Chronology Of Peace


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A CHRONOLOGY 3 OF PEACE: A CHRONOLOGY OF PEACE: Attitudes Toward War and Peace in the Assemblies of God: 1914 – 1918 by Roger Robins* The present early Assemblies of God attitudes trajectories, one primary trajectory consists in following emerged in the official periodical God from the beginning article aims to secure a clearer understanding and the other of toward warfare by tracing two secondary. The first the war/peace dialogue as it organs of the Assemblies of and secondary trajectory of the organization up to and including the first World War. The second, of relevant allusions to the question consists in an examination in the General Council minutes excerpts during this time. An auxiliary sources can we aim of this paper is to make available to a wider reading public of primary materials which are not readily accessible. Only by constant reference to the primary feel the pulse of early Assemblies of God thoughts genuinely on war and peace. document Evidence of pacifist dialogue in Pentecostal circles is hard to prior to 1914 and the Assemblies fact is not due to any peculiar theological touched off by the formation of God era. That or ethical dynamics of the Assemblies of God, to be with sure. Rather it is due to the coincidence of that formation the outbreak of what was at that time called “the European of pacifism was not a primary Early periodicals Articles usually dealt War.” Presumably, the question concern for Pentecostals such as The Apostolic to testimonials with questions with this new “Latter questions were indeed marriage, adultery, prior to this time. Faith (Azusa St., LA.) were largely devoted and missionary reports. about the charismatic manifestations associated Rain.” Other discussed, and the sacraments, pacifism seems rarely if ever to have been raised. theological and ethical such as divorce and re- but the question of ========1========4 Even with the outbreak of the European interest in the war did not focus around legitimacy or of the legitimacy European War was first understood purely apocalyptic/prophetic War, Pentecostal questions of the war’s of Christian military service. The by American Pentecostals in terms. The looming clouds of war were taken to indicate the imminent Great Tribulation and the rapture of the saints. An article by E.N. Bell in the September Evangel’ Coming War.” So great was the faith of many in this prophetic 1914 issue of The Christian vision pouring (certainly understandable Given this conviction, was entitled, 12, “The Second in light of the recent out- in the October 10, 1914 in reference to the war, to escape all l nigh.” to see how American of the Spirit) that an article issue of The Christian Evangel exclaimed “Thank God. His people will have the opportunity those things and to be with the Son of Man while on earth is in pains of travail, for the coming of the Lord draweth it is easy Pentecostals could fail to consider the war within the framework at the war’s outset. A certain allowed vivid cosmic metaphor quality of American Pentecostals to If the war was personalized as for the Christian’s spiritual of personal ethics “apocalyptic detachment” avoid concrete ethical questions. a particularly warfare against sin and Satan.2 Significantly, Evangel which probed personal terms originated editorials reprinted Confidence. The editorials of The Christian Evangel Justifiable?” European afforded the ethical detachment parts enjoyed. The editorials head-on, the first article to be carried the morality in Europe. from the British Pentecostal ran in the December under the title, Pentecostals, and were almost unanimously supportive war effort. One of the first editorials the conflict and concluded: help. editorial in The Christian of the European War in It was a collection of newspaper, 12, 1914 issue “is European War of course, were not which their American counter- confronted the ethical question of the Allied absolved the British side in Awful as war is, it would be worse to stand by and make no effort to protect the weak. Better to fall as a nation than to stand by and see those crushed whom we have our promised to We can pray for dear sailors and soldiers with a clear conscience in God’s sight. We will pray for victory. A following was more While the powers from below are manifesting pacific: in this war, the time has come for the Church of God to get the full spiritual armour of God and rise out of her sleep and get ready for ========2========waiting… country, 5 Spirit. The remaining Christ’s coming, and bring in the souls for who the Lord is While many thousands give up their lives for their we may rise above this and yield ourselves so to God that he can use us at this time to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in manifestation and ‘ power of the Holy editorials, however, To say “war entirely gations picked up the militaristic , theme of the earlier editorial: is of the devil and in principle and practice is anti-Christ,” is to take (refuge) from one’s obli- behind a generalization which is half a truth and half a lie. To ask “Should a Christian go to war” is to raise a of considerable importance, but one which too often is answered within much too limited an area of thought question Another editorial objected insisting that: scope Yet another to the pacifistic use of the sixth ‘ The polemical British Pentecostals debate regarding war. commandment, The application to the present situation of the command, “Thou shalt not kill,” shows a singular inability to judge the of a passage, when it is remembered that all the wars of Israel, under Divine sanction and command, were carried out after that injunction was The sixth command- ment, therefore, does not apply to warfare without distinction given … or reserve. Every case must be judged on its own merits …. editorial concluded with this scenario: If a wild hooligan entered my house, and began to beat my child and assault my wife, in my heart I would cry to God, but I would do something more. I would what might happen in a house has happened go for the brute. Now on a continent; and there are some people wondering if the nation ought to do anything. tone of these editorials demonstrates that were at the time involved in considerable the appropriate Christian posture toward the This collection must have served as a kind of testing of the Pentecostal Christian waters in America. It is indeed striking that The Evangel’s first direct treatment of the morality of the war should so heartily endorse the Allied article in no way discouraged war. The first published appeared just Pentecostal military campaign. The youth from going to response over a month later in the January The Christian Evangel. The article, written by Burt McCafferty Fort Worth, Texas, was entitled, Whereas the European articles had evidently presumed to the European editorials 16, 1915 issue of of “Shall Christians Go to War?” that the ========3========6 heart of the pacifist objection decalogue, McCafferty countered New Testament called attention to Luke 22:49, military question, then appealed place.” For McCafferty, and the