Christian Militants (Shouldn't this label be an oxymoron?)

I recieved an e-mail today from a friend addressing the issue of pacifism/aggression, violence / non-violence, etc. He said some good things, here's a statement by him and some citations he offered from the Church Fathers. Think on these things (yes, that includes you Mr. John Hagee!!!):

"What I believe and am about to say may offend you, but I think it is borderline blasphemous to say that soldiers died for my freedom. The only person that has died to bring true and uncorrupted freedom and liberty is Jesus Christ!"

"We who formerly murdered one another now refrain from making war even upon our enemies." -Justin Martyr

"...These people [i.e., Christians] formed their swords and war-lances into plowshares, ...that is, into instruments used for peaceful purposes. So now, they are unaccustomed to fighting. When they are struck, they offer also the other cheek." -Irenaeus

"It is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained." -Clement of Alexandria

"If, then, we are commanded to love our enemies...whom have we to hate? If injured, we are forbidden to retaliate, lest we become just as bad ourselves. Who can suffer injury at our hands?" -Tertullian

"Now inquiry is made about the point of whether a believer may enter into military service. The question is also asked whether those in the military may be admitted into the faith-even the rank and file (or any inferior grade), who are not required to take part in sacrifices or capital punishments...A man cannot give his allegiance to two master-God and Caesar...How will a Christian man participate in war? In fact, how will he serve even in peace without a sword? For the Lord has taken the sword away. It is true that soldiers came to John [the Baptist] and received the instructions for their conduct. It is true also that a centurion believed. nevertheless, the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier." -Tertullian

"A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath. If he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected for baptism. A military commander or civic magistrate who wears the purple must resign or be rejected. If an applicant or a believer seeks to become a soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God." -Hippolytus


  1. I do not agree with the comments. I think it a great fantasy that the entire world become Christian, lay down their arms, and world peace reign forever but it isn't going to happen until Christ's return.
    When taking this into account we must have soldiers willing to give their lives for our freedom (yep, freedom). I agree Jesus gave us ultimate freedom but our soldiers give us some freedom as well. If you do not believe this, imagine our country without them. We would be overrun in a matter of days and our country would no longer be free.
    We shouldn't hate, but we should protect the ones we love and the freedom we live in.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thanks for replying. Sadly, I feel that your thinking is quite a bit off.

    Firstly, the quotes never suggested that the whole word become Christian.

    Secondly, when Christ comes, the world isn't all going to become Christian! Have you not heard of the judgment, separation, etc?

    Three, I fear that your very Western point-of-view has led you to your conclusions. Even if people did not become followers / believers of Jesus but still heeded His advice and learned from His peace-making example, we could have peace. The issue is ideology. You have subscribed to a militaristic ideology, nothing more be said. I have not.

    Fourthly, you skew the issue by saying soldiers who give their lives. I'm all for those people. But the issue here is about persons (e.g. soldiers in particular) killing people, not giving up their lives. You must face the facts and answer the question: why am I buying into a game where I have to wager on which soldier in which uniform has the most valuable life? how do you even begin to come to such a conclusion on this type of thing? Skin color? nationality? religous perspective? gender? what?

    Fifthly, thanks for the opportunity to imagine our country without them. however, i would like to imagine the whole world without them. ahhh...the need for no military would spell (to a large degree) peace.

    Sixthly, you may be right that we may be overrun. But what would Jesus say to that? What did He do?

    Seventhly (I don't even think all of these "thly" things are words), how do you define hate? Is not the most hateful thing to kill someone? I think so. You contradict yourself here.

    Eighthly, how do you define "protect"? Can you protect persons or things without resorting to violence? I think so.

    Ninthly, is your earthly freedom and existencve the most important thing or is everlasting life? You must choose.

    Tenthly, Jesus said that the most loving thing someone could do was to lay down their life for another (as He did for all of humanity). That is the opposite of taking someone's life.

    Eleventhly, what gives you the right and authority to say that living and thinking the way Jesus did is a great fantasy?

    Twelfthly (I just love the "thly" endings), when did protecting one's own freedom become an imperative for Christians? As far as I can tell, that is an Americanism, not a Christian teaching.

    As you can see, at this point, I disagree with you. I worded some things rather strongly. I don't want to scare you off or whatever, this is just a heated topic so, let's debate it civilly but heatedly!

  3. awww, now let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya!

    I will let you tell a soldier they cannot be a Christian and a soldier.

    1. The only way we can obtain world peace (if you agree the only freedom comes from Christ) is for all to become Christian. Otherwise, if all Christians took a pacifist attitude the faith would cease to exist.

    2. Those who are left will be Christian, if not, they will not be left behind.

    3. Tell an atheist he has to follow the teaching/example of Christ. That will work.

    4. I wasn't necessarily speaking of dying here; you can give your life to something without dying. Many people give their lives to mission work and while some die in the process, others don't. Yeah, who has the most valuable life? I suppose the communist looking to wipe out as many innocents as possible. We should allow them to kill us so they can accomplish their noble goal.

