While I appreciate the emphasis on humility, I think Karina Kreminski’s take is predictably defensive and thin. Here’s the post: The Church Is In Post-Christian Exile – But Should We Really Respond Like It’s a War?
The short answer to the question she poses in the title of her essay is, Yes. If we take Jesus and the apostles at their word, standing on the shoulders of the prophets and patriarchs, we are in a war. The Bible uses colorful language, simile, metaphor, and other figures of speech to describe or illustrate the Christian life. Jesus followers are both in exile and at war. Under the Old Covenant, literal exile and war went hand in hand.
Under the New Covenant, exile and war still move God’s people through history together, but the weapons of our warfare are Spiritual (2 Corinthians 10:4) and the exile takes place within our family, community, and nation (John 15:18 – 16:2). In other words, we are exiled without having to physically leave and we war against the kingdom of darkness without having to oppress, coerce, shoot, stab, kill or physically harm anyone. Karina presents us with a false dilemma, as if we have to choose exile or war. I choose both.
In John’s Apocalypse, Christians are depicted in a war with the forces of darkness at work in the guild, the state, and the temple. The stakes are economic, relational, and religious. The people of God are depicted as an army, waging war and Greg Beale captures the manner in which Christians achieve victory. The redeemed are:
formed as an army to conduct ironic holy war… In the context of Revelation, this military force in 7:4-8 conquers its enemy ironically in the same way in which the Lamb has ironically conquered at the cross: by maintaining their faith through suffering, the soldiers overcome the devil… Consequently, they are those who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”… 7:14 interprets the manner of their fighting: they conquer in no other way than that of the Lamb, by persevering in the midst of suffering. The Book of Revelation by G.K. Beale pp. 422-23
Jesus did battle with the powers of darkness and won the war, in exile, outside the camp.
So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:12–14 ESV)
He did it without firing a shot or leaving His city. He invites us to follow, without choosing between the two. I suppose the long answer to Karina’s question is actually both — we respond to the culture wars as soldiers in exile, like Jesus. Jesus is Lord!
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