

2. Should the followers of Christ ever allow evil to go unchal- 

3. Do the misunderstood passages quoted in this chapter imply 
that it is ever right for the Christian to use violence? 

4. What basic principle of interpretation should be kept in mind 
in studying the Old Testament? 

5. Does the Old Testament teach war or peace? 

Chapter IX 


Scripture Message— Romans 12: 21; 13: 1-10; Mark 12: 13- 
17; Acts 5: 29; 1 Peter 2: 13-17; Titus 3: 1 

New Testament Teaching Regarding the State 

In understanding what the New Testament teaches re- 
garding the relationship of the Christian to the state, it is 
essential to keep in mind the total picture of the life and 
teachings of Jesus. The Master always did the will of 
God even at the price of suffering. He continually faced 
a war situation. The chief priests, Sadducees, and Herodi- 
ans compromised with the Roman government. Jesus re- 
fused to compromise with Rome, repudiated the methods 
of violence and taught love of enemies. In his teachings 
regarding God's fatherhood and love of neighbors, the 
Christian religion became universal. Through his concept 
of the worth of personality, man rose above the state as 
the central value of God's creation. His practice of the way 
of the cross revealed God's method of overcoming evil. 
Since God expressed himself through Christ, one can see 
that the Christian's relationship to the state must be con- 
sistent with the teachings of Jesus. 

The Christian today faces a dilemma in his endeavor to 
be a faithful citizen and also to be loyal to Christ. The 
Christian is a member of the church and likewise a citizen 
of the state. He receives benefits from the state and has a 
responsibility to render service for the moral and spiritual 
betterment of society. How far, then, should the Christian 
obey the demands of the state? Is the voice of the state 
the supreme authority or is the voice of God? Especially 
in a time when a growing "totalitarian state" is claiming 

98 Seventy Times Seven 

the right to exercise complete control over man, should the 
Christian give absolute obedience to the state, or should he 
obey the will of God at any cost? And if he should obey 
the will of God, what is that will? 

Peter announced a fundamental principle when he said, 
"We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5: 29). 
This is consistent with Christ in his utter devotion to God's 
will. The passion of his heart was to do the will of the 
Father who sent him "and to finish his work" (John 4: 34). 
He claimed that those who do the will of God are his broth- 
er, sister and mother (Mark 3: 35). And the will of God 
itself is made plain through the Master's teachings. It is 
the bringing of God's Spirit into human hearts and social 
relationships. It is the redemption of individuals. It is 
teaching the "Good News" to all peoples of the earth; for 
it is not the will of the heavenly Father that any of his 
children should perish (Matthew 18: 14). 

The doctrine of absolute obedience to the state is in direct 
conflict with the will of God. The state has always used 
military force and violence. According to Jesus the Chris- 
tian should trust the power of goodwill and the exercise of 
justice to right the wrongs of the world. The totalitarian 
state claims that the government is the supreme authority 
to be obeyed. According to Jesus, human personality is an 
absolute value, individual conscience is to be respected, 
and the lordship of Jesus Christ is above all earthly authori- 
ties. Therefore, complete obedience to the state is not the 
Christlike position. But how about the Scripture passages 
which have been puzzling to Christians? 

The incident of Jesus and the tribute money is often 
quoted to prove that the Christian should yield unques- 
tioned obedience to the state (Mark 12: 13-17). The situa- 
tion was this. A trap had been set for Jesus by the Phari- 
sees, who were trying to get him into trouble, either with 

The Church and the State 99 

his own people by advocating submission to Rome, or with 
the government by advocating resistance. The Pharisees 
had asked of Jesus whether it was "lawful to give tribute 
to Caesar" (Mark 12: 14). Jesus made them answer their 
own question. He said, "Bring me a penny." Jesus held up 
the coin and asked, "Whose image and superscription is it?" 
They answered, "Caesar's." Then the Master said, "Render 
to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things 
that are God's." The word render means giving back some- 
thing that is due. Jesus really told the Pharisees that they 
should give to Caesar what belonged to him, but that they 
were obligated to fulfill their responsibilities to God. This 
Scripture passage teaches that the individual has responsi- 
bilities in connection with government, but it does not im- 
ply the giving of complete obedience. It is not a proof-text 
in support of war. To the contrary it shows that Jesus again 
refused to advocate violent resistance to Rome. 

The thirteenth chapter of Romans is also frequently used 
as the basis for the Christian's submission to the state. In 
the first ten verses Paul holds that everyone should obey 
the authorities over him, "that the powers that be are or- 
dained of God"; that they who resist the authorities resist 
what God has ordained; that the one who does right has 
nothing to fear from the authorities for they are God's 
agents for the purpose of doing good; that those who do 
wrong may well be afraid, for the authorities "do not 
carry swords for nothing" (Goodspeed translation) ; that 
the authorities are God's servants "to execute wrath upon 
him that doeth evil"; and therefore the individual should 
obey them, "not only to escape God's wrath" (Goodspeed), 
but also to render "tribute to whom tribute is due." 

Here is the central Scripture for a militaristic theology 
and for the claim upon Biblical grounds for total allegiance 
to the state. It should be recognized, however, that Paul 

100 Seventy Times Seven 

should be interpreted in the light of Jesus, not Jesus in 
the light of Paul. Then, too, the last verse of the twelfth 
chapter of Romans should not be forgotten, where the great 
apostle said, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil 
with good." Even the thirteenth chapter itself farther on 
quotes the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," and says, 
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the 
fulfilling of the Law." 

It is clear that Paul stressed obedience to government 
more than did Jesus. Paul was a Roman citizen. He seem- 
ingly felt the need of working out an understanding be- 
tween the Christian community and the civil government. 
He also thought that it was necessary for the Christians to 
make certain concessions to the authorities and to be loyal 
to them when their loyalty did not conflict with loyalty 
to Christ. But conscription wasn't in the picture in Ro- 
mans 13. It is inconsistent with a well-rounded view of 
Paul's life and teachings to believe that he would have ad- 
vocated disobedience to Christ. 

It should be noted also that up to this time Paul's ex- 
perience with the Roman state had been a favorable one. 
The Roman state was governed under republican forms by 
an emperor. Subject peoples were treated with reasonable 
tolerance. The Roman government practiced religious tol- 
eration toward the Jews. Christianity at that time was re- 
garded as a part of Judaism. Thus, Christianity was really 
under the protection of Judaism. The cruel persecutions 
under Nero had not begun. Paul felt that civil govern- 
ment was necessary and was ordained of God. He thought 
that the government of his day was an agent for good. 
There is no reference in this Scripture passage to war. Paul 
spoke of the way the government exercised its "power" in 
relation to good and bad citizens. The sword mentioned in 
verse four is the symbol of civil authority. No more can 

The Church and the State 101 

be reasonably interpreted from this passage than the right 
of the civil authorities through the police force to restrain 
evildoers and to bring them before responsible officers of 
the law. To claim that Paul endorsed hate and war is 
far from the truth. He held that Christians should give au- 
thorities their due, pay their taxes, and owe no debt except 
that of love. 

It was only a few years until severe persecutions of 
Christians began and the followers of Christ had to reverse 
their judgment. By the time of John, Judaism had re- 
pudiated Christianity and the Christians had no protection 
from the empire. The Book of Revelation pictured the 
Roman empire as the beast under which the Christians 
suffered persecution. Caesar-worship was common and one 
of the charges brought against the Christians was that they 
were not worshiping the emperor. Many Christians died in 
martyrdom rather than blaspheme their Lord. Paul him- 
self cried out, "Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in 
reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for 
Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 
Corinthians 12: 10). This great apostle died at Rome under 
Nero. Eusebius says that he was beheaded. 

Considering the circumstances under which Paul wrote, 
his desire to bring about peaceful relationships between the 
Christian community and the state, his fundamental Chris- 
tian ethics of "overcoming evil with good," his willingness 
and that of early Christians to suffer rather than to endorse 
Caesar-worship, it is consistent with the total picture of 
Paul's teachings and the spirit of the man to interpret 
Romans thirteen as teaching that the fact of and the neces- 
sity for civil government are ordained of God, but whether 
any particular government is thus ordained depends upon the 
obedience of that government to God's will. To hold that 
all governments are endorsed by God would involve God 

102 Seventy Times Seven 

in the planning and carrying out of evil. The spirit of 
Paul's gospel condemns violence, the waging of war, and 
compromise with the paganism of Rome. 

Another Scripture passage often used to show the Chris- 
tian's relationship to the state is 1 Peter 2: 13-17. This is 
similar to the passage from Paul. Peter is telling the 
Christians to respect and obey human authorities, inform- 
ing them that Christian freedom is not license to throw 
away human law, that living orderly lives will silence 
slander, and that they are to render to every one the marks 
of respect. "Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear 
God. Honor the king" (1 Peter 2: 17). The apostle is lay- 
ing down general principles and does not imply complete 
obedience to the state. The reader should remember that 
this same apostle said in Acts 5: 29 that "we ought to obey 
God rather than men." 

Titus 3: 1 gives the same general principle regarding the 
Christian's relation to the government as that of 1 Peter 
2: 13-17. In fact, this passage should be compared with 
1 Peter 4: 12-19, in which the apostle speaks of the way the 
Christians are to stand the fiery trials coming upon them. 

The Position of the Church of the Brethren Regarding 

the State 

One of the most serious problems in the history of the 
Church of the Brethren has been the relationship of the 
Christian to the state. The Brethren position that all war 
was wrong brought difficult problems in the application of 
this principle to civil laws and war situations. The Breth- 
ren from their origin until the present time have recognized 
the necessity for civil government and have held that the 
Christian should obey civil laws when the requirements of 
government did not disobey God's will as revealed in the 
Scriptures. The oldest known statement regarding the state 

The Church and the State 103 

which was influential in Brethren thought was the Con- 
fession of Faith of Christopher Hochmann. Hochmann be- 
lieved that civil government was sanctioned by God and 
that Christians should submit to civil authority unless the 
actions of government disobeyed God's Word and the in- 
dividual's conscience. When the demands of government 
conflicted with the teachings of Christ, Hochmann said, the 
believer should "obey God rather than man." Alexander 
Mack held much the same view. He taught that govern- 
ments are ordained of God, "if they will fulfill their office 
according to the will of God." Elder James Quinter, writ- 
ing shortly before the Civil War, gave an interpretation 
which was generally accepted among the Brethren and 
which is the Brethren position today. He said that the 
principle of civil government is ordained of God but not 
all civil laws are thus ordained. He held that whether 
any particular government is approved of God depends 
upon the character of that government. To obey those de- 
mands of a wicked government which would involve the 
follower of Christ in sin would be disobeying the teachings 
of Christ and thus acquiescing in evil. 

