If the children of Satan are the enemy, then who are our allies? Who can we trust? Who is on our side? You can’t fight a war, much less win it, until both sides are clearly identified. So let’s identify our allies, let’s identify ourselves.
Gimme that old time religion,
Gimme that old time religion,
Gimme that old time religion,
It’s good enough for me!
It was good for Paul and Silas,
It was good for Paul and Silas,
It was good for Paul and Silas,
It’s good enough for me!
This is one of my all-time, favorite hymns. It has, or can have, a fast, snappy beat. It’s easy to sing. You can add verses forever; it was good for my old father, mother, brother, etc. It’s cheerful and upbeat. And, you can use it to keep the kids busy on long trips so they aren’t constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” But it raises an interesting question: what old time religion?
This is especially pertinent if you consider Paul and Silas. They were New Testament saints. Paul was a Pharisee, a former member of the Sanhedrin. Both of them were Jews, probably alive during Jesus’ earthly ministry, certainly they knew and spent time with Apostles who personally knew Jesus and witnessed His miracles, death and resurrection: Peter and James for sure. Additionally, Paul had several of his own encounters with Jesus, beginning with the one on the road to Damascus.
So, what old time religion was good enough for them? What old time religion are we talking about?
If you’re talking about personal salvation, repenting of your sins, being forgiven and saved; that would be the Gospels – literally Good News – along with the rest of the New Testament. Here, Jesus talks about the kingdom of Heaven, personal accountability before God, forgiveness of sin, obedience to Scripture, the Holy Spirit and a whole host of other things, all related to a saving one-on-one relationship with God the Father through God the Son. It’s uplifting, life-giving and best of all – eternal.
People who follow Jesus and are saved by the shedding of His blood are called Christians (literally translated: Christ followers). Despite many denominational differences most would agree that Romans 10:9 describes what makes you a Christian: if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. But that is as far as the agreement goes. From there on out a sharp split occurs, almost like an explosion in every direction.
Leaving aside the hundreds of denominational differences, which would be a whole book in and of itself, there are also personal differences. Some Christians focus on evangelism to the exclusion of everything else, proclaiming, with some justification, God doesn’t need our help to win, so our job is to introduce as many people to Him as possible. They send missions overseas, they build churches and soup kitchens, volunteer at homeless shelters, preach in prisons, visit hospices to win the dying and hand out tracts to everyone they meet. These are the Billy Graham’s of the world. They’re so earnest and sincere only a madman could be indifferent to them. They’re the most wonderful, generous, helpful, godly people you’ll ever meet. But – and I say this with a heavy heart – they are dead set against getting involved in the ‘down and dirty’ of politics. They’ll argue against it with the same passion they apply to their evangelism.
Other Christians will focus on children’s ministries; teaching, training and rearing the next generation to take our place. My wife is an example of this kind of Christian. She created a ‘Proverbs 31 Girls’ ministry for young girls in their early ‘teens. She and her sister have campouts for the girls, take them to youth rallies and purity seminars, sleepovers and makeovers and cookouts and who knows what all. Sometimes I can’t keep track of it, but she loves every minute of it and can talk your ear off for hours on end if you let her. But if I mention politics her eyes glaze over so much she can barely force herself to listen. Churches are filled with, and couldn’t function without, Christians like this. In addition to children’s ministries they run youth ministries, music ministries, outreach ministries, bus ministries (driving people back and forth to church), teach Sunday School classes from 8 to 80, take care of the church buildings, answer phones, volunteer as greeters and ushers, man the kitchens, sweep the floors and take out the trash. There are as many different ministers as there are people but the one thing most of them have is common is a lack of interest in politics. If something affects them personally they’ll get involved for a while, but mostly they don’t have time for it.
Another group of Christians are called to preach. If they can’t preach they’re miserable. They need to preach the way most people need to breathe. The word preacher actually comes from the word ‘prophet’, which in both the Old and New Testament literally means ‘a herald who publishes or proclaims the word of the sovereign’, usually a sovereign king. In our case of course we’re talking about the sovereign King of Kings, Jesus. By the way, preaching is not something you choose to do. (Well, some do but nearly all of them are phonies.) Instead, preaching chooses you. More accurately, God chooses you, ‘calls you’ in the vernacular, to publish and proclaim His Word. Anyone can get up on stage and give a message from the Bible, but true preachers are a breed apart. Having said that, it’s still true that preachers will thunder from the pulpit like the prophets of old until it comes election time, then they’ll give a sermon about voting for the candidate who has godly values but won’t name names for fear of losing their 501(c)(3) tax exemption. Now and then some will come out forcefully on one issue or another, here or there, but as a general rule they avoid ‘controversial’ issues.
