The Full Armor of God versus The Contemporary Christian Costume

Ephesians 6:10-11: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

As believers, we are told to put on the full armor of God, so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  Wiles are tricks intended to ensnare.  Only by being strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might may we so stand.

Within contemporary Christendom, many have put on feckless uniforms of outward symbols and identifiers, and have failed to put on the full armor of God.  In so doing, they have left themselves vulnerable to false doctrine, comfortable with compromise, and happily joined at the hip with non-believers in apostate churches.

What is the Contemporary Christian Costume?  It takes many different forms, but often includes some of the following:

  • Clothes – includes church T-shirts and jerseys personalized with names of famous Christian players.
  • Jewelry – includes cross necklaces and earrings, purity rings, and rubber wrist bands with trite phrases.
  • Bibles and Bible accessories – might include the NIV Bible and the NIV Bible Study Notes, stored in a zippered Naugahyde case with convenient carrying handle.
  • Automobile accessories – includes bumper stickers with dubious (questionable or suspect) messages, and front license plates with the call letters or frequency of the local ecumenical Christian radio station.

While some of these items are not harmful per se, they have become caricatures of Christianity to a non-believing world.  It should be noted that these identifiers have nothing to do with being a believer.  In other words,  “wearing the Christian brand” does not make one a Christian, any more than wearing a Tim Tebow jersey makes someone a Heisman trophy winner.  I would venture to say that far more non-believers than believers are adorned in the Contemporary Christian Costume.

The full armor of God includes truth, righteousness (Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, not our own works of righteousness), grounding in the gospel, confidence in our eternal destiny, knowledge of the word of God, and prayer.  These are each essential in protecting Christians from deception.

Ephesians 6:14-17:  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The importance of the above passage in the life of believers cannot be overstated.  Following is an excerpt from Clear Gospel Campaign’s “Statement of Purpose”:

Virtually every item in the Full Armor of God is directed to the gospel message . . . the defense of the gospel message, and the spread of the gospel message.

First and foremost, the discipleship of a believer must root them in Christ crucified . . .  the truth and the purity of the message of salvation.  If it does not do this, discipleship is little more than misguided cheerleading.

It is essential for us to heed the word of God, and rely on His strength to protect us.

23 responses to “The Full Armor of God versus The Contemporary Christian Costume

  1. The “Christian” movies also are a big one to promote either the Christian right, or even the Christian left. One that I am looking at now, find interesting that the ‘wonderful, strong, Christian dad’ has the hip log hair and beard, the wooden cross on a leather strap (now please if you happen to have any of these, understand this is not my point) and then it pans across bumper stickers on his back car window which are:

    The ‘FISH’ symbol
    A map of the US with some foreign characters too blurry to recognize
    A second COEXIST round label
    And lastly a "LOVE YOUR MOTHER" with a picture of the earth as mother earth obviously.

    The father and mother embarrass their teen with their 'love' speaking of their 'love tent' or 'love shack' and for now, that is about all I can stomach although I am waiting to hear their 'gospel' which will be another, just waiting to see, I a sure it will be a subtle loadship message. The father dies, and never doubted 'his faith'. That is about right to the loadship/Calvinist theology. Their faith is in their faith.

  2. Bryan, it is sad, tragic. Because it makes me fear for them. They have decided to go back to the church that is being overrun by Calvinists, emergent/contemplatives and Loadship crew. It’s a funny mixture, one you would think would not get along as they consistently ‘out’ each other. But error gets along with all sorts of theological bents when convenient to power, and will cause those who have known Him to look the other way when someone is not walking uprightly about the gospel. To put up with those who preach another Jesus. I’m thankful to those who are willing to stand alone at times to rebuke the error in public in a crowd, who will not allow the false to continue for even an hour.

  3. That is sad Holly, I love preachers such as Cucuzza and Yankee Arnold who do the “wallet presentation” to show the Gospel. The older gentleman has to realize two things.

    One is that when you have a preacher that consistently shows the clear, simple, biblical gospel you have a good chance of congregation that is clear, united, understanding of how someone receives eternal life. I have been in a church where the Gospel was rarely given during the sermon, and when it did, it was weak. As a result you could ask 10 random members and get about 10 different gospels.

