From the moment that man was expelled from the Garden of Eden human beings have been in bloody conflict with one another. In the first story after Eden, Cain killed his brother Abel because he was overwhelmed with covetousness. God had regard for Abel and his offering but did not have regard for Cain in his offering. Cain became angry and his countenance fell; therefore, Cain killed his brother Abel. (Gn 4:1-15)
This became the way of man up to the time of Noah and the flood. Man returned to the same after the flood; man, against man, family against family, tribe against tribe, nation against nation and ideology against ideology. Jesus told his disciples that between his first and second advents there will be wars and rumors of wars, but they are not to be frightened because it is the way of the world until the end. (Mt 24:6-8)
When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come." And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. (Rv 6:3-4, NASB95)
What I have to say about a Christian’s response to war did not come to me recently. I have been thinking and reading about this for many years. I have been reluctant to expose what I believe about a Christian response to war because my convictions regarding a Christian’s response to war differ from most American Evangelicals and even most in my Southern Baptist denomination. However, I do affirm what is written in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message regarding war:
XVI. Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war. The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.1
The U. S. Army, 1987-1992
I spent my young adult years in the U. S. Army as an active duty soldier which began on November 4, 1987. I do not talk about my Army experiences unless someone else mentions it. In fact, most people have no idea that I was a soldier. I was in the U. S. Army during two times of war: Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf.
I can remember patrolling the jungles in Panama with a full combat load of ammunition. My M16 had a grenade launcher mounted underneath; therefore, I also carried grenades strapped to my chest with a desire to use them. On night patrols, at the tank farm or ammunition depot, if we saw something suspicious we could call for a mortar illumination round which lit up the night sky. I would anticipate seeing enemy combatants out in the field and I was eager to fight them. We were preparing for eventual combat; therefore, it was ever present in our minds; however, in July of 1989 I received orders to return stateside and was to report to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where I would soon meet my wife.
Operation Just Cause was initiated in the early morning hours of December 20, 1989. I can remember the day very well, I had spent months preparing for combat only to leave the country just before war broke out. Later I would read an article in the Army Times about the platoon that I had been a member of and their feats of heroism. They all received awards and my platoon sergeant, Staff Sergeant Arroyo, received the Silver Star. I was very envious and imagined the great things that I would have done had I been there.
My last duty station was at Camp Humphries in Korea. I was in a Black Hawk helicopter unit that flew for the Special Forces. Korea was boring and lonley. I can remember being despondent because I missed my wife Darlene and our son Daniel. Before Korea, I had planned on being a career soldier and was on my second enlistment. The Army was offering early outs under the newly elected Clinton administration. With my wife and child being on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, and my state of continuance being what it was, I took the early out and was honorably discharged on July 8, 1992.
After being discharged from the Army I was an angry person for 11 years. Though I tried to suppress my anger it would flare up over the smallest things. My wife and children suffered because of my temper. That is until I saw my wretched state and trusted the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus. The old man still raises his head from time to time, but the love of God has given me a heart of compassion for all people.
Here are a few pics from my time in the U. S. Army:
|Platoon in Panama|
|Noncommissioned Officer of the Month, Ft. Polk, Louisiana|