Recently I was challenged gently by a sister on war and nonresistance. I must say that the answers on either side have plenty of difficulties as well as seeming justification for their views (Just War and Christian Pacifist positions).
The position of Christian Pacificism would hold that we are to take the steps that Jesus took, in all of life. This means taking up our cross, which means following closely to the Lord, and thus finding his easy yoke and light burden (Bonhoeffer). The good news that Jesus brought was assured by him taking on himself the evil and sins of the world, not resisting that, so that the love of God could prevail in reconciling all peoples and creation to himself. We in Jesus are to live out this gospel in our lives, a good news bringing peace and overcoming evil with good.
To those who hold to Jesus's teaching of nonresistance, and actually all Christians must hold to it in one way or another, but I mean to those who hold it with a pacifist view, this means a refusal to take vengeance in one's own hands no matter what, because vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12). Repeatedly in the New Testament Christian nonresistance is linked to God's vengeance against the evildoing and evildoers (Volf).
I believe Christian participation in the military and in war is a watering down of what Jesus taught us and a compromise of the gospel itself. That is, if I profess to follow Christ and his way, this must be true in all of life, not just in my private life. If I'm willing to take up arms and kill during war, then I'm saying that the gospel and the way of Christ does not apply in that situation. Christians in Jesus are called to a different life, apart from the state, which has been established by God to execute his vengeance on evildoers. But in Christ, I believe, this is not a part of the calling of the believer.
I know this is short, and many good Christians ardently disagree. I believe in the end we must subject all things to Scripture, and especially look at the life of Jesus when he was on earth, as well as all that is written about this present age between Christ's first and second comings. Some of the arguments I've heard against Christian pacifism and nonresistance, I'm afraid, don't do this. We must keep searching the Scriptures and work on this.
Anyone for nonresistance?
Great links: Why I am a pacifist and Paul and War from Scot McKnight
And my seven part series on this (links at bottom): Christians and war