For anyone interested in reading the article Ginny linked, a more readable copy is available through a simple web search on the title and author. However, those interested or convicted in the topic of Christians separating their hearts and arms from the military call should be aware that this concept was not invented by liberals and universalists. Nor is it just a quirk of the "plain churches." Since the time of Christ, practical conclusions like this have been adopted and affirmed by countless believers as an outflow of their thorough commitment to Bible doctrine, submission to Jesus' lordship, and priority on evangelizing lost souls.
Here's just one example, written on the eve of World War 1 (that horrible and needless debacle that provided some moral and socioeconomic preconditions for the Nazi project to take hold). Years ago I read that this book was banned in England during the war years, but I can't currently locate that citation.
Here are a few highlights from "Blood Against Blood":
"The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual," said Paul, in describing the central principle of the overcoming of evil in the world. The words of Christ "Love your enemies" are absolute. They embody his description of the spirit animating the children of God on earth, as opposed to that controlling the children of the world. And why ?
"That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh His sun to shine upon the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." And in describing the heathen - the unregenerate, - he said: "If ye love them who love you, what reward have ye, do not even the heathen the same."
The difference then between the heathen and the Christian is an essential difference in spirit and disposition and in the means employed to remedy the evils in the world: to the heathen it is carnal power and worldly war, expressed in hatred and ending in death; to the Christian it is spiritual power and gospel war, expressed in love and ending in life.
In the one, man sacrifices his neighbour and sheds blood; in the other, man sacrifices himself and lets his own blood be shed. In the one it is Cain; in the other it is Abel.
The final expression of the two alternative and extreme remedies for sin at the opposite poles of spiritual forces - life-giving and death-giving - the Blood shed once and for all, the endless blood-shedding, are gruesome. The Cain principle and the Abel principle, the Beast life and Lamb life, War and Calvary, the massacring hosts, and the holy army of martyrs - each utters, at its own culmination, a truth which has been written in red on black all down human history, and which cannot be written on white in grey or in green, whatever the new theologies or theosophies, the new peace systems, or the new social reformations of modern days may say or do.
...Christianity is the only remedy to war. Not a bloodless gospel on the one hand, not an adulterated evangelicalism on the other. It must be Blood against blood...
The remedy for war, and the sin which produces it, must be as extreme, as costly and as painful, as the disease it has to remove. It is the fashion just now to consider the bloodiness of Calvary as too unpleasant a subject for polite ears. Our modern humanitarianism would do away altogether with the doctrine of the cross. The vulgar spitting, the crown of thorns, the mocking enthronement, the seven hours hanging on wounds, the pierced side, are disagreeable subjects. For if they mean anything they mean "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," and the completely "lost" state of the most comfortable moralists around us, apart from personal salvation by the cross of Christ.
This book is not anti-military in the ordinary sense. It is simply pro-Christian....It is opposed to wars of destruction simply because it advocates the war of Salvation, and believes it to be the only true remedy to the ills from which fallen humanity suffers. It is loyal to all kings alike in being loyal to the King of kings, who "came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
True Christianity is alone true science, because it deals with causes, not effects, with roots, not fruits. It removes sin instead of merely suppressing it. It cleanses it away instead of gilding it over. It destroys war by destroying the spirit which engenders war.
Sin is an endless circle-what the French call le cercle vicieux. Apart from divine, supernatural salvation, the history of mankind hitherto has been sin, war, death, and so on without end.
...And here is that circle broken by faith at the cross. Here the new cycle of life commences at Calvary: Sin, False Peace, War, Death - then a full stop at THE CROSS and then - Purity, Peace, Life; and thenceforth the endless circle of life for the glory of God, with its earthly expression in the holy war of salvation even, if needs be, unto the death of the Cross.
This completed cycle of the Christian's career is beautifully summarised in the twelfth chapter of the Revelation: "and they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death." Beginning at the Cross in seeking their own salvation, they end at the Cross in seeking the salvation of others, and in sacrificing their lives in their turn in the holy war.
The chief value of the study of the character of war is never to be found in the negative aspect, but in the view it gives, by contrast, of the real character and obligations of the true Christian warfare. That which is merely negative has no life in it. The question is not what war is wrong for Christians, but what war is right for them...
...For the individual to put on peace principles as a cloak, or to accept them as a doctrinal legacy from ancestors, or from some particular denomination of Christians, without a corresponding intensity of divine war principles and practices, would be an anomaly. A truth, which is not personally experienced as life, is inoperative and self-deceiving. It has an element of unreality. It does not fit with facts. But the converse is also true: wherever there is a revival of the spirit of apostolic Christianity, there also appears a revival of the conviction and testimony that war is anti-Christian.
...The Scriptures clearly indicate that the end of the age would have a Laodicean character. The falling away from true faith would become more and more rapid till the words would be fulfilled: "when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8), showing that our Lord was there speaking of the kind of faith which excludes all those false faiths under whose deluding influence our fallen race hopes to create in its own wisdom and power permanent peace and prosperity on earth. Gospel faith produces a hope of an exactly opposite character, namely one centered upon the return of the Lord. It is the purifying hope alluded to in 1 John 3:3.