Can Christians Serve In The Military?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Let me assure you that I do not, nor have I ever failed to have great respect for those who put their lives on the line to defend our country from those who would destroy us. I do not know you from Adam, but I sense from your e- mail that you are a sincere Christian who has been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be [ a] saint, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (1Co 1:2). I readily admit that I am a conscientious objector, but when I was an A-1 draftee, at the time of the Vietnam War (1965), I did not identify with those who were demonstrating against our involvement. As you so rightly state: “what matters is what is in the heart of the man.” I did not run off to Canada, and I never once demonstrated against those who in good conscience were laying down their lives for our country. I admired them and I admire you for doing what you feel is right. The New Covenant definition of sin is not simply, as so many point out “the transgression of the law;” it is now also whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23).

Having said all this in sincerity, I must say that to deduce that because “Jesus did not rebuke the centurion for his occupation,” that therefore He approved of it, is the same as saying that because He did not rebuke the woman at the well for having five husbands and presently living in fornication, that He therefore approved of her lifestyle. Christ’s treatment of a newborn babe, desiring the sincere milk of the Word that [ they] may grow thereby (1Pe 2:2) would naturally be far different from those who He is calling to a more mature walk. So then Christ’s treatment of the centurion, seeking the healing of his servant, in no way conflicts with the Truth He imparts to Peter: (Mat 26:52) Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. And Christ’s gracious treatment of the Samaritan woman at the well in no way conflicts with His statement to the woman caught in the very act of adultery: (Joh 8:11) And Jesus said unto her… go, and sin no more.

Here are your words:

I have emboldened the words ‘contradiction’ and ‘in scriptures’ not to condemn you, but to point out that that is exactly what most people feel about the scriptures on this subject. When I was struggling with whether I should go to Vietnam, my own minister told me that he saw nothing wrong with defending one’s country. I simply cannot take the time in this e- mail to explain how the scriptures reveal that God deals with all nations. I have a paper that deals with this topic in detail. It is posted on the web page. It is entitled After The Counsel of His Own Will. The title for this paper is taken from Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will… ‘All things’ certainly includes our nation. I hope that it also includes you reading that paper. You will read scriptures you have never noticed were in the Bible. But they have been there all along.

It seems that in every paper I write, I end up dealing with who God considers as ‘Israel’ and who He considers as ‘Ishmael.’ I am not even going to comment on this except to ask you to carefully read the following scriptures and then get back to me, if you will. The first is Rom 2, especially verses 28-29. Then read Rom 9:8. Then read Gal 3:16-29. Next, read Gal 4:22-31. Allow verse 28 of Gal 4 to explain Rom 9:8. Also notice who “the children of the bondwoman” are according to verse 25. The bondwoman is Hagar. Her son was Ishmael. According to modern day Christianity, Paul has it all backwards. Next, read Gal 6:15-16 – “the Israel of God,” of verse 16 is explained in Eph 2:11-19. These are all capped off with Php 3. Read the entire chapter. Note especially verse 3. Php 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” If only today’s Christians had Paul’s and Christ’s attitude toward patriotism (verse 8). Php 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [ but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” If these verses prove anything, they prove that God does not see things as the professing Christian world sees them; at least not when it comes to the nation of Israel, or patriotism in general.

If you read After The Counsel of His Own Will, you will see that I am in complete agreement with everything you say here, except for the last sentence. God does truly “work all things after the counsel of His own will.” If anyone is in the military, Christian or otherwise, then that is where God wants that person at this time. If, on the other hand, He tells others, (2Co 5:20) “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” and (Php 3:20) “For our conversation, [ Gk. – politeuma – citizenship – Strongs # 4175] is in heaven,” then that person is also where God wants him at this time. The fact that “Jesus did not rebuke the Centurion for his occupation” and yet told his apostle (Mat 26:52-54): “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” proves only that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke12:48). Peter had been given much more (3 1/2 years more) training and teaching than the Roman centurion. So you rightly point out: (1 Co 7:17) “Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him.

Be sure to read After The Counsel of His Own Will. You see S_____, with all the furor over Mel Gibson’s movie, the truth of the scriptures is: (Act 4:27-28) “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” As usual, the furor simply serves to keep the truth hidden from the masses. The truth is that neither the Jews nor the Gentiles were responsible for the death of Christ. They both did “whatsoever thy [ God’s] hand and thy [ God’s] counsel determined before to be done.” And so it is with us all.

It is an amazing truth that the word ‘responsible’ is nowhere to be found in scripture. That’s because God Himself takes full ‘responsibility’ for virtually everything that happens; “shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it” (Amo 3:6). (Pro 16:4) “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Isa 63:17) “O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?” (Isa 45:6-7) “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Eph 1:11) “Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Rom 9:16) “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” There are hundreds of such verses throughout scripture. Be sure to read After The Counsel of His Own Will at http:// www. iswasandwillbe. com. I think that you will also glean much from Biblical Examples of Rightly Dividing The Word. It simply demonstrates how the New Testament writers did just that. I think that we can agree that however they ‘rightly divided the scriptures’ is the way we should do it.

To summarize: While the Lord does indeed have many in the military, He also has those who consider their ‘citizenship [ to be] in heaven’ (Php 3:20). He has those who consider themselves to be ‘ambassadors for Christ:’ (2Co 5:20) “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.” He has those who love America, but who also love the whole world, as per Joh 3:16. Here is their perspective while here in ‘the body of this death:’ “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that [ country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb 11:13-16).

So while my family has been patriots for hundreds of years, I am ‘a stranger and a pilgrim.’ I obey the laws of my host country, but I do not participate in either its politics or its military. When my draft board told me “If everyone looked at things the way you do, we would all be communists,” I had to say “And if Christ had looked at things the way Peter did, (“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” Mat 16:21-22) we would not have a Savior and ‘if everyone looked at things the way I did’ we would have no wars.

As Christ told his apostles, there are some truths that few can receive. “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Mat 19:12).

I understand that this may not be for you. I admire and appreciate your sincerity in doing what you do so long as it is “of faith.” I feel like Jeremiah who was told that his nation had turned its back on God past the point of repentance. “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me” (Pro 1:6-8).

It was the priests that wanted to kill Jeremiah. Look at what God had commissioned Jeremiah to do: “Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it [ God’s word] shall devour them. Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say” (Jer 5:14-15).

This scripture is the force behind Rev 11:5 “And if any man will hurt them [ the ‘two witnesses’], fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Jeremiah was hated by his whole nation, just as Christ said His disciples would be. (Mat 24:9) “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”

The words ‘except for the United States’ are not in these words of our Savior. It will be, as it has always been, the religious leaders of the people of God who will once again be “gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ.”

The two witnesses are hated of all “nations;” “And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth” (Rev 11:9-10).

It is not just God’s people who will hate the two witnesses, as was the case with Jeremiah. This time it is the ‘whole world.’ Here is why: “A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with [ all] the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground” (Jer 25:31-33).

The United States has been given unprescedented wealth and knowledge. While there are many who decry our decadence, we are still the world’s greatest exporter of porn. We have killed more of our own innocent children than any country in the history of Christianity. A homosexual has been ordained a bishop. (Pro 11:21) “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.”

I know that we do not see things the same way. But notice, at the time of the end, those who are killing the servants of the Lord “think that they do God a service.” (Joh 16:2) “They shall put you out of the synagogues: [ it doesn’t say ‘mosques’] yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”

Let us both pray we are never guilty of persecuting the very people who come with the words of God. Those words are always ‘hard to receive.’

Other related posts