How is it possible to be a true soldier for Jesus Christ and to be a pacifist, not fight? The Christian life is a fight, from start to finish, we are exhorted to do so, are we not? There seems to be little affinity in today’s Church with the Apostle Paul, a true warrior for the faith. The human instruments God uses for triumph in his Church are not pacifists but fighters, like Paul. Think of some of the great heroes of the faith, Tertullian against Marcion, Athanasius fought a mighty battle against the Arians, Augustine warred against Pelagius and Luther against princes, kings and popes for the liberty of God’s people. John’s Calvin and Knox and many others. Were they, not true fighters, all of them? What can God do with a bunch of compromised pacifists? The Apostle Paul faced physical hardships in travel alone, that would cause most of us to wilt. Then there were the enemies within. Read his letters, always in conflict, trying to keep the truth in and error, paganism out. He sticks his finger in one breach in the dam and others burst forth elsewhere. Always fighting, never a moments rest, wielding the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, the only antidote, the only defence against false, freedom-denying religion. The remedy is direct, continual, intimate contact with the Word of God. We must not place confessions, useful tools though they are, or scholars for that matter, helpful though some of them may be, before God and his word. This is exactly what pagan Rome does with its traditions. It is the word of God that is the sword of the Spirit, not the words of men. It is the word of God that is forever settled in heaven. It is the word of God that is alive and powerful. It is the word of God that is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is the entrance of God’s word that gives light and understanding. It is the word of God preached, heard, and believed, that saves sinners by bringing them to the knowledge of Christ. It is the doctrine of God and the doctrine of God alone that saves. How can we tolerate these compromisers? Tolerance is their watchword, they say we must be tolerant. The Christian faith is intolerant to its very heart! It is intolerant when it declares there is only one way back to God from sin, by grace, through faith, in Christ alone! Apart from works. When it says a man must be born again, it is defiantly intolerant, because there is no other way of entrance to the Kingdom, through the new birth. It is an offensive intolerance to the world, to pagan religion, because it is a declaration of war, a relentless war that only ends with the glory of heaven. How can we term ourselves soldiers, fighters of the faith, when we make common cause with those who compromise, who deny, or who ignore the gospel we love and proclaim. We cannot be neutral, not if we love the souls of men. The warfare we have entered is not a carnal affair, but a war of love. Can we be so heartless and cruel as to simply stand upon a Church balcony and watch others fight the fight of faith? It is only as we engage in this spiritual warfare, wielding our spiritual swords that those many poor, wretched souls who have flocked to our land, looking for freedom, will find true freedom, in Christ. It is only as the Church enters this fray of love that those trapped by pagan religion, or any other manifestation of sin, will be liberated ultimately from the judgment of God.
Calvinism Accomplished & Applied
So can I suggest that it is only another Reformation, only a return to John Calvin’s liberating theology will put the great back into what was once Great Britain and cause the nations of Europe to flourish again. But without the serious Law-Gospel preaching? The problem, as stated, is a problem of intellect and unless the pulpit in this country rises both in content and volume unless the divine Law is brought to bear upon the Church first, then the nation bringing about serious and deep reform, then I am afraid we will be returned to the medieval darkness. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron (1Timothy 4:1-2). We are a good way towards that now. It is only a return to Calvin’s theology and its application. Not talking about it, not holding him up, and examining him this way and that, saying what a wonderful guy he was, what wonderful stuff it is. It is one thing to eulogize the man Calvin, it’s another to emulate him, do what he did. It is the application of full-orbed biblical preaching. That alone will stem the tide of apostasy that is already running deep even within so-called Reformed Evangelicalism today. Only a resurgence of the pulpit will prevent a resurgence of more and more of what we see in our nation, in Europe and the West today. May the Lord God have mercy upon us.
(©️ James R Hamilton, February 2020)