Question:

I read the article on your web site about Christians and military service written by a friend of yours. It's a question that I am grappling with right now. There are quite a few things in his article that I am compelled to question. One of them is the section under the GOVERNMENT (WE THE PEOPLE IN THE U.S.).

What is the incentive for the U.S. to be considered in this government position over Iran, North Korea, Nazi Germany, or Venezuela? How does your friend reconcile these injustices with his duty to serve?

I have heard many military people in fighting positions say that they only carry out orders and that God will place responsibility on the leader. Can we accept this same line of reasoning with soldiers who committed under the Third Reich because they were ordered to?

This brings me to another inquiry: How does your friend reconcile oaths or allegiances to two entities -- one of which may propagate injustices at some period of time?

Another thing that I have heard is that it is utterly a Christian duty to 'serve your country.' I see nothing in scriptures that mandate a Christian's duty to 'serve your country.' Don't get me wrong -- I am a huge military enthusiast and the main catalyst for my exploration of the subject is that I am considering becoming an officer in the U.S. military. However, I just want to make sure that it's not as I will, but as He wills. Thanks.


Answer:

There were inflammatory statements made against one party involved in the United State's government that I removed because they were distractions from the issues raised.

While you object to one government holding power over several nations, the fact remains that such has been common in human history. The major empires of the past, such as the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Ottoman, etc., all were of the form of one country holding domination over other countries. Christianity is not involved in statements of whether such should exist. It merely acknowledges that such do exist and operates in the given environment. Thus, when Paul stated, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans 13:1-2), it was made while the Roman government controlled numerous other countries. Whether you like it or not doesn't change the fact that God has used such empires to accomplish His ends. I'm not saying that I might personally agree with the policies of a government at the moment, but I am pointing out that your claim of injustice is not scripturally supportable.

Since all governments exist by the will of God, Christians recognize that there is a chain of authority that flows from God, through governments to citizens. Because people are involved in government, we must expect corruption to exist. "If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them" (Ecclesiastes 5:8). Such is the nature of mankind.

When a government official takes action that exceeds his authority and violates the commands of God, then God's commands overrule. This is what Peter told the Sanhedrin council, the Jewish high court, when it ordered them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. "But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."" (Acts 5:29). Governing officials need to realize that they function as God's representatives to the people. If they misbehave, God will judge the judges. "God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked" (Psalm 82:1-4).

Therefore, a person working for the government cannot blindly follow orders. He must always be conscience that he ultimately works for God. If his superiors do not like this, that is their problem. This the moral argument that was used against the German soldiers in World War II. The fact that they served in government did not relieve them of moral responsibility.

The same point goes for oaths to governments. Governments work under God whether they wish to acknowledge it or not. An oath to a government is also an oath to God who is above the government. Thus, to a Christian, there is no conflict between serving a government and serving God. Conflicts will arise when individuals in government try to go beyond what God allows, but since government's authority comes from God, a Christian simply chooses to obey the government's government (i.e. the King of kings).

Brother Treat's article did not claim that that there was a duty to serve country, nor do I know of anyone who holds that position. Serving a government is something a Christian may choose to do. The choice is neither right nor wrong in and of itself. Brother Treat did point out that he would rather see Christians involved in government than non-Christians because they would more likely make decisions which other Christians would find agreeable.