“I have lived too long with those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” (1)
How many times do we as apologists gear up for the theological confrontation, the battle of wits, when all that is required is the peace of Christ? Not to say that the championing of the truth is unnecessary or crass, but without the foundational goal in the forefront of our minds of bringing the peace of Christ to this troubled world – we are only a noisy gong, a clanging symbol.
‘Peace! Peace!’ the psalmist seems to cry, when in Matthew 10 (and other places), Jesus states that He came to divide the father against the child and to cause brother to kill brother because of the gospel. Yet what divides? The gospel. And what is the gospel? The cross of Christ, God’s great work to restore peace with man. The only semblance of war, of resistance, comes from the carnal man’s dead soul – from its master, Bealzebub. Christ never charges His disciples to go out and make war. The message of the cross does that of its own accord. We are called simply to follow Christ, to proclaim the way to peace with God, to “love people into the kingdom”, as one well-known adage puts it. And, yes, that love oftentimes will require an attack on the strongholds of the mind, the false ideas and evil philosophies raised against the knowledge of Christ, but that should never be the starting point for our interactions with our fellow souls. Love is the beginning and the end of this story of redemption. Love is the only true justification for any godly action.
(1) Psalm 120: 7