Surely our sensibilities are shocked, our hearts grieved, with the images, video footage, and expressions of outrage we see on the news and various social media outlets. One gets the sense that this isn’t a protest; it’s war. This reality struck me seeing the image of an armed “occupier” at the so-called “autonomous zone” in Seattle. Clearly, these rebels who demand the abolition of the police in the name of peace don’t want peace; they want replacement. It remains to be seen how the various city, state, and federal governments are going to deal effectively with these violent, destructive uprisings. Thus far, many haven’t done a very good job, I’m afraid.
In the context of these urban assaults going on all over our country, I read an entry in Spurgeon’s Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden — his devotional book based on the writings of Thomas Manton. Rather than writing about civil unrest, his focus is ecclesiastical war—the assaults of spiritual rebels and anarchists against the Church.
As in war, as the arts of battery and methods of destruction do increase, so also doth the skill in fortification; so in the church, God still bestoweth gifts for the further explication of the truth.
Spurgeon’s comments I found to be timely:
“We are glad to see our author writing so cheerily, for at this present it seems to us that our adversaries have been far more acute in assailing the gospel than the church in defending it. Still on God’s side it is true that though his ministers may not be as faithful as they should be, yet he raises up one another to stand as bulwarks for the truth, and so, after all, the grand old cause is not quite overborne.
“To the end of the campaign it will be so, and there is no real cause for despair, or even for despondency. The fortress of the gospel is still unconquered. Her motto is Invicta [Unconquered]. The gospel has survived the brutal ignorance of many ages, and if now the world has changed its fashions and professes itself to be wise, the same eternal system of truth will continue to baffle its designs.
“The assaults of skeptics are a gain to believers, for they produce a clearing and opening up of the truth. Opposition directs attention to neglected doctrines, and heresy calls for orthodox replies, and so our defenses become stronger as our enemies become more furious.
“Happy citizens to be thus shielded from the foe.”
As of mid-June 2020, what cities like Seattle, Chicago, and New York (to name but a few) will look like next June is up in the air. How successful the assailants on the American system of law and order will be is anyone’s guess right now.
At the same time, the ageless assault on the gospel continues. Fortunately God has revealed the ultimate outcome, so we’re not left to wonder.