Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Carnal Weapons

Here's some food for thought courtesy of Doug Wilson. He commented on these two passages in a recent sermon.  First, famous stuff from II Cor 10:3-4:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Most interpret this passage to say that Christians don't fight with guns or swords, but with "spiritual" weapons like prayer and singing. Very good. Now consider Hebrews 11:32-34:

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Notice the contradiction between the interpretation of the first passage and the second. Did Samson fight by faith? Yes. Did Samson fight in the Spirit? Yes. (Here's a good word study- count how many times the Holy Spirit is associated with Samson in Judges. Then count all the times it's associated with anybody else in the OT). Did Samson fight with real, physical weapons? Yes. Many of them, including his bare hands. So did all the rest of the faith heroes listed here.

We have been conditioned to think of the "spiritual" as the invisible and immaterial, but that is not true. The spiritual is the material powered by faith.

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