Christians and the Military

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Martin, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    In a thread on the politics forum we were discussing the U.S. military. That got me to thinking about Christians and the military. To be honest, I'm not totally sure that Christians should be in the military. This is far from settled in my mind and this post is more of a brainstorm than an organized position.

    Let me state up front, I am not a pacifist. I believe we need a military and a strong military at that. However I was thinking that during the early years of Christianity Christians were often disliked because they refused to serve in the military (ect). Why has that changed? Why do so many Christians now support military service when Christians in the past have not? How is our military different from Rome's? Or any other military?

    I am not suggesting that Christians should walk away from the military. However I will say that Christians should not join the military just to get a job or attend college. I know many people who join the military so they can get out of dead end jobs and I certainly understand their difficult situations. For the Christian, however, I don't believe that is a real option. When you are in a position where you will take another person's life when you pull that trigger or press that button, that is a very serious position. And it should not be entered into carelessly. Should Christians put themselves in that position for the United States government or any other government?

    I'm honestly not sure. Suggestions?
     
    #1 Martin, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2010
  2. paul wassona

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    Hi Martin, I understand your sentiments. I think christians fight for our freedoms on a patriotic level than for our way of government. It's too often people in government will so quickly speak evil of our soldiers that I make that call.
     
  3. ktn4eg

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    I'm glad to read that you have some honest doubts and thus aren't sure whether or not a Christian ought to serve in the military. In my 60+ years here in earth, I've come across people whose opinions on military service for Christians have ranged all over the spectrum.

    While I respect each person's right to his/her opinion on this issue, I'll have to say that it's my opinion that it is not inheritly sinful for a Christian to be a member of the military.

    The Old Testament, of course, is full of examples of soldiers who were led of God to kill people, e.g., Joshua and David. But what about in the New Testament?

    This is not an exhaustive study, but here are some examples:

    In Luke 3:14 we have an incident of soldiers asking John the Baptist what they should do. He didn't tell them to seek to leave the military.

    Luke 7:1-9 has Jesus commending the faith of a centurion. He had no condmenation for this man being in the military.

    Mark 15:39 tells us of the centurion declaring that Jesus is the Son of God.

    In Acts 10 you can read about the centurion Cornelius ("A devout man that feared God..." 10:2). God's Word not only does not condemn him for being in the military, but uses him as a means of bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles.

    II Timothy 2:3-4 compares military service with serving Jesus Christ. If it were wrong for a Christian to be in the military, I hardly doubt that the Holy Spirit would have chosen the military as a means of comparison.

    In my own experience, it was through the miliary that I was located in a city about a thousand miles from my home where I first heard the Gospel and received Christ as my Savior.

    Please understand that I'm not saying that miliary service is for every person. That's something you'll have to settle between you and God; but I do hope that what I've posted will at least help you in this matter.

    --ktn4eg (US Air Force/Air National Guard [Retired])
     
  4. mcdirector

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    While the military is a choice now, many godly men have been drafted in years past.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    yes..............................
     
  6. Martin

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    ==This is an issue I have returned to several times over the past many years. For some reason, I have never been able to comfortably settle it one way or the other. I'm always in limbo. The recent discussion on the politics forum just got my mind going about this again.

    ==I agree it is not "inheritly sinful for a Christian to be a member of the military" however I am not, at this time, ready to say it is "good" for Christians to be active in the armed forces. The main reason(s) is what I hinted at in the op. Is it ok for Christians to kill other people simply because they are told to do so? On the other side of the coin, one could say that war is necessary and we must have soldiers who are willing to do the "dirty" work. It is a tough one for me I must admit. On one hand I can't answer the first question in the affirmative but on the other hand I realize that we must have a military, we must have a strong military, and we must have a soldiers that obey their orders. This is one issue I just can't settle in my mind. Which ever way I go the other side comes back with objections. This issue sometimes makes me want to :BangHead:.

    ==Yes, that is true and it is a very good point. However my mind goes to passages like 1Chron. 22:6-8, 28:1-4. I don't know how much those passages play into this issue, but it certainly seems like David's activities as a warrior placed a limit on what he could do. Again, I don't know if that really plays into this or not. Really just brainstorming again. Sorry.


    ==Some very good examples and very good points. Maybe I am just thinking too much. It would certainly seem that if followers of Christ should not be in the military than Jesus would have said something about it. Maybe His silence in that context answers my question. Never thought about those passages in a group like that before.

    ==What you posted has actually helped a great deal. You brought Scriptures to the table that certainly give great strength to the view that it is okay for Christians to serve in the armed forces (if they are so inclined).

    The military would never be right for me. Right now I am too old for it, but even when I was 18-21 years old I would have been totally wrong for service. My personality and the kind of life soldiers have to live would be totally incompatible.

    Thanks for your meaningful post :thumbs:.
     
    #6 Martin, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2010
  7. Martin

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    ==Yep and I'm very greatful that I do not live in a time/nation where the draft is law.
     
