Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way” as Want to Read:
Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  694 ratings  ·  88 reviews
More than ever, Walter Wink believes, the Christian tradition of nonviolence is needed as an alternative to the dominant and death-dealing "powers" of our consumerist culture and fractured world. In this small book Wink offers a precis of his whole thinking about this issue, including the relation of Jesus and his message to politics and nonviolence, the history of nonviol ...more
Paperback, 119 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Fortress Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jesus and Nonviolence, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jesus and Nonviolence

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  694 ratings  ·  88 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, faith, cultural
Beautifully written, compelling argument for nonviolence in a violent world. This way is not a way of "passivity," as in some excuse to ignore reality and do nothing. This way requires strength, conviction, courage, creativity, intelligence, and patience. It requires seeing through and past things as they are and learning how to work "against the grain" of human nature. It requires recognizing the destructive nature of power plays and schemes, and their inability to create real, lasting change. ...more
Jacob Aitken
It struck me while reading this that "nonviolence" is not the same thing as Pacifism. The latter includes the former, certainly, but the latter has political connotations that the former does not.

Wink suggests that "nonviolence" is a third way beyond Institutional Violence and Pacifism. The former, argues Wink, represents the "principalities and powers" while Pacifism simply accepts the status quo, thus further strengthening the powers. I think Wink's analysis of the situation is a bit simplisti
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very short, succinct overview of the principles and practices of nonviolence and pacifism. Wink draws primarily, as one would expect, on the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi--particularly Gandhi's principle of Satyagraha ("truth force")--and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wink discusses the manner in which nonviolent resistance to injustice can be carried out, and he gives numerous historical examples of how nonviolence has worked in the past, focusing especially on India's struggles against the UK,
Dan Salerno
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Walter Wink's book, JESUS AND NONVIOLENCE: A THIRD WAY starts out strong and keeps getting stronger.

Take this gem from page six: "The issue is not, 'What must I do in order to secure my salvation?' but rather, 'What does God require of me in response to the needs of others?'"

Throughout his book, Wink systematically and powerfully lays out a case for Christian nonviolence. He suggests that there are three basic ways to respond to evil - passivity, violent opposition or militant nonviolence. Wink
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
I didn't record on here when I read this book the first time, so I don't know how long it has been. However, I dipped back in today because I was reflecting on the eschatological nature of peace during Advent and, as it is a short book, I read the whole thing. I certainly appreciated the insights I underlined before (re-reads are always great for telling you who you used to be); however, I also came away with a renewed appreciation for the way Wink is a student of not just non-violence but of li ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Compelling and concise. Wink writes from years of experience, deep conviction, and a clear view of history.

I read this one after reading Richard B. Hays's treatment of violence in defense of justice in The Moral Vision of the New Testament. This book was an excellent companion piece.

Wink acknowledges the effort, patience, and creativity required for nonviolence, and distinguishes Christian nonviolence from other forms of resistance.

He also offers instructive stories ranging from international
Andy Littleton
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very helpful and, I believe, accurate exploration of the text that leads many people to believe Christians should be passive or a “doormat” in the face of injustice. A critique of violent residence, Christian passivity, and countering evil with evil. Needed in our day! I don’t share all of Wink’s perspectives in general from what I can deduce, but found little that this little book was well considered and applied to Christians. The book suggests a much more costly and Christ-like way forward i ...more
Adam Eveleigh
Rating: 'it was OK' (2 stars on Goodreads)

