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Non-Denominational/Combat Vietnam Veteran, saved, but thinks he is going to hell for combat acts


Dear Pastor Carpenter,

My step father is a Christian and was saved and born again before he was drafted into the Vietnam war.  

Although he is saved he feels so much guilt of having to have killed children while in mechanized infantry in combat in Vietnam he thinks he may go to hell.  His health is very, very bad and he probably won't be alive next year.

My mother and I have tried to reason with him that it was an act of war and also and act of self defense.  He states the ten commandments.  We tell him he didn't know if those children had grenades or not and what he did was not murder.  He does admit some children did toss grenades and it had to be done.  

He has a huge heart for children and it is really bothering him that he alone and also as part of a combat unit had to kill children coming out of the bush to them as they didn't know the intent of the child and couldn't take the chance on getting killed.

What can we show him in scripture to ease his mind that he is not going to hell over this act of self defense?


Hi Bruce,

Thank you for this very heartfelt question.  The Apostle Paul tells us that the powers that be, or the Government, have been ordained by God to deal with evil doers.  While dealing with these evil doers... the Government bears a sword... a lethal weapon.  Look at the following verses and understand that the "he" in verse 4 is the government.

Romans 13:14 (AV)
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Your step father was acting on behalf of the Government, a God-ordained entity.  God had given the government the right to bear a sword... to use lethal force... since your step dad was working for the Government while prosecuting this war... He is not culpable for murder... he was acting under God's authority to deal with evil.

I hope that this helps you.

In Christ
Pastor Don


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Pastor Don Carpenter


I am an expert in the Bible. I can answer any question concerning beliefs that are based upon the presupposition that the Bible is the Word of God. I have been a volunteer on this site since 2003. I wish to add this category in order to help those who believe the Bible, but have not chosen a denomination.


I have been in the ministry for 25 years. During this time I served as youth pastor, assistant pastor, counselor, and Senior Pastor. Currently I serve as a Senior Pastor for an independent fundamental Baptist Church in New England. I am also a professor teaching night College at New England School of the Bible.

Evangelical Baptist Church New England School of the Bible

BS in Bible and Pastoral ministries from Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit PA. Church Planter - 4 years Senior Pastor of Evangelical Baptist Church in Torrington CT - 10 years Professor at New England School of the Bible - 5 years Local Cable TV talk show host - 4 years.

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