    The second reason it is important to show the gospel in each sermon is that you never know when you have someone watching or hearing for the first time.

    Bryan R.

  4. Good reminder today. I think so few of us really grasped how important it is to shod our feet daily with the preparation of the gospel of peace. I think we got some of the other armor but seems like the gospel was forgotten in so many of the churches I was in. I am reminded of a Bible study I was in with an older couple. We were listening to a few Cucuzza sermons, and the second week, the older man commented, “he already did that last week” (meaning the gospel) as if it were a bad thing, he kind of smirked. I thought how sad that was.

  5. Eph_6:11 Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    yes I was taught (fundamentalism) that the full Armour of God was for righteous living against sin and all it brought me was more condemning thoughts more sinful thoughts and ship wrecked myself. Man I would beg God , Please cleanse my mind my thoughts and emotion’s not knowing they are cleansed by the blood of the lamb , trying to learn things that are already so.
    yes I still bring thoughts into captivity and condemn them to hell , because they are condemned.

    Now I stand firm , stead fast UN movable knowing my sin’s are paid for passed present and future. No I don’t willfully sin “God Forbid”. I am a Sinner.
    sometimes “you cant fix stupid” .

    Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

    Please correct me were needed
    I had LS ground into me for a long time


  6. Right in the top middle of Billy Graham’s page is this.

    Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner. And I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you’ve died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins. I repent of my sins. I invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen

    Did you pray this prayer today or do you have a question about a relationship with Jesus Christ?

  7. d taylor, I agree. Depending on the church, it could be the worst thing for them.

  8. one of the most misleading bumper stickers i have seen is the one that says: take your children (or someone) to church today they need and deserve it
    It goes something like that.

  9. That trick of having “advisors” rush to the stage at the altar call, is the same trick Greg Laurie uses. Tell church people, rush the stage, and he has been doing that for years.

  10. D Taylor, Thanks.

    Yes, I saw that article. If Billy Graham “billions” have their “hope” for salvation in Billy Graham’s message instead of in Jesus Christ alone, they will be lost for all eternity. What a shame.

    Incidentally, we normally don’t permit links to apostate web sites — but since it does graphically illustrate Graham’s grievous error, we will let it slip by this time. But readers/watchers BEWARE of the lies.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  11. Jack here is what is currently coming out of billy grahams camp 2013
    My hope with billy graham: here is the link below if you want to check it out.

    At 26:13 in the video he starts in on repentance turning from sin. uses Acts 3:19 of course he takes that out of context.
    actually the whole webpage is very telling.

  12. Jack, the exciting, confusing mess you described sounds a lot like russian roulette – with bullets in five of the six chambers.

  13. Kathleen,

    In the discussion of Billy Graham, I searched my archives and found an old video of him from one of his “Crusades” preaching that “repenting of and turning from sin is a requirement for salvation. I doubt I can find a way to post it here — but I will try.

    Checking my old email archives, I found one from April, 1998 in which I wrote to the Billy Graham Association with a question:

    I have heard Rev. Graham say many times that a person must “repent of his sins” to be saved. He further defines “repent” as “to turn 180 degrees in the other direction from sin” as a requirement for salvation or eternal life.

    I note that the Southern Baptist Convention statement of faith says basically the same thing. Would you please explain.

    Don Kinde, Christian Guidance Department, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association answered my note with this:

    Dear Jack, Thank you for your response. Though we may disagree on the technical language, we are grateful that we can be brothers in the spirit and ministry of the Word and the gospel!

    And Don Kinde closed his note with words of “love and cooperation” in Christ.. and yada, yada, yada.

    He did not deny my challenge but said that we disagreed on “technical language.” Of course I followed his note with mine — clearly delineating the extreme differences and un-Biblical nature of Billy Graham’s false “works salvation” message versus the salvation by Grace message in God’s Word.

    Needless to say, Graham’s spokesman, Don Kinde, did not give me the courtesy of a reply to this second note.

