Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

The Folly of the Cross

One of the nice things about the community of theology blogs is that one doesn’t have to do everything oneself.  I have written often on Christian nonviolence, but I have not, on this blog, ever tried to lay out a consistent case for the position.  Fortunately, an excellent case is made by D.C. Cramer on his blog, Cramer Comments.

Here is a link to most of his series, “The Folly of the Cross: On  Christian Pacifism.”  Note that he covers topics that often come up as objections, including the question of policing and that of (violent) defense of family against attackers.  He promises more to come, including chapters on the question of pacifism and the Old Testament, family members in the military, the Nazis and more.  I hope he includes a chapter on nonviolent responses to terrorism. (If not, I will have to do  so myself, I guess.  Fortunately, far more has been written on this recently than when I became a pacifist in the ’80s.)  Given his conservative evangelical background, I suspect that Cramer and I disagree  on several things (Christian pacifism comes in many varieties), but I like what he has written here and recommend it to you,  Gentle Readers,  whether you share my pacifist convictions or are one of my critics on this matter.

March 30, 2009 - Posted by | blogs, discipleship, nonviolence, pacifism


  1. Thanks for your comments and the link. Interesting background on Ricoeur. One of my profs at Trinity, Kevin Vanhoozer, is himself a Ricoeur scholar, though I’m not sure if he is interested specifically in Ricoeur’s pacifist convictions or not.

    I suspect we may disagree on a number of things, though I don’t know if this is necessarily the case given my background, since becoming a pacifist has caused me to be self-critical of my own previously held assumptions and background.


    Comment by D C Cramer | March 30, 2009

  2. I wonder what Jesus’ response to terrorism (of the current variety) would have been . And what about Mahatma Gandhi’s response ?

    Comment by Paul | March 30, 2009

  3. I don’t know, Paul, but Jesus did have to deal with a form of terrorism–namely, the “Zealots,” Jewish resistance fighters against Rome who used terror tactics. Some of Jesus’ disciples either came from their ranks or were supportive of them. Jesus’ response was the way of nonviolence.

    Gandhi, too, had to deal with terrorism mainly from Indians (Hindu and Muslim) who wanted to use them in guerilla warfare against the British. His response was to show that nonviolent resistance was both more moral and more effective.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | March 30, 2009

  4. I have liked some of Vanhoozer’s work, D.C., but believed he was still committed to a form of “inerrancy” bound up with Scottish Common Sense philosophy that I find untenable.

    We probably do disagree on a number of things, but that’s okay. I am not threatened by differences within the People of God, not even differences among Christian pacifists.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | March 30, 2009

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