We've been talking about the biblical strategy for spiritual warfare for several days now. This is the final post I plan to make on the subject for awhile. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we'll move on to a different topic. But as we wrap up, I want to spell out the main point that I hope you have seen in the subtext all along:
Have you noticed how radically different the Bible's war plan is from the conventional wisdom of contemporary evangelicalism?
Nowadays we see book after book being published on ministry philosophy, church-growth strategy, and Christian leadershipvirtually all urging church leaders to compromise, conform, accommodate, adapt, and adopt the language and thinking of the world. Youth Specialties and Zondervan (under Rupert Murdock's shrewd leadership) have built a major industry publishing how-to books that teach young pastors and youth leaders how to suit their style to the latest worldly trends.
I am frankly weary of all the self-styled experts who are telling pastors and church leaders today that unless they get with the times, tone down their message, adapt their methods to meet the worldly preferences of the current generation, accommodate their message to the postmodern dialectic, bone up on this or that academic fad, or otherwise adopt some fleshly strategy, the church will die or lose the battle for the souls of the next generation.
We've tried all those strategies for at least three or four generations now, and we're still losing ground. In our mad pursuit of "relevance," has anyone noticed that the church is becoming more and more irrelevant? All this accommodation to the culture is the very thing that makes the church culturally irrelevant.
We are supposed to be in this world but not of it, remember?
Now, before any one accuses me of advocating cultural defeatism, retreatism, asceticism, monasticism, or pessimism, let me say that the truth lies in the opposite direction.
I'm not saying we should give up on reaching the world or be passive and silent. On the contrary, I think we should turn up the volume. But I'm also saying this: Don't distrust the weapons Christ has entrusted to His church. Don't underestimate the power of the plain word of God or the influence of clear and dynamic preaching. Don't set aside the weapons God has chosen and trade them for Saul's armor.
Only the word of God is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
And if you're going to wage war in the spiritual realm, against evil imaginations and false ideologies, you are going to need a weapon like that"a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" that cuts with precision and pierces to the depths of the heartnot a toy weapon from the fleshly arsenal favored by contemporary worldly evangelicalism.