teaching weapons , against up thy to war was rooted in the by a trenchant appeal to the of Jesus. McCafferty first where the disciples ask the related directly “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” He to Jesus’ reply: “Put up again thy sword into his this biblical exchange to himself and his This is what God is contemporaries: saying to the Christian of today, “Ye followers of the Prince of Peace, disarm yourselves” for “the of our warfare are not carnal”… And we are not contending with flesh and blood. Our warfare is the host of spiritual darkness … Oh waged Christian, “Put sword into his place, for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Matt. 26:52. McCafferty which he built his wider argument against warfare and violence: Lord, shall we smite with the sword? Thou art weak, shall we Throughout the article homiletical motif, around teaching leaving used Luke 22:49 as a defend thee against the strong? Thou art in the right, shall we defend thee the Shall we smite with the sword? The against wrong? argument that we must go to war in behalf of the weaker nation because of its being in the right, is not consistent with the doctrine of Christ. It is also of against the Christ to fight in self-defense. “For even hereunto were we called, because, Christ also suffered us an example that we should follow his steps, who did no sin (violence, Isa. 53:9) who, when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, threatened not, but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” McCafferty completed Christians to recognize ative to reject carnal warfare. his their heavenly citizenship argument by calling upon as an imper- rebuttal to the earlier non-pacifist editorials. which McCafferty’s persuasion relegated McCafferty’s front and center, soliciting new printing plant. By contrast enjoyed prominent The article itself stood as an effective Yet there were telling conditions under article appeared of the editors. First of all, editorial article to a side column page, where it was somewhat obscured contributions for the newspaper’s which gave insight into the decision had on the front by a bold advertisement, the European editorials had The McCafferty article small front page billing. was made even less conspicuous by virtue of its relatively this again in stark contrast to the large print headlining caption, the European editorials. More importantly, the McCafferty ========4========7 article was followed The disclaimer necessarily represented rather had been published many of the brethren Nevertheless, the editors European editorials: up on page three by an editorial disclaimer. first stated that the original the views of the editorial because “it showed the attitude in England are taking toward betrayed a certain article had not staff, but that the war.” sympathy for the entirely hostil.ities It is one thing to be away off here in America and look on the situation in Europe and say what ought to be done… and it is a different matter to be located right on the scene of and then to find the right thing to do under the circumstances. The disclaimer went on to express the pacifism the editors’ resolute controversy from causing After stating a commitment intention to prevent dissention among the readership.4 to harmony and toleration, critique of McCafferty’s article: the editors offered a brief theological example captured living There is a question whether Jesus can be used as a of non-resistance, as Jesus was foreordained to be good and offered up as a lamb without spot or blemish. What if Jesus had been foreordained to live and and monarch on earth… and reign as a righteous the soldiers had come to take him… ? Of course, the question cannot be answered, as that was not in the purpose of God…. It is evident that the European the reaction to the European editors’ interest perspective editorials had created quite a However, it especially in light of the Yet, by way of schism over this . proportions the “new issue” (the baptismal trinitarian controversy). Indeed, stir among Pentecostals on this side of the Atlantic. is difficult to gauge either the extent or the precise character of editorials, in subduing controversy. we can note that efforts to prevent issue were successful. This in itself indicates that even in the face of the World War the pacifism of the sanctification debate or of the debate over question of pacifism position debate never attained the formula and the subsequent the role of these other issues Both the absence of and the fact that the a clearly articulated pacifism controversy zation must not be overlooked in our evaluation of the place which ..;-¡e would come to hold in the theological/ ethical forum of the A.G. during this period. on pacifism did not threaten the unity of the organi- may be due to the great expenditure of spiritual and ========5========8 crisis. by these and other issues, in Evangel began to move guardedly of pacifist/militarist debate, The toward a pacifist The February 27, 1915 issue Breaking to intellectual resources exacted particular the “Jesus-only’ After this initial exchange Christian witness in its editorial policy. carried an article entitled, Down?” It was primarily a prophetic of all the nations involved, recompense. This prophetic most Pentecostals exhibited in the European the war was an occasion Europe, including England. conclusion, go beyond specifically pacifist statement. ed the “Christianity “is Christian Civilization The article was a “safe” one for the editors, to be sure. condemnation of the moral offenses for which the war was seen as a just theme was readily acceptable during this time. Even the militaristic voices editorials had readily conceded that of judgement against Yet the present this theme of judgement the whole of article did, in its to make a Earlier the author had comment- has not broken down, but men have failed to be Christian.” He then went on to ask, Who would dare say that this is Christian Civilization? Where between the covers of the Word of God… is there those one word of warrant for attaching the name of “Christian” to such a society and to such a state? On the other hand, our Lord Jesus Christ taught the blessedness of the peacemaker, that violence should not be resisted with violence, that who take the sword shall perish with the sword. That is Christianity, and only a civilization built upon the basis of the teaching of Jesus Christ can bear the name “Christian.” No other article dealing with the moral character of the war appeared newspaper Missouri, in the newspaper and had changed until June. By this time, the had moved its offices from Findlay, Ohio, to St. Louis, its name to the Weekly Evangel.5 On June S, 1915, The Weekly Evangel carried the first of three which would run over the course of the next two months. Bartleman was a well-known and highly articles by Frank Bartleman regarded Pentecostal pioneer with among which was his vigorous tendencies in the young tendencies the Assemblies respect to our purposes Bartleman, while deeply blies of God fold. Evangel was a testament Bartleman and to the openness Pentecostal movement of God was a prime example). it is