The Intentional Warrior

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[dropcap3]M[/dropcap3]ost Christians would readily agree that evil is real and often has a human face. Men and nations display their lost estate in daily events broadcast and chronicled for all to see. A worldwide media brings global immediacy to the stories of man’s inhumanity to man and the cumulative visible results of those efforts. Christians know that there is no lasting solution apart from personal trust in Christ as one’s Savior and the return of our Great Lord and King to establish justice and rule in righteousness.

With this in mind, sensing the call of God and with great personal sacrifice, many have gone out into this world to serve the Lord and be a positive cause for Christ. The Christian community has a long and commendable record of ministry in this regard. Mission endeavors, health and social agencies, food banks, disaster relief, Bible translation, church planting, medical missions, care for the sick and elderly – the list is long, cataloging the varied ways in which God’s people have given their lives as intentional warriors for the temporal and eternal well-being of their fellow man.

On my mind and in our midst there is another group of intentional warriors. This group is often looked upon with suspicion or disapproval by the Christian community. They too have engaged the struggle against evil at great personal cost. They have placed themselves in jeopardy to defend their homeland and their loved ones. They continue to purchase, often with their own blood, the freedom that allows their brothers and sisters in Christ to do the work God has set before them. I am speaking of the Savior’s men and women that choose to serve their Lord in the military. Not everyone who chooses a military vocation understands the true issues before them. Not everyone in their country’s service exercises the discipline and strength of character that is necessary to live for Jesus in the harshest of environments. But the Christian warrior strives to be and must be the exception. He is God’s representative for righteousness on a temporal battlefield that is the product of men and ideas gone awry and subverted to the destructive purposes of the evil one. He is often the last resort short of Divine intervention to stem the tide of evil on the march.

Some ignore the events that surround them hoping they will go away or at least not touch them personally. Others sense the urgency of events but cannot turn from the individual calling which the Lord has placed before them. Still others are convinced that the proper posture is to wait upon the Lord and trust His deliverance. Each is called to his own responsibilities before the Lord. But there are a few who see themselves as those called by God to be physically instrumental in His restraint of evil in the world – even to take up arms to deter or stop the human face of evil.

History has taught us that there are times when threats are so sinister and malevolent that words and treaties are ineffective. There is a face of evil that will not hesitate to use might as its sole justification in the accomplishment of objectives. A potential adversary perceived as weak will bring lies and promises designed to gain the advantage. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn points to such a time when the inadequacy of words is realized. In his “Nobel Lecture in Literature,” delivered in 1970, he noted that “the timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity other than concessions and smiles.” When other means have been exhausted the intentional warrior knows his time has come. Whether the ensuing battle is deemed just by those who come after is not the purpose of these comments. Each must decide for himself. God will ultimately call all who name His Son as Savior to account for their thoughts and actions.

[blockquote align=”left”]Christian warriors are the force of restraint in a sea of chaos.[/blockquote]Intentional warriors attend our University. They attend your church. Christians who left behind wives, families, and loved ones to do the work to which they had been called. They intentionally placed their lives and limbs in jeopardy that others may live free. They did this even for those who disagreed with their decision to serve – even for those who would call them evil for doing so. In the midst of battle, Christ’s testimony is tried in ways non-combatants cannot hope to understand. Christian warriors are the force of restraint in a sea of chaos. They are the means of order in the randomness of combat. Theirs is the cause of honor, duty, and faithfulness to their homeland, to their loved ones, and to their God. When evil flows around them and their countrymen waver from a righteous path, they are the ones who stand for the truth. When their comrades are broken in body and spirit, they are the spokesmen of God’s comfort in Christ. When a child is in harm’s way, when a civilian non-combatant is brutalized, when things are going badly and someone must step into the breach, they are the ones who come forward in the strength of their Lord. Life is raw at the point of the spear. Jesus is their only means of enduring.