If forced into a corner, all these Christians will admit something needs to be done about the culture in our country, the political corruption, etc., but will find a million excuses why they aren’t the ones to do it, or can’t do it, or don’t have time, or whatever. Many will prevaricate by asserting we have to say things the right way so as not to offend anyone, or be unchristian. But every suggestion you advance has some problem which makes it unsuitable to them. “Oh, I could never say that!” they’ll exclaim. “It’ll drive people away from church!” “You’re being too harsh!” “You’re being judgmental!” “You’re alienating the people we’re trying to save.” They won’t offer any advice on what should be said, mind you, just criticize and disagree with every recommendation you make. It’s more than a bit frustrating.
Been there, done that.
These Christians miss two important facts: 1) the body of Christ has many different parts, all with different jobs and 2) what works for personal salvation doesn’t apply to national salvation. Their gifts are different from mine and mine are different from them. To put it as delicately as possible, I’m a paladin, a holy warrior fighting on the battlefield for God and His kingdom. I didn’t choose this role any more than Billy Graham chose to be an evangelist. This is what God called me to be.
There’s an old saying: if there’s one, there’s another. This is true in the Church as well as in the secular world. If there’s one person called to be an evangelist, there’s another also called to evangelism. The evidence bears this out; there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of evangelists around the world. Similarly, if there’s one person called to the youth ministry, there’s another one there too. Again, the evidence bears this out. And if there’s one person called to work in the background, there’s another and another and another; and if there’s one person called to preach, there’s another there as well.
So…if there’s one person called to be a paladin, there’s bound to be others. In other words, if there’s one of me, then somewhere out there are others who are just the same. This book is addressed to them.
Paladins are not evangelists. We’ll share our faith and point people to Jesus when the opportunity arises but we don’t seek it out. It’s not the first thing on our minds when we get up in the morning. What’s on our minds is fighting back against the rising tide of corruption, sin and evil that’s swamping our country. We sometimes fight with words and protests, but we’re equally willing to double up our fists in a street fight. Paladins don’t play parlor games; we go to war. Evangelists are the hands of the Lamb of God. Paladins are the teeth and claws of the Lion of Judah. We carve out and protect the safe holds which make it possible for evangelists to go about the business of personal salvation through the Gospel of Christ. To paraphrase from The Book of Esther, “perhaps we were born for a time such as this.”
You can’t mix-n-match them either. The Apostle Paul talked about the Body of Christ and used examples of hands and eyes and ears and so forth. There’s nothing wrong with that but I like to use cars as my examples.
Lug nuts are very important for the proper functioning of a car. Try driving around town without them for more than a minute or two and you’ll discover just how important they are. The tires will come off, the car will drop to the ground, skidding to a halt and just like that, you’re going nowhere. Plus you’ll have a monster repair bill from the auto body shop. Battery cables are also very important to the proper functioning of a car. Take the battery cables off your car and see how far you get. Brother, you won’t even get out of the driveway! So, lug nuts are very important and battery cables are very important, but, can you switch them? Can you use lug nuts in place of battery cables? Can you use battery cables in place of lug nuts?
Of course not. It’s a silly question. They’re different parts designed for different functions. The car needs both of them to function properly, but they’re not interchangeable.
It’s just as silly to expect a paladin to act like an evangelist. God, the Master Architect, designed and engineered us to do different things. We have different functions, and we’re not interchangeable any more than lug nuts and battery cables are. It’s ridiculous to even try.
Yet I constantly encounter people attempting to do just that. It’s been an ongoing battle since the day I was saved, right around May 1st, 2002. I’m told I’m being too harsh, too militaristic, too judgmental, not being merciful or loving enough, that I say things the wrong way, if I would only moderate my tone of voice, quit focusing on negatives so much, have a conversation with people instead of lecturing, well, then things would be better.
I’ve tried. As God is my witness, I’ve tried. But like using a lug nut in place of a battery cable, it doesn’t work. In fact it usually makes things worse. I’ve slowly come to the realization it will never work. I’m a paladin, end of story.
If any of this rings a bell, you’re probably a paladin too.
