It has been long debated and talked about for decades. The question of can Christians serve in the military? People have related many aspects of the Christian lifestyle to that of a soldier and say that they cannot match up. People talk of how Jesus was non-violent and it is wrong for a person to go into an organization that uses it. This article will examine this very issue, by going to God’s word and reading what the Lord’s opinion is of government, armies, and the soldiers that serve in those armies.
In the days when Jesus walked the earth, the Roman Empire ruled the world. The glory of Rome was not so much its political structure but rather its vast army. Conquering anything in their path, then maintaining peace in that conquered land was a skill unique to the Romans. After Jesus had delivered His sermon on the mount, he entered Capernaum to find a centurion asking Him to heal his servant, who was paralyzed (Matthew 8:5-13). A centurion is a Roman captain who is in charge of 100 men. This centurion knew that Jesus could just say the word, and his servant would be healed. He says, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” Even though this man was a soldier in the Roman army, Jesus marveled at him, and claimed that he had “great faith”. This man was only one of two people that Jesus said this to, the other being the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 8:24-30). We have other examples in the scriptures where soldiers showed a great faith towards God. In Acts 10, we find a man named Cornelius who is praying to God. Luke describes Cornelius as a devout man, one who feared God with his entire household, and gave alms generously, while praying to God always. You would be hard pressed to find even a Jew who could be described as Cornelius was! Nevertheless, he was a Gentile soldier, and Peter was sent to preach to him the gospel. Being this man of faith, Cornelius obeyed with his entire household, being baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27). Cornelius is now a Christian, but he also is now a Christian who is serving in the military.
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If you were to describe the purpose of the bible in one word, what might that be? To one who has read the least bit of scripture, the answer is plain. It is love. God made it possible for us to know His will through the scriptures because He loves us. He wants us to know about Him and what He expects of us to be pleasing to Him. The greatest sacrifice ever made was when Jesus came and died by hanging on a tree, that He might be the “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). God sent His Son and Jesus gave His life willingly because He loved us.
While He was teaching here on this earth, He taught His disciples about love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). The words that Jesus spoke here are more than just words. They are a commandment that requires dedication, courage, and most of all, action! The grammatical structure of the word “love” here is an active verb. This means that is requires performing action to fulfill the suggested command. We cannot only love in word, and have it be pleasing to Christ. (1 John 3:18)
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One of the grandest facts about the ongoing findings of archaeology is that it never fails to produce unique and interesting finds that open up new proofs for conclusions previously unknown. One such find was the law code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was the sixth king in the Babylonian dynasty and ruled from approximately 1792 to 1750 B.C. He was a great military leader, enlarging Babylon from a small city-state into a vast world empire, covering all the land from the Tigris to the Euphrates. However, Hammurabi is best known for his extensive list of law codes. Scholars date the code c. 1780 B.C. The stele on which the code was written was discovered by an Egyptologist named Gustav Jequier in 1901. The find was located in modern-day Iran, near the ancient Babylonian city of Susa.
The law code consists of an introduction stating that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods to record the code, followed by 282 statements of law, and concluded with an epilogue. What is unique about this code is that unlike other ancient findings, it is completely intact.
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One of the most popular doctrines rooted in this country today is the doctrine of Calvinism. This doctrine more or less consists of five main points. The first, that man is born in sin, or Totally Depraved. Next, that God has predestined certain men to receive salvation, or Unconditional election. Then, Christ’s blood only covers those whom God chose or predestined, or Limited Atonement. After that the belief that God sends the Holy Spirit upon you and you cannot reject it, or Irresistible Grace. Finally, that once you are saved, you are always saved and cannot lose your salvation, or Perseverance of the Saints. All five of these points revolve around one main theme: That man has no choice whether or not he is saved. The free-will of man is taken away by the belief in these points. Now the basis of the erroneous teaching came from a man named Augustine, who lived in the fourth century. Augustine taught that a man inherited the sin of Adam, and therefore we are born in sin, and not born pure. This doctrine is widely known as Original Sin. John Calvin took that basis and established the rest of the points we just pointed out.
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