Principles of War:
A strategy for group and personal evangelism
By James I. Wilson
In the study of warfare, great men have concluded that there
are some overriding principles which, if followed, will always tend toward
success in battle, and with equal positiveness, if neglected or ignored,
will tend toward defeat or even destruction. These principles have been
titled "The Principles of War."
All except the most foolish know that in war it is imperative that those
involved apply the "Principles of War."
Just as these time-tried principles are effective in waging secular warfare--the
author presents in quick succession these same principles as the key
to assured victory in our spiritual warfare.
In the true military style of being brief, perspicuous, and succinct,
the author, with power, plunges the reader point-blank into the fight--a
very present institution. The enemy is Satan, the objective is the acknowledgment
and fulfillment of the commandments of God, and the ammunition is the
power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian, clothed in the whole armor of
God and applying these pertinent guiding principles of warfare--is an
army, a communication system, a weapon to be used and a soldier to participate
forcibly in the battle, to the glory of our Lord.
[This book is out of print
and no longer available on the open market. It is also essential that
pastors be armed with this information in these end times for the accomplishment
of Matthew 28:18-20, so that Matthew 24:14 will become a reality.]
"When war is declared by Congress their objective is victory.
They pass this assignment over to the Commander-in-Chief. The Commander-in-Chief
with the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes an estimate of the situation, comes
to a decision and develops a plan. To oversimplify it, the decision might
be to invade and occupy specific nations in Europe and Asia. The plan
would be to assign Asia to Commander-in-Chief, Pacific and Europe to
Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic. These subordinate commanders must then
make an estimate of the situation, come to a decision, and develop a
plan. They, in turn, assign objectives to subordinate commanders. Commander-in-Chief,
Pacific orders the Commander of the Seventh Fleet to land certain armies
and Marine Divisions in the assigned country in Asia. This process of
estimating the situation, making a decision and assigning objectives
to subordinate commanders continues right down to the company, platoon
and squad level.
Every man in the chain of command has his objective assigned to him by
Now suppose an individual infantryman has as his objective the top of
a sand dune on a beach in Asia. He is pinned down by enemy fire and he
cannot make a move. While he is in this position he suddenly sees a paper
floating across the beach.
So far this is a very real situation, but suppose we make it unreal,
even ludicrous. The paper happens to be a page from the Joint Chiefs
of Staff Operation Order. As the page lands in front of him, he reads
the assigned objective to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific: "Invade and
occupy--on the continent of Asia." This is too much for him. He cannot
even get off the beach and they are telling him to occupy the whole nation.
To him it is unrealistic. Since he cannot understand how the whole can
be taken, he might even lose the will to get to the top of the sand dune.
Enough of the illustration. Jesus Christ is our Commander-in-Chief and
He has assigned the overall objective and put it in the grasp of every
one of His followers in the directive of the Great Commission. Here it
"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore,
and teach all nations." Matthew 28:18-19.
To any individual Christian who thinks he is fighting the war all by
himself, this objective not only seems unrealistic but impossible. Like
the soldier on the beach it is easy to get a "What's the use?"
The problem is the same in both cases. The man at the bottom of the chain
gets a view of the objective of the person at the top. He is looking
up the chain of command without the benefit of intermediate objectives.
He sees only the objective of the top and the resources at the bottom.
So for the Christian. He may see with his Commander-in-Chief the complete
objective assigned to the whole church. He may also see the smaller parts
of the church, groups of believers raised up to reach a special segment
of the world's population. God has raised up specialists with
limited objectives in His church.
Rather than lament the multiplicity of Christian organizations, we should
rejoice that an intensive effort to meet our objective is being made.
Of course, there is the danger that such groups will be filled with too
great a sense of importance. If, however, they seek to occupy their own
limited objective with all faithfulness, then the warfare of the church
is advanced. These many organizations may be in existence not because
of doctrinal differences but because God has given them different objectives
under the Great Commission.
objective is two-fold:
- To communicate the Gospel in love and power to the world.
- To introduce to Jesus (or Jesus to) those who respond to the Gospel.
[Our] first objective is one of sowing the seed. The
second is reaping the harvest when the seed falls on good ground. If
we sow the seed in every heart, but do not reap where the seed prepares
a harvest, then we have not reached our objective. We have in effect
added to the condemnation of men with the Gospel. We have been a savor
of death unto death rather than life unto life (II Corinthians 2:16).
If, on the other hand, we reap where we have sown but we do not sow in
every heart in our assigned mission fields, then we have not reached
our objective. This is serious. This objective is not a mere psychological
goal that makes us feel good when we get there. This is a mission assigned
by our Commander-in-Chief. Not to get there is failure to carry out the
assigned mission: it is defeat. Even if people do not or will not respond
to the message of good news this has no bearing on the objective to communicate
the message to them. God assigns the objective, not the people...
...Unless we know where we are going it is of little importance how we
go about getting there. The objective is primary."
"They want war too methodical, too measured, I would make it
brisk, bold, impetuous, perhaps sometimes even audacious"--Jomini
[General George S. Patton was against the digging or using
of fox-holes, he didn't want his army to waste time stopping to dig them,
since they're defensive in nature, not offensive.]
In warfare the offensive is the means by which one takes the objective.
It is an aggressive advance against an enemy to wrest the objective from
An army on the offensive has a moral and physical advantage over the
enemy at the point of contact. The offensive is an attitude as well as
an action. The attacking general has the advantage of making his decisions
first, and then carrying them out. The defender must first wait to see
what his opponent does before he makes his decision. The decision he
makes is usually forced upon him by the attacker. The aggressor has the
advantage of the initiative. He can choose whether to attack and when
and where to attack. The defender must wait for him. He is in the superior
There are two general ways in which the offensive can be directed.
- It may be directed against the whole front to take the whole front
simultaneously. This is not ordinarily feasible in that it requires
an overwhelming superiority in numbers and weapons. Nor is it wise,
for it requires much more logistic (weapons, food, ammunition) support,
much more fighting and will sustain many more casualties.
- The offensive may be directed against one segment of the enemy army,
the defeat of which will mean a decisive victory. "Decisive" means
that this defeat of the enemy may cause the rest of the army to capitulate,
or it may mean a breakthrough has been made so that the rest of the
army remains in a very weak position.
"In either case it should be well understood that there is
in every battlefield a decisive point, the possession of which, more
than any other, helps to secure the victory by enabling its holder to
make proper application of the Principles of War. [i,.e. the "high ground."]
Arrangements should therefore be made for striking the Decisive blow
upon this point."
Whether the offensive is made along the whole front or at a decisive
point, it has several basic characteristics. In attitude it is bold,
in direction, it is forward toward the enemy at the objective; in means
it uses effective weapons.