Acting upon these principles the Brethren broke with the 
state in Germany. Church and state were united in Ger- 
many, and separation from the established church meant 
breaking with the state. The Brethren answered persecu- 
tion through emigration and came to America for religious 
liberty. In colonial Pennsylvania they built exclusive com- 
munities and took no part in the affairs of the state except 
when Christopher Sower led them to support Quaker as- 
semblymen in order to prevent war with the Indians. They 
obeyed the laws of Pennsylvania and paid their taxes as 
they felt the gospel permitted and required. When the 
Revolutionary War broke out the Brethren endeavored to 
remain neutral. They hesitated to see the stable English 

104 Seventy Times Seven 

government, under whose protection they had lived, dis- 
turbed. They did not know whether it was the will of God 
for the king or the colonies to succeed. Thus, they waited 
to see. They submitted to what the government required 
in war taxes but refused to fight and take the oath. They 
did not hesitate to present their peace convictions to gov- 
ernment officials. The Oath Law brought great persecution 
upon the Brethren, which they answered again through emi- 
gration. They were willing to suffer anything and move 
from their homes rather than to disobey their understand- 
ing of the will of God. 

For seventy-five years following the Revolutionary War 
the Brethren did very little voting. They did not vote for 
fear of supporting a government which would bring war 
upon the people. Just before the Civil War John Kline in- 
terpreted his conception of patriotism as "found in the 
man who loves the Lord his God with all his heart and his 
neighbor as himself." 1 During the Civil War the Brethren 
worked vigorously for exemption from bearing arms. They 
paid the fines and high taxes placed upon them but stood 
solidly against army service. There was no exemption, how- 
ever, from responsibility for helping the war. The payment 
of money in lieu of personal service was only exemption 
from overt participation. 

Between the Civil War and World War I through the 
influence of the Industrial Revolution, and the develop- 
ment of printing, education and missions within the church, 
a change came in the character of the Church of the Breth- 
ren. The Brethren gradually overcame their exclusiveness 
and took more interest in the affairs of the community. By 
World War I the members generally were voting. The An- 
nual Conferences of 1917 and following years committed 
the church to a constructive patriotism and a genuine 

1 Bowman, The Church of the Brethren and War, p. 110. 

The Church and the State 105 

service to the country in harmony with conscience. Mem- 
bers of the church were asked to make extra sacrifices for 
the relief program out of gratitude for the government's 
exemption of the Brethren from combatant military duties. 

Following World War I the church declared that all war 
was wrong both for individuals and for the state. A more 
careful definition of Christian citizenship w&s also created. 
Brethren affirmed that they loved their country and desired 
to be loyal citizens, but held that when the laws and re- 
quirements of government conflicted with the teachings of 
Christ, their supreme allegiance was to Christ. 

Attitude of the Church of the Brethren Toward the 

State During World War II 

The Brethren as a whole recognized their obligation to 
the state and wanted to be good citizens. The church moved 
in its philosophy from nonco-operation to co-operation with 
the state in working out mutual problems. The Civilian 
Public Service program was a co-operative venture with the 
state. Historically the Friends were active in participation 
in civil government while the Brethren and the Mennon- 
ites were not. However, the Brethren moved in the di- 
rection of the Friends in relation to the government. The 
position of the Church of the Brethren changed to make all 
war by the state unchristian. Edward Frantz, however, 
said that a good many Brethren still hold to the old position 
that the state must use force and sometimes even to the 
point of war. 2 

Limited Citizens 

Dan West, Director of Peace Education, in a statement 
prepared during the summer of 1940, discussed the problem 
of citizenship. Historically he held that the Brethren took 
the Mennonite position, which is that of considering them- 

2 Personal interview, Elgin, 111., December 30, 1942. 

106 Seventy Times Seven 

selves guests in a country. The Brethren wanted to be good 
guests and therefore obeyed all the laws except where their 
consciences forbade. They lived apart and to themselves 
and found their primary loyalties within their own group. 
To the extreme opposite of this he placed that of complete 
citizenship represented by those who commit themselves 
unreservedly to the government. A third group he held 
may be designated as "limited citizens." And under this 
term he presented the functioning position of the peace 
leadership in the Church of the Brethren during World War 
II. Those leaders accepted their share of responsibility for 
the burdens of government. They did not endorse complete 
citizenship, although many members did, for that would 
have placed the demands of government above the teach- 
ings of Christ. He explained limited citizenship as follows: 

One kind of limited citizenship seems to give the best solution. 
This view recognizes the claim of Christ as first always, but it also 
accepts some responsibility for the burdens of government. Chris- 
tians belong to their national states somewhat, but they belong to 
Christ more. The choice needs to be made only when the two part 
company, but then it must be made. In a democracy such a citizen- 
ship is tolerated more than in a totalitarian state. In the latter the 
privilege of limited citizenship tends to disappear, in which case 
the person with a primary Christian loyalty may become a guest — 
even a pilgrim and a stranger. In any case he is in danger of being 
considered an enemy. 

The Christian with limited citizenship not only obeys all the 
laws which do not violate his conscience, but he feels responsible 
to "create the spiritual stuff out of which law is made." He can 
help also to make and enforce all laws which are consistent with 
Christian principles. If ever he has to disobey any law, it is with 
regret. And the regret is made clear by honest efforts to compen- 
sate for his disobedience through sacrifice elsewhere, thus tending 
to make up for the strained fellowship with his fellow-citizens who 
differ with him. 

We are to be Christians first and last, and then to be responsible 
citizens of our country as far as we can. The more nearly our gov- 

The Church and the State 107 

ernment approaches the Kingdom of God, the more nearly com- 
plete is our political citizenship. We must expand or contract our 
"belonging" and our field of political action according to the 
changes in events, and conditions. Any limitation which we make 
comes not from our personal preference, but from the inner com- 
pulsion of our faith in our situation. If our citizenship should be 
limited by the government, we must be like a strong spring under 
tension — always be ready to spring back and accept responsibility 
as soon and as far as real opportunity opens without violating con- 
science. This is the HIGHER CITIZENSHIPS 

Resolutions of the 1942 Annual Conference 

The Brethren expressed their attitude toward their coun- 
try in the following statement, which is quoted in part: 

We love our country. It welcomed our fathers when they sought 
freedom from the oppressions of their time. Its heritage and oppor- 
tunities have brought untold blessings to us through the years. But 
we are deeply grieved to find our country involved in war which 
fosters attitudes and standards that are foreign to the spirit of the 
Master whom we seek to 'follow. Therefore, be it resolved: 

1. That in humble gratitude we accept the generosity of our gov- 
ernment in granting its citizens the right within the law to obey 
their consciences, that we commend our government for its efforts 
during the season of tension to safeguard the rights and liberties of 
minority groups, and that we encourage our officials to further 
activity in this effort. We recommend that the officers of this Con- 
ference write a letter to our President and to the Director of the 
Selective Service Act, conveying our gratitude. 

2. That in penitence and humility we seek the will of our heav- 
enly Father and that where conflict arises between our understand- 
ing of the will of God and other demands made upon us we may 
have the courage and devotion to say, "We must obey God." 4 

The Brethren also went on record favoring a higher form 
of justice in industry and "the establishment of some form 
of international organization that will bring co-ordination 
among the nations and that will foster international co- 

3 Dan West, Citizens and-or Christians, Unpublished Statement, Elgin, 
Illinois, 1940, pp. 3-4. 

4 Minutes of Annual Conference, 1942. d. 46. 

108 Seventy Times Seven 

operation in the place of the present nationalistic compe- 
tition which is one of the basic causes of war." 5 While this 
was only a Conference resolution it means that some of the 
Brethren are recognizing the need of an international or- 
ganization to preserve peace and that the economic problem 
is one of the primary causes of war. 

Civilian Public Service During World War II 

The Church of the Brethren opposed the coming of con- 
scription. When it came the church leaders took the posi- 
tion that the peace testimony of the church and constructive 
service to humanity could be better expressed through a 
program of Civilian Public Service than by refusing all 
service. Civilian Public Service as originally worked out 
by the historic peace churches was splendid as an ideal. The 
government was asked to allow religious objectors to war 
in lieu of military duties to give one year of service to their 
country under church or civilian direction. While the con- 
scription law was being written and discussed in Congress 
peace leaders worked to get consideration for those who 
opposed all service under conscription. This was defeated 
and the law gave no exemption for absolutists. However, 
the draft law for the first time in history included for those 
who have religious objections to all war service the op- 
portunity to be assigned to work of national importance 
under civilian direction. This was a gain over the draft law 
of World War I, which only gave exemption from com- 
batant service to members of historic peace churches. This 
liberalizing of the draft law came as a result of the ac- 
tivity of peace leaders working with the government, espe- 
cially those from the Christian churches. 

The National Service Board was formed to unite the ef- 
forts of the church group in their dealing with the govern- 

6 Ibid., p. 47. 

The Church and the State 109 

ment regarding the problems pertaining to conscientious 

objectors. It deals with the government upon the basis of 

co-operation, goodwill, and the cultivation of understanding. 

Paul French stated briefly the philosophy under which the 

National Service Board works: 

That of co-operation. The government has demanded service 
of its citizens. We cannot perform the military service which they 
ask. We tell the government that if it will let us do what we can 
in harmony with conscience, we will sacrifice for it and pay for it. 6 

In working out the program of civilian service for objec- 
tors to war the control of C.P.S. camps and hospital units 
remained in the hands of the Director of Selective Service 
but through a gentlemen's agreement he allowed the 
National Service Board through the various administra- 
tive agencies of the churches to operate the camps. The 
camp directors were appointed by the churches and had 
control of the men during all nonworking hours. But 
the camp directors served in a dual capacity, being the 
representatives of the churches sponsoring the camps and 
also the agents of Selective Service to enforce regula- 
tions regarding leave, furlough, and working hours. In 
this way the peace churches themselves were involved 
somewhat in administering the program of a conscripting 
government. This co-operative administration of camps 
with Selective Service has brought criticism upon the 
churches. There were many boys in C.P.S. and church 
leaders outside who felt that the time-honored principle of 
separation of church and state was to some extent com- 
promised. Certainly any future program of civilian service 
which is worked out with the government should not have 
this dual administration. The National Service Board has 
demonstrated the value of a co-operative organization of the 
churches in dealing with the government. Civilian Public 
Service during World War II has also demonstrated the fact 

•Bowman, The Church of the Brethren and War, p. 314. 

110 Seventy Times Seven 

that there should be, in case of conscription, government- 
operated C.P.S. camps for those who desire them, and also 
church-operated civilian service projects under the com- 
plete supervision and control of church agencies. 

Civilian Public Service, however, is a gain. Thousands 
of young men working in soil conservation and forestry 
camps, serving in mental hospitals in the spirit of love, 
subjecting themselves to dangers in fire-fighting units, 
helping to feed the hungry by working on dairy farms, 
or submitting their bodies as "guinea pigs" for the medi- 
cal research of experts, have given testimony for peace. 
Nothing like this was allowed during World War I. Then, 
too, the camp directors have been influential in getting 
freedom of choice when work projects were questionable 
and the church groups were able to work out many prob- 
lems with the government upon a satisfactory basis. Church 
support of the camps has had a favorable influence upon 
public opinion. One of the best ways of meeting public 
criticism of Civilian Public Service is to inform people that 
these camps were supported by the churches and that the 
boys were not paid. The churches were free to build an 
educational program for the camps. Even the teaching of 
pacifism was carried on without government interference. 

