Bob Tamasy: Like It Or Not, We're In A War - And We're All Enlisted

Thursday, June 30, 2022 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Music is always in a state of flux. One day’s rage of rhythms and melodies soon become footnotes in musical history books. Think disco, the twist, bee-bop, doo-wop, and the cha-cha. We still hear and see them sometimes, but for the most part they’re regarded as candidates for the Smithsonian.

 

The same holds true for Christian music. In many churches today, time-honored, traditional hymns are a thing of the past. Praise music, replete with heavy drums, amped-up guitars and even flashing lights, are the predominant “fashion.” Whether that’s a good thing or not is subject for discussion – or debate.

But it seems to me that the drift and shift away from the hymnbook began early in the 1980’s.

 

I vividly remember when certain denominations took a stand against the classic “Onward Christian Soldiers,” declaring it too militant, too “warlike” for people of faith who, as they viewed Jesus’ Beatitudes, are supposed to be “meek.” They demanded it be removed from their hymnals, calling for “kinder, gentler” congregational choruses.

 

Personally, I always had a fondness for “Onward Christian Soldiers,” even as a boy in church, long before I understood what being a disciple of Jesus Christ truly means. I recall standing at my pew, softly stomping my feet to the image of soldiers marching boldly for Christ. “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see, His banners go!...”

 

These lyrics never motivated me to go out and beat up someone. But I’m afraid there’s no point in stumping for its reinstatement as part of Sunday services. Sadly, I think we’ve lost sight of the hymn’s central message that, like it or not, if we’re Jesus’s followers, we’re in a war – a spiritual one – and we’re all enlisted.

 

Consider the admonition of Ephesians 6:10-18, which minces no words: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground….”

 

Exactly what is this “full armor of God”? No, it’s not rifles or pistols, tanks or artillery. It consists of spiritual armor and weaponry: “the belt of truth…breastplate of righteousness…gospel of peace…shield of faith…helmet of salvation…sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…prayer.” Interestingly, as others have noted, the only “offensive” weapon in this heavenly arsenal is “the sword of the Spirit,” what we recognize as the Word of God – the Bible.

 

Lest someone accuse us of “cherry picking” the Scriptures, selecting one passage that seems to promote “warlike” behavior, there are many others we could choose. One of the best is Romans 8:37-39, “…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

This spiritual war ultimately isn’t against people we don’t like in politics, the news and entertainment media, corporations, or other institutions. We’re in combat with “the rulers, authorities, powers of the dark world and spiritual forces of evil.” As Jesus said, “The thief (Satan, our spiritual enemy) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

 

Even though some would seek to diminish or even dismiss the reality of Satan and ever-present evil, we dare not make this mistake. We don’t have to look far to see evidence of the evil one at work in every conceivable way.

 

This is why the words of hymns like “Onward Christian Soldiers” are so inspiring. You might want to read through all five verses sometime, but consider the uplifting message of the second verse, followed by the refrain: “At the name of Jesus Satan’s host doth flee; on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise!... Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.”

 

We are deeply engaged in a spiritual, eternal war – but victory’s already won. We are, God promises, “more than conquerors.”


* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.


Bob Tamasy: Time-Honored Tradition Of Passing The Buck

"Having Personal Time With God" Series Begins Sunday At First Baptist Church Of Fort Oglethorpe

"Now What?" Is Sermon Topic Sunday At Middle Valley Church Of God


Those of us who are parents know children master the blame game very early. Something happens, like a lamp crashing to the floor or a sibling crying out in pain, and the child “perpetrator” quickly ... (click for more)

Jason Thomas, lead pastor of First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe starts a new series called "Having Personal Time With God," this Sunday centered on spending time with God. He will be teaching ... (click for more)

Middle Valley Church of God, 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announces that Pastor Mitch McClure is preaching a sermon series titled, The Reality of the Rapture and Beyond this Sunday in the 10:30 ... (click for more)



Church

Bob Tamasy: Time-Honored Tradition Of Passing The Buck

Those of us who are parents know children master the blame game very early. Something happens, like a lamp crashing to the floor or a sibling crying out in pain, and the child “perpetrator” quickly declares, “I didn’t do it!” or, “He (or she) did it!” As we get older, we refine our skills at the blame game – or as it’s often called, “passing the buck.” That term, I’ve learned, ... (click for more)

"Having Personal Time With God" Series Begins Sunday At First Baptist Church Of Fort Oglethorpe

Jason Thomas, lead pastor of First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe starts a new series called "Having Personal Time With God," this Sunday centered on spending time with God. He will be teaching in the book of 2 Peter 1: vv.16-21. First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe is at 2645 LaFayette Road and has a traditional service at 10 a.m. and a contemporary service at 11 a.m. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Couple Shot In Hixson As They Lay In Bed Early Thursday Morning

Chattanooga Police said two people were shot early Thursday morning as they lay in bed at their residence in Hixson. At 1:30 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a shooting at 4900 Lavender Trail. Police were advised that two people suffering from non-life threatening injuries had driven themselves to a local hospital for treatment. They were a man 22 and a woman 26. ... (click for more)

Biden Administration Announces $25 Million for Wilcox Bridge, $14.6 Milllion To Dunlap For Highway 127 Intersection Improvement

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Thursday announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $63 million to support three projects in Tennessee from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to help move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and ... (click for more)

Opinion

A City In Search Of A Symbol - And Response

Assurances have been given of a much larger and varied utilization of the 141-acre former Wheland Foundry/U.S. Pipe site, not merely a new stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Discussion of the proposed new stadium for Chattanooga has dominated the use of the dormant site. Additional usages of the property itself as well as “ripple effects” of the development intentionally move ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Freaks Of College Football

It has been almost 20 years since Bruce Feldman, a marvelous sportswriter for theathletic.com and Fox Sports, came up with the idea of identifying the “Freaks” of college football. Wait, being called a freak is a good thing, a very good thing, on a football team. It means you are so strong or so fast or so “athletic” that your own teammates and coaches stand in awe, be it in the ... (click for more)