Featured Peacemaker: Glen Stassen
Recommended Reading: Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War
I first met the late Glen Stassen in 2007 at a human rights conference in Washington DC. He was promoting his book, Just Peacemaking, which I bought immediately. Since that time I've had the privilege of working with Glen in many other venues, including the Evangelicals for Peace Summit in 2012 at which he spoke.
The long-asked question concerning the Christian response to war has historically had two answers: pacifism, meaning that war is never justified; and "Just War" theory, meaning that there are certain circumstances which justify killing during war. That was, until Glen Stassen presented his third option: "Just Peacemaking," an approach focusing on proactively preventing wars from happening in the first place.
Stassen had been advocating for peace since the '60s, when he participated in the civil rights March on Washington, at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Stassen graduated with a degree in nuclear physics, but not willing to contribute to the development of nuclear weapons, he soon gave it up and actually became a key activist against nuclear weapons during the Cold War, later turning his efforts fully toward peacemaking. He earned a Ph.D. from Duke University and has impacted countless lives through his more than 50 years of university and seminary teaching.
Dr. Glen Stassen leaves Christianity and humanity with his profound contribution to peacemaking and the prevention of war, and we think all peacemakers would benefit from studying his work. Among his writings, Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War and Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (with David Gushee) are two of the most notable.