They return home wounded and battered by the experience, struggling to regain a sense of normalcy. They seek to explain themselves until it becomes apparent few can understand. Slowly the Lord restores their hearts. Slowly He mends their dreams and relationships. Slowly they realize that they have seen the face of evil in ways few are called to experience and the Lord has seen them through and brought them home again. Their eyes are different than their classmates, than their fellow church members. They see more clearly than most. They have been brought through the fire and little is ever the same to them again.

This should not come as a shock to those who have not served. What is true of the intentional warrior should be true of every intentional servant of the Lord. Christ has called all of us to stand firm in the face of the enemy. To place ourselves in harm’s way for His glory and His righteousness. The harvest is indeed great, but the workers are few. If you do not yet understand the issues before you or the price that must be paid, ask a Christian combat veteran. Intentional warriors for Jesus’ sake have seen the face of evil, given themselves to the task, and trusted the Lord to bring them through in whatever manner honors Him most.

To my Christian brothers and sisters-in-arms – thank you and welcome home.

[framed_box]Ed Hardesty is the Director of PBU’s one-year Bible and Israel Program. He has taught Bible at PBU since 1991. After serving in the Vietnam War, Ed attended PBU in the 1970s, one of the intentional warriors of that era. He recently spoke in chapel on the topic of Just War Theory and its impact on history and personal choices. In addition to teaching at PBU, Ed serves as the pastor of Redeemer’s Fellowship in Shrewsbury, PA, and is completing his doctorate in Jewish Studies, majoring in Bible and Archaeology at The Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University.



  1. Hello Ed,
    I must admit this topic is a perplexing one for me personally. I am caught between feeling as if I am unpatriotic and ungrateful, and seriously wondering how war demonstrates Jesus’ command to turn and offer the other cheek to the one who has struck you. As I mentioned, I am perplexed. I am struck that if a Christian is overtaken by an enemy of the Lord that the Lord’s truth is all-powerful to rise from the bottom up and bring His love upon even those that are opposed to Him. This might actually look like an internal decay where the evil purpose loses its volition because the “intentional warrior” has submitted but yet has not given up. The warrior’s actions would appear to be even more Christ-like as he stands for Christ in martyr-like fashion offering only love in the face of evil.
    Man has the incomprehensible privilege of imitating the very affirmation that God has decreed of His creation: It is good.
    This stance, obviously, leaves me in a position where I would have to disagree with war as a political endeavor that aligns itself with God’s character and His desire for His creation. Unfortunately, the military man is not completely free to decide if the political purpose of those who instigate or retaliate with warfare aligns with God’s character. Because of this lack of freeedom the military man is at the whim of his superiors. This is not meant to demean the military man; it just appears to be the reality of the situation. I commend you on your service to our country and coming to the side of our military men and women. thay are not appreciated enough. That is a loving action. May God Bless You and Yours. Sincerely, Michael Aiello

  2. Michael 1, You are laboring under a misunderstanding of the “turn the other check verse

    Matt. 5:39 “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    Get a friend and try to “hit him” on the Right check. This is not a “punch” but a back handed slap, an insult if you will and very different.

    2, You have a misunderstanding of how the Laws of war work and the military work. We are not “at the whim of his superiors”. There are VERY clear guide lines for our actions as to when and who we can engage with weapons. I have personally been in fear of my life for up holding the law when the world around when those without the anchor of the Bible started to go down a dark path in an insane situation.

    But, then again you are making Ed’s point when he writes “They seek to explain themselves until it becomes apparent few can understand”.

    God bless you, and enjoy your freedoms for they have cost me more then I care to relate.

    PS some of that evil is of a man Disembowelled, then torn apart: The price of daring to teach girls

  3. Brilliant article… thank you for taking the time to share this. It’s a sad reality that many Christian young people do not recognize or appreciate our country’s military. Just as above someone quoted ‘turn the other cheek’.. it pains me that my generation chooses a verse they like and then builds their opinions around it without seeking God’s wisdom. Maybe we’re too lazy to read the Bible? Too confident that we get it? I don’t know.. but thank God for men like you, not only having fought for our freedom.. but now educating our young people. God Bless.

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