important respected, That his articles to the reputation uncompromising convictions opposition to organizational (of which With to recognize that was not one of the Assem- appeared in the Weekly and character of and interaction within the ========6========Pentecostal movement. The June 5 article, entitled, to be circulated statement, parties implicated in the fashion Bartleman recounted 9 “Present Day Conditions,” no explicit (later pacifist war. In true prophetic forget God. The Congo atrocities, Germany hypocrisy, bullyism whelming pride. in tract form) contained but was primarily a scathing judgement against those European the offenses of the nation: The wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that nations are being judged. Belgium for her France for her infidelity and devil worship, for her materialism and militarism, England for her over weaker nations, and her over- outrage American The ship had been Bartleman marked Bartleman went on to denounce the hypocritical over the sinking of the Lusitania. carrying ammunition from the United States “for the destruction when it was torpedoed. struck the American ammunition, exploded. It turned into an American of the Germans” the irony. A German torpodo so that “The ammunition torpedo.” Bartleman’s was epitomized apocalyptic-prophetic perspective by the conclusion Belgium whiskey inequality on the war of his litany of judgement against the nations: is an atheistic nation, practically without marriage rites or religion. France is even more guilty than Sodom and Gomorrah. She is more responsible. has almost ruled religion out of her churches, and the admission of God Germany out of her schools. The German babies are brought up on beer in the bottle. The English children are kept alive on mixed with strong tea. Extreme poverty forbids sufficient food for poor children even in peace times. The betweem the rich and the poor is simply awful. And so the world groans under the oppression of sin. It to be delivered. The earth is heaving in war throes to rid of its tyrant and oppressor man. To be sure, this framework of categorical, prophetic translate into pacifism. did, but it is very (ikely that his readers could have groans get nation did not necessarily it certainly acknowledged his judgement condem- For Bartleman. as correct without did. drawing the same pacifist conclusions that Bartleman Two weeks later the Weekly Evangel devoted its front page to an article British Pentecostal. the paper from which the notorious editorials in 1914 had been reprinted. headlines and copy space known non-pacifist of Confidence, by A.A. Boddy, a well- Boddy was the publisher collection of The headline read, “A.A. ========7========10 Boddy Goes to the Front.” one contained evangelistic report of the work I n contrast to the earlier article, this no endorsement of the war. It simply gave an Pentecostals were doing in wartime evangelism. fear of reprisal led the editors to print a disclaimer the article. The editorial was entitled, to War,” and was the clearest pacifism that would ever be made by the editorial staff of the following Saints Opposed It read: opposed knowledge people… Boddy and other European Nevertheless, immediately “Pentecostal statement of The editorial Blood, a book written absolute pacifism.6 you purchase contents, in a complete the shedding of blood.” The importance mining the general Weekly Evangel. The Pentecostal people, as a whole, are to uncompromisingly war, having much the same spirit as the early Quakers, who would rather be (sic) shot themselves than that they should shed the blood of their fellowmen. Because we have this bit of war news is no reason that we are in favor or given war, but rather that our readers may have some of how the war is actually some have already affecting our own Indeed, urged us to arrange for a great peace council among the Pentecostal saints, to ourselves record as put on being opposed to war at home or abroad. closed with an advertisement for Blood Against by A.S. Booth-Clibborn which called for The editors advised: it and become involved with the spirit of its opposition “We recommend that and protest against war and of deter- the articles which had appeared to represent the opinion segment of the Evangel’s presumed to speak of this editorial for the purpose convictions of early Assemblies of God constituents should not be overlooked. Unlike to this time, the editorial could not be said of an individual readership. for Pentecostals “as a whole,” composed by editors who had previously author or of a limited Rather, the editorial and was shown great personal Indeed, if anything their . reluctance to endorse any position. sympathy with the Confidence non-pacifist leanings. ment emerged in the wake of that Confidence Three weeks article appeared. It was entitled, reprint of 1914 would indicate We can be sure that this editorial state- out of the editors’ dialogue with their readership reprint.. later (July 10, 1915) the second Bartleman “The European War,” and in it in the war and to contradict Bartleman sought to expose the duplicity of the nations involved their propoganda: ========8========. 11 Each one is after spoils. There is no honor or principle in the matter… How shallow and hypocritical are all their at honor and principle. They gull the with such simple nonsense. In this article Bartleman also took the United pretensions people for its economic States to task in the war: flag Hence we are a nation complicity of hypocrites when we claim to be neutral. Our neutrality does not deliver us from our for the dollar. We are greed willing to receive these millions of blood money. We had better pluck out the stars from our and instate dollar marks in their place. passion upon glorify development the tragic absurdity of warfare: Bartleman went on to Patriotism has been fanned catalogue into a flame. The has been religious invoked, and all the national gods called for defense in each case. What blasphemy! Men who before lived in peace and satisfaction now hate one another into murder. It is simply wholesale murder… and it… all beautiful yet they Truly, theories about the rapid of the human race through their own efforts are now fallen. They are using all progress and development in science, etc., to blow men into hell… It is all madness. Man cannot save himself. The Prince of . murdering They . , Peace must do it. There is no possible excuse for the murder of these people. Hundreds of thousands of innocent ones are being slain on the battlefields of Europe today. Men are one another with absolutely nothing to are gain. losing all. have no and one another. They possible reason for hating killing Why should and they create widows orphans for one another? What crimes have all these innocent ones committed? None whatever. blinded and controlled They are simply by their leaders. Bartleman’s third article aired August 7, 1915, and with its as if the editors of the Weekly Evangel behind the pacifist resistance to the war. There would soon be evidence of the first two articles. that the facts “What Will the Harvest Be?” Only here, to Whom Honor is Due,” as he By this he meant to show that was victim