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Alvin York Goes To War

In early January this year, I was inquiring of the Lord about the strange dream of angels landing on the battlefield. This was the prophetic word (along with others) that inspired my book, Engaging Heaven’s Army. I realized the dream was related to the word-picture I was shown in December; my motion picture vision of Sgt. Alvin York who chose to go to war. The question the Lord had asked in that vision was, “Are you willing to go to war?”

This wasn’t the first or only time God had spoken to me using this American hero as a prophetic visual aid. Let me pause here and insert Alvin York’s story in case you are not familiar with it.

Alvin York was from the mountains of Tennessee. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor in WWI. He started out as a reluctant soldier in the Army sent to fight against the Germans in the battle at the Argonne Forest in Europe. Before I tell you what he did, you ought to know who he was.

York was a simple man raised in a poor family with ten children. He was uneducated, hardworking and honest. After his father died York turned into an angry, rowdy brawler. When he became a Christian his life changed. When he was drafted into the army he asked to be a conscientious objector but his appeal was denied. York believed that killing was murder. His officers reasoned with him from the Bible and explained how America had won independence fighting in a war against Britain. Not sure what to do, York fasted and prayed. It was then that he changed his mind about going to war.

In his first battlefield combat, his company was pinned down by 25 machine German guns. The US troops were exposed, being slaughtered by the continuous blistering fire. Despite a constant barrage of bullets, York made his way until he outflanked the enemy. He used his sharpshooter skills to pick off enemy soldiers one by one. York killed 23 German soldiers and silenced 25 machine guns. He did this with a Springfield 1903 bolt-action single-shot rifle that fired 10-15 rounds per minute. It was not an automatic weapon. To reload, he had to feed a 5-shot clip of 30.06 bullets into the top of the rifle’s breach. Each spent casing had to be manually ejected. York was never hit. His shots never missed.

Six Germans charged at York but he drew his pistol and shot them all. Their German officer emptied his pistol at point-blank range at York but to no avail. He dropped his weapon and ordered his troops to surrender. Seven surviving US soldiers helped York escort his prisoners back to the US front lines. One hundred and thirty-eight German troops had surrendered to one US soldier, a man they couldn’t seem to kill even at close range.

An investigating American military officer took York back to the battlefield to confirm the incredible story. When York was asked why he chose to shoot enemy soldiers while being opposed to killing, York replied, “I saw the machine gunners killing hundreds, thousands, so I knew I had to shoot them to save lives.”

York came home to a ticker-tape parade and a hero’s welcome in New York City. He was awarded the Medal of Honor but disliked fame and refused movie offers that would have made him wealthy—not wanting to make a profit from killing men. He went home to Tennessee where he married his sweetheart and began a quiet life of farming.

Years later, Adolph Hitler began the military attacks that started WWII. For a long while, the US stayed out of that war. Meanwhile, Hitler began his “final solution” to exterminate the Jews of Europe. A Warner Brothers studio executive, a Jew, went to Tennessee and spent time talking with York, a Christian. He convinced York that the slaughter of innocent Jews by the Nazis deserved his help. He wanted to make York’s story into a movie so America would decide to fight the Nazis. York finally agreed but only if Gary Cooper would play his role. The actor met York and signed on.

The movie was made. Gary Cooper won an Oscar. Alvin York became a household name.

Sargent Alvin York, the most-decorated American soldier in WWI, became a cinematic hero on the big screen in WWII. The true story of a peaceful man who chose to go to war for the right reasons helped move America away from pacifism to being willing to fight and defeat Nazi Germany.”

Countless Jews in Europe were saved when American and Russian troops liberated emaciated prisoners from the Nazi death camps. Six million had died. There is such a thing as a just war where good people fight to halt the spread of evil. The role of The United States in WWII proved vital to victory. This might not have happened without Alvin York deciding to go to war.

I began seeing the scenes from the Alvin York movie last year as I was headed to speak at a church in northern Arkansas. Then the Lord had asked me this question, “Are you willing to go to war?” I didn’t know it then but I soon learned that the date I was to speak was Alvin York’s birthday (Dec.13).

What about you? Are you willing to go to war for Christ? I believe if we answer “Yes,” we’ll go into wonderful battles using intercession, praise, and proclamation of God’s word. I show you how to do this safely and effectively

But we won’t fight alone! God will give us supernatural help to defeat the enemy. His heavenly angels will fight with us and for us. That’s what happened to Alvin York. Like him, we must decide to enter the battle. We need to know that our God—The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—wants us to fight with Him to liberate the captives. If we will fight, we will win!


“Alvin York Goes to War” copyright © 2016 by Ron Wood; an excerpt from Engaging Heaven’s Army copyright © 2016 by Ron Wood. The York article was published in the NW Arkansas Democrat Gazette weekly edition newspaper and was posted online at All rights reserved.

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