Early Christian Peacemaker – Irenaeus

irenaeus_lyonsEarly Christian Peacemaker – Irenaeus

When we look at Christianity today, we see that it’s filled with violence: our warring madness that pits one nation against another, and our exploitation of animals. Together they kill millions of humans and more than 100 billion land and sea animals every year.

This was not the case before the time of Constantine. Prior to this time, many Christians were vegetarian and against all forms of violence, including war.

One of these people was Irenaeus of Lyon (circa 130-202) who wrote:

“But the law of liberty, that is, the word of God, preached by the apostles (who went forth from Jerusalem) throughout all the earth, caused such a change in the state of things, that these [nations] did form the swords and war-lances into ploughshares, and changed them into pruning-hooks for reaping the corn, [that is], into instruments used for peaceful purposes, and that they are now unaccustomed to fighting, but when smitten, offer also the other cheek.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, reprinted 1977, p. 512)

Irenaeus is telling us that they were actually living a peacemakers according to what Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 2:4) …

4. And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

…and what Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:39

39. “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Just think about something:

If we never trained for war, and never played war or other violent games, or even considered killing any other living being, let alone eating them, just as Irenaeus and these Bible verses teach us, no one would ever think of slapping us on the cheek, and we would never have to offer the other one for them to slap, for we would all be living as peacemaking children of God, just as all Christians should.

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5 Responses to Early Christian Peacemaker – Irenaeus

  1. avatar
    Noelene Sanderson January 10, 2013 at 12:02 am #

    Thankyou for calling us all to be peacemaking children of God.
    .A sad thing is that, now, even some women train for war, and so the urge to compassion and respect for human life is inevitably dulled, and therefore even more so towards the animals.and respect for them and their right to life. Women (and men) have so much more that is desperately needed in the world, to contribute…..and harmlessness is the start of peacemaking and all else…
    There’s a joy in refraining from killing anything – even a spider or ant; and how much more joy for THEM if we don’t!! ( Placing a jar over it, sliding paper underneath, and off outside, is easy!)
    Learning to turn the other cheek comes right down to the simple incidents as well; e.g. someone says something nasty or uncomplimentary. Test it;- if it’s true, I’d better try to change that; if not, correct the impression, but don’t react. I find it helps to think,. ‘What a pity something has made you bitter….’ (or jealous or…etc.) I guess understanding; and empathy – seeing the other’s point of view (human, animal, insect) and the value to them of the life God gave them, and their right to it – bring peace

    • avatar
      flhadmin January 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      You’re welcome. The tendency toward violence is present among both men and women, and because of this, we usually make no distinction, just as the Bible calls all of us to be peacemaking children of God. As you say, being true peacemakers is something that we all have to work at.

  2. avatar
    the madscribbler January 17, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    Very good! Thanks Frank! 🙂

  3. avatar
    o melhor bolo de chocolate do mundo February 8, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    I do consider all the ideas you have introduced to your post. They’re really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

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