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There should be no compromise

Compromise = The lowering of standards for the sake of expediency.

The extent to which compromise is found in Christians is astonishing. How has this come about? It is likely that it has its roots in our early childhood learning.

We will not have travelled very far in this life before being influenced to compromise; to deviate from the beliefs, standards and parental teaching we have been exposed to up to that point. When we started school we met up with other kids and wanted to be accepted as part of the group. Achieving this objective often meant lowering our standards, and to some extent we have all done this.

Upon reaching the age of discretion we were faced with a choice: whether we were going to carry on this desire for acceptance into our adult lives, or be prepared to stand for what we believe, even if it would lose us friends. To be a wimp, or a real red-blooded man or woman! How have we fared?

The world runs on compromise, sometimes with catastrophic results. Many a young person has got into crime through failure to resist peer pressure. Compromise, then, is a worldly function. But, as Christians we are told: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.(1 John 2:15) A boat is meant to be in the water. When the water gets into the boat there is a problem. The Church is meant to be in the world. The trouble is that the world has got into the Church with its way of dealing – and there is a real problem.

At this point you may protest. Didn't the Apostle Paul compromise when he declared his intention to be all things to all men? (1 Corinthians 9:20-22) No. Paul urged sensitivity towards the consciences of others. If we invite our Jewish or Muslim neighbours for a meal we do not serve roast pork or hand out bacon sarnies! But Paul did not budge one inch when it came to doctrine, or the Lord's direction for his ministry. Sensitivity is a Christian attribute. (1 Corinthians 8: 7-13) Compromise is definitely not.

The Children if Israel were given specific instructions concerning the Lord's requirements, and warnings what would happen to them if they involved themselves in the values of their surrounding neighbours or the worship of their false gods. Syncretism was out. There was to be no involvement in spiritualism and the like (Lev 20). The Israelites suffered periods of captivity resulting from their worship of the Baals, and Elijah was told to destroy the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:40). The New Testament contains numerous warnings to avoid falsehood, along with any who are involved in it. Jesus left no room for compromise: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). What is expected of us as believers is enshrined in Isaiah 2.3 ... he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:. Our Christian lives ought to be characterized by single mindedness towards the Lord, His Word, His values and His requirements. Is there really any need to argue about that?

Yet today we see the Church compromising as never before, and it gets worse by the day. Those churches standing firm for biblical truths are mostly in decline. They have a common experience whereby evangelical Christians come into the town, pay them a visit, then go elsewhere - for a bigger Sunday School, a livelier music group or nicer premises. In some cases they even travel to a distant town to obtain this, all of which could be achieved in the “sound” church if only they were prepared to stay and help build it up. But no. They want the easy option, a comfortable existence, to be entertained, and whether the teaching and leadership are sound and lead to spiritual growth is of secondary importance, even when they have sat under sound teaching in the past. How they deal with seeing their sound brethren struggling and eventually having to close their doors, while they enjoy their comforts, isn't clear. No one has been prepared to tell me. When you challenge them they are quick to change the subject. I wonder if they realise that one day they will have to answer to the Lord for it? There are those who keep telling us that before the Lord returns there is going to be a glorious end times revival. But Jesus foretold an end times apostasy: Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find [the] faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

There was a time when evangelicals saw the apostate church as consisting of Roman Catholic, and other sacramental and liberal churches. However, in the past few decades we have seen the Charismatic Church run after Toronto, Pensecola, Lakeland etc. The Evangelical Church has caved in to, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and now to the Emerging Church. They have gone after Rick Warren's Purpose Driven global, political, New Age agenda in droves. The latest fad pulls. Sound doctrine gets conveniently forgotten. Even in those churches that do not go after these excesses, there are few who do not practice things that cannot stand up to the scrutiny of Scripture. Active homosexuals are accepