I would like to introduce you to an important campaign just launched by New St. Andrews College. First, please take a moment to click here and watch the video. I will either wait here, or come along with you to watch the video again with you. It’s that good.
Now that you are back, I want to say a few things about what it means to build and what it means to fight. We must build before the face of God, and we must fight before the face of God. All our activities and actions are coram Deo:
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3).
“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13).
Whether we remember this or not does not affect whether or not it happens — in Him we live and move and have our being — but it does affect whether we behave intelligently in the face of omniscience. If we are fools and say that God “does not see” (Ps. 94:7), then we extend ourselves in our folly right before Him.
So if we seek to build autonomously, we find ourselves working on some other project, some tower of man or something. And if we wind up doing this, it does not matter if Christian terminology is emblazoned all over the outside of what we are doing — it is still part of the tower of man. And as we should all know, the tower of man always casts a shadow that becomes a hideous strength.
And if we seek to fight, just for the sake of fighting, we find out that our martial spirit can be pointed in terrible directions. Some panty-waist Christians have been disturbed by the martial spirit that has been shown by many faithful believers in the aftermath of these horrendous Planned Parenthood videos. But this is another one of those inescapable concepts — it is not whether you will fight, but rather which enemy you will fight. Either you will fight Planned Parenthood, or you will join with them to fight the unborn.
These are simple concepts, but given the climate of our times, they are still easy to miss. That is why we want the opportunity to teach young people how to be makers and shapers of culture. We want to build and we want to fight, and we want to teach them to build and teach them to fight.
A day will come, as the hymn says, when we hang the trumpet in the hall and study war no more. But we are not there yet. We are still the Church Militant, and there is no Church Pacifist — only the Church Triumphant. There is no such thing as theological pacifism. There are only sides in the battle — two of them, in fact. At the beginning of human history, God established an unalterable antipathy between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. To dislike what He did there is to go over to the wrong side of what He did there.
Several concluding thoughts. The structure of our thoughts on this are obviously taken from Nehemiah. First, we are building in the midst of numerous threats, and some respected commentators — here’s looking at you, Tobiah — don’t think much of our chances. But we will build, ready to fight. Swords and shovels, shovels and swords.
“Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other” (Neh. 4:17, ESV).
The second point is that reformations happen when grievous sins and compromises are just in the immediate past. A reformation cannot happen without turning from sin, and whenever you turn from sin, that sin was not all that long before. And so it would be easy to get caught up in the kind of lamentation that is not all that productive.
“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).
I hope you get a sense of the joy involved from the video. But this is not the joy of those who have always had their act together. No, it is the joy of those who have learned that we don’t have to bring our own portion. God is our portion.
“The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; And in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!” (Ps. 21:1).