Christians in every generation are called, as Jude put it, to "contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints."
If we are not to fail in this calling, we must understand what contending for the faith looks like in our day and age. The mainstream cultural air we all breathe celebrates tolerance and pressures us to embrace perceived unity as the highest good. In this climate, any sort of division is seen as hateful and wrong.
Yet to humbly explain and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ to believer and unbeliever alike is the greatest kindness and the most loving act possible. The ultimate question about Jesus today is the same as when he walked the earth: is he or is he not who he claimed to be?
He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). With the entire Christian faith standing or falling on the validity of such an utterly exclusive and uncompromising claim, doctrine that truly aligns with Jesus will cause division. When we represent our faith honestly, it is simply inevitable: at times we will be at odds with others -- friends, relatives, perhaps even other Christians. Yet we are called to contend, in obedience to and for the sake of the most divisive person in history.
And the challenge is to do it in the way Jude describes: as an act of mercy toward those who doubt and those who have been deceived, regardless of whether they claim faith in Christ.
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Aaron Armstrong is the author of Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and a writer for an international Christian ministry focused on caring for the needs of the poor. He is also an itinerant preacher and blogs at BloggingTheologically.com. He and his family worship and serve at Harvest Bible Chapel in London, Ontario.
“Contend is a fine combination of concise biblical exposition, down-to-earth examples, contemporary illustrations, and challenging practical application. I’ve already made a list of people I want to give this to…as well as another list of areas to work on in my own life and ministry. It’s not only an ideal book for discipling a new believer, but also for shaking the more mature out of dangerous complacency and passivity.” — David P. Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
“Contend, by one of evangelicalism’s most promising young writers and thinkers, is exactly the kind of book the church needs in our moment. We are tempted today on every side to be meek as a mouse. Christianity is many things, but it is not–it cannot be–anodyne. Armstrong’s gospel-saturated writing, coupled with deeply instructive practical examples, will equip the church to be as bold as a lion, and to roar as Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and Machen before us.” — Owen Strachan, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History, Boyce College; coauthor, Essential Edwards Collection
“At a time of great theological confusion and emotional calls to content-less ‘unity,’ a time of politically-correct ‘can’t-we-all-get-alongism,’ here is a balanced and passionate appeal especially to young believers from a young author, Aaron Armstrong, to take seriously their commitment to Jesus in all areas of life, both individually and in community, contending for the Faith, using both their minds and their hearts in defense of the Truth, in the manner laid out by the apostle Jude. May this call be heard far and wide.” — Dr. Peter Jones, Executive Director, truthXchange
“Some church leaders like myself get a queasy stomach when faced with theological conflicts. Others relish the fights and want to convene a church council over the number of Adam’s hairs. Aaron presents a third way between avoidance and division: the biblical model of earnest, charitable contending for the faith. This is a book the Church desperately needs, for it matters not merely that we contend, but also how we contend and that we contend for the right cause: namely the name of Christ. Contend not only calls us to defend orthodoxy, but gives us a biblical blueprint for doing it. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to pastors, seminarians, bloggers, and teachers.” — Daniel Darling, Senior Pastor, Gages Lake Bible Church; Author, Real: Owning Your Christian Faith
“The very idea of contending is contentious. But the costs of not contending for the faith are high, and we’d better learn when and how to defend what matters most. With clarity and insight, Aaron Armstrong helps us understand why it’s hard to take a stand, what’s worth fighting for, and how to do it. I’m grateful for this biblical and helpful book.” — Darryl Dash, Pastor, Liberty Grace Church, Toronto ON