A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence

Key Thinkers, Activists, and Movements for the Gospel of Peace

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Pub Date 08 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 08 Apr 2022

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Description

Christian nonviolence is not a settled position but a vibrant and living tradition. This book offers a concise introduction to diverse approaches to, proponents of, and resources for this tradition. It explores the myriad biblical, theological, and practical dimensions of Christian nonviolence as represented by a variety of twentieth- and twenty-first-century thinkers and movements, including previously underrepresented voices. The authors invite readers to explore this tradition and discover how they might live out the gospel in our modern world.

Christian nonviolence is not a settled position but a vibrant and living tradition. This book offers a concise introduction to diverse approaches to, proponents of, and resources for this tradition...


Advance Praise

A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence will become the indispensable textbook that with relative simplicity introduces the varieties of pacifism to modern—especially Protestant—Christian audiences. This book will be featured in all my peace and war classes at both the undergraduate and seminary levels for years to come. Highly recommended.”—David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University; host of the Kingdom Ethics podcast

“How do white evangelical scholars offer guidance on needed Christian theological understandings of nonviolence that acknowledges the revelations about John Yoder’s sexual violence against women? Cramer and Werntz do so with a critical perspective that insists on advancing divergent expressions of Christian commitments to actual practices. Whether you argue with their interpretations or relish the gift of their expansive vision, you will find an impressive Christian exploration of lived practices and traditions of nonviolence.”—Traci C. West, professor of Christian ethics and African American studies, Drew Theological School
A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence is a much-needed, fresh critical introduction to the many streams of this dynamic, yet often narrowly conceived, tradition of thought and practice. Historically and theologically sensitive, this book lifts up diverse representatives that reveal the breadth and urgency of Christian nonviolence in a world where violence wears many faces. This accessible volume is highly recommended for the church, the academy, and all those who care about peace.”—Eric Gregory, professor of religion, Princeton University
“With unusual nuance and insight, Cramer and Werntz identify eight forms of Christian nonviolence, bringing to life its ecclesial and spiritual depth. They also magnify the political and transformative voice of nonviolence, illustrating how its inspiration and effects reach far beyond the church. A new and important note for standard accounts of Christian pacifism resounds in the chapter on Christian antiviolence. This creative yet historically grounded volume is a valuable addition to the war and peace literature, easily accessible and captivating to students, yet with an originality that will take theological scholarship on nonviolence into new territory.”—Lisa Sowle Cahill, Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College “Cramer and Werntz brilliantly move the conversation on Christian nonviolence beyond Yoder to show the full diversity of approaches, which often diverge from and challenge one another. Not a typology with winners and losers, this book is rather an invitation to further discernment and debate, and an aid to the practical wisdom needed to follow Christ in a violent world. This book is much needed and splendidly done.”—William T. Cavanaugh, professor of Catholic studies, DePaul University “In a world torn apart by racism, sexism, militarism, and other types of violence, this book offers a beacon of hope and profound insight. It unveils the rich diversity of the Christian pacifist tradition in a style that is both elegant and engaging. Truly a must-read!”—Andrew Prevot, associate professor of theology, Boston College “This is a wonderful survey of the many ways in which the gospel of peace has been interpreted and enacted nonviolently. I found the eight models helpful both for understanding varying approaches to nonviolence and as a tool for self-inquiry and spiritual discernment. I will be recommending the book to students and friends.”—Nancy E. Bedford, Georgia Harkness Professor of Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence will become the indispensable textbook that with relative simplicity introduces the varieties of pacifism to modern—especially Protestant—Christian...

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Featured Reviews

This book is an introduction to the movement of Christian nonviolence. It is not focused on arguing in favor of Christian nonviolence but focuses on eight broad streams of thought within the movement. The project was birthed out of two primary motivations. One is in regards to John Howard Yoder, one of the most prominent voices for Christian nonviolence who was himself a violent abuser of women. The book is an attempt to show that Christian nonviolence has much older and has more to offer than this one man. The second motivation is to show that Christian nonviolence is a broad movement. There are broad streams that interact, oppose, and diverge from each other in meaningful ways.

The book is a basic introduction to these eight broad streams. It introduces key thinkers and writers in each stream. They demonstrate the basic ideas of each stream, how they differ from other streams, and even from each other within that same stream. As someone largely unfamiliar with Christian nonviolence I deeply appreciated this introduction.

The book accomplishes its goal well. Each stream is presented in its best light and allowed to speak on its own. A diverse amount of voices are mentioned throughout. It is short but dense. I left the book wanting to study the movement more, which is the point. I think even those who are not convinced of the arguments of Christian nonviolence will find much to gain here. You will walk away from the book with a great list of authors and other works to dive further into.

If you are interested in an argument in favor of Christian nonviolence, then this might not be the ideal place to start. It is written for the person who wants to know about the broader movement and different options within Christian nonviolence. I found it a helpful starting place, but others may disagree if they have different expectations.

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