The offensive in the spiritual war is conducted in the same manner. It
is directed against the enemy, not against the objective. Satan is the
enemy. We fight in order to wrest his possession those through fear of
death are subject
[To clarify his point, we pursue the offensive, take the offensive, by
the proclamation of the Gospel. That is how we march into the enemy occupied
territory--with all guns blazing--that is how we carpet-bomb his factories
of deception--with the truth of the Gospel being proclaimed by whatever
means: books, articles, all types of publishing and media such as radio,
T.V., movie, DVD, video cassette, tape cassette, the Internet, you name
it. Also the proclamation of the Gospel must be accompanied by much intercessory
prayer. Such prayer empowers the weapons, arms them, causes them to detonate
on the enemy. Intercessory prayer must accompany the proclamation
of the Gospel, or else it will be like a dud torpedo bouncing off the
hull of an enemy ship. ]
"I git thar fustest with the mostest." General Nathan Bedford
Forrest, War Between the States
"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
"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
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
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."
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
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."
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
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
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
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:
- Concentrate on prayer for the decisive points. [This is what Pastor
Cymbala's Brooklyn Tabernacle does!]
- 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
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:
- They were all together;
- They all continued together in prayer;
- They were all in agreement;
- 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
"Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would
send forth labourers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2).
"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."
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
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
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
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
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
"And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer,
and while they are yet speaking I will hear."
"The act of retrenchment...shall serve the defender NOT to
defend more securely behind a rampart but to attack the enemy more
Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able
to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians
The subject of security may be divided into three parts:
- Intelligence of the enemy.
- Continual protection against the enemy;
- Final stand against the enemy.
Before we can secure from attacks from an enemy we must know
there is an enemy. The nation that has no enemy is very secure. The nation
that has an enemy but does not think so is very insecure. That nation
could be surprised, completely unprotected.
Intelligence of an enemy ensures knowing who he is, his
intentions and his methods of operating. This prevents deception and
surprise. In physical warfare this intelligence in gained by listening
to everything the enemy says and reading everything he writes. Since
the enemy does not want his opponent listening in on everything he says,
he establishes safeguards: fences, guards, soundproof rooms, security
checks to expose spies or traitors, and encryption of his radio and telephone
communications. In order to gain this intelligence the opponent sends
in spies, breaks down fences, steals safes, bribes or kills guards, taps
telephone wires, and practices cryptanalysis.
Thus, to be secure from the enemy, one must gain access to his communications
while safeguarding all of his own communications.
In the early months after Pearl Harbor, our carriers were operating in
the Southwest Pacific, our battleships were out of action, and the Japanese
were moving a three-pronged striking and invasion fleet toward Midway
Island and the Aleutian Chain. There would have been no stopping this
force if it had not been for intelligence of the enemy. Through cryptanalysis,
the U.S. Navy cracked the Japanese code and moved more planes and submarines
to Midway. The Japanese lost four carriers to air action while we lost
one carrier and one destroyer. This, the turning point of the war
in the Pacific, illustrates the absolute necessity of intelligence of
the enemy to ensure security.
So it is with the spiritual war. Our enemy is Satan. We must know who
he is, what he does, his intentions and methods. We can read his history
in the Bible and observe his victories and his defeats in his action
with men. We can also read of his contact with the Son of God, his failure
in the Temptation in the Wilderness and his defeat at Calvary.
We find that Satan is neither omnipotent nor omniscient and that he has
very definite limitations. Apparently through ignorance of God's
"plan of attack," Satan perpetrated the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus
Christ by blinding the religious and political leaders of 2,000 years
ago. The Bible says: "...none of the princes of this world knew (the
wisdom of God): for had they known it, they would not have crucified
the Lord of glory" (I Corinthians 2:7,8). This failure of Satan to discern
God's plan was a factor in his defeat, for through the Cross God wrests
men from Satan's group and enlists them into His eternal Kingdom.
Neither are we omnipotent and omniscient, but we have access to power
and knowledge of which Satan knows nothing. Christ has revealed to us
the wisdom of God, though it is "hidden" from the world. He also endows
us with His power. Christ said to the apostles: "All power is given unto
me. Therefore go."
There are many things Satan does not know and cannot do. Let us find
out his strength and weakness factors. "Lest," as Paul says in II Corinthians
2:11, "Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of
his devices." Let us discover the information which is key to our spiritual
Intelligence of Satan permits us to set up our defense, with the reasons
for each part of our "armor." Before we put on the armor we must be strong
in the Lord's strength and power (verse 10). Verses 11 to 13 put the
emphasis upon the whole of the armor and 14 to 20 speak of the separate
parts of the armor and their uses.
Our combatants are not flesh and blood but "principalities," "powers," "rulers
of the darkness of this world," "spiritual wickedness in high places" (verse
12), and they are masterminded by the Devil himself (verse 11). Like
any general, Satan will not attack a strong point if weak points are
available for a breakthrough. He is a good strategist. We need not fear
his strength so much as his "wiles"
(verse 11). The Scripture tells us twice to put on the "whole armor
so there will be no weak points.
A wall around a city may be strictly defensive, but armor by definition
is not. Webster's Collegiate Dictionary says of armor: "that conceived
of as an offensive or defensive weapon." A soldier does not cover himself
with armor because he intends to read a good book in front of his fireplace.
He is going off to battle. He has every intention of going into harm's
way. He is looking for and expecting a fight. Sun Tzu said:
"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the
possibility of defeat and then waited for an opportunity of defeating
The Christian warrior who obeys Ephesians 6 has done just this.
This soldier employs the various parts of the armor to put himself beyond
the possibility of defeat. He surrounds himself with truth, he puts on
the breastplate of righteousness, he takes the shield of faith and dons
his helmet of salvation. Then with the power of the Lord, the preparations
of the Gospel of Peace and the sword of the Spirit, he defeats the enemy.
If the great objective assigned to us by Jesus Christ is to "preach the
gospel to every creature," then the smallest whole number of that objective
is one single person. Each individual, like the rest of his fellows,
is an enemy of God in his mind by wicked works (Colossians 1:21). We
are surrounded by these enemies. We read their literature, hear their
conversation and participate in their community. In effect, the prince
of this world and his servants are taking the offensive against the saints
continually. One way to keep from being attacked would be to keep no
company with the wicked. But I Corinthians 5:9-11 tells us that "then
must ye needs go out of the world." Jesus prayed to the Father, "not
that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest
keep them from the evil" (John 17:15). It is His will that we be exposed
to attack but not defeated. Our divinely ordered armor provides effective
Lt. General William K. Harrison, Jr., in a message given in Yokosuka,
Japan, drew attention to Romans 13:12-14 which says, "let us put on the
armor of light," and "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision
for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." This indicates, General
Harrison said, that putting on the armor is putting
on Jesus Christ. When we put on the armor of Ephesians 6 we are putting
on Jesus Christ. He is the truth (John 14:6), He is our righteousness
(I Corinthians 1:30), He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews
12:2), He is the Gospel (Mark 1:1), He is our Salvation (Exodus 15:2),
and He is the Word (John 1:1).
