The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism

Book, 1971, 189 pp
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NOTE: In troubling contrast to his work, we know that John Howard Yoder’s life was seriously flawed by acts of sexual violence against many women. Although his writings on nonviolence continue to be influential, we acknowledge that Yoder was, ironically and tragically, perpetuating violence, over many decades, in his private life. No reading or interpretation of Yoder can be done faithfully without understanding the extensive harmful legacy he has also left.

For more information, see Rachel Waltner Goossen’s research, published in Mennonite Quarterly Review, entitled “Defanging the Beast”.



Jesus created around himself a voluntary society that was counter to everything his society knew or expected. Jesus gave his members a new way to deal with offenders, with violence, with money, with leadership, with a corrupt society. He gave them a new pattern of relationships between man and woman, and an enlarged understanding of what it means to be human.

This is the original revolution: the creation of a distinct community with its alternate set of values and its coherent way of incarnating them. Such a group is not only a novelty, but is also, if lived faithfully, the most powerful tool of social change.

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