to a publication it appeared were now wholeheartedly European were not so simple. The third Bartleman article, elaborated the points Bartleman sought to give “Honor titled a section of his article. Germany, although supremely effective interests. According controlled by these interests, she was not blameless, propaganda ploy supervised by British to Bartleman, to tell her side of the story to the American to a recent return from England commented, the American press was so that Germany was not allowed public. I n reference “When I reached ========9========12 London.” Throughout New York and read the morning papers the article Germany than her enemies. It was England criticism. Bartleman concluded consequences. I thought I was back in fared much better which drew the harshest his third article with a fervent call to repentance: We are living on blood money today and trying to wash our hands in innocency in the matter. But it will not come off. Sin has blinded our nation. Yet, we hope to escape the It is madness. Whom God would destroy he first renders foolish… there is no seeming escape but by to God, through the narrow gate to a true repentance. fleeing The response coming. to Bartleman’s The very next week the editors for their having carried the article. “What Will the Harvest Be? Article Just Criticism.” In it the editors third article was not long in printed an explanation The editorial was captioned, in Last Week’s Evangel apologized for explaining that they had recog- and its Receiving printing the Bartleman article, nized the article’s antipathy educated, had published wanting Secondly, the editors explained Flower using the editorial “strong leaning to German sympathy, to England and her allies,” but that they, being British- it in the interest to discard it on the basis of their own British bias. editors stated previously perspective of fairmindedness, not (the plural may be the singular “Brother Bell was still away Finally, the the article out of concern since they had portraying the “we”), from the office and we could not advise with him.” that they had printed “to be just to all sides of the controversy,” carried the reprint from Confidence of British Pentecostals toward the war. The editorial next quoted from one of the letters of complaint received. The letter criticized the Bartleman and for its almost total lack of “spiritual application.” concluded with this comment: my undoubtedly The letter was rendered so regarded which had been article for its bias It of course, and was The article is a gross injustice to our own government at a critical time when it is honestly striving to DO RIGHT and in humble judgement IS doing right to be impartial and offer to sell to ALL alike, being in NO WISE responsible for the fact that the Germans cannot buy war materials as they would do if they could. in all seriousness, by the editors. The editorial closed with an appeal to neutrality, urging that Christians lose their national preference and prejudices. citizens of this world, but citizens of a better country… We made a mistake in publishing the aforesaid article which was should: We are not ========10========’ 13 decidedly not neutral in character, and we purpose to keep these articles out of our column in the future by the Lord’s help. pacifism did not represent response, the reaction to Bartleman was considerably to the Confidence reaction to Bartleman ortionate condemnation was not simply a question article would have offended leaning reveal something It was clearly evident from this that the Bartleman mode of the views of the Weekly Evangel’s readership. Judging by the editorial more vociferous than the reaction reprint eight months earlier. It is true that the was primarily a reaction to his disprop- of England in respect of pacifism. to Germany. It Certainly Bartleman’s many pacifists of a more patriotic to Bartleman does than Bartleman. Yet the reaction concrete about the way readers of the Weekly Evangel were beginning to view the war. Whether of the Weekly Evangel readership tive of the allied cause in general and of U.S. policy toward the a strong segment war in particular. pacifist or not, was suppor- The next issue of the Weekly Evangel to touch on the war question gave, in my opinion, a quite accurate reflection of the status of the question among the Assemblies of God constituency. The headline of the September devoted to the reproduction distributed 11, 1915 Weekly Evangel was of a tract which was being It began: among the soldiers in Europe. ARE YOU OFF TO THE FRONT? We are all very proud of our soldiers and our sailors, and of all those who have so nobly responded to their country” call to arms; but have you forgotten, young man, that it may also mean for you a call into eternity… ” The tract and the accompanying article were honest, straight- And, to be sure, if you want a ear it is better to flatter his vocation than to condemn it. was that “God’s children should take of every circumstance to preach the gospel of Christ.” later a strongly worded interacted forward evangelistic efforts. soldier’s The conviction expressed advantage Yet two pages written by Stanley Frodsham, editorial article: apology which had followed Bartleman’s neutrality pacifistic article, directly with the third and final In a recent issue of the Evangel it was emphasized that the children of God should preserve an attitude of strict to the warring nations in Europe. But it seems to the writer that the Word of God teaches something deeper than that. ========11========14 The article went on to develop a clear pacifist position on the basis of the believer’s suggested. In addition though heavenly citizenship, as the title had war, it flatly condemned the European less vehemently than Bartleman: When seen from the heavenly viewpoint, how the present conflict is illuminated. The policy of our God is plainly declared in the Word, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” The nations who have drawn the sword to kill those of against Scripture, the same blood in other nations… are not merely fighting one another, but with their policy of “War on earth and ill will toward men,” they are… the “The again fulfilling Kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His annointed.” Is any child of God going to side with these belligerent kings? Will he not rather side with the Prince of Peace under whose banners of love he has chosen to serve? While it is true that the first and third pages of this issue need not be regarded as altogether sharp thematic disconsonance alence, evidenced in capsule Weekly Evangel, would seem to capture Pentecostals in the Assemblies nearer to its involvement hand, a definite pacifistic predominant contradictory, there is at least a being sounded. This ambiv- here within a single issue of the accurately the mood of of God as the United States drew have been but which there was present an evangelistic take every opportunity available in the First World War. On the one sentiment seems within the Assemblies of God ranks. Alongside this there coexisted a strand of patriotic was not necessarily ization. to have been of sentiment which may pacifistic. Finally, vision which wished only to to win souls for Christ. for the fledgling organ- would have to In particular, it issue came to boil. At the 1916 General 1916 was to be a year of upheaval During this year the pacifism controversy take a back seat to other, more urgent agenda. 1916 that the “Jesus-Only” had fallen through. the battle lines were drawn by the formulation of Fundamental Truths. 7 The Statement schism, it alienated Assemblies of God constituents Statement was a much feared “creed,” was during Efforts at diplomacy Council meeting of A Statement finalized the “Jesus-Only” “orthodox” back into the religious carnality movement had emerged. The priority granted General Council during this to the pacifism time is witnessed not only a number of other as wel I. To them the and was seen as a step out of which the Pentecostal controversy by the to by the complete ========12========absence 15 of any recorded discussion of the topic in the Minutes of the 1916 General Council meeting, and it is here that we may trajectory, General Council consisting in the General issue was recorded in the Minutes they had discussed pick up this secondary Council Minutes. The two previous up any doctrinal statements, resolutions. It is not so surprising pacifism meetings. Indeed rights, and marriage and divorce, of reference however, a doctrinal statement to pacifism was not overly conspicuous. had been drawn up, and not one item was devoted meetings had not drawn and had passed only a few then that no mention of the covering those eating meats, women’s but nevertheless the absence In 1916, involving some twenty points to the subject Ironically, although questions periodically since 1914 in the on the during this time. In the of pacifism or military service. posed by the war had aired denominational newspapers, subject following year developments contrast between the treatment versy in the denominational nothing had ever appeared in the General Council Minutes would accentuate this paradoxical his “Questions and Answers” into war, could a Christian Both the question passed through afforded the pacifism contro- (and elsewhere) and Bell replied: newspapers that given to it by the General Council. In the April 14, 1917 issue of The Weekly Evangel (the “the” seems now to be a part of the official title), E.N. Bell was asked in column, “If the United States gets go to war and hold his experience?” and the answer are revealing. War is wrong, and no Christian should and lawfully keep out of it. go who can honorably It is very difficult to live for God in the army. Most who start in Christians, backslide. But Daniel lived for God in the lion’s den and the three Hebrew children did the same in the fiery furnace. A few have the wars true to God. God has some bright Pentecostal soldiers in both the British and German armies today. It is possible, but very, very unsafe to try it. I would not join the army until compelled to do so, either by law or in defense of our mothers, wives, and children. and the answer are concerned ability to “hold his experience” Both the question Christian’s point that one might kill another with the in the army. The human being is never belabored. Pentecostal soldiers” each other Rather, one could backslide. That “bright in the British and German armies might be shootingat as long as a! “pass through the war true to God.” Evidently, sin in the barracks was considered is no cause for soul-searching to be ========13========16 by law. Secondly, “mothers, wives, and children.” called pacifistic. more fearsome than sin in the battlefield. Finally, there are at least two conditions under which one may join the army. First of all, one may join if compelled one may join if called Bell’s response to do so upon to defend could hardly be The Weekly by S.H. Booth-Clibborn which would appear carried April 28,1917, Too Late?” Within this article dispensational of the writers who had appeared time: Two weeks after Bell’s answer to this question, Evangel carried the first of two articles over the next month. This first article, was entitled, foundation for pacifism John morally ment where Christ “The Christian and War. Is it Booth-Clibborn developed a more carefully than any in the Evangels prior to this Booth-Clibborn dispensation cheek also,” and listed scriptures We find recorded in the 17th verse of the 1 st Chapter of that “the law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ.” God ordered Israel to wipe out in direct judgement the rotten Canaanites; but find me in the New Testa- ever sent his followers on such a mission? On the contrary, He sent them out to save men – not to butcher them like cattle. went on to stress that the “eye for an eye” had given place to that of “turn to him the other sation of Israel with that if the Church. Clibborn answered a hypothetical in human form attacked which contrasted the dispen- Following this Booth- objection: “Suppose a brute your wife and children. Would you stand by and allow it?” (Note that this is precisely reasons for which Bell would allow Pentecostals Booth-Clibborn spectators reaping one of the to go to war.) response: these latter with the “neutral” In the second place… “An English Conscientious a three-fold In the first gave place, the illustration does not fit the case at all (of war)… A more fitting picture of the situation would be found in a Spanish American cock-fight, where the birds scatter each other’s blood and feathers at poor their owner’s benighted pleasure – all the profits… thousands of humble Christian homes have never yet been broken into by a criminal of any sort: God His own according to their faith: for their trust in him protecting they put rather than the police. Thirdly, if it should come to actual violence- Matthew 5 and Romans 12 would still remain true, and God’s Word would still have to be obeyed. Two pages later the newspaper Objector,” carried a testimonial from as it was entitled. The ========14========17 account of a Pentecostal corps. testimony C.O.’s experiences subsequent service postscript was a simple, straightforward before the military Tribunal Court and his in the non-combatant indicated that the testimonial was published belief that it would “help many of our young men in the stand they will take at this time.” An editorial in the editorial caution. Romans 13:1-7 sounded a warning against The May 19, 1917 issue of The Weekly Evangel was a study in The cover page was devoted to a quotation under the heading, temper the second Booth-Clibborn . page four. There the question previous article was completed war: though pride. of “To All Their Due.” This insubordination and served to article, which was carried on and answer format begun in the with a statement strongly critical of the European Could anything be more pitiable than the slaughter of thousands of gallant young Frenchmen in the vain attempt to save the old Roman Catholic cathedral of Rheims; – as God dwelt there! No! Beloved, “The Lord of heaven and earth dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” Nor is the young Christian called to spill blood in defense of God- forsaken churches and nations, with all their pomp and To them