Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Phineas Fellow

The Colonel recently participated in a running, on-line discussion with an old friend with whose pacifist positions he disagrees, but whose right to have them he fervently respects.

The Colonel has long maintained that these re-United States' War on Terror (or whatever it is miss-called these days) is, despite a few limited offensive examples to the contrary, a war fought primarily on the defensive. For the most part, we are conducting tactical actions against the fielded forces of our enemy when, in the Colonel's not so humble opinion, we should have prosecuted strategic, regime-change war against the several nations [still] providing funding, manpower, and other material and tacit support to terrorist organizations.

The friend, whose Christian faith the Colonel deeply respects and shares, challenged the Colonel's reconciliation of his Christian faith and Jesus' teachings with his calling as a professional soldier and the Colonel's calls for strategic war on our enemies.

It's not the first time the Colonel has been asked how he reconciles faith with fighting, so the answer required little additional soul-searching.

The Colonel's personal belief regarding his willingness to fight in the defense of his faith, family, and nation is rooted in the actions of a man named Phineas as recorded in the 25th Chapter of the Old Testament book Numbers. The Colonel encourages you, gentle readers, to read for yourselves from that text. Suffice it to say, Phineas did not turn a blind eye to lawlessness. He took action, and God was so pleased with Phineas' action that He stopped the plague that had befallen the Hebrew nation as a consequence of their failure to abide by His Law (their Constitution, if you will).

Jesus, my Lord and Savior, commanded that we who would be His disciples should show love to our enemies--"turning the other cheek." And, to his personal enemies, the Colonel has endeavored, not always successfully he will admit, to do just that. The Colonel has had ample opportunity to build and activate a personal enemies list. Life here on Earth, provides us all with that opportunity. The Colonel, instead, can honestly say, that there are none for whom he has not felt God's conviction to forgive, nor asked God's strength to forget their transgression.

The Colonel will admit there are one or two with whom he is still working out the forgive and forget equation. Nobody's perfect, not even the Colonel.

The Colonel's friend capped his side of the discussion with the following question:

"Who would Jesus bomb?"

The quick, reflexive answer that comes to a Christian's mind is, of course, "No one!" Christians cannot imagine for a second that Jesus, the God-Man who came to show love to all mankind and to sacrifice His life for the atonement of our sins before a Perfect Creator God who can abide no sin, would ever harm even the most deserving of harm among men. The Christian's default position is that Jesus would not kill, and we, whose callings may require us to kill, end up compartmentalizing our faith because that default position CANNOT be reconciled with our actions. And, such compartmentalizing of our being and belief is itself antithetical to the teaching and expectation of Christ.

The Colonel is no theologian by any stretch, but he believes that the default position is a flawed supposition.

One of Jesus' closest friends and dearest disciples, John, wrote the following about Jesus in his version of the Gospel:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." [bold type added] John 1: 1 - 3

What John wrote, inspired, the Colonel believes, by God, was that Jesus (the Word)has been with God from the beginning and that Jesus is Creator God. The Colonel won't try to describe further what is the indescribable nature of God. But, if Jesus has been with God from the beginning and is God, then Jesus, as God, killed men. Jesus bombed Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus swept back the Red Sea over Pharaoh and his army, drowning them all. Jesus, as God, destroyed the enemies of His people on numerous other occasions. And, John tells us in the book of Revelations, when Jesus returns to Earth at the end of the age, He will destroy the enemies of God--demon and man alike. And, don't try to tell the Colonel that Jesus changed His nature and theology when he came to Earth. The Colonel fervently believes, as key to his hope of salvation, that God never changes, nor changes His mind regarding a promise.

Jesus even commanded His disciples, when he sent them out to spread His good news, to wipe the dust of unbelieving and unaccepting towns from their feet; in effect, condemning those men to eternal death.

Therefore, the Colonel does not accept the proposition that Jesus' commandment to love, pray for, and turn the other cheek to his personal enemies automatically prevents him from taking even offensive action against the enemies of his faith, family, and nation.

The Colonel reserves the right to retract the above under conviction of his God.
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