As you work to perfect your skill as a member of this organization, you will be tempted to innovate and create strategies of your own to destroy the church. However, innovation is strictly forbidden. This training manual has outlined a number of the most effective strategies for advancing our master’s plan. These strategies have been tested again and again since our master successfully got Adam and Eve to reject the authority of their Maker, and the master does not reward those operatives who are unwilling to follow his lead scrupulously.
To put it another way, our organization does not have any new strategies. We don’t need them because human beings are basically the same from generation to generation—inclined to our way of doing things, easily deceived, slow to learn from others who have done battle with us in the past. To develop new strategies would be to use time better spent on employing what we know will work against our Enemy’s servants. You are free to apply these strategies in new ways when your specific missions might require it, but do not think that you can improve upon the essential soundness of our military science.
We lose much ground to those who put what they learn into practice, who delight in our Enemy’s law, who seek to keep every one of His words.
Understand that while the Enemy is mighty and committed to our final destruction, His war against us frequently proceeds slowly. He does not quickly make His followers into mature warriors, and He often allows them to make many errors in our ongoing battle. Do not let that lull you into complacency in fighting or encourage you to place too much confidence in your victories. Though our Enemy works slowly, He has not yet failed to do great damage to our cause with those in whom He works.
Because of the potential for loss, you must look out for those individuals and churches who are becoming adept warriors for our Enemy’s cause. The Enemy’s work in His servants to improve their battle prowess remains somewhat of a conundrum to our organization—though we have our top operatives working to figure it out. However, we have identified some characteristics of those who are a particular threat to our plans.
First, be on your guard when your targets seem slower and slower to hold a grudge against others, particularly other servants of our Enemy. Our spies have determined that individuals who are quick to forgive their fellow soldiers are better able to form a united front against us. It is much more difficult to destroy a church from within when its members are quick to forgive and even to overlook minor offenses.
Second, you will face difficulties if your target church does not think itself superior to all others. We have been able to convince many of our Enemy’s churches that their particular liturgy, their style of preaching, their way of programming events, their particular aesthetic are the only proper way to do things, the only way to please the Enemy. The pride fostered in churches that take such an approach to things identified as adiaphora has kept many a church from joining with others against us. It has even kept many people away from such churches—and thus away from the gospel—since members of these churches tend to be unwelcoming of those who do not conform to the church’s standards on indifferent matters. Churches that recognize that there is more than one right way to organize liturgy, more than one correct way to preach a sermon, more than one approved way to develop church programs, and more than one proper aesthetic often remain more unified and poach many people whom we could otherwise deceive.
Third, beware of those who not only are studying the words of the Enemy but also are attempting to put them into practice. Servants of our Enemy who study His teachings and the wisdom of others who have understood His teachings are not always a threat to us. In fact, we have made much use of those who are content to read and study merely for the sake of filling their minds with facts. But we lose much ground to those who put what they learn into practice, who delight in our Enemy’s law, who seek to keep every one of His words. And we are not talking about those who think that the words Bible publishers often print in red are better or more authoritative than the other words in that Book. The dangerous ones are those individuals and churches who understand that all of the words in the Bible are the words of the Enemy.
Finally, do not think that our Enemy cannot recover operatives whom you have successfully deceived and churches in which you are making real headway. We have found that He delights in transforming cases that seem hopeless into mighty warriors for His side. We have learned that this happens only when otherwise hopeless cases become convinced that the Enemy wants to forgive, that His arms are open wide to all who run to Him—even those whom we have successfully used for years. Once a target becomes sure of that, you will have to retreat.
Robert Rothwell is associate editor of Tabletalk magazine, senior writer for Ligonier Ministries, and resident adjunct professor for Reformation Bible College.