22 May The Two Forces
by Fr. Robert Wild
Since the coming of Christ there are two forces powerfully at work in the world.
Every idea, every spirit, every attitude, every movement comes under one of these banners. They are both succinctly stated in the Acts of the Apostles, during the early days of Christian preaching, where these two forces clashed head-on.
The first force, the most powerful, the most life-giving, is this: There is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved (Acts 4:12). And the second is its opposite: We gave you strict orders not to preach in that Name (Acts 5:28).
In some real sense, all the struggles of the world might be explained in terms of these two forces. It may not always be easy to distinguish which movement or spirit or attitude belongs to which force but there are really only these two.
The Spirit of Christ says, “Jesus is God. Jesus is alive. Jesus is love. God loves us. Goodness will triumph over evil. Life has meaning. The person is the image of God. We shall live forever. We owe our lives and allegiance to the Lord.”
The second force, the anti-Christ (whatever other name or label it might have) says, “Jesus is not divine. Jesus is dead like everybody else. Don’t preach in his Name. Life has no meaning anyhow. Evil is greater than goodness. Death is the end of everything. Do whatever you want. There is no God. Why not just admit that and stop all the illusions?”
The world is a mixture of these two forces and unfortunately so are the hearts of Christians as well.
The crucial point is that there are really no neutral forces. He who is not with me, is against me and who does not gather with me, scatters (Mt 12:30).
The world has always been filled with a smorgasbord of philosophies and views and ways and approaches to life. I think this is more true today than ever before; also, more than ever before, these views are being broadcast and propagated on a scale hitherto unknown.
So much emphasis today is put on sincerity. As long as one is sincere, he or she can be a white witch, an atheist, an abortionist, a revolutionary, a humanist, etc. It really doesn’t matter in the long run, as long as one is sincere.
God will judge the person; we are not judging persons here. But we certainly can judge ideologies, attitudes, approaches to life. They are either with Christ or against him. They are either for his Father, for what Jesus preached, for who Jesus is, or they are against him.
One must choose about Jesus. If you haven’t chosen, you are still part of the darkness. We can presume that many of the leaders, scribes, and elders in Acts were sincere but they were forbidding the preaching of the Name, the only Name under heaven by which we can be saved.
Because we don’t want to question people’s sincerity today, we tolerate all kinds of strange doctrines to float around, believing they are quite harmless. There are no neutral forces now. There are really only two contrary forces: “Jesus is Lord” and “Don’t preach in his Name.”
From Desert Harvest (2019), pp. 23-24, Wipf and Stock Publishers, available from MH Publications