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My View of the Revolutionary War and the Christian

To get the context please read this post before continuing.

No seriously go read it.

Here are my thoughts on whether a Christian could have participated in the Revolutionary War?

1. I do not believe all wars are wrong.  Therefore I am not against Christians participating in war.  However, I do think Christians have to evaluate each war (as best as they can) and determine if the particular war is in fact justified.

2. When I look at the Revolutionary Way the reason for rebellion was the fact that the English Government had violated the rights of Englishmen.  Through tax policy and not allowing proper representation the people of the colonies felt that they were not being treated as they should be as English Subjects.

3. I see going to war for these reasons as a violation of submitting to those who are in the governing power.  As much as we might dislike taxes, we should love the Lord more and follow His commands. On top of this the government Paul asked the people to submit to in Romans and Peter in 1 Peter is much more oppressive than the English were during the 1700s.

Thus my view of the war is that as a Christian I could not have participated in the armed rebellion (or any rebellion) against the English Government.

However, here is where things get a little more complicated.  I was going to bring this up already, but I was glad to see that others commented on the previous post with the same idea.  In the summer of 1776 the colonies declared themselves independent sovereign states.  The question then becomes to whom are Christians supposed to submit at this point.  Both King George and the individual’s home state declared themselves to be the ruling party.  Thus would defense against an invading force have been justification for taking up arms.  To me that is the difficulty with the Revolutionary War question.  At the beginning I believe that involvement would have been sinful, but as years progressed a new governing authority was set-up and it is possible that defending the new sovereign state(s) would be justified.

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6 Comments

  1. This is a little hard to figure… at what point does it become ok? If you think that a government was set up by a sinful war, should you submit to it? I think we can assume that God established this government, so that throws another wrench into it.

  2. Many governments are set-up through a process that would not fit the just-war theory and Christians are to submit to them.

    I agree that the outcome of the War (the establishment of the United States) was God’s plan, but it does not mean that those who participated in the war were justified in doing so.

  3. Thinking oneself either an Englishman or a citizen of some state is an example of group identity. Calling one a Christian is also a group identification but with strong personal connotations. Whether you should fight and for what side is a somewhat pointless question as time has shown.

  4. Wesley

    December 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Even as a Christian I am also required to submit myself to the ruling authority. The question Ii’m pondering is in the cause of those living in the colonies post Summer of 1776, who is the ruling authority?

  5. The bureaucracy of the crown was still in place. The state legislatures had over stepped their legal authority. It was a bold move by bold men, but illegal. A revolution by definition is a non-systemic change in the government.

  6. So when did their loyalties switch over? At the signing declaration of independence? When the war was won? Once the Articles of Confederation were passed?

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