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Principles Of War - "Strategy for Group and Individual Evangelism" continued.....

III. Concentration

"I git thar fustest with the mostest." General Nathan Bedford Forrest, War Between the States
["git"--offensive, "thar"--objective, "fustest"--mobility, "mostest"--concentration.] [General Forrest had the deadliest army in the whole of the Confederate States of America.]

General Forrest was neither a West Pointer nor a War College graduate, but he knew the principles of war and he knew how to apply them. Although it is doubtful that he used the double superlatives in the above quotation, the statement does emphasize several truths. In this one short sentence we find four principles of war and others are implied. The one word "mostest" leads us to the subject of this, "Concentration."

Neither Alexander the Great nor Julius Caesar could have conquered the then known world if they had neglected concentration.

Occasionally in the history of warfare a new method comes to light that seems so effective or is such a surprise to the enemy that its users are strongly tempted to depend upon the new method (which is temporary) and forget the principles of war, such as concentration.

This tendency was evident when the airplane made its advent on the Western front in World War I. It glamorized the war, men became air aces and heroes. The use of the airplane did not, however, have much effect on the final outcome, for no one used it in concentration.

Major General Clair Chennault, when a young Army Air Corps aviator, noted this lack of application of principle. In his Way of a Fighter he wrote:

"For four months we flew and fought all over the Texas sky in the fashion of the Western Front--flying long patrols in formation, looking for a fight, and then scattering in a dive on the enemy into individual dogfights. As sport it was superb, but as war, even then, it seemed all wrong to me. There was too much of an air of medieval jousting in the dogfights and not enough of the calculated massing of overwhelming force so necessary in the cold, cruel business of war. There were no sound military precepts that encouraged the dispersion of forces and firepower that occurred in dogfighting." (Way of a Fighter, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York; p. 11)

This failure to apply the principle of concentration continued through the Spanish Civil War and into World War II. Chennault himself put an end to these individual tactics with his American Volunteer Group [AVG], better known as the Flying Tigers. When he went to Burma and China, his pilots struck together. Outnumbered in the air and on the ground, in planes, pilots, and parts, they destroyed 217 enemy planes and probably 43 more with a maximum of 20 operational P-40's in 31 encounters. Chennault's losses were six pilots and sixteen planes. In order to accomplish this Chennault used concentration. He simply had two aircraft firing at one enemy aircraft. Even if outnumbered in the air ten to one, Chennault's two always outnumbered the enemy's one. [Thus was born the all-famous wingman principle in the airforce.] If each Flying Tiger had taken on ten of the enemy, probably we would not remember the Flying Tigers today.

In 1956 while on the staff of Commander Carrier Division Five aboard the aircraft carrier Shangrila in the western Pacific, I watched the Carrier Air Group in practice maneuvers. The F9F Cougars came down from the sky low over the waves, firing machine guns or rockets at the target simultaneously, then pulled up together to disappear into the blue. One evening I asked one of the pilots how he could fly wing on his leader and still aim at the target. It was easy, he said, he did not aim, he just flew wing. "When he shoots, I shoot." This is concentration.

Now let us see how the principle of concentration applies to the spiritual warfare.

Luke 10:1 and 2 read:
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two by two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into this harvest."

In the chapter on "The Offensive" we concluded that the offense in winning men to Jesus Christ is carried out by preaching and prayer. In the Luke passage we see Jesus sent His disciples out to preach in concentration. He also told them to pray in concentration: "Again I say unto you that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:19). This is effective warfare.

Paul, one of the greatest of preachers, had a "wing man" with him in most cases, and when alone he does not seem to have been nearly as effective. For instance, in Acts 17 we find Paul going to Athens alone but asking that Silas and Timothy join him with "all speed." "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily." Paul could not wait to concentrate his forces; so he took the city on alone and had neither an awakening nor a riot. Silas and Timothy did not join him until some weeks after Paul had arrived in Corinth. Here also he preached alone with no recorded results.

"And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks."
Acts 18:4.

When Silas and Timothy arrived there was a marked difference in the power, the content, and the results of his preaching.

"And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ."
Acts 18:5

That was the power and content; the results are recorded in succeeding sentences. There was opposition, blasphemy and many conversions.

"And Crispus the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all of his house and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
"Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace; For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city."
Acts 18:8-10.

Paul remained in Corinth among these many believers for another eighteen months teaching the Word of God among them.

Concentration was so important to Paul that he wrote on one occasion:

"When I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia."
II Corinthians 2:12 and 13

Paul passed by an open door for lack of help.

