Even one small but pure and holy church “unstained by the world,” that valiantly stands for the gospel against the secular culture we have worked so hard to create, is a great hindrance to our cause. It stands as a “city on a hill,” testifying to the people of the kingdom of our Enemy’s excellence, beauty, and goodness. Moreover, a pure and holy church protects and wields the chief weapon of our great Adversary—the gospel—which He has been using to raid our kingdom since Adam’s fall in the garden. Therefore, you must strive at all costs to extinguish the lampstand of the church, by leading her saints into cowardice and worldliness.
Tempt the church to compromise on its stance on biblical ethics.
Begin this process by intimidating the church and pushing believers into a posture of timidity. Bring outward, public shame on them for holding to “controversial” doctrines of Scripture, focusing especially on the doctrines of man’s sinfulness, the exclusivity of Christ, and hell as eternal conscious torment—for these doctrines provide both the framework and urgent need for the gospel. Make it known to the church that in the spirit of tolerance and inclusivity of this secular age, these doctrines are considered “repulsive” and “bigoted.” Next, tempt the church to compromise on its stance on biblical ethics, particularly on issues regarding marriage, the family, sexuality, and abortion. Work to raise up leaders in their midst who will gain a hearing and propose slight ethical modifications to the traditional Christian understanding of such matters. Complete the deception by deluding our Enemy’s followers into thinking that if they will simply keep quiet about the critical ethical issues of the day, they will have a more effective platform for the advance of the gospel.
At the same time, create a deep desire for “cultural relevance” within the church. Nothing is more delightful to our operatives than to see Christians clamoring to be well liked and commended by the world. Condition them to value relevance over holiness, worldliness over godliness. Likewise, ease the standard of holiness gradually and ever so slightly so that His followers begin to think that they are not in sin as long as they do not “act” on their evil desires. Inculcate in them a fear of man that slowly crowds out all their desires to please, honor, and obey God. Finally, complete the assault by giving them a small taste of worldly power, pleasure, and popularity so that their hearts will be stirred to chase these pursuits instead of God. Once they taste this fruit, they will lose their “saltiness” altogether and be of no use to our Enemy. Their lampstand will be completely extinguished.
Rev. Grant R. Castleberry is senior pastor of Capital Community Church in Raleigh, N.C., and a Ph.D. student in church history and systematic theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.