Christ is saying, as to the Pharisees of old, “Behold your house is left unto you desolate!” … But there is another way in which the temple can be destroyed, viz., into it the present horrible hatred, pride, and “Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man (R.V.) the temple of God, Him shall God destroy!” by dragging bloody butchery! destroy It was page eight, however, news. There “An Explanation” been unfolding question within the Executive passed by which carried the truly significant was given of events which had Presbytery regarding the of military service: There has been recently issued from the office of the General Council, a letter accompanied by a Resolution the Executive Presbytery. The letter has been sent to all our Ministers. It deals with the matter of our attitude toward military service or the taking up of arms. The editorial explanation was carefully reaffirmed the General the Government: alluded to the pacifist position of the resolution. Council’s willingness worded, and only In addition, it to cooperate with The purpose of the Resolution is to interpret as clearly as what the Scriptures teach upon the subject… The matter does not include any new thing. It in simply words what we have before found it unnecessary to possible subject puts ========15========18 say… unwilling Prior to this statement, of the resolution: We are not opposed to the Government and not to serve in any capacity that will not require the destruction of life. the editors commented on the limits may exemption taking was composed conscientious objection within the Assemblies of securing conscientious and it the right to objectors” and purpose It is not intended to hinder anyone from taking up arms who feel free to do so, but we hope to secure the from such privilege of military service as will necessitate the of life for all who are real conscientious objectors and who are associated with the General Council. In other words, the resolution was not to be enforced, for the sole purpose for “real of God ranks. 8 It was two and a half months after that before the resolution referred to there appeared 4, 1917 issue foreword, the General Council . May 19 “Explanation” in The Weekly published at length the and significant correspond- and the State Department Evangel. The August resolution, an editorial ence between regarding the resolution. The editorial foreword stated categorically which introduced the that Pentecostals everywhere resolution had always been pacifists: From the very beginning, the movement has been character- ized by Quaker principles. The laws of the Kingdom, laid down by our elder brother, Jesus Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount, have been unqualifiedly adopted, the movement has found itself consequently opposed to the spilling of blood of any man, or of offering resistance to any branch of the aggression. movement, whether in the United Great Britain or Germany, has held to this Every States, Canada, principle. of, that the General The foreword went on to explain that: It had not been seriously considered Council of the Assemblies of God… would find it necessary to interpret its attitude toward war, until the war clouds gathered and actual war was declared. Neither the General Council, nor any other wing of the movement that we know have ever written a creed, therefore it was found necessary for a number of the official members of the Executive Presbytery to assemble together and draw up a resolution interpreting the established principles or creed of all sections of the Pentecostal Movement.. important items to be gleaned from this There are several foreword. Pentecostal movement For one thing, the writers were quick to associate the with an historical Peace Church position. ========16========19 and certain to qualify for served as a kind of Pentecostals The Quakers exemption if anyone reference their position intelligible became Quakers influence of the Confidence pacifist insisted that all Pentecostaldom in its absolute non-resistance. were well established did. The Quakers by which the authors of the resolution could make to the State Department. by association. And to be sure, the Quaker among Pentecostals was not small. Secondly, reprint revealed Pentecostal sentiment in Europe service. In addition, in spite a substantial strand of non- at least, the writer had been one monolithic body quoted here shows that the of Furthermore, the “General without precedent statement on military to speak for “all sections of The second part of the foreword “General Council” was pressed into action by the expediency the day. The war forced their hand. Council” was working, by its own admission, in their efforts to draw up a Pentecostal they presumed the Pentecostal Movement” with their resolution. What makes this particularly striking is that the resolution up by “a number of the official because the Executive of five men, and the part of the foreword above clearly suggests that not all of the five were present Presbytery.” only consisted This is striking the resolution was drawn up. was not on the Executive There is yet more interest was actually drawn members of the Executive Presbytery quoted when It is also noteworthy that the correspondence surrounding War Department “Claims for read: resolution was drawn up during the brief period when E.N. Bell Presbytery regarding resolution’s formulation. Also published the resolution was a section of the board. the circumstances of the among the significant Discharge” conditions. The deserve our attention. working certain criteria, dictated meet. The second . primary condition That you are a member of any well-organized religious sect or organization and existent May, 1917, whose then creed or existing principle forbade its members to participate in war in any form… There are two things in particular which One is the simple fact that those who framed the resolution were in the face of such a condition. The resolution had by the War Department, point of interest of the date given in the “Claims for Discharge” that posted with the resolution April 28, 1917, had been “then existing” which it had to emerges from a comparison condition with itself. The resolution, dated for twenty days when ========17========20 the deadline came due. The limits and purpose stated in the reaffirmed the resolution. of the resolution, May 19 issue of The Weekly in a letter sent to the President, The letter assured which had been Evangel, were which accompanied the President that: The resolution, quoted lution. Furthermore, regardless the resolution’s formulation, the predominant sentiment certainly the Executive It is not the purpose of this Resolution to weaken the hands of the Executive, nor to discourage enlistment of any, even of our own people, whose conscientious principles are not involved. We only pray that we, whose religious tenets will not allow us so to engage, be allowed to obey God according to our constitutional rights. below, is certainly a pacifist reso- of the conditions surrounding if not you know are not pacifists. conditions which attended show that its real objective doctrinal discipline. Conscience resolution