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THE SILENT WAR IN THE CHURCH

A Winnable War We Must Not Ignore.

by Larry Cory

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

The Silent War – Part 1a                   The Silent War Inside our Churches
                                                          (Whose church is it?)

                            Part 1b                   (How are we to respond to this
                                                          Silent War inside our churches?)

The Silent War – Part 2                     The Silent War between Churches 
                                                          (Which church is the best church?
                                                          (competition or cooperation?)

The Silent War – Part 3                     The Silent War with Satan and his
                                                           Angels (Who is our enemy and what is
                                                          (he doing in the church?)

The Silent War – Part 4                     The Silent War can be Won by God's
                                                            Love in us (When does the best in
                                                          heaven become part of the church?)

The Silent War – Part 5                     The Silent War can be like the Wars
                                                            in the World (When does the worst in
                                                          the world become part of the church?)

The Silent Way – Part 6                     The Silent War between a False and
                                                            Coerced Unity and a True Unity
                                                          What is the difference between a
                                                          coerced unity and a voluntary-from-
                                                          the-heart type of unity?)

The Silent War – Part 7                     An Essential Requirement Needed
                                                           for Ending the Silent War Between
                                                           Christians (What is an essential
                                                          requirement for ending the Silent War
                                                          between Christians? That's it!  That's It!)

The Silent War – Part 8                     The Silent War Caused by Turning
                                                            the Church into the Kingdom of
                                                            Man and not the Kingdom of God
                                                          (When is the church the kingdom of
                                                          man and not the kingdom of God?

The Silent War – Part 9                     The Silent War within Each
                                                           Christian (Whose soldier am I?)

The Silent War – Part 10                   The Silent War in the Church with
                                                            the World (What or Who is my first
                                                          love?)

The Silent War – Part 11                   The Silent War Over Divisive
                                                            Issues (What issues divide the
                                                          church that shouldn't divide the
                                                          church?)

The Silent War – Part 12                   The Silent War caused by a
                                                            Mysterious Invading Army
                                                          Who are in the church but are not
                                                          the church?)

The Silent War – Part 13                   The Silent War Caused by Seeking
                                                            Worldly Success (When is a church
                                                          truly successful?)

The Silent War – Part 14                   The Silent War Always Results in
                                                            Persecution (Why is it that everyone
                                                          who wants to live a godly life will be
                                                          persecuted?)

The Silent War – Part 15                   The Silent War Caused when Godly
                                                           People Divide (Can even godly people
                                                          divide from each other?)

The Silent War – Part 16                   The Silent War Caused when Godly
                                                           People Cause Divisions (Can godly
                                                          people cause divisions and still be
                                                          doing what is right?)

The Silent War – Part 17                   The Silent War Caused by the Church
                                                           or a Church Dividing over an
                                                           Important Issue (How can the church
                                                          resolve an important issue that divides
                                                          them?)

The Silent War – Part 18a                 When the Church is Winning (What
                            Part 18b                 does it look like when we win?)

The Silent War – Part 19                   The Bible's Description of Victorious
                                                           Soldiers in the Silent War (What do I
                                                          look like when I am fighting the battle
                                                          God's way?)

The Silent War – Part 20                   How Victory in the Silent War can
                                                           Lead to Revival in the Church (How
                                                          will victory in the Silent War revive
                                                          the Church?)

Conclusion

Addendum: The Silent War caused by "the onlys".

Addendum: A Pastor's Authority by Ray Stedman

Addendum: Galatians 6:1-3 (my commentary on these verses)

Addendum: John Wesley's sermon at George Whitefield's funeral

 

