Over the centuries, Christians have debated the issue of the correctness of war and many have believed that pacifism is the only way. For example, the Mennonites believe so strongly in keeping peace that they would rather die, themselves, than take the life of another person. While the intent seems pure and is difficult to argue with, much scriptural evidence indicates that pacifism isn’t the only option for a Christian and, at times, may not even be the best option.
In spite of the corruption and the decadence of the polytheistic Roman government, the Apostle Paul supported the basic principle that government is God’s agent to maintain the rule of law on Earth. In Romans 13:1, Paul wrote, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Paul, writing to the Christian community, clearly dismissed the idea that a corrupt government forfeits its right to be respected as the authority. Furthermore, Christians have never been told not to join the armed forces, even though the Roman army served a government that was corrupt and not focused on attaining true justice.
The fact that early Christians served in the military with no disapproval from Jesus, Paul, the New Testament, or the early church fathers clearly shows that Christians are not ethically forbidden from joining the military.