reads as follows: it must be taken to represent, of Assemblies of God constituents, Presbytery’s iment. You simply do not write pacifist Nevertheless, the formulation of the resolution assessment of that sent- resolutions for people the qualifications and was not to impose any kind of was to be the final guide. The Resolution Concerning the Attitude of the General Council of the Assemblies of God Toward any Military Service which Involves the Actual Participation in the destruction of Human Life. ‘ While recognizing Human Government as of Divine ordi- nation and affirming our unswerving loyalty to the Govern- ment of the United States, nevertheless we are constrained to define our position with reference to the taking of human life. Resoluti.on adopted at the WHEREAS, in the Constitutional Hot Springs General Council, April 1-10, 1914, we plainly declare the Holy Inspired Scriptures to be the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice, and WHEREAS, the Scriptures deal plainly with the and relations of obligation humanity, setting forth the principles of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14); and 20:13); WHEREAS, we, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, believe in implicit obedience to the Divine commands and precepts which instruct us to “Follow peace with all men,” (Heb. 12:14); “Thou shalt not kill,” (Exod. “Resist no evil,” (Matt. 5:39); “Love your enemies,” (Matt. 5:44); etc. and WHEREAS these and other Scriptures have always been ========18========21 by our churches as prohibiting . accepted and interpreted Christians from shedding blood or taking human life; THEREFORE we, as a body of Christians, while purposing to fulfill all the obligations of loyal citizenship, are neverthe- less constrained to declare we cannot in conscientiously participate war and armed resistance which involves the actual destruction of human life, since this is contrary to our view of the clear teachings of the inspired Word of God, which is the sole basis of our faith. coming person belongs and Three weeks later, E.N. Bell was asked in Answers” column if it was to in the war. He his “Questions It is evidently the right help replied: duty of all to uphold the law and of our authority government and for all to respond, if drafted to war, in an orderly way to the authority designated. If any to any well recognized religious body that cannot conscientiously engage in actual warfare, he should come to his exemption board and put in a respectful and on this ground to be legally excused, as the law three weeks after the publication was couched in conditional of orderly plea permits. Bell’s reply, coming just the non-combatant phrases objection. resolution, and was somewhat short of a call to conscientious The story of the 1917 resolution what we have seen. . According Presbytery” , is not completed simply by to the foreword, the resolution to President Wilson. The Council boards had evidently had been formally approved “by the Executive and General before being forwarded urgency of the moment had demanded that the resolution be drawn up mid-year, considerably prior to the General Hasty approval of the Presbytery yet it would only seem reasonable to expect the to have been reaffirmed or ratified representative body at the General meeting. been secured, resoluton by the larger Council assembly later that of the General Council of the no mention of the resolution two resolutions passed year. However, the Minutes Assemblies whatsoever. by the General Council enthusiastically endorsed of God, 1917, contains There were, nevertheless, relative to the war. The first resolution Raymond Richey’s work among the soldiers and vowed “to become all things to all men that by all means we may save some.” General Council’s The second resolution affirmed the A.P. Collins loyalty to the followed and said we were on government: 10 Bible grounds in the government, and said that the flag stood not for civil freedom but also for religious liberty; and that at the Texas District Council they had purposed to cancel honoring only ========19========22 the credentials government. represent In large part, then, in the 1917 General of any preacher who spoke against the This body agreed that such radicals do not this General Council. developments Council sessions served furtherto moderatethe 1917 resolution That the resolution itself was never by the General Council seems inexplicable. Presbytery to the General there were less uniform on the subject. For the Executive on conscientious objection. discussed only wonder if the Executive ing the resolution record in Washington. evidently enough. No attempt popular support Assemblies of God members We can refrained from present- Council because opinions The resolution was on Presbytery that was it was clearly seems to have ever been made to secure broad for the measure. In addition, stated that no effort would be made to impose the resolution on 1 it seems reasonable to assume that the resolution within an organization insure harmony and freedom less than uniform on the topic. protect the flock. our picture of God during the in tract form. “Destroy This Tract,” Bell explained who were less pacifistic.1 was intended to which was It was a measure designed to Day Conditons,” the admonition. on hand. beloved President The second Answers” column in the October Evangel, a questioner There are three items from 1918 that will serve to round out of the type and status of pacifism in the Assemblies first World War. “Present first of the Bartleman articles quoted above, had been circulating In the August 24, 1916 issue of The Christian Evangel E.N. Bell (once again editor) called upon his readers to as he entitled his editorial that the tract was unsuitable for wartimes and that he had already burned all of the copies which he himself had He then exhorted readers to “stand in this hour of crisis to our civilized world.”12 item also involved behind the Bell. In his “Questions and 19,1918 issue of The Christian asked, “Would it be murder for a child of God to go to war and shoot men as do other soldiers?” The as we have seen, had been put to Bell twice previously This time the question the moral ramifications of killing in warfare had to be confronted. question, in different forms. Bell answered: was so phrased that Our faith leaves this with the conscience of each man. We have never opposed the going to war of our members whose conscience allowed them to go. But everyone must keep hatred out of his heart. The sheriff who hangs the personal ========20========heart, Bell’s response participation in warfare 23 For Bell, active Council meeting. combatant resolution appeared, cation of an open discussion resolution criminal as commanded by law need have no hatred in his and he is not a murderer when he obeys his country in executing just punishment on the criminal Hun. was blatantly non-pacifistic. did not need to be considered sinful. The final item is found in the Minutes of the 1918 General Once again, no reference to the 1917 non- nor was there any other indi- There was, however, a of pacifism. passed which reaffirmed the loyalty stance taken the year before: