In recent days, new, vocal, and very hostile enemies against Christians have been coming out of the woodwork in droves. It’s easy to think that the church’s only danger today is coming from an outward direction. For that reason, I am thankful to Ray Ortlund for this very timely quote from the late, great John Stott.
“The persecution of the true church, of Christian believers who trace their spiritual descent from Abraham, is not always by the world, who are strangers unrelated to us, but by our half-brothers, religious people, the nominal church. It has always been so. The Lord Jesus was bitterly opposed, rejected, mocked and condemned by his own nation. The fiercest opponents of the apostle Paul, who dogged his footsteps and stirred up strife against him, were the official church, the Jews. The monolithic structure of the medieval papacy persecuted all Protestant minorities with ruthless, unremitting ferocity. And the greatest enemies of the evangelical faith today are not unbelievers, who when they hear the gospel often embrace it, but the church, the establishment, the hierarchy. Isaac is always mocked and persecuted by Ishmael.” (Taken from John. R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians (London, 1968), page 127.)
Sometimes, the worst enemies of the true church are those who claim its name, yet have forsaken its message; those who confess Christ with their lips, yet deny Him with their lives (Titus 1:16). Sometimes, the most powerful and dangerous enemies are those not on the outside of our walls, but within.
May God give us heaven’s discernment to be protect ourselves and our people from hell’s double agents.