Doss a hero for defense of 2 godly claims: Lord’s Day, pacifism

The Tulis boys visit Desmond and Frances Doss on Lookout Mountain, Ga., in 2004. The boys are, from left, Josiah, Jacob and David Jonathan. (Photos David Tulis)

The Tulis boys visit Desmond and Frances Doss on Lookout Mountain, Ga., in 2004. The boys are, from left, Josiah, Jacob and David Jonathan. (Photos David Tulis)

The Doss house on Lookout Mountain with its replica statute of liberty in the front yard.

The Desmond Doss house on Lookout Mountain with its replica statute of liberty in the front yard.

Mr. Doss signs a gift copy of his biography for me.

A war-wounded and partly deaf Desmond Doss signs my copy of his biography.

Before we left, Mr. Doss sat quietly on his front boys as two of my boys rocked nearby on another porch swing.

Before we leave, Mr. Doss sits quietly on his front porch as two of my boys rock on the next porch swing.

The movie “Hacksaw Ridge” about war hero Desmond Doss holds up for our admiration his exercise of Christian conviction.

He stood his ground on honoring the Lord’s day and the conviction that God forbids the shedding of blood in face of a wartime draft and an empire on the march.

By David Tulis / AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio

What is admirable about Mr. Doss is his unwillingness to yield on two points which were under the greatest threat by the world around him. He had been inducted into military service, the government over which cared nothing Lord’s Day. He refused to yield his conviction and practice of the Lord’s Day. As for the duty of carrying a carbine, pistol or knife, he conscientiously refused.

Mr. Doss was decorated with a medal of honor for his selflessness on the Pacific island of Okinawa in a battle in which he lowered between 50 and 100 wounded fellow soldiers down an escarpment under Japanese fire, according to his biography, Desmond Doss[;] In God’s Care (Page 124).

He was injured by a grenade blast when when he deliberately put his foot upon it to save men nearby. Surgeons took from his leg 17 pieces of shrapnel  and also set a wounded arm, putting it in a heavy cast (Page 127).

Minority sect, but blessed stand

Even though Mr. Doss was a member of an American Christian sect with heterodox views, his devotion to God is a model for us in a day with growing threat against religious free exercise. This part of his story is the one that matters most as we face cultural Marxism and PC enforcement.

The Seventh-Day Adventists hold that the Lord’s day is the last day of the week as it was in the old Hebrew Republic. They reject the New Covenant’s shifting of that day to the first day of the week, which marks the new creation with the resurrection of Jesus. Even though Seventh-day Adventists make an important theological mistake, they are within the pale of Christianity, unlike Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to Walter Martin and his book, Kingdom of the Cults.

Other Christians may have the day right, but are way behind Mr. Doss in the honor and respect due it as we are slack in giving the day to God and back to ourselves in worship, rest and acts of mercy and in abstaining from commerce and activities lawful and usual on the week’s other six days.

The other distinctive of Mr. Doss is his pacifism, his rejection of the use of arms. His motivations for that position were highly religious, with much support from the holy scriptures, even though other Christians may draw opposite conclusions. My view is that it is lawful to own, wear and use weapons in the defense of innocent life, and that all Christians should exercise the right to bear arms and maintain public peace and social order.

Even though we may not agree with Mr. Doss as to what the scripture teaches about the use of weapons in the taking of another life, even lawfully so, we have to admire his insistence on not compromising his conscience, informed by God through worship, Bible study and holy living.

Mr. Doss is a hero for the Christian no less than he was a hero for the federal government, whose presiding officer, Harry Truman, decorated him with a medal in a 1945 ceremony.

Christian defiance

“If I serve God on Sabbath as he commands in the fourth commandment,” Mr. Doss tells a Section 8 hearing, “I feel he will give me wisdom when I need it. If it is an emergency, I’m always ready to take care of sick or hurt soldiers on the Sabbath. Another medic and I have worked it out so that he takes care of my duties on Sabbath, and I take care of his duties on Sunday” (Page 91).

Mr. Doss of “Hacksaw Ridge” is like Judge Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, who refuses to bend on matters of principle. Judge Moore this week is combating his ouster by lawless process from an Alabama administrative judicial agency. A week before the movie open across the U.S., Judge Moore was at a hearing from which he walked out, saying that the efforts to assemble a jury pool was an unconscionable political act against constitutional government.

2004 encounter

I had a chance to visit with Mr. Doss in 2004. One of my neighbors in Soddy Daisy is Ray Holmes, a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Mr. Holmes and Mr. Doss were well-acquainted, having connections to the church and the health center in Wildwood, Ga.,  just Southwest of Chattanooga. Mr. Holmes invited me to go with him on his visit to Mr. Doss on Lookout Mountain. Took my three sons, David Jonathan, Josiah and Jacob. We spent an hour-and-a-half chatting and visiting with Mr. Doss and his wife, Frances, the author of the biography.

Our visit was cordial and respectful. Mr. Doss signed my copy of the book, given to me earlier by Mr. Holmes.


Francis M Doss, Desmond Doss[;] in God’s Care (Collegedale Tenn., The College Press, 2000), 388 pp plus photo pages

Walter R. Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis Minn.: Bethany Fellowship Inc. Publishers), 143 pp

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