Many claiming to be Christians ‘fighting the good fight’ have got it badly wrong. Crusades, empire building, Northern Ireland… have all claimed to be God’s wars. ‘God’ has fought for racial supremacy, slavery, seizing personal power and wealth…
God’s wars aren’t led by a nation. Both England and the US have fought wars claiming to have God on their side.
God’s wars aren’t led by the church, church traditions or an individual church leader.
Wrong Cause and Enemy
The enemy isn’t Catholics, liberals, traditionalists, fundamentalists, charismatics, or any other part of the Church. Choosing such enemies leads to civil war.
The enemy isn’t Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. It isn’t illegal immigrants, homosexuals, scroungers or co-habiting couples. It is not religion or lifestyle.
The weapons of ‘Christian’ wars have often been hatred, anger, violence, exclusion, segregation…
I follow my leader, Jesus. My primary identity or leadership is not ‘Baptist’, ‘Christian’ or ‘church-goer’.
Correct Cause and enemy
We fight for justice, truth, life, reconciliation… We fight against lying, self-love, prejudice, hypocrisy, addictions…
We fight personal battles within ourselves, we fight social battles in our local communities and beyond…
The enemy faced is the force or person of evil that some call ‘The Devil’ or ‘Satan’.
We fight with weapons of compassion, courage, peace, faith, God’s word, prayer…..
Although I take responsibility for personal engagement I do not fight alone. I fight alongside other followers of Jesus.
Jesus, my friend and battle leader, stands alongside me and give me the strength to engage with the battles of today.
I seek to continue to fight my battles; I aspire one day to be able to say with St Paul: ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’
I have heard many sermons on ‘spiritual warfare’. On Moses and David, on ‘the whole armour of God’ from Ephesians 6, perhaps with bits from 2 Corinthians 10 or 2 Timothy 2.
Some have splendid theology but I am left thinking ‘so what?’ Others apply the warfare metaphor to their own personal opinion, prejudice or crusade.
I have tried to outline a different approach… I continue to muse, realising I haven’t got it yet…