Organized 300 years ago in Germany, the Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination devoted to its slogan of "continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together."
The practice that Church of Brethren Christians are most popularly known for is promoting peace. Whether in relationships, international conflicts or treatment of citizens and prisoners, the denomination’s belief in peaceful resolutions in every area of life sets apart Brethren Christians from other Christians around the world.
These are four beliefs grounded in its efforts to promote peace that set the Church of the Brethren apart from other Christians:
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The Church of the Brethren is one of the most liberal denominations in the U.S. when it comes to its beliefs about war. Church of Brethren Christians believe all war is sinful and against God's will for humanity, according to the Center on Conscience & War.
The denomination states on its website that
"war or any participation in war is wrong and incompatible with the spirit, example and teachings of Jesus Christ." As conscientious objectors, they pursue peaceful solutions to large and small conflicts, from threats of war down to problems between individuals.
The Church of the Brethren speaks out forcefully against all warfare, such as drone warfare. According to its 2013 Resolution Against Drone Warfare
, America's use of armed drones to carry out deadly strikes is "in direct conflict to the peaceful witness of Jesus," who became fully man on earth to "reconcile humanity to God and bring about peace and healing."
3. Military spending:
The Church of the Brethren uses its Office of Public Witness as a political arm to work for cutting spending by the Pentagon, according to the denomination's website. The denomination joins forces with other denominations' offices in going to Capitol Hill to pursue "substantial and long-term cuts" to the Pentagon's budget.
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Church of the Brethren Christians believe that political bodies like the Pentagon propagate violence and aggression around the world, particularly through "immoral and financially wasteful nuclear weapons."
4. Gun violence:
Unlike most denominations, the Church of the Brethren goes to great lengths to combat gun violence. Statements from four denominational conferences over the last 37 years have encouraged the U.S. government and Church of the Brethren Christians to reduce gun violence in the U.S. and internationally.
Denominational leadership collaborates with interfaith coalitions like Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence to promote anti-gun violence legislation and partners with the World Council of Churches to push for an arms trade treaty that fights gun violence globally.
The Church of the Brethren is one of the few Christian denominations advocating against torture. According to The Christian Century, denominationa
l delegates condemned torture for violating the church’s core doctrines.
The church's 2010 Resolution Against Torture
summed up the denomination's position on torture:
"Torture is a blatant violation of the tenets of our faith. It injects into our character the sense that we are better than others and dehumanizes people. It seeks to break the human spirit. In reality, it devastates both the one who is tortured and the one who tortures."
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