Nonviolent God: Critical Analysis of a Contemporary Argument

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011


This essay analyzes and assesses a contemporary argument in favor of a nonviolent God. The subject of God's violence or nonviolence has lately received significant attention by Mennonite theologians, and diverse views have been articulated by various authors. For several years, some Mennonite theologians have promoted a certain argument for a nonviolent God that draws a direct interference from what we affirm in faith as true of Jesus to what we ought therefore also affirm in faith as true of God. My aim is to examine this "nonviolent God" argument, addressing its assumptions, implications, and limitations: What assumptions does the argument's logic presuppose? What qualifications do its premises require to be true? What collateral commitments does it presume in order to persuade? In all, my hope is to bring clarity and offer guidance to the ongoing discussion of this important issue within the church.