War has been the bane of the human race since the dawn of history. Only man’s sinful nature can begin to explain the politics of the sword.

Although most individuals yearn for peace, it seems as elusive as ever. In fact, war has become even more sinister because of twentieth century technology. Out choices, however, must not be limited to acquiescence to totalitarian power to life under the fear of nuclear destruction. We must search for achievable alternatives to such stark futures.

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has addressed the critical issue of peace and freedom. In 1952 NAE asserted that the “American posture should be that of peace, righteousness, faith and freedom.” In 1979, NAE declared that “armed conflict and even mass destruction is increasing,” and urged our government to “exercise reasonable restraint in the production and use of its military capability and to encourage other nations to do the same.”

Yet, Evangelicals have not always given aggressive leadership in the debate over foreign and defense policy. Fortunately, that is changing. Through its Peace, Freedom and Security Studies program, NAE has developed a growing conviction that work for peace must be linked to advances in international human rights. Nations that do not respect the rights of their own people will not respect the rights of other nations.

NAE, therefore, calls upon all Christians to fulfill their biblical responsibility to be peacemakers, and in so doing to avoid the most common errors of the political left — opposition only to American military power; and of the political right — support of all defense programs.

We further call upon all Christians to fulfill their civic and moral obligations to support the social structures of freedom, especially religious freedom. In this regard, we also call upon the executive and legislative branches of our government to recognize the link between peace and human rights. We believe this consideration, coupled with the right of a free people to be secure, must underpin any arms control or other international agreements.

Finally, because we recognize man’s dismal record in the pursuit of peace, we call upon all Christians to raise their voices to the God of history in fervent prayers for peace and to commit themselves not to abandon the quest.