And behold! in our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this great hour, a great leader? What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!
The passage above — taken from the final pages of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring — reveals the spiritual dangers inherent in what Dr. Charlton has frequently referred to as the Boromir Strategy.
The Boromir Strategy — using the power of the enemy against the enemy — is straightforward and easy to comprehend. On the surface, Hey lads, let's use the One Ring to fight Sauron!, comes off as a veritable no-brainer, a golden opportunity, an unquestionable gift that, in the name of all that is Good, should not and cannot be passed up.
Yet Tolkien wastes no time revealing the negative spiritual implications of harnessing the power of evil to fight evil. After Frodo escapes Boromir’s attempts to secure the ring, he pauses in the sunlight and resolutely states, “This at least is plain: the evil of the Ring is already at work in the Company, and the Ring must leave them before it does more harm…”, which is followed by the acknowledgment that “...Boromir has fallen into evil.”
As noted above, the initial allure of the Boromir Strategy is straightforward and easy to comprehend, but the spiritual insight and warning Tolkien communicates — if you use the power of evil to fight evil, you become evil — should be even more undemanding and lucid, provided one’s spiritual orientation and discernment are firmly in place.
Something to think about the next time (and countless other times) you hear a fellow Christian insist on the necessity of using the enemy’s (insert contemporary replacement for Ring of Power here) against him to win the spiritual war.