Download “Prince of Peace – God of War” For Free

POP-GOW-Download.jpgHow did the command to “Love Your Enemies” get so complicated? This was the question I had for years both when I was a minister in the church and ever since I left it. It seemed to me the religious right, more a political force than anything else, who embraced policies of violence, killing and destruction, all in the name of a God they claimed to follow seemed to be at odds with the teachings of the founder of their faith.

For the first three centuries that the church existed, those belonging to the faith of Christianity understood the words and example of Jesus to be a clear directive to never be involved with violence. To be a Christian was to be a Pacifist, and during those formative years the church endured several persecutions at the hands of the Roman Empire itself without ever considering taking up the sword against their aggressors.

How did this faith, known and identified for its non-violent beliefs, go on to conduct the crusades, the inquisitions, witch hunts, and today have 87% of white evangelical Christians support President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq? How did this religion, founded by a Pacifist and known (even criticized) for non-violence, become a religion known for its aggression, war, political power and embracing of violence?

So, in 2006 I decided to travel across North America and talk to scholars, historians, authors and religious leaders on both sides of the issue (not the cheap Bill Maher tactics of only talking to crazy people on whichever side he stands opposed to) to understand why some believe the Christian faith allows for killing and others in the exact same faith believe that to truly follow the faith, one must never take life. The result was this project “Prince of Peace – God of War”

The project took me just over a year to complete and was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but at the same time one of the most rewarding. As a documentary I am very proud of how the issues are addressed and explored… but at the same time I am very humbled by how much it lacks artistic quality. A gifted documentary filmmaker I am not. But audiences across North America at various film festivals seems to quickly look past my artistic shortcomings and submerged themselves in the issues and discussion in the film. Some agreeing, some disagreeing, but all apparently talking.

Some media folks commented at the time:

“Central to John Campea’s engaging documentary is the question of how it is that 87 percent of self-defined Christians are able to rally fists in support of war when one would assume that conflict is not what Jesus would do.”
The Orlando Weekly

“Loved It! An Extensive look at how Christians went from preaching about love and peace to fighting for war.”
Peter Sciretta – Slahfilm.Com

“I was gripped the entire run time”

Kurt Halfyard – Twitchfilm.Net

“People should definitely see this… they’re going to love it”
Andrew Olson – MoviePatron.Com

“I urge you to give it a look and in all honesty, if your Religious Philosophy professor puts Just War on the curriculum, you may want to suggest he add this film as an introduction.”
Marina Antunes – MadAboutMovies.Net

“the documenary does a great job at presenting the facts, with the leading experts on Theology and Christianity and making you stop and think long and hard on a tough topic. ”
MoviesOnline.Ca

This project was only made possible by those people who were willing to lend their thoughts, expertise and perspective to the conversation. Both those on the Just War and Pacifism sides of this discussion were beyond generous with their time and insights. To all of them, I am very grateful.

Dr. Tony Campolo
Best selling author, Former Spiritual Advisor to President Bill Clinton

Professor at Eastern University – St. Davids PA

Dr. Brian McLaren
Listed on TIME Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Evangelicals In America
Bruxy Cavey
Author of “The End Of Religion”

Minister of “The Meeting House” – Canada’s largest Church

Dr. David Williams
Academic Vice President Taylor University College
Edmonton AB
Dr. Victor Shepherd
Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology
Tyndale Seminary – Toronto ON
Dr. Stanley Fowler
Professor of Theological Studies
Heritage Seminary – Cambridge ON
Dr. Kent Clarke
Director of the Professor Rueben J. Swanson Ancient Manuscript Collection
Trinity University – Langley BC
Jordon Cooper
Founder of the Resonate Church Leaders Network
Dr. Gordon Heath
Assistant Professor of Church History
McMaster University – Hamilton ON
John Campea
Former Evangelical Christian and Minister
Senior Editor – The Movie Blog
Dr. Gary Yamasaki
Professor of New Testament
Columbia Bible College – Abbotsford BC
Dr. Michael Gilmour
Associate Professor of New Testament
Providence College – Otterburne MB
Dr. Jan Van Vliet
Professor of Theology
Prairie Bible Insitute – Three Hills AB
Dr. Douglas Jacobsen
Distinguished Professor of Church History
Messiah College – Grantham PA
  

With the festivals far behind me now, and all the DVDs that were printed sold out, I decided to release the movie online for free, just to get it out there and continue to spark discussion (that’s my hope at any rate). So download it, share it, copy it, BitTorrent it, love it, hate it, whatever. It’s amazing what you can do with one cheap little camera, one very cheap little microphone, no crew, no money and a bit of time on the road. I hope you enjoy it, or at least that it makes you think. Cheers!

