Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
31 …Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NIV, emphasis added)
In every war, wordfare is deployed first to soften the entrance to the arena of conflict–the mind–by which wills are then bent and attitudes, hardened.
Wordfare works best when infused with persuasive appeals, particularly emotional appeals, deployed to override critical thinking as much as possible.
I refer here to the wordfare that promotes the ambitions of those who would rule the world by any means necessary including suppressing, if not actually destroying, dissidents.
In contrast, what I call Word-fare is the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God, imbued with the force-multiplier of truth that, when received, believed, and implemented is,
“Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
And all “battles,” as noted above, whether temporal or spiritual, begin where thoughts and attitudes spark action. It’s just that the sources of inspiration that shape wills and solidify hearts differ, some prompting evil, others good, few, neutral.
But here is a given: there are always resisters.
And here is another given: despite the formidable power of evil (my focus here) to blind, bind, and banish, the power of good (my other focus), as in that “truth that sets you free,” always wins, if at length.
Otherwise, given the seeming insatiable appetite of, by, and for evil that plagues the planet, the human race and its environs would have been doomed not long after they began, not so much by the Godless philosophy called “survival of the fittest,” but by survival of the shameless–who happen to have wrested both power and control.
Why this topic today?
According to a recent article, it appears that in the battle to negate the truth of religious freedom in the United States, the anti-religion propagandists (in this case anti-Christian) who are confused about the preposition “of” used in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as in, we have freedom of religion (not freedom from religion, as erroneously thought), or perhaps they are simply using wordfare to get rid of it, have conjured up yet another battle to ban some Bible verses printed on various mementos such as military-styled dog tags put out by a company called “Shields of Strength” (read full article here).
But we hear of this all the time, i.e., the frenzy to get rid of any and all verses, lists, and/or other printed or spoken words from the Bible.
Posters and artwork depicting the Ten Commandments, for just one example, have been torn down, ripped up, and banned from all manner of public places, as if it is a bad thing to teach children that it is wrong to, for example, kill (#6), steal (#8), and lie (#9).
One can only wonder why, because it does seem as if there is quite a bit of high emotion, not to mention expensive lawsuits, over mere words–unless one is aware of the power of words (see “wordfare,” above).
And unless, of course, one is also aware of the “more powerful power,” as it were, of the other kind of words that come out on fields of battle, aka Word-fare, God’s Word that not only frees humanity but also is the only lasting foil to the kind of wordfare that, if unchecked, leads to enslavement and destruction.
wordfare versus Word-fare
Again, the creation of anything, be it good, bad, or anywhere in-between, begins with thoughts/ideas/inspirations.
One can’t emphasize this too much because it is a critical precursor to getting people to believe or do things they might otherwise not do or might otherwise have no knowledge or preparation to even consider.
When it comes to the powers that want to conquer and rule in the temporal realm, wordfare is needed first to control minds and sway attitudes in order to have the desired effect on the eventual, physical battleground, which is often where this kind of ambition leads.
One also needs patience.
For example, Hitler’s supporters would have never have gone directly from watching propaganda movies making fun of Jews as rat-faced deplorables one week to, the next week, believing that gassing them and throwing them in the ovens at Auschwitz and elsewhere was any kind of “solution”. There would not have been enough distance between idea and execution, figuratively and literally, because it takes time to brainwash and control minds and harden hearts enough to sell and accomplish that amount of evil.
In the United States today, for a more current example, though far less dramatic, we are arguably at the edge of a possible “fundamental transformation” of our nation where the battle has come down, in this very election season of 2020, to socialism versus our representative republic modeled after the principles of freedom promoted in our Judeo/Christian heritage.
A political dichotomy that even ten years ago would have been anathema to most literate and sufficiently-educated Americans.
But the fight for socialism has been brewing for a number of years, even here; certain groundwork has been laid.
Indeed, there are those, especially among the young, who do not know the real nature and history of socialism (it’s been too many years since the realities of that ideology have been sufficiently taught), who likely even believe it a kind of religion, like one hero on the left, Antonio Gramsci, a highly-influential, early twentieth-century socialist, who put it this way (his comment also notes the need for patience):
Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.
(Can’t allow any of the truth that sets you free in that ideology! And it might take some time, a generation or two, even, to wash and control minds, or, as he put it, to transform the consciousness of society.)
But Hope in the Higher Power
When it comes to the real transforming Power that is in the spiritual realm, however, as in the God of the Judeo/Christian cultures, Word-fare enables adherents to not only rise above the mind- and attitude-controlling temporal fray but also to stay clear- headed while engaging on that same physical battleground, should it come to that.
