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Christian In The Military

What was the early Christian view of military service?

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 ---scott on 7/22/10
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God had strict instructions when the Israelites engaged in battle. The soldiers were:

"Sanctified" (Hosea 3:5, Jer 51:27,28) and "Ceremonially Clean." (Deut 29:9-14), etc.

The Israelite's victory was dependent on strict obedience to God's laws because it was really HIS battle.

"Jehovah saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is Jehovah's"
1 sam 17:47 ASV

QUESTION: Which of the wars AFTER Christ did God personally oversee and direct?
---scott on 8/4/10

God agrees with the military.David was a man of war.There were many intances of fighting and killing in the bible/.
But we as Christians are in the Army of the Lord. Didn't you know that? We are soldiers,fighting for our lives. We have got to hold up our blood stained banners,for the Lord. We are admonished to put on our armor everyday. Read Ephesians chap 6. We also have to battle with our own flesh---daily. Read Romans ch 6.
---Robyn on 8/3/10

1st cliff, "which ones did God save?"

I couldn't tell you. Any other answer would be the height of presumptuousness on my part.
---scott on 8/3/10

Scott, I simply asked a question!
The "point" will be obvious with your answer!
---1st_cliff on 8/2/10

1st Cliff,

What exactly is your point? Perhaps you could clarify.
---scott on 8/2/10

Scott, Christians did survive the Roman persecution (albeit apostate) Came out of it as Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox,
The Jews also survived the Holocaust despite losing 6 million.
Q...which ones did God save??
---1st_cliff on 8/1/10

I served in the USMC, US Army, and the National Guard. My boy loves to look at my pictures. I am going to try soft persuasion to keep him from joining when he gets older. I hope the pictures in his heart of me in the Lord's Army will overshadow what he sees in those earlier pictures.

Thank all of you, who in Spirit, are helping me to put on my spiritual armor.
---aka.joseph on 7/29/10

Not very good. Throughout the first century Christians were on the pointed end of the spear.
The military, largely by omission or encouragement is responsible for many martyrs.
---larry on 7/28/10

1st_cliff, (1)
That's an interesting perspective.

Why did God not stop Cain from killing Abel? Why did he allow Job to lose his entire family and Stephen to die by stoning? And most importantly there is Christ who died the most agonizing death possible. All under the watchful eye of our grand creator.

Certainly with Christ we know why it was allowed. In some other cases it may be harder to fully grasp.

But regarding the persecution by Diocletian (or Galerius as some contend) one thing is certain, Christianity did survive along with God's inspired word the bible which Diocletian tried unsuccessfully to rid the world of.
---scott on 7/28/10

Historical Perspective (8)


"We Christians, who, after we have learned by the Apostles of Jesus how to serve God...and who were sunk in war and mutual slaughter...throughout the whole world, we have changed, each one, our warfare instruments, our swords into ploughshares, our spears into sickles." Dialogus cum Tryphone Judaeo, CX

"That we ought to be forbearing, ready to serve all men and wthout any part in enmity, the words spoken by Him are as follows: 'To him that striketh thee on the one cheek, offer also the other...(St. Luke 6: 29)... For it behooves not to answer fighting with fighting..."Apologa Primia XVI
---scott on 7/28/10

'Senior moment'

Since the moments, for me, seem to be lasting longer and longer I prefer to call them "senior sessions".
---scott on 7/28/10

\\St. Innocent Veniaminov- Died in 1879 ce\\

BTW, that should have been St. Nicholas Kassatkin of Japan.

Sorry. I had a senior moment.
---Cluny on 7/28/10

"VERY late sources you quote... Cluny

From what I can tell regarding the examples you have cited:

St. Martin- Died around 397 ce

St. Boris and Gleb- Died in 1015 ce

St. Innocent Veniaminov- Died in 1879 ce

The Vincenentian Cannon- Couldn't find a consensus but 450 ce maybe?