In physical war, if a nation were continually under attack and on the
defensive we could prophesy ultimate defeat, surrender and destruction.
To prevent this there must be a final stand. The initiative and the
offensive must change hands before victory could come to the defenders.
This stand is called the defensive-offensive.
In World War II there were four main turning points which gave the offensive
to the Allies. All of these were great defensive-offensive battles where
the defenders won and afterward took the initiative. Two of them have
already been described in brief. The first battle of Alamein at the Alam
Halfa ridge turned the tide in North Africa. It is briefly described
in Chapter 3: "Concentration." The Battle of Midway mentioned earlier
was the defensive-offensive battle that reversed the positions in the
Central Pacific. In Europe the crown for defensive-offensive strategy
goes to the Russians [and Chechnians!] in the Battle of Stalingrad. When
it became clear that the city would not fall the Germans should have
called a retreat. This was not done and the German Sixth Army was annihilated. The
fourth example is the defense of Port Moresby in New Guinea which resulted
in the annihilation of the Japanese Detachment at Buna.
If there is no turning point the defender will be defeated. There will
be no turning unless a stand is made in a defensive-offensive battle.
Yet, seemingly, in the minds of many Christians, a defensive position
in the spiritual life is considered a virtue and an offensive position
a sin. Defense is associated with the innocent party, as though we expect
only the wicked to take up the offense. For this reason the virtuous
pride themselves on being defenders, instead of taking up a powerful
personal witness. This sometimes results in the pathetic situation of
the virtuous enjoying defeat. Let us never forget that without an eventual
offensive, defense only anticipates ultimate defeat.
The defensive-offensive applies to both individuals and groups of
believers. Have you been only a defender against sin and sinners? Perhaps
it is time for a stand, a defensive-offensive.
"Therefore stand," and thus make your security sure.
[Be sure to click on "Local church evangelism" and then on "How To Bring
People To Jesus" to access an incredible resource that will enable you
to shift your whole congregation and any individual Christian within
your congregation from a defensive stance to an offensive witnessing
"One belligerent must surprise, the other be surprised. Only
and when the two Commanders play these respective roles will a battle
lead to the annihilation of one Army."
--General Waldenmar Erfurth
The Old Testament hero Gideon learned the principles of war
by revelation from God, and one of them was "Surprise." The account in
the seventh chapter of Judges tells us that the amassed armies of the "Midianites
and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the
valley like grasshoppers." This force consisted of 135,000. Less than
15,000 got away. We can say that Gideon with 300 men surprised the enemy
and won a battle of annihilation.
There are only a few elements with which surprise can be effected:
time, place, and method, or any combination of the three.
However, surprise also depends upon two additional and essential factors,
namely, ignorance on the part of one commander, and intelligence on the
part of the other. This ignorance may be natural (e.g., incompetence
or inadequate security) or it may be induced (deception).
Gideon's victory, Hannibal's victory at Cannae, the German invasion through
the Ardennes in 1940 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were all
aided by the ignorance of the surprised nation. In the first two cases
deception helped immensely in the execution of the surprise, and in all
four cases the surprising belligerent kept his intentions and plans secret.
The surprise of Gideon was one of time (night) and method (lamps, torches,
voices, trumpets) and place (three sides of the camp). The attack on
Pearl Harbor was a surprise of time and place; the weapon was not unusual.
The United States' surprise at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was primarily one
of weapon, although the time and place were a part of the surprise.
In the spiritual warfare we may use any or all of these elements of surprise.
Surprise can be very effectively used in evangelism, whether mass evangelism
(strategic surprise) or in personal evangelism (tactical surprise).
In the spiritual war there are two commanders, God and the Devil. One
of them is the Creator, the other is a created being. God is omniscient,
Satan is not. Since surprise depends upon the ignorance (natural or induced)
of one of the commanders then it becomes obvious that God cannot be surprised.
God is omniscient. He has no limitations in His intelligence, nor can
He be deceived.
This is not true of the Devil. He has been surprised before. God did
not deceive Satan. He just withheld information from him. The Bible speaks
of it over and over as a mystery. Notice I Corinthians 2:7-8. "But we
speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which
God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes
of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified
the Lord of glory." Our greatest surprise is in the message itself.
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ
died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:
yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God
commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).
Surprise in warfare means more than "to cause wonder or astonishment
or amazement because of something unexpected." It means "to attack or
capture suddenly and without warning." The above passage from Romans
5 clearly tells us that the love of Christ expressed in His death for
us is unexpected. If the message is used with people who are dependent
on their own effort or relative goodness they will be "amazed." If the
messenger catches that man with his defense down he will be "amazed" and
surprised. In other words he will be captured suddenly and without warning.
Surprise may be increased even more if we combine the message with
a surprise in time and place. To hear the gospel in a Sunday evening
evangelistic church service is no surprise. It is even possible that
the message itself will surprise no one in the audience. On the other
hand, a personal testimony of the saving grace of Jesus Christ backed
up with the Word of God will be an effective surprise when it comes from
a line officer. It will surprise tellingly when this occurs in the Officers'
Club, at a cocktail party, in the office, in the field, aboard ship,
or in combat.
It is much easier to be vocal in an evangelical church than it is in
the above places. It is always easier to train for combat than it is
to engage the enemy in a fire fight. The reason is simple: in the evangelical
church, as in military training, there is no enemy. The presence of an
enemy means fear and knots in the stomach, even though we have the opportunity
to take the initiative and catch him by surprise.
On the defensive we have no choice but to fight. But when we have the
opportunity to surprise the enemy, the decision to fight is ours. We
would hardly pass up such an opportunity in physical combat, though it
means fear and the possibility of death. Likewise let us press our advantages
in the spiritual warfare despite the problems and fears. Do not reject
surprise in time and place.
To forewarn the enemy is to ask for strong resistance to any attack.
The principles of surprise is one of the prime means of thwarting such
resistance. This principle applies equally in personal evangelism. If
we give men the chance, they will hide, cover up and defend sin. They
will do the same with their ignorance. They will make a last stand defending
sin even if it is only a bluff. Let us catch men with their guards down.
Give them as little opportunity as possible to hide or defend sin.
Above all use the Word of God:
"For 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 thought and intentions of the heart. And before him
no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of
him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:12,13). This is our surprise.
It is devastating. Remember our objective is not to win an argument,
but to win men to Jesus Christ.
"Fellowship is the keynote of this belief; such a deep fellowship
with God through Christ as shall inevitably lead to a deep fellowship
with others of His children. The revival of the Christian Church will
surely come only through the disciplined and creative fellowship of
surrendered Christians; for such a fellowship in Christ is God's supreme
weapon for the evangelization of the world (I John 1:5-7 and John 17:22-23).
