Between Pacifism and Jihad: Just War and Christian Tradition, By J. Daryl Charles
Between Pacifism and Jihad
  • Length: 197 pages
  • Published: May 25, 2005
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2772
  • ISBN: 9780830827725

*affiliate partner

Pacifism. Jihad. Militarism.

Are these our only alternatives for dealing with global injustice today?

J. Daryl Charles leads us to reconsider a Christian view of the use of force to maintain or reestablish justice. He shows how love for a neighbor can warrant the just use of force. Reviewing and updating the widely recognized but not necessarily well-understood just-war teaching of the church through the ages, Charles shows how it captures many of the concerns of the pacifist position while deliberately avoiding, on the other side, the excesses of jihad and militarism. Aware of our contemporary global situation, Charles addresses the unique challenges of dealing with international terrorism.

"Contemporary Christians tend to approach questions about the proper use of force in international relations naively, as though no one had reflected about them until our own time. In a fallen world, such ignorance is not only intellectually inexcusable but an invitation to moral disaster. Between Pacifism and Jihad is an excellent resource for evangelicals who desire to reacquaint themselves with the 'consensus' tradition on the ethics of justified war."

J. Budziszewski, Professor of Government and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin, and author of Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law and What We Can't Not Know: A Guide

"In this erudite, timely and helpful book, Daryl Charles surveys the landscape of just-war thinking, past and present, and helps us to understand why war should not be severed from ethical considerations and constraints. His book is a wonderful introduction to just war as well as a major contribution to the contemporary debate."

Jean Bethke Elshtain, The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, The University of Chicago

"Few people are reconsidering the just-war theory in light of the threat of radical Islam. Fewer still are doing it with the biblical insight, historical depth and careful moral analysis of J. Daryl Charles. An indispensable book in our age of terror."

Joseph Loconte, William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation

"This is an important book. Daryl Charles helpfully surveys Christian perspectives, past and present, on the issues of war and peace. Then he offers some wise counsel about how we are to reappropriate just-war theory for the unprecedented challenges of our own day. And best of all he shows us why all of this requires careful theological reflection."

Richard J. Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Here is an intelligent, articulate presentation of just-war thinking by a leading evangelical scholar. The lure of pacifism and the call to holy war have both found their champions in the Christian tradition. Daryl Charles draws on the wisdom of Niebuhr, Ramsey, Elshtain and others to present a mediating position: the sanction of force by the state as a means of justice bearing peace. An important evangelical engagement with this debate."

Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, and executive editor, Christianity Today

"Daryl Charles has read widely and thought carefully about the role of government and the place of warfare in Christian thought. Arguing for a view that neither baptizes force whenever it is used for patriotic purposes nor rejects force when it is needed to serve just ends, Charles provides both helpful historical background and probing moral argument. Christians who want to reflect more carefully about these matters will find here a valuable resource."

Gilbert Meilaender, Duesenberg Professor of Christian Ethics, Valparaiso University


1. Introduction
Wrestling with a Perennial Issue
Contemporary Geopolitics
Presumption Against War or Against Injustice?
Making Moral Judgments
Religious Attitudes Toward War
Just-War Thinking and the Terrorist Threat

2. Just-War Thinking in Ancient and Medieval Thought
Pre-Christian Just-War Thinking
Early Christian Attitudes Toward War and Soldiering
Early Christian Development of Just-War Thinking: Ambrose and Augustine
The Medieval Development of Just-War Thinking in Thomas Aquinas

3. Just-War Thinking in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period
The Protestant Reformers on Church and State and War
Early Modern Thinking About International Law: Vitoria, Suárez and Grotius

4. Just-War Thinking in the Modern Period to the Present
Reinhold Niebuhr
John Courtney Murray
Paul Ramsey
William V. O'Brien
Michael Walzer
James Turner Johnson
Jean Bethke Elshtain
Roman Catholic Social Teaching

5. Christian Ethics and the Use of Force
The Personal and the Political (Romans 12--13)
Rethinking the "Politics of Jesus"
Rethinking the Ethics of the New Testament
Rethinking Pacifism and the Nonviolent Imperative
Rethinking Neighbor Love
The Morality of Preemptive Force

6. Just-War Theory: Its Character, Constitution and Context
Rethinking Justice
Just War's Debt to Natural-Law Thinking
The Spectrum of Force: Just War as a Mediating Position
The Moral Criteria of the Just-War Position
The Justice of Deterrence
Retribution or Revenge?

7. Just-War Theory and the Problem of Terrorism
The Nature of the Terrorist Threat
Terror in the Name of God
Just War's Response to Terrorism
Extending Just-War Thinking Beyond War and Terrorism: Postbello Considerations

8. The Church's Worldly Mission
Christ and Culture Revisted
Adjusting Our Eschatology and Ethics
Incarnational Witness and Civic Duty
The Moral Necessity of Politics: Rendering to Caesar What Is Caesar's
Taking Theology Seriously

Selected Bibliography
Subject Index
Scripture Index


You May Also Like

J. Daryl Charles

J. Daryl Charles (Ph.D., Westminster Theological Seminary) is director and senior fellow of the Bryan Institute for Critical Thought & Practice, Bryan College, and served as the 2007-1008 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion & Public Life, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Department of Politics, of Princeton University. He is the coauthor (with David D. Corey) of Justice in an Age of Terror and (with David B. Capes) of Thriving in Babylon: Essays in Honor of A. J. Conyers and the author of Retrieving Natural Law. The translator of Roots of Wisdom by Claus Westermann, he serves on the editorial advisory boards of the journals Pro Ecclesia and Cultural Encounters, and is contributing editor of the journal Touchstone.