Much of what I’ve already stated in this series is standard COG theology. In a nutshell:
- Sin entered the human world, and so God cannot deal with human beings as perfect beings.
- God used and uses wars to teach humanity about going the wrong way. He used Israel to punish the ancient nations of Canaan. He used Assyria and Babylon to punish Israel.
- A just war is one that God sanctions. An unjust war is any war that God does not sanction.
- Jesus said His Kingdom is not of this world. Because of this, He said His servants would not fight, even to save Him.
- Christ will come again someday to establish His Kingdom. At that time, His servants will fight.
The establishment of the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ has not yet happened, and so this is still Satan’s world (2Co 4:4) for now. Satan’s rule over the earth was prolonged when Adam and Eve obeyed the voice of the serpent rather than God.
We are told to come out of this world(Jn 17:14-15; Ep 2:2; Jas 4:4; 1Jn 2:15; cf Jn 8:23) and out of the Babylonian culture of sin and corruption (Rev 18:4).
I will have to admit that at one time, I was not convinced totally that a Christian could not serve in the military, though. Even after all of the above, there was still a kernel of doubt in my mind. After all, aren’t there circumstances in which good must not let evil prevail?
However, who is “good”? Aren’t all societies, even the ones who mouth the name of Christ, really a mixture of good and evil? Aren’t they all really the result of the partaking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Is that what a Christian should support?
If we sign up for the military, then where does our allegiance go? Does it go to God? Or, does it go to a nation? Who is in charge of all the nations?
5And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. (Luke 4:5-6, King James Version)
Or, if that isn’t clear enough, how about the NIV?
5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
By placing ourselves under the authority of a nation of this world, then, we are really doing the same thing Adam and Eve did! We are handing over our lives to the authority of Satan.
That in itself was shocking to me when I considered it. However, there was one more straw to break the back of my resistant idea. Consider:
- You eat what is given to you. You might get BBQ pork, and that’s on a good day when you’re out in the field. I am old enough to remember the green eggs and ham that came in cans. Hope you brought hot sauce!
- You will work weekends. Taking off for the Sabbath is pretty tough stuff in the military, let alone any holy days. Even if they try to accommodate you, the fighting doesn’t stop just because you take a break.
- You may be ordered to kill someone. There’s no such time for arguing about whether or not the war is just. If you do not fight, you will probably be court martialed.
Let’s be clear about something: As a soldier, your job is to kill someone. Does that sound like something God wants you to have on your resume for the Kingdom of God?
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other ******* die for his.”
~ Gen. George S Patton
King David was disqualified from building the temple because he was a man of war. Consider that he was fighting Israel’s enemies. He was helping to push out the descendants of peoples that Israel had previously failed to follow through on. Even though God did not overall condemn him for being a warrior, it is evident that God does take it quite seriously.
A Christian, though, is to be part of a different Kingdom. A Christian pledges their allegiance to Jesus Christ. A Christian does not unduly and voluntarily place themselves under the authority of the world. A Christian would avoid situations where compromise with God’s Laws would be a recurring theme. A Christian would avoid situations where they may have to work against their conscience. And, finally, a Christian would be seeking to come out of the world and its ways rather than support it.
What is a “just war”? It is one in which perfect obedient spirit beings will obey the perfect commandments of the ultimate in commander-in-chiefs. A just war is one that God commands. A just war is carried out with the intent to stop all other wars. A just war is carried out to punish the aggressors – all of them. A just war brings the ones still alive into submission to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
What about handling this question in a historical manner. Also where young people are faced with being drafted today? Where it is possible for a country to recognize the "conscientious objector" or similiar status?
From what information I have read, the statement you made, "Let’s be clear about something: As a soldier, your job is to kill someone." is not true.
I believe there's more to understanding this issue than it would suggest on the surface.
Norbert wrote: "From what information I have read, the statement you made, 'Let’s be clear about something: As a soldier, your job is to kill someone.' is not true."
Your information is wrong. What do you think soldiers are trained to do?
I've been a soldier. Your basic job description at the end of the day is to kill the enemy and/or assist in doing so. You may be in charge of a radio site, but when it gets blown up, you are a foot soldier until you can return behind friendly lines and get a new rig. Guess what? If you meet the enemy along the way, it will kill or be killed.
As a soldier, you are trained in marching, shooting and protecting yourself against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks, no matter what your "job description" might otherwise say.
There is even a term for it. It is called "common skills training".
Sugar coat it all you want, it is still training a person to kill another human being.
@Norbert: BTW, I'm still not sure I understood your first questions. I'm not ignoring them, but I keep re-reading them to see if I can understand what you are asking, but I'm not sure how they even apply to the article series.
The Bible does address how Israel was to make war, and I covered that in an earlier part. Of course, most nations today ignore those instructions. In fact, one theme that kept coming up while listening to a dictation of 1 & 2 Samuel was how Saul constantly ignored those instructions even early on.
One of those instructions was that people who did not want to fight were sent home. No draft, no harassment.
Since there is no draft in the US, though, all of them volunteered to be in the military. You don't need CO status if you have an all-volunteer force. The entire point of this particular article is, "Why would you want to voluntarily put yourself under a corrupt system?"
Thanks for the bolded "voluntarily", I misunderstood the direction of your point. I took it to mean more of being confronted with that choice. My apologies.
However seeing that some countries do require some military service when a person reaches a certain age. Then the reality for some people growing up in other nations, military service is no longer as voluntary as a person would wish.
The wiki on the subject is fairly huge.
Here's a set of questions used on CO by the Swiss government within that page:
They are rather good questions, a lot better than mine and it might be fun in a serious way to try and answer them. 🙂
And when it comes to WW2, some CO were placed as medics right up front while under fire or some other duty. There was also the possiblity of jail.
I imagine it could be questioned whether a person conciders the medical corps soldiers or not.
@Norbert: The ironic thing is that, as a medic, you preserve the life of a soldier. However, in doing so, the soldier is allowed to go out and kill another day. That's why some people object to even being a medic in the military.
And, of course, jail is always a very real possibility for a CO. Some have been jailed for it, although the Vietnam era provided the Church with the experience necessary to keep most members out of jail and the military both.
Most countries are not a lenient as the US, though. In addition, jail can be quite harsh compared to the US' standards.
My original intent was not to wander into the entire question of the draft and the CO, as it was more a commentary on the Just War Theory rather than whether or not to serve in the military. This particular article was more to combat the perception that has developed amongst a few of the splits that voluntarily serving in the military is a good thing as long as the cause is just (i.e., a "just war").
However, you've given me sufficient reason to ponder if it wouldn't be worth a couple of articles just on the issue of being forced to serve.