Church “Militant” I don’t think that word means what you think it means….

Devotional/Discussion thought of the day:

 12  For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the principalities and the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world, the spirits of evil in the heavens. Ephesians 6:12 (NJB)

18  So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it. 19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’  Matthew 16:18-19 (NJB) 

 1  For is not everything dark as night for a country in distress? As the past humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, so the future will glorify the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, the territory of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on the inhabitants of a country in shadow dark as death light has blazed forth.  Isaiah 9:1-2 (NJB)

Onward Christian Soldiers, marching off to war…. with the cross of Jesus, going on before…  

This morning, there are people crying for the church to wake up, to take up the challenges thrown before it this weekend, to reclaim lost territory as the forces posed against the church have attacked Christianity by once again trying to distort one of it mosts sacred symbols, marriage.  I’ve read concepts that this is the worst attack yet, that the evil people need to be stopped that we have to draw the line here, and reclaim what is ours by right, or else all will be lost. They urge the church to become the church militant… I can hear pipe organs warming up to lead the great anthems that will lead us into this great crusade to come..

And the words of that great philosopher Inigo Montoya come to mind.  “Church ;’Militant’  You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.

When I see people talking about the church with military like speech, it is not a church locked in a life or death struggle with the Satan and his minions in the world.  It is not a struggle to keep what is ours, our culture, our rights, our dominant place in society, defining the norms and behaviors in our society.  That’s never been the proper battle arena in the church.   And those who “fight us”, aren’t fighting us, anymore than a blind man with two teaspoons could fight a Navy Seal unit. They can’t – they are locked in darkness, and they have absolutely no clue about who God is.

Luther says it well,
For all outside of Christianity, whether heathen, Turks, Jews, or false Christians and hypocrites, although they believe in, and worship, only one true God, yet know not what His mind towards them is, and cannot expect any love or blessing from Him; therefore they abide in eternal wrath and damnation. For they have not the Lord Christ, and, besides, are not illumined and favored by any gifts of the Holy Ghost.  The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.

We are talking about people we believe cannot know about God’s love yet, so why do we take offense at their attacking a god they perceive as un-loving?  Worse – why do we defend that God, rather than giving them an explanation for the God we know – the God that invaded our darkness, that showed us love? When we fall into this battle they want, we end up doing exactly what we aren’t supposed to be doing.  We are making them believe that it is a code of behaviors that matters, that we don’t care about their eternal soul as much as we care that they meet our behavorial standards.

And so the church militant is confused with a type of group that wages war on sinners, rather than does what its supposed to do – delivering them from oppression.  Bringing them healing and restoration from the damage caused by sin – their sin, the sin of the world, and yes our sin as well. Delivering them into the presence of God, where that healing begins.  Delivering them their, by living alongside them, for God dwells with us.

That’s the mission of the Church Militant, even as it was the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, who John tells us – came and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.  May as we live in the midst of this oppressed, broken, sinful world, reflect that glory, a reflection that continues to invade darkness, and see God set at liberty all that are oppressed.


About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on January 27, 2014, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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