The Gospel of Peace in a Violent World: Christian Nonviolence for Communal Flourishing, Edited by Shawn Graves and Marlena Graves alt

The Gospel of Peace in a Violent World

Christian Nonviolence for Communal Flourishing

Edited by Shawn Graves and Marlena Graves

The Gospel of Peace in a Violent World
  • Length: 432 pages
  • Published: August 16, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0129
  • ISBN: 9781514001295

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"Blessed are the peacemakers."

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of peace: peace between God and humanity, peace among humans. And yet it can be difficult to see that peace in our broken, violent world.

In this volume, Shawn Graves and Marlena Graves have gathered contributions from theologians, pastors, and practitioners on the importance and implementation of Christian nonviolence in today's world. The vision they cast not only responds to the realities of war and conflict but also offers a broader, deeper understanding of peace that addresses topics such as race, gender, disability, immigration, the environment, food scarcity, and more—a holistic shalom that is evidence of God's presence.

May it be so.

"All of creation groans in desperate longing for God's peace. As our planet awaits ultimate redemption, we have the prophetic voices collected in The Gospel of Peace in a Violent World to help us imagine what peace can feel like in the current time. Marlena Graves and Shawn Graves have gathered a cross section of experts who work in a variety of settings to help guide us in the way of peace that the Lord Jesus Christ both demonstrated and proclaimed."

Dennis R. Edwards, associate professor of New Testament at North Park Theological Seminary

"This is an excellent book. The authors challenge us to consider the many ways in which the gospel of God's kingdom, the gospel of peace, confronts the violence, injustice, and threats to shalom present in our world. At a time of great division, where we do violence not only through war but also through our words, deeds, and institutions, this book does more than merely show us a better way. It gives practical advice on how to live it out."

Michael W. Austin, author of God and Guns in America

"As a faith-rooted community activist and organizer, I have lamented how little the church has done to educate Christians in either their rich theology of biblical justice and shalom or to equip them to appropriately engage deep injustices in our world. In The Gospel of Peace in a Violent World, the Graveses have assembled a diverse team of relevant, scholarly contributors who speak to this missing theology and praxis of Christian discipleship. With no-stone-left-unturned vigor, this important and essential resource grounds foundational and formational theological truth with timeless and recent historical application, practically compelling Christians toward seeking a more just and peaceful world."

Michelle Ferrigno Warren, activist and author of The Power of Proximity: Moving Beyond Awareness to Action

"Nonviolence is often wrongly equated with passivity and inaction. As demonstrated by this diverse and provocative collection of essays, just peacemaking and nonviolent direct action are part of a rich Christian social justice tradition that is now more important than ever."

Robert Chao Romero, associate professor in the departments of Chicana/o studies and Asian American studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, author of Brown Church

"We have all been through so much lately that despair can feel like the logical and natural next step. Thank God that Marlena and Shawn Graves have gathered voices who remind us that morning's joy comes through the praxis of our shared work in Christ and its impact in this world. This book is for theologians and nontheologians seeking to invigorate the work we are called to pursue."

Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, Dean's Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California

"Peacemaking is not as simple as it sounds. Marlena and Shawn Graves's convicting new volume reveals how our lives are entangled in all kinds of everyday violence. Thankfully, it doesn't leave us there. This book will not only open eyes but also spark imaginations, helping us to discern how a peaceable world—one more faithful to the gospel—might come to be."

Heath W. Carter, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Bringing together the diverse voices of stalwart Christian writers, academics, activists, and leaders, The Gospel of Peace in a Violent World is a book for this moment in history—and a call to conscience to consider what Christian faith practically requires in today's world. From practices of nonviolence and peacemaking to earnest and unflinching discussions on equity, disability, immigration, environmental justice, and racial trauma, this compendium of essays pushes readers not only to contemplation but to action."

Meighan Stone, former president of the Malala Fund and board member of the Faith and Politics Institute

Read an Excerpt


Introduction by Shawn Graves and Marlena Graves

Part I: Biblical Reflections
1. The Old Testament as a Problem for Pacifists (and What to Do About It), Eric A. Seibert
2. Shalom for All: Toward an Old Testament Theology of Peace, T. C. Ham
3. Pride Fighter or Sacrificial Lamb? Discerning the Real Jesus in the Book of Revelation, Gregory A. Boyd
4. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet!" Violence in the Gospel of Peace?, Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld

Part II: Learning from Others
5. A Pentagon for Peace: What America Could Learn from Its Oldest Enemy, Randy S. Woodley
6. Preachers, Prophets and Philosophers: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Moral Reasoning on Nonviolence, Aaron James
7. Listening for Peace: Nonviolence in William Stafford's Writing and Teaching, Sarah Azaransky
8. Living Next Door to the Bronze Lady, Michael Jimenez
9. A Universal Love Ethic: Nonviolence and Human Rights Advocacy, Shawn Graves

Part III: War and Violence
10. War, Terror, and Peace, Lisa Sharon Harper
11. Christian Pacifism and the "Good War," Ted Grimsrud
12. Problematic Pacifism: Pursuing Biblical Justice Toward Effective Change, Mae Elise Cannon
13. Lights in the Darkness: Christian Peace Practice in the Violence of Central America, Willi Hugo Perez and Adrienne Wiebe

Part IV: Race, Gender, and Disability
14. Shalom and White Supremacy, Drew Hart
15. Healing from Racial Trauma, Sheila Wise Rowe
16. Faith-Rooted Reconciliation: Organizing for Shalom Justice, Peter Heltzel
17. Longing Forward: Peacemaking and Violence Toward Women and Girls, Beth Gerhardt
18. Disability, Identity, and the Resurrection of the Dead: Cultural Competency as Nonviolence, Chibuzo Petty

Part V: Immigration and Environment
19. Our Food System: The Tie to Immigration, Migrant Workers, Exploitation and Human Trafficking, Baldemar Velasquez
20. Immigration and the Church: Who Is My Neighbor?, Marlena Graves
21. Everything, Nothing, Something: Trading in World-Viewing for Everyday Faithfulness in Peacemaking and Sustainability, Jacob Alan Cook
22. Environmental Violence, Kathy Khang

Conclusion: Practical Steps Toward Communal Flourishing
List of Contributors


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Author Shawn Graves

Shawn Graves (PhD, University of Rochester) is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Findlay.

Author Marlena Graves

Marlena Graves (MDiv, Northeastern Seminary) is a writer and adjunct professor at Winebrenner Theological Seminary. She is the author of The Way Up Is Down, Forty Days on Being a Nine, and A Beautiful Disaster.