Concerning Resolution #6, Part 2

Posted: October 17, 2011 in Resolution #6
Tags: , , , , ,

The recent passage of Resolution #6 at the 2011 General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church International leaves me asking many questions. Trouble is, I don’t know who to ask them of. I don’t know who wrote Resolution #6, so I can’t ask them. I don’t know anyone who really supports it, though maybe that says more about my choice of friends than it does the resolution. So, I’m left asking myself though I may or may not provide myself good answers. I suppose I must ask anyway.

Here’s one.

If taking human life is morally justified when sanctioned by government and approved by conscience, does that rule apply to any government, anywhere, at any time?

Here’s another.

The last phrase of Resolution #6 says, “We also encourage those who serve according to their conscience, in any and all capacities, to express courageous loyalty to country while serving in appropriate roles working ‘heartily, as to the Lord”‘ (Colossians 3:23).’ Are the authors actually saying that Christians can kill their fellow human beings “heartily, as to the Lord”?

I hope not.

Resolution #6 assumes that the only appropriate taking of human life is in government action, executed by government servants. Of course, coupled with the idea that death can only be legally dealt upon orders of government by government servants is the very important proviso that said government servants act according to conscience. May I boil this down? (Thanks, I will.) Essentially this resolution is saying that if government approves it and conscience allows it, then fire away. That is so…so…liberating! All that is necessary to destroy human life is a government order and a clear conscience!

I assume, though, that this only counts for Americans; that what we’re talking about in this resolution is granting moral indulgence to American Christians who with clear conscience engage and kill the enemies of the United States. But maybe not. Maybe I’m wrong in making that assumption. Maybe the framers of Resolution #6 really thought this through, and feel it applies to all Christians serving in any country’s military. Maybe what it means is that any Christian serving any country in a military capacity is free to kill if his conscience allows.

Hmmmm…this could get interesting if we make it specific.

Let’s imagine that one of our saints in Pakistan (where we are said to have a healthy and sizable constituency) decides to serve his country of Pakistan by joining the military. We can suppose, in the interest of fairness, that this resolution would grant him justification to serve in the Pakistani military “with courageous loyalty…heartily as to the Lord” as a combatant. And if his conscience is clear, then no harm, no foul. So.  There is our wonderful Pakistani brother, Ahmed, popping heartily away at the enemies of Pakistan, with full approval of his church and conscience.

Well, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine further that the day may arise when our beloved United States is no longer on good terms with the government of Pakistan, for whatever reason.

Enter George, a young American boy, who like his Pakistani brother Ahmed was baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost. And like Ahmed, he too has decided to serve his country by joining the military. And like Ahmed, he’s been granted justification by his church to serve “with courageous loyalty…heartily as to the Lord” as a combatant. So, in our imaginary scenario, when things sour between the United States and Pakistan, George may be dispatched to pop away heartily at the enemies of the United States, who strangely enough, just happen to be popping away heartily at the enemies of Pakistan. There they are then, Ahmed and George, two imaginary Christian brothers in an imaginary conflict, serving “with courageous loyalty…heartily as to the Lord” as combatants, popping away at each other…each trying their best “with courageous loyalty…heartily as to the Lord” to kill the other.

But that’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Maybe. Maybe not

I doubt those who authored Resolution #6, or those who passed it, thought any further than the borders of their own country. They didn’t think for a moment that the same logic they used to justify this folly could just as well be used by any Christian anywhere in the world. They didn’t think for a moment that there might be Christians serving in the militaries of countries not friendly to the United States. They didn’t think for a moment that any one of those Christians may be just as willing to kill for their country as the authors for theirs. They didn’t think for a moment about the possibility of Christians killing one another, all in the name of serving their country “with courageous loyalty…heartily as to the Lord.”

This resolution is authored by Americans for Americans. It seeks to grant moral liberty to American Christians to serve in combat, and “terminate with extreme prejudice” the enemies of the United States. There’s absolutely no intention here that the same reason could and should apply anywhere else. But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it?

I know I’ve used an unlikely scenario. Sometimes though, the ludicrous must be met with the ridiculous. Sometimes absurdity must be dealt with by farce. The idea that Christians may serve “with courageous loyalty…heartily as to the Lord” as combatants, that they may “with courageous loyalty…heartily as to the Lord” kill other human beings simply because their government condones and their consciences approve, is both ludicrous and absurd.

(Many thanks to EH…the LitNazi…for editing this post…and for reining in my liberal use of…ellipses.)

Comments
  1. Mark says:

    You made me laugh…you made me think..you moved me Bob. As one who agrees with what you have written, I await breathlessly to read the argument for this resolution. Through decades of various wars, NO ONE has challenged this article of faith…until now…hmmmm.

  2. Cameron says:

    You should send this to the Forward Mag, see how fair and balanced they are, lol!

  3. S. says:

    I was thinking about exactly the same thing…that this must apply to ALL Christians, whatever their country.

  4. Big Dave says:

    My first reaction to any opinion (or what you think) is to play “Devil’s Advocate” and to try and logically argue the reverse. For me, this is usually a good barometer as to whether or not that opinion holds water.

    For some reason, I can’t seem to argue FOR resolution 6 without feeling as though I am the villages missing idiot! It will be interesting to see how many “company men” we have come district conference.

  5. I find it interesting that there haven’t been any counterarguments offered here in the comment section.

  6. don w says:

    The question you ask, while framed in banter, raises two important point about how we value life–Christian and non-Christian life–which brings up a larger issue.

    If two Holy Ghost filled saints on the battlefield, then the assumption is that their killing of one another is evil. While I agree with this, let me throw this out there: at least one of those baptized in Jesus name Holy Ghost filled patriots heartily serving after the Lord is going to heaven.

    Now let me throw this out there: if either of these men or women were NOT a Christian and were killed by a baptized in Jesus name Holy Ghost filled patriot heartily serving after the Lord then he/she would be sending them to a judgment without the blood of the cross.

    Do we value the life of a Christian over that of someone who is needing the Gospel? How is it just to kill them but not the Christian?

    • Dennis Munn says:

      Don,

      Thanks for taking the time to both read and respond to this post. Now for the short answer to the question you pose;

      No, isn’t just for a Christian to kill anyone, believer or unbeliever. Read the next posts and that will be made very clear.

      -dennis-

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