Barth on War, Peace, and Pacifism: A Primer

06 Aug, 2014 3 Comments PT Through History                                

Current crises across the Middle East and other war-torn locations demand careful consideration of war, just war theory, and other tenets of military interventionism. The Christian theologian faces a particularly daunting task in this respect because the eschatological principles of God’s kingdom appear contrary to what might be a faithful Christian ethic in the penultimate present. The famed 20th century theologian, Karl Barth, whose views were formed in the crucible of World War II, wrestles with this tension. While never writing extensively or explicitly on “just war theory,” Barth does offer sustained treatments of the Christian response to war in Church Dogmatics III/4, and further elements of his thought can be drawn from works such as “Church and State.”[1] My aim here is to simply offer a brief summary of his thought on the subject, drawing substantially upon a number of scholars and theologians who have proved incredibly helpful in this area of study. [2]


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