Resources related to discerning about participation in the armed forces

The 181st General Assembly (1969) of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. stated, “The United Presbyterian Church does not teach a single response to war which all members must accept, for God alone is Lord of the conscience and not the state or the church. Both the agonized participant in war and the pacifist who objects to war—can draw equally upon the church’s teaching. And it is also clear that a third group—individuals who object to particular wars which they judge to be unjust or unconscionable—is entitled to appeal to the teaching of the Church. Faced with the agonizing choices of war, each Christian must satisfy his [/her] own conscience that any war is ‘just and necessary.’”

The 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reaffirmed the “church’s position on the freedom of conscience, especially as it relates to a person’s status as a conscientious objector against participating in the armed services.” Active members and baptized members of PC(USA) congregations, as well as active nonmembers, may register as conscientious objectors with the Stated Clerk’s Office.

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program was asked to produce and identify resources to help church members and their friends discern God’s calling on their lives in regard to participation in the armed forces and war. In response, a new Web page has been created. Materials come from individuals serving in the military, conscientious objectors, and military chaplains among others. They represent pacifist, just war, and just peacemaking viewpoints. These resources may help individuals discern what it means to follow Jesus in relation to military service.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)