The Schilling Show guest editorial

by EE Greyson

Covert vs Overt

The Schilling Show guest editorialIn the first two articles I wrote about the value of privacy, the need for discernment of situations, being discrete about what you share appropriate to the audience, time, place and purpose, and how being wise in this area promotes personal liberty and freedom of action. These principles can be used for malevolent as well as benevolent purposes and both are used by wise Christians and shrewd adversaries.

In order to use a single word for this subject I will refer to being “covert.” This word as of late has connotations that aren’t necessarily helpful for our purpose. While this word can mean  working in secret, in concealment or disguise it also can mean having shelter or even a wife under the protection of her husband. As I wrote previously, we are Christians In Action, not the CIA of spy fame.

In this article and the next we will examine conducting oneself boldly by which I mean more overtly. Let us be wise here too since boldness and overtness don’t mean broadcasting your message or actions at the highest possible setting. Indeed covert vs overt is really a continuum and therefore categorizing an action as one or the other is not easy and often not even necessary. Motive is more the deciding factor than mode of action.

What and Who Do We Mean by Adversaries or Enemies?

I’ve talked about war, enemies, and adversaries so I need to clarify a few things. The war is a spiritual war though it plays itself out in politics, culture, relationships and sometimes in open, even kinetic, hostilities. We are at war with our flesh, the devil, and the world. While Christ has already won that war in all three theaters, He has purposely left us to struggle with the presence of sin in our own hearts, against demonic powers, and against the world system. We wage war against them with spiritual weapons, and can never make a treaty of peace for Christ brought a sword. That means strife, not actual swords.

Likewise, while we are at war with a system, one that enslaves every man to the prince of the power of the air, we are not at war with people, at least not people in the most general case.

The same Jesus who brought a sword and gained victory over the world, also said:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

What He meant by “world” there was not a love of the world system, or universal salvation, but that God’s love was not restrained to a single nation or people. Rather, salvation would be offered to every people, nation, tribe and tongue AND people would be saved without distinction according to nation, tribe or tongue.

What is Our Part in this War?

While Satan is the prince of the power of the air, Jesus is King of Kings, Lord of lords, and the ruler of Heaven and Earth. Our calling is to be heralds to announce that good news (for so the word “gospel” means) and we are ambassadors for our King. We declare that the Kingdom of God is at hand (at this moment,not just in some future sense) and that all men should repent. As men who were once enemies of God, we present not a declaration of war, but a ministry of reconciliation with a word of reconciliation. We do this with a war-like devotion, but a dove-like appeal, to declare this offer of peace and reconciliation before the King returns to fully invest Himself in the kingdom upon earth which has already begun in Heaven. For He already rules and reigns upon His throne until the last enemy is vanquished which is Death. But when He returns those who are His enemies will be His enemies for eternity and those who now have peacewithGod will be at peace in God forever.

It is also our privilege and duty to warn all who are in authority to do homage to the Son else they will perish forever when they meet him in death or life. This duty however must be exercised with extreme care. We’ll cover some of this in the next article.

What Kind of War Is This?

In the past, well meaning, and not so well meaning Christians, have thought that this war was fought exclusively with actual weapons and waging a kinetic war. This has not always been wrong but became necessary when spiritual power and national power were intertwined. I think Jesus said it best when He answered Pontius Pilate’s question about whether He was the King of the Jews.

“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.'”
— John 18:36-37 NASB95

Notice that Christ’s Kingdom was not of this world (but when He returns it will be) and that the warfare He was waging was an information war regarding Truth. Long before social media, technology, and intelligence operations, a war of information started all the back in the Garden of Eden. The crafty serpent’s shrewd question, “Indeed, has God said,…” was using a deception to lead to a lie that was meant to blunt the Truth. It worked all too well. All information warfare boils down to this single tactic. This is the key to understanding what kind of war we are fighting. Also note that the Hebrew word for “crafty” or “shrewd”, like the one for “discretion” has both negative and positive connotations. Some of the tactics are similar between us and our adversaries but the motives are opposite and we must account for means as well as ends before “Him with whom we have to do” and thus we conduct our warfare in godly fear not of the enemy but of our King and our Judge.

What Are the Weapons of Our Warfare?

Now that we know we are fighting an information war, we know information is the primary weapon. However, Paul puts this in a more poignant and picturesque way:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
— Ephesians 6:10-17 NASB95

Notice that Paul,while using vivid war imagery, is really just displaying the application of Truth as the foundation of faith that leads to the action of declaring the Truth from a sincere heart and in full assurance that it isn’t “your truth” or “my truth” but THE TRUTH!

Here are a few morsels from the passage:

  • We have a real enemy – The Devil, his minions in heaven and on earth, and the world system
  • He has schemes – those schemes have been worked out over millennia. Don’t try to outwit the devil, that’s not how the war is conducted
  • He has forces –  spiritual forces of wickedness and the world forces of darkness
  • He has some high ground – rulers and powers, placed in heavenly places (i.e. of infernal grandeur not eternal position)
  • These are not flesh and blood enemies – Yes, there are demons and they are very active today and every day which is why every day is called evil

Note: These demons can not work in the physical world except through people. These people for the most part are unaware they are in the pay of the devil, nor do they realize they are enslaved to his will. Indeed, they are so deluded that think they are free and love their service. Some of these flesh and blood people have so opened themselves up to demons they are actually possessed by them. Yes, it is a thing and in many countries it is a very common thing.

Part of our warfare is to rescue them from the enemy camp and bring them to our camp and to the assembly of the firstborn and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

  • Our primary duty is to hold the ground – we are are to stand firm and resist the devil and his onslaught.
  • The way we do that is with weapons of our own, the so-called full armor of God:
    • Truth – It is called a belt because everything holds together if you wear it and falls off if you don’t
    • Righteousness – When the cause is right, and the means are right, you are well protected in your actions
    • The Gospel – We fight with a weapon of peace to lead us in the right path and we trod that path with fleet feet by prior preparation. The gospel is good news, the same good news we have been talking about before. No need to invent new news or fancy ideas.
    • Faith – The devil constantly lies about God. This was his weapon in the Garden and still is because it works very well. Don’t underestimate a well worn strategy just because it’s old. If it works, there isn’t a need to reinvent it, just repackage it every few years to draw in the same unprepared victims. You just concentrate on knowing what you believe, why you believe it, and live it out by trusting what God has said and acting that out as Truth. “Blind faith” is no faith and leads to destruction. By the way, those flaming arrows are doubt and confusion. Faith is the ONLY shield against that.
    • Salvation – The head, while hard to hit, is the most lethal area to be hit. If we aren’t actually saved by God then we are dead before we enter the battlefield. If our minds don’t know what salvation is then we are very vulnerable to attack. Understand what salvation is, and isn’t, and seek to add to your knowledge, wisdom in the fear of God, and the assurance of His love for YOU, not in general but YOU personally. If you don’t fill your mind with truth, you are going to fall for one of Satan’s tricks. “Heart” Christianity without “Head” Christianity, isn’t either.

Now perhaps you think this is a weak way to wage a war. You could not be more wrong:

“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. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”
— 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NASB95

Now that you have a better idea what the war is, your duty in it, and the weapons used to conduct war, you only need a few pointers on how to conduct it. The next article will cover that briefly.

Helpful Books

  • The Christian in Complete Armour by William S. Gurnall (Best, Banner of Truth, 1981 Facsimile of 1842 Edition, ISBN: 9780851511962) – This is a long book written long ago but it still is relevant today because the enemy and our armor haven’t changed. Technology not required.
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

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