You can watch Prince of Peace – God of War here:

You can download a higher quality copy here.
Or you can download an iPhone/iPod version here.

65 thoughts on “Download “Prince of Peace – God of War” For Free

  1. John 13-34 A new commandment I give unto you: love one another as I have loved you. If Jesus said " I" then he is the commander. Example: Caesar Borgia, Pope's son, resigned as Cardinal to become Commander of the Papal Armies.

  2. Please forgive the careless mistake below. It should, of course, read Joshua 5:14-15. The Lord of the Apocalypse is pictured as conquering with slaughter–how else can evil finally be extinguished? The personal ethics of Romans 12 must be integrated into the politics of Romans 13 where God does give a sword to someone. There are serious flaws in absolute just war theory and absolute pacifism.

  3. Who is the Commander of the army of the Lord (Judges 5:14-15) if not the second Person of the Trinity? It is our challenge to bring the Lord of the Gospels into some kind of paradoxical harmony with the Lord of the Old Testament.

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  5. Great work!

    Pacifism is not the same as doing nothing.

    Trusting God up to a point, is not trusting God.

    Your next documentary might be on global economics and the concentration of wealth vs. Jesus economics.

  6. First and foremost, very good documentary, and one of the few I’ve seen that actually does make a noble effort to remain neutral as a narrative. I enjoyed it and found it enlightening.

    I would argue that Christ was not a pacifist, and no only for the incident in the temple (which was discussed very interestingly, I might add, in the video). I would reference the latter portion of Luke 22, in which Jesus literally tells his disciples to carry a weapon at all costs, even if it means selling everything else they own. Here are the verses:

    —–

    35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or extra clothing, did you need anything?”

    “No,” they replied.

    36 “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! 37 For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’[d] Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”

    38 “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.”

    “That’s enough,” he said.

    —–

    Why would Jesus place such an urgency in the carrying of a personal “firearm” if He did not intend for them to use it, if threatened? It seems as if He would have said, from a pacifist’s perspective, “you will be counted as rebels, and some may come after you to harm you – let them do so.”

    I don’t post this to say that the core intent of the documentary (pacifism) was wrong, as I genuinely think the documentary brought up excellent points for both. It did make me reconsider how I exercise my faith as a Christian, which speaks toward the credibility and effectiveness of the work. I suppose in the end, I tend to agree with the final statement of Dr. Victor Shepherd. If witnessing a horrible act while having the ability to prevent it, how could I do nothing? Christ encouraged his disciples to pack heat. I don’t believe He did that for them not to use if, if the need absolutely arose.

    But we can disagree. :) Documentaries like this one should spark both debate and mutual respect.

    1. @Lee

      I think the podcast by the Meeting House, which covers the Prince of Peace God of War covers this.

      To look it up go to iTunes go to the store search “The Meeting House Roundtable”, click the podcast shown, scroll down to the podcast called “Prince of Peace . . . God of War” and download it.

  7. Great film, great discussion. I too thank you for focusing on the content and the argument. A friend of mine linked it from Facebook.

    I can’t believe there have been 49 comments and not one person has disagreed with the pacifist conclusion yet, so I’ll put myself out there:

    I’m a Christian and I don’t believe all killing is morally wrong. I *do* believe in a lifestyle of nonviolence. I very much appreciate that you addressed the issue of the Old Testament and the unity of God’s revelation, as well as the issue of Jesus’ interactions with Roman soldiers. You didn’t change my mind completely, but they were good discussions.

    I tend to agree with what Brian McLaren said sometime in the second half of the film: I’m troubled by both “extremes,” those who embrace war as a good solution to our problems, and those who think it is immoral to be a soldier or even a policeman. Of course, it is easy to try and be a “moderate;” we all like to feel like we are navigating betweeen extremes. On the other hand, some of us like to feel like we are taking an uncompromising stand. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

    This was a great film, and you got great speakers for the most part. In case you ever do another one, I would have liked to see more discussion of what kinds of police and peacekeeping forces are legitimate according to Christian pacifist views. I know some pacifists reject all violence unconditionally, while others draw a distinction between police work / self-defense and actual warfare. I’d also like to see some more variety in the just-war theorists, and maybe some Old Testament scholars.

    Anyway, rather than get into the meat of the middle of the film, I’ll post one question for folks to ponder here who have been so touched by the final story of the Bulgarian patriarch: does that story really argue for a complete rejection of all violence as immoral? Does the “happy ending” not in fact rest on two counts of violence? That is, the story wouldn’t have ended that way if a), the SS soldiers had not been intimidated by the overwhelming presence of the crowds (that is, potential violence), and b), the Allies had not *won the war* before reinforcements could come to take away the Bulgarian Jews (that is, actual violence of the very kind condemned by most in the film). To me the patriarch’s stand is an inspiring story of courage, and exactly the way I believe Christ calls his followers to act. Yet there are other unseen characters in the story, the soldiers who are fighting the war many miles away; and I do not believe they are sinning by fighting it. Without the Allied soldiers who fought the war, Hitler’s men would have come back and killed all those Jews eventually, and many of the Christians too.

