Reflections: The Church’s War

Sometimes what seems like different ideas come from different directions, yet they hit a common spot. On this blog, I have begun posting a series on The Just War. Then, there are the usual calls for unity from various places. Friday, I posted about “The Church That Was a Mess”. Finally, I was catching up on the podcast The Daily Audio Bible by Brian Hardin, and I was listening to the episode “ADVANCE: Battle Formation”. It really brought about a focus of some of the things I’ve recently been studying and meditating upon.

I need to insert here a reminder that mentioning a link or a website or a podcast, etc., does not automatically mean an endorsement of the link, website, podcast, etc. Brian Hardin is obviously of the charismatic/Pentecostal persuasion, don’t go to those links if that sort of thing gets you tied up into knots.

We are warned of several things within the Bible. We are warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing. They need to be purged from our midst. The sheep need to stick together to get rid of the Enemy’s influence, just as Paul admonished the Corinthians.

Yet, there are other warnings as well. The sheep, the real sheep, need to stick together at other times as well. Sheep travel in herds for a reason. The sheep need to not forsake the assembling of themselves together.

Think about how the predators work. It is not necessarily the sickly or weak that get eaten. However, it is usually the ones who wander off. It is usually the ones that go off on their own. When you remember that Satan is like a lion, a hunter, then it behooves us to stay with the rest of the herd.

Hardin states:

“… I think we start by realizing we are not the enemy. We are not the enemy. We are of each other. We are sealed together in Christ. We are not the enemy. Your spouse is not the enemy. Your friends are not the enemy. Those people at the Church who like to talk about each other, they’re not the enemy. Those who have harmed you or have wounded you and are Christians, those churches even have wounded you or have misunderstood you: they are not the enemy. The Enemy is the enemy….

“[About God’s instructions for war in Dt 20] That is such an interesting passage of Scripture. And such an interesting way to go to war. Until you look beneath the surface. They’re sending a lot of people away. They’re diminishing their numbers — on purpose. Why? Because they are removing from them everyone, everyone, with a divided heart. Anything that will distract a person can get a person killed. Fear and faint heartedness can spread like wildfire among the ranks, and everyone can get killed. Anyone who is truly engage and committed to the battle at hand are invited to stay. This is the battle formation. Understanding that we will not survive without each other, that we are not the enemy, and that there is an Enemy that deeply, passionately, wants to reach out and destroy us — and will succeed if we can simply stay divided. However, if we come together with an undivided heart, with a common mission… do you understand that the Power that raised Christ from the dead dwells among us?… There is no power on the face of this earth that can stand in the face of God, and an undivided body is indestructible.”

The question we each need to ask ourselves is if we are letting our hearts be divided. Where are our loyalties? Do we hold supreme the One Who gave us life, or do we follow what we believe to be the ideals of a dead man? Are we cutting ourselves off from fellowship with those who hold the same ideals that Jesus espoused during His lifetime? Are we letting the attitudes of the enemy come in, or are we showing the love and patience of the Savior?

One thing we should have learned from the 1990s is that the Enemy does not rest. He attacks from the bottom, he attacks from the top, he attacks from the front, and he attacks from the rear. He will attack from without, and he will attack from within.

Like a lion, Satan’s teeth are sharp, and they are made to shred flesh. He is a mighty enemy, and by ourselves we cannot stand up to him. The “Army of one” is a myth – a stupid marketing gimmick. There is no such thing. This is a spiritual war, but the life that is at risk is your eternal life.

Are you going to be the loner ram who will try to defend himself apart from the herd?

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