My Background (Phil 3:4b-6)

Most of my life I’ve been an Old Testament Christian*. I wanted to be an agent of God’s justice upon the wicked, assured of my righteousness like Saul of Tarsus. My interest in the military began at an early age. Five uncles and my dad served in World War II, one of my dad’s cousins was killed at Pearl Harbor, and a grandfather served in World War I. I spent all my senior high school years in Marine Corps JROTC, serving as cadet commander my senior year. Graduating from the U.S Naval Academy in 1978 as a 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps, I went on to the Basic School at Quantico, VA then flight school at Pensacola, FL. After receiving my wings I reported to Camp Pendleton, CA where I transitioned to Cobra attack helicopters and later completed a deployment to the western Pacific with a composite helicopter squadron aboard an amphibious assault ship. I chose to leave active duty as a captain at the end of my obligation and return to North Carolina. Within a year I had joined the Army National Guard as a warrant officer and began flying Hueys and Cobras before transitioning to Apache attack helicopters, which I flew for the next 12 years until my retirement in 1999. Prior to that, in 1991 I was activated with my battalion for Desert Storm and sent to Ft. Hood, TX for trainup before deploying to Iraq. The war ended before our departure but I was prepared to kill and die for my country.

In the leadup to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (an event that set in motion the destruction of Christianity in the region), although I wasn’t as certain as the president seemed to be of Iraq’s imminence as a threat, I assumed he had much more intelligence at his disposal than the public so I gave tentative approval to the effort. The “shock and awe” campaign, followed by rapid victories on the ground that culminated in the fall of Baghdad aroused my patriotism. Later, however, when no WMD’s were found and no Iraqi support demonstrated for al Qaeda I felt utterly betrayed by the Administration. I thought, “You don’t send thousands of people to their deaths on the basis of speculation (or fabrication) but on certain imminent threat!” (To my dismay, this was not a concern to many other Christians who readily accepted other rationales. I’ve come to the conclusion that we invaded Iraq because it was easy. The people of North Korea were in far greater need of liberation and that country posed an actual nuclear threat but it would have been harder and more dangerous.) This outrage began a long period of soul-searching and wrestling with scriptures which led ultimately to my realization on March 19, 2006 that I was now a New Testament Christian**. At that moment a burden was lifted from me I didn’t know I’d been carrying, and I was filled with a joyous inner peace. That burden was the tension that had existed between my beliefs on the use of violence and the teachings of Christ (I am unable to imagine Jesus saying “Strike your enemies before they strike you.”). Having self-righteously yearned to impose justice (vengeance) upon murderers, I failed to see that justice (as well as a desire to dominate) had become my god. Justice demands ‘an eye for an eye’ but Jesus rejected that thinking for his disciples. I became aware that by Jesus’ definition I am as a murderer and worthy of death (Matthew 5:21-22). Man’s justice is flawed; God’s justice is perfect - no one escapes it except by His grace (Psalm 37:7-9, 37).

All that to say that it's only because of Christ that I'm a pacifist. As the original position of the Church, pacifism is the doctrinally conservative position, as contrasted with the politically-advantageous embrace of militarism. Nevertheless, pacifist Christians are sometimes accused of being passive. There is a desire to imagine Jesus conforming to the worldly ideal of manhood rather than for us to conform to the example he set. “What about Jesus and the moneychangers?” Just as drovers have no intent to injure animals when they move them, there is no mention of Jesus injuring anyone when he drove out all who were buying and selling in the temple. Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah includes these words: “He was assigned a grave with the wicked…though he had done no violence (Isaiah 53:9)”. May I be no more passive than my Lord.

Regarding my freedoms, I neither expect nor desire others to kill my enemies for me if I am unwilling to kill them myself because I love them. Let God decide my freedoms and safeguard them. Regarding my survival, I have acknowledged to Him that the time and manner of my death are in His hands. When faced with a mortal threat, it takes more courage to not pull the trigger than to pull it. If you are ready to die at a moment's notice you are able to treat strangers the way Jesus wants you to treat them (1 John 4:18).

I was a Republican until 2004, and a Life Member of the NRA; now I am an independent who neither automatically endorses a particular party nor feels compelled to vote for the “lesser of two evils” (a concept that implies that God forces us to choose between two sins). Neither party endorses the sanctity of life from conception to the grave, so despite the claims of anti-abortionists, neither is truly pro-life. (We say that life is an inalienable right given by God, even as we take it away - alienate it - from convicts and our enemies. If Christians can refrain from killing abortion providers they should be able to refrain from going to war.). Jesus had much to say in defense of the poor; he had nothing to say in defense of the rich. Nevertheless, both parties have good and bad propensities. The same is true for conservatives and liberals. Neither should be despised and written off as irredeemable.

Having come to the conclusion that pacifism is a core principle of Christianity, I researched the historic peace churches in the summer and autumn of 2007 before choosing to follow a traditional Mennonite expression of the Anabaptist tradition. Now my allegiance is to the kingdom of God and I serve at the pleasure of the King, prepared to love and die for His kingdom. I’m a standard bearer of that kingdom, which has a globalist agenda: The Great Commission. And when Jesus returns, he'll establish a new world order. So I’m not a Christian nationalist; I’m a Christian globalist. And I don't have a "biblical" worldview; I have a pre-Constantine Christian worldview.

My goal: Obey Christ and let God handle the consequences.

My prayer: Lord, help us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us, that we may be sons of our Father in heaven.

* A Christian who, when he cannot find justification in the New Testament for what he wants to believe, seeks it in the Old - a militarist Christian. (But if your worldview is based on the Hebrew Bible, are you really a Christian?). Old Testament Christians will claim to be “whole Bible” Christians.

** A Christian who, when he perceives conflict between the Old Testament and The New, goes with the New - a pacifist Christian, which should be a redundant term. I’m not suggesting that God is a pacifist - He can destroy whatever He creates. But I reject, as a model for my life, any behavior exhibited in the Old Testament that is inconsistent with the teachings of Christ - the final Word from God.