“Duty, Honor, Country” — The Theological Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

This presentation will examine select speeches of one of greatest generals in American history – General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (a 5-star general). His speeches are profoundly theological and biblical and serve as an encouragement to both today’s military and a nation founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs.

GEN MacArthur is a legend in military circles. His “Duty, Honor, Country” farewell speech at the US Military Academy at West Point before the Corps of Cadets on May 12, 1962, is highly revered and well-recognized throughout the ranks of military officers. MacArthur was not only the Commander of the Pacific Theater of Operations in the World War II, but he oversaw the rebuilding of Japan following the war.

Yet unknown to the public and today’s military personnel, both active duty and veterans, is that GEN MacArthur’s speeches are deeply theological in nature and provide a unique biblical perspective on the “role of the American soldier” and the “sacred duty of the soldier” in serving the nation. His key speeches strike at the heart of many theological doctrines and Christian motivations in our American democratic republic.

• During the landing on the Philippines in WWII and the surrender of the Japanese Empire on the USS Missouri, in beautifully crafted words, MacArthur directly makes reference to Christian biblical truths. His language is not masked, or hidden, but clearly reveal the sovereign work of a Holy God in the affairs of men.

• MacArthur’s most important and lasting contribution was his “Duty, Honor, County” speech to the Corps of Cadets at West Point – a speech filled with key Old Testament and New Testament biblical references. Sermons in churches could be modelled based on the key words and phrases used. Moreover, in addition to theological and biblical refences, MacArthur’s speech, given without notes, is considered among scholars to be a classic in the use of rhetorical devices.

In today’s postmodern and highly progressive times, the nation’s military has come under scrutiny. Yet biblical truths are unchanging, and in the age of “wokeness” and weakened traditional values, MacArthur’s speeches represent an encouraging reflection on our national heritage and those who served our country. His speeches extend far beyond the military audience.

3 thoughts on ““Duty, Honor, Country” — The Theological Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur”

  1. History or Hagiography?
    Topic fits our group, and I would be interested in the topic, yet as Don pointed out, the hagiographical tone of the abstract calls into question whether this is a historical analysis or a work designed to rally folks of a certain political persuasion for presentist purposes.


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