Saturday, July 26, 2014

Adaptation for Survival

As weapons developed throughout history, the tactics of warfare also changed with them. With the sword came hand to hand battles. The invention of the bow and spear allowed armies to engage the enemy before they were at close range. Gunpowder and the ensuing development of the musket allowed for engagement at great distances.

What is lost in this equation are those who would not alter their tactics to the weapon of the day. Many forces with superior numbers have been defeated because their weapons and tactics were outdated at that time. The Zulu in South Africa outnumbered the British 20 to 1, but they massed thousands of men armed with spears against the British armed with Martini-Henry rifles. The British column of 1800 men advancing to Ft Duquesne during the French and Indian war was massacred by a small force of French and Indians sheltered in the woods firing into the column from all sides. The British, used to massing on open fields of Europe did not have the tactical where withal to fight in the woods, and they panicked, broke rank and were slaughtered.

Tactics continued to change and adapt. Guerrilla warfare (hit and run, attack and night or when not expected) became a popular way for a smaller inferior force to be successful against a superior one. Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox” successfully fought the British in South Carolina this way. Ho Chi Minh successfully beat back both the French and Americans in Vietnam, and the mujahedeen drove the Soviet military out of Afghanistan by armed civilians fighting out of caves and other hiding places, and then blending back into the population. From the battles of Fredericksburg and Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, which pitted entrenched soldiers firing from protected positions against masses of men charging across an open field to the Polish cavalry charging Hitler’s tanks on horseback, those armies who did not adapt to the situation they faced were doomed.

The Apostle Paul wrote “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
(1 Corinthians 9:20-22).

What Paul was saying was that as Christians, we would have to change our tactics depending on those we were witnessing to. Like the Special Forces in Afghanistan who grow beards, wear native clothing and ride donkeys, we need to think, act and fight using tactics our enemy uses.

Like those who refused to adapt and were defeated, the church too often stays with the “tried and true”, burying their head in the spiritual sand and not recognizing the enemy isn’t fazed by old methods, because he has adapted to them. Because the “ancient church” did something doesn’t mean it is effective today. The ancient soldier fought with the broadsword. Would we consider this an effective weapon today?

The enemy has changed their tactic and we haven’t adapted. The modern world doesn’t live to work. Leisure and having fun is an important part of their existence. The church of the “tried and true” saw fun and frivolity as evil and carnal. Church services were stern and unemotional. Music was sinful unless it was psalms or hymns. All talk of human relations was prefaced as bad. Dating was frowned against. Church was a place where you heard a laundry list of what you couldn’t do. It was a place the youth ran from as soon as they turned 18.

Our enemy offers people a guilt free lie, not life. “Do what you want without consequences” is the pitch. We offer life more abundantly, so it should be a no brainer which people would choose. However, the lie is packaged to the unbeliever by the devil as follows: “the church doesn’t want you to enjoy life. Look at all their rules, touch not, taste not, perish with using, while out here you can have fun, enjoy life and live in freedom”

Why can’t we offer Christians the guilt free ability to “have fun, enjoy life and live in freedom”?  Where in the bible did it ever say those things were evil? Why has the message of grace and its corresponding freedom been reduced to a grace – law hybrid that brings defeat and death, not life? When have all our church rules kept people free from sin? From Baptist to Holiness, from Methodist to Charismatic, there is and always has been sin in the camp. The law with its regulations cannot redeem or make one holy.

Why can’t the church once and for all declare God’s people forgiven and pardoned? Why can’t we tell Christians there truly is “no condemnation” to those in Christ? We focus so much on the “who walk not” part of that verse we ignore the declarative statement “There is therefore NO CONDEMNATION…..”

Our enemy has adapted, will we? He promises freedom and delivers bondage. Let’s not do the same as Christians.


Anonymous said...

You should be a part of a contest for one of the finest websites online.
I will highly recommend this blog!

Anonymous said...

bookmarked!!, I really like your site!