And the sources I have cited are "VERY late". Really?

Honestly, besides this what "Historical evidence" have you given "plenty of" to support your position?
---scott on 7/27/10

\\"You are the one giving the exceptions." Cluny

Prove it.

Prove that all of the historical evidence that I provided is false.\\

First, you have to prove it true.

I've already given plenty of historical information that the VERY late sources you quote do not reflect what actually happened.
---Cluny on 7/27/10

Scott, When Daniel entered the lion's den God stopped up their mouths!
When the Christians were marched into the arena (70ce-325ce) God did not assist then, they crunched the bones of women and children for sport of the Romans!
The "pacifists" did not form a "Resistance" movement to defend their families, to what end?? Waiting more than 200 years for God to do something and he "did not"! A pagan stopped it!
What kind of man does not "lay down his life for a friend"?(Jn.15.13)
---1st_cliff on 7/27/10

"You are the one giving the exceptions." Cluny

Prove it.

Prove that all of the historical evidence that I provided is false.

BTW the posting of this information was not directed at, or in response to, you. At the same time, based on the religious institution that you here defend, you really must respond as you have.

I would expect nothing less.
---scott on 7/27/10

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scott, you are the one giving the exceptions.

I'm looking at what REAL people who were REAL Christians and REAL soldiers did for love of Jesus.
---Cluny on 7/27/10


I never suggested that there weren't exceptions, and certainly whether or not these notable figures in the 'church' remained forever in its good graces is far beyond the point.

The long list of historical references that I've researched and posted (ad nauseum) establish that the early Christians (in toto) held to the non-violent teachings of their Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

The shocking violence that followed those early years and the self-righteous justification and rationalization for it in the name of the 'church' (the Crusades, etc.) is mind-numbing.

Those who continue to justify that historic violence (or what followed) find no basis for it in the teachings of Christ.
---scott on 7/27/10

\\"It is a mistake to regard Tertullianus as an individual dissenter from the Church as a whole on this question of whether Christians ought to serve in the army or no\\

Since Tertullian left the Church for Montanism and even that to found his own sect, it's unsafe to trust him for anything.

And many propositions of Origen were later condemned as heretical.

I've already given a list of many soldier saints, mostly martyrs, and there are others.
---Cluny on 7/26/10

Historical perspective (6)

Tertullianus (210ce)

"It is a mistake to regard Tertullianus as an individual dissenter from the Church as a whole on this question of whether Christians ought to serve in the army or not...these views...agree with the testimony of Origenes and the oldest Church-Orders as to the normal Christian practice in the earliest part of the third century, and were apparently endorsed by so representative a churchman as his own fellow countrymen and admirer Cyprianus, we shall hardly be inclined to believe that at this time he was voicing the opinion of a minority of Christians, still less that he represented the views of a mere handful of fanatical extremists." Ibid. p. 117-119
---scott on 7/26/10

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Historical Perspective (7)

"There were certain features of military life which could not have failed to thrust themselves on a Christians notice as presenting, to say the least, great ethical difficulty. The shedding of blood on the battlefield, the passing of death sentences by officers and the execution of them by common soldiers, the judicial infliction of scourging, torture, and crucifixion, the unconditional military oath...

...all of these would exceedingly powerful deterrent against any Christian joining the army on his own initiative."

Early Church and the World, p. 189-190, 275-276
---scott on 7/26/10

The historical perspective (2)

"...Early Christians accepted the...Sermon on the Mount quite literally...their attitude brought them into...conflict with the Roman authorities...Macgregor (The NT Basis of Pacifism) points out that until about the close of the third quarter of the second century the attitude of the church was quite consistently pacifist.'... Christian would become a soldier after baptism at least up to the time of Marcus Aurelius, say about A.D. 170 (Militia Christi, p.4). After that time signs of compromise became increasingly evident,."
Encyclopedia Britanica, Vol. 17, p. 20B
---scott on 7/26/10

\\The Testament of Our Lord is consistently rigorous in refusing baptism to soldiers and magistrates except on condition of their quitting their offices, and forbidding a Christian to become a soldier on pain of rejection (from the Church):\\

I've given ample evidence that this discipline was NEVER in force among the main body of Christians.