But back to the process.
The next stage for such sweeping transformation is promotion, advertising–where spin reigns supreme.
Then the plan or product is rolled out.
And the same goes for battle plans whether symmetrical or regular, asymmetrical or irregular.
But along with the deployment of wordfare (promoting evil) it is also important to get rid of (rip up, tear down, mock, deride) as many opposing ideas and/or ideologies as possible.
This decreases the time-consuming process of resolving any cognitive dissonance that might slow-up the progress of the propaganda pipers, slow up the process of transforming things…fundamentally…like, for example, societal consciousness…
Then, you must use all means available to trigger the so-called base of the brain where emotion plays a primary role and, when ginned-up with enough intensity, can override the critical thinking part of the brain.
Now the stage is set for engagement, “boots on necks” if needed (a few paid “black-ops“-type individuals may be required, too, because of all the people who are not fooled and who will resist).
But even as wordfare works so powerfully for evil, the ones “behind the curtain,” the veils and shadows at the highest levels of this kind of power also know they, too, are not without a potent adversary–that greater force, the genesis of all power, without which there would be no gold to mine, minds to bend, or wills to override.
There would be nothing for them to overcome, annihilate, even–by whatever means necessary–in their god-quest.
I refer again to the real God, their Supernatural Adversary Who, by means of His power and His people, despite all the wordfare (and the other kinds of warfare that come after the ad campaigns are no longer needed) has effectively overcome and overrun myriad other power-mongers, totalitarians, and psychopathic destroyers who have reigned for a bit in human history, and now are no longer.
You would think that the power-and-control-hungry would realize their days are numbered.
Maybe even have a change of heart.
Trouble is, down here, what with the potent influence of our “real enemy,” comes a time when certain ones (only God knows who) have heard a lie so often they believe it is truth.
And that’s when they are dangerously close to closing off their minds and hearts altogether; that’s when they get close to the point of no return.
Soon, if unrepentant, it’s case closed for them, stage darkened, and all that’s left is to pick up their wages on the way out…
But beforehand, on that way down (and out), also comes a moment of acknowledging the power of the opposing force, truth, whether they like it or not, because Word-fare powered by truth stands alone.
Needs no spin.
Calls out loudly and clearly from every corner of creation for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds open to perceive.
Even for those who reject truth, it stands out.
Though they turn their backs.
In short, to the consternation and hate of evil-mongers, Word-fare sets people free. Indeed, students of real history trace how the most successful nations on earth have adhered to the standards and principles of freedom, sourced in the Judeo/Christian Biblical text.
And THAT is evil’s ultimate force-divider, its ultimate overcomer.
And its purveyors know it.
That is why conflicts always seem to boil down to good versus evil, existential versus theoretical, truth versus lies.
Proverbs chapter 2 puts this well with notes on how and why to access further information:
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
But for people truly trapped in base emotions that can quickly escalate to rage and murder (see history), it becomes very, very frustrating to view ANY reminders of the “opposition”.
You know, like Bible verses on posters, billboards, statues, and military-styled dog tags.
Because of, you may also know, the power of even one lone little flicker of light to dispel darkness…
On the State of Wordfare, and Word-fare Today
One wonders, are we at the good/evil; truth/lie; rubber-meets-the-road state of accountability, now? Globally?
Time, prophecy, and the ever-more-blatant nature of wordfare alert those who watch such things, and those who prepare for them, to pay special attention just now–for there is more than just comfort in the Word-fare manual, the Bible.
Those familiar with its pages, its history, instruction, wisdom (and how things will ultimately turn out, as detailed in the last book of the biblical anthology) glean much more regarding the ways of both the world and the spirit realm behind it when it comes to battles and to the real enemy.
They glean how to overcome evil in the “here” as well as for the “hereafter”. And those tactics include strategies also employed and adapted by many successful, battlefield tacticians, religious or not.**
But in the meantime–and however mean the times may get–be encouraged, fellow Word-fare adherents.
And get the word–and the Word–out.
[The] the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; (2 Corinthians 10:4, KJV)
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; (2 Corinthians 4:8)
[We] know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
*”Propaganda” as in, “the expression of opinions or actions carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to influencing the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for predetermined ends and through psychological manipulations.” (From ELLUL, Jaques. 1973. Propaganda. The Formation of Men’s Attitudes. New York: Vintage Books.)
**For further discussion on many aspects and examples of both spiritual and temporal ways and means to survive and overcome both symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare, here are a number of related commentaries.