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F. Earle Fox
St. Paul refers to the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6, his chapter on spiritual warfare. It is the only offensive weapon which Christians are given in most circumstances. There are times when coercive force is justified, as in the apprehension of criminals and in the protection of one's country, etc., the just war theory.
But generally, Christians are limited to spreading the Gospel by persuasion, reason, and by Godly living, by knowing how themselves to die well.
The forces of evil cannot live long in the light and will work to subvert truth-seeking and truth-speaking as soon as possible. That means that the forces of evil are very vulnerable to the truth, to the light of day. We will not, in this live, not before the return of the King, eliminate evil from the earth. But we are equipped to force evil back into the caves and under the rocks, out of the public arena. When we do not do that, they will turn the tables and force goodness and righteousness into the caves and under the rocks. Or at the very least, to lock themselves behind their church walls and not come out with the Gospel. That is precisely what has happened in Western Civilization, and the Church stands blandly and apathetically by.
It is time again to raise the Sword of the Spirit, which means, among other things, learning the lesson God was teaching us with the rise of science, learning more precisely how to show the world that Jesus really is King of kings and Lord of lords. We can learn to live well like that only to the extent that we have first learned how to die well.
Science is the way of the cross for the intellect -- we give up our right to be right, and let the truth and the Lord of truth speak for themselves. Christians are bound to be good scientists, i.e., truth-seekers and truth-speakers with intellectual credibility. Upon that alone can we have moral and spiritual credibility. Truth is the only common ground upon which any two persons can communicate. All else is pseudo-communication. Science is not merely academic, it is a part of life, being a truth-seeker. We learn its basic principles at (or over) mother's knee. Commitment to truth is a prerequisite for discipleship to Jesus.
The Sword of the Spirit is (in one analogy) the welding of revelation back to back with reason. The two are inseparable, and neither one will survive without the other. Together, they are an invincible weapon. No wonder the Enemy had to find way to set the two edges against each other, so that the Kingdom of God among us could not stand. We MUST reverse that terrible betrayal on our part and put the two edges back to back again.
When we do, we will begin to win, and we will begin to meet the most violent of persecutions. Maybe Armageddon. So let's get on with it.
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