The isolated Christian is an anomaly."
Howard Guinness in Total Christian War.
In World War II the United States narrowly escaped a crushing
defeat because of neglect of a principle of war: the principle of cooperation.
Until the invasion of the Philippines, 20-23 October 1944, we had fought
two separate wars in the Pacific: the advance through the Central Pacific,
Gilberts, Marshall, and Marianas, and the war in the Southwest Pacific
via the Solomons and New Guinea. The forces of the former were commanded
by Admiral Chester Nimitz in Hawaii and the latter by General Douglas
McArthur in Australia. When these advances met in the Philippines, the
two leaders had no superior short of the Commander-in-Chief, the President
of the United States.
The invasion was the responsibility of General McArthur with Central
Pacific Forces filling a supporting role. The Seventh Fleet under the
command of Vice Admiral Kincaid was given to General McArthur for the
invasion and included units of escort carriers and old battleships, some
of which had been raised from Pearl Harbor. The ammunition of these units
was non-armor-piercing, high explosive, as they were for support of the
troops ashore and not for an engagement at sea.
Protecting the invasion from attack by sea was the Third Fleet commanded
by Admiral [Bull] Halsey under Admiral Nimitz. The main striking force
consisted of four carrier air groups of four fast attack carriers each,
and a surface striking force of new fast battleships.
The Japanese sent a two-pronged surface attack against the invasion fleet
in Leyte Gulf and a decoy carrier group from Japan into the Philippine
Sea. The old battleships under Rear Admiral Oldendorf sank all but one
cruiser in Surigao Strait, which took care of the south prong. The fast
attack carriers turned back the northern prong in the Sibuyan Sea and
then proceeded after the decoy group away from the invasion fleet.
The Japanese northern arm returned to the attack, coming through San
Bernadino Straits with four battleships and ten heavy cruisers. No one
was there to meet them. They caught our escort carriers in Leyte Gulf.
After sinking the Gambier Bay, for some unknown reason the Japanese
admiral retreated. His only opposition consisted of torpedo attacks and
smoke from destroyers and destroyer escorts (the DE's do not carry torpedoes).
[The movie In Harm's Way, staring John Wayne is based on this
Our forces had intelligence of the enemy. We had an overpowering superiority
in surface and air power. But we did not obtain a decisive victory because
of poor communication between cooperating forces. If it had not been
for the decision of the Japanese admiral to retire, we might have suffered
a decisive defeat.
When we fail to uphold the principle of cooperation, we cannot count
on the enemy making mistakes or poor decisions. Nor can we bank on scaring
him with smoke and mock torpedo runs.
We must determine to have an overwhelming superiority to meet
the enemy in a decisive battle at the right time, which cannot be achieved
Cooperation is dependent upon two prerequisites:
- Cooperating forces are allies, not belligerents. [The cooperating
forces in these end-times should--and have to be--the differing
parts of the body of Christ in the arena of national and international
- The cooperating forces come under one commander. [One commander
running a non-denominational evangelistic organization to promote
national and international evangelism of the Gospel wouldn't be a
bad idea. Bill Bright's Campus Crusade for Christ International and
its' JESUS Film Project are one stunning example of this principle
currently being used today as you read this. Be sure to CLICK ON "Evangelism:
national and international" in this section titled "What is Evangelism?" Many
differing Christian denominations support this fine organization
and many more use it's prime resource, the JESUS film.]
Cooperation with an enemy is not cooperation; it is treason. Failure
to cooperate with an ally is a violation of an essential principle
of war and a gross error.
Unity of command is necessary for cooperation. The closer the commander
is to the cooperating forces, the closer the cooperation. The farther
removed the unity of command, the weaker the cooperation. [This principle
holds true at all levels of command. Local pastors should be close to
the good works work parties that act as one prong of a two-pronged
offensive of the gospel. Just as essential, differing parts of the body
of Christ, denominational leaders, should be close to each other in the
projects of gospel evangelism they're combining forces on.]
In the invasion of the Philippines the supreme commander was very distant,
the President of the United States. Admiral Nimitz had a unified command.
So did General McArthur. But this was a meeting of two distinct commands.
[And the differing parts of the body of Christ, the differing denominations,
are very distinct and separate commands as well. They face a similar
problem.] They had no common superior close enough to the situation to
provide good cooperation. The principle of cooperation is very important
in the spiritual war.
First, it applies to each one of us individually. Most Christians are
used to fighting (win or lose) their own spiritual battles. We are so
used to fighting the spiritual war alone that when we come into contact
with a fellow Christian in the same war at the same time or place, we
find it difficult to cooperate and communicate. Cooperation
is a prelude to concentration [of forces] and concentration [of forces]
is one of the keys to victory.
It should be immediately apparent that the Christians [do]
have the advantage of a unified command. Furthermore, their Commander
is not too far removed from the situation to provide effective cooperation.
[But under this High Supreme Allied Commander, we must strive
for unified command and cooperation between our "allied forces--the denominations!]
Jesus Christ himself experienced the temptations and difficulties in
this world, so He is close to our situation in the sense of personal
More important, He presently occupies a position close to all Christians
from which to direct their cooperative efforts--that is, He dwells in
their hearts. From there He can guide us as individuals or as part of
a group: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there
am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).
"I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).
If there is any breakdown in the principle of cooperation, it is not
on the part of the spiritual Commander; rather it must be traced to the
individual combatants [and denomitions].
The greatest deterrent to cooperation is pride. Pride says 'I can
handle my problems alone; I don't need any help.' [whether this is a
denominational attitude of pride, such as found between armed services,
like pride between the Navy and Army, or an individual attitude of pride.]
Or perhaps it will allow me to accept help, but not from him!
Sometimes pride keeps us from admitting our needs even to ourselves,
let alone to anyone else.
Other Christians could help us in our weakness, but we will not let them
know what it is. A proud man wishes to win the struggle alone so he may
take all the glory. When he loses no one else knows about it, or so he
believes. James 5:16 says:
"Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another." This cooperation
in the spiritual war is essential if we do not wish to be continually
defeated at the point where pride hides the fault. [And the power to
soundly defeat personal sin, especially addictions--alcohol, drugs--mental
depression, comes from combined prayer resulting from our "confessing" to
our Christian friends when we're having "problems", waging spiritual
war, against such things. And this confessing should be a part of our
Christian fellowshipping when we come together. And when a Christian
friend lets you know about the problems he or she is having, you must
without fail write them down and put these things on your daily prayer
list. Many Christians have walked away from all sorts of addictions and
mental depressions as a direct result of such intercessory prayers from
other Christians. This should become an essential part of our service
to each other in our respective church services. Encourage this in your
God's attitude toward pride is explicit in the Scripture. Proverbs 6:16
says, "These six things doth the Lord hate...a proud look..." I
John 2:16 states, "Love not the world...For all that is in the world...the
pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world."
