The Church Militant

"Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him."
- 2 Timothy 2:3-4

"And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?"
- 1 Corinthians 14:8

"The Church in the present dispensation is a militant Church, that is, she is called unto, and is actually engaged in, a holy warfare. This does not mean that she must spend her strength in self-destroying internecine struggles, but that she is duty bound to carry on an incessant warfare against the hostile world in every form in which it reveals itself, whether in the Church or outside of it, and against all the spiritual forces of darkness. The church may not spend all her time in prayer and meditation, however necessary and important these may be, nor may she rest her oars in the peaceful enjoyment of her spiritual heritage. She must be engaged with all her might in the battles of her Lord, fighting in a war that is both offensive and defensive."
- Louis Berkof, Systematic Theology, p. 565

Lead on, O King eternal,the day of march has come;
henceforth in fields of conquest, thy tents shall be our home:
through days of preparation
thy grace has made us strong,
and now, O King eternal,we lift our battle song.
Lead on, O King eternal, till sin's fierce war shall cease,
and holiness shall whisper the sweet Amen of peace;
for not with swords loud clashing,
nor roll of stirring drums,
but deeds of love and mercy,the heavenly kingdom comes.
Lead on, O King eternal: we follow not, not with fears;
for gladness breaks like morning
where'er thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted o'er us; we journey in its light:
the crown awaits the conquest; lead on, O God of might!
-Lead on O King Eternal, Ernest W. Shurtleff, 1888

Dear Friends,

One of the phrases handed to us by our predecessors in the faith describes the Body of Christ as the 'church militant'. Far from being descriptive of the church as a belligerent combatant, this term simply means the church marches to an entirely different set of orders and submits to a different Commanding Officer than the rest of the world. As she engages the battle the church must look and act different than the world around her. She gets her directives for holy warfare from the reigning King. The church cannot be a passive observer of culture or remain indifferent to battles within her walls. Whether we like it or not God has called us to engage in offensive and defensive warfare both inside and outside of the church. We are the church militant and God has called us to faithful engagement. As good soldiers we must ask what our important and necessary roles will be in the church militant.