Ever hear of the Vincentian canon? It says that the rule of faith is whatever has been been believed in all places at all times by all the faithful.

NOT whatever has been believed by somebody somewhere sometime or other.
---Cluny on 7/26/10

The historical perspective (1)

"The rise of Christianity led to a rapid growth of conscientious objection...few if any Christians served in the Roman Army during the first century and a half A.D..."
Colliers Encyclopedia, Vol. 5 p. 612

"During its first three centuries of existence, the Christian church was opposed to war and others forms of violence. Christian opposition to war early expanded into a denial of rightness... Thus arose that form of conscientious objection which has been designated as political non-participation."
Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 4, p. 210
---scott on 7/26/10

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The historical perspective (4)

"Christ and his apostles delivered general precepts for the regulation of our conduct. It was necessary for their successors to apply them to their practice in life...They applied them to war, they were assured that the precepts absolutely forbade it...

...They referred, expressly, to the same passages in the New Testament, and from the authority and obligation of those passages, they refused to bear arms. A few examples from their history will show with what undoubting confidence they believed in the unlawfulness of war, and how much they were willing to suffer in the cause of peace."
Dymond An Inquiry Into the Accordancy of War with the Principle of Christianity, p. 80-81
---scott on 7/26/10

The historical perspective (5)

"The Testament of our Lord, which dates in its present form from the middle of the fourth century or a little later, arose among the conservative Christians of Syria or southeastern Asia Minor."

It embodies a list of rules and regulations governing the "acceptance of new members into the Church...It will be observed that...The Testament of Our Lord is consistently rigorous in refusing baptism to soldiers and magistrates except on condition of their quitting their offices, and forbidding a Christian to become a soldier on pain of rejection (from the Church):

---scott on 7/26/10

Allen, all of my responses were put in Friday evening. Christianet uses a push pop stack for blog processing [last in first out] Part of the series of three responses were process by Saturday morning but the remainder did not get processed to early Monday morning. I can't control when various moderators do things.
---Friendly_Blogger on 7/26/10

\\Maximillianus was beheaded....\\

And don't forget--there were a long list of martyrs, some of whom I mentioned, who were soldiers.

St. Martin was a Christian who was a Roman officer, and later become Bishop of Tours.

St. Boris and Gleb chose to follow Christ and refused to protect themselves to end dynastic bloodshed. OTOH, St. Alexander Nevsky and St. Dimitri Donskoy led armies to protect Russia.

St. Innocent Veniaminov told his Japanese converts during the Russo-Japanese war, "If you go to war out of hatred for the enemy, this is wrong. If you do for love of country to defend her, this is virtuous."
---Cluny on 7/24/10

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1 of 2 I see Alan is curious, the Missiles came from an ICBM fields east of the Tyura Tam space port in Kazakhstan. They contained only a first live stage, they spooked all the sensors and feel back into soviet territory on burn out. It was my last Combat Crew Alert and I was re-assigned to HQ SAC on a team of seven officers Strategic Automated Command Control System. In my initial command post floor tour after meeting the Senior Controller, Emergency Action Officer and Warning Controller who I knew from Malmstrom as we had pulled some alerts together, he pulled some displays of the event up on the wall displays.
---Friendly_Blogger on 7/24/10

Friendly Blogger ... You've given us the story up to an point ... but stopped at the question I actually asked!

What happened to those two missiles?

