“The West, however, cannot regain its victory momentum without will, and this will can come only from clearly recognizing that decline must lead, within generations, to relative impoverishment and circumscribed strategic options. And yet Western society — fiddling while Rome burns — does not even see the threat to its way of doing business in the thousands of riots which struck France, Germany, and Belgium in October and November 2005. There are many other warning signs, yet the West fails to heed them.
“What is the catalyst by which Western societies will awaken and galvanize into action? Will it be a nuclear attack by Iran, for example, against Israel? In all likelihood, Western Europe would rationalize this as having nothing to do with the lives of Parisians or Londoners or Berliners. The United States itself would be relatively powerless to respond. Will it be a nuclear attack by North Korea on Japan, or on a U.S. city? That, perhaps, would provoke a determined response by the United States. But would that also lead to a U.S.-China confrontation? And would Western Europe, again, scurry to avoid involvement, while expressing its regrets?
“Clearly a few terrorist attacks have proven insufficient to awaken the West.
“But there are signs that some segments of Western society are growing concerned and coalescing in their debates about the need for a reawakening of society to face the growing challenges to the great victory which the West has built over the past thousand years. Their first challenge, however, is not to deal with those external threats, but to deal with the ‘other half’ of their own societies, who insist upon appeasement, and the consumption of the wealth built over many generations, as though that wealth were inexhuastible and not in need of replenishment.” — Gregory R. Copley
Although militant Islam has willpower, it has almost nothing else. It does not have a heritage, a positive philosophy, or a program for the future. It has the will to destroy, however, and the price of destroying is inititally far less than the price of building or even of maintaining what has been built in previous generations. Western Christianity, on the other hand, has almost everything except willpower. We are so eager to see the other guy’s point of view that we forget that God has a point of view.
With the resources and advantages that belong to Christian countries, if we had a stout-hearted will we could bring the gospel to the entire world in a single generation. The apostles took the gospel to the world they knew about. The choice is no longer between Christianity and status quo. The choice is now between a Christian future and the destruction of western civilization.
In his book The Passion of Command: The Moral Imperative of Leadership, USMC Col. B.P. McCoy details what he calls “the five habits of training.” These five habits will save lives and the absence of these five habits will cost lives. He lists them as combat marksmanship, combat conditioning, casualty evacuation, battle drills, and discipline. This last habit, discipline, is actually nothing more than habit under fire.
In the context of this chapter, McCoy quoted Carl von Clausewitz’ On War this way: “Habit hardens the body for great exertions, strengthens the heart in great peril. Habit breeds that priceless quality, calm, which, passing from rifleman to commander will lighten the task” (pp 23-40).
Habit is the central focus in the WHO acronym of discipleship. One must know the Work, develop the Habit, and teach Others to become and make disciples. The central focus of becoming and making disciples is that of doing from habit what most men will never do at all. One of my early mentors back in the sixties used to ask, “why should I do what others can and will, when I can do others can’t or won’t?” That continues to be good advice.
Here is Col. McCoy’s take: “We focused on the principle of habit in five basic areas where we wanted flawless performance…habits to be ingrained so thoroughly that our Marines would be able to fight, win, and survive at least the first five days of combat. After the first five days, we felt that they would have seen enough of combat to be able to avoid death from simple mistakes from then on. From these ingrained habits would flow confidence, aggressiveness, a bias for action, and, most of all, the courage to close with and kill the enemy” (p 25).
Several places in Scripture liken the Christian life and ministry to combat, most notably 2 Timothy 2:3-4. Significantly, this portion follows immediately upon the discipleship training concept that Paul placed before his protégé Timothy. The training concept was not new, but originated in the “family plan” of the Hebrew Torah. There the training was to take place day by day (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) and generation by generation (Psalm 78:1-6). So also in New Testament discipleship, the training must take place day by day and spiritual generation by generation. 2 Timothy 2:2 reads, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” The two overarching criteria for discipleship are faithfulness and ability. This is the WHO acronym in a nutshell. Those who are able have done the work themselves and developed it into a habit such that they are characterized as faithful and then they become able to teach others.
Faithful men are not born faithful. Faithful men become faithful by learning the work, developing the habits, and teaching others. McCoy deals with training men in combat marksmanship, combat conditioning, casualty evacuation, battle drills, and discipline. The next several posts to this “blog” will deal with similar habits that men who would be found faithful must develop and teach.
“You cannot retreat; you cannot go forward; you are shut up on the right hand and on the left; what are you going to do now? The Master’s words to you are, ‘stand firm.’
“Despair whispers, ‘Lie down and die; give it all up.’ But God would have us put on a cheeful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in his love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, ‘Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.’ Precipitancy cries, ‘Do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.’ Presumption boasts, ‘If the sea is before you, march into it and expect a miracle.’
“But faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to despair, nor to cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, ‘stand firm’ — ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long before God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, ‘Go forward.'” — Charles Spurgeon
Standing alone when everyone else has given up often takes more courage than leading a charge with everyone else at your side.
“God wants his people to be warriors–to be battlers and fighters. And I don’t mean waging warfare, or getting into fights. What I mean is being a battler and fighter in doing as well as you can in your chosen profession. I don’t think any Christian should be a passive kind of person. If he is, then he’s going to be headed for a lot of problems in his spiritual walk.
“I’m ready to battle when I step on a court. I expect to fight–not a physical fight when people exchange punches–but a fight to get rebounds and to score points. Just look at God’s warriors in the Bible–they were always ready to fight, destroy their enemies and possess their land. It’s that spirit of might that moves me. I don’t start anything, but I won’t back down from anybody, either.
“In the New Testament book of Galatians, there is a saying, ‘that which a man sows is what he shall reap.’ What that means is that if you’re willing to put your time into something, you’ll get something out of it. And during the last off-season, I was determined to become as good as I can at playing basketball. I talked to people like Pat Riley and Jerry West–and listened to what they had to say. I played hard in the summer league and worked hard on improving my foul shooting and rebounding techniques. And all the work has paid off.”
— A. C. Green, in a 1987 interview with the L. A. Herald Examiner
What would happen if the church began to challenge men to become warriors for Jesus Christ? What if we told men up-front that joining the church is like the ancient sacramentum (oath of allegiance) of the Roman soldier to enlist and place his life on the line? This approach offers the greatest hope for restoring authentic Christian manhood to the church and to the world. The approach would not appeal to women of either sex, but the result could be a generation of men that might just make disciples of the nations.
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.”
— G. K. Chesterton
You can create a safe life for yourself and then end it in some rest home mumbling about some misfortune or how unfair life is. I’d rather go down swinging.