Yoder on Peace as Proclamation


One of the best books I read last year was “Radical Christian Discipleship” by John Howard Yoder.  It is a collection of previously unpublished works edited brilliantly for readability on discipleship, non-conformity, and obedience to the cross.  If you are looking for a great read on, just as the title states, radical Christian discipleship… read this book.

Peace is proclamation in the sense that we should talk not first of all about a social strategy for making the world a little less lethal, but about a victory already won. The gospel is about something that has already happened. It needs to make ripples. It needs to work down through the centuries. But the meaning of the gospel is not these ripples themselves. The meaning of good news is a victory already won. Our sense of what is going on in peace witness, in peace lobbying, in teaching, in rediscovering the meaning of reconciliation in family structures and every other level of our experience, would be very different if we saw peace as a proclamation and not a problem. Instead of thinking of an almost impossible task to be accomplished, we should root peace in the victory that has already been won. That Christ is Lord is not up to us to achieve but only to reflect.

John Howard Yoder, “Radical Christian Discipleship,” page 161.

How do you justify peace in your particular context?  How can you proclaim peace in your particular time and place?


  1. Robert Martin · March 5, 2013

    Excellent quote… and this book just became #300 on my list… *sigh*

  2. Rob Sparks · March 5, 2013

    Thanks. Nothing has challenged me more than my discovery of Yoder about six years ago. I have most of his major writings, but haven’t bought anything since War of the Lamb was published a couple of years ago. Didn’t know this volume was out … It’s going to be on my shelf very soon!

    • Chris Lenshyn · March 5, 2013

      Yoder has been quite formative for me too. I was thankful that Menno Media put this one out.

      It is the first of three volumes. I think the next one is scheduled for sometime later this year, followed by the third in 2014… I think!

      • Rob Sparks · March 5, 2013

        I definitely have to start looking more often. There are still several of his smaller books I want as well. He was my introduction to anabaptism.

  3. Pingback: Yoder on Peace as Proclamation | Menno Nerds
  4. April Yamasaki · March 5, 2013

    I’m currently reading this book – very readable as an intro to Yoder or as a Yoder-refresher.

  5. Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel · March 6, 2013

    Great to hear this fabulous quote, and to hear that Yoder has been edited for readability! I think I’ll use it in my senior’s Sunday School class on visions of hope in the book of Daniel next week.

    • Chris Lenshyn · March 6, 2013

      Excellent! I am working through the book of Daniel with my young adults. I didn’t make that connection…

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