Many of us wish we had an Apostle Paul to travel with, not realizing how much the leader needs the close follower. Without his helpers Paul was not greatly used in Athens or Troas. When the earthquake occurred at midnight in Philippi it was not Paul alone who prayed, but Paul and Silas. I am sure you have already begun to think of other instances in the Bible where concentration proved important to the Gospel ministry.

If you find you are scattering your witness in "dogfights" or if the enemy is using concentration on you because you insist on taking the whole ship or base or city alone, then you need a partner. You may be partly effective in your lone witness and you may think you have no need for a wing man. Perhaps you do not, but maybe the wing man needs a leader. Remember that in warfare it is not enough to be faithful, but only partly effective. We are after the objective. [A whole book, Partners in Prayer has been written by Senior Pastor John Maxwell on this subject detailing how to concentrate your forces in prevailing prayer to assist you the pastor and your congregation's evangelism efforts. Be sure to look it up in the "What is Prayer?" section of this web site, particularly in the subsection "Start a Prayer Resource Table".]

You may wonder where you are going to find a partner. Start by asking God to send him along. Start by asking God to send him [or her] along. You may have to lead him to the Lord. Once you meet him and before you minister together, you need to be one in purpose and as complementary as possible. Study together, pray together, talk together and reprove one another in the Lord [use wisdom on this last one]. There should be openness and honesty between the two and no unconfessed sin to hide. Then you can meet the enemy with combined fire power. [I can't help but noticed how this description of the "perfect" prayer partner matches Pastor Dave Moore's description of how husbands and wives ought to be spiritually, mentally and emotionally united as one. What a perfect prayer-partner our spouses ought to be with us. Imagine a whole congregation of double-prayer partners like this! Sort of like having a spiritual squadron of Clair Chennault's P-40 Warhawks in your congregation, all paired up in twos. We need spiritual wingmen like this!]

A few years ago aboard a carrier in the Pacific two junior officers met every afternoon to offer concentrated prayer for the ship. Soon one other officer received Christ; this increased the concentration 50%. In two months ten officers and over thirty enlisted men were reached for Christ through this concentrated prayer and witness. The witness continued.

Concentration also plays a vital part in mass evangelism. In the chapter "The Offensive" it was brought out that when the army on the offense does not possess an overwhelming superiority it is not feasible to launch an attack along the whole front to take the objective. In such a case a decisive point must be selected against which to strike a decisive blow. An overwhelming superiority is obtained by transferring forces from the rest of the line to the decisive point. This weakens the rest of the line but enough should be left in order to keep the enemy occupied. Even if minor defeats occur along the weakened portion, this is not crucial because in the meantime you have served the decisive blow at the decisive point which defeats the enemy.

An excellent example of this is found in Montgomery's preparations for the first battle of El Alamein. In his own words:

"Then from the bits and pieces in Egypt I was going to form a new corps, the 10th Corps, strong in armour; this would never hold the line but would be to us what the Afrika Korps was to Rommel; the formation of this new 10th Corps had already begun.

Montgomery concluded that Rommel would make his main effort on the south or inland flank. This was the Alam Halfa Ridge. Since Montgomery weakened his northern flank in order to concentrate on Alam Halfa, he strengthened it with mine fields and wire so it could be held with a minimum of troops. At Alam Halfa, the decisive point, he concentrated two mobile armoured divisions, the 44th Infantry Division, and his newlyformed armoured division of 400 tanks dug in behind a screen of six-pounder anti-tank guns. From the 31st of August to 6 September 1942 the Afrika Korps pounded against this line, all the while being hit hard by the mobile and dug-in tanks and by the British Desert Air Force. Rommel retreated on the 6th with a decimated Afrika Korps. He had been defeated and Montgomery had won a decisive victory. Thus, concentration achieved the turning point of the war in Africa.

Non-Christians and the powers of darkness outnumber us along the whole front in the spiritual warfare. We can make advances along this front by using two-by-two concentration. This is necessary, however it may not bring decisive victory. In order to win a decisive victory we must seek the will of God to determine the decisive points and then Christians along the whole front will:

  1. Concentrate on prayer for the decisive points. [This is what Pastor Cymbala's Brooklyn Tabernacle does!]
  2. Transfer temporarily or permanently to the decisive point for concentrated preaching and testifying. [and this can be done in conjunction with doing good works, say in a work party for someone in need.]

The physical transfer could be make by taking time off and travelling to the decisive point. This would weaken portions of the front temporarily, but no more so than when Christians take leave under ordinary circumstances.

