Evangelicals for Peace: Jesus at the Center of Peacemaking
All the hard work and planning has paid off, and the Evangelicals for Peace summit was a tremendous success! We had a phenomenal lineup of speakers and a packed room full of attendees. Peacemaking is a movement that is beginning to take hold, but what was specifically unique about this group is the focus on Jesus-centered peacemaking. Here's what participant Peter Sensenig had to say about the gathering and how Jesus is at the center of this kind of peacemaking:
Rick Love, convener of “Evangelicals for Peace: A Summit on Christian Moral Responsibility in the 21st Century,” wanted to see Jesus show up.
Jesus did indeed show himself at the September 14 gathering at Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
What do evangelicals have to offer to the theory and practice of peacemaking? The answer, says Love, is the absolute commitment to the lordship of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Jesus at the center of peacemaking was the resounding theme of the conference.
For Lisa Sharon Harper, Jesus is at the center because our response to terror is modeled after his: building friendships that invite into the better way of enemy love, just as Jesus did with his own revolutionary-minded disciples.
For David Gushee, Jesus is at the center because he models neighbor love that rejects the bloated military budget of the warfare state.
For Governor David Beasely, Jesus is at the center because he relentlessly calls all people to himself, in spite of the trappings of religion and politics.
For Glen Stassen, Jesus is at the center because he provides the transforming practices that make for peace, delivering us from the vicious cycles of revenge and hatred.
For Douglas Johnston, Jesus is at the center because he calls us to genuine respect for our Muslim neighbors, their faith, and their scriptures, rather than simply toleration.
For David Shenk, Jesus is at the center because the communities of his followers around the world testify to the power of the cross as they build peace with their Muslim neighbors, especially in contexts of conflict like Nigeria, Indonesia, and Iran.
For Lisa Gibson, Jesus is at the center because he makes forgiveness possible, both for our own sins and for the sins of our neighbors, which is the foundation of reconciliation.
For Sami Awad, Jesus is at the center because he makes enemy love both a mandate and a possibility, even where there is grave injustice.
For Jim Wallis, Jesus is at the center because his Spirit resides in peacemaking communities, empowering their resistance to the machinations of war.
The heart of the gospel is that God has made peace with and among humanity. This is why, as Joseph Cumming passionately pleaded, we cannot separate God’s mission from the mandate of peacemaking.