This article was first published on Modern Christian Living Magazine
We have a problem. It is a problem of monumental proportions. It really has nothing to do with doctrines, creeds, or culture. It is more basic than these things. It has nothing to do with polls, church attendance, or the millennial generation. It is more basic than these as well. It goes down to the deepest part of Christian character. It affects every aspect of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. What is the problem? Christians have become pacifists concerning their faith.
Allow me to take you for a moment back in time in hymnody. Do you remember singing these songs in church?
“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see his banners go!”
Or how about this one?
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross; lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory his army shall he lead, till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
Or let’s take a look at some of the scripture references to the battle that is being waged between those that would follow Jesus and the mentality and behavior of those who are not following Jesus.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 “and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 “And e you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
I could go on and on about how being a follower of Jesus makes us antimatter to the world. The world and being a follower of Jesus cannot be mixed together. It is a deadly combination.
So now that I have reminded you that there is no peace between the world and the world’s way of thinking, I once again ask the question. “Where have all the Christian soldiers gone to?
The Propagation of Playground Christianity
Over the last 30 years or so, Christianity has gone down the road of making Christianity friendly to the world. It has been watered down and attempts were made to make everything palatable to everyone. The end result was a mentality that did not produce disciples but instead produced a playground. Nothing was worth fighting over. Nothing was worth laying down your life for. Instead we just gave them a good gospel show. This led them to have the idea that we only want what tickles our fancy and gives us good feelings.
Our fathers and mothers of the faith did not have this attitude. They were not going to play Christianity. They were preparing for battle. They took seriously that admonition of Paul to put on the whole armor of God. You don’t use armor on a playground. You use it on the battlefield.
Over the years churches have stopped using the images of war in favor of the images of peace. They have raised the white flag in many areas of our lives. We teach Jesus as Healer and Leader but not as Lord and King. We shout grace but whisper repentance. We bend over backwards to get the world to like us, and in doing so lose the very thing that made us attractive to those that need Jesus in the first place. Instead of being counter cultural, we want to be cultural. We seem to just want to stick our heads in the sand concerning the state of our nation, towns, cities, and families. We have stopped fighting the war that has always been fought. Many have raised the white flag and have just given in to the selfish and soulish demands of the world.
Examples of Christian Soldiers
When I think of Christian soldiers who confronted the condition of the world and the world’s mentality I think of Jonah. Not because Jonah was a great example of obedience but because of how much God wanted Nineveh to repent. He went to extreme measures to get someone to go to them and give them a simple message. Change what you are doing and change your attitude or you will be destroyed.
I think of John the Baptist. He was beheaded not because of what He was for, but because he confronted the sexual immorality of those in power. He stood not only for things, but also against things. He gave his life for that stand.
I think of Phillip the evangelist who was stoned because He refused to water down the gospel. He refused to turn from his belief that Jesus was God. He refused to water down the need for people to repent. (change direction and follow the example of Jesus.)
All of these were great Christian soldiers.
Will You Answer the Call?
Let me be straightforward with you. If the scriptures teach that the world will hate us. If the scriptures teach us not to love the world or the world’s ways. If following Jesus means giving up these things. Are you willing to do it? When asked what did you do to further the cause of Jesus, what will you say? Separation of church and state prevented me? My desire to be liked by my friends prevented me? My desire to have a positive image prevented me?
In order to be the salt of the world, the light of the world, and Jesus to the world, you are going to have to decide to be salty, filled with light, and take on the hatred that the world placed upon Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Duke Taber serves at Mid-Peninsula Vineyard Christian Church in San Carlos Ca. Pastor Duke has been a believer in Jesus for 33 years. He has been a pastor for over 20 years. He is an alumnus of LIFE Bible College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He currently reaches over 1 million people per week with the Gospel of Jesus through an extensive network of Christian websites.