Should a Christian Be Involved in Police Work or Military Service?

There are some who do not believe that Christians can be soldiers or policemen. The apostle Paul said, “Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (see Romans 13:2-5). The purpose of this minister of God is to restrain evil. The police, as God’s ministers, provide an essential service to society. As long as there are sinful people, we will need policemen. As long as men and women will not submit voluntarily to the righteous commands of God, force will be necessary to keep them from murdering, raping, kidnapping, stealing—from victimizing innocent people. Thus, it is proper for a Christian to be involved in police work or in military service. There has to be law and order, for no one is safe when there is anarchy.

In both ancient and modern times, governments have been taken over by selfish, dictatorial people who have used police power to oppress the innocent. Christians never have a God-given duty to serve oppressors. A corrupt government cannot be in alliance with God.

On the international scene, given the sin of mankind, there must be armed forces. Unless there are strong, righteous nations to restrain the adventurism of a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Mao Tse-tung, then all freedoms of all people everywhere will be compromised. There will be nothing but conformity to the will of the dictator, and many innocent people will be killed as that dictator takes power. So it is necessary for the family of nations to raise up an international police force to restrain evil.

There are those who, because of sincere religious beliefs, feel that they could never kill another human being, even in war. Society must accommodate the views of such people. During World War II, for instance, conscientious objectors were given the job of fighting forest fires in the Pacific Northwest by parachuting into remote areas. They performed a very useful duty in a dangerous, quasi-military environment. However, they were doing what they considered to be good for mankind instead of evil.

I must reiterate that when Jesus Christ establishes His reign on earth, there will be no more war and killing. The Bible says that men will not even study war anymore (see Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3). The great military establishment that has been built up at such an incredible price is going to be dismantled. We should all work toward this end, but it will never happen until Satan is bound and all men acknowledge God’s reign in their lives.

But in the present time, with aggressors such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Vietnam, and other bellicose powers that are anxious to subjugate their neighbors, Christians cannot sit idly by and say, “Well, we don’t believe in war. We will disarm and let those people take over the world.” Doing so would be foolish and unbiblical.