Saturday, September 29, 2007

c'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre

"It's magnificent, but it's not war!" This was the observation of French Marshal Pierre Bosquet as he observed the Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854 (part of the Crimean War). What he witnessed that day was the bloody Charge of the Light Brigade as they crossed the valley against the greatly superior Russian troops on the other side. The British and Irish attack was executed with precision, discipline, and bravery but two-thirds of the men were killed and the objective was not taken. The futility of the action and its reckless bravery prompted the French Marshal Pierre Bosquet to state "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre." ("It is magnificent, but it is not war.") The Russian commanders are said to have initially believed that the British soldiers must have been drunk.

John Wimber uses this analogy for the church stating the following.
In the nearly 2,000 years since Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, the Church has made its mark on civilization. Empires have risen. Lands have been conquered. Great works of art have been created. Libraries full of theological and philosophical arguments have been erected, all in the name of Christ. The cultural legacy of Christianity has truly been magnificent.

But it's not war, and the Christ life is warfare. ... A war between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. ... Warfare implies an enemy.

Wimber then related a story from the beginning of World War I. The war ministry of London dispatched a coded message to one of the British outposts in the inaccessible areas of Africa. The message read: "War is declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district." The war Ministry received this reply: "Have arrested four Germans, six Belgians, four Frenchmen, two Italians, three Austrians and an American. Please advise immediately who we are at war with."

The situation seems ludicrous. How can you fight a war unless there's agreement about who the enemy is? As Christians we are in a declared war, but unless we're clear about whom the enemy is, we'll waste time fighting enemies who aren't enemies at all.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. - 1 Pet 5.8


Gary Sweeten said...

Great blog with a wonderful parable.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately the "enemy" was frequently anyone one who wasn't a Christian, and therefore had to be converted and colonized...i.e. killed as a unique individual.