The Bible also describes the results of pride. Daniel 5:20 explains the
downfall of Nebuchadnezzar in these words: "But when hardened in pride,
he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him." King
Uzziah suffered leprosy until the day of his death, because "when he
was strong his heart was lifted up" (II Chronicles 26:16).
Proverbs 16:18 states the principle in this way: "Pride goeth before
destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
In the military services pride is deliberately generated in order to
encourage obedience and high quality in performance of duties. Rivalry
and competition in training bring the units to the peak of readiness.
Yet platoons should cease to compete when they act as a company. They
are held together by the company commander. Companies should cease to
compete when acting as a battalion and so on up the line until the Commander-in-Chief
unites the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
But a problem exists. Whereas the highest sense of loyalty should be
to the highest commander, the greatest pride somehow frequently is generated
in the smaller units and the greatest loyalty is given to the subordinate
commanders. There may be fierce loyalty to the skipper and indifference,
antagonism, or at best a lesser loyalty to the squadron commander. (This
is no great difficulty as long as the skipper insures no deviation from
orders given by the squadron commander.)
Another way that pride is fostered is through the function of the unit.
The method of warfare used in the particular unit becomes, so far as
the men involved are concerned, the primary means of winning wars. For
instance, the armor historian will tell the heroic part that that unit
played in winning World War II. In turn, we can find out how destroyers,
submarines, the Navy, the Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and the
Army each won the last war.
The pride and loyalty that is encouraged, rivalry and competition that
keeps units sharp and on their toes, can and does backfire. After a few
years in the service, the naval officer has been indoctrinated to such
an extent that it is difficult to cooperate with the Army, even though
aims are in agreement. We then find that the individual thinks his loyalty
to the Navy is synonymous with loyalty to the U.S. Unfortunately the
Army feels the same way. Strained cooperation results. Thus the function
of one's branch can become more important to an officer than the over-all
objective of the Armed Forces. This is a result of instilling pride in
subordinate units to the neglect of emphasizing higher loyalties. [Object
lesson here: WE ARE CHRISTIANS FIRST AND FOREMOST, AND MEMBERS OF OUR
RESPECTIVE DENOMINATIONS SECOND! If being a good Baptist detracts from
you're being a good cooperative member of the body of Christ, then you
are going against a major principle of spiritual warfare, and getting
in the way of your Commander-in-Chief's overall prime objective (Matthew
28:18-20). I'm not trying to pick on Baptists, by the way, just making
an example. As the saying goes, "If the shoe fits, where it."]
In the Army of the Lord the same error occurs. The different units (denominations,
mission societies, and non-denominational groups) may develop a pride
in the distinctives of their church or fellowship. The doctrines, liturgy
or methods that make a group distinctive are the points which are emphasized.
Many denominations and other groups are primarily the result of the ministry
of individual men raised up by God: John Wesley, Martin Luther, John
Calvin, Hudson Taylor, as well as living leaders [Pastor Chuck Smith
or Dr. Billy Graham for example]. These are the "subordinate commanders" who
may get fierce loyalty and obedience which belong only to the Supreme
Commander, Jesus Christ.
This would be strongly denied by most of us. Yet we betray our loyalties
when our conversations frequently begin with ourselves or our group and
its leader. Is Jesus Christ as often the subject of our opening sentences?
If anyone draws this matter to our attention, we explain that our group
and Christianity are synonymous, or that our leader is the most devoted
follower of Jesus Christ, or that we meant Christianity, even if we did
not say so. Thus each group feels it is most representative of Jesus
Strangely enough, if we were to apply the mathematical axiom
"Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other," we would conclude
that all the groups were nearly identical to each other and would enjoy
great freedom in cooperation. This is not true. It is true that people
who have a genuinely close fellowship and contact with the Supreme Commander
have no trouble with each other, regardless of the groups with which
they are associated.
We must guard our loyalty and keep it for the Lord Jesus Christ. "You
shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul
and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And
a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew
The Officer's Christian Union has been raised up by God to serve Him
in the spiritual war on a specific battlefield, the Armed Forces of the
United States, particularly the Officers Corps. On the whole, we are
operating as a separate unit with our assigned objective set before us.
We have been operating this way so long is it easy to think in terms
of the ministry of the OCU instead of the ministry of the whole church
of Jesus Christ. We may think in terms of "every officer" instead of "every
Sometimes we will encounter another Christian or Christian group on
the same battlefield. Will we oppose his presence, tolerate his presence,
ignore it, or unite with him to win the battle?
The question never really centers around the method of the OCU versus
the method of the other group. The question is loyalty to the OCU versus
loyalty to Jesus Christ. He commands both groups. For infantrymen not
to accept the cooperation of tanks is not only stupid; it is disobedient
to the one commander of both tanks and infantry. Our controversy is not
with the other group--it is with Jesus Christ:
"John said to him, 'Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons
in your name, and we forbade him because he was not following us.'
But Jesus said, 'Do no forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work
in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that
is not against us is for us.'"
Our determining factor is the person of Jesus Christ. The
man may not be with the OCU and we may disapprove of his methods. But
if we agree with his loyalty to Jesus Christ and with his message, we
Paul saw this very clearly when he wrote:
"Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others
from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put
here for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ to afflict
me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in
pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice" (Philippeans
The other fellow's motives should not be our concern. This
is easy to say and to quote, but how to enter into an openhearted willingness
to work with someone from another group is not easy. The problem is
that we, as allied groups, are not close enough to the Supreme Commander,
the Lord Jesus Christ. The solution, then, is to spend more time with
Jesus Christ individually, in our group, and with other groups. This
time alone or together should not be spent in thinking or talking about
distinctives or differences. Nor should it be spent in accusation
We should spend our time with Him in prayer, praise, worship, reading,
studying and meditation. When we listen to Him, talk to Him, sing praise
to Him and talk about Him, we will come to know Him better. We will begin
to realize more of His love and power, and to follow more closely His
commandments and purpose.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all
men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John
[This chapter highlights the central theme of this web site,
and its name, Unity in the body of Christ. It is almost as if Mr. Wilson
wrote this chapter for this site, in advance. Who knows. The Lord knows
all in advance, including that he would inspire me to put together this
site to try to unite the body of Christ in its common purpose and objective
the Lord has given us all, expressed in Matthew 28:18-20, which Jesus
prophecied we Christians would successfully accomplish in Matthew 24:14.
Be sure to read the following articles in this section titled "What is
Evangelism?" to learn more of our assignment, on the individual, local
church, national and international level. The editor.]
"An Army marches on its stomach."
Napoleon expressed the principle of communication very well.
