“The Jesus story entails a Savior responding to the injustice and violence of the world through suffering love: do not return evil for evil; love your enemies, and do good to those who do evil to you.
“The early church took this at face value. Centuries later, Gandhi would claim, ‘The only people on earth who do not see Christ and His teachings as non-violent are Christians,’ but this was certainly not true of the early church. In fact, as the Yale historian Roland Bainton has summarized, ‘All of the outstanding writers of the East and the West repudiated participation in warfare for Christians.’ Moreover, Bainton notes, this was a novel development in human history: ‘prior to the advent of Christianity there is no record of anyone suffering death for a refusal of military service.'”
Lee’s book, Who Is My Enemy?, is available here.