Resolved, that the General Council hereby declares its unswerving loyalty to our Government and to its Chief Executive, President Wilson, and that we hereby restate our fixed purpose to assist in every way morally possible, consistent with our faith, in bringing the present “World War” to a successful conclusion. It is evident from all of the above that the 1917 resolution did not uniformly represent practice the majority on conscientious objection and opinion within the Assemblies the resolution represented irregular circumstances involved and ratification, the ambivalent early years testify resolution stituency. The early Assemblies in spirit. of conscientious objection, service. In such columns, the conditional statements nature of the war-peace to a somewhat tenuous among the Assemblies of God leadership check the other questions person’s of God membership. Surely sentiment, but the in the resolution’s formulation appended to it, and dialogue throughout the standing for the and con- leaned toward pacifism ask questions about Assemblies Confidence pacifistic spondingly, God organs of God certainly If not, readers would have asked Bell about the morailty not about the morality of military people generally what they think might be taboo, or about what they’ve been told is taboo and want to prove otherwise. orthodoxy. Generally speaking, asked of Bell arise out of a religious context warfare and violence were censured. istic stand was ever taken by a representative of God during this time. reprint stand as the only originators statements of any kind in our literature.13 Corre- the bulk of literature Or, often they ask to the in which Furthermore, no militar- body within the In fact, E.N. Bell and the of clearly non- on the topic in Assemblies of was decidedly pacifistic. Finally, the 1917 reso- lution, even if it was not so representative of Pentecostal opinion ========21========24 an expression foreword to the resolution, nantly, though As Pentecostals The claims of the are not without The overall picture of from which was predomi- in its convictions. to as its ambitious foreword would suggest, still must be viewed as of majority opinion both in the Assemblies of God and in the Pentecostal movement at large. while overstated, some basis in the reality of the day. Assemblies of God attitudes toward warfare which emerges these documents shows an organization not uniformly, pacifistic we are now no less than then called discern what it means to be faithful to God’s Word on this issue. As we carry on the dialogue, with ourselves we would do well to notice a remarkable Where there is argumentation and it frequently appeals as well as with others, pattern evident in these in favor of is biblically rooted, eschato- to the work of the and in the creation of a new is to our self-under- early documents. pacifism, that argumentation logically informed, Spirit in sanctification, conversion, people or of a new age. characterized by qualities standing as Pentecostals. against pacifism is characterized That is to say that the argument which are central On the other hand, argumentation is characterized by elements which we have generally determining by political considerations, as adequate traditions sources for rationalism and humanism. That is to say that the argumentation drawn from intellectual not regarded doctrinal or ethical truth. At the very least this should make us carefully consider the way we argue as much as what we argue for. We have to ask, for instance, Just War tradition are really to a stance of Pentecostal presuppositions of the appropriate corresponding presuppositions case, we do well to look again to our Pentecostal examine how those Pentecostal Spirit which we claim as an inheritance, of war – a question contemporary if the logical more discipleship than the of Christian pacifism. In either roots, and to pioneers, moved by the same dealt with the question to both their world and ours. ========22========25 Roger Robins received the M.Div. degree from Harvard Divinity School in June, 1984. 1. The editors were E.N. Bell and J.R. Flower. 2. See especially Albert Weaver, “The Crucial Hour,” The Christian November Evangel, 28, 1914. 3. In this particular editorial, the author also gives his view of It would seem that military history: every few centuries God has a national stock- with a view to taking breaking up some proud power or bringing to some judgement corrupt principle. 4. The editors also gave their editorial We wish to philosophy: say here that many things are permitted to enter our column with which we do not wholly agree, because this paper is a religious newspaper and not an individual organ to advance some pet A newspaper must be broad and be willing to look on all sides of a question, hence we have theory… above which takes an published the article under the heading opposite view to the editorial in allow. As soon as a question becomes controversial, we reserve the question. However, there are some limitations to this liberty we to throw the article of this nature in the wastebasket, or return it to the writer. We right propose to maintain the sweet spirit of love, fellowship, tolerance, and respect… 5. The editorship remained in the hands of Flower and Bell. 6. See Jay Beaman, “Pentecostal Pacifism; The Origin, Development, and Rejection of Pacific 8elief Among Pentecostals,” unpublished Masters Thesis, North American Baptist Seminary, 1982, pp. 34-40. 7. Minutes of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, 1916. 8. It is important to recognize, then, that the doctrinal resolution was not framed in the interest of making an formulation of the denomination’s belief. Whether or not a resolution objective drawn up under such “objective” conditions would have differed from the one at hand is another question. The fact remains that the expressed intention of those who framed the resolution was “to secure the privilege of exemption from… military service.” 9. E. N. Bell. “Questions and Answers,” The Weekly Evangel, August 25, 1917, p. 9. 10. It is noteworthy that this loyalty resolution constituents from Texas. In 1915, it had been Burt evidently originated among of Fort Worth who had written the January, McCafferty from Confidence. McCafferty’s article must have set off a furor in pacifist rebuttal to the Texas. This General Council reprint resolution may well represent the vindication of McCafferty’s foes. 11. In fact, the only war-related threat of sanction which I have found was that suggested by the Texas District Council, and there the sanction was to be invoked for opposing the government’s military policies too vigorously not for failing to . oppose them vigorously enough. 12. Quoted from Beaman, p. 51. 13. The loyalty resolutions passed in 1917 and 1918 are expressions of not patriotism militarism, and although they certainly act to moderate the tone of A.G. pacifism, they do not nullify it. These resolutions could have been affirmed and by patriotic pacifists patriotic non-pacifists alike. Indeed, the resolutions probably meant very different things to those two groups. ========23========

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