     The apostle John says the following at the beginning of his first letter: "We write this to make our joy complete." (I John 1:4)  I also write this book to make our joy complete.  Where can we find this fullest joy?  The world has its answers: pleasure, wealth, fame, thrills, and luxurious travel.  John says that what he writes about in his letter will make "our joy complete."  Is this not what everyone wants to know and experience?  Complete joy!
     What is it, then, that will make our joy complete?  Allow me to answer that question by describing what does bring us joy.  Your car begins to have mechanical problems.  The engine is making squealing sounds instead of the purring sound it once made.  And the engine no longer has the power it once had.  You take it to your trusted mechanic.  A few days later you get a phone call from someone at the auto shop and he says your car is repaired and it is running like new.  Shortly afterwards you are getting into your newly repaired car.  Sure enough, the purr and the power are back.  It may even be running better than before.  What joy you experience as you drive your renewed and restored car home!  Where does this joy come from?  It is joyous when your car is again working in the way it was designed to work.
     How does this apply to the subject of this book?  When our relationship with God and our relationships with our fellow Christians are working the way God designed them to work, it brings us an even greater joy—it brings us compete joy!  There is a great difference between our car working the way it was designed to work and our relationships with God and others working the way they were designed to work.  Both bring us joy; but the latter is much more joyous.
     Furthermore, we also experience this type of joy when we see those we love walking with God in this way.  The apostle John also said the following words in III John 4: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." It is really what we are all looking for— deep down inside we each desire to have a loving and satisfying relationship with God and loving and satisfying relationships with each other.  Nothing else will bring us this type of complete joy.
     I John describes in detail how we who are Christians can experience this joy.  We discover throughout I John that it comes when there are pure and genuinely loving relationships with God and with each other.  Another way of describing these loving and pure relationships is "eternal life" (I John 5:13)  John said something similar in John 17:3.  "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3)  When we are experiencing loving and pure relationships, we are also experiencing the type of relationships we will experience in heaven.  That is both complete joy and heaven's joy!
     John was probably written to all of the churches of his time.  So, his words also apply to the church at large today and to each of the churches of our time.  When the universal church and local churches are filled with God's life and love, we also will experience complete joy as relationships in churches are working the way that God designed them to work.  We will hear the purr and experience the power and be filled with complete joy.
     But, like cars, the church at large and local churches can break down.  When churches break down, we do not experience this joy.  Instead, church life can be difficult and painful.  How are churches doing?  Are there situations where churches are not bringing Christians and others great joy because they are not working the way God intended them to work?
     James Emerson White, author and pastor, took a survey of unchurched people in his home state of North Carolina before planting a church there, to discover why they did not attend a church.  The number two reason, out of eight reasons, that they gave for not attending a church is as follows:  "Churches have too many problems. . . .The assessment of the unchurched is that a typical church is made up of people who are inflexible, hypocritical, judgmental, and just plain mean.  Division and discord are perceived to be more present in churches than in many other groups.  Why would anyone want to become involved with something that, in their mind, is so obviously dysfunctional?  As one man quipped, 'I've got enough problems in my life.  Why would I go to church and get more?'" (Rethinking Church by James Emerson White).
     Were those who took this survey correct in their evaluation of the churches in their communities?  Some may say that they exaggerated the seriousness of church problems to excuse their own lack of church attendance.  Another possibility, though, is that those who took this survey were giving their actual perception of what they believe churches are like—they are full of problems and divisions.  This, obviously, is not the way that God designed the church and churches to work.  Remember what was said about the earliest church in Acts 2: "enjoying the favor of all the people."  This earliest church that was led by Jesus' disciples did work the way in which God designed it to work.  The happy result of the favor this early church had with the people of their community was the following: "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47)  People were drawn to that early church rather than being repulsed by it.
     So, what we need to decide is the following: is it important to us that God's church and churches are working the way God designed them to work?  Also, is "division and discord" in the church and in churches a serious enough problem that we who are Christians should be concerned about it?  It seems that it would be a serious problem if it was only happening in one church?  Sadly, though, we all know that "division and discord" are more common in churches than that.  What I have found in discussing the subject of this book with fellow Christians is that nearly everyone so far that I have talked to has immediately told me about a serious church problem that has happened to them, to a friend, or to a church in their community.  And, then, there are the many divisions in the church called denominations that completely confuse those outside of the church.
     I became a Christian at the age of 27.  I started out, like many who are new in the faith, being very excited about meeting this new species of people I had just learned existed—those called born-again Christians.  Mostly, my experiences with fellow Christians over the years have been very warm and pleasantly memorable.   Also, for the most part, my Christian experiences in church services, in Sunday School classes, in Bible studies, and in Christian fellowship have been joyful for me as Christians and Christian leaders have been filled by God's Spirit and have represented Him very well.  But since those early days of my Christian life I have also learned in one experience after another over the years (50 years), that we who are born-again Christians can also, at times, be very unloving toward each other.  We can even become so strongly opposed to each other that we can end up being strongly against each other rather than being strongly for each other.  It is at those times that the church has broken down and is not functioning as God designed it to function.  Franklin Graham said the following: "I was about to learn something that still breaks my heart, but its true: Christians can viciously kick, claw, and spit on each other with the best of them.  And Satan laughs the whole time." (Rebel with a Cause, Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1995 by Franklin Graham)
     How much of this sub-Christian type of behavior has become a too-accepted status quo in the church at large and in local churches?  I call this "The Silent War in the Church."  Christians who devour each other are far from what Jesus desires us to be.  These experiences are also the very opposite of joyful times.  Many are disillusioned and reject the church because of the presence of the "division and discord" they see in churches.  Why do we Christians sometimes not get along with each other?  Why can we even become strongly opposed to each other?  What is the cause of the divisions between us—divisions in the church at large and division in local churches?  Can we beat our swords into plowshares and joyfully work together as loving partners in the eternal project given to us by God?  These are the questions this book is designed to answer.

The Silent War In The Church

Table of Contents and Brief Intro Table of Contents
Introduction Introduction
The Silent War Inside our Churches - Part 1 Part 1a
The Silent War Inside our Churches - Part 2 Part 1b
The Silent War between Churches Part 2
The Silent War with Satan and his Demons Part 3
The Silent War can be Won by God's Love in us Part 4
The Silent War can be like the Wars in the World Part 5
The Silent War between a False and Coerced Unity and a True Unity Part 6
An Essential Requirement Needed for Ending the Silent War Between Christians Part 7
The Silent War Caused by Turning the Church into the Kingdom of Man and not the Kingdom of God Part 8
The Silent War inside of Each Christian Part 9
The Silent War in the Church with the World Part 10
The Silent War Over Divisive Issues Coming Nov 19
The Silent War caused by a Mysterious Invading Army Coming Nov 26
The Silent War Caused by Seeking Worldly Success Coming Dec 3
The Silent War Always Results in Persecution Coming Dec 10
The Silent War Caused when Godly People Divide Coming Dec 17
The Silent War Caused when Godly People Cause Divisions Coming Dec 24
The Silent War Caused by the Church or a Church Dividing over an Important Issue Coming Dec 31
When the Church is Winning Coming Jan 7
The Bible's Description of Victorious Soldiers in the Silent War - Part 1 Coming Jan 14
The Bible's Description of Victorious Soldiers in the Silent War - Part 2 Coming Jan 21
How Victory in the Silent War can Lead to Revival in the Church Coming Jan 28
Conclusion Coming Feb 4
Addendum: The Silent War caused by "the onlys" Coming Feb 11
Addendum: A Pastor's Authority by Ray Stedman Coming Feb 18
Addendum: Galatians 6:1-3 (my commentary on these verses) Coming Feb 25
Addendum: John Wesley's sermon at George Whitefield's funeral Coming Mar 4