When Jesus gave the Great Commission the Apostles were not sent immediately to the uttermost parts of the earth. They were told to remain together in Jerusalem until they were "endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). Notice the elements of concentration:

  1. They were all together;
  2. They all continued together in prayer;
  3. They were all in agreement;
  4. They all preached the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11)

As a result of concentrated prayer and preaching 3,000 were won to Christ in one day.

The same sort of concentration is practiced in the Billy Graham campaigns. Thousands of Christian people pray for him, the team, and the city for weeks and even months in advance of the Crusade. Hundreds more concentrate in the city as counselors, choir members, and assistant missionaries weeks in advance and during the Crusade.

Let us keep in mind that the unique battleground of the Officers' Christian Union is the Armed Forces and our unique objective the Officer Corps. How can we practice mass evangelism in the Officer Corps? We should look for decisive points where great numbers of officers are assigned to duty. Once a point is chosen and a plan made, we may call upon you, all of you, to spend much time in prayer for that decisive point. We may also call some of you to visit that decisive place to add your witness for Jesus Christ, to help us concentrate fire power in the ministry of the Gospel.

Until then:

"Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2).

IV. Mobility

"And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord's passover."
Exodus 12:11

After 400 years, some of which had been spent in slavery, 600,000 men of Israel, besides women, children and possessions, moved out of the land of Egypt in one night. That is mobility! [And that number including the women and children is estimated to have been 2.5 to 3 million people!] If we undertook the same feat today we would use trains, planes, trucks and ships. We would have better equipment but might not prove as mobile.

Mobility as a principle of war is not absolute. It must not be measured against how fast we could move yesterday, rather it must be compared with the enemy's mobility. We must move more quickly, farther and for a greater period of time than the enemy. Mobility was defined in the statement of General Nathan Bedford Forest, "I git thar fustest with the mostest."

The French of World War II could move their armies but they were not as mobile as the armies of Hitler. Hitler's Lightning Warfare (Blitzkrieg) was mobility in action. The early success of the Japanese in the same war were largely dependent upon the mobility of their striking and invasion forces. The political and military surprises of both Germany and Japan could not have been effected without military mobility.

The opposite of mobility is immobility. To be immobilized is to be at the mercy of the enemy. An army or any other unit that is immobilized is incapable of attacking, evading or retreating. It can only defend until surrender or to the end. The American defense of Corregidor is an example of immobility.

The British Army was defeated in France in 1940. If it had reached the shore and found it was immobilized it would not have suffered defeat only, it would have been annihilated. It was the British mobility at sea which saved the Army at Dunkirk. If the Germans had been as mobile at sea as they were on land, they could have followed the British across the Channel. In this case the defenders were mobile and the victors became immobile.

In World War II mobility was demonstrated in the existence and actions of the U.S. Third and Fifth Fleets. One component of the Third-Fifth Fleet particularly exemplified mobility. This was the Fast Carrier Striking Force, Task Force 38 (or 58, under the Fifth Fleet) under the command of Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher. This force could move hundreds of miles overnight in any direction and strike hundreds of miles farther with the Air Groups. It consisted of fifteen or sixteen carriers and scores of screening ships.

The submarine and the Strategic Air Command are probably the most mobile of present day combat units. In the infantry the Army's Airborne Divisions and the FMF of the Marine Corps are probably the most mobile. One of their characteristics is their ability to strike a decisive blow any place of their own choosing. The offense could never be mounted in concentration without the ability to move. An army must be mobile.

Jesus Christ said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).

From the above command and other texts in the New Testament we, in previous chapters, drew the conclusion that "every creature" is the objective and that preaching and prayer were our two main means of offense. From the same text we see that mobility is a requirement if we are to carry out Christ's command to "Go."

Within the Church there must be an ability to move to the place or to the people where the offense will take place. We must convey our firepower where it will be used. Securing this mobility is simply a matter of obedience to the command "Go."

We can move our firepower in many of the ways that physical weapons of war are moved. We can walk, Philip left Samaria and was, in obedience to God, crossing the desert when he encountered the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip taught Christ to him from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and the man believed. David Brainerd moved on horseback and led hundreds of American Indians to Jesus Christ. In Jungle Camp the Wycliffe Bible Translators are trained to move by foot, raft and dug-out canoe. The Missionary Aviation Fellowship provides mobility superior to that of the enemy in territory which is otherwise inaccessible. [And now Campus Crusade for Christ International and their JESUS Film Project is taking a movie film version of the Gospel of Luke into almost every previously unreached area and peoples of the world, translated into all the native languages of the areas they move into. People who previously couldn't be reached due to language barriers and lack of ability to read and write can now be reached and are being reached with the Gospel of Christ. Be sure to look them up in the section titled "What is Evangelism" under the subtitle "Evangelism: national and international." Along with Missionary Aviation Fellowship they are the most mobile and powerful evangelistic group going. And Campus Crusade's JESUS film crews have come to fit Nathan Bedford Forest's axiom "I git thar fustest with the mostest."]