He knew that a front line army without food and ammunition cannot fight
or move, and invites defeat. Napoleon himself lost two armies, one because
he neglected this principle, and the other because the English severed
his line of communication.
The official definition of "lines of communication" is
"All the routes, land, water and air, which connect an operating military
force with its base of operations, along which supplies must continue
Adequate supplies must continue to move along these routes until a
campaign is over. If an army is in pursuit, its supplies must move
all the faster and farther. The principles of communication is violated
whenever an enemy is allowed to cut off supplies or when an army advances
too far and too fast for adequate supplies to keep up.
Napoleon was defeated on both counts. In the closing years of the eighteenth
century he invaded Egypt. The French fleet in the Mediterranean provided
the lines of communication. Militarily speaking, Egypt was an easy conquest.
But the English got word of this movement and Lord Nelson went after
the French fleet. He found and sunk it near the mouth of the Nile, stranding
Napoleon's army in Egypt.
Years later, having conquered most of Europe, Napoleon invaded Russia.
In the middle of winter he found he had disastrously overextended his
line of supply. Another army was lost through violation of the principle
of communication. It is no victory to defeat the enemy tactically and
then freeze and starve to death.
In the fall and winter of 1950 the United Nations forces pursued their
defeated enemy up the Korean peninsula faster than adequate food, winter
clothing, ammunition or engineers could follow. The victorious army arrived
at the Yula River thinned out in supplies and unprepared for winter.
In this state they were caught by the Chinese Communist Army, which crossed
the Yula River supplied and winterized. The hitherto victorious army
retreated to the 38th parallel. Great numbers were overrun,
surrounded and captured. Only the amphibious evacuation at Hungnam saved
most of the surrounded army. This principle of war may not be the most
important, but it still must be practiced. Without it victory is temporary,
So it is in the war with Satan. Spiritual defeat is the only reward
for those who overextend their lines of communication or allow them to
be severed. We in the Army of the Lord must maintain communication with
our Commander-in-Chief. He is our source of supply for spiritual food,
ammunition, information and orders. We have two-way communication with
God: Prayer and the Word of God. Prayer is our means of communication
to Him. Via prayer we make our needs known; through intercession we ask
help for cooperating forces. By prayer we praise Him for victories won
and confess our defeats.
I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "pray constantly." Spiritual communication
must not be broken. The enemy endeavors to cut our supply line by the
simple device of temptation. If we yield, sin results, and sin severs.
The presence of sin suppresses the desire to confess defeat. We do not
praise God, thank Him, or intercede for others. Confession is the
only means of restoring communications.
God's means of communication with us is the Word of God. Any
other spiritual communication is subject to test by this authoritative
standard. He first spoke to men through the prophets and later through
His Son and then through the apostles. We have these communications in
the Bible, comprising all our orders for the war with Satan.
But the Bible is more than that. It is our complete source of supply.
It is our spiritual food. [The connective expository sermons within
this web site are there to demonstrate one of the most effective ways
of feeding this spiritual food to your congregation, making them spiritually
strong and healthy troops in the Army of God, so they can effectively
wage the battle of evangelism locally under your immediate command.
Strongly consider learning this method of teaching. John Wesley used
it and started a major revival. George Muller used it, and had thousands
in his local congregations. Pastor Chuck Smith and the Christian revival
he started uses it, and this revival continues to spread across the
United States like wildfire.] Job said, "I have esteemed the words
of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12). Jeremiah said, "Thy
words were found and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy
and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name O Lord God
The Word of God is our weapon, "for 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).
The Word of God is much more. By this means God causes faith, love,
hope and strength in us. [This is in direct conjunction with the Holy
Spirit who dwells within us. He is stirred up by our reading of
the Word. ] In His Book He sets the standard of conduct. Through
it He communicates His requirements of humility and absolute obedience,
as well as many details and principles of the conduct of an army at
war. He sets the bounds of fellowship among those within the camp and
those without. [Be sure to read the section on 1 Corinthians for the
Lord's instructions through the apostle Paul and how a local congregation
is to be run and what is and isn't permitted within the congregation.
God set the standard through Paul here for all of us to follow as pastors.]
As a weapon it is the most telling and effective in setting captives
free from the power of Satan.
"You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable,
through the living and abiding word of God" (I Peter 1:23). [Jesus
is the Living Word of God, whereas the Bible is the Word of God in
print. Jesus within us through the indwelling Holy Spirit enables and
feeds us spiritually as we read the written Word of God. Our mere physical
act of reading God's Word is meaningless without the enabling of the
Holy Spirit within us (I Cor. 2:9-12).]
Even this portion of our two-way line of communication can be cut and
again it is sin that severs. With unconfessed sin in his life, the
Christian has no desire to read, hear, study or meditate upon the Word
of God. He now neither communicates with God nor receives from Him.
It may have been a minor sin that severed the lines of communication;
but once severed and not immediately restored, he is set up for a decisive
defeat by Satan.
It is mandatory in the war with Satan that we have daily communication
with our source of supply. We must receive daily from the Lord via
the Word enough for all of the day's needs, and we must store up provisions
of the Word of God in our hearts and heads for any future time when
we have a prolonged engagement with Satan.
Daily time with the Lord is far more than our line of communication
for the battle. Fellowship with Him is really our objective.
We were created and redeemed to walk with God. In fact, this is the
reason why we are engaged in war, so that others may be brought into
fellowship with Him. "That which we have seen and heard declare we
unto you [proclaim also to you], that ye also may have fellowship with
us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus
Christ" (I John 1:3).
In Korea is seemed more important to implement the principle of war called
pursuit than to keep in touch with supplies. This would have been right
if the Chinese Communists had not entered the war. Our lines of communication
can be overextended as well as cut. It may seem more important to be
out witnessing or attending meetings than it is to spend time with our
source of supply, the Lord Jesus Christ. Both witnessing and attending
meetings are legitimate means of combating the enemy, but they cease
to be effective when we run out of spiritual power. Scripture and sound
military principle warn us that decisive defeat may be the end result.
If we are fortunate, friends may be standing by to evacuate and keep
us from defeat.
In Luke 10:38-42 is a story that illustrates this principle.
"But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and
said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha Martha,
you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful.
Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from
Notice this: Martha was not far from the Lord nor was He far from her.
The line of communication was short. Even though it was short she had
still overextended. She had received nothing. She was too busy serving
to receive. If we are too busy to spend time with the Lord, then we are
We are never far from Him. The Second World War extended lines halfway
around the world. We have not such a problem in distance for He said, "I
am with you alway" (Matthew 28:20). We can pray to Him at any time and
place. We can receive from Him through His Word all the supplies, strength,
and wisdom needed for daily combat.
It is not the length of our lines of communication that is important.
Just the use of them!