The Brethren in looking toward the future should realize 
that nowhere in the history of the denomination did the 
government take the initiative in providing protection for 
conscience. Every gain in behalf of a more liberal law for 
conscientious objectors to war came through the repeated 
efforts of the historic peace churches in bringing their claims 
to bear upon the government. Future efforts looking to- 
ward liberalizing the laws dealing with objectors to war will 
depend upon the moral force and activity of peacemakers. 

The Church and the State 111 

Summary of Brethren Philosophy Regarding the 
Relationship of Church and State 

1. The principle of civil government is ordained of God 
but not all laws are thus ordained. Whether any particular 
government is ordained of God depends upon the character 
of that government. 

2. The Christian should "obey God rather than man." The 
will of God as expressed in the New Testament is a higher 
authority to obey than that of the state. 

3. War is a direct violation of the will of God and the 
Christian should not participate in it. 

4. Brethren love their country, want to be faithful citi- 
zens, and contribute to its highest welfare, but hold that the 
highest welfare of this country must be consistent with that 
which is best for humanity everywhere. 

5. Brethren through the years have held strongly to the 
principle of the separation of church and state. The pro- 
gram of Civilian Public Service during World War II has 
affirmed the willingness of Brethren to render constructive 
service to their country in harmony with conscience. This 
service, in the future, however, should be worked out ac- 
cording to the time-honored principle of the separation of 
church and state. 

Suggestions for Study 

1. The Church of the Brethren and War, by Rufus D. Bowman, 
should be used as resource material for this chapter. 

2. Members of the class should go through the book, reading the 
various sections on the Church of the Brethren and the state, and 
especially the general summary contained in Chapter IX. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. What was the attitude of Jesus toward the state? 

2. What was the central meaning of Paul's teaching regarding 
the individual's relationship to the state? 

112 Seventy Times Seven 

3. What was the historic Brethren position regarding civil gov- 
ernment being ordained of God? 

4. What was the attitude of the Church of the Brethren toward 
the state during World War II? 

5. In what ways did C.P.S. represent gains for religious objec- 
tors to war over the law and regulations of conscription during 
World War I? 

6. What is the Brethren philosophy regarding the relationship 
of church and state? 

Chapter X 


Scripture Message — 1 Peter 4: 12-19 

As a basis for the consideration of the Christian and war 
problems the reader should study the fourth chapter of 
First Peter. The great apostle informed the Christians 
that fiery trials were to come upon them but that they were 
to rejoice as partakers of Christ's sufferings. He asked 
that none of them suffer as murderers, thieves, or evil- 
doers, but proclaimed that if they were called upon to suf- 
fer as Christians they would glorify God in so doing. The 
whole import of the apostle's teaching was for the Chris- 
tians to suffer rather than compromise their convictions. 
This is the central principle which Jesus taught and lived. 
What bearing does this teaching have regarding the Chris- 
tian's attitude toward war problems? 

Is It Possible to Be a Pacifist in Total War? 

By a pacifist the writer means a Christian who feels 
that war is wrong because of the teachings of the New 
Testament, and that he should not participate in it. How 
can the Christian pacifist exercise his convictions during a 
period of total war? Critics of pacifists claim that they are 
in the war whether they want to be or not, that it is im- 
possible for any one to escape supporting war as it is fought 
today, and that pacifists who do not fight for their country 
are really aiding the enemy. 

It is true that to some extent everyone is involved in total 
war. War prices, war taxes, rationing and all kinds of gov- 
ernment regulations make it impossible for the pacifist to 
divorce himself entirely from the support of the war. But 
there is a difference between what the Christian pacifist 

114 Seventy Times Seven 

endorses and what he finds it necessary to endure as a mem- 
ber of a sociey that is not Christian. The writer does not 
endorse the war tax on the railroad ticket which he has to 
buy to go on some missions for the kingdom of God. He 
unwillingly pays it, feeling that keeping the work of the 
church going and giving a clear-cut testimony for peace will 
in the long run more than overbalance the destructive ele- 
ment inherent in the war tax. To withdraw from society 
in times of crisis is no solution for the pacifist. Even the 
consumption of food has a relation to the war. Devoting 
one's life to the kingdom of God is the Christian position. 

There are also relative degrees of supporting and not 
supporting the war. Not everyone is in the war to the same 
extent. The power of choice is open to the Christian and 
the Christian principle is that the pacifist should stay out 
of the war as far as he can. The combatant was in the war 
all the way. The noncombatant exercised his conscience in 
deciding not to take part in killing. Those in Civilian Pub- 
lic Service decided that it was wrong to accept any service 
within the military system. Those who bought war bonds 
and chose to work in war industries were in the war more 
than those who carried on their regular peacetime occupa- 
tions and did not voluntarily support the war loan drives. 
Even in total war the pacifist may exercise his conscience. 

Is the pacifist aiding the enemy when he does not fight 
for his country? The real question is: Who is the enemy? 
Is the enemy Germany, Japan or Italy, or is the enemy war 
itself? The Christian pacifist does not fight because he 
does not believe in aiding the real enemy, which is total 
war. War does not settle anything. It leads to totalitarian- 
ism and more war. The peacemaker, in refusing to par- 
ticipate in war which creates more war and in calling for 
the settlement of international difficulties upon the basis 

The Christian and War Problems 115 

of justice and goodwill, is not aiding any enemy. Rather 
he is working for the highest welfare of all mankind. 

Wasn't World War II Different and Therefore Morally 


No war is morally justifiable. Christ teaches love of ene- 
mies and the way of the cross. His method is that of 
overcoming evil with good. The production of Hitler in 
Europe was at least in part a result of the unfairness of 
the Treaty of Versailles and of the wrong treatment given 
the defeated nations following World War I. Hitler told 
his people that the only way to get justice from the na- 
tions was to have a strong and armed Germany. At one 
time it might have been possible to have undercut the rising 
power of Hitler with the German people by promising them 
justice and fair dealing. This was not done. Nazism de- 
veloped until the German armies began to overrun coun- 
tries in Europe. Wasn't World War II necessary to over- 
come this threat to the world? 

The writer is unconvinced that World War II was either 
right or necessary. As these lines are being written the 
Dumbarton Oaks peace proposals have been released to 
the American peoples. Dumbarton Oaks is an alliance of 
military power. Instead of a federation of nations, Dum- 
barton Oaks relies upon a world balance of power. The 
world is being divided into spheres of influence or zones of 
interest, in each of which one of the victor nations will be 
supreme and unless this peace proposal is amended the 
world will face a contest of military power with the smaller 
nations choosing their sides. The Friends Committee on 
National Legislation says: 

Peace must ultimately rest, if it is to last, not upon the concen- 
tration of military force in the hands of powerful nations, but upon 
the confidence and faith of peoples that their political institutions 
are dedicated to, ancl striving for, the promotion of the common 

116 Seventy Times Seven 

welfare and not to the maintenance of power politics, empire, or 
imperialism. Even an international police system will not be truly 
a police system until nations are willing to relinquish national 
armies. We would press for the time when the aims of the Atlantic 
Charter might be realized and when the nations for realistic as 
well as spiritual reasons would come to the abandonment of the 
use of force as the basis of an international society. We can look 
only with apprehension upon the potential domination of the pro- 
jected United Nations organization by the Big Powers, and upon 
the disproportionate emphasis given the Security Council over the 
General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. 1 

World War II did not solve the problem. It created a 
new and what may prove to be a greater problem. Isn't 
it time for the nations to see that "war does not settle hu- 
man problems? If the peoples of the earth are to be saved 
from continued slaughter, some nation must lead the way 
in the repudiation of war. That nation must call all nations 
to the conference table, insist upon the principles of justice, 
goodwill and fairness. That nation should rely upon non- 
violence, the moral force of the people of goodwill, and 
the practice of the Golden Rule in settling its differences. 
That nation should lead the way in the establishment of 
a federation of nations based upon mutual trust and inter- 
national law. 

What Would You Do If Hitler Would Come Over Here? 

The question is an indirect way of trying to get the Chris- 
tian pacifist to endorse war. The answer may be briefly 
stated. If Germany would have been given righteous treat- 
ment after the first World War it would have been difficult 
for Hitler to have come to power. It is the unchristian 
practices of nations that produce Hitlers. The only Chris- 
tian course of action, if Hitler or any other dictator at the 
head of any army would come over here, would be to call 

1 Statement of the Friends Committee on National Legislation on the 
Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, January, 1945. 

The Christian and War Problems 117 

for the conference table to draw up an agreement of peace. 
If this failed the nation should practice nonviolent resist- 
ance. No army would shoot down for long those who do 
not fight back. The hardest people in the world to conquer 
are those who resist nonviolently. 

The writer makes no claim that the practice of overcom- 
ing evil with good will always protect our homes and our 
country. The writer understands, too, that the nation as a 
whole has not advanced far enough in the practice of the 
spirit and ethics of Jesus to take the nonviolent position 
in dealing with other nations. But until that day comes 
when our nation is willing to trust the power of goodwill, 
Christians should keep their testimony clear in showing a 
better way than war. Bearing the cross of suffering and 
death faces Christian pacifists in a world of hate. But 
through suffering love the greatest redemptive power in the 
world is exercised. Overcoming evil with good if practiced 
long enough and by enough people will win. 

The Christian pacifist is also asked what he would do if 
someone would come into his home and maltreat his family. 
Even in this case there should not be violence. The of- 
fending one might be persuaded from his course. The crim- 
inal might be restrained until the policemen come, but there 
should be no taking of life and destruction of personality. 
The pacifist should suffer physical harm and even death 
rather than take life. As long as there are insane people 
and criminals in the world a police force will be necessary. 
But the policemen ought to be unarmed. In countries where 
they have been unarmed, policemen have protected civil- 
ians just as well as where they were armed and with less 
loss of life. The use of physical force without violence and 
bloodshed is morally justified in our world. An unarmed 
international police force, trained to go into centers of ten- 
sion and bring about understanding through discussion and 

118 Seventy Times Seven 

counseling, would be consistent with Christian principles 
of action. However, any physical force exercised in hate 
and violence is wrong. 

How Is It Possible to Love Our Enemies? 

The Christian person has no enemies. Enemies are 
changed into friends by loving them. It makes a differ- 
ence in a Christian's thinking when he realizes that the 
Japanese and German boys being killed are just like our 
boys with the same love of life, home and family. Put- 
ting ourselves in the place of other peoples helps to banish 
feelings of hate which are unchristian. Learning to know 
Christian Germans and Japanese brings one to an under- 
standing and an appreciation of these peoples. The sending 
of food and clothing into the distressed areas of the world, 
and the carrying on of rehabilitation work where homes and 
cities have been destroyed will turn enemies into comrades 
on the long trail of building a better world. 


