It looks awesome from a distance. Sounds great, too – whistling through the wind as its proud owner swings it here , there and everywhere, like a skilled and dangerous soldier or knight.
But, at the end of the day, it’s just a toy. The wannabe soldier is merely pretending. His sword is a fake; an imitation without an edge.
He and his “sword” are no real threat to anyone.
Normally, a kid playing soldier or knight with something like a plastic sword is no big deal. Kinda cool, actually. But in this case, the pretenders with swords under consideration are actually quite dangerous, first because they are not children and secondly because they are actively hawking counterfeit swords to anyone who will watch or listen to them.
Where true Believers are called to take up, train with and actively use the true Sword of the Spirit (see: Ephesians 6), most professing Christians in America and the West (including many who are active members of “conservative, ‘Bible-believing’ churches”) don’t know the God-given supernatural Sword of Truth from any one of the many purposefully weak and wildly popular swords of worldliness…aka “the sword of tolerance” or “the sword of ‘love'” or “the sword of niceness” or…well…you get the picture.
Most professing Christian church members in such a condition are there largely because they follow leaders who do much to make the rubber sword of toothless truth appear to be the Sword of the Spirit given to true believers by God through His Word. For some of these churchgoers, they are deceived for a season out of naivete and immaturity enabled vulnerability. For many of those who stay on long term under such “leaders”, the plastic sword hawking pastors they follow are the judgment of God upon them. They have been given over to just the sort of “ear tickling” leadership that they desire.
These leaders often talk much about the authority and perfection of Scripture in vague, flowery language, but when the rubber meets the road in the real world of detailed application, well…*swoosh, swoosh*…it’s time to divert attention from detailed application by talking big and bold in generalities.
Keep it simple.
Keep it vague.
Always talk about how the Word is sufficient and addresses every area of life…but just don’t actually go there in detail.
What does the Word of God say about the subject of children’s education? What does the Word of God say about economics? What does the Word of God say about church discipline? What does the Word of God say about family?
These are the sorts of questions that truly repentant New Creatures in Christ will naturally be inspired to ask as a result of the new nature given them through the supernatural act of salvation. And these are the sorts of questions that will more often than not be deflected, dismissed, and avoided at all costs by the wannabe pretending to play preacher with a plastic sword. (And, if such questioning persists, it is likely to get the question asking New Creature run right out of the building…all in the name love, peace, and Jesus, of course.)
The replacement of the Sword of Truth with the plastic sword of toothlessness is tragic, but anything but surprising in a culture that has been led to the brink of implosion by an apathetic, lawless, and often wildly unbiblical professing church.
The true Gospel and true Sword of the Word are inherently confrontational and corrective.
And if there’s anything that this world and the modern American mindset hates, it is…confrontation and correction.
The plastic, world-friendly, harmless counterfeit sword is marked not by it’s ability to properly confront and correct, but by its aversion to the same.
It is to spiritual swords what (Star Wars) Stormtrooper suits are to armor.
The plastic pseudo-sword bounces off the feelings, traditions, and opinions of men and women as though they were made of ten-inch thick diamond. It misses the mark of conviction and confrontation even more regularly than Stormtroopers miss…well…anything they’re ever shooting at.
It’s bad. Really bad.
And it is in the hands of most professing evangelical Christians in America right now.
Most American Christians don’t know how to apply the Sword of Truth in detail in their own lives, and they don’t want to. The thought of actively pursuing obedience to Christ right here and now in every realm of life through the confrontational and corrective power of the Word of God is as offensive to most modern professing Christians as it is to a garden variety pagan.
Until and unless the true church leads the way in repentance and takes up the Sword of the Spirit as commanded by our King, this culture is and should be doomed. Until and unless we lead the way in active obedience to Christ the King in every realm right here and now, there is no hope.
By the grace of God, only the true church has been given spiritual life, sight, and the ability to not only hear but lovingly obey His Word. Everyone else is dead, blind and enslaved to sin. So, quite obviously, they can’t do anything but lead us further into ruin.
We have truth.
We have clarity.
We have power – the supernatural power of the Gospel-fueled Great Commission.
We have all of these things by the grace of God for the sake of fulfilling His purpose for His creation.
We have the obligation to bring the confrontational and corrective power of the life-encompassing Gospel to bear in this culture.
It is we who are most responsible if this culture continues its slide into oblivion. Our faithless abandonment of the Great Commission is why it has gotten as bad as it has around here, and only our faithful embrace of the Gospel-fueled Great Commission can move this land and its people from darkness into Light.
We must lead the way in confronting and correcting our sin out of love for our King, so that we then might coherently obey His command to see that the same is done in every nation and realm of His creation. All true hope in every realm of Christ’s creation rests upon conformity to His nature as revealed in His Word.
It’s all on us.
So take up your sword, Christian.
The real one.
And feel free (obligated, even) to use it to cut every plastic counterfeit to pieces at every God-given opportunity.
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© 2014 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
Soli Deo Gloria!