[This web site's two main resources are in the area of prayer and Bible
study (and the latter demonstrating the preaching style of connective
expository sermons for the effective feeding of your respective flocks
under your care). The section "What is Prayer?" deals with teaching about
the many important aspects of prayer and how to pray and make it effective.
The connective expository Bible studies are scattered throughout this
site as an example of that incredibly powerful style of preaching. Utilizing
these two main resources found on this site will help you keep the supply
lines open for both you and your congregation. As a pastor, it is your
primary responsibility to meet these needs of your spiritual troops under
you. And the section on
"What is Prayer?" also shows you how to concentrate your forces, spiritual
troops, in joint cooperative prayer groups, and Pastor Cymbala in his
book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire shows what will be accomplished as
a result of this concentration of prayer force.]
Economy of Force
"The more the concentration can be compressed into one act
and one moment, the more perfect are its results."--Clausewitz
Economy of Force is efficiency in fighting, effectiveness
in warfare. If our objective is the annihilation of the enemy army we
will take the offensive at the decisive point. In order to do this effectively,
the combined application of all principles of war is necessary. A statement
by General Erfurth mentions or implies most of the principles of war:
"To concentrate overwhelmingly superior members at the decisive
points is impossible without strategic surprise. The assembly of the
shock-group must be done as quickly as possible in such a way that
all units can attack at one and the same time."
Each of the following principles when supplied separately
economizes force. When they are supplied in unison economy of force is
achieved. Let us look at each principle in the light of economy of force,
realizing that all of them are interdependent:
- Objective: The greatest incentive for economizing is to know where
you are going and then go there.
- Offensive: "Going" economizes forces. It takes less force to mount
an offense against one point than to defend all points.
- Security: If the enemy does not know what we are going to do, we
can do it with less force. If he knows, he will then be prepared and
we may not be able to do it all even with a much greater force.
- Surprise: This principle certainly allows a commander to do the job
with less force.
- Mobility: Mobility economizes force by increasing, in effect, the
numbers of men and arms. "A leader who aims at mobility should not
be afraid to strain his troops to the limit in order that they may
reach the battlefield in time. Many victories were made possible by
forced marches. Mobility equals increase in numbers." (Erfurth).
- Cooperation: When allied forces advance with a common objective and
in unity, they can attain victory with fewer men than if they had acted
- Concentration: This may seem to be, but is not, the opposite of economy
of force. To use one's force in driblets here and there may only result
in consistent defeat. But if we concentrate at the decisive points,
we are using economy of force.
(There is such a thing as overconcentration in a places which
are not decisive points. "Consequently, the fronts where no decisions
are being sought should be manned with a minimum of force" (Erfurth).
To concentrate at undecisive points violates economy of force. It is
better to have one's force scattered in driblets at decisive points than
have it concentrated at an undecisive point.)
As we apply the various aspects of the principles of economy of force
to the spiritual war in which we are engaged, we can say that any concentration
of Christians where there are few or no non-Christians is an overconcentration
of Christians at a point which is not decisive. To have concentration
of Christians where paganism is thick and rampant is compatible with
the principles of war.
Because Christians have a tendency to concentrate at undecisive points,
it may be difficult to get more than a few away from places of mislocated
concentration to points where decisive battles are being fought. The
few may not be enough for effective concentration, but their proper deployment
is a step in the right direction, a step toward economy of force. Not
to send a few to those decisive points would violate several principles
of war. Economy of force uses what is available to do the job. [Think
about this when a work-party is assigned to go help a needy non-Christian.
Concentration of force by having many show up is giving this person witness
of the demonstrated gospel of Christ, without which the spoken
gospel of Christ becomes hobbled.]
When there are many decisive points and the Christians are congregated
away from the front, we ought to plead with God for economy of force: "And
I sought for a man among them, who should build up the wall and stand
in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but
I found none" (Ezekiel 22:30).
Concentration in a noncombatant area is legitimate for training, to receive
power or to prepare to attack. If concentration remains after training
has been accomplished or if we dilly dally around in the rear, we will
never be ready for war. This is a waste of force!
The Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, "Thus it is written, that
the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and
that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name
to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these
things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay
in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:46-49).
The primary objective was "all nations." Jerusalem was the place where
power was to be received and from which to start after the early believers
had received the power. However, they stayed in Jerusalem a prolonged
period of time after they had received power through the coming of the
Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Their failure to move out was disobedience
to orders. But God finally forced them to leave by allowing persecution.
Concentration in the wrong place is not economy of force.
When these principles are combined with an offensive at a decisive point,
we are practicing economy of force.
In Biblical history the greatest example of these principles combined
in one military battle is Gideon's victory over the armies of Midian
and Amalek described in Judges 7 and 8. In his God-directed use of economy
of force, Gideon sent 31,700 men home and won the battle with 300 men.
The much needed application of this principle is that we must send to
the decisive point men who are willing and ready to go. It may be that,
as it was with Gideon, 22,000 are afraid to go and another 9,700 are
not ready to go. Thus, perhaps only 300 men are willing and ready to
go with the message of Jesus Christ.
It was not God's plans to invite the Midianites and the Amalekites one
and two at a time to the Israelites' home towns where 31,700 soldiers
could take them captive. Nor is it His plan to invite non-Christians
one and two at a time into an overconcentration of Christians at an undecisive
point where the believers preach the Gospel at each other [although Calvary
Chapel does this quite effectively, by using other keys of local church
evangelism right within their church services. More on this later.] It
is God's plan to attack the decisive points with victory in mind. There
are so many places and so few willing to go that we must economize our
Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; pray
therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke
This is in the imperative. Jesus Christ tells us to pray that God would
send men. He commands us to do it and tells us why. The harvest is too
much for the few reapers. Let us pray for economy of force.
"Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory."--Clausewitz
In his biography of Field Marshall Viscount Allenby of Migiddo
and Felixstowe, General Archibald Wavell, K.C.B., C.M.G., M.C., gives
a very clear picture of the problems of pursuit:
"To the uninitiated, pursuit seems the easiest possible form
of war. To chase a flying, presumably demoralized enemy must be a simple
matter, promising much gain at the expense of some exertion and hardship,
but little danger. Yet the successful or sustained pursuits of history
have been few, the escapes from a lost battle many. The reasons are
partly material, but mainly moral. A force retreating falls back on
its depots and reinforcements, unless it is overrun, it is growing
stronger all the time, and there are many expedients besides fighting
by which it can gain time: bridges or roads blown up, defiles blocked,
supplies destroyed. The pursuer soon out runs his normal resources.
He may possibly be able to feed himself at the expense of his enemies
or of the countryside; he is not likely to replenish his ammunition
and warlike equipment in the same way. But the chief obstacle he has
to overcome is psychological. The pursued has a greater incentive to
haste than the pursuer, and, unless he is demoralized, a stronger urge
to fight. It is only natural that the soldier who has risked his life
and spent his toil in winning a battle should desire relaxation in
safety as his mead of victory, and that the general and staff should
feel a reaction from strain. So that while coolness in disaster is
the supreme proof of a Commander's courage, energy in pursuit is the
surest test of his strength of will. Few have carried out pursuits
with such relentless determination as Allenby in 1917 and 1918."