Wink makes great points and uses some examples from the Gospels which I hadn't seen in a nonviolent light before, so they certainly expanded how I thought about things, but overall this just didn't have as deep or as many arguments as were needed to fully persuade me that Jesus is all about nonviolence. I suspect and hope that he is, and I think Wink has actually helped me to reconcile my hope that nonviolence is right and that Jesus would support it, bu
Katie Ruth
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, theology
Understanding Jesus as a brown, Jewish Aramaic-speaking man who undoubtedly participates in the rabbinical tradition of his cultural and religious context has shifted my faith significantly over the past few years. It is this localization that has helped me to experience Jesus as a liberator and identify Jesus as part of the stream of non-violent prayerful action against acts of oppression. Due to this being my orientation already, Wink’s book did not necessarily give me new information as much ...more
Matias Uusisilta
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A clearly written book that shows that Jesus never taught the oppressed to cheerfully turn the other cheek but to rise against the powers that be in a strategic way that is neither fight nor flight. Wink arguments for this Third way in a comprehensive way and gives a thorough list of examples from the recent history of successful nonviolent revolutions. The book really made me think about how natural it is for us humans to consider violence when confronted by oppression or injustice, when it is ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It’s my first time reading anything by Walter Wink and now I want to read his books about the “powers.” In this short book on non-violence Wink helpfully disambiguates non-violence from total pacifism. He gives clear, helpful explanations of Jesus’ sayings about non-violence as well as numerous historical and contemporary (to 2003) examples of violence or non-violence used to overthrow oppressive governments. I found this book inspiring not only for social engagement but also h ...more
Marilyn Chilcote
This is it

5 short chapters clarify and sum up my faith as a Christian, and how all of us humans of any or no religion might find hope working together in and for this earth.

Simple, straight -forward, direct. The best of the 22 books I've read this year on NV resistance.
Shalom House
Revolutionary, if lived out! What a great thing to strive for.
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theological
This short book gives a clear overview of Jesus' third way of nonviolence. A great summary! ...more
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, politics
“Violence simply is not radical enough, since it generally changes only the rulers but not the rules. What use is a revolution that fails to address the fundamental problem: the existence of domination in all its forms, and the myth of redemptive violence that perpetuates it?”

Though I’m agnostic, I have found some good company and even solace over the course of the pandemic in peace-oriented religious groups meeting online. Recently, one of these groups discussed Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third W
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-violence
I really liked this short book. It was short and sweet and gave good encouragement as well as practical advice for disarming oppressive forces non-violently.

My only real complaint is that I feel the book was organised backwards!

I felt a tad uneasy through the first four chapters of the book. His interpretation of the sermon on the mount could definitely be taken as nothing more than 'be passive aggressive to get what you want'. Scattered throughout were phrases explaining that the point was not
Janet Archer
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been reading and quoting from this book for well over 10 years. Raised as an American, whose Dad was a First Lieutenant in WWII who bombed Germany (a place where his own ancestors grew up for a "good cause," to kill Nazi's and stop Hitler). I was raised in a traditional mainline Christian Church, I never really focussed on the nonviolent words and actions of Jesus. Jesus was not passive (not a pacifist) but spoke and acted against the powers and principalities of cruelty of his day. He st ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Didactic. Providing discussion questions to reflect in a group about non-violence and certain interpretations of its practice based on the Christian gospels. Historical and practical, this tiny 100 page book is a must for any interested in satyagraha or the non-violent teachings of the Jesus. Walter Wink is precise and polemicizes the absolute failure of historians and history itself of siding with the violent winners, never accounting for the successful accounts of non-violent resistance and tr ...more
Ryan Dufoe
This is a short, sweet book about nonviolent resistance to oppression in the way of Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., and, as the author argues, Jesus. I personally came into this with a hope that it would talk about the Western self defense cult, but Wink's words about the theology of non-violence transcended my finite hopes for this book and helped inform and flesh out my thinking about biblical nonviolence as a whole.