There are other ways of delivering the Word of God, besides taking the messenger to the physical location. One is that of correspondence. God put His stamp of approval on this means of mobility when much of the New Testament was given in letters, this being necessitated in part because the messengers, Paul and John, were immobilized as prisoners. Praise God, His Word is not bound (II Timothy 2:9).

Another important means is the mobility gained through Christian books and literature sent via mail or passed from hand to hand [and now over the Internet]. The ministry of moving books, magazines, booklets and Bibles is hardly being used at all. The Christian may be physically immobilized because of his profession or state of health. Yet if he used Christian literature he would not find the Word of God limited just because he himself was immobilized. The Objective would be taken in near or distant places, though the Christian was absent.

The giving and sending of books is just the beginning of fast mobile communication of the Gospel. Records and tape recordings can bring to anyone's living room the most powerful preaching and teaching that is available today. Christian leaders are broadcasting the Gospel of Jesus Christ on hundreds of radio stations weekly. [T.V., radio, movies, desktop publishing and the Internet are some of the new means of moving the Gospel anywhere in the world now close to the speed of light in some cases.] But this does not guarantee that people will have radio receivers tuned on at the time or to the right station. A telephone call to each of our friends immediately before the program would greatly increase the listening audience.

Then too, we should consider mobility with the use of the weapon itself. If a weapon has a 360 degree field and the soldier keeps it trained in one direction only, then he is not using the weapon's inherent mobility.

Our weapon, the Word of God, "...is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). We must use it to the maximum of our capacity. It has no limitations. The limitations are in us. Let us learn to use the Word as a defensive-offensive weapon. It is a tragedy to see Christians immobilized in a specific witnessing situation because they do not know how to use a very powerful and effective weapon. If we are versatile in the Scriptures, we can strike an effective blow at the place of our choosing. Continual personal study of the Bible is the only adequate means of familiarity with and use of the Word.

All of this so far has had to do with the mobility of our firepower, or in other words, our witnessing. But from the chapter on the offense we recall that our offense is directed with prayer in addition to preaching. We must be mobile here, also.

Like the Word of God, prayer has no limitations. The limitations are in us. Prayer of intercession has greater range, accuracy, speed and power than the greatest intercontinental ballistic missile we will ever produce. The prayer of intercession is one that agrees with God in His desire and purpose to win men to himself. We can use as our guide the prayers of Jesus and of the Apostles both for Christian brethren and for those who are still under the command of the enemy.

Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call unto me and I will answer thee and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Let us ask for big things, things which we have never previously experienced.

Mobility serves no purpose if we have no intention of going anywhere. Do not stay at home in your intercession. Be mobile. It costs nothing to go to Africa via God's throne in prayer, except time and a concern for men in Africa.

Dawson Trotman recounts a personal experience in the booklet "Born to Reproduce." He and a fellow worker in the Navigators, when that organization was still very young, decided to pray for the development of their work in every state of the Union:

"So we made a list of forty-eight states, and we prayed. Morning after morning in these little prayer meetings we would look at our list and ask God to use us and other young fellows in Washington, in Oregon, in California, and in all other states of the Union. Five weeks went by, and we did not miss a morning. We met at four o'clock on Sunday morning and spent three hours in prayer. During the sixth week the Lord put it on our heart to get a map of the world, and we took it up to our little cave in the hill. We began to put our fingers on Germany, France, and Italy. We put them on Turkey and Greece. I remember looking at one little island near China--you had to look closely to see what it was--and we prayed that God would use us in the lives of the men in Formosa."

If you know of the worldwide ministry of the Navigators today, you know that this prayer has been answered.

The united witness of which we are a part is also the result of prayer on the part of many Christians. Let us not stop now; let us individually and together pray to take the objective for Jesus Christ. Pray that we will be used in the lives of others on every ship and station, post and base in the world.

The effectiveness of our ministry in the spiritual war largely depends upon the individual mobility in the use of the capabilities of the Word and of prayer. We must know something of the range and depth of the Word of God and we must experience the range and accuracy of intercessory prayer.

"And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear."
Isaiah 65:24.

Principles Of War Continued On Next Page [CLICK HERE]

 
 

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