Oct 21, 2019
May a Christian serve in the military? When it comes to taking
the life of an enemy combatant, how does someone reconcile that
with Jesus’s command to love your enemy and to pray for him?
This past August in Pensacola, Fla., a group of military men and
women came together for a panel discussion that addressed a topic
they titled “Can you be a Christian and serve in the military?”
About 40 to 50 people attended the event, and you can watch the full 90 minutes of
the discussion here.
One of the members of the panel was COL Chet Arnold, USMC (Ret).
He and his wife, Michelle, are the OCF field staff reps in
Today, you’re going to hear from Chet as he addresses the topic
of not only being a Christian and serving in the military, but also
being a Christian and killing while serving in the military. Chet
will also talk about what it means to live a distinct life within
the military culture, biblical truths about serving in the
military, and other questions that came up during the panel
What we talked
- Introducing COL Chet Arnold and how he got involved with OCF
- How did the panel discussion come together, and what were some
overall thoughts and impressions on how well it was received?
- Is this topic one that you hear about frequently?
- What truths do we find in the Bible with regards to serving in
- Is the military focused on taking human life, as some like to
- How can a Christian see someone on the battlefield as an
image-bearer of God and still carry out an order that will end up
in the death of that enemy combatant? How can a Christian follow
Jesus’ commands to love our enemies and to pray for them, and then
go out and kill them?
- One of the chaplains, Chris Terrell, raised this question: How
do we as Christians live distinct within the military culture? Chet
weighs in with his thoughts.
- 10 Commandments: Some versions say “thou shalt not kill” and
others say “thou shalt not murder.” How can we know which one is
correct? Chet talks about the difference between killing and murder
in the context of the larger topic.
- A young Marine in the audience asked this question: “How can I
better relate to my parents who are pacifists and don’t understand
how I can reconcile serving in the military and being a Christian?”
How can one handle those difficult questions from any friend,
family member, or loved one?
the article “May A Christian Serve” on the OCF website, Chet
addresses this question: “What are your thoughts about putting
ourselves as Christians in situations where others are telling us
to take live for reasons that may be unclear—or perhaps even
unjust? How do we know those giving orders are doing what is
- One final, key takeaway from the discussion this