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Militaristic Christianity

Militaristic Christianity
I am often troubled by how some Christians are quite violent and militaristic in their theology. Ethics Daily has an article today that demonstrates such a problem. It mentions that LifeWay recently released Bibles that are stamped with a seal of a branch of the U.S. military (they are called the Holman CSB Military Bible). The Bibles include other militaristic features along with Scripture, such as the texts of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Onward Christian Soldiers." The intentions of LifeWay were to provide spiritual guidance to members of the military and their families. They should be applauded for that! However, I am troubled by the militaristic stamp they literally placed on the Bible.

Making this even more troubling is that the Bibles were released at an event over the weekend that included a speech by former SBC President Bobby Welch, author of You, The Warrior Leader. I have previously mentioned serious problems with Welch's violent rhetoric in the book (see post here). I hope all Christians will pray for the members of the armed forces and thank them for their service. But I hope we will be careful not to create a "holy war" or "crusade" by making it appear that our troops are the army of God. For some excellent thoughts on the issue of Christians and war, check out a recent blog post by Dr. Rodney Reeves (one of my favorite former professors): Just Jesus.


  1. Anonymous10:25 PM


    Bobby Welch is a real-deal Christian, and a gem of a gentleman.

    He will be a fine ambassador for Southern Baptists--his graciousness, personable smile and propensity for remembering your name put a person at ease immediately.

    If you've not met him, you would enjoy doing so.

  2. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Yes, outreach to military folk is commendable. I need to update my post on this idolatry to reflect that. Even during the early centuries when the church was almost entirely pacifist, it reached out to soldiers. Roman soldiers were often converts (sometimes after seeing Christians suffer bravely during crucifixions or being sacrificed in gladiatorial games), and they were often martyred for refusing to fight after becoming Christian.

    You cannot get those kinds of conversions without close contacts.

    Also, while I disagree with Christians who support "just war theory," they are still Christians. But this goes WAY beyond that. It baptizes war, militarism, and a particular nation. That's idolatry.

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    Chuck: I do not doubt that. And we should all praise God that he has led many people to Christ. However, I do think he needs to tone down his rhetoric some.

    Michael: Very well stated!


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