    So, Billy Graham’s message, as far back as I have been able to track him, has always been “turn from sin to be saved.” That is a total lie and an accursed works message.

    Graham is affectionately called “The Protestant Pope” in religious circles. Graham is dangerous because he is a noted, charismatic (small “c”) personality with a persuasive voice and millions of acolytes. For his crusaded he invites every religion under the sun to be Crusade Advisers — to “share your faith with those who come forward.”

    Many years ago, several of my younger friends in Bible College signed up to be Advisers for a Miami Billy Graham Crusade. They volunteered as a lark to see what would happen. They met Advisers who were Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists and every religion you could imagine, wanting to get in on the action, all selected to lead those who “came forward to Christ.” They would then direct them to their own churches and religions. The problem my friends had is that with thousands of folks coming forward, there were only a very small number who were not Advisers (marked with BIG tags and Bibles). So Advisers talked to Advisers — and my friends tried to lead them to Christ!! It was an exciting, confusing mess.

    So the moral of the story is, please be discerning.. don’t trust large “evangelical” organizations without thoroughly cheeking out what they REALLY believe and teach.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  14. Kathleen,

    On my blog I quoted Billy Graham saying the following:

    “We suggest a prayer like this:

    Lord Jesus Christ,

    I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. I ask your forgiveness and now turn from everything which I know is wrong. Thank you for dying on the cross for me to set me free from my sins. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit and be with me forever.

    Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.” ”

    “What do I have to do to go to heaven?

    God isn’t waiting to judge you. God isn’t waiting to condemn you. He’s waiting to receive you with mercy, with love, with open arms, and forgive all your sins. Will you come to Him? Will you turn from your sin and promise to live for Him?”

    Notice here that turning from sin and promising to live for Him is a Lordship Salvation style method of becoming a Christian. Man does not need to do this to be saved. He must trust in Christ alone for salvation.

    Jim F

  15. Kathleen, like most Lordship “salvationists”, Billy Graham insists that he believes in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. But then he says things that contradict that. For example, his tract entitled “My Decision” includes the following under “How to Receive Christ”:

    “Be willing to turn from your sins, and ask God to forgive you (repent).” This is followed by a salvation prayer, aptly entitled “PRAYER OF COMMITMENT”.

    Being willing to turn from sins is not a requirement for receiving eternal life. Nor is asking God to forgive you, nor is our commitment to Christ. Eternal life is received by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Nothing more and nothing less is required. Billy Graham’s additions to the gospel create a false gospel that cannot save.

    Turning from sins is a work.

    For more on Billy Graham, please see the following posts:

  16. Are you saying that Billy Graham does not teach christ alone gospel ?If so I think your not listening. He says this over and over and over. That NOTHING BUT FAITH IN CHRIST CAN SAVE YOU. ONLY LAST WEEK i HEARD ONE OF HIS CLASSICS , AND HE WAS SAYING THAT NO WORDS OR ACTIONS OR BAPTISM OR SPRINKLING CAN DO WHAT CHRIST ALONE HAS ALREADY DONE.

  17. Thy word is very pure:
    therefore thy servant loveth it.
    I am small and despised:
    yet do not I forget thy precepts.
    Consider how I love thy precepts:
    quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness.
    Thy word is true from the beginning:
    and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
    Princes have persecuted me without a cause:
    but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
    I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. (treasure)

    Psalm 119:140-141, 159-162

  18. Thank you for this timely reminder for us to be constantly putting on our armor each day. Ron Shea says it consists of the gospel, I agree, except I also say it consists of the entire Word of God. Jesus answered with the Sword of truth when Satan tempted Him. “It is written”… our shield of faith is fortified by the hearing of His Word.

    Twice this week I’ve been called down for using the Word vs. just “talking”… Once in the last two weeks called a Pharisee. Once for contending for the gospel, and seeing Brenda Nickel’s Lordship explanation being copied and pasted, I was called a 12 year old and told “NOT ANOTHER WORD”…

    I stand back and watch and I guess I tend to think differently than some. I see all the trappings of religion, and what you pointed out here so aptly John, and the ones calling us Pharisee whether to our face or behind our backs, may very well be the ones who do not have His Word abiding in them, nor have come to Him that they might have life… so tragic.