Personal salvation is found in the New Testament. This is where the evangelist works. But if you’re talking about national salvation, well now, that’s a horse of a different color. For that you have to turn to the Old Testament. This is where the paladin works.
Oddly enough we have to start in the New Testament with the Apostle Paul, who, as an Apostle, was a little bit of everything. From Church history we know he was a short, pugnacious, in-your-face kind of guy. He had more than a little bit of paladin in him. Let’s take a quick look at Galatians 1:8.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. [NKJV]
The NIV says, “…let them be under God’s curse!” I don’t care who you are; there is no way you can look at that – in any translation – and call it anything but harsh, extremely harsh. Yet there it is, in the Bible, part of the canon. No less a person than the Apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 3:15-16, compared Paul’s epistles to the rest of Scripture, thus equating them with Scripture.
- as also our beloved brother, Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. [emphasis added]
Paul went toe-to-toe with Peter over the matter of eating ‘unclean’ food with the Gentiles then pretending otherwise when Jews were around. Peter backed down yet here we see him taking Paul’s side by equating his epistles (letters) with the rest of Scripture. Today we know, through the Holy Spirit, Paul’s letters as well as Peter’s, were inspired. Thus they are Scripture, including Galatians 1:8.
The Bible is not a cafeteria. You can’t pick and choose. If you accept one part of it, you have to accept all of it. Paladins instinctively understand this. Its’ part of the way God made us. Where some other Christians (not all) try to hem and haw, claiming it’s a matter of interpretation or ‘only specific to that particular time’, paladins aren’t having any of it. It’s all pertinent, it’s all meant to be applied. Jesus Himself affirmed this in Matthew 5:17-19.
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [NKJV]
This means the Old Testament is still applicable to Christians, and nations, today. The Founding Fathers certainly took much of their inspiration from it. For instance; in Isaiah 33:22 we find the following example of the three, co-equal branches of government.
For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.
From this example we see the Legislative branch, the Executive branch (the King) and the Judicial branch. While God is all three among the Church and in heaven, in earthly governments men fill each branch, with each branch – ideally – being equal to the others; none being superior, none being inferior. We also see in this arrangement echoes of the Trinity.
Over and over in the Old Testament, in the Prophets, in the Psalms and Proverbs, we see God being praised as the God of all the earth, of all the nations. At the Tower of Babel, God split up mankind into all the different tongues and countries. He used the Babylonians to punish the Hebrews for their sins. In the coming War of Gog and Magog He uses other nations to fulfill His purposes in the Last Days. God created all the earth so it’s not surprising He works through all the earth to carry out His plans.
As paladins, or guard dogs if you prefer, we are called to use Old Testament precepts to defend the faith, cast out the petty or not-so petty tyrants and take back our nation. We leaven our actions with New Testament mercy, without being naïve or gullible. In short, like the song says, we are Christian Soldiers.
Christian soldiers, paladins, guard dogs – whichever you please – are no different in this respect than any other self-respecting Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine. We must fight hard and fast with victory being held out as the only option. Defeat is unthinkable. We must win no matter the odds. At the same time we restrain ourselves to prevent injury to innocents caught in the crossfire. Guilt by association can’t be used to tar bystanders whose only crime was to be friendly, or merely neighbors with, those we are opposing and striving to defeat. Our methods will vary from one situation to another but on no account shall we intentionally target the guiltless. But understand the contrary as well. We shall not refrain from attacking evil because it is hiding behind noncombatants, or because such might be injured in the fighting.
Example: many on the political left, and within the Church unfortunately, will claim many Muslims are peaceful and we shouldn’t tar all of them with the same brush. I will concede the point readily enough. But just as the Allied Forces refused to hold back in their bombing raids over Germany in World War II for fear of killing or wounding peaceful Germans, we must not hold back either. We didn’t start this war – and it is a war – nor did we choose the battlefield or terms of engagement, but we will finish it. We must.
Very few of the solutions in this book entail violence or the threat of violence, but let’s be clear; it will be called for on occasion. Unless you’re willing to back up your words with physical force, they’re just noise, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
At the beginning of this chapter I asked, who are our allies? Who can we trust? Who is on our side? The answer is simple: paladins and those willing to stand up and fight like paladins. Those who are willing to support paladins in our battles against the forces of darkness. Those who are Christian Soldiers, marching as to war.
If you’re still with me, and still willing to stand up and be counted; congratulations! Read on to discover one of the first strategies we’ll use in a myriad of ways.