Could it be that I’ve been reading Matthew 16: 18 wrong all these years? The full verse says:
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
I’ve always thought that this means that the church will be in the defensive, that hell and the entire force of darkness will try and attack the church to destroy it.
Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger in their book Simple Church is saying the exact opposite. They say that the church is the one doing the offensive and the gates of hell will be run over because it is too weak to stand against the onslaught of the church.
The idea here is that:
1) No one ever wins by playing defense. It’s the offensive that does the most damage.
2.) It’s hell that has prisoners that need freedom. In order to free those prisoners, the church must do the attacking.
3.) The verse says “the gates” of hell will not prevail. Gates don’t attack, they just stand where they’re at.
4.) Nowhere in the Bible do you find a verse that indicates we are sitting ducks.
If Rainer and Geiger is right, then I just realized something very powerful tonight. This actually changes a lot of things in my perspective.