The Brethren have not interpreted registration as an act 
of conscription. They have not considered that registra- 
tion was the point at which to protest their opposition to 
war. However, the problem regarding the relation of regis- 
tration to the conscription system when conscription is for 
the purpose of war needs further study by Brethren people. 

Conscription of Women 

While it is not known whether conscription of women 
will come, it is being discussed. The Brethren, to be con- 
sistent with their peace principle that all war is wrong, 
must oppose the conscription of women. If this conscription 
comes in spite of their efforts, they will, in harmony with 
Civilian Public Service, work out a program for women 
detached as much as possible from the war effort. 

The Christian and War Problems 119 

Working in Defense Factories 

The questionnaires from local churches indicated that 
thirty-seven per cent of the members in city churches, 
fourteen per cent in small town churches, and six and one- 
half per cent in country churches were working in defense 
industries. The making of war materials is not consistent 
with the official peace position of the denomination and 
the teachings of Jesus. While freedom of conscience is 
likewise a principle of the Brethren, the church can easily 
see the necessity of teaching its peace philosophy in rela- 
tion to industrial and economic situations. 

War Bonds and Stamps 

Forty-six per cent of the churches reported that mem- 
bers generally were buying war bonds and stamps while 
sixteen per cent indicated that a substantial minority were 
purchasing them. The support of the war economically is 
not consistent with the church decision that members should 
not participate in war in any form. The representatives 
from the churches worked with the United States Treasury 
Department to get an alternative to the war bonds. In 
response, civilian bonds were issued as the following letter 
from Secretary Morgenthau authorized: 

The Secretary of the Treasury 


June 2, 1942 
Dear Mr. French: 

This will acknowledge your letter of June 1, 1942. 

In line with our recent conversation, I think that you under- 
stand that the Treasury needs some six billion dollars annually to 
maintain civilian services of the Government which are essential to 
the basic needs of human life, to conserve our national resources, 
and to keep in repair our national plant. The Treasury would be 
willing to have the funds which you propose to collect from your 
people invested in Treasury bills, Treasury certificates of indebted- 
ness, Treasury notes, and Treasury bonds which the Treasury of- 

120 Seventy Times Seven 

fers publicly to the people of the United States from time to time, 
and which are not designated by their terms "war issues." I 
shall be glad to see that you are notified each time an offering of 
this kind is made. 

It is our understanding that you will buy such securities as are 
issued, in amounts in line with the financial resources of your peo- 
ple, and then distribute certificates of participation in smaller de- 
nominations through a non-profit corporation you are organizing. 
This plan is agreeable to us and will, we believe, satisfy the Amer- 
ican people that the group you represent are contributing to the 
support of the government in ways their consciences will permit. 

We understand that the groups you represent are making con- 
tributions to the support of the Civilian Public Service Camps for 
conscientious objectors authorized by the Congress and the Selec- 
tive Service System which would otherwise have been a charge on 
the Treasury of the United States. 

We are all seeking the same objectives and are glad that our 
American democracy is able to recognize the conscientious convic- 
tions of a minority of our citizens. 2 

Sincerely yours, 

H. Morgenthau, Jr. 
Secretary of the Treasury 

Mr. Paul Comly French 

Executive Secretary 

National Service Board for Religious Objectors 

Washington, D. C. 

The Brethren have not advertised the civilian bonds 
very extensively for two reasons: money given for these 
bonds goes into the United States Treasury undesignated 
and many are opposed to this indirect subsidy for the war; 
and second, the Brethren have had such a heavy load in 
financing Civilian Public Service that the members have 
been constantly asked to support the program of the church. 

Norman B. Collins of the War Savings Staff for Illinois 
recognized in a splendid way those who are supporting Civ- 
ilian Public Service: 

2 A copy of the original, files of National Service Board, Washington, D.C. 

The Christian and War Problems 121 

105 West Adams Street 
Chicago, Illinois 
October 23, 1942 


It is the purpose of your government to fully maintain the principle 
of freedom at home during these trying days of war just as it is 
resisting with its armed forces throughout the world those who 
would destroy it. 

We of the War Savings Staff for Illinois, in behalf of the United 
States Treasury Department, assure you of our desire to encourage 
among our workers complete respect for the contribution your 
people are making to the nation in your own chosen manner. 

We realize that you are making generous contributions, according 
to the dictates of your hearts and consciences in support of the 
Civilian Public Service. In your support of this you are demon- 
strating your basic Americanism with a complete recognition of 
human needs without regard for the race, color, or creed of the indi- 

In the purchase of Civilian Public Service Certificates you are 
making a direct contribution from which you expect nothing more 
than the satisfying of your convictions according to your personal 
religious beliefs. 

Through this letter we appeal to all Americans to fully respect your 
position and to recognize such alternate methods of support of your 
country as you have elected to follow. We feel certain that you will 
not be unduly and unfairly dealt with by any other patriotic Amer- 
icans who are interpreting their responsibility in terms of selling 
War Savings Bonds. 

We feel certain that each of you will share in the national responsi- 
bility in the manner that best expresses your religious beliefs to 
the end that our cherished freedom shall be eternally preserved. 3 

Yours very truly, 

Norman B. Collins 

State Administrator 

War Savings Staff for Illinois 

3 General letter sent out by Norman B. Collins. 

122 Seventy Times Seven 

War Taxes 

The war taxes constantly mounting are being paid by 
the Brethren with very little protest. The church has 
always advised its members to pay the taxes required of 
them. It would seem, however, that the peace position 
of the church would call for the general boards and com- 
mittees of the church as well as individual members to 
make strong protests against the payment of taxes for mili- 
tary purposes. 

The writer believes as a result of this study that the most 
inconsistent aspect of the Brethren's peace position over 
more than two hundred years has been the failure of the 
church to relate its peace principles to the economic and in- 
dustrial factors of war. 

Compulsory Military Training 

Permanent conscription is being discussed in Congres- 
sional circles. 

Paul French thinks that we are in a long-range military 
situation, that permanent conscription may come, that it is 
imperative for the churches to work together and keep the 
united approach, and that there seem to be good possibilities 
of working out a program of alternative service. 4 

Peacetime conscription is wrong for the following rea- 

1: It will militarize the youth of our nation and thus 
change the character of American life. Educating our youth 
in militarism is contrary to American culture and tradition. 
Along with a year's military training will go war propa- 
ganda and education to produce militarists. 

2. It is a preparation for war and war is sin. Security 
does not lie in the force of arms but in the power of good- 

* Interview with Paul Comly French, Washington, D. C, Feb. 23, 1943. 

The Christian and War Problems 123 

will and justice. The pressure for universal military train- 
ing now is really an admission on the part of many people 
that World War II is a failure. 

3. It will establish here what this nation has been fighting 
against. Conscription was tried in Europe as a means of de- 
fending liberty but it led to war and dictatorships. Amer- 
ica has been the land of refuge for the thousands who fled 
from Europe's militarism. Are we going to develop here the 
military spirit and system which has been wrecking Europe 
and from which World War II was supposed to save us? 

4. It will give the state supremacy over individual con- 
science. During World War II more than 4,000 conscien- 
tious objectors have been imprisoned, and thousands of oth- 
ers have been persuaded into forms of military service in 
which they did not believe. The propaganda accompanying 
peacetime conscription will teach youth that absolute obedi- 
ence must be given to the state. This is neither Christian 
nor democratic. According to Jesus, persons are the cen- 
tral value in the universe and the lordship of Jesus Christ 
is the supreme authority to obey. In a democratically gov- 
erned society the rights of conscience are respected. 

5. Universal military training is not a good form of educa- 
tion. Military training teaches young men to obey. Gen- 
uine democratic education teaches young men to think and 
to weigh values. Military education teaches youth to settle 
problems through material force. Christian education 
teaches young people to solve the world's problems through 
peaceful methods and unselfish service. 

6. Peacetime military training is not the way to a just and 
durable peace. If the axis nations are to be completely dis- 
armed, why start an armament race among the nations by 
creating a huge military system here? If a world organiza- 
tion for peace is to be established, why create mistrust and 
suspicion among the nations by our nation's action in de- 

124 Seventy Times Seven 

veloping the largest peacetime military system in American 
history? The pathway to peace is through justice, goodwill, 
fair dealing, and a peaceful organization of the world com- 

7. Universal military training is in direct opposition to the 
central values of our Brethren heritage. Our church fathers 
left Europe to escape militarism and to enjoy the freedom 
of this country. It will be increasingly difficult to perpet- 
uate our Brethren heritage and maintain our Brethren way 
of life under universal conscription. This issue of conscrip- 
tion is tremendously important for every member of the 
Church of the Brethren. 

Community Service in Time of War 

Dan West on September 9, 1942, worked several hours 
with Maynard Cassady, from the Office of Civilian Defense, 
on a community program for the Brethren detached from 
war activities. Then on December 19 Dan West together 
with Raymond Wilson of the Friends and C. L. Graber of 
the Mennonites worked with Maynard Cassady and Miss 
Shields of the O.C.D. on a specific plan which would be 
acceptable to the historic peace churches. The conference 
resulted in the following letter from R. C. Foster outlining 
a very helpful basis upon which Brethren may co-operate 
in community programs: 

December 21, 1942 
L. Avery Fleming 
Brethren Community Service 
22 South State Street 
Elgin, Illinois 

Dear Mr. Fleming: 

We understand that the Church of the Brethren, in addition to their 
support of Civilian Public Service Camps, their giving to relief 
work outside their own communities, and specific preparation of 
their members for greater service in reconstruction after the war, is 

The Christian and War Problems 125 

seeking to get every member of their local churches to participate 
in improving the health and welfare of people in their own com- 
munities, especially women and children, and regardless of race, 
creed, or nationality. We recognize that your church has since its 
founding maintained a peace testimony stressing the rights of re- 
ligious conscience, and we appreciate your desire to serve in ways 
that are in harmony with your religious convictions. 

As a result of conversations between your representative, Dan 
West, and representatives of the Office of Civilian Defense, it is our 
understanding that the Church of the Brethren might undertake in 
consultation with local Defense Councils, a program of community 
service along such lines as the following: 

1. Encourage your members to prepare to serve and serve 
effectively in their own homes in such matters as home 
nursing, first aid, nutrition and consumers' education. 

2. Encourage your members to train for service and 
serve in community projects or agencies dealing with 
such activities as child care, hospital service and recre- 
ation. The Defense Council or its Volunteer Office 
stands ready to work out with your churches, plans for 
the participation of your members. 

3. Encourage your local churches to sponsor projects or 
training for home and community health and welfare. 

. The Defense Council stands ready to advise on such 
projects and training. 

4. Encourage your people to use their church facilities in 
such community service as may be in keeping with 
your capacity and your peace testimony. 

