Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Luther Battle Quote

I thought this quote from Martin Luther was worth posting and thinking about:
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."


  • At July 28, 2008 4:49 PM, Blogger Ramone said…

    Here are some comments I wrote about this last Friday:


    I don't know where this quote comes from in Luther, but I found it in a newspaper editorial without references.

    I think in the church we have a lot of people who specialize in proclaiming a lot of "little points".

    Sometimes they are genuine points that the devil is attacking now, but so often they are points that the devil attacked in the past. This is especially clear among many who seem to always be speaking of the Reformation and trying to resurrect its arguments and classify people into the battle-lines that were drawn in those days. Sometimes it fits, but most often the battle-lines have moved.

    Oddly enough, the metaphor of "trench warfare" (from World War I) fits here. The lines moved in the first few months of the war, but after that they became "entrenched" and the lines didn't move for most of the rest of the war. I think the same things happen in the church when we become "entrenched". However, when we become entrenched, what happens is that we don't notice that the war continues and the lines change while we're down in our trench. The lines change, other trenches change, people come out and have truces (like in 1914 at Christmas), and sometimes "wars" even end and new ones begin. If you were a soldier in World War II fighting against the Axis powers, it wouldn't make sense to go jump back into the old World War I trenches in order to achieve victory!

    Knowing where the "battle" is -- I think this is the key, the crux. And Paul writes:

    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph.6:12)

    This means firstly that the battle is spiritual, not physical, not even generally intellectual, but rather spiritual. While the manifestation of the battle may show up physically or intellectually (doctrinally), the roots are spiritual and as such, it is by the Spirit that we will gain victory in battles, not by physical, intellectual or doctrinal strength.

    Secondly, this also means that we need the Spirit for discernment in order to see where the "battle" is in the first place!

    What happens in the church is that we have sooooo many people doing doctrinal battle against one another -- for one, thinking that this will somehow "win"! When in fact it is the outer manifestation of the battle which is actually spiritual. Not merely spiritual in the sense of "prayer" or "spiritual warfare", but also "spiritual" in the sense of "the spirit of Christmas"... that is, in the sense of mens' & womens' spirits (their hearts). God is interested in peoples' hearts.

    If we are interested more in "winning" the manifestation of the battle (the doctrinal argument or the physical fight), we're missing the real battle and not seeing it through God's eyes -- He wants them first and foremost, because He gave His Son for their hearts. If we don't see the battle through His eyes of love for the people, chances are we'll get caught up (like so many do) in the firestorm of the physical/intellectual/doctrinal, thinking that that is where the battle is.

    So we need the Spirit of God and the spirit of God (His heart, His love, His nature & motivation) in order to even "see the battle" and where it is and what it is, and what it is we're even fighting for.

    I like Luther's quote, but so many people I think have been clinging to that idea in such a way without spiritual discernment, and because of that have been attacking one another over points that are not THE battle today.

    What this reminds me of is a difference between American culture and Japanese culture. Americans are generally more concerned about facts, about "truth" in a matter. Japanese are generally more concerned about everyone agreeing in a matter, about there being a kind of consensus, agreement or peaceful relationship with everyone.

    Because of this, you'll often see some wrong things overlooked in Japan, little rules transgressed, etc. Sometimes it's okay, sometimes it's not. Often it's not, I personally think!

    But in the States, you'll see a lot of people eager to point out the smallest little overlooked fact in the name of "proclaiming truth" -- and in the process offending and wounding countless people. It's the equivalent of slashing your arm with a knife in order to bring your attention to a paper-cut on your finger.

    (In the art world this is especially obvious, when people make the most offensive thing possible in order to point out some overlooked perspective or "truth").

    Anyway, I'd better get lunch and head back to work!

    Bless you (all) in Jesus!

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