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The Pulpit: Mightier than the Sword!

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . .

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (ESV)

Life is a battle. Walking in the flesh means warring with the flesh, and everyone, whether he knows it or not, is signed up for battle. The weapons for the war, however, are as different as the opposing sides of the conflict. The truth is that war is a spiritual malady manifesting itself at every level of life—personally, culturally, and nationally. War is a reality of sin, and the Christian must fight to win with weapons assigned from God’s arsenal.

The Church does not war as nations do. She does not bear the power of a visible sword to execute her enemies or advance her agenda. Her weapons are different, with special powers and superior quality. Every Christian is called to demolish arguments and opinions raised against God. Paul’s strategy was to attack ruthlessly the ideas—“the arguments” (logismos, v. 5) and “the lofty opinions” (hupsoma, v. 5b) masquerading as human wisdom and intelligence. The Greek word ochuroma (strongholds, v. 4) occurs only here in the New Testament and refers to the heavily fortified military fortresses of the Roman frontier legions. While the godless concepts, slogans, and “proofs” of which Paul spoke were framed in materially weightless words, he knew that a pile of words could safeguard evil as surely as berms and battlements could shield a tyrant.

Paul battles the thoughts and trumps the hand of God’s enemies by an informed spiritual vigilance. The scope of Paul’s ambition was comprehensive. He desired to take every thought captive to Christ. The Christian mind was to act as a sentry to stop sinful musings at their start. Paul was not concerned only with the basics of individual piety, personal faith, individual obedience, and the purity of the Church, as essential as these were. Rather, he desired to change the outlook of people on every issue. Believing that Jesus is Lord required that every thought be tested mercilessly to determine its outcome and benefit (if any) to the Christian.

This sort of battle plan obliterates the multifarious schemes to avoid the claims of God. Saturated with worldview options designed to cloak the godless ignorance and idolatry of human beings, the West now stands on the brink of ruin. The myriad of options presented to sophisticated modern men are fatally flawed, because they are not based on the truth of God. Now enlightened, many have now become enslaved to the very thoughts that once promised to liberate them.

The duty of every Christian leader is to war against people on the battlefield of ideas. This requires serious thinking and courage to confront opposing (even if widely accepted) cultural viewpoints. Prayerful reflection on the whole counsel of God mandates that war take place to stop error when it is called truth. To fail to engage in this battle is to misunderstand Paul’s strategy for cultural engagement and the Christian’s obligation to “take every thought captive.”