    Obviously, a story does not settle the philosophical and theological points either way, but I wanted to add that to the discussion.

    Thanks again for your work!

  8. I just started watching it John, I love it, I am Christian myself and never really looked at how it shifted from peace to war, interesting point. I still believe in peace.

    @Mike

    Have an open mind dude, just because you cant see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Great film John

  9. Hello. I need some help… I need someone to translate this movie to show it to latinamerica.
    You can send a mail to me if you want to help me…

    Thank you

    ps: this is not a joke
    ps2: this kind of movies do not leave your country. We want to know…
    ps3: i know basic english *_*

  10. Tony Campolo’s opening statements about a generation of Christians who know what to do but do the opposite is very powerful.

  11. LIONEL

    You said, ” When peace is not found outwardly, then we make peace inwardly and [should learn] to suffer until death takes us home to God.”

    When you say suffering I think you mean Physical suffering. Because inside is an inseparable part of the timeless and formless One Life from which all that exists derives its being. There is no suffering in your innermost essence. In fact, there is no suffering at all, only the illusion of suffering.

    You said “God is much more concerned about us knowing and trusting Him regardless of the situation”

    What do you mean, “God?” Are you implying that God is a sentient being? That God has form? I believe that “he” is everything and anything as well as nothing at all. More importantly, “he” is the life essence that surrounds us, the being (present progressive) that is inside us. But sadly most humans are run by their minds and cannot see this.

  12. Why did Christians shift from pacifism to the just war theory?

    After Jesus, the next 300 years of Christians regulated their life through spiritual energy. The quality of their consciousness determined what kind of future they would experience. The energy emanated by them was of a much higher vibrational frequency.

    When Constantine adopted Christianity, it became more then a religion. Different themes were incorporated into the church. Themes such as politics, law codes, and control over state as well as social matters and economic structures. Many people bent on greed and run by Mind Energy secured positions in the church and soon corrupted its very being. When Mind energy is in control, there is no awareness of the Spiritual.

    Jesus said “Blessed are the gentle, they shall have the earth for their possession.” The gentle are those who surrender to spiritual energy and are not subject to the law of polarities which states that there can be no good without bad. Those run on Mind energy are blind to see this and are unaware of its existence.

  13. Now isn’t it ironic that we go to war to achieve peace? That violence has become a substantial method to gain pacification?

    When you have a bold message to send across, it doesn’t matter if it is artistically made (though it helps). But your film, sans the amazing film making effects, already has spoken volumes. And it’s an achievement for you being a 1st time filmmaker. Hats off to you.

    I was so moved I’ve posted it to our church’s website and mine.

  14. Nice Job.

    I thought the ending story was one of the most powerful I have ever heard.

    For a first movie, I thought it was amazing. You really pulled it off… you told a story.

  15. Thank you john for this documentary. I’m going to check it out. I’m against war. BTW and believe that it is not a Christian’s duty to get involved in wars. After all, Jesus didn’t.

  16. Hey Gang,

    For anyone who wants to hear the complete podcast that is featured in the film, you can find it at my book site. We re-aired what was originally a church podcast of The Meeting House in this new series of podcasts that discusses themes in my book. Go to http://www.theendofreligion.org. Click on podcasts and then Chapter 10: Thy Kingdom Come.

    Enjoy!
    Brux

  17. The documentary is interesting in that it provides a forum for many ideas to be aired.

    I think that too often the decision to act on issues like Abortion & War are justified in the hope that it may achieve a quicker resolution to the “problem” than the alternatives.

    This boils down to an uncommitment for what we claim to believe.

    For example: Do I work tirelessly to setup a home for the poor mothers or adoption homes to care for their babies, provide funding to secure a reasonable future for the growing children, schooling, health and retirement, visit the mothers and help and pray for them… no, because that is simply asking too much isn’t it. I want a quick fix, a solution that does not require a long term commitment from me, something that is efficient and distant.

    Read “Light Force” and “Secret Believer” by Brother Andrew to shift the discussion away from theoretical to practical issues of Christian-on-Christian violence. Investigate the Chinese churches and their suffering.

    We’re looking at a Muslim world in the future, are Christians prepared to sit back and allow people to choose what they want to believe or even be forced into a new belief system? Jesus would. Jesus, Peter and Paul warned of deception. They did not prevent false teachings by killing anyone, but happily allowed others to rule over them while suffering.

