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.