We're Not the Underdogs
Updated: Aug 28
In the 1980’s, our nation was in the midst of a massive crime wave. The cultural view of the future began to grow increasingly pessimistic, even within the Church. Capitalizing on this zeitgeist, a slew of heretics began to write about a losing Church. These books were tremendously popular among Christians.
These books portrayed the evil in the world as tremendously powerful. These books foretold an almost hopeless attitude that the Church was destined to lose amid such a powerful global evil super-force. These books portrayed evil as a united front, an almost monolithic bohemouth with an unstoppable army.
Because of the popularity of these types of texts, it was not long before this concept was cemented in the psyche of the western Church. However, the reality is that this narrative is false and actually inverted.
While it may be fun or tempting to pretend that the Church is the underdog, this concept couldn’t be further from the Truth.
It reminds me of the Lord’s army in 1 Samuel 17. The Philistines put forth their giant as a champion and all the Israelite army trembled in fear. David is flabbergasted by this. He knows that he’ll have no problem defeating this “uncircumcised Philistine” because this giant “taunted the armies of the living God.” David knew who was behind him on the battlefield. He could bravely battle any enemy, even a giant, because he knew that God was with him.
The sling shot David used was not a toy, it was an ancient piece of artillery that was extremely deadly. And David was hardly inexperienced with it. He mentions in this chapter that he’d used it to kill lions and bears in the past. Was David the underdog? Hardly… David entered that battlefield with a long-range weapon and easily shot and killed the giant from a distance. Quite literally the giant had brought a knife to a gun fight.
David knew that he would win because he was fighting on the side of God. While the other soldiers trembled in fear around him, David knew that victory for the Lord’s army was assured. And after the fact, we’re able to look at this account with the benefit of hindsight and see that David was clearly poised to be the victor all along.
Is the Church the underdog today?
No, we’ve been assured by the Word of God that we win. For example, our Lord tells us in Matthew 16:18 that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church. The modern Church gets this image wrong so often. I got this wrong too for years. The image we often get in this passage is the Church hunkering down behind some massive barrier, and we read this verse as the idea that we can take comfort in the fact that evil forces won’t be able to break in and get us.
However, that is not the image that Our Lord is painting for us at all. It’s the exact opposite. The promise is not the “gates of the Church will not fail”… no the promise is that the gates of Hell WILL fail. The image is of a conquering Church that is waging war against evil, and we can rest assured that their gates will not keep us out. That's the image Our Lord is conveying to us. He's saying that we are assured victory.
We fight the fight, and we win.
Does this mean that our nation will not fall into atheistic ruin? No, sadly we have no such assurance. The battle for our nation’s soul rages on. However, while we may not know who’s going to win this battle, we do know who wins the war! The Church wins! I’ve blogged about this before (you can read that here), but it bears repeating over and over again!
Let us completely forsake this defeatist heretical thinking that has become so prevalent since the 1980’s. Let us reflect on the major battles the Church has endured in the past.
No, we are on the winning side. There is no doubt who wins the war- now let’s go out there today and do all the battle we can to help our community and to help our nation!