We trust that such a community service program will seem feasible 
to you. 5 

Very sincerely yours, 

R. C. Foster 

Assistant Director in 
Charge of Civilian 

War Profits 
There are two classes of people who profit financially in 

5 Copied from the original. 

126 Seventy Times Seven 

a war situation. There are the pagan profiteers who en- 
courage war so that they may reap financial harvests out 
of war business. There are also righteous people who 
profit unavoidably because of the higher prices created 
during armed conflict. The writer knows many Christian 
farmers in this latter class. Some of them have a conscience 
regarding this problem and do not want the extra profits 
which come because blood is flowing in the earth. Refusal 
to accept the profits is no solution. Giving the extra profits 
to the work of the church, to the building of a strong peace 
program, and to the relief of those who suffer because of 
war, seems to be the Christian answer to the problem. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. Is it possible for the Christian pacifist to exercise his convic- 
tions against war in a period of total war? 

2. Was World War II morally justifiable? 

3. What kind of police force is most consistent with the teach- 
ings of Christ? 

4. How is it possible to change enemies into friends? 

5. Is working in defense factories consistent with the teachings 
of Jesus? 

6. Is the purchase of war bonds and stamps consistent with the 
peace principles of the Church of the Brethren? 

7. What should the attitude of the Christian be toward compul- 
sory military training? 

8. Is it wrong to profit financially because of a war situation? 

Chapter XI 



Scripture Message — Matthew 16: 13-28 

The church is built upon the faith and loyalty of Christ's 
followers. The call of Christ is so commanding that it re- 
quires a complete commitment to God. The work of the 
church for the kingdom of God is the most important 
service in the world. The church has many critics but no 
rivals in the work of redemption. The function of the 
church is to be the agent of God for the salvation of in- 
dividuals and for the creation of Christian communities 
throughout the world. The church is indeed the body of 
Christ. The Church of the Brethren since 1708 has been a 
vital part of this body. The Brethren have lived by great 
convictions and ideals. This chapter repeats some of the 
materials offered earlier and should be understood as a 
general summary of the first ten chapters. 

"Our Brethren heritage" is spoken of in the Church of 
the Brethren with joy and pride. There is a new interest 
in church history developing within our brotherhood. Many 
Brethren are becoming increasingly historically minded. 
This new emphasis is good because the Brethren have been 
lacking in their recognition of the value of preserving his- 
torical materials. 

The subject, Living and Transmitting our Brethren Herit- 
age, is in harmony with this new emphasis upon history, 
but it goes further and stresses the need for transmitting 
Brethren ideals to our children and applying them to the 
life of our day. The noble ideals which captured our fathers 
will be transmitted, not essentially by being proud of them 

128 Seventy Times Seven 

as historical values, but by living them now. The central 
problem is: Will the Church of the Brethren make its fu- 
ture contribution in line with its heritage, or will the char- 
acter of the church be changed? This question calls for a 
look at our historical ideals. 

What Is Our Brethren Heritage? 


Our denomination is called the Church of the Brethren. 
At Schwarzenau the original members called themselves 
Brethren. They spent much time in Bible study and prayer 
and gradually grew into a fellowship. Alexander Mack em- 
phasized love as the basis for this church fellowship. The 
eighteenth chapter of Matthew was taken as their guide for 
settling differences with one another. At the beginning 
of the Church of the Brethren, brotherhood and fellowship 
were fundamental values. The doctrine of reconciliation 
was central — reconciliation of man with man and of man 
with his God. 

Brethren Faith Based Upon the Life and Teachings of Jesus 

The founders of the Church of the Brethren accepted no 
creed but the New Testament. To them the radiant center 
of the New Testament was Jesus. They believed in him 
as the perfect revelation of the spirit, word, and nature of 
God. They interpreted the Old Testament in the light of 
the New. They held that the New Testament is a more 
perfect expression of God's word than the Old, because it 
contains God's expression of himself through Jesus. The 
Church of the Brethren might be called a New Testament 
church, patterned after the apostolic church. The early 
Brethren started out to live according to the Sermon on the 
Mount. Their faith was based upon the spirit, life, and 
teachings of Jesus. To them war was wrong because Christ 

Our Brethren Heritage 129 

said so. Intemperance was wrong because it was inconsis- 
tent with Christlike living. 

The Doctrine of the Church 

Alexander Mack started out to find a church which prac- 
ticed the ideals and ordinances as he found them taught in 
the New Testament. He and Christopher Hochmann stud- 
ied church history together and visited among various 
church groups. Mack and Hochmann agreed essentially 
over their interpretation of the New Testament but dis- 
agreed over the question as to whether or not a church 
should be founded. Mack believed that a church organiza- 
tion was necessary in order to carry out the New Testament 
ordinances. He believed that the Christian fellowship of 
believers is a means through which the Spirit of God works. 
All through Brethren history the church has been exalted. 
The Brethren have taught that church membership is ex- 
ceedingly important, that God's Spirit moving through the 
Christian body will bless individual members, and that the 
organized Christian program is necessary for the most far- 
reaching Christian service. The ordinances of the church 
have been taught and practiced as a means of grace. Bap- 
tism, the anointing, and the communion service have been 
important emphases in Brethren history, and they are a 
vital part of this doctrine of the church. 

The Insistence Upon the Good Life 

The early Brethren were influenced by Pietism. Hoch- 
mann was an outstanding Pietist and through him to Alex- 
ander Mack the central stream of Pietistic influence entered 
the Church of the Brethren. Pietism emphasized a religion 
of the heart, a religion of prayer and devotion, a religion of 
genuine good living, as over against the formalism of creeds 
and the corruption of the state churches. The insistence 

130 Seventy Times Seven 

of the church upon the good life has been a central value 
in Brethrenism. It has found positive expression in such 
ideals as simple living, the life of prayer and devotion, in- 
tegrity of speech, temperance and purity of home life. It 
has found negative expression in the doctrine of separation 
from the world. The early Brethren felt that the good life 
demanded a break with the unchristian influences of the 
world. To be a good Christian meant nonconformity to 
sinful practices in the surrounding communities. 

The Will of God as Revealed in the Scriptures 

At the beginning of the Church of the Brethren God's 
Word and the individual's conscience were a higher source 
of authority to be obeyed than the will of the state. Alex- 
ander Mack held that "all governments are ordained of 
God ... if they will fulfill their office according to the 
will of God." The Brethren have always believed in the 
necessity for a well-ordered government, but whether any 
particular government was accepted as being ordained of 
God depended upon the character of that government. But 
above all government was the lordship of Jesus Christ and 
the will of God as revealed in the Scriptures. 

The principle of personality has been sacred in Brethren- 
ism. John 3: 16 has been a central text in our evangelism. 
And John 10: 10 has received similar emphasis. Brethren 
preaching and teaching have held that the soul is the most 
precious value in this universe and is worth more than 
all the world. Yet respect for personality as a central 
principle among Brethren has not meant an extreme in- 
dividualism. Christopher Hochmann was an individualist. 
Alexander Mack believed in the Christian fellowship. The 
Church of the Brethren has taught that the individual's co- 
operation with and participation in the church group is 
likewise an essential value. Respect for the individual's 
conscience has been fundamental in our heritage, but along 

Our Brethren Heritage 131 

with this the church has held that the individual's con- 
science must be in harmony with God's Word. To our 
church fathers the Tightness or wrongness of any act did 
not depend upon the individual's conscience but upon God's 
Word as revealed in the New Testament. The Brethren's 
source of authority for conscience has always been the New 

One of the most significant statements ever made by the 
Church of the Brethren is the pronouncement of the Annual 
Conference of 1781: "We deem the overruling of the con- 
science as wrong." The statement becomes more interest- 
ing as the background is understood. The Revolutionary 
War was on and the members faced the problem of having 
to pay taxes to support the war. This Conference advised 
the members, in order to avoid offense, to pay the taxes re- 
quired of them according to Matthew 17: 24-27. But the 
consciences of those who could not pay them were to be re- 
spected. The source of authority for conscience was God's 
Word; the differences lay only in the application of God's 
Word to a difficult war situation. 

The statements which we so often hear today, "Let your 
conscience be your guide," "Follow your conscience," are 
not in harmony with our Brethren heritage. Our church 
fathers believed that there was a higher source of authority 
than individual opinions, convictions, and conscience. That 
authority was the will of God as revealed to man in the 
New Testament. 

There are other elements in our heritage which could be 
mentioned: such as our heritage of great men, our heritage 
of education and missions, our heritage of farm life, and the 
concepts of democracy which have dominated the life of 
our church. But these five values are central: 


132 Seventy Times Seven 

The Brethren faith based upon the life and teachings of 
The doctrine of the church; 
The insistence upon the good life; 
The will of God as revealed in the Scriptures. 

Our Brethren Heritage Is Being Threatened 

The Church of the Brethren is at the crossroads today. 
It may turn toward the conservation of its heritage, or it 
may go down the road toward the loss of its central values. 
The following represent the reasons why the Brethren 
heritage is being threatened. 

A substantial minority of Brethren churches no longer 
read Matthew 18 before baptism. Matthew 18 is the basis 
of our doctrine of reconciliation. It has been used through 
the years as the chapter to be read during the period of in- 
struction before baptism. The writer recently conducted a 
study in which returns were received from 161 of our 
churches representing 16.89 per cent of the total member- 
ship of the denomination. According to educational pro- 
cedures ten per cent is sufficient for valid sampling. These 
returns indicate that a substantial minority, or approxi- 
mately one fifth of our churches, no longer read Matthew 
18 as a part of the instruction of candidates for church 

During World War II the majority of the members of 
the Church of the Brethren supported the war system. In 
the study mentioned above forty-six per cent of the church- 
es reported that the members generally were buying war 
bonds and stamps, while sixteen per cent indicated that a 
substantial minority were buying them, and seventeen per 
cent said that a few were purchasing war bonds. Practi- 
cally fifty per cent of the churches held that propaganda 
had changed the minds of many of the members, that al- 

Our Brethren Heritage 133 

though the church's peace position was accepted as an ideal 
the majority of the members felt that this war was different 
and had to be fought. About forty-two per cent of the 
churches seemed to be holding steady in the face of propa- 
ganda. Sixty-four per cent admitted that very little peace 
teaching had been done in their local churches during the 
last ten years and out of the one hundred sixty-one churches 
only seven could be rated as having carried out a strong 
peace teaching program. 

Considering the fact that according to Merlin Shull 80.5 
per cent of the drafted Brethren went into straight army 
service, and 8.5 per cent chose Civilian Public Service, 
that a substantial minority of our members worked in de- 
fense industries, and that the majority of our members sup- 
ported the war economically, we can conclude nothing else 
than that the Church of the Brethren during World War II 
moved some distance from its historic peace convictions. 

The doctrine of the church has been weakened in the 
minds of many members. The membership rolls of our 
churches have long lists of inactives. To emphasize church 
loyalty seems almost to brand one as being narrow-minded. 
The fact is that the best way to be loyal to the whole pro- 
gram of the kingdom of God is to be loyal to a local church 
and the constructive program of one's denomination. And 
there is nothing inconsistent with this loyalty and church 

Church members need the values of the Christian fellow- 
ship. Active participation in the Body of Christ is a privi- 
lege and a great blessing. The communion services of the 
church are the most spiritual services of the whole year 
and one of the sources of greatest inspiration. The individ- 
ual in his private life should do all that he can to practice 
prayer and devotion, and to live according to the ethics 
of Jesus, but something comes through the Christian fellow- 

134 Seventy Times Seven 

ship to convict of sin, to redeem, to lift and inspire, which 
does not come in any other way. That something is God's 
Spirit! Christians meet this Spirit in the morning devo- 
tions, in the life of the family, on the hillside watching the 
break of day, and also in the contagious atmosphere of 
church worship. The writer is ready to say that belonging 
to the church, participation in its worship, and active 
service in its program are necessary elements of abundant 
Christian living and growth. 

