A harmonious unity through tolerance is the message of "peace" proclaimed in our world today. In a time when cultural relativism and subjectivism reign, all the lines are blurred and the black and white have become shades of gray. Where once blood was shed for the sake of principle, today's "martyrs" are those that are unyielding to those who would deny mankind the freedom to slaughter their own offspring or to openly practice sodomy. Genuine scholarship has been forsaken in pursuit of tolerance and unity. In the midst of the darkness, the light of Christian scholarship must again be rekindled. For too long the church of Jesus Christ has followed the ways of the world down the slippery slope that leads only to destruction. The believer should be committed to opposition instead of a harmony built on the false hope of tolerance. True unity and peace will not come as a result of cultural relativism, subjectivism, and tolerance, but as a result of the advance of the Kingdom of Christ throughout the earth. The Christian's declaration of opposition can be expressed with the following: 1.) The biblical teaching of opposition, 2.) The Kingdom's destruction of opposition, and 3.) The sword of Christian scholarship.
The Biblical Teaching of Opposition
The Christian must acknowledge that the reason that there is an unresolveable conflict between the believer and the unbeliever is due to the fact that the Lord Himself has sovereignly imposed it. In Genesis 3:15 the Lord says, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall crush you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel." The attempt to remove, diminish, or downplay this antithesis assails the God who has imposed it. The obligation to uphold this opposition was always, and continues to be the believer's responsibility. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 (see also Deuteronomy 22:10, Exodus 29:45, Leviticus 27:12, Jeremiah 31:1, Ezekial 37:27, Exodus 25:8, and Isaiah 42:11) says,
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean.
The believer is obligated to view his position in Christ as separate from those that are in the darkness. His relation to unbelievers should always include the consideration of this opposition. Moreover, the opposition that God imposed in the garden and exists to the present day will be confirmed eternally on the Day of Judgment. On that Day the wicked will be utterly cast aside into darkness and will experience the opposition of a Holy God for all eternity.
The Kingdom's Destruction of Opposition
The Lord, seated upon His throne at the right hand of God, after His triumph over the over sin is, "Waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet."1 In Genesis the Lord spoke of the opposition, and with the coming of the Christ that opposition is more fully realized as He now has crushed the head of the serpent. As it is written, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil."2 The victory of the Kingdom of Christ is certain. Consequently, just as certain is the destruction of the opposition. In Daniel 2:35, 44 it says,
Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth…In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
The vision displayed the kingdoms of this world and how the Lord would set up a Kingdom which would victoriously overcome all opposition. The Kingdom of Christ is one that will not be destroyed, but will endure forever bringing under subjection and crushing all the kingdoms of this world. The Lord has determined that the Kingdom will not be instantly established on a global scale, but rather, according to His good pleasure, it shall be a process of growth. This growth is not limited in scope, but instead it is described as starting as a small stone and gradually grows into an enormous mountain that engulfs the entire earth. The growth of the kingdom to fully encompass the globe will come to pass ensuring the defeat of all opposition.
The Sword of Christian Scholarship
The destruction of all opposition will not be accomplished by physical force or military might but rather with the word of the Lord. In Revelation 19:14-15 it is said of Christ and His church,
And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His (Christ's) mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.
The King of kings and the Lord of lords will subdue all of His enemies with words sharper than any two edged sword. He who has been given all power in heaven and on earth rides out upon a white horse not only to battle but also to certain victory as all those that oppose His advance are abased. The saints follow their King into the battle armed with the sword of the word of God. Christian scholarship is the sharpening of the blade for war, always ready to engage in the battle for the glory of God and the progression of the Dominion. The Christian should excel in scholarship above unbelievers not only because he possess the coherent system in which all the particular facts of his experience can be rendered intelligible making success in every field of study attainable, but also because he has the covenantal responsibility to be a scholar. The believer should strive for excellence in every area of study, disciplining his mind to pattern his thinking after the mind of God, and labor in the study of the scriptures and the world in order to correctly interpret and apply the words of the covenant to his life.
The church must come to reckon with the fact that to be a friend of the world is to make oneself an enemy of God. Jesus said that those who are not with Him are against Him.3 If the scriptural promises regarding the victorious advance of God's Kingdom is taken seriously then it must be concluded that those that stand in the way must be subdued. Everything and everyone that opposes Christ is at heart the enemy of the Christian. The believer is to be committed to the overthrow of the enemy realizing its necessity. Van Til wrote,
Our program, we have seen, is an absolute one and an absolute program can never be reached by compromise of any sort. An absolute program can only be realized if the enemy is destroyed. We have found that we would be able to maintain the faith in our program in no other way than by the destruction of the enemy. We cannot believe in our program and we do not believe in our program if we look at it merely as something that is somewhat better than the program of our enemies…Our hope for the future lies in the conviction that our enemies will be destroyed.4
No compromise, capitulation, or concession. Instead, the committed believer should voice his agreement with the biblical position in a declaration of opposition against: 1.) Any ideology of harmony built upon subjectivism and tolerance, 2.) Any individual or assemblage that defiantly resists the advance of God's Kingdom, 3.) Any falsehood, error, or doctrines of demons that is contrary to the nature of God and the truth of the scriptures, and 4.) Any poor scholarship which dulls the blade of the Christian's sword, weakening the army of God and impeding the advance of the Kingdom.
1. Hebrews 10:12-13
2. 1 John 3:8.
3. Luke 11:23.
4. Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education, (Phillipsburg, P&R, 1971), p. 165
- Gilbert Sanchez