    Since there is no such thing as a Christian society, why does society feel the need to be ruled by Christians. Paul says we should pray for peace and Jesus says we should make peace. When peace is not found outwardly, then we make peace inwardly and learns to suffer though until death takes us home to God.

    When people are not longer in control, with no opportunity to get control, they are prepared to accept a lot of suffering.

    God places a much LOWER value on human life itself and “quality of life” than Christians are willing to accept. For God, it’s about accepting rebuke, punishment or chastisement with patience, laying down my life and giving everything to others, esteeming others higher than myself and doing all this joyfully. I therefore ask, “How many are really Christians in Western society?”

    God is much more concerned about us knowing and trusting Him regardless of the situation, than us being comfortable, safe, fat and happy.

    Cain killed Able because he couldn’t get to God directly. God did not kill Cain as punishment, He knew they’d be face to face a little later.

    I hope your journey takes you to many interesting places outside of the USA.

  18. I just finished watching your documentary, and I thought it was fantastic.

    I’m not a religious person, yet I was pleased to find that several of my questions regarding Christianity and violence were answered in this movie and saw that many within the religion do indeed share some of my beliefs. Obviously Canada’s got something really good going for them in Bruxy Cavey. I wish someone like that was down here in the States.

    Thanks for making this available for free!

  19. cool – can’t wait to see it. ultimitely though, i think it’s money that drives the war machine. every american needs to check out Freedom to Fascism and The Money Masters.

  20. that was very powerful John. it taught me a lot about these two sides and the power that peace can bring, as well as teaching me a lot about christianity in general. The quote by Hitler was extremely powerful in helping me to form a somewhat pasifist opinion on the matter.

  21. Hey Bratte,

    It’s not available for video download anywhere… but I think The Meeting House has the full audio podcast on their website somewhere if you do a quick search for it

  22. Hello John. Im watching the movie as i write this and i was just wondering if it is possibly to see the whole podcast that you did with bruxy somewhere?

  23. This documentary comes at a time when I am trying to get back to my beliefs. It has helped me tremendously thank you John for making it and for sharing it.

  24. john

    ive been doing ROTC and i signed up for the marine corp and i leave this upcoming june and im going for infantry recon who are pretty much the first line soldiers that go into battle first and ive had many questions that the just war theory answered

    ive been and on and off atheist/evangelic christian and ive had doubts about killing being good or bad if youre a soldier. so ive been thinking about that and if its a goog thing since im doing it for a right cause or bad because of the bible.

    my recruter says killing is something i WILL face if i sign up as infantry in the marines…which i did. so thats been bugging me, its a question no ones been able to answer. is it okay to kill if youre an american soldier?

    what do you think? does the just war theory answer my question or im i off?

  25. Gotta leave a comment while my goosebumps are still fresh. This is a fantastic documentary, John. I really hope this resonates with a lot of people and promotes a better understanding of religious differences. I’ll be recommending this to everyone I know.

  26. John, quick question:

    I’ve heard you mention a few times that you are a “former evangelical”. Not trying to get too personal or anything, but may I ask what took you away from the faith?

  27. John used to be a minister? I had no idea, but it rings true with all the fire and brimstone he lets rain on bad movies.

    I’m definently going to download it and check it out.

  28. Now what sort of Geographical boundaries will be placed on this John? Are our international friends out of luck because you’re a bastard and sold the foreign rights just to be a dick?
    By the way, it is a great documentary.

  29. Very interesting documentary, John. Well done – particularly for your very first attempt at something like this. A few technical things aside it’s a very good watch, I especially liked how you made it about the content and what people had to say more than anything else. Much like this site – keep the look and feel simple and let the content be the focus.

  30. Interesting watch…

    sadly I am neither christian nor am I catholic. I have always been fascinated on the subject of why people choose certain religions. I for one am a humanist.

    I have always hated the politics of religion. And have never understood why it plays such an important role in it.

  31. John, thanks for firstly making this movie, and secondly making it available for free.

    The very best of luck for your next project!

  32. Hey wordy

    It denotes which position they take, not what they are. Either “pacifism” or “just war”. Otherwise I’d have to call the other side “just warists”

  33. Why are people labeled as “Pacifism” and not “Pacifist”? I don’t get it. A minor point, but it reads bad right from the start…

  34. I actually bought this as a download when it was released, it was worth the money to. You get to see why Bruxy Cavey is such a popular minister and Dr. Tony Campolo’s final story is a perfect finish, which shows the real strength of true faith (which is a weird thing for me to say as a non Christian).

  35. FINALLY!

    now I hope you don’t mind using this for one of my ESL classes at a Christian university in Korea.

    This will make for some excellent discussion.

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