The historical doctrine of nonconformity to the world is 
being forgotten. This doctrine historically caused the 
Brethren to be somewhat exclusive. They built Brethren 
communities and threw a wall of protection around their 
people. The industrial revolution broke down communi- 
ty barriers, and, with the coming of education and missions 
within the church, the Brethren gradually overcame their 
exclusiveness and took part in co-operative movements for 
moral and spiritual betterment. The doctrine of noncon- 
formity was not reinterpreted realistically in the light of 
new conditions. In fact, multitudes of Brethren today are 
conforming to the world. They are going to the same 
movies, supporting the same materialistic standards, and 
engaging in the same practices as the world. Even the 
problem of divorce is with the Church of the Brethren as 
a serious matter. The doctrine of separation from the 
world is a precious value in our heritage which needs to 
be taught. It does not mean Brethren exclusiveness. It 
means that Christian living is living according to great 
ideals and at the same time separation from sinful practices. 
We ought to develop a loyalty among our people so that 
there are certain things that Brethren do not do. A re- 
interpretation of nonconformity to the world today would 
mean that Brethren do not go to war, do not smoke, do not 
dance, do not play cards, do not indulge in loose living, 

Our Brethren Heritage 135 

do not spend money for luxuries, do not substitute political 
expediency for personal integrity, and do not undermine 
the permanence and sanctity of the home. 

The voice of the state is accepted by many Brethren as 
the supreme authority. Our church fathers held that the 
will of God as revealed in the Scriptures is the voice for 
the Christian to obey. Today the voice of the state is taken 
by thousands of church members as the first authority to 
be obeyed. Our church heritage is threatened. Following 
this war, the Church of the Brethren may take the road 
toward the conservation of its heritage, or toward the 
loss of its essential values. 

How Can the Church of the Brethren Live and Transmit 

Its Heritage? 

This is one of the most important problems facing the 
denomination. The following suggestions are offered re- 
garding what can be done about it. 

A Church-wide Call to Repentance 

The leaders of the Church of the Brethren should call all 
of the church members to repentance. The new church 
program should begin with repentance. This repentance 
should come in a hurry or it may be too late. It ought to 
begin with the ministers and elders. They did not do 
enough to prevent this war from coming. They did not 
instruct the young men of our churches sufficiently. They 
allowed precious years to go by without developing a strong 
peace program. 

Along with the ministers all adults who have supported 
the war economically should repent. War cannot be recon- 
ciled with Jesus Christ. War is unchristian and is incon- 
sistent with the most precious values of this universe. 

Ministers, laymen, and then the boys who were drafted 
by their country should unite with us in repentance. The 

136 Seventy Times Seven 

drafted boys have our compassion and our sympathy. They 
were caught in this thing. Many of them did not want to 
be in it any more than we did. They longed for it to be 
over so that they might come back home. 

The C.P.S. boys followed the advice of the church and 
accepted service to their country outside of the definite 
military system. The young men who accepted noncom- 
batant service mostly entered the medical corps because 
they sincerely felt that they should minister directly to 
human life. Thousands of Brethren young men who en- 
tered straight army service did not want to go to war, had 
no enthusiasm for what they were in, but felt that there 
was nothing else to do but to enter the struggle and get 
it over. Many of them soon became sick of war and longed 
for peace to come. A few Brethren boys went to prison be- 
cause they could not conscientiously accept any service 
under conscription. All of these boys should be welcomed 
back into the fellowship of the church. They should be 
asked to unite with us in building a stronger and better 
church. Brethren C.P.S. boys, soldiers and those from 
prison should be called upon to help create a peace program 
for the future in harmony with our heritage. These young 
men must help us build a church fellowship with strong 
convictions, and yet with kindness and tolerance toward 
those who differ. But all of us should repent and as an 
elder the writer would like to kneel with a soldier on one 
side and a C.P.S. man on the other joining hands with them 
in a covenant to unite our efforts to build a church fellow- 
ship and program so that the Church of the Brethren will 
make its significant contribution through the years in line 
with its historical values. The pathway for the new pro- 
gram is through repentance. 

The following is a summary statement regarding who 
should repent and why: 

Our Brethren Heritage 137 

1. All Brethren for forgetting the cross, for failing to trust 
the power of goodwill, for becoming indifferent to the needs 
of those without sufficient food and clothing, and for allow- 
ing hate of enemies sometimes to creep into their hearts. 

2. All Brethren for doing so little to prevent World War 
II from coming, and for failing to apply the gospel of the 
Prince of Peace courageously to this particular war. 

3. Brethren elders and ministers for failing to teach 
church members the peace principles of Jesus, and the peace 
position of the Church of the Brethren, and for not counsel- 
ing adequately with young men regarding the Christian 
course to follow in war situations. 

4. Brethren who allowed war propaganda to change their 
minds, and who felt that this war had to be fought before 
peace teaching could begin. 

5. Brethren who believe in goodwill but ran for cover 
until the war was over and thereby failed to give their testi- 
mony for peace, 

6. Brethren who supported the war industrially and eco- 
nomically without applying the church's peace principles to 
industrial and economic problems. 

7. Brethren who in their normal occupations profited fi- 
nancially because of war prices without feeling that these 
extra profits should be used for purposes of goodwill and for 
the support of Christian causes which build the kingdom of 

8. Brethren men in Civilian Public Service who followed 
the advice of the church, but who sometimes under condi- 
tions of strain did not go the second mile in giving a heroic 
testimony for the cross. 

9. Brethren in noncombatant service whose sincerity the 
church does not question, but who seemed to think it neces- 
sary to join the war system in order to meet human needs 
most effectively. 

138 Seventy Times Seven 

10. Brethren in combatant service whom the church loves 
and yet realizes that their efforts either directly or indirect- 
ly resulted in promoting the destructive practices of war. 

A Return to Brethren Faith 

The Church of the Brethren as a New Testament church 
has found its central authority in the life and teachings of 
Jesus. The faith of the Brethren has not rested in a relativ- 
ism, but in Jesus as the expression of the nature of God. 
The deity of Christ has been accepted, not debated. The Old 
Testament has been understood by the Brethren in the light 
of the New. The Brethren have found the Old Testament 
full of divine truth, but the New Testament has always been 
accepted as a higher revelation because Christ is its radiant 
center, God's supreme revelation of himself to man. 

There are too many Old Testament sermons in the Church 
of the Brethren today which forget that our central au- 
thority is Jesus Christ. The centrality of Jesus Christ in the 
interpretation of Christian doctrine should be taught to ev- 
ery member of the Church of the Brethren. The ethics of 
Jesus as our guide for conduct, our pillar of cloud by day 
and fire by night, should likewise be taught throughout our 
church. All standards of living, all forms of doctrine, should 
be squared with his teachings. Therefore, while the Old 
Testament is filled with divine teachings it must in some 
points of view bow before the New. Jesus himself says this. 
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say to you, Love 
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them 
that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use 
you and persecute you." Brethren should not forget the 
scriptural words, "Ye have heard that it hath been said by 
them of old time . . . but I say unto you." A return to 
Brethren theology is placing Jesus Christ at the heart of 
our faith. 

Our Brethren Heritage 139 

A Return to a Vital Teaching Program 

Every outstanding movement depends strongly upon in- 
struction. Certainly the church does not need to hesitate 
in teaching its doctrines. As a boy in the church, the writer 
heard many sermons upon our church doctrines. During 
the last twenty-five years there has been a swing away from 
the old emphasis upon church doctrines. Consequently, in 
the Church of the Brethren a large body of our church 
members are not taught. The church needs a new emphasis 
upon our doctrines, a stressing of their central meanings, an 
explanation of their values in enriching character, and an 
application of their principles to present-day life and 

Working Out in Our Communities the Techniques of Peace- 
ful Living 

Those who believe in peace should live in the spirit of that 
which they want to accomplish. It is possible to believe 
in the theory of peace, and at the same time live like war- 
riors in our homes and communities. Since reconciliation 
is a central value in our heritage, we should work out its 
techniques in our daily living. The first technique is the 
manifestation of patience, tolerance, and kindness toward 
those who differ, and the spending of enough time with 
them so that there is mutual understanding. Peaceful living 
does not mean the compromise of convictions. It means 
friendship in spite of differences. A second technique is to 
work hard in those forms of community service in which we 
can conscientiously participate with our fellows. Christians 
whose consciences do not allow them to participate in war 
drives can show their real community spirit by taking part 
in moral welfare projects which make a real contribution to 
human betterment. A third technique is to attack the 
wrongs of society nonviolently. We are to "overcome evil 

140 Seventy Times Seven 

with good." This does not mean that we are to allow sinful 
forces to flourish in our communities without doing any- 
thing about them. We are to attack these forces by soul 
force — through the spirit and methods of love. A fourth 
technique of peaceful living is to bear the cross of misun- 
derstanding. In all of the experiences of Jesus through his 
trials and persecutions, there was a winsomeness about his 
silence. Those who follow Jesus all the way can expect to 
be misunderstood. But there is nothing so redemptive as 
bearing the cross with patience, forgiveness, and silence. 

The Church Losing Itself in a Program of World Service 

Our Brethren heritage will be transmitted by the church 
losing itself in world service. This means missions and 
Brethren Service. This means genuine Christian service 
in the communities in which we live. It involves Christian 
attitudes and relationships to other races and nations. It 
includes giving our money sacrificially to send young people 
as missionaries of the cross, and to the various countries of 
the earth as ambassadors of goodwill. It means sharing the 
bread from our tables so that the hungry may be fed. 

Mrs. Bowman and I went one day by a cog railroad to a 
summit on the Alps Mountains. We sat beside a young man 
from New England who likewise was a foreigner in that 
country. Together we walked out on those mountains of 
ice. We thought we ventured far, but this young man went 
farther. We saw him jumping over tongues of ice. We 
saw him climbing higher and higher. We wondered whether 
he would ever come back. But when we boarded the train 
to return, he was there with face all aglow, and with a won- 
derful story of adventure. 

That is the spirit of youth, and it is going to take that 
spirit of adventure to meet the needs of this day. A world 
bleeding to death knocks at the door of the church. The 

Our Brethren Heritage 141 

service it calls for is one demanding sacrifice. It is a service 
inspired by the Spirit of the Eternal God with a goal no 
less than the kingdom without frontiers. It is a service 
which asks for everything we have to save instead of de- 
stroying life. As the church takes this pathway of losing 
itself, it may find that it has saved and transmitted the con- 
victions and the ideals which captured our fathers. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. What are the outstanding emphases of the Brethren heritage? 

