The criterion of violence is justice.”189
For example, an attempted to kill Hitler must be made from the perspective of the right of resistance. Thomas Aquinas approved the killing of a tyrant on special occasions. Also Luther called people to resist in extreme situations and talked about
God’s commandment for resistance. Karl Barth also called to “resist tyranny.” Bonhoeffer was the first one to address the problem of responsible ethics in modern theological circles.190
“The ‘right’ to self-defense and the doctrine of the ‘just war’ are widely accepted as a more realistic approach to the violence of human kind.” Stanley
Homeward called it “a right to violence for the sake of justice.”191 Willis Watkins, is no doubt correct in suggesting that “taking up arms and freed for resistance to a tyrant.”192
Adventists are generally not encouraged to use military force, not even to allow it members to be conscripted into military service, if possible. However it is not binding. the German Adventists gave full cooperation to their government during the World Wars. In August 4, 1914, the president of the East German Union Conference, “informed the German War Ministry in writing that conscripted Seventhday Adventists would bear arms as combatants and would render service on the Sabbath in defense of their country.”193
Many Adventist in the United States were also conscripted. In principle, Adventists discouraged conscription. The Adventist publication “Our Youth in Time of War” took a very strong stand supporting noncombatant service.194 But, in reality, the church left the decision to each individual, which decision depended on circumstances and country.
The Church also needs to justify certain wars. Many justified defending the Nazis and fascists as positive. But many others justify attacking Iraq as negative. It depends on each war’s, motivations and intentions.
According to the Bible, the use of military force should be the last option, especially in critical issues. In Gen 19:15, God destoryed Sodom only after warning. The Bible always encourages non-violence methods as the first option. God only punished people as the last option, after warnings were given.
Accordingly, in the case of Myanmar, it seems appropriate to use military force at a time when it has long been deliberately ruled by a military dictatorship. An overall analysis on the use of military forces, sometime, it shows the need
of military forces. Therefore the Adventist’s position on non-violence may not
always true when it come to justify.