One of the most disturbing ideas in the church today is that of capitulation. For 2000 years we have stuck to orthodox teaching and beliefs. These orthodox beliefs, however they were delivered, resulted in manifestations such as the Welsh Revival, Asuza Street and many others by not compromising an uncomfortable message to make it more palatable to the “normal” receiver. John Wesley didn’t compromise. Billy Graham’s messages in his crusades were unflinching from the Truth. A myriad of ministers far greater than most in their understanding stood fast 0n the Word without compromise.
Some were ostracized.
Some were martyred.
Some were listened to – eventually.
Most disheartening is the constant bullying from groups – minorities who don’t represent the majority but are far more vocal – regarding the issue of the moment. Right now, sexuality, specifically LGBT, is the headline issue, so it becomes the center of the discussion.
I generally use sexuality as an example as it is the most visible issue right now. A few years ago I would have used self-centered attitudes or financial greed and the worship of materialism as the example, but the movement of the moment is one that the media provokes through the news, the fictional dramas – both secular and Christian publications and productions – which not only don’t accurately address the issue of sin, but advocate that the sin of the moment is somehow different now we are more “enlightened”. The references in scripture we have clung to as a church regarding sexual immorality, greed, selfishness and many other issues have been shredded and new “interpretations” placed to make the watered down gospel acceptable to the masses.
It’s still self-centered behaviour. All sin ultimately is about Self. We can pay lip service to the sin and condemn it, then go home and live as though it has no effect on us. This in itself is shocking. Why are we not reaching out to these people in a way that draws them into the church the way Jesus did? He used unflinching Truth.
What do we do today?
We lower our standards from the ones Jesus set. Unconditional Love extended to all people with change coming as a result of that relationship, not a pathway to it.
Jesus could have come teaching about a liberal “god” who declares he is simply one path to god but there are many.
He could have said “go for it” or “anything goes between consenting adults” when asked about sexuality. He could have taken the woman caught in adultery and executed her. He could have, but He didn’t. Any of these actions would make a point, and the different actions would make different points. But Jesus takes the eyes off the woman and onto himself. He draws in the sand. Once everyone has their eyes on Him, she is able to cover herself, restoring her modesty. He confronts them by not throwing the stone. He doesn’t ask “Where is the one she was with?” He doesn’t even ask if it was a man or a woman she was with. He will not compromise His stand, and we need to learn from that. His stand is Love, not Judgement. And He refuses to compromise the message to the point of the Cross for us.
Compromise kills the Gospel. It undermines the foundation of what we believe. It forces us to consider a plethora of alternatives that make God’s head spin with despair for us instead of focussing on Him as the solution to all our woes.
We sit with choices. You can’t click on a website without being invited to join a dating service (I met my wife online, so they’re not all bad), but often these sites have links to other sites, and before you’ve clicked a dozen times you’re caught up in a “pornado”. A far cry from the “Over 30’s and single” site you started at. And quite terrifying.
We must be ever vigilant to the attacks of the enemy, but the strongest defence behaviour is to have a strong offensive plan. The way to repel is to soak in the word. If you’re not in a local bible-centred church then find one, or form one with other like-minded bibliocentric individuals with Christ at the center and accountability to one another in the Eldership. Be fully accountable to each other – brutally honest in confessions and non-judgemental in offering support, exactly how Jesus was. Remember He told the Samaritan woman at the well her own life story. Seven husbands and shacking up with number 8 – a man who wouldn’t even give her his name.
Maybe we’re like that. My wife kept her maiden name when we married – mostly. She’s a medical doctor, so it fitted well because she was established in the area, but I long for the covenant to be complete and the change to come, but I don’t force the issue. I compromise. She maintains her original name professionally and I don’t complain. In our personal life it’s more complex as she sometimes uses mine and sometimes hers. It gets confusing.
Compromise in that kind of thing is seemingly insignificant, and ultimately easily overcome.
Compromising our Faith, however, is more fundamental. We need to bear in mind that we have to project an image of Christ as He did. To represent the Whole of God to the people who are seeking Him. It’s a daunting task, like asking a small candle to light a theatre, but if that one candle recruits another and so on, the theatre will be filled with light.
So it is with us. No compromise. Be it greed, lust, gender roles, LGBT issues or whatever is the flavour of the moment. We need to look to history.
The Christian musician Carman once said “when the time comes that people would rather come out of the closet than clean it, it’s the sign the Judgement of God is about to Fall” (“The Standard” Album). We need to push the Gospel agenda.
Not “pro-life” or “Pro-choice” Not some liberal wishy-washy claptrap about everyone can find their own path – and this from ministers. Not demure sunday schools who can’t find it in themselves to teach the children the hard part of Christ in a soft way.
The agenda of the Gospel is No Compromise.
Don’t back down, even if it costs your life. If it takes everything you have, don’t back down. Don’t capitulate. Hold to the promise you were first given when you came to Faith, that Jesus Christ is the same Yesterday, today and for ever. If He’s unchanging, then we need to be unflinching in our resolve.
It’s what all the Martyrs for the Faith in History have done.
So stand your ground when you know it’s God calling you to act a certain way. Invite an unsaved neighbour to church. Perhaps someone invited you. Someone invited Billy Graham. Someone invited DL Moody. Someone invited William Booth, John Wesley and all the other great leaders of history. Our invitation might just be the one that sparks a revival of unprecedented proportions. But take them somewhere the Gospel is taught in it’s fullness. No holds barred. There is a Hell. There is a Heaven. Jesus is returning. And when He does, He will judge us.
He will return ready for a final battle, and whether it’s in our physical lifetime or not, this is the last generation we can personally affect. Use the influence you have wisely, dear friends. Don’t get sidetracked by minutia of irrelevancies and live, breathe and demonstrate the Full Gospel every day.