To kill Christian enemies

Since yesterday’s case study was so much fun, I thought I’d expand on it. Let’s imagine that we are in the midst of a new civil war here in the United States, like what I described yesterday. A Christian soldier learns through intelligence that a large group of enemy soldiers will be meeting for a Christian worship service at a site that is poorly defended. Not a church building, mind you, because everyone knows that killing people is okay, but damaging important buildings is a no-no.

The soldier has the opportunity and means to call in an air strike that will kill all those participating in the worship service. They, like he, are soldiers, military targets. Fellow Christians, but fighting for the other side.

Is there any reason why this soldier wouldn’t call in the strike and kill those gathered for worship?

16 thoughts on “To kill Christian enemies

  1. Tim; I have held back so far, and don’t know if I should take the risk even now, “Should Christians kill Christians” I have to ware a bullet proof vest, just to get on the internet now. Most who claim to be “True Christians” try their best to shoot me down, like the turncoat I am. And I believe some would not keep it to spiritual death if the opportunity should arise.

  2. While the case studies might bring a little amusement along with thoughtful dialogue, I actually think this case study forces a difficult choice that rarely seems to get much attention these days. The choice is when a person’s duty to the state comes into conflict with their duty as a disciple of Jesus, which will they choose? While the answer might seem easy to make on an internet discussion, it would be more difficult in actuality not because the right choice (discipleship) is not clear but because making the right choice could bring about reprecussions (including punishment for dereliction of duty to the state). Of course, in actuality such a choice is never that clear because, in my opinion, there is much propaganda and indoctrination that goes on to baptize the will of the state as the right choice, the moral choice, the will of God (and I attended seminary with a couple of military chaplains who believed any Christain that questioned the morality of the war in Iraq was a bigot and hypocrite for not wanting Iraq to have the same political freedom as the U.S….that is not to say that this is the view of every military chaplain).

    Grace and peace,


  3. LOL couldn’t go a week without drawing attention to yourself, eh, LM?

    Tim, sure there’s a good reason. Air strikes are rarely wasted on troop gatherings like that. Munitions are just too expensive to waste on soft targets. Plus, in a civil war like this, you’d rather capture, interrogate, and try to indoctrinate those guys anyway.

    Killing for the sake of killing is not an effective way to wage war in most situations where the troops themselves are not the enemy – the opposing government is. That’s where the Rwanda situation does not accurately reflect most situations in the world – the goal in that conflict was extermination, not defeat of a political body.

    A Christian soldier at the level of authority to call in an airstrike in your situation would not do so for primarily strategic reasons, not theological ones.

    Finally, I do not believe a civil war would start if Texas seceded from the United States right now — although there would have to be very careful negotiations over things like Ft. Hood, et al. There’s just not the regional differences anymore, there’s not a catalyst like slavery, and the continued survival of the nation does not rest on whether or not one state wants to stay or go.

  4. See, I told you, it is a good thing I have my flack jacket on, there are always snipers like Nick hiding out there in the bush, to take a pot shot at “poor old me” :) I am eternally grateful they are poor shots.

  5. It’s interesting that Laymond and Don have both complained today about how they have been treated in the blogosphere (since the two of them have been known to go at one another over the years). Both gentlemen would do well to look at how they treat others. You reap what you sow.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  6. Tim – (still laughing at your last comment) -
    You’re really got me thinking. I have considered in the past how difficult it must have been to have family on the opposing side during the U.S.’s Civil War, but I have never dwelt on the fact that some of the men fighting were Christians, on both sides, and should have thought about the fact they were fighting their brothers in Christ. I wonder what went through their minds, how they justified that. Because I honestly could not. In answer to your question yesterday, no, I could not fight in the military against Christians on the other side. You’d probably never find me in the military at any rate, I make a lousy fighter. To some extent, I can follow someone’s logic for war, if they are coming to the aid of a weaker people or defending their own. But that’s about as far as I can follow.

  7. Tim, both Don, and I are sensitive people, and both so misunderstood in the blogosphere if we don,t take up for our self who will.? :)
    I was only saying the way Don, and I are treated, it is not much of a jump to what you are saying. using live ammo.
    But to put your mind at ease, don’t worry about either my, or Don’s feelings, I can’t think of two other bloggers that can handle rejection better.

  8. Lisa said “I have considered in the past how difficult it must have been to have family on the opposing side during the U.S.’s Civil War, but I have never dwelt on the fact that some of the men fighting were Christians, on both sides, and should have thought about the fact they were fighting their brothers in Christ.”
    Lisa, I don’t remember hearing someone say during the heat of battle, I hope that other guy is not a Christian, I don’t ever remember seeing a Christian bullet, or gernade, or bomb, not even a Christian sword.

  9. He probably would not call a air strike. At least until he did a stealth fact finding mission on what they were having for “potluck ” fellowship lunch after worship. :)

  10. I’ll continue to show my ignorance. I know little about the Geneva Convention. Is there a special prohibition about attacking soldiers who are in worship?

  11. Geneva conventions make set laws for war and the treatment of soldiers. Soldiers in noncombatant situations (shipwrecked, injured, illness, worship, sleeping, etc) are to be protected and cared for. You can take them prisoner, but you can’t harm them. Some soldiers are always covered by this, medics and chaplains for example.

    But that has nothing to do with the philosophical point you’re trying to make. Let’s be honest, Geneva is frequently broken by soldiers acting on their own. Soldiers with integrity, however, live and die by Geneva.

  12. Once again Tim you have an interesting discussion going. due to the passing of my father-in-law I am just now able to join in. I have always felt a little torn between two statements… One being Lipscomb’s stance on war (what cause would justify shooting a brother) and the analogy of Boenhoffer (eventually, if a fox is killing the chickens, you have to kill the fox). This situation is very much what was happening in WWII Germany. It is interesting how the various folks approached the conflict within their nation, the church, and the call for state religion.

  13. Danny,

    So sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve never met your wife, but please give her my sincere condolences.

    I’m glad to hear of the tension you feel. I think we ALL need to feel a similar tension. The question of violence has no easy answers. When we try to make them easy, we’ve missed the point.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

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