God Calls Warriors, Pt. 3

  • Steve Hatter
Soldiers running out of the boats in Normandy during WW2

In honor of Memorial Day two weeks ago, I promised a dive deep into the topic of Christianity and military service by posing and answering three questions: First, what does Scripture have to say about governing authorities building up and using military forces?  Second, can a Christian, whose heart is for the lost in this world, and who is motivated by the character and person of Jesus Christ, serve in the military with a clear conscience? Or, said another way, is military service a called profession, ordained by God? And third, as Christian believers living in a chaotic and divided culture, might we learn from looking at the military—its mission, its organization, and its ethos? 

Last week I addressed questions one and two. Today’s blog will finish the series with my answer to question three.

What can we, as Christians, learn from the military about our walk of faith and God’s call on our lives?  As a bridge to my answer, I want to recount a story from D-Day, the World War II invasion of France by the allied forces. This invasion was a watershed moment in world history when mainly British and American units stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

There were countless acts of valor and awe-inspiring sacrifice on D-Day, but the story of one American fighting unit stands high on the list of most extraordinary.

It is the story of the US Army Rangers who were given the mission of capturing Pointe du Hoc, a very strategic 100-foot high cliff overlooking the English Channel.  It was the highest point between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east—both invasion landing sites where the fighting was toughest and the losses most significant. The German army fortified the area with concrete casemates and gun pits. Here is how then-President Ronald Reagan described Pointe Du Hoc in a speech he gave at that very site in celebration of the 40th anniversary of D-Day. 

“We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago, at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of June 6, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only ninety could still bear arms.”

What possesses a man to do such a thing?  I would argue it is very the values and convictions God calls every Christian to embrace. I’ll offer three:


Faith in the mission and trust in fellow laborers in the mission. As Rangers, these men knew what they had to do. It was do or die. They also knew many other lives depended on their success. They could trust in one another because they were specially trained Rangers.  My son, Matthew, who is an Army Ranger, will tell you the bar to Ranger qualification is very high. As Christians, our qualification come by faith and our strength to trust one another on mission comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. We understand our orders to be given in God’s Word, and we have our cohort fellowship in the church. We are called to courageously believe these truths and then choose to act with courage in a hostile world. We are to advance the gospel first in our own hearts and then, in our homes, and our professions. This kind of faith does not leave much room for selfish choices that bring drain or pain to our spouse, our kids, or our fellow laborers in the church, does it? Jesus gave us the “here is your mission, and it will not be easy speech” in John 15:18­–23:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the Word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my Word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also.’ ” (John 15:18-23)

Our Christian life is the war against the sin that has crushed the world from the beginning and the past weeks and months should be helping you see that vital truth.


God does not give us a vote on matters of His commandments. We can rationalize all day, but Scripture—God’s inerrant Word—is clear. We must gladly, and without pause, follow God’s commandments. If we will not or cannot, we are not what we say we are. There were not debates happening at the bottom of the cliffs under Pointe du Hoc that fateful day in summer 1944. Our commander is the Lord Jesus, Christians, and there is no room whatsoever to challenge his credibility or authority. He gave His life for us. We owe Him ours, now and forever.


Climbing a rope up a 100-foot cliff, while hot lead is raining down, is a selfless act. Jesus Christ voluntarily going to the cross, while wholly innocent, and sinless—is a selfless act. This selflessness is the standard we are to understand and follow. Every decision we make must be filtered—first and foremost—through the lens of voluntary self-sacrifice. It cannot be “what’s in it for me?” It has to be “what does God want, and how will it bless others?” Such thinking makes it sickening to ponder sneaking into sin behaviors or weakening in temptation to the many traps Christians face in our culture today. Be strong, people of God! And when you are not strong, find a brother or sister to lean on. We are in this fight together for the glory of God alone!

God calls warriors. His warriors are also His sheep. You are His called warrior! His army for battling evil and bringing people to Christ is us, the church! The fight for truth is ours, not anyone else’s. I believe that as a church, we are at a pivotal moment in history, and I believe God has a clear mission for His church. We are warriors for the gospel, and God is calling us as warriors, right here, right now.  Let us be His blessed and pleasing church in Anchorage because we are His people, leading with courage.

The Apostle Paul said this in his encouragement to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12–16:

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion.” (1 Timothy 6:12-16)

Keep fighting.