Defending God

Lion-origional, smallOne thing that the guest preacher at my church said Sunday is that God doesn’t need us to defend Him. At one point he referenced Rottweilers, as in, some Christians see themselves as attack dogs defending God.

I think this idea that God doesn’t need to be defended has gained traction lately. In fact, I’ve recently read or heard some version of a now famous quote by Charles Spurgeon to that affect: “The truth is like a lion. Whoever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose and it will defend itself.”

Yes, Spurgeon said “truth,” not “God.” But the Christian can certainly extrapolate to God.

So, is it true that Christians are not to defend God? Certainly no one is going to actually harm God or do away with Him (though some have tried). And our defense of Him certainly isn’t an attempt to preserve His life.

Rather, as the preacher Sunday used the term, it seemed tied to defending God’s honor or His will, His preferred way of doing things.

It is kind of silly to talk about defending the Sovereign Creator God who is all mighty . . . and yet, I think Scripture asks us to do just that. It’s one of the oddities of the Christian faith—like the last being first and losing our life to save it.

For a while there, leaders in my church liked to say we believers are the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s a good metaphor, but the truth is, Jesus doesn’t need weak, fallible, sinful humans to do His work. But He wants us to do His work.

I think defending God is the same thing. God doesn’t need us to defend Him, but He wants us to. I think that’s a Biblical position. In his short letter, Jude says,

I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. (v. 3b, emphasis added)

Paul tells Timothy to “guard what was entrusted,” and even to “fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.”

He gives the church in Ephesus the list of armor and tells them to stand firm against the schemes of the devil because we struggle and we need armor to protect us in the struggle.

Peter, in his second letter, had a great deal to say about false teachers, but he concluded by bringing the application home:

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness. (2:17)

All this to say, it appears to me Scripture paints a picture of opposition in this world. On the one hand is truth and on the other falsehood—that is, God and His way opposed by Satan and his desires.

So if believers are to be in the fight, we are not just trying to survive. At some point we are to go on the offensive. I think that’s what an apologetics ministry like RZIM is all about:

The primary mission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries is to reach and challenge those who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Excerpt from the RZIM Mission Statement)

But here’s the thing: when the Christian contends for the faith, the primary modus operandi is to proclaim the truth. The gospel itself is an offense to those who are perishing. We certainly don’t need to add our own offense. We ought not put ourselves into the spotlight and become the story.

Rather, we are to contend by speaking the truth in love; speaking with grace; being at peace with all men as much as it is up to us to do so; being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks about the hope that is in us, yet with gentleness and reverence.

So, yes, as an extension of the truth, we are to defend God. We counter lies with proclaiming what is true. That, by the way, is what Spurgeon’s quote is all about—letting the lion out of the cage.

The image is not someone saying, Oh, the lion can defend himself, then walking away. It is of someone actively opening that cage so the lion can go to work.

We Christians too often strive and struggle and find our efforts garnering mockery and ridicule. But I wonder if some of that is because we’ve taken up sticks and stones and have decided to defend God with our own tools and in our own way.

Contending for the faith is little more than opening up the Bible and declaring as true what God said about His person, plan, Word, and work in the world. Mostly, we need to remember that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces out to lie about God. So we counter the enemy’s offensive by proclaiming the truth.

It’s a job God could do for Himself, but for some reason, it pleases Him to get us involved. It makes me feel as if He’s asked me to guard the King’s crown or something really, really valuable. After all, something worthless needs no guard. Only the most precious needs to be protected. Imagine, God giving us such a responsibility!

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Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 6:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. Protect the truth by letting it be free (uncaged)?

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    • Protect the truth by proclaiming it.

      People need to hear the truth about God, but too often they hear peripherals. On top of this, too many Christians advocate for these peripherals via the methods and manners Humankind has devised.

      For instance, I just heard on the radio today (Christian program) how Christians need to take action to help those people trapped on the mountain in Iraq—by signing a petition to get our government to do more.

      I’m not saying that’s wrong necessarily, but is that the first thing Christians should do? How about prayer as our first weapon of choice?

      In the same way, when there’s some kind of attack on God, I believe Christians should rise up and proclaim what is true about God.

      The current, oft repeated accusation against God is that if He were as the Old Testament portrays Him, He’d be a tyrant. To counter this, Christians shouldn’t settle by say, God is big enough to defend Himself. Rather, we should search the Scriptures and declare what’s true about Him: He is not a tyrant. In fact He is loving and gracious and patient in spite of our rebellion. He does not delight in the death of the wicked. How many people know that’s in the Bible?

      Becky

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