Marcionism and Woke Worship

Our God is a warrior who trains our hands for battle:

Oh dear, it never ceases to amaze me how woke weirdness has contaminated the churches. That secular left ideology and agendas have long been infiltrating into the churches is well known. But as political correctness and woke lunacy ramps up in the West, we see even more Christian leaders and pastors being sucked into all this.

Before giving you one glaring recent example of this, I had better explain what Marcionism is for those of you struggling with that term. It simply refers to an old church heretic, Marcion. As I wrote in an earlier article:

He was a second century bishop who was condemned for his heretical teachings, including his views on God and the Old Testament. In brief, he regarded the God of the Old Testament as a vengeful, harsh, vindictive and judgmental God, who in fact was not the same as the God of the New Testament. On the other hand, he taught, the God of the NT was a loving, compassionate and gracious God.


He not only posited a radical disjunction between God as found in the two Testaments, but between the OT and the NT itself, and between Israel and the church. His utter rejection of Judaism and the OT was just part of his heresy. He was a major proponent of Paul – or as one historian put it, he had an “exaggerated Paulinism” – so much so that he chopped the NT canon down to just 11 books: ten epistles of Paul and part of Luke.

So what does worship have to do with this heretic? Well, it seems a couple that leads worship in Canada are having real problems with the Old Testament, especially with anything having to do with the military, or violence, or weapons, or warfare. So they are wondering about deleting or expelling worship songs that take part in this.

As one short video of this says: “Canadian worship leaders Jodi and Chris King are having a difficult time singing songs with ‘violent language’ in church, including references to weapons, because ‘Jesus is a peacemaker,’ so they skip over lyrics.” See it here:

What are we to make of all this? Well yes there are indeed hundreds of Old Testament examples where military language, talk of weapons, and dealing with enemies, etc., are found. And that includes heaps that are found just in the Psalms. As you should know, the psalms were all sung as part of Israel’s collective worship of God. Just think of a few of these ‘militaristic’ passages:

Psalm 18:34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

Psalm 18:39 You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.

Psalm 24:8 Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord, strong and mighty,
    the Lord, mighty in battle!

Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;

But since it seems these worship leaders are worried about all this, let me just deal with what is found in the New Testament. There are dozens of military metaphors, allusions to soldiering and warfare, and related terms and ideas found in the NT. And none of these biblical authors for one moment were concerned about using such imagery and language. Indeed, they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. Consider just some of these:

Luke 14:31-33 Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Romans 7:22-23 or in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

1 Corinthians 9:7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk?

1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

1 Corinthians 14:8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?

1 Corinthians 15:24-27 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

2 Corinthians 6:7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;

Ephesians 4:8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (Ps 68:18)

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Philippians 2:25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.

Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet

1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight,

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Timothy 2:3-5 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Philemon 1:1-2 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home:

Hebrews 11:33-34 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Revelation 2:16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Revelation 9:7-11 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.

Revelation 13:4-7 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

Revelation 19:11-16 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Oh dear. If this couple is really serious about weeding out all references to warfare, to fighting, to weapons, to killing, to violence, to enemies, to battle, and so on, then they are going to have to jettison huge amounts of the New Testament, just as they want to do with the Old.

And as to biblical texts that speak about ‘drowning enemies’ and the like, they are not only fully inspired by God, but they are part and parcel of who God is: a holy and just God who does deal with real evil and real enemies. And those passages I mentioned from Revelation are more of the same. But see more on the imprecatory psalms here:

It seems that people like this couple are sadly giving old Marcion a real run for his money here. But I for one will keep affirming ALL of Scripture, and I will keep singing the classic hymns as well, including “Onward Christian Soldiers,” “Stand Up for Jesus, Ye Soldiers of the Cross,” and “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”

And a terrific Black gospel hymn I recently came upon I will keep enjoying as well: “Soldier in the Army of the Lord” by the Blind Boys of Alabama:

[2037 words]

4 Replies to “Marcionism and Woke Worship”

  1. Thanks, Bill. Well said and biblically illustrated. The rejection of any aspects of propitiation in the atonement, wholesale dismissal of the conquest of Canaan, and ECT in hell, Satan and demons…all get tossed into this reductionistic purging of Jesus’ words and the whole counsel of God in Scripture. Germany in the late 1930s and the birds in the parable of the sower Mt.13, Jesus’ clear teaching in Mark 8:38 etc come to mind. Thanks again for your clarity and inclusion of biblical citations and text.

  2. It’s not just worship leaders. Celebrity dispensational pastor Andy Stanley recently got hit with charges of Marcionism when he taught that Christians need to “unhitch themselves” from the Old Testament. This is the latest church growth strategy coming from the business community where truth goes out the door while pragmatism reins supreme in church leadership circles. The ultimate goal becomes butts and bucks. They reject the command given by Jesus to make disciples!

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