The great question in our democracy today is whether we can educate a generation that will cherish liberty enough to fight for it. It will not be enough to have the best trained, best equipped, best clothed soldiers in the field against Communism. Somehow we must match the will to fight, the morale of a high ideal with that of our enemy before democracy will be safe. In much the same manner the Church today will not serve Christ’s cause effectively even though she has the best equipment, the finest training, and the most beautiful liturgy, unless she hates evil and is willing to go out to destroy the works of the devil.
We are not mere spectators to be entertained while sitting in the bleachers, but we are antagonists, combatants, contestants we are all involved.
One of the discouraging signs of our times is the prevailing tendency on the part of many diplomats toward appeasement. In a world which is actually at war the peoples of democratic mind hesitate to face the reality that they are up against a subtle, resourceful, and utterly heartless foe. That cessation of hostilities is merely an armed truce to be used for gaining certain advantages is not yet fully recognized. ThaI modern war against Communist ideology is a total war, a war which must be waged on the economic, social, political, and industrial as well as the military front is hard for us to accept. This is, indeed, not altogether strange since we arc accustomed to think that peace is the normal condition in this world. We are ever loathe to accept the realism of biblical prophecy which clearly tells us that at the end-time there shall be wars and rumors of wars instead of world peace.
However, when such a benumbing attitude of appeasement seems well nigh universal in the Church of Christ, which by very definition is at war with the world, then, I say, the situation calls for serious thought and drastic action! It is to this lack of militancy in the Church that this article is directed. We need to be reminded of the fact that God calls us to a holy warfare in which we must be engaged actively and totally.
The most prevalent and provocative picture of the Christian given in Scripture is that of the warrior involved. in a life and death struggle against the forces of God’s enemies. For this conflict we have been recruited by Christ, our Captain. He calls us to fight the good fight of faith, to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil—with the promise that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us. It will not do for us to be satisfied merely because we might have had better equipment and superior training, such as some of us are getting in the Christian schools, the doctrine classes, and the weekly preaching of the Word in our houses of worship. Without the will to resist the world, to oppose the evil one, without the militant mind we shall not maintain the cause of Christ or bring luster to his banner.
The Old Testament Expression of this Militancy
But how can we be convinced of the need for such a militant mind? How can we escape from the pacifistic, inclusivistic spirit of the modern, liberal church? “To the Word and to the testimony!” That is the only solution, Like the Bereans of old we ought to study the Scriptures to see whether these things are as represented.
Soon, then, we discover that the great Covenant Jehovah himself initiated the militant mind at the very gates of Paradise. You are aware of the setting, Satan was the first fifth columnist. He had infiltrated behind our lines. Adam, who was to “keep the garden,” was not on the job. The devil deceived Eve and gained an initial victory. Man fell away from God. He went over to the enemy. But God in his grace restored errant mankind to himself, to his fellowship, service and allegiance. Moreover, by that act God declared war upon the devil, calling all his allies to militant opposition: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). Here in the “mother promise” is the first preaching of the gospel, to be sure, but also in this key text is an announcement that war is an actuality of universal scope involving all of Eve’s children!
Be sure to notice that the issue is not left in doubt, nor is the fact of our personal participation dubious. It is evident that God himself instilled the enmity against the devil and his cohorts. He is the creator of the militant mind! It is clear that if we lack this militancy we must be lacking in fervor and allegiance for the cause of our God.
Furthermore, we ought to observe that this enmity was maintained by Jehovah as in succeeding generations he called men to his colors. Noah condemned the world by building an ark to the saving of his house. Abraham did the same in his day by leaving his homeland and wandering as a pilgrim and a stranger “as in a strange country.” Jeremiah was called by God “to root up, and to pull down, and to destroy.” In establishing this enmity the covenant-keeping God not only separated his people, but also guided, protected, and trained them to holy warfare. In the Old Testament that separation and warfare was physical as well as spiritual. Israel was instrumental in destroying the might of Pharaoh, as well as the annihilation of the Amalekites. God also commanded them to root out the iniquitous Canaanites for the cup of their guilt was running over. Samuel killed Agag, David carried on the battles of the Lord, and Elijah had the priests of Baal slain at the brook Kidron.
Let us beware that we do not fall into the error of the modernists, who sit in judgment upon God by condemning this Old Testament warfare as contrary to the Spirit of Christ.