Monday 22 February 2016

Christianity and the danger of compromise

At one of the very first Banner of Truth ministers conferences in Leicester (I think in the 1970's), England a sermon was preached called "Preaching and the danger of compromise". It was delivered by Rev Kenneth McRae and I have listened to it on CD many times. However, it is not only preachers who compromise, Christians also compromise and it causes much harm in the body of Christ. Compromising Christians may support para-church ministries that may support their own unbalanced emphases or support churches that have long since compromised sound doctrine. Sometimes excuses are made, such as the "people are lovely", but all the while compromised patterns of worship are practiced. We need to be discerning and also we must all avoid the danger of compromise. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33 "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals' ".

In the Book of Revelation there are seven letters to seven churches and it is clear that compromise had entered some of those congregations. The dictionary definition of compromise is: "an agreement or settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions". Now we need to be flexible and not stubborn, but there are certain matters that can never be traded off through compromise. Sadly, much pragmatism prevails in many parts of the professing church, instead of sound doctrinal principles. Pragmatism asserts that "if something works, then the end justifies the means". However, this was never the principle established by the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostles and the prophets on the Old Covenant.

In the church at Pergamum, compromised teaching was being tolerated by Christians. In Revelation 2:14-16, Jesus Christ tells the church: "But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth". This is very serious. To tolerate false teaching regularly means that if people do not repent then Jesus will fight against that church. This should fill us all with a sense of the fear of God.

In the church at Sardis, the Lord Jesus Christ gives a penetrating critique and he tells them: “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you" Revelation 3:1-3.

This is written to the whole church and we need to ask ourselves some searching questions. Have we compromised the plain truth of the Bible? Have we wilfully turned a blind eye to biblical truth for the sake of a life of comfort? Are we tolerating false teaching when we should be running to find a place where sound doctrine is upheld?

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