2. In what ways is the Brethren heritage being threatened? 

3. Why is it necessary for church members to repent? 

4. How will it be possible to perpetuate our Brethren heritage? 

Chapter XII 



Scripture Message — Matthew 5: 2; Acts 5: 42; Mark 1: 22; 
John 8: 28; Galatians 6:6; John 14: 26; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 

2 Timothy 2: 24 

Jesus was the Master Teacher of all the ages. He con- 
ducted a teaching ministry. On the Mount "he opened his 
mouth and taught them" (Matthew 5: 2). The Book of 
Acts states that the apostles "ceased not to teach and to 
preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5: 42). John informs us that 
the Holy Spirit is a teacher and revealer of the things of 
God (John 14: 26). Paul in his letter to Timothy claims 
that the servant of the Lord must be "apt to teach" (2 Tim- 
othy 2: 24). A central function of the Christian church is 
that of teaching. 

A vital peace education program is needed in the Church 
of the Brethren because the lack of peace education is 
a fundamental reason why so many Brethren accepted 
army service during World War II. The replies from 
questionnaires indicated that many leaders of the Church 
of the Brethren consider a strong peace teaching pro- 
gram one of the denomination's greatest needs. Since 
it is evident that during the second world war a large per- 
centage of the church members slipped away from the 
church's peace position a comprehensive peace teaching pro- 
gram is necessary to re-educate these members and to per- 
petuate the peace testimony of the church. Considering 
also the possibility of more government control over the 
lives of citizens and the increasing militarizing of the na- 
tion, the peace education of each church member is essential 
if the Brethren are to maintain their way of life. 

A Peace Program for Our Church 143 

Principles to Guide the Building of the Peace Education 


1. Tolerance toward those who differ. It should be taken 
for granted at the outset that not all church members will 
agree with the Brethren peace teachings. Yet the use of 
coercion and the practice of disfellowshiping all who do 
not accept the position of the church are inconsistent with 
the spirit of peace which the church desires to establish. 
The exercise of freedom of conscience and tolerance has in 
it the possibility that the community pressures and forces 
of propaganda will be so strong that the Church of the 
Brethren will gradually pass out of existence as a peace 
church. It is obvious that it will be no easy matter for a 
church with antiwar teachings to exist in a militarized na- 
tion. But even in the face of that, peace goals call for 
methods of goodwill and freedom of conscience which are 
in harmony with the desired outcomes. The church in op- 
posing totalitarian government control defeats its own pur- 
pose when it uses totalitarian and undemocratic procedures. 

2. Democratic participation of the members of the group. 
The members of the church should be allowed to participate 
freely in the discussions and to help build the peace educa- 
tion program. 

3. An educational program that is as broad as the ex- 
periences of individuals, including the experiences of per- 
sons in the home, community, church and place of work. 
Peace education ought to affect the whole of life. 

4. The cultivation of a stronger church fellowship based 
upon vital worship experiences, respect for persons, under- 
standings and appreciations of others, working together in 
service projects, and willingness to sacrifice for great causes. 
Building a vital peace program in the Church of the Breth- 
ren depends much upon the ability of the local church 
leaders to strengthen the fellowship of the churches so that 

144 Seventy Times Seven 

the differing points of view may be freely discussed with 
kindness and tolerance. 

5. The providing of enriching experiences in peaceful 
living and constructive service projects. One of the weak- 
nesses of the peace program of the Brethren thus far has 
been its failure to provide expressional work. Work camps 
in the Church of the Brethren have made a valuable con- 
tribution along this line. 

Objectives of the Peace Education Program 

1. To teach children, young people and adults to be faith- 
ful citizens of their country, serving the nation in peaceful 
and constructive ways in harmony with conscience, and 
that above all nations is humanity. This is the present 
church position. The Brethren want to be good citizens 
but place loyalty to the teachings of Christ and the highest 
welfare of humanity above the claims of any nation. 

2. To lead children, young people and adults to under- 
stand the Christian basis of pacifism. The peace convic- 
tions of the Brethren throughout their history have been 
based upon the life and teachings of Jesus. The New Testa- 
ment has been much more influential in Brethren thought 
than the Old Testament. But during World War II inter- 
pretations of the Bible which were not founded upon thor- 
ough and well-balanced Biblical scholarship confused the 
minds of many church members. The peace program faces 
a Biblical and theological problem in local churches. 

3. To help individuals in their daily living to be well- 
poised, have good attitudes, and to have no feelings of bit- 
terness toward anyone. 

4. To aid parents to teach peace in their homes and to ex- 
press goodwill in all their relationships to each other and to 
their children. 

5. To develop a peace education program for the church 

A Peace Program for Our Church 145 

which will be expressed through every phase of the church 
life: such as worship, preaching, class discussions, fellow- 
ship, service projects, recreation, and counseling. 

6. To help the community to organize a program to study 
the problem of international relationships. 

7. To sponsor in the high schools creative alternatives 
to military programs and education for war. 

8. To help the Brethren colleges increasingly to become 
creative centers of peace education for developing youth. 

9. To make the seminary, in addition to its present pro- 
gram, a training school for peace leaders. 

10. To organize and offer to church members a challeng- 
ing program of community and world service. Young peo- 
ple want to become a part of a movement which is signifi- 
cant for society. 

11. To teach the economic, industrial and political aspects 
of the peace problem. These are areas of great need in 
Brethren life and thought. 

12. To help young people and adults to analyze, under- 
stand and interpret propaganda. During World War II 
propaganda had a great effect upon the church. 

Educational Methods for the Peace Program 

The findings of this study show that peace sermons, the 
writing of letters, and making recommendations to local 
churches were not a sufficient educational force in the de- 
nomination. Fewer than a third of the churches had special 
peace study courses for young people. Most of the churches 
paid no attention to the recommendations which were sent. 
More vital teaching methods are necessary if the program 
is to succeed. The following methods are suggested in 
harmony with democratic education: 

1. The method of discussion. The placing of individuals 
in an educational setting where the differing points of view 

146 Seventy Times Seven 

are presented, the members of the group are stimulated 
to do further research and thinking, and where individuals 
reach their conclusions only after thought and study and 

2. The method of education through peace action. Work 
camps in districts and local churches where young people 
support themselves and give a summer toward improving 
the housing conditions of a city and help to relieve centers 
of tension, have a strong educational value. 

3. The method of supervision. One reason for the failure 
of the peace education program was lack of supervision. 

4. The coaching conference method. This is essential for 
the fieldworkers now in service. Peace leaders may be 
coached either personally or in groups. 

5. The method of counseling. The peace program in- 
volves a revitalized ministry to individual members. 

6. The research project method. The peace leaders can 
beneficially study successful peace education projects 
wherever they may be found. 

7. The method of exposure. This means making peace 
literature available attractively to the church people. 

8. The method of keeping the church members informed 
through the church periodicals and local church announce- 
ments regarding the peace emphasis of the denomination. 

Suggestions for the General Peace Program 

Annual Conference 

The Annual Conference should lead the way. It should 
continue to make strong peace declarations and to reinter- 
pret to the church members the historic peace position of 
the church. The Annual Conference could well authorize 
the building of a comprehensive peace program for the de- 
nomination and call upon all districts and local churches to 
co-operate in making it effective. 

A Peace Program for Our Church 147 

The Brethren Service Committee 

The Brethren Service Committee should lead the Church 
of the Brethren in a program of world service including 
alternative service to war and military training. As the 
Brethren lose themselves in world service, they may dis- 
cover that their peace testimony is being saved. Some as- 
pects of the Brethren Service program may be listed as 

1. The making of government contacts to see that the 
rights of minorities are respected. 

2. Leading the denomination in the expression of its op- 
position to conscription. 

3. Helping the church members to understand how to 
interpret propaganda. 

4. Developing a program of creative alternative service 
to war, military training, and community defense projects. 

5. Carrying on a widespread program of relief, recon- 
struction and cultivation of goodwill. 

6. Refugee work — caring for the homeless and those who 
suffer because of war, famine, or other disasters. 

The Board of Christian Education 

The Board of Christian Education is in charge of peace 
education. A full-time peace director is employed who 
leads out in developing and promoting the peace program. 
The age-group secretaries and editors also promote the 
peace program in their respective fields of work. The fol- 
lowing are suggestions for the peace education program. 

1. The Brethren graded lessons revised so as to include a 
few additional units prepared by our denominational lead- 
ers. In order to save expense, the Brethren graded lessons 
are taken from other denominations and are imprinted. A 
normal peace education program should become a vital 
part of the total educational program of the local church. 

148 Seventy Times Seven 

A few Brethren units could possibly be inserted in the place 
of other materials such as: 

Loving Our Neighbors — for primaries. 

Brethren Heroes of Peace — for juniors. 

History and Ideals of the Church of the Brethren — elective 
course for young people and adults. 

Seventy Times Seven — elective courses for young people 
and adults. 

2. The preparing of peace pamphlet materials for the 
general education of the church such as: 

How to Teach Peace to Children — for parents and church 
school teachers. 

Peace Education Through Brethren Homes — for all par- 

Peace Education in the Community — for parents and 
community leaders. 

Peace Education in the Local Church — a comprehensive 
program including the total life and work of the church. 

Adventures in Goodwill for Young People — this would 
include summer camps, work camps, special community and 
relief projects as well as training for them. 

The Christian Philosophy of Peace — this would aim to 
give the New Testament basis for pacifism and to help solve 
the present theological confusion. 

3. The preparation of a manual as a guide to teachers 
in conducting classes of instruction for prospective members 
before baptism, which will acquaint those entering the 
church with the historical and present peace position of the 

Bethany Biblical Seminary 

The seminary at the present time endeavors to lead 
young ministers to understand the Biblical basis of pacifism, 

A Peace Program for Our Church 149 

the Brethren peace position, the techniques of nonviolence, 
the major international peace problems, and the economic 
implications of peaceful living. In the new peace program 
the seminary might take a larger place in the peace activ- 
ities of the denomination through conducting special train- 
ing schools for peace leaders. 

The Brethren Colleges 

Brethren colleges have offered courses on international 
relationships, have conducted peace institutes on the cam- 
puses, and have planned special training for relief and re- 
construction workers. The colleges desire to co-operate in 
the peace program which is being developed now. The fol- 
lowing suggestions seem to be possibilities for the colleges. 

1. An institute of international relationships on the cam- 
pus yearly. 

2. The organization of special discussion groups for stu- 
dents on world problems and nonviolent action. 

3. Courses of study on the following: 
Peace and the Economic Problem; 

Peace and the Problem of Industrial Relationships; 

Peace in the History and Program of the Church of the 

4. The colleges offering special training for relief, recon- 
struction and community service projects. 

Regional and District Workers 

1. The regional workers to be called together yearly by 
the Elgin staff for the building of the church program and 
coaching regarding the administration of peace education. 

2. The regional workers to coach personally all district 
workers regarding the peace philosophy and program of 
the denomination and to supervise the peace educational 
program promoted by all district leaders in local churches. 

