Some of you might be thinking that I am getting ready to write about Obama’s recent endorsement of the United Nation’s “Small Arms resolution”, but those of you who know me know that I’m not. I’m going to talk about something far more sinister: the Devil’s agenda to disarm the Church of the Sword of the Spirit.
How many times have you heard someone say “theology isn’t going to save anyone, they just need to be loved”? If you’ve believed this lie, then Satan has just taken his first step in disarming you of your most effective and divinely-powerful weapon: the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Technically “theology” means “the study of God”, but to most people they simply equate it with the Bible period.
There’s an idea that people “are just hurt and needing love”, and I don’t disagree that people are hurt, but, this is not an accurate depiction of their condition as a whole. See, there are plenty of people who would not self-identify themselves as “hurt” people; they enjoy reasonably healthy relationships, love their jobs, and have lives full of healthy hobbies, but they are utterly and completely damned to condemnation. That is right: you can be a healthy, happy, reasonable citizen of this world and be condemned by God. Nurturing people’s emotional wounds is not the Church’s job; we were not called to be nurse-maid to the world. Don’t get me wrong, we tenderly care to the suffering- especially those of the Church Body- and we are eager to care for the wounds of those who have been cast aside by society. But the Church has traditionally understood that all this was a bi-product of our greater calling: to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world so that they can be truly and wholly healed by Jesus Christ and saved from their sins and the death thereby produced.
When we hear the idea expressed that we need to “set aside the preaching of God’s word” so that we can focus on “loving on the hurt”, we are hearing Satan’s attempt to persuade the Church to lay down our sword and stop fighting.
Certainly this approach will temporarily draw larger numbers, but, what will the end of this be? What will happen to those people once they are healed? They didn’t want God before they were hurt, and God wasn’t shown to them while they were hurt. What makes us think that they will want God once they are “back to normal” and doing well? God was not what drew them in the first place. And if they stick around, it will not be because of God, but it will be for the relationships that they have formed during their difficult times. While strong relationships in the body are vital, these relationships alone count for nothing if God is not their substance and life-source.
Yet the Church has shown a perplexing propensity to ashamedly throw down our swords the moment anyone cries “offense!”
Church leadership everywhere is scrambling to draw up “more effective plans” to reach the world without any offense; without exposing ourselves as being followers of Christ! But what this has produced is a generation of Christians who do not know the foundations of our faith- they do not know what they believe, or why they believe it- and they are unable to contend for the faith in a world composed of many very hostile world-views!
But as for me? I believe in God’s Word and trust in the Truth that is enlightened thereby. I believe that even when it appears that the Word only ever offends the world, it is accomplishing things that I cannot yet perceive and I will see the fruits of this work one day- whether in this world or the one to come. I will continue to preach the Word and live thereby until the end; I will walk in the light provided for my feet by God’s word, and beckon to my brothers and sisters to join me in walking the narrow path together.
Some argue that we cannot live by the Word because it is too divisive.
Yes, the Word is divisive; Jesus never concealed the fact that He “didn’t come to bring peace on the earth, but a sword”, as He said “for I came to set a man at odds against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35). But, Christ also prayed “Sanctify them in Your truth. Your word is truth… that they may all be one” (John 17:17, 21), and again it is written, “be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Many divisions in the Body today occur not because Christ has divided, but because we demand our own ways and are unwilling to relent according to the heavenly wisdom that descends from above (James 3:17). Though these divisions are unnecessary, they nonetheless succeed in dividing the stubborn and divisive brother or sister from the body.
So I must ask, will you throw down the Word because you are ashamed of Christ and do not want to be set apart from this world as holy to God? Or will you take up the sword of the Spirit- the Word of God- and engage a relentless and vicious enemy?
It’s your decision. You decide.