In our striving to destroy the church, it is imperative that you first understand what true churches are. You must not waste your time among those so-called churches where our master has been thus far successful in blinding the eyes of the shepherds and thus the sheep. In those so-called churches, after many decades of our tireless work, they have done away with the pure preaching of the Word of our Enemy, the right administration of the sacraments, and church discipline, which we have long known are the marks of the true church. Wherever we see these marks of the church practiced, it is there where we must level our most savage attack using every weapon in our arsenal.
In order to destroy a church, we have found that the first step is the easiest—particularly in recent years. First, get the church to do away with church discipline.
In order to destroy a church, we have found that the first step is the easiest—particularly in recent years. First, get the church to do away with church discipline—or at least get them to mostly ignore it. The primary way you should do this is by convincing the shepherds of the church that church discipline isn’t very nice, that it hurts people’s feelings—that it’s not loving, that it’s not gracious. Once you can get the shepherds to buy into this, your work is half done. Additionally, encourage them to stop preaching about sin, hell, and our Enemy’s wrath and judgment, and against particular sins so as not to offend anyone. If you do this, you’ve got shepherds (and thus their churches) where you want them. Your efforts here will complement our work in many of the Enemy’s seminaries, where we are striving to lay the necessary groundwork.
The next step is a bit tricky. Work on the other shepherds one at a time, convincing them that admonishing unrepentant people is hard work—that it isn’t very encouraging. Convince them that fencing the Enemy’s table is unnecessary and too time consuming, that barring unrepentant people from the Enemy’s table is just plain mean, and excommunicating the unrepentant and handing them over to our master is cruel and harsh. Also, get them to completely forget about the restoration of repentant sinners, since we work very hard not to let that happen.
Once you have the shepherds of the church convinced, there’s little left for you to do before moving on to the next church. But be careful in your attack. Take your time. Pick off the sheep one at a time, with a smile on your face and whispers of love and peace on your lips. In doing so, you will rightly reflect the appearance of our master, who has long disguised himself as an angel of light. In your efforts, never forget that our master prowls like a roaring lion, but he never actually roars. If he were to do so, he would give himself away before his work is done.
Dr. Burk Parsons (@BurkParsons) is editor of Tabletalk magazine, senior pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., and a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow. He is cotranslator and coeditor of A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin.