The following is adapted from John'sbook, The Truth War (Nelson, Spring 2007).
Rather than respondtothe contemporary infatuation with postmodern ambiguity in a completely positive and nonpolemical way, I find myself compelled to echo the inspired words of Jude and exhort my readers who truly love Christ: you need to contend earnestly for the faith. Truth is under heavy attack, and there are too few courageous warriors who are willing to fight. When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, believers from this generation will not be able to justify their apathy by complaining that the strife of conflict over truth just seemed "too negative" for the kind of culture we lived in--or that the issues were "merely doctrinal" and therefore not worth the effort.
Remember, Christ rebuked the churches in Revelation 2-3 who had tolerated false teachers in their midst (2:14-16; 20-23). He expressly commended the Ephesian church for examining the claims of certain false apostles and exposing them as liars (2:2). Churches have a clear duty to guard the faith against false teachers who infiltrate. Christ Himself demands it.
At the same time, we need to notice carefully that a polemical defense of the faith by no means guarantees a healthy church, much less a healthy individual Christian. Christ also rebuked the doctrinally sound Ephesians for departing from their first love (Revelation 2:4). As vital as it is for us to enlist in the Truth War and do battle for our faith, it is even more important to remember why we are fighting--not merely for the thrill of vanquishing some foe or winning some argument, but out of a genuine love for Christ, who is the living, breathing embodiment of all that we hold true and worth fighting for.
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