Before Andrew Jackson became the seventh president of the United States,
he served as a major general in the Tennessee militia. During the War of 1812
his troops reached an all-time low in morale. As a result they began arguing, bickering, and fighting among themselves. It is reported that Old Hickory called them all together on one occasion when tensions were at their worst and said, "Gentlemen! Let's remember, the enemy is over there." *
We have people in the church to the extreme left and right who have no clue who their enemy is. One periodical I received seems to think that the enemy is sound and balanced brethren. They figure that since the balanced brethren are not as extreme as they are, they must be compromisers and the "enemy." With their pens they bite and slander and condemn. They demand everyone toe their line. Diotrephes lives again. Their hateful approach feeds the fire of those on the other extreme who are always slapping the church.
On the other side are arrogant bloggers who can find nothing right with the church. They constantly harp on all the negatives, charging that the church is tied up in traditions. They can't see why we don't use instruments. They seem to want the church to become a bad imitation of the evangelicals. They alone understand grace and can't see why anyone would insist on baptism for salvation. Anomia lives.
In their thinking mainstream churches of Christ are the enemy. One might suggest they take a long look at themselves (Matt. 7:1-5). It is the extreme approach that is causing so much conflict and controversy.
The real enemy is the devil, who preaches false doctrines and splits churches. He does it through self-willed people who have to be first and through sin-ridden libertines who want to cast off the rule of the Lord. Yes, there is conflict; but the source of that conflict starts inside of arrogant men and outside the New Testament.
There is the opportunity for Satan to get into anyone of us. To warp our thinking with selfishness, pride, or sin. It is easy to begin finding justification for our desires rather than submitting to the Lord. It is easy to puff up and compare ourselves with others. When you start doing that, Satan is at work.
We must not forget who the enemy is that we are fighting. It is the world. We must learn to set aside our personal, petty issues of pride and get back to the work at hand--winning the lost!
My personal thanks goes to David Sargent for the above illustration. He puts out an excellent weekly e-newsletter, Living Water. I read it with eagerness. You can subscribe to this newsletter at
Archived issues of "Living Water" can be viewed and accessed from our website at: www.creekwoodcc.org