WQhy was the US button not pushed?
---alan8566_of_uk on 7/24/10

2 of 2 The infared satellite pick up the launch 30 seconds after liftoff, then it broke the bottom and top beams of the Clear Alaska BMEWS. It is a ballistic shot not a Fractional Orbit Launch so the warning computer computed the probable impact point of Fairchild AFB, All that was on alert were two - three cells of tankers [KC-135s] so it not like it is a high class strategic target that you want to begin a war with. with just two missiles. The whole this was over in about an hour. It was mostly pay back for some stuff that President Nixon had DOD pull on the Russians between 1969 -73.
---Friendly_Blogger on 7/23/10

President Eisenhower was concerned about the survival ability of National Command Authority. In 1956 he established a procedures if the US was attacked with nuclear weapons that specific Unified and Specified force commanders could retaliate with nuclear weapons with to have to wait on Presidential action, the policy was continued through the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The EMP sensors network tells you if a nuclear weapon detonated. During the late 60s and the 70s the Russians had missile submarines of both cost the flight time to Washington DC was under 180 seconds the flight time to HQ SAC was under 480 seconds which would include all US ICBM fields if attacked from both coast concurrently
---Friendly_Blogger on 7/23/10

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The martyrdom of Maximillianus- 295ce

"Maximillianus, a young Numidian Christian, just over 21, was brought before Dion the proconsul of Aficia at Teveste (Numidia) as fit for military service.... I dare not fight, since I am a Christian. ...I cannot fight, I cannot do evil, I am a Christian. Said the proconsul, Let him be measured. And after he had been measured...No, no, I cannot be a soldier. I am a soldier of my God. I refuse the badge. Already I have Christs badge.." Appleton An Outline of Religion, p. 363

Maximillianus was beheaded. He has also been honored as one of the canonized saints of the church, though he died as a conscientious objector.
---scott on 7/23/10

It is reassuring to learn that the end of the world, was for a short time at least, in good Christian hands. If god didn't want us to nuke each other into oblivion, he wouldn't have given us the know how to make nukes.

Praise the lord! And turn the key!
We're all waiting to join with thee!

In heaven, as it is in hell, and the last moments on earth.

"Whip Ass"? You got to love Jesus!
---atheist on 7/23/10

I serves in the military as a born again christian. I had no issues. I see no issues with taking up arms to defend your fellow men and your contry.
Ofcourse there is the posibilit of being sent into an unjst war.
---francis on 7/23/10

Friendly Blogger ... "The closest we ever came to turning keys while I was pulling nuclear alerts was afternoon of 24 April 1974. When the Russians launched two Missiles at Fairchild AFB, WA"

Presumably they must have been well on their way if you were able to determine their target.

So what happened to them? Did they fail, or did the Russians change their mind & abort?

More information please for us history buffs!
---alan8566_of_uk on 7/23/10

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And don't forget St. Longinus, the soldier at Christ's Crucifixion who said, "Surely this is the Son of God." Mt 27:54
---Cluny on 7/23/10

One of the first Christian converts was a Roman Centurion who commanded a garrison, and no one asked him to change occupations.

I am a Christian and I Served in SAC for 10 years, four years as an MCCC & DMCCC and I had no qualms what so ever about turning keys and delivering 70 mega tons of Whip Ass on the CCCP & China and neither did the other Combat Crew I worked with.

The closest we ever came to turning keys while I was pulling nuclear alerts was afternoon of 24 April 1974. When the Russians launched two Missiles at Fairchild AFB, WA. We had keys in the switches and tickets out waiting for an EMP event or an Strike Execution EAM. You need look the history of the Predilection Procedures to understand the ramifications.
---Friendly_Blogger on 7/23/10

Seems to me their attitude was one of "pacifism" for a couple hundred years (from 70CE to 325 CE) the Romans gathered them up for killing sport in the arena.No record of them putting up a fight but rather hiding in the catacombs!
Seems like a "lose,lose" situation!
God did not come to their rescue,sad !
Ended by Constantine, an agent of "Sol", (sun god). Military service is a judgement call,conscientious objector or patriot!
---1st_cliff on 7/22/10

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