The church militant?
by Phil Johnson
ost evangelicals don't really think they are at war against false religion and spiritual lies. Just read the books and blogs of the people who talk most about being "missional" and "culturally relevant"—and you might get the impression that friendship with the world is the number one goal of the church. It's not. It is a grievous sin to be avoided. "Friendship with the world is enmity with God." The church is supposed to be an army waging war against worldly values—not Hollywood's Welcome Wagon.
Churchmen in these postmodern times seem absolutely terrified by the militant language in Scripture, frightened about the prospect of contending earnestly for the faith. After all, you can't earnestly contend for the faith in rationalistic and postmodern universities and keep any kind of academic respectability.
Christians today think they have a better idea: Why not serve high tea and buttered scones to our ideological adversaries and have a polite dialogue while we look for common ground so that we can affirm one another?
That seems so much more "civilized" and "charitable" doesn't it?
Why does the warfare metaphor have to be given so much emphasis?
The answer, of course, is that Scripture itself gives prominence to this truth. We really are in a war. It's not a literal struggle against flesh and blood. It's actually something much greater, far more dangerous, and infinitely more serious than that, because what's at stake in this war is eternal. Ephesians 6:12: "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."
Souls are perishing in this conflict—passing into eternal judgment where there is no hope of redemption. It's a somber, profound reality. That truth is not at all consistent with the amusement-park atmosphere so many sc-century evangelical churches have tried to cultivate. It's not in any sense harmonious with the spirit of our age. But every faithful Christian must be a warrior.