Stassen speaks at annual Religion Lecture Series

Highly sought-after author and speaker Glen Stassen was the speaker at the 7th annual Religion Lecture Series, sponsored by the Campbell University Department of Religion and Philosophy. Stassen lectured on possible solutions for peace in the Middle East. His lecture was titled “The New Just Peacemaking Ethic: A Better Answer for Terrorism.” Stassen outlined 10 crucial points of peacemaking relevant to the politics of war today. In order to make peaceful progress in a just war, there must be nonviolent direct action, sustainable economic development and cooperative conflict resolution. Stassen said that establishing dialogue with foreign enemies as well as encouraging foreign allies is crucial in avoiding international hostility. “Just war theory and pacifism alone do not give us adequate tools,” Stassen said. “We need a new paradigm that points us to the positive practices of peacemaking.” Stassen spoke passionately on the topic of peacemaking and offered affirmative solutions to avoiding and amending the damages of violent war. The crux of Stassen’s peacemaking strategy is the idea of nonviolent direct action, which was lived and modeled in the person of Jesus Christ. Reconciliation with our enemies, rather than retaliation is the “transforming initiative” necessary to the theory of just peacemaking, he said. Teaching on transforming initiatives, Stassen emphasized Jesus’ teachings on love. He noted in Matthew 5:44, in which Jesus commands us to “Love your enemies.” Stassen affirmed that this call to love is unconditional and should apply to friends and foes alike. Affirming that the teachings of God should be uncompromised and all encompassing, Stassen boldly elaborated the need for an unmarginalized Jesus. “We need a thick Jesus, not a thin and vague Jesus,” he said. This foundational idea of not compartmentalizing Jesus’ teachings and promoting human rights and religious liberty through those biblically based transforming initiatives formed the crux of Stassen’s message. Stassen graduated from the University o Virginia with a degree in nuclear physics and obtained a Ph.D. at Duke University. Since 1997, he has held the Lewis B. Smedes chair of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Ca., where he currently serves as a professor of Christian Ethics. Adding to his accomplishments, Stassen has written the book, “Just Peacemaking: Transforming Initiatives for Justice and Peace,” and more recently co-authored a book with David P. Gushee titled “Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context.”

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