Why I Am a Conscientious Objector (Why Rome Fell, Part 4)

Byron Paulus
Thu, Jun 14, 2012
Byron's Blog

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

When I was growing up, the last name of my three nearest neighbors was Yoder. I went to a Mennonite church each summer for VBS. All my family are buried in a Mennonite cemetery. The church I attended had Mennonite roots.

So it only stood to reason that many of my relatives were Conscientious Objectors. Then, one of my brothers was killed in Vietnam. So avoiding war as a conscientious objector would have been easy.

Many of my childhood friends were pacifists when it came to the use of force to protect America from an enemy nation. But sadly, they were also pacifists when it came to fighting the real enemy ... the enemy within.

Here is the fourth reason author Edward Gibbon cites for the fall of Rome:

4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy is within, in the decadence of the people.

Rome’s failure was not building a healthy military, but failing to build a healthy soul.

America is just as sick. What if our government invested as many resources into defending our nation against moral decadence as it does in defending against our physical enemies?

Can you imagine what $685 billion would accomplish if properly applied to fighting the real enemy that is destroying our nation—the decadence stemming from the world, the flesh, and the devil? That enemy represents far greater danger than Iran’s nukes or Al-Qaeda’s terror.

Stop the Nation’s Face Chewers

Perhaps the most repulsive news report I have ever seen occurred a couple weeks ago. It’s the account of the vicious attack by a naked man on a busy street in Florida. He literally chewed off most of the face of a helpless 65-year-old homeless man. I cringed.

But the most horrendous part was the number of people who witnessed it and did nothing about it. They did not intervene. A few may have called 911, but they did not get physically involved to stop it.

The face of our nation is being chewed off to where it will soon be unrecognizable. Moral decadence is destroying us. And those most responsible are not the demonic face chewers, but ordinary citizens who know they should get involved and yet choose not to. As Edmund Burke implored, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

It’s easy for us to classify my childhood friends, our government, and the passers-by in Florida as cultural pacifists. But James 4:17 reminds us as believers that if we know to do good but do not do it, it is sin. So, technically, that makes those of us who are Christian non-interveners worse than the cultural pacifists IF we continue to allow the decadence of our nation to fuel its destruction.

So what kind of conscientious objector am I? Not one who opposes a just war, but the kind that objects to the passivity characterizing the church. We have the answer. It is not enough to call the church’s 911 number and ask the pastor or staff to come to the rescue. Every one of us as believers has a biblical mandate to get involved and use our spiritual weapons to stop the decadence.

And that is why I have given my life to cultivating a culture that is the complete opposite of decadence—one that is filled with Jesus!

“Boots On!”

Perhaps you find yourself objecting to the decadence but not doing much about it. That’s a sure sign it is time to seek the Lord, and to allow His Holy Spirit to take over, empower, and enable you to become a full-fledged conscientious objector to our nation’s slide into decadence and destruction.

Praying for and offering to help out with a redemptive goal, at church or in your community, is one way you can object with “boots on.” So, report for duty!

[Read Part 1 here.] [Read Part 5 here.]


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