A group of over 50 evangelical leaders have together released a statement arguing that Christians should not be pacifists.

The group includes influential evangelicals, many of whom are from well-known schools such as Wheaton College and Duke University.

The statement argues that Christians ought to reject pacifism, and explains the reasoning for this stance.

“Other Christians have erred by holding the state to the same standard as the church or the individual, resulting in pacifism and, we believe, an abdication of government’s rightful responsibilities,” read part of the statement, published in “Providence,” a journal on Christianity and American Foreign Policy.

The statement continues, drawing on centuries of church teaching on the subject of pacifism and just war, and also noting that this argument is especially needed as we are in an important election year:
“The 2016 presidential election has presented a clarion moment for a statement of principles.”

We stand in the tradition of centuries of Christian reflection on the role of the state and the just use of force, from Augustine to Aquinas, from Luther and Calvin to Niebuhr and Elshtain.”

The statement also comes at a time when many Christians are questioning the U.S.’s involvement overseas, due to the costly war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places.

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