Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2006

Faith Forum: Why does the Bible say Christians are like soldiers or warriors?

September 23, 2006


Soldierly obedience, thrust of Paul's Gospels

The Rev. James Bush, pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, 4300 W. Sixth St.:

In a number of instances, the New Testament writer and apostle we know as Paul used the imagery of the soldier to suggest how the Christian lives in obedience to Christ.

For example, Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy, encouraging him to exhibit staying power and telling him to "endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:3). Paul writes to encourage a young man to remain steady in his focus, purpose, and commitment - just as one would expect from a soldier.

The appeal to "endure hardship" means literally to suffer together with someone. Soldiers today are taught to stand firm and stand together, to work as a team, watch each other's back and protect one another.

Paul then uses the reference to a soldier saying, "no one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs - he wants to please his commanding officer" (2 Timothy 2:4).

A soldier's primary concern is obeying is commander 24 hours a day, and Paul wanted the young man he was writing to display the same zeal in commitment to his commander, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The connection of a soldier and a follower of Jesus Christ is an appeal to commitment, obedience and purpose. Soldiers are trained to follow orders single-mindedly, to obey and to serve a higher purpose than self-interests or selfish gain. Likewise, the New Testament message is one of the same. The Christ-follower seeks to live in accordance with Biblical values of grace, peace and righteousness. The Christ-follower is called to obey the teachings of Jesus and to follow with single-minded focus.

- Send e-mail to James Bush at

Warriors of faith are disciples, followers

The Rev. Nate Rovenstine, lead pastor, Lawrence Wesleyan Church, 3705 Clinton Parkway:

In 2 Timothy 2:3, Paul says, "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." These words, and others like them, were written metaphorically to help Christians understand the nature of our walk with Christ.

Following Christ is a privilege, made possible by God's grace to us. It is a challenge made attainable by God's grace working in us. Jesus calls his followers to "take up the cross," "die to self," "follow him," etc. This is the language of discipleship, it is the language of the cross. When Jesus left this earth, he called his followers to "go and make disciples of all nations." The imagery of a spiritual army is the imagery of discipleship, training and discipline. Being a good soldier is akin to being a good disciple.

Our battle is not against people, but against dark forces. These forces reside everywhere. We battle our own selfishness. We battle the societal ills around us. We battle against all forms of evil.

Christ calls his followers to bear spiritual fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. This is hard to do when we are being bombarded with sin and selfishness that is lurking in us, in others and in the systems of society.

Christians are called "soldiers" because we are in a spiritual battle that requires the strength of the God's Spirit, the inspiration of God's word and the accountability of God's people.

As a good soldier trains to win the battle, we, too, must train in order to be successful in this battle. The good news: "We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us."

- Send e-mail to Nate Rovenstine at


Sacerdotal 11 years, 8 months ago

Interesting. For something resembling historical truth, try "Jesus, One Hundred Years Before Christ" by Alvar Ellegard. (Overlook Press, 1999) The TEACHER was a real Essene, who spoke truths we still should follow. Except for Paul's hallucinations, there is not much evidence the story of death and resurrection are true. The message, however, is timeless. (HINT: The Golden Rule)

Charlie Bannister 11 years, 8 months ago

Amen Speicher. When we all take our place in eternity, wherever that may be, we will be able to look back on the decisions we have made here and ascertain why we are where we are. Sadly, many are making the wrong decision today. I hope something will wake them up.

xenophonschild 11 years, 8 months ago

Jesus is dead. He has been dead for two thousand years. He was not god when he was alive, not ever. And he's never coming back.

You people need to give up believing in a child's fairy tale, and accept reality for what it is.

Daniel Speicher 11 years, 8 months ago

The big deal has never been the death... But, instead, the bodily resurrection three days later. Which, to this day, the best historians, archaeologists and scientists cannot figure out. Historical records tell of the resurrection (especially those of Josephus... A Jewish historian, mind you, not a "Christian" or disciple.)

If the bodily resurrection is true and Christ did, indeed, defeat death... He was much more than "human." He, is, undoubtably, the Word of God made flesh... God incarnate. And, more personally to us... Able to forgive sins and open up a line of communication with the one, true, living God, that had been shut down for ages by the darkness of sin.

Death was never the big deal... His power over death is. Jesus gave you the gift... No strings attached... All you have to do is accept it.

--Danny Speicher

xenophonschild 11 years, 8 months ago

There is no "eternity." When we die, we simply cease to exist, totally and completely, as if we never existed.

All living things cease to exist as living entities when they die. We are no different than an ear of corn on a plant, or a blade of grass in a lawn. When it dies, it ceases to exist as a living entity. The shell, or husk, survives a while, but it decomposes - just as the body of the executed Galilean decomposed after he was killed by the Romans.

I will concede that your Jesus was perhaps a gentler man than that vile repobrate Mohammed, who murdered women and children with relative equanimity. The only harm your Jesus did was to a fig tree and some benches in the Temple.

shockchalk 11 years, 8 months ago

The reason the bible makes references to warriors or soldiers is simple. Ephesians 6:12; For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. There is a battle for each persons soul because each of us will spend eternity somewhere. We are blessed to have a loving God that gives us that choice. He does not force salvation on any of us but freely offers it to those who choose to allow Jesus in their hearts. Being saved has nothing to do with being "good enough", it is by God's grace alone. I truly feel sorry for those who believe that this life is all there is. If you consider how complex the universe is, let alone how complex we are, it would be a shame to think it all ends here, in a shallow grave. Our time here on Earth is like a snap of the fingers when compared to our time in eternity.

Thank you for your post Speicher.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 8 months ago

While what you say is true, Marion, that was mostly in the old testament. When Jesus came along, a lot of things changed. No longer were people told, "an eye for an eye", but "turn the other cheek."

Whether you believe in Jesus or not, or that he was who the Bible said he was, there have been far worse people throughout history that you could choose to emulate.

shockchalk 11 years, 8 months ago

I believe that the Bible teaches that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.......Ephesians 5:25. That doesn't sound reducing women to anything but actually raising them to the highest of places. There are many individual verses in the Bible that people bring up all the time to enforce their negative attitude about Christianity. Christianity doesn't boil down to individual verses but doctrine that is repeated throughout the bible. Love your neighbor as yourself, honor your father and mother, forgive just as Christ forgave you, etc. People have all of these reasons why they don't believe in Christ, yet he is the only person who fulfilled over 300 prophesies in the Bible and that is why Christians believe. It is a matter of faith and heart and we all have the choice whether or not to believe. I, as well as any of the christians that I know, do not look down our noses because someone chooses not to believe but I'm sure there are some that do. People say, the church is full of hypocrites and sinners.........they're right, we are all sinners and none of us are perfect but the goal is to love others as Christ loved the church. Does anyone think that if each of us put others needs first what a difference that might make in our community?

gr 11 years, 8 months ago


When I was claiming indians were an invented fairy tale to extort money, no one seemed to believe me. In fact, one took offense. Maybe it was because I used the "i" word.

Some people believe certain things in history and not certain things in history. I guess it's a pick and choose.

Oh well.

Anyway, I think it was you and some others discussing Voltaire once. I didn't know who he was, but since then, I came across a little about him and with the name fresh in mind, so paid attention to what was said.

Regarding his reaction towards religion and God, in summary is that what your hatred towards Jesus really is about?

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