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posted by nwosu

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Being a member of the armed forces is always about dying. The military is organized and trained for the primary purpose of killing the enemy. There has never been a time when that was not true.

When a person enters the military, that should be something he or she knows and is OK with. Otherwise, if they are opposed to all killing and want to avoid all chance of dying in a war, they should not join. As a veteran who served during the Vietnam conflict, I can tell you that a soldier always wants to make sure the enemy dies, but the truth is that we also die, and die often.

As far as Adventists volunteering for the military is concerned, it has to be an individual decision. The church can offer advice, but ultimately the individual has to make the choice.

There is nothing evil or immoral per se in serving in the military, as is shown by the fact that God called many men into the military in Israel. Also remember that in the book of Acts, Peter is not recorded as having told the centurian that God wanted him to get out of the Roman army. John the Baptist preached to the soldiers about what to do to show repentance, and not a word was said about ceasing to be a soldier.

The commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," does not prohibit the state or government or military from taking human life under legal circumstances, for the expression really means, "You shall do no murder." There is a big difference between "murder" and "killing." All human societies, and the Bible as well, recognize the distinction.

Would I personally join the military? No, I would not. Why not? Both because of the Sabbath issue and also because I do not believe in killing. That is my own decision. Neither I nor anyone else should assume to make the decision for anyone else. "Let every man be persuaded in his own mind."

After being drafted into the army, I served as medic during Vietnam and did not carry or train with a weapon. One of my heroes was Desmond Doss.


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