Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. -- Revelation 3:21

Most Christians don’t seem interested in conquest these days.  To conquer has become equivalent in our minds to oppression, to a subduing of the natural nobility.  Armies of the West no longer go forth to vanquish the enemy but to win his heart and his mind, to build his nation, to honor and conserve his culture, which is judged superior to our own.  Not to be political or secular, but there are only two options in war.  One is to conquer; the other is to be conquered. 

The modern Christian thinks he lives in a peaceful, tolerant world.  He doesn’t so much as see the blood that was shed to give him his breakfast, let alone the blood shed to forgive his sins.  His worldview is shattered by every act of senseless violence.  He asks God why there must be evil in the world.  He has forgotten or refuses to believe that it is a fallen world we inhabit, that it was created good, and that we are the party that introduced sin and suffering into it.  The miracle is that good remains in it despite the efforts of the vast majority of the world’s population to eradicate it. 

Do we think we can retreat to our church buildings and be left alone?  I tell you, darkness is threatened by a single candle burning in the night and will not be at ease until it is extinguished. 

We are at war.  Light wins in the end, but we will not overcome unless we fight.  We have retreated.  We have appeased.  We have tolerated.  We have been inoffensive – not even defensive lest we should make some heathen uncomfortable.

It’s going to be uncomfortable.  Conflict is unpleasant.  It is also inevitable.  We might as well get ready.  I don’t want to be a conquistador or a crusader.  Combat, though, calls us out:  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 (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

1 comment:

julie said...

I've been doing some research for a project about Christian symbology: all the old and odd (to modern eyes) signs that adorn our churches. Who knows anymore, except in the vaguest Christian sort of way, what they represent?

One that I found quite interesting was the Chi Rho - the image shown to Constantine, which adorned the flags of his armies thereafter. The vision he had did not tell him "By this sign, your enemies will decide to be nice, stop fighting, and grant your empire peace." No, it was In Hoc Signo Vinces: "With this sign, you will conquer." And he did.

Sometimes, the enemy can't be won over with winsomness and gentility. Sometimes, it is right, just, noble and good to be victorious. Sometimes, it seems as though in forgetting Christ, the West has forgotten how to win.