The first 4 chapters were much more statistical and pragmatic in pursuing jus
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The populace must be made to believe that there are two alternatives and only two [to injustice]: flight or fight...Jesus abhors both passivity and violence as responses to evil. His is a third alternative...Instead of the two options ingrained in us by millions of years of unreflective, brute response to biological threats from the environment, Jesus' Third Way marks a historic mutation in human development: the revolt against the principle of natural selection. With Jesus a way emerges by whi ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wink is a genius with exploring, understanding, researching and explaining the Bible. His teachings are sound and Biblically based. He methodically illustrates the concept of nonviolence as envisioned by Jesus. He instead teaches "moral jujitsu." But can people who are engaged in oppressive acts repent unless they are made uncomfortable with their actions?" Nonviolence, according to the writings about Jesus, is not what most people think. It certainly opened my eyes and my heart. #Nonviolence #J ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I honestly don't know how I would react to violence. As a special needs mom I feel like I'm ultra-sensitive to bullying as I've heard such hard situations. Even this week one of my friend's special needs kid was unnecessarily arrested and treated harshly. In this type of situation, I'm afraid my mama bear instincts would rise up and I’d fight possibly with force and do everything I could for my kids. I’m not saying violence is the right way, but I think wherever violence or not, it's ones heart ...more
Helgi Gudnason
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A concise book on non-violence based on the teachings of Jesus.
My favourite chapter was the one where Jesus' teachings were put into context.
The chapters which cover some historical examples of non-violence were very informative.

The book is a great read, for such a short book the insight it contains is enormous.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Foundational exegesis for arguing Jesus' position of nonviolence - not of passivity or violence, but of the oppressed regaining power and dignity through reminding the violent / oppressor of their humanity. Great short read. ...more
Aline P Carvalho
precious read on both nonviolence and christian studies

the book is short, to the point and very insightful in showing the teachings of Christ nor as victimization but as a way to exercise a new, resilient and firm kind of power. highly recommended.
Pam Herbert
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful short read on the subject of nonviolence, not to be confused with pacifism. The Third Way of Jesus is deliciously subversive and that is why it does work most of the time. It does require courage and it may come at a price but we are called to stand with the oppressed.
Graydon Jones
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A short and helpful book about Jesus’ call to non-violence. Dr. Wink’s definition of non-violence, which avoids any connotation of passivity, is especially helpful for those who have never considered the Sermon on the Mount to be “realistic” in light of real injustice.
Brandon Hannon
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

A short and easy to read book on that famous Matt. 5:39 verse. Thank you for doing the study, Mr. Wink. You left behind some great works and I look forward to reading more.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quick read that gives new insight to Jesus' view of "Turn the other cheek". A wonderfully thought provoking book!" ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If anyone should ask you to explain Jesus turning the cheek , give them this book. Short, easy to follow.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The New Testament: A Translation
  • Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World
  • Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
  • The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary (3 Volumes)
  • Ernest Hemingway: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
  • The Story of My Misfortunes
  • Lou Reed: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
  • The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing
  • Quack This Way
  • Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
  • Between Heaven & Hell
  • Holy the Firm
  • Garner's Modern American Usage
  • God Is Disappointed in You
  • Distant Star
  • The Catholic Church And Conversion
  • Domestic Monastery
  • The Measure of a Man
See similar books…
Dr. Walter Wink was Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. Previously, he was a parish minister and taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 1989-1990 he was a Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.

His newer works include:

The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man
(Fortress Press, 2001.)


News & Interviews

  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
12 likes · 5 comments
“...Jesus did not advocate nonviolence merely as a technique for outwitting the enemy, but as a just means of opposing the enemy in such a way as to hold open the possibility of the enemy's becoming just as well. Both sides must win. We are summoned to pray for our enemies' transformation, and to respond to ill-treatment with a love that not only is godly but also, I am convinced, can only be found in God.” 27 likes
“The issue is not, "What must I do in order to secure my salvation?" but rather, "What does God require of me in response to the needs of others?" It is not, "How can I be virtuous?" but "How can I participate in the struggle of the oppressed for a more just world?"Otherwise our nonviolence is premised on self-justifying attempts to establish our own purity in the eyes of God, others, and ourselves, and that is nothing less than a satanic temptation to die with clean hands and a dirty heart.” 8 likes
More quotes…