    5. I agree here; wouldn't that be great. It will be glorious upon His return. However, what are the odds of everyone laying down their arms and holding hands.

    6. I think Jesus clearly defeated His enemy.

    7. I think the most hateful thing is not spreading the Gospel

    8. Yeah, you can, but I doubt most wars will be won over a cup of coffee and a hug. I think it is great when it is possible. And the guy that breaks into your home at 3 in the morning and wants you dead so he can rape your wife and daughter or maybe keeps you alive so he can do it in front of you probably isn't going to sit and listen to a sermon.

    9. I don't see the relevance of this question but the obvious answer is spending eternity with the Father.

    10. Oh, I would jump in front of a bullet to save someone and I would fire a bullet to save them as well. I guess we should abolish all order, including the police force, and just allow murderers to run around killing people.

    11. I didn't say that; it is a reality to live and think like Christ, it happens all the time, I am sure you never slip up - right? The fantasy is to think the entire world will lay down arms and hold hands. If I am correct Satan has rule over the world currently.

    12. So, are we to submit to bondage? We must protect freedom and seek to spread the freedom in Christ.

    Well, I really like the "thly" words too but I chose a different approach.

  4. The issue isn't about freedom. It is about peace! This is where you're totally off. You keep mixing or equating the two and that's where you err.

    I don't think one has to be a Christian to be peaceful. I know many Christians who aren't peacemakers.

    You're dispensationalist theology is a bit off. You need to read Mt. 24 and Lk. 18 more closely. Esp. Mt. 24. Notice, those who are left behind are the believers. Those taken are the judged. Read my left behind posts on this. I want to be left behind! I want to be in that number. Your dispensationalist standpoint reveals a lot of why you are militant. Too much Hagee & Parsley.

    If you think the most hateful thing is not spreading the Gospel you are, in my opinion, wrong. How one sprads the Gospel can be the most hateful thing, like bombing and shooting and killing people.

    You contradict yourself quite a bit. Here's my main beef with you: Your ideology informs your theology, not the other way around. Jesus was non-militant, face it! Pray for and love your enemies. I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean kill them.

    Lay down your arms. I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean use them to injure or kill another.

    You think you're being a realist but in fact, you're only fooling yourself when it comes to the issue of being a Christian peacemaker.

    Now, I must say, I've never spoken this harshly before on Pisteuomen. This is a touchy issue and you have come out firing (as I would expect from a Christian militant). I'm reacting in a respectful manner but I disagree with you wholeheartedly. I think you need to pay more attention to your theology and ideology and how you use them to interpret Jesus, the Scriptures and ancient as well as modern culture.

  5. you might want to rethink labeling me as dispensationalist, to quote myself, "Those who are left will be Christian, if not, they will not be left behind." Clearly I state those who are left are Christian!

  6. Well, Mr. Halcomb, I suppose we will just have to disagree.

    I guess the most loving thing to do is allow relentless dictators to consistently persecute and execute the innocent. We should allow this to happen, say a prayer, and deem our conscience clean. This is NOT the best way to overcome evil in the context of our world.

  7. It appears that your correcting me on the dispensationalist is in order. I stand corrected.

    As per the rest of the argument, I see you making a dualistic strawman that doesn't always exist.

    By the way, how do you handle JC's sayings as an ardent Christian militant?

  8. Anonymous,

    You write as if defending our physical safety and "freedom" (in the absence of a definition I assume you mean something to do with doing/saying what you want without interference) are of primary importance to you. I have two sets of questions for you related to that.

    1. Is that not a denial of God's sovereignty? If He chooses to protect us, can anyone prevail against us, and if it suits His overall plan to let our nation be overrun, do you think we could do anything to stop it?

    2. Do you think that physical suffering and death from our worldly bodies is the worst thing that can happen? Do you not believe in the promise of a better life after our life in this world is ended?
    In the NT there are lots of statements about suffering and dying for the faith (e.g Rev 2;10 "be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life"), but off the top of my head I can't think of any instructions ever to pick up a weapon and defend our physical safety in this world. Instead, we are instructed to bless our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I just can't figure out how to bless someone and fire a missile or bullet at him at the same time. How do you see this? If you think the most hateful thing is not spreading the gospel, how can you advocate shooting at someone who is not saved?

    Can you cite a New Testament support for using violence to defend ourselves?

    My 2 cents:
    I recently had the opportunity to hear Steve Saint speak. He is a missionary whose family's experiences in South America were Hollywoodized as the movie "The End of the Spear". Steve's father and the men with him were attacked and killed by the tribespeople they were attempting to contact. The most moving part of the story for me was that the Americans were armed and could have defended themselves and returned home to be with their families. They chose not to resist because they were prepared for heaven and they might have killed men who were not yet saved. God then allowed the wives and sister of the dead men to convert the tribe to Christianity. The man who killed Steve's father ended up raising Steve as his own son, and they have traveled the world together preaching the gospel. To me, what Steve's father and companions did is what it means to give your life for freedom.