  19. Jim, I do get the feeling that many around me who are professing Christians either have never understood the gospel, or they are willing to coexist with false gospels being taught in apostate churches. How else could you explain the popularity of the SBC, Presbyterian Church, USA, Billy Graham, John MacArthur, etc.?

  20. John,

    Non-believers in apostate churches have not put on Christ’s righteousness (Phil 3:9) but do often appear “christian” in outward appearance. Believers do at times get themselves swallowed up by false christian appearances and doctrinal error. Why anyone would want to stay in a church once they know it is in error is beyond me.

    I can thank the Lord that I stand today with Christ’s righteousness on and not my own by the law. There is also no way I would want to look like those who don’t – not positionally or in practice. Have you ever gotten the gut wrenching empty feeling like most people around you are fake or have fallen back to law keeping? I am always encouraged to see that this site continues to be one of the few that stands proudly for the faith.

    Jim F

  21. John B, welcome to ExP and thanks for your comments.

    I must confess, I really don’t understand exactly what you are trying to say.

    The “Full Armor of God” article was written to exhort believers to get into God’s word, to become firmly rooted in the gospel, and thereby equip themselves to recognize and to reject false doctrine.

    The full armor of God was contrasted with the trappings of contemporary Christendom in order to make a point that those trappings are not the armor of God, but merely “team identifiers.”

    The only way that one is “on the team” is if he has received Christ by simple faith in Him alone.

    You said: “Being continually “exhorted” to “test” your faith and your belief leaves little time for actual growth and is, frankly, exhausting and discouraging.”

    My comment: I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I don’t think that one should EVER test his faith, if that means to test for “signs of life”, by looking inward toward our behavior, attitudes, or disposition.

    You said: “A Catholic apologist was asked me; “How’s that Reformation worming out for ya?” Of course they were talking about the “four corner church” which replays multiple thousands of times across this country (much less the world), each not talking to the other and each equally convinced they are right, and everyone else wrong and worse; lost.”

    My comment: I don’t understand what you mean by the “four corner church.” There is one universal church. Its members are those who have trusted in Christ alone for salvation. Most “churches” actually teach salvation by faith plus works, which means they teach a false gospel. Anyone who has never believed the real gospel is, in fact, lost.

    As the saying goes, “religion is worthless, salvation is priceless.”

  22. John,

    Excellent thoughts and well stated.

    The Tim Tebow comment made me laugh. I remembered my own ancient childhood and my friends (must have been 7-8 years old), dressing up in a towel cape as we played Super-hero. We deemed our selves to be Super-heroes — even to the extent of doing some super stupid acts of “heroism” — which shall remain hidden. 😎

    The Contemporary Religious Costumers of today must have a similar mental attitude.

    We thank and praise the Lord for His Word directing us to “Put on the Full Armor of God” by studying and applying His Word.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  23. Most of this is hopefully aimed at the “spiritualist”, “etherealist”, person who deems themselves “spiritual”, person who has claimed Christianity as a default status from a list et al. If it is designed to energize the Body, it will do little more than what every other works related “church” and “fellowship” does which is to water that seed of doubt the vast, vast majority of Christians carry in them.

    Being continually “exhorted” to “test” your faith and your belief leaves little time for actual growth and is, frankly, exhausting and discouraging.

    At every turn their is a well meaning brother/pastor/teacher/friend who has reached some new dimension or experienced an epiphany who then energetically inflicts that new piece of “knowledge” on everyone around him – with the best of intentions. But the truth is, all it does is fertilize that little seed of doubt.

    I know, before I realized most people/”Christians” were reactive, I spent an inordinate amount of time “reflecting” on their new kernels of wisdom only to realize I was retreading a good tire.

    A Catholic apologist was asked me; “How’s that Reformation worming out for ya?” Of course they were talking about the “four corner church” which replays multiple thousands of times across this country (much less the world), each not talking to the other and each equally convinced they are right, and everyone else wrong and worse; lost.

    I sometimes wonder if God finds it humorous, or devastating.