Check out the summary of our publication ‘Living by the sword’.
Should Christians be in the military?
It is a big question lots of people ask: even after they have signed up to a military career!
The basic answer is…
The bible doesn’t say no!
(ie Luke 3:7-14)
Soldiers are viewed very positively in the bible:
(ie Matthew 8:5-10 Acts 10:1-8 )
As members of the military we are agents of wrath:
‘For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.’ Romans 13:4
We bear the sword to maintain justice. This gives the justification as well as the restraint on military service. Yes we can serve in the military – but not for personal vengeance or personal gain, but for justice and protection. In a Defence Force that protects people from those who would take away our freedom and pervert justice we can be confident that we are doing the right thing.
However it is not a blanket ‘yes’.
Test every action you are required to take against this requirement.
Are you doing the right thing?
Does it promote justice and defend the vulnerable?
Remember: This is a fallen world – characterised by conflict and evil – and war is part of that: (Rom 3:15-17)
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”
One particular challenge is the Commandment in
Exodus 20:13 ‘Thou shalt not murder.’
That’s correct: the word is murder – not kill.
In fact in the very next chapter judicial execution is ordered for certain crimes (Ex 21:12)
What about love your enemies?
Yes love them. If they surrender then don’t shoot them!
But love has priorities. Your love for the people you are charged to protect has greater weight than those who are attacking them.
There is more to it of course!
So get the book: Living by the Sword
The ebook version is available from most ebook retailers including:
Keep thinking and discussing it with
other military Christians.
Keep asking: “Are we doing the right thing here?”