  8. Martin

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    ==That is true and very sad. The people in government should be the number one supporter of our troops. Having grown up around the military I have great respect for our troops and the work they do. They are very brave men and women. Certainly far braver than I. Hey, I will not even get on an airplane :thumbs:. Despite my questions on this issue our troops have my full support in their missions.
     
  9. canadyjd

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    This has been, I think, an ongoing debate in the church since the beginning.

    Roman military life was brutal and pagan. Besides the killing, daily life was carnal for many, and there was the practice of worshipping the Roman gods and allegience to Rome and her emperor.

    The early Christians, IMHO, saw such an situation as contrary to Christianity in many ways, even though they could be accused of being seditious for not serving in the military or worshipping the emperors.

    The military in the U.S. is very different in many ways and has many opportunities for folks to serve without the likelihood of ever shooting a gun or pushing a button to kill somebody.

    This may be one of those issues where we must allow Christian liberty to guide each one according to conscience.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

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    I was in the Military and was a Christian. I see no prohibitions in scriptures to be in the military. The only prohibitions are not to extort money from people.
    My own experience in the military suggest that there is a need for Christian men and women to participate in that environment for several reasons. If the military had no christian influence then there would be "no conscience" to the acts of personnel. Beyond what is required by law conflict and engagements are stressful situations and the participant isn't thinking about legal requirements. Primarily the soldier is thinking about survival which allows for base nature to take over at times. With out Christian influence even more terrible things are likely to occur. Christians in place with their non christian counterparts provide a conscience for combatants.
    Also its an evironment were young men and women are faced with their mortality and the larger questions of life. It is a fuitful ground for sharing the gospel with those who aren't aquanted with it. I have made life long friends in the US Air Force because of our combined faith and commeradery. The examples of christian charity and life convinced other's to accept christ and turn their lives around. Some after leaving the service became missionaries, other's pastors, Others important members of their communities. So I think it is essential that we have Christians in the military.
     
  11. Johnv

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    My take on it is a little different, since I'm a naturalized American Citizen. Citizenship isn't something that we should take lightly. It requires a certain level of responsibility. I believe that military service is something that every person who calls this country their home (whether citizen or not) should do when called, as part of your responsibility to calling this our home. Being a warrior in the name of your country is one of the most honorable callings a person can take on.

    While several people in my family have served, I myself have never served in the military. But if called to do so, I will do so without hesitation. I am grateful for those those men and women who served so I don't have to. They deserve much more than my gratitude, so that's the least I can give them.
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    I volunteered for the Army because the alternative was being drafted and having someone else chose what I would do. I fought in combat. No one who has done that would ever take lightly the taking of another's life. Even though I feel it was right to fight and to do as my CO and the chain of command ordered me, it still leaves a scar that is with me and almost every other vet I have spoken to until this day. So of course this is a very serious situation.

    Although I chose to volunteer and I took the same oath as every other soldier, I did not fight for my country or my convictions. I fought for the men I served next to.

    Part of the reason why believers didn't go into the military during New Roman time was because soldiers then pledged loyalty to Caesar as lord. Soldiers are not required to make that same pledge... yet. :tonofbricks:

    During the OT period, every male was required to serve with only a few exceptions. They fought, killed and died at the command of God. I don't see in the Bible God saying that it was now wrong for believers to do that.
     
  13. Mexdeaf

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    Excellent answer.
     
  14. Jon-Marc

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    As a Christian who is a veteran, I was in during the Viet Nam war but didn't go over there and never had to shoot anyone. I did the printing for whatever base I was on, which was several; I was in for two hitches and came out as a Sergeant. My only regret about that is not making the military a career.
     
  15. Steven2006

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    Martin,

    I have long ago decided I could never serve in the military. While not easy to do, I really do love my enemies and pray for them as well.

    Additionally if I choose to kill another just because my government tells me I should I could end up killing a brother in Christ without knowing it, or even someone who might have ended up coming to know Christ had I not cut his life short.
     
  16. MovieProducer

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    God's plan for the Israelites was not to maintain standing armies. Only once they demanded a king did they begin to keep standing armies. Before that, he would raise an army as needed. The only fighters were males of a certain age who had been married longer than a year and who weren't "fearful."

    I don't say we should set up our culture under the law of Moses, but we can learn from the law what God thought was a good way to govern. At the very least we can see that God didn't forbid military service to those who were willing, but he didn't require it either.
     
  17. Joseph shall add

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    I was in the Navy as a christian. My thinking is that God has given men the responsibility to defend there nations in times of war. That started with the Hebrew nation. In the bible God states you shall not murder not kill. To murder a person is to kill them in malius. To defend a nation against a enemy is not murder. I never had to shot anyone. But know people who did. And they all will tell you it is not a thing you want to do.
    But to defend oneself is not murder. To not defend a nation makes you a coward and even God looks down on them.

    Actually he speak guite harsh about cowards.
     

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