return to religion-online

Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective by Jacques Ellul


Jacques Ellul was Professor of Law and Sociology and History of Institutions at the University of Bordeaux. He has published several hundred articles and over thirty books. Published by The Seabury Press, New York, 1969. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


Chapter 1: Traditional Views
The traditional views of violence are discussed: Compromise, nonviolence and violence. Violence seems to be the great temptation in the church and among Christians, and this acceptance of violence has become the central problem facing Christian attitudes today.

Chapter 2: Today’s Christians for Violence
Christians conform to the trend of the moment without introducing into it anything specifically Christian. Attitudes toward the poor, material wants, downgrading the spiritual virtues, presumed sophistication are discussed. Revolutionary aspect of Christianity, a theology of revolution and the fusing of Christianity into the revolution are also given consideration.

Chapter 3: Christian Realism in the Face of Violence
Christian realism demands seeing the facts as they are and grasping them thoroughly, without evasion or illusion, without recoiling in fear or horror as it becomes evident what the result of some trend is likely to be. Christian realism demands that a man understand exactly what he is doing, why he is doing it, and what the results of his doing will be. Idealism, on the other hand, always leads to the adoption of a false and dangerous position in regard to violence.

Chapter 4: The Fight of Faith
The better we understand that violence is necessary, indispensable, inevitable, the better shall we be able to reject and oppose it. If we are free in Jesus Christ, we shall reject violence precisely because violence is necessary!

Viewed 71994 times.