The Peaceable Christian

At a time when we are easily divided over ideology, the authors of The Peaceable Christian look at the meaning of peace from an evangelical perspective. Indeed, all evangelicals need to hear the call once again to live at peace with one another (Rom. 12:18). The essays in The Peaceable Christian represent the efforts of five evangelical scholars who have wrestled through issues of peace from interdisciplinary perspectives. The essays do not pretend to be sophisticated treatments on peace studies. Rather, they represent honest attempts to understand the issues on a personal level while sharing what they have discovered with others. All the authors agree that evangelicals need to think more deeply on the subject. They agree that peacemaking should be a priority for Christians, and they concur with the 1993 Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern: 

We weep over escalating violence, abuse, disregard for the sanctity of human life, and addiction to weapons—in both nations and neighborhoods—that destroy lives and breed fear. We dream of faith communities that model loving ways of resolving conflict, seek to be peacemakers rather than passive spectators, calling the nations to justice and righteousness.

From the Foreword

In The Peaceable Christian, you will read some new perspectives and arguments for understanding how Christians might approach the use of violence—how we might slow down our apparent quickness to use violence, and instead, while properly confronting evil and injustice, set peacemaking as the ultimate goal. This is a book that explores how politics may overly shape current Christian thinking on this subject. And in response the authors argue that biblical and theological thinking should be the starting point for understanding our political responses to peace and war, not vice versa.

Following an interdisciplinary approach, the diverse authors of this book suggest how seeking to become peacemakers may be a wiser path than the traditional approaches of just war or pacifist total nonviolence approaches. In this book you will gain perspectives from a philosopher, Bible scholar, multicultural expert, a psychologist, and an educator as they share their unique views on this crucial topic. They honestly and candidly explain that this book will not answer all your questions. But it will challenge your presuppositions and current thinking. And it will renew your interest in this topic while encouraging you to become a peacemaker. 

Dr. Craig Williford
President, Multnomah University

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: The Peaceable Christian – Michael T. Cooper
  2. Perspectives on a Biblical Theology of Peace – Sylvie Raquel
  3. A Philosopher’s Reflections on Peacemaking and the Just War Theory – Clifford Williams
  4. Necessity of Worldview Understanding for Sustainable Peace – Michael T. Cooper
  5. Psychological Perspectives on Peace – Matthew Heller
  6. Christian Schools: Training God’s Soldiers or God’s Peacemakers – Laurie Matthias


MICHAEL T. COOPER is associate professor of Religion and Contemporary Culture and program director of the Master of Arts in Cultural Engagement at Trinity Graduate School. He earned his BED from Texas A&M University, his MA from Columbia Biblical Seminary and School of Mission, and his PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion and has contributed numerous articles and chapters dealing with Christian engagement of Western society and the revival of pagan religions; his publications are in numerous academic journal.  He was the editor of Reflections on Post-Christendom Spiritualities (2010) and author of Contemporary Druidry (2010).  He has presented academic papers at universities in North American and Europe.  He is a research fellow of the Western Institute for Intercultural Studies and editor of Sacred Tribes Journal, as well as an academic advisor for the Lausanne Committee’s Issue Group, which addresses new spiritualities in a postmodern world.

BRADLEY J. GUNDLACH is associate professor of History at Trinity College. He holds an AB from Princeton, MA from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and MA and PhD from University of Rochester. He came to Trinity in 1999 after teaching at Wheaton College and Wheaton Graduate School. He specializes in American intellectual, cultural, and religious history and also enjoys teaching broadly in world civilization, church history, and the philosophy and methods of history. He has made extensive study of the history of the evangelical engagement with evolutionary thought and is currently at work on a biography of Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield.

MATTHEW A. HELLER completed his graduate work at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) in Social Psychology, with a minor in Statistics. Before coming to Trinity in 2004, he worked for two years with adolescents in a psychiatric hospital. Dr. Heller specializes in Social Psychology, focusing on the psychology of religion and close interpersonal relationships. Recently, he has supervised several students in independent research on perceptions of affection and respect in the context of close romantic relationships. He regularly attends conferences on the teaching of psychology.

LAURIE MATTHIAS is assistant professor of Education at Trinity International University. She earned her BS in English Education in 1980 at Bob Jones University, her MED at Regent University in 1999, and her EdD at Regent University in 2007. She spent more than twenty years teaching middle and high school English and drama in Christian schools and nine years teaching classes in the Master Teacher Program at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her dissertation focused on professors who exemplify the integration of faith and learning at Wheaton College. She plans to continue her research in this important area of higher education. Her interests also include international partnerships with Christian colleges and universities in the global south, particularly on the continent of Africa.

SYLVIE RAQUEL taught at East Texas Baptist University, Nunez College, New Orleans Baptist Seminary, and Xavier University in New Orleans prior to coming to Trinity. She also has experience working in three different international churches in youth ministry, in discipleship ministry, and in prison ministry. Dr. Raquel has taken missions trips to Khazakstan, France, Mexico, Brazil, and Ecuador, as well as in the U.S. She has costarted two ESL ministries, is fluent in three languages (English, French, Spanish), and has studied four more (Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and German). Dr. Raquel specializes in textual criticism of the New Testament and has conducted research at the Center of New Testament Textual Studies in New Orleans.

CLIFFORD WILLIAMS is professor of philosophy at Trinity International University’s Trinity College and serves as chair of the philosophy department. He came to Trinity in 1982 after teaching at Houghton College and St. John Fisher College, both in New York state. He taught at Wheaton College from 1998-1999.  Dr. Williams earned his PhD from Indiana University and his BA from Wheaton College. Dr. Williams’s areas of expertise within the field of philosophy include free will and determinism, religious dividedness, philosophy of time, and philosophy of love and friendship. Among his published works are Singleness of Heart: Restoring the Divided Soul (Eerdmans, 1994), Free Will and Determinism: A Dialogue (Hackett 1980), The Life of the Mind: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 2002), and Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith (IVP Academic 2011) as well as numerous articles in journals and magazines, including Philosophical Quarterly, Christianity Today, Christian Scholar’s Review, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion.