We are typically disgusted by war and warfare. In present-day Christianity, it seems that anyone who uses seemingly martial language is looked upon with suspicion. And yet, the Word of God speaks about the Christian life as a war.
Biblically speaking, the issue is not about liking or disliking war. The focus is on the enemy we battle against and how we should engage in spiritual conflict. Second Corinthians 10:3–6 is just one example:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Paul knows his enemies are not people but distorted patterns of thought and life. According to this text, enemies have a spiritual nature, an intellectual appeal, an aesthetic attraction, a social dimension, an aggregating power, financial resources, or ideological consistency that makes them effective in people’s life. Paul calls them logismoi, worldviews that drive people.
Logismoi are idolatrous constructions that provide alternative accounts and answers to the fundamental questions of life. They are spiritual metanarratives that shape people’s lives, deviating them from the truth of Christ. Paul’s language here is not merely descriptive or sociological. He is not interested in providing scholarly insights on the powerful patterns of Greco-Roman thought. He is engaged in a spiritual war that demands spiritually violent activities.
These logismoi are spiritual strongholds to be destroyed because they are taking people captive, away from God. The use of spiritual weapons is involved in this dismantling exercise of crooked arguments, lofty opinions, deviant trajectories that make these patterns of thought and life powerful. While we must always love people, we should be aggressive against evil logismoi.
Spiritual wars are not only destructive but constructive. Paul said the aim of battle is to take every thought captive to obey Christ. Demolition is only the means toward a bigger goal: redeeming corrupted logismoi and transforming them into patterns of thought and life that are biblically faithful and Christ-honoring.
Christ won the battle of Calvary against sin and won the cosmic war against Satan. He wins over carnal logismoi and calls all men to repent and believe in Him. Christ’s victory is the reason we can engage in this spiritual battle with the right spiritual weapons, loving our neighbors but being relentlessly against everything that hinders the way of salvation in Christ alone.