Drinking Deeply

Saturday, May 20, 2006 at 10:54 PM

Every thought captive!

I was looking back on the passage in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, because it seemed to be a verse I used a lot and I realized something that I sort of knew but had forgotten and was reminded again. The passage in context:

2 Cor. 10
1I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ--I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!-- 2I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

The passage that has been on my mind has been specifically v. 3-5:
3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
I've always taken this passage to mean that I need to take every single one of my own thoughts captive to obey Christ. Every irrational and illogical argument against God, the emotional appeals, the times when I simply don't want to think about God, the times that I despair and question, those are the things I am to take captive for Christ.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a wrong interpretation. The call is very clear to take every single one of our own thoughts captive, to seek God and not walk in the way of the wicked.

But, examining the context, I'm not too sure it's a complete interpretation of the passage. Paul is defending his ministry. Some had accused him of walking according to the flesh (v. 2). He needed to deal with these men. He needed to defend his ministry from these people.

What does Paul point to? He points to his divine weapons that demolish strongholds which are "arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God." Not only is Paul saying I have taken captive my own thoughts, but Paul is also clearly saying that he's taking captive other thoughts as well: tearing down strongholds and demolishing arguments. He's contrasted himself already in 1 Corinthians 2 to those who preach with sophistry and lofty speech. Paul preaches Christ, why? Because it is the power of God for those who are being saved. This is Paul's weapon, and this is what sets him apart.

Yes, Paul has sought out areas in his own life and been demolishing arguments in his head, but don't ignore the point he's making here. Not only has he been demolishing opinions raised up against God in himself, but he's also taken that to the offensive, entering synagogues and teaching and proving Christ.

When we are able to do this ourselves, then our obedience will be clear, and we will be able to recognize disobedience and punish it in a biblical and appropriate manner. Without doing this, then true and false believers would not be able to be distinguished and church discipline would be hard, if not impossible.

So here's the charge. Don't let the demolished strongholds inside yourself be the only application of the passage, but recognize the evils and lofty opinions outside. Seek them out and demolish them. Do we have an answer to the Da Vinci Code? Do we have an answer to pluralism and universalism? Do we have an answer to justification by faith and works? Do we have an answer to post-modernism and an attack on the clarity of Scripture? Yes, not every fight is worth fighting, but there are fights that must be fought. There are hills worth dying on. Do you know what they are? Or is everything the same "that works for you... but maybe not for someone else? When confronted with questions, do we scramble for answers or are we able to boldly stand upon the Word of God, defend ourselves, and go on the offensive?

No, we don't need all the answers in order to be saved. No, because of our sinful minds, we cannot know all the answers. But we do have God and His Word, and so we do have all the answers. Through Christ and His death and resurrection, we have life, we have illumination, and we have the minds of Christ. Do you know that?

So take your trusty weapon in the Gospel, in prayer, in the Word, and train it not only on yourself, demolishing arguments in your minds against God, but train it outside of yourself too trusting in not your sophistry or wisdom, but in the power of God, the cross which is foolishness to the world, but the power of God to us who are being saved. It is the power that has raised you from the dead, and it has the power to crush every lofty opinion and raise others from the dead as well.

Who will go?

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