150 Seventy Times Seven 

Questions for Discussion 

1. Why is a strong peace education program needed now in 
the Church of the Brethren? 

2. What principles should guide the building of the peace pro- 

3. What objectives should undergird the peace program? 

4. The use of what educational methods will make the program 

5. What are the functions of Annual Conference, the Brethren 
Service Committee, the Board of Christian Education, Bethany Bib- 
lical Seminary, the Brethren colleges, the regions and the districts 
in the peace education program of the church? 

Chapter XIII 



Scripture Message — Ephesians 4: 11-32 

The peace program in the local churches is exceedingly 
important. If the local churches fail in teaching peace, the 
whole peace program fails. In the writer's recent study of 
one hundred sixty-one local churches he found that only a 
few had carried on a comprehensive peace teaching program 
prior to World War II. The first problem in peace educa- 
tion is in regard to the church and returning servicemen. 

When the Boys Come Home 

Many of these servicemen will not be military-minded. 
Great numbers of them will be sick of war, disillusioned 
about the results of war, and eager to return to normal 
civilian life. Some of them will be militaristic, but on the 
other hand, the Church of the Brethren may discover 
some strong peace leaders coming from the ranks of those 
who have seen the terrible fruitage of armed conflict. 

The church should remember that: 

1. Many men will be different when they return. Some 
have faced death. Their nerves have been strained. All 
have been in new countries and have had new experiences. 

2. Some will be sick mentally as well as physically. 

3. The environment at home has also changed somewhat 
since they left. While away they idealized their home, 
church and community and upon returning they may be 

4. While in the army the boys were indoctrinated with a 
type of philosophy £t variapqe with the Church of the 

152 Seventy Times Seven 

Brethren and some of them may keep these opinions through 
the years. 

5. Demobilization will not come at one time. It will 
probably come through a gradual process covering a period 
of several years. 

6. A severe unemployment problem may develop in the 
years following the war. 

7. Many returning servicemen as well as other citizens 
may become embittered at the allied peace treaties. 

8. The development of a stronger American Legion is 
certain to follow World War II. 

9. While many soldiers have stood sun-crowned in the 
preservation of their personal purity, yet the war has 
brought a wave of lowered morality. When the powerful 
discipline of the army has been relaxed, more immorality 
may follow. 

How Should the Churches Deal With Returning 


The churches should keep in contact with the drafted 
members now. Only a small percentage are hearing from 
their churches. The ministers and church members should 
write to the boys. The following are possible suggestions 
for dealing with returning servicemen: 

1. Welcome them back to the church with warm friend- 
ship. The minister ought to be one of the first to greet 
the boys and establish confidence. The church could wel- 
come the boys with a special meal, giving the same greeting 
to C.P.S. men and returning soldiers. The service need not 
be a glorification of war, but rather a genuine welcome into 
the fellowship of the church. 

2. In counseling the minister should deal with the service- 
men as individuals rather than as groups. Counseling with 
these men is a great opportunity for the pastor. 

A Peace Program for Local Churches 153 

3. Servicemen should be treated as normal individuals 
without any reference to abnormalities such as damaged 
nerves and bodies. 

4. The families of returning servicemen and other mem- 
bers of the parish could well be counseled regarding how to 
receive them. Servicemen should not be pressed to tell 
their war experiences. They will want to banish these ex- 
periences from their minds. On the other hand, some of 
them may have had experiences which they want to con- 
fess to a counselor. In such cases the counselor should 
listen carefully and offer help. All of the boys will need 
rest and recreation. Some of them will need a clinical 

5. Most servicemen basically will not desire to be called 
heroes. They will claim the opportunity to become normal 
citizens and get adequate employment. The men's work 
organizations in churches could render a wonderful service 
in aiding C.P.S. men and returning soldiers to get located 
on farms or in other jobs. 

How Build the Fellowship in the Local Church? 

This question is important because the local churches 
will have returning C.P.S. men and soldiers, and also par- 
ents of both groups. In addition some churches will have 
boys from prison. Most churches will have members who 
have bought war bonds and stamps and others who main- 
tained strong convictions against war. The problem of how 
to build a wholesome church fellowship, to perpetuate our 
Brethren heritage, and to build a strong peace teaching pro- 
gram for the future is a real one. This is a fundamental 
problem, however, facing the Church of the Brethren. The 
following are some suggestions: 

1. The church's program should be pervaded with the 
spirit of tolerance and understanding. There ought to be 

154 Seventy Times Seven 

a sportsmanlike sharing of ideas and a joint questing for 
truth. The minister may need to stress tolerance and under- 

2. C.P.S. men and returning soldiers should be placed 
in Sunday-school classes with others of this same age group. 
There ought to be no separation of servicemen into a special 
group. The teaching program of the church and the church 
socials should knit together the church fellowship. 

3. Servicemen may be used to help emphasize the world- 
wide mission of the church. Some of them have seen 
Christian missions in other lands and have recognized their 

4. The voice from the pulpit and the teachers of Sunday- 
school classes must present clearly the historic and official 
peace position of the Church of the Brethren and the fact 
that war is out of harmony with the life, spirit and teach- 
ings of Jesus. This must be done regardless of the varying 
opinions in the audience. 

5. Discussion groups to study the Biblical basis of peace 
and war problems will be helpful in leading the members 
toward a more united point of view. A skillful discussion 
leader will lead the members of the group to analyze the 
problems under discussion, to canvass all possible solu- 
tions, to discover the solution in harmony with the teachings 
of Jesus, and to formulate the procedures for action. In 
this way thinking and reading will be stimulated. Well- 
conducted discussion groups will be a great asset in building 
the fellowship of the local church. 

6. The counseling of individuals by the minister will also 
be a great help. Jesus preached some of his great sermons 
to individuals. Counseling members regarding problems of 
war is a great opportunity for pastors and teachers. 

7. The new peace program must begin with repentance. 

A Peace Program for Local Churches 155 

There should be a church-wide call to repentance. This 
program of repentance could be carried out as follows: 

a. The general boards, regions and districts should lead 
out in the call. 

b. In a local church the program should be presented to 
the official board for endorsement. 

c. The pastor may hold a week's meeting in which he 
preaches a series of sermons on The Christian Philosophy of 

d. The sermon each evening may be followed with the 
opportunity for questions so that the perplexing problems 
of members may be met. 

e. During the week there should be an every-member 
visitation by the pastor and others to discuss the peace 
position of the church and the need for repentance. On this 
visit peace literature could profitably be given to each 

f. A general meeting for genuine repentance should be 
called for the last Sunday of the meeting. The service 
might include an address on The Need for Repentance, a 
well-worked-out and deeply spiritual worship service, an 
opportunity for personal testimonies and also the oppor- 
tunity for individual members to participate in prayer. 

g. At the close of this experience of repentance a vital 
peace teaching program should be presented to the church. 

Other Emphases in the Peace Teaching Program 

1. Training classes for new members. There should be 
a period of training for new members in which the evangeli- 
cal doctrines of our faith, the history and doctrines of the 
Church of the Brethren, what it means to be a Christian, 
and what church membership means, are taught. Members 
are being brought into the church now without being in- 

156 Seventy Times Seven 

2. A period of instruction before baptism in which Mat- 
thew 18 is presented as the basis for our church fellowship, 
the Brethren ideals and ordinances are taught, and the peace 
and temperance principles are emphasized. Prospective 
church members should be told that they are joining a 
peace church and that they can expect to be taught the 
doctrine of peace. The question arises as to whether a 
definite peace covenant should be required of those uniting 
with the church. At the present time the Brethren Manual 
gives three questions as to the covenant of baptism: 

(a) Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son and do you 
receive him and trust him as your Savior? 

(b) Do you turn away from all sin and will you endeavor by 
God's grace to live according to the example and teachings of Jesus? 

(c)) Will you be loyal to the church, upholding her by your 
prayers and your presence, your substance and your service? 

These questions mean faith in the Saviorhood of Christ, 
the renunciation of the life of sin, and faithfulness to the 
teachings and program of the church. This covenant is 
really comprehensive enough if it is explained. If the 
covenant is prefaced with a clear explanation of the out- 
standing principles of our Brethren heritage, applicants will 
know that they are joining a peace church and will be ex- 
pected to live according to its teachings. This teaching pro- 
gram is more sound educationally than making all applicants 
promise never to go to war. Members when baptized are 
new-born babes in the church and through Christian nurture 
will grow in Christlikeness. The real problem now is that 
applicants for church membership are not being instructed 
in Brethren peace principles. Local churches need to re- 
turn to a definite program of instruction before baptism and 
this instruction should be carried out before the church 
group because of the educational value for church members. 
Only the detailed instruction regarding the act of baptism 
itself would need to be given privately, 

A Peace Program for Local Churches 157 

3. Study courses on peace for Sunday church school les- 
sons and Sunday evening discussion groups. 

4. Sermons which emphasize the Biblical basis of peace, 
and the history and ideals of the Church of the Brethren. 

5. A peace literature table in the church. 

6. A program of visitation which discusses the Christian 
philosophy of peace with church members. 

7. Peace action in the local church such as work camps, 
relief projects, and fellowship experiences with other races. 

8. Discussion groups with parents regarding how to teach 
peace to children. 

9. Providing peace lessons and stories for children in the 
church school. 

10. Coaching conferences for Sunday-school teachers re- 
garding the teaching of peace to children. 

11. Keeping the institutional life of the church democrat- 
ic, devotional, and friendly. 

Suggestions for the Peace Program in Brethren Homes 

The home is the basic institution in society. Historically 
Brethren homes were centers for the transmission of the 
church ideals. If Brethren principles are to be perpetuated, 
our homes must believe and practice the doctrine of peace. 
The following are suggestions: 

1. Having a book table in the home with peace stories for 

2. Parents taking time to play and live with their chil- 

3. Parents bringing church leaders into the home to con- 
tact the children. 

4. Parents and children discussing the program of the 
church, the teachings of Jesus on peace, and the sinfulness 

158 Seventy Times Seven 

of war. Parents should freely discuss all problems with 
their children. 

5. Parents practicing the spirit and methods of pacifism 
in dealing with their children. 

6. Parents and children making wholesome contacts with 
other races. 

7. Parents exercising care in the type of toys brought 
into the home. War toys may educate for war. 

8. Individual families undertaking service projects to- 

9. Conducting family worship with all members of the 
family participating. 

10. Selecting radio programs which do not propagandize 
for war. 

11. Choosing the decorations and pictures of the home 
with peaceful influences in mind. 

12. Parents providing for the recreation of their children 
under the wholesome influences of the home. 

Questions for Discussion 

1. How should local churches welcome the returning service- 
men back home? 

2. How will it be possible to build a wholesome church fellow- 
ship with varying points of view? 

3. Why is repentance necessary for the beginning of a more 
vital peace program in the church? 

4. What ought to be included in a training class for new mem- 

5. How important is the period of instruction before baptism 
and what should be included in it? 

6. What are the ways in which parents may teach peace to their 

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