The largest body of waiter up this globe of ours has been misnamed “The Pacific Ocean’’. It received this name from the explorer, Magellan, to describe its quiet, peaceful nature; for its surface was very calm and peaceful when for the first time he looked out over its surface. Comparing with the stormy Atlantic he and his men had crossed, the name Pacific, which means peaceful, seemed very appropriate for this body of water. However, had he remained there any length of time or sailed homeward across it, we might be calling this vast expanse of water by another name today. Only at times is it quiet and peaceful; at other times it is a raging sea, stormy and tempestuous.
There is likewise an attitude of mind, a tenet, or system of beliefs incorrectly called Pacifism. Derived from the same Latin word as Pacific, it has the same underlying idea of peace. But like the Pacific Ocean, which can also become the very opposite of peaceful, Pacifism, as to its nature is not peaceful, and in its exercise will never bring about peace. This we hope to make plain in this article.
Should you turn to Webster’s Dictionary for a definition of Pacifism, this is what you would find: “opposition to war, or the use of military force for any purpose; especially an attitude of mind opposing all war, emphasizing the defects of military training and the cost of war and advocating the settlement of international disputes entirely by arbitration; also the system of beliefs or opinions opposing war or the use of military force.”
The aim of Pacifism, plainly, is to foster peace and bring an end to all war. This goal the Pacifist hopes to reach by opposing the use of military force and in its place settle all matters by arbitration.
To this goal Pacifism will never attain and therefore is not worthy of the name, Pacifism. It is not a doctrine of peace. It does not believe in peace. It does not foster peace. The reason for this is that the Pacifist does not understand what peace is and leaves the fact of sin and man’s rebellious, depraved nature out of consideration. Were peace merely that state in which there is no exercise of military force, Pacifism might attain a temporary peace. But to a permanent real peace it cannot attain. Such a so-called, temporary peace we experienced between this last war and the present world-wide conflict when Pacifism was practiced to a degree by the League of Nations, although this temporary, so-called peace cannot be attributed to Pacifism. We have had such temporary, so-called peace before Pacifism was practiced. But peace is more than this state in which there is no military force being exercised. It goes much deeper.
What, then, is peace? Peace is the product of love.
Peace is that state in which the thoughts and desires of individuals or groups of individuals are similar or in harmony with each other, resulting in activity which is for one another’s well-being. There will be and can be no peace until all men shall think and will alike. They need not have the same thoughts but their thoughts on different things should run in one line to a common goal. As the rivers east of the Continental Divide coming from different mountain tops and lakes and flowing through different states all run into the Atlantic Ocean so must the thoughts and desires of all mankind proceed in one direction to one common goal. You see, when two rivers come together going in different directions, there is confusion until they unite and flow in one direction. Thus it is in the world today. But this proceeding of men’s thoughts and desires in opposite directions must cease. They must strive for the same goal. That goal must be God’s honor and glory. They must all be God-centered in their thinking and willing. When this is realized, they will seek one another’s well-being, helping each other to honor and glorify Him. The laboring man and the financier may think about different things and be busy with different problems, but their thoughts will harmonize and meet in God. Then there will be no strikes. The German Scientist and the French Artist, the American Manufacturer and the Japanese Fisherman will think about different things, but their thoughts will be in harmony with each other and meet in God, as all the spokes on a wheel meet at the hub. Then you will have peace, for all will be seeking the same goal, not for their individual profit and advantage but for God’s honor and glory. When this is their goal, they will enjoy helping one another that God may be honored and glorified. There will then be fellowship, communion and harmony. That is true peace.
This, of course, will not be realized in its fullest realization until the day of Christ. It cannot be attained by the Pacifist. He does not even attempt to change the mind and heart. It is attained only by the Spirit and grace of Christ. His Spirit and grace alone can renew that heart and mind by turning them and centering them in God. The Pacifist fails to take into consideration that most important matter of sin. He forgets that man who rebelled against his God will also rebel against his fellow man. He forgets that man who killed the Prince of Peace will also kill his fellow men, and will not live in peace with his neighbor. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” This is not my question alone. This is God’s question that He presented through the Holy Writer, James. Do not overlook the last phrase which declares that our lusts war in our members. That war the Pacifist must first bring to an end. Unless he does, all his arbitration is doomed to failure. As soon as one nation’s patience is exhausted, it will resort once more to military force.
Another thing worth noticing is the fact the Pacifism is opposition to military force. This brands it as being itself by nature anything but peaceful. All opposition whether military force or mental opposition is conflict, strife, discord and not peace. Though seeds of war are in the hearts and minds of the Pacifist, and if he is only interested enough in the case, his opposition will take the form of physical force. It is easy to suggest arbitration if you are not personally involved and have no personal interest in the matter. But it is contrary to depraved man’s nature not to resort to physical violence when the matter really touches him. Show me a Pacifist as meek as Moses, yet he in his anger struck the rock, having the people of Israel in mind. This man Moses was a regenerated child of God. What would the unregenerated Pacifist do with a people that provoked him?
Is the believer then a pacifist? Not at all; he is, instead, a Christian. To Christ he looks for peace. Of His anointing, he partakes, as His prophet whose mind is centered in God, as His priest whose heart is centered in God, as His king whose strength is exercised in this peaceful activity of honoring and glorifying God. Surely he disapproves of war and bloodshed. Surely he strives to live in love with his neighbor and does not resort to the sword when he is wronged. But he is no Pacifist. Pacifism is a human invention that disregards man’s spiritual corruption and rebellious nature and belongs to the philosophy of this world. Pacifism is antichristian in that it seeks peace apart from Christ. Christianity recognizes sin and moral depravity and seeks salvation in Christ, The Prince of Peace. Pacifism is labeled with the number six hundred and sixty six, the number of man. To the seven of rest and peace it cannot attain. Therefore the believer is no pacifist but a Christian looking to Christ, the rest giver, who will lead us to the seven, the rest that remaineth for the children of God, the rest of the eternal Sabbath day where righteousness and peace shall forever dwell.