Stay Vigilant, My Friend

by Mark Klages , Christian Examiner Contributor |

(Photo: Aaron Burden/Unsplash)

What is an insurgency? According to Merriam-Webster it is specifically "a condition of revolt against a government that is less than an organized revolution and that is not recognized as belligerency." How does one go about recognizing an insurgency? Well, that answer is kind of already in the definition – it's not recognized.

Still, we can point to a few popular insurgencies of the recent past as examples. In Iraq, the actions of Al Qaeda and the Baath Party following US overthrow of Saddam Hussein were labeled as "insurgencies." Why? Probably because the optics of fighting an insurgency make us look better than battling a revolution or an established, opposing force.

More recently, and based totally on your perspective both politically and fundamentally, the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) and Mainstream Media (MSM) might be seen as waging an insurgency since before President Trump took office. Even before President Trump took office, minorities and women in these United States viewed Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the #MeToo movement as insurgencies against white male privilege. The Birthers waged an insurgency against former President Obama, claiming his official birth certificate was a forgery that could be digitally decomposed more than four layers deep to find an original that did not support his claim to citizenship.

Currently, according to Sean Hannity, the far left Socialists and Freshman class of Democrats are waging an insurgency against the Democratic party that might even render it moot during the next election. Even in the church we find insurgencies when people break with doctrine and work to move the faith and beliefs of church members away from traditional understanding – such as in music, movies, and dancing, as in my own Nazarene church.

Insurgency and insurrection are serious challenges to the American way of life. Consider my last example – insurgency in the church. You might say, "But Mark, to stay relevant with the rapidly changing culture in the US, we need to adapt less stringent practices, else our church will die."

Is that a bad thing, really? I mean, is it better to compromise true beliefs and live or maintain your integrity and expire?

Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV), "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

But is it fair to require this new generation, an undoubtedly more educated and knowledgeable generation, to accept that the ways and doctrine of our father's father's father are right, noble, and better than the more relaxed, more inclusive stories being told across the nation today?

It is fair only in that it is true. Jesus himself suffered losses, having fed tens of thousands at one sitting and then having less than a handful left by His side while He hung on the cross. Jesus could have relaxed his teachings and made millions of followers while He walked the Earth. Instead He remained true to the Father, true to the Good News, and true to God's plan for humanity.

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them." From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:60-69, NIV; emphasis added)

Staying the course is hard, especially when Satan wages an insurgency from within the church itself that looks and sounds and feels right. Seriously, who doesn't want to reach more people with God's word? But at what cost? We are the body of Christ and it is our responsibility to this generation and the next to remain vigilant. Even if it means closing the doors on the beautiful building we've loved for the last two-hundred years. Even God's hands and feet are expendable for the salvation of the Body. After all, if the sin of adultery is as simple as looking on another woman lustfully, how much more damning is lusting after a larger congregation when the cost is the integrity of God's word?

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matt 5:28-30, NIV)

–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.