Home > You shall not kill > Christians and the army > There’s no explicit prohibition of military affairs in the Gospel

There’s no explicit prohibition of military affairs in the Gospel

And what is Those who take the sword will perish by the sword if not a complete ban on bloodshed and violence?

If the Gospel did not reflect that Jesus forbade the military ‘crafts’ during sermons, then there are reasons for this. And the first of them is the highest spiritual and moral law that contains all the others: 'Love one another.'

Besides, Jesus was preaching to the Jewish population during a time when Judea was occupied. Power was in the hands of the governor representing the Roman Empire. All warriors, in the traditional sense, were either Romans or mercenaries, including those who attended the baptism of John the Baptist. At that time the Jewish people had no problems concerning service in the military or police.

Military service first became a problem when the first Roman followers of Christ appeared, for whom this service was mandatory. From the surviving texts of the early Roman Christians we can see that their attitude to military service was clear — it was deemed unacceptable.

Another important fact is that Christ did not explicitly forbid any occupation or ‘profession’, be it soldier, tax collector, or prostitute. But there is also no explicit approval of them. On the contrary, He always went to those people first as they were most in need of God’s word: 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick' — Matthew 9:12, these words were spoken by Him at a banquet for tax collectors. And He always strongly condemned our fears, weaknesses, and passions that lead to ‘crafts’ such as the military, taxes, and corruption.


Next >>

The Leo Tolstoy Center for Nonviolence, including its knowledge base and advice service, is provided on 'as is' basis and under the terms of agreement with its current implementation. The center is not affiliated with any organization, governmental or public. Opinions expressed on the website may differ from the views or opinions of experts, our own or others. Content sharing is allowed, but a link must be provided to the original source. The project’s core document is Nonviolence in Action: Methods and Approaches: eesti english français italiano lietuvių srpski български русский српски