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Saturday, 30 January 2010


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Pastor Mack

The Methodist tradition as non-violent? Wesley was a defender of the king and the empire. Early preachers took up arms on both sides of the war. One preacher of the 2nd great awakening, Peter Cartwright, in his own memoir recounts fighting off bandits on more than one occasion.

Quakers are a little more clear-cut. That said, I do recall a friend delivering a paper in my undergraduate days (I was a history major) about quaker statesman in early PA who had to hire mercenaries to deal with violent Indians, because they themselves could not fight them. There are no morally pure traditions, and it is a vain search to look for them.

Chris Sissons

You're quite right - I'm guilty of sloppy writing here. Methodists are not non-violent and never have been. What I should have written (and intended to convey) was that no wars have been fought by Methodists on behalf of Arminianism. This is most likely an accident of history but I think it has formed the Methodist tradition to a degree. (A glance at the letters page in 'The Methodist Recorder' and the results of the recent paper 'What kind of Bishops' are evidence that under the surface there is no lack of the anger that has marked all Christian traditions.)

The Quakers are I think unique in having a peace testimony. Of course, this does not mean they are never violent but they do see non-violence as a priority.

Your last sentence raises an issue I will address in my next post.

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