They want war too methodical, too measured; I would make it brisk, bold, impetuous, perhaps sometimes even audacious.
—Antoine-Henri Jomini, Summary of the Art of War
This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.
—The Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 24:46–47
In warfare, the offensive is the means by which one takes the objective. It is an aggressive advance against an enemy to wrest the objective from his possession. An army on the offensive has a moral and physical advantage over the enemy at the point of contact. The offensive is an attitude as well as an action. The attacking general has the advantage of making his decisions first, and then carrying them out. The defender must first wait to see what his opponent does before he makes his decision. The decision he makes is usually forced upon him by the attacker. The aggressor has the advantage of the initiative. He can choose whether to attack and when and where to attack. The defender must wait for him. The aggressor is in the superior position.
There are two general ways in which the offensive can be directed.
• It may be directed against the whole front to take it simultaneously. This is not ordinarily feasible in that it requires much more logistic support (weapons, food, and ammunition), much more fighting, and will sustain many more casualties.
• The offensive may be directed against one segment of the enemy army, the defeat of which
will mean a decisive victory. Decisive means that this defeat of the enemy may cause the rest of the army to capitulate, or it may mean a breakthrough has been made so that the rest of the army remains in a very weak position.
One of the major problems with a direct attack against an enemy is that he wants to shoot back. An attacking force can sustain many more casualties than a defending force (e.g., the Somme in World War I).
This is also true in evangelism; the enemy does not like to be preached to, so he shoots back. Christians do not like to be shot at, so they have opted not to preach. That is one solution, but not the right one.
In the Gulf War over Kuwait, there were six weeks of air bombardment and one hundred hours of ground attack. The coalition forces suffered very few casualties. I would like to compare the six weeks of air bombardment to concentrated prayer. I can touch the enemy, but he cannot touch me. This concentrated prayer softens up the objective so that when I go in to preach I do not get shot at.
(To be continued on Monday…)
*Excerpted from Principles of War. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.