The spiritual war for men is not much different. If the principles
of war were applied by a body of believers in any given locality, I believe
there would be a great spiritual victory. The battle would be won and
there would be many spiritual conversions to Jesus Christ.
However, when a breakthrough for Christ is achieved, we relax, as though
the fight were over.
Consider Gideon's rout of the Midianites. In Judges 7 we find that for
the battle 300 men were all that were needed to make the breakthrough.
But once the battle was won and the Midianites were fleeing, Gideon called
for the men he had previously sent home; three of the four tribes joined
in the pursuit. He also called out the tribe of Ephraim to cut off the
fleeing Midianites by seizing the fords of the Jordan. "And Gideon came
to the Jordan and passed over, he and the three hundred men who were
with him, faint yet pursuing."
The fact that 120,000 of the enemy were already slain, that Gideon had
won the battle, and that he and his men were tired and hungry, did not
stop his pursuit. By this time only fifteen thousand of the enemy remained.
"And Gideon went up by the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah and
attacked the army for the army was off its guard. And Zebah and Zlamunna
fled, and he pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and
Zalmunna and he threw all of the army into a panic. Then Gideon...returned
from the battle..."
In physical warfare, the fruits of victory are conserved by pursuing
the beaten enemy. The victors cannot relax or just "follow up" the prisoners
of war. The pursuit will bring many more prisoners in a short time, but
if it is delayed, another major battle will ensue. The defeated enemy
will have time to regroup his forces.
In spiritual warfare we must think beyond the converts made in the immediate
battle. We must pursue the many non-Christians who are "fleeing" in conviction
of sin, but who as yet have not surrendered to Jesus Christ. In other
words, we as Christians ought to consider the principle of pursuit to
be as important as "follow up" of the new Christians after a spiritual
breakthrough. The victory has prepared many men almost to receive Jesus
Although it is very important to take care of prisoners of war, it takes
a minimum of men to take care of disarmed prisoners. In the spiritual
war the prisoners are the converts to Jesus Christ. They are not only
disarmed, they are now on our side. It should take fewer people to follow
through on the new converts than is needed to pursue the great numbers
who have been defeated but who have not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ.
Sometimes after a major spiritual victory, even "follow up" is not attempted.
Still worse is the failure to press the pursuit of those who are running
away from Jesus Christ.
The most effective way to pursue the beaten enemy in physical war is
to hit from his unprotected flanks. If a direct pursuit is carried out,
the victors run into the deadly sting of the rear guard [and Rommel was
a master at putting together deadly rear-guard's, composed of mobile
88mm anti-tank batteries. The British learned to not follow too close
behind Rommel's retreating Afrika Korps!] and into many roadblocks and
blown bridges, and so the retreating enemy gets away. To avoid these,
the victors should travel a parallel path, outrun and intercept the retreating
enemy. To continue direct pursuit after the battle is won is to lose
the retreating enemy. In order to effect an interception in the pursuit,
mobility is needed. If immediate pursuit is undertaken, as many more
captives as were taken in the battle can be secured.
Prior to the Megiddo battle in September 1918 Allenby promised his cavalry
30,000 prisoners of war. His staff thought he was presumptuous. In reality
he ended up with 50,000 prisoners having reduced the Turkish Seventh
and Eighth armies to a few columns.
Let us consider the
"how" of spiritual pursuit. First, we must be convinced that many people
are ready to receive Christ and will receive Him if they are cut off
and confronted with their sin and the Saviour. When a man begins to run
away, he is ready to be captured. This does not mean that he will not
put up a last desperate struggle or will not continue to run. This is
why it is important to cut off his retreat.
To outrun fleeing, convicted sinners, God-directed mobility is required.
As in Gideon's case, it might take a small, well disciplined, courageous
group to make a breakthrough in the spiritual conflict for men. [Like
the "work parties" that went down into the "salt mines" of Brooklyn NY
with blankets and Bibles for the homeless--they created the "breakthrough"--]
Once the breakthrough has been made and many have received Christ, many
others will have been convicted of sin, righteousness and judgment and
will begin to flee. Then we need more than our hard core of trained men.
We need, like Gideon, all of the Christians who were not prepared for
the battle but who are necessary in the pursuit. If we depend only on
the hard core of Christians who seek to follow hard after Christ, we
will win many battles, but there will be no complete rout. There will
be successful evangelistic campaigns, but no awakening. If pursuit
is practiced, every successful evangelistic campaign is a possible prelude
to a general awakening.
If we study spiritual awakenings from Pentecost to the Welsh Revival
of 1901 and the Korean revival of 1905, we notice the battle and the
breakthrough centered around one man or a small group of men. This was
only the start. After that many Christians witnessed and testified of
saving grace and more people were converted. Christians got right with
the Lord and entered the chase. The whole church was in the awakening.
Evan Roberts was not responsible for the 70,000 new Christians in Wales;
he was only the leader. God's revivals may start with God-picked men.
But they continue only if every Christian, weak or strong, joins in the
It is the responsibility of the leader not only to make the breakthrough
in the battle with his picked men, but also to call in all the reserves
for the rout. Our greatest mobility is in the quantity of Christians
who can testify of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Every Christian
should testify to everyone he meets.
Another means of mobility in pursuit is literature distribution--booklets,
tracts, books and Scripture portions--all of them on the judgment and
love of God. The literature may be offered without charge and distributed
at meetings, by the mass of Christians or by direct mail. [Or like those
in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, on "good works"
outreaches into the poor and homeless sections of Brooklyn.] [The Internet
is another new technology for distributing this same precious information.]
A third factor essential to effective pursuit is the manner and content
of our appeal. In preaching Christ to the people just prior to the breakthrough,
it is possible to be somewhat removed from one's audience. But in pursuit
we must be clearly identified with the people. Let there be compassion
and understanding in our approach.
Furthermore, an ultimatum should be used in our message, citing the judgment
of God on unrepentant men. This is the only effective means that will
cause a fleeing man to surrender to Christ. Judgment is the reality he
cannot escape if he persists in fleeing from Christ and therefore it
has great force in causing a fugitive to stop in his flight. Yet our
warning should be given in love and joy.
The church in Thessalonica witnessed to their countrymen in the true
sense of pursuit. True, they were not established Christians like those
of Ephesus. They did not have two years of Bible school with Paul as
the teacher. They had heard the Gospel only three Sabbath days. Nevertheless
Paul writes to them a few weeks later:
"For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in
Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to godward
is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing."
Will we follow their example?
We must if we are to win!