Enemy Within The Gates
January 10, 2011
By Chuck Baldwin
As surely as William Barret Travis drew a line in the sand at the Alamo, a line is being drawn in the hearts of men today. By the time it is over, every man and woman in America will have to choose which side of the line they are on. Neutrality will not be an option. Furthermore, this line is separating, not only political and cultural adversaries, it is dividing friends and families as well. In fact, it is no hyperbole to say that the enemy is not only AT the gates; the enemy is WITHIN the gates. Then again, I suppose that during any momentous turning point of history, it has always been this way. And make no mistake about it: we are at a momentous turning point of history.
Consider what our Lord told us: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36 KJV)
It’s happened before in America. It happened during our War for Independence. It happened again during the War for Southern Independence: father against son and brother against brother. And so it is now.
The enemy has always done its best and most efficient work from within. At this point, I am reminded of what America’s most celebrated jurist, Daniel Webster, once said, “There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter: from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence. I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men and become the instruments of their own undoing.”
I am often asked, “From whence comes our greatest threat: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, Russia, China, etc.?” And my response is the same as Webster’s: our greatest threat is within the gates of our own country. Our greatest threat is Washington, D.C. I will even go further than that. Many times, our greatest threat is within the gates of our own churches, and within the walls of our own homes!
Remember, the Lord Jesus was betrayed by one of his own apostles. King David was betrayed by his own son. Samson was betrayed by a lover. Noah was betrayed by a grandson. Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers. Moses was betrayed by the ten trusted scouts. The list is endless.
I remind you that during our War for Independence, the colonial army had far more to fear from Benedict Arnold than it did from King George! And so it is today. The enemy at the gates at least looks like the enemy. It dresses like the enemy; it talks like the enemy; it acts like the enemy. But the enemy within the gates looks like a friend. It dresses like a friend; it talks like a friend; it acts like a friend. But it is still the enemy!
The enemies of freedom are ubiquitous today. They are in our State legislatures; they sit on the benches of our judiciary; they teach in our colleges and universities; they preach in our pulpits; they teach in our Sunday School classrooms; they sit across our dining room tables; they even sleep in our own beds! And, for the most part, they are in charge of most things going on in Washington, D.C.
These enemies of whom I speak are those who would rather protect government (even illegitimate government) than protect freedom; they would rather please the powers that be than please the Power that is; and they would rather promote their own success and prosperity than the success and prosperity of their country. They are self-aggrandizing statists who suck at the teat of Big Government. They might be Democrats or Republicans: at the national level, both have a large welfare-addicted constituency. They might be Christians or unbelievers. In fact, many of today’s Christians, churches, and pastors are proving themselves to be the enemies of freedom to an even greater extent than many unbelievers.
For the last several years, the absence of Christians (and especially pastors) from the freedom fight is glaring! The vast majority of them show little interest in whether or not their State defends itself from ever-increasing federal encroachments; they show little attention to the exponential growth of a Fascist-style police state that is taking shape in front of their very eyes; and they seem little concerned over the demise of constitutional government.
Beyond that, I have discovered firsthand that not only do many Christians seem to revel in apathy and indifference to the aforementioned attacks against our liberties, they will often unleash vehement resistance and hatred to the brother that stands in opposition to these attacks. It is no wonder Jesus said, “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
Some of these enemies and false brethren are motivated by jealousy. Some are motivated by greed or ambition. Still, others suffer from extreme character deficiencies, such as egomania, pride, laziness, or intense feelings of insecurity. Regardless of the motivation, they set their sights and whet their arrows against those who would dare take a bold and courageous stand for liberty.
My fellow patriots, watch your back, because your greatest enemy is probably behind you! Remember, Jesus “came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11) And of Christ does the prophet not say, “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends”? (Zechariah 13:6 KJV)
I can personally identify with Zechariah’s prophecy. The wounds my wife and I (and our entire family) carry today were inflicted “in the house of my friends.”
Perhaps the patriot’s courage convicts the statist of his own laziness or greed. Perhaps the statist truly despises liberty in his own heart, because, in his soul, he is either a tyrant or slave--or even both. In fact, when the discussion of liberty is broached in today’s Church, I fear this is a major part of the problem.
I have witnessed firsthand the effects that legalism, denominationalism, and corporatism have caused within the Church. Many Christians are so enslaved by legalistic churches and institutions that they wouldn’t know freedom if it came up and bit them on their blessed assurance! They are told what kind of music to listen to, how to wear their hair, what kind of clothes to put on, who can and can’t be their friends--even how husbands and wives should express their love to each other. Their entire lives are lived as subjects and servants to the all-powerful institution (read: church, school, college, etc.). What, pray tell, does the subject of liberty mean to them? They are already enslaved!
Likewise, many professing pastors and Christians are as enslaved to a denomination as any political subject in Russia or China. To them, there is no truth worth defending but the truth proclaimed by the almighty denomination. There is no battle worth fighting unless it is sanctioned by the all-wise denomination. And there is no enemy worth resisting who is not identified by the all-knowing denomination. What, pray tell, does the subject of liberty mean to them? Are they not slaves already?
Then there is the corporate slave! This is the so-called Christian statist who recognizes no church that the IRS does not recognize--or approve. This is the Christian, who, if he lived in communist China, would attend the state-approved church, with a state-approved minister, preaching state-approved sermons to state-enslaved subjects. But as almost anyone knows, the real Church in oppressed countries is never the one you see in state-sponsored “we-have-freedom-of-religion-here” propaganda photo ops.
The real Church in oppressed countries meets in private living rooms, back rooms, barns, sheds, or even in the backwoods. In all likelihood, their gatherings are illegal, their ministers unlicensed, and their worship politically incorrect. This has been the history of the real Church since the Book of Acts. And it is fast becoming the experience of the real Church in America!
Yes, a line is being drawn in the sand in this country. One will either be a statist, who is devoted to the supremacy of the State, or he or she will be a freedomist, who is devoted to the spirit and principles of liberty. And just like at Travis’ Alamo, there can be no neutrality.
I personally believe that God Himself is drawing this line in the sand. I also believe that many professing Christians are quickly lining up on the wrong side of that line and have made themselves the enemies of truth and freedom (and those who love them). I further believe that because so many Christians are holding their peace, the “stones” are crying out for truth and liberty (Luke 19:40), meaning God is often using strangers of the covenant to advance His truth.
I also believe that God is preparing a robust and righteous remnant from among those who love liberty (and are willing to guard and defend it), while the traditional church (read: organized, incorporated, state-sanctioned) is being given over to servitude and judgment. And as I’ve also learned (and said before), patriots must watch their backs, because the enemy is not AT the gates, it is WITHIN them!