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Onward Christian Soldiers: “Be Winsome, Not Wimpy”

Behaving as a Godly Christian during the Woke Mob Assault

By Richard Allen – July 11, 2022

“Onward Christian Soldiers” is one of those great old hymns that has fallen on hard times. Some churches won’t even sing it for fear of sounding like war-mongers, or militant right-wing fanatics. But if you take the time to listen to the lyrics, it’s clear that the warfare and soldiering that is being advocated is spiritual and not physical. Here’s what the Apostle Paul tells us about the nature of spiritual warfare:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Even this language may be embarrassing to some believers. Sadly, we live in an age where, as Pastor Vodie Baucham often says: “We Christians have an 11th Commandment, ‘Thou Shalt Be Nice,’ and then we ignore the other ten.” I couldn’t agree with him more. But let me also go on record saying, that as Christians we are mostly divided into two camps: “The Be Nice At All Costs” camp of Christians who want to get along and not be contentious, and “The Bomb Thrower” camp, who for obvious reasons feel they need to be as offensive and provocative as they can be, at all times. As in most things, I’m advocating a Biblical position that’s somewhere between these two extremes. We need to “put on the full armor of God,” and yet “let our gentleness and love show in all things.”

As you can see by the passage above and many others, the Scriptures use much of terminology that implies warfare, battle, wrestling and armed combat. For those who’ve already decided that the best way to promote and defend the gospel of Jesus is to appease the Woke Mob, please be aware – trying to be nice and not say anything that will offend them – just won’t work. Jesus was the Prince of Peace and yet the world hated Him. And Jesus foretold that the world would hate His followers as well:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

It is here that genuine Christianity shows how different it is from the perceptions of fallen men. Jesus did not claim that He was bringing peace, in fact, He claimed He was bringing a sword:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36).

And the sword that Jesus spoke of was not a physical sword to destroy flesh and blood. The sword Jesus speaks of above is in the metaphysical realm of ideas and faith – things that can cause division because of man’s or woman’s beliefs. Both Jesus and His Apostles taught us that our warfare is in the spiritual realm, but it’s still a real battle with skirmishes and hand to hand combat – no less real than warfare in the physical realm. At the same time, Jesus calls His followers to be reasonable in all things, and to show kindness and meekness in the way we present the Gospel to others.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).

I say all this to introduce us to the Biblical concept of “spiritual warfare.” We are Christian Soldiers, fighting for the Kingdom of God and contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. This very admonition is from Jude 3 & 4 and as Pastor Baucham points out – is stated in a way that rebukes the namby-pamby niceness of believers who want to GET ALONG AT ALL COSTS. Here’s the passage from Jude:

  • “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4).

I’ve heard many times from Christians who want peace above all else, always talk about making the Gospel about love, and above all, attractive. Others say we need to be “winsome” in our approach – because it’s all about getting the gospel out and getting people saved. I do agree that bringing people to faith and presenting the gospel is the primary means to bring healing to broken sinners and bring peace to our troubled land. But earnestly contending for the faith is not a separate endeavor from presenting the gospel in an attractive and winsome way. Jude, starts out in verse three saying at first, he was very eager to write to these believers about our common salvation, BUT found it necessary to write to them – pleading with them to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. He goes on to explain that certain people had crept into the Church unnoticed, false teachers who perverted the grace of God into sensuality and even denying Christ! I’m not sure how the appeasement crowd can run away from this admonition. I might add: We should contend for the faith without being deliberately contentious, but contend we must. There is way too much at stake to try and make the message of the kingdom less salty and more palatable to the lost (Luke 14:34).

It's here that I bring up Satan’s main “Rule of Engagement.” I don’t believe that this rule has been formally written down or published for us to read. But his Rule of Engagement is the one that our present fallen world plays by and tells us, as Christians we have to follow as well. Here it is:

  • Satan and his minions of liars can demean, openly fabricate and call people of faith horrible names – that’s good journalism.

  • Christians must be nice at all times and take the abuse and not counter any of their numerous exaggerations and outright lies.

Someone may bring up that “we are to be as sheep before the shearer and open not our mouths” (Isaiah 53:7), just as Jesus was in response to His accusers. That’s true on a different level, but the Church has been commissioned to contend for the truth in our dying world full of falsehood – no matter how offensive it might be. There is a difference between personally defending one’s self from false accusations – which Scripture encourages us to forebear – AND MAKING A VIGOROUS DEFENSE OF THE GOSPEL!

The New Testament writers may not have envisioned the amplified megaphone that modern technology would provide to the media for telling falsehoods and smearing the people of God. But even without our shrill modern-day media barrage, history shows that believers have always been maligned on the worlds stage. So how do we respond to the dishonest reporting and the constant attempt to discredit the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His followers? Here again, I think we are to be guided by Scripture, not modern decorum. I am amazed at how easily the Evangelical Church in America has been co-opted by modern philosophies and lofty opinions that raise themselves against the knowledge of God. And yet to hear some Evangelical Leaders talk, we aren’t supposed to destroy those arguments. At our worst we should turn the other cheek. And some even advocate that we should teach them alongside the Gospel in our Churches.

It's not a secret that many Christians in the “peace at any cost camp” believe that Critical Race Theory, Radical Environmentalism, White Privilege, a Woman’s Right to Kill her Unborn Child and Gender Confusion need to be understood or embraced as new learning from those with legitimate grievances. At the minimum, we need to dialogue with the proponents of these philosophies to help us reach those who hurt. I can’t imagine anything more contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. We don’t need false arguments and empty philosophies to enhance or assist in a dialogue with those who are hurting and in need of the healing that the good news of Jesus provides. And to remain silent in the face of these false teachings is nowhere commanded in Scripture. But I’m also convinced that we are not called to fight a culture war per se, or to Christianize the world around us. No, we are in a war to save men’s souls from damnation. And nothing short of a radical change in nature by the New Birth is going to help. So only God’s truth is relevant, that is those truths taught in the Scriptures.

If I were to sum up the measured position that Scripture calls us to take, I would say that God has called us to be Winsome, Not Wimpy! Like our Savior Jesus, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. We aren’t looking to cause or fight a civil war to accomplish God’s kingdom purposes. But just as early Church Fathers did battle with the false philosophies of Rome and stood up for the poor and disadvantaged – we too are to stand for the truth of the Gospel against all the false arguments in which our “Moderns” find themselves embroiled. And while it’s very trendy to bring pseudo-Marxist doctrine like Critical Race Theory and say we need to use it as a framework to understand the hurt and needs of unevangelized people of color, this is just another gospel, which is not a gospel at all (Galatians 1:6)!

Here's how the Apostle Paul encouraged Christian Soldiers to fight for the Kingdom:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 6:10-20).

This is what combat-ready Christian Troops should look like going into Spiritual Battle! Thy Kingdom come!

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