Major Andrew Thornley spent four years as an Airman in the Security Forces — a beginning to a career in which he said he had difficulty finding a “spiritual mentor.” That challenge was something he would ultimately seek to help others overcome:
After completing his enlistment, Thornley began his theological studies, eventually becoming a pastor in the civilian world. After 10 years as a pastor, he began to feel that there might be more he could do with his newfound knowledge…
“I left the Air Force, but the Air Force never really left me,” Thornley said. “I’ve always had the blue blood running through my veins.”
Chaplain Thornley re-entered the Air Force in October 2001 and spent the next several years trying to help troops and their families cope with the hardships of war.
In 2003 he was featured on Good Morning America, where he Read more
The previous article began to answer the question Can a Christian Serve in the US Military? by addressing the common pacifist criticisms of military service by Christians. This article asks the more direct question: Does the Bible actually support military service by Christians?
Men of God, and War
Despite the sometime pacifist assumptions placed upon Christian belief, many Biblical men of old and renown have been soldiers and still been faithful men of God — and nowhere was their military service questioned. Abraham, whom God selected to bless as the father of His chosen nation, was one of the earliest “generals” (Genesis 14:14-15). Moses and Joshua both led the Israelites in countless battles. God Himself ordered the Israelites to battle, and commanded His own army, for that matter (2 Kings 6:17). David, a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), said that God “trained his hands for battle” (Psalm 18:34). David not only fought in war but also participated in some of the most brutal acts of slaughter recorded in the Bible (for example, when he arbitrarily killed every two lengths of the defeated Moabites (2 Samuel 8 )). In the military tradition of “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” Nehemiah “prayed to…God and posted a guard,” and told the leaders of Jerusalem to “remember the Lord…, and fight” (4:9, 14).
Thus, to claim all war is evil is to say not only that God Read more
Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. –Psalm 144:1
Can a Christian serve in combat? Is war inconsistent with the commands of Jesus Christ?
Recent events have given new life to the age old discussion about whether “Christian” and “military” are mutually exclusive (never mind being a “Christian Fighter Pilot”). Particularly for new Christians, or Christians who grew up in peaceful times and areas, the concepts of a “warring Christian” who is a child of the loving God can seem contradictory.
(There are also many non-Christians who try to find an apparent contradiction in military Christian service. The intent here is to address those with a Christian worldview.)
There are many books and pamphlets written on this topic, and most categorize their analysis in two categories. The “anti-war” division centers on the “pacifist teachings” of Jesus. The “pro-war” division centers on the Just War doctrine supported with Biblical citations. Well-researched books quote Augustine and Thomas Aquinas Read more
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, New Jersey 1985.
Topic: Christianity and War
Though in some parts a treatise against communism, this book contains interesting research on the Christian and war from Biblical, historical, and philosophical perspectives.
Not Recommended. If you are specifically interested in the philosophical discussion of the morality of war, the book is interesting, though it doesn’t provide too much in the way of unique insight.
This book is available from Christian Book Distributors.