Every week at work thousands of books cross my desk, many of these Christian. Today I was struck by how many of these Christian books are geared toward the “warfare” of our daily lives. Each of these promises to reveal the hidden dangers (to our Christian lives, eternal security be damned) waiting in our closets or under our beds. Today I actually noticed on chapter on how the drug-free living program D.A.R.E. was just such a Satanic indoctrination program. As someone who has had to sit through multiple D.A.R.E. meetings I feel secure is stating for the record that the only danger there was boredom. I waited to grab the author and say seriously, this is what is killing the American church, D.A.R.E., it’s not even successful as an anti-drug indoctrination much less Satan worship (or maybe that’s why their anti-drug message sucks, they are really focusing on the Satanic stuff).
Usually I just laugh at such nonsense, thank God for a real education, quote Mark Noll (the problem of the evangelical mind is that, there is none) obsessively and rock myself back to normal; yet, today something struck me. All these books are telling all these Christians to be obscenely scared of so many programs and people from our society. All these books showing how something so seemingly banal as the cheesy anti-drug program at your son or daughter’s school is really just a Satanic front designed to capture them early and send them failing into the fores of hell. How can anyone survive one day inside this level of fear and paranoia much less walk boldly into these places with the love of God in our hearts? If I were to ask I think all of us could quote and ramble on a bit about the verse, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and rulers of darkness.” All of us know this and preach it, and hopefully are able to keep this in mind when Uncle Frank comes over in a D.A.R.E. tee; but how can this paranoia, this outright fear of everything not affect us, and how can it not affect our ministries and our witness for Christ. Most of us can toe the party line, and talk a good game about this verse, but when push comes to shove which words are ringing in our ears, Jesus or Glenn Beck? The message of self-sacrificial love for one’s enemy or the message that we need to watch them socialist democrats carefully because of we blink at the wrong time, they’re gonna send us all to Hell?
It’s interesting, though, that verse. Paul emphatically reminds us that the enemy is not found where you might think he is. He is not finding under Nero’s throne, or in the back room of the Chief Pharisee. He is not in the home a Greek pagan or hiding in the vestibule to the Temple of Diana. The true enemy is located in “the heavenly places.” The true enemy has not but that one time actually taken spatial form (maybe, depending on your exegesis of Genesis 3, I guess). The enemy is not human. He is not Barack Obama or even Adolf Hitler. He is not the D.A.R.E. police officer at the local precinct. He is not a Democrat or Republican. He is not black or white. He is not even a ‘He’ or even a ‘She.’
I’m sure we know this mentally, cognitively. We can quote the verse and all that, but when these books cross my desk and they do (even from authors who should know better- I’m looking at you Chuck Colson. I couldn’t find the offending book on Amazon to link with and wish I had snapped a quick photo for my records, but you were there this afternoon, I saw you), I worry that maybe we’re causing irreparable harm, not just to the reputations of good well-meaning Police officers everywhere, but to our own abilities to accomplish the plans and purposes of our Creator and Savior. And I think we all know what happens to those whose abilites are impaired in such a manner. I’ll let Jesus explain:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”