Soldiers of the Lord: Preaching the Militant Gospel

by Donavon L Riley

In the annals of history, there are tales of warriors who marched not under the banners of earthly kings but beneath the standard of the Almighty. These men answered a unique and divine call—to serve as soldiers of the Lord. Their stories are etched in the pages of the Bible, serving as beacons of guidance for those who seek to understand what it truly means to be called into martial service by God and serve in a militant church on this side of the resurrection.

The Call to Arms: Soldiers of the Lord

The Bible is replete with accounts of God’s chosen warriors. One of the most renowned is Gideon, a humble farmer thrust into a battle against the Midianites. Another is Joshua, the successor to Moses, who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. What sets these men apart is that God gave them an unwavering faith that made them ready to heed the call to arms issued by the Almighty Himself.

So when we speak of being soldiers of the Lord, we do not envision a merely physical battlefield strewn with discarded armament and spent munitions, but a spiritual battleground where truth contends with deception, righteousness confronts wickedness, and light dispels darkness. Gideon and Joshua were not merely military leaders; they were instruments of God’s divine purpose. Their battles were fought not for simple earthly conquest but for the establishment of God’s kingdom on Earth.

The Militant Church: Beyond Brick and Mortar

Jumping forward in time to this modern age, the concept of a militant church may seem foreign, even uncomfortable to those who have no stomach for conflict. We’ve grown accustomed to tranquil sanctuaries and soothing hymns, and the idea of militancy may be jarring. However, the militant church is not about physical conflict; it’s about spiritual warfare.

Christ’s church is not confined to bricks and mortar; it’s a living, breathing body of believers called to wage war against the principalities and powers that oppose God’s reign. The apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

As soldiers of the Lord, we may not be called into martial service, as soldiers or law enforcement officers, but all baptized believers are called to engage in spiritual battle. Our weapons are not knives or guns, but the Word of God, prayer, and unwavering trust that God will lead us through the battles, even to eternal life. The militant church thus recognizes that the battlefield extends beyond physical borders and into the hearts, minds, and souls of individual Christians. In Jesus’ name, it seeks to rescue the lost, to bring new life to the spiritually dead, and to challenge the ideologies and philosophies that stand in opposition to God’s truth.

The Militant Gospel: A Counter to Worldly Philosophies 

The Gospel message itself is inherently militant. It is a proclamation of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in which he reigns over a world infiltrated by sin and demonic rebellion. So when we speak of a “militant Gospel,” we are referring to the unapologetic declaration of God’s truth – that Jesus has overcome and defeated sin, the world, and the evil one in order to forgive our sins, give us a new life, and fill us with the hope of eternal salvation – in a world that often rejects it. It’s a message that challenges the status quo, confronts worldly philosophies, and calls individuals to a radical transformation of their whole world view.

That’s why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a stark contrast to the wisdom of the world. It preaches humility in a world obsessed with self-promotion, love in a world wallowing in hate, and grace in a world of meritocracy. It challenges the idols of power, wealth, and fame that so often captivate human hearts. It speaks of a King who reigns not from an earthly throne but from the heavens.

To preach a militant Gospel is to boldly declare that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It’s a call to stand firm in the face of opposition, to be unyielding in our commitment to Christ’s lordship, and to proclaim His message of salvation with unwavering conviction to all people.

The Battle is Real: Challenges in Preaching Militantly 

Preaching a militant Gospel is not without its challenges. It means confronting cultural relativism, secular humanism, and the myriad of worldviews that seek to undermine the authority of God’s Word. It means standing against the tide of moral relativism and advocating for biblical truth in matters of ethics and morality.

As soldiers of the Lord, we may face opposition, ridicule, and even persecution. Our message will not always be well-received, for the Gospel is a stumbling block to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). Yet, we press on in Jesus’ name, for we know that the battle is real, that we are the instruments of God’s salvation work, and the souls of humanity hang in the balance.

The Victory is Assured: Hope in the Militant Gospel

In our Christian militancy, we find hope—not in our own strength or abilities, but in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. We are not called to win a war; we are called to proclaim the victory that has already been secured through Christ’s death and resurrection. The enemy may rage, but he is ultimately defeated.

As soldiers of the Lord, we stand on the side of truth, justice, and love. We fight for the souls of our fellow human beings, knowing that the Gospel has the power to transform lives, heal the broken-hearted, and bring redemption through Jesus’ forgiveness. So we preach with urgency, for we long to see the lost reconciled to God with us.

Embracing our Calling as Soldiers of the Lord

In closing, the call to be soldiers of the Lord is a call to embrace our calling in God’s divine plan, according to what Jesus is accomplishing through and with us. It’s a call to recognize that we are part of a militant church, engaged in spiritual warfare. It’s a call to boldly proclaim the militant Gospel, unapologetically declaring God’s truth in a world hungry for hope.

So let us heed this call with unwavering faith, for we know that the battle is real, the enemy is fierce, but the victory is assured. In Christ, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), and through the militant Gospel, we shine as lights in the darkness, pointing the way to the One who is the Light of the world.

As soldiers of the Lord, we march always forward, for the battle belongs to the Lord, and in him, we find our strength and our ultimate victory.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Donovan Riley

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, and contributing writer for 1517. He is also a co-host of Banned Books and Warrior Priest podcasts. He is the author of the book, "Crucifying Religion” and “The Withertongue Emails.” He is also a contributing author to "The Sinner/Saint Devotional: 60 Days in the Psalms" and "Theology of the Cross".

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