Christians take different positions on whether it is morally permissible to participate in the military. The 2012 Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly adopted a resolution to provide instruction on the three distinct ELCA positions regarding military participation. The church seeks to help members consider the ethical implications of our decisions, even as it recognizes that such discernment is often difficult.

The three ELCA positions relative to military service:

  • Conscientious objection to all war and killing;
  • Selective conscientious objection to a particular war or a particular conduct in war, such as using weapons of mass destruction or participating in torture; and
  • Participation in the military in conscience.

The Joint Peace with Justice Committee, formerly an official committee of the Minneapolis Area and Saint Paul Area synods, prepared the following youth-oriented Powerpoint teaching the three positions, using YouTube clips. The Powerpoint is intended to promote discussion in a group.

If you have difficulty downloading this material, please contact Amy Blumenshine, DM, at

If you wish to expand on this session, these Twin Cities area Lutherans reflect on their relationship to the military, each explaining one of the ELCA positions. Click on an image to read each reflection.

Additional links compiled by the Joint Peace with Justice Committee that raise issues about war: