Mohler calls Christians to be on high alert in war for hearts and minds

Communications Staff — October 28, 2003

Christians are not called to a life of self-absorbed ease, but to one of militant spiritual warfare in which they deploy the Gospel as a weapon to overthrow the false worldviews of the modern age, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said during an Oct. 15 sermon at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Mohler, Southern Seminary president, said the Gospel has many enemies in the contemporary culture just as it did in the early days of the Christian church. Mohler preached from 2 Cor. 10:1-6 during Southern Seminary’s annual Heritage Week celebration, held Oct. 14-16.

“The Gospel has its enemies,” Mohler said. “Why do we delude ourselves into believing that the Gospel had its enemies in the first century and we can be at peace now? Why do we harbor the narcissistic illusion that the apostle Paul had to deal with the reality but we can be freed from this?

“We can go on and make our decisions and plans and plot the future of our churches, our denomination, our institution, and our ministries as if we will not have enemies. But that is delusional…We should not be any more militaristic than the Scripture obligates us to be…but we had better not be any less.”

Believers must realize what it means to be “in the world but not of the world,” Mohler said. It means that they must not try to win the spiritual battle by worldly means in building a cult of personality or employing persuasive, but unbiblical, rhetoric, he said.

“Charisma [in personalities] can’t be the center of our ministry,” Mohler said. “Powerful personality [and] self-aggrandizement [or] pragmatism; that’s what it means to walk according to the flesh.

“There is [also] the pitfall of persuasive rhetoric. There are people who can sell almost anything, especially ideas. That is what is so dangerous in this society…Persuasive rhetoric was condemned for the church once for all in 1 Cor. 2.”

Christians must not fight the spiritual war “according to the flesh,” Mohler said. The enemy is not the people who believe or proclaim false worldviews. Rather, the enemy is the one who stands behind all unbiblical ideologies–Satan, Mohler said.

“We must keep ever before ourselves [the fact] that the enemy, even in the battles we fight on this earth, will not be the human beings we will engage,” Mohler said. “We must engage them. But the enemy is behind them…If the enemy were limited to those we engage in debate and in confrontation…we could deal with them in the flesh.

“But the problem of course is, they are not really the enemy. They are the mouthpieces of the enemy and they will answer for that…Because we realize this is a spiritual battle, we have to understand we must fight in a spiritual way.”

The Christian’s weapon is to be the Gospel, which alone is mighty to destroy competing belief systems, Mohler said. In the 20th century alone, two great worldviews—Nazism and Communism—both of which loomed as might fortresses on the sociopolitical landscape, were taken out by truth, Mohler pointed out.

There are scores of modern-day “fortresses” that have established themselves in opposition to the Gospel, Mohler said. Among them are moral relativism, secularism, postmodernism, hedonism, false tolerance, individual autonomy, and a culture of death, he said.

It is the authentic biblical Gospel that possesses the power to explode all competing worldviews, he said. And ultimately, this destruction is God’s work and must be done God’s way—through proclamation of His Word, Mohler said.

“The tearing down of fortresses in our day is going to have to be God’s work,” he said. “In the Gospel, we have God’s weapon of mass destruction. In the preaching and in the teaching of the Gospel, there is the power of God and that alone is the weapon of worldview destruction.”

In preparation for the battle, Christians must study and know the content of the faith to a degree that it becomes a comprehensive worldview. But they must wed this knowledge of God’s truth with undying obedience to it, for authentic Christianity is bound up in two commands, Mohler said: “believe” and “obey.”

“Christian truth is the power of the Gospel. We must stand by our Christian cognitive statements in the Gospel but [also] know that this truth is a transformative truth,” he said. “There is a moral character of knowledge that we as Christians must ever have in mind.

“The transformative vision of the church [is that] it is the church after all. We are to be part of an army, not lone warriors. We are called to be the soldiers of Christ, not mercenaries. We are called to be the church militant until by God’s grace, when the Lord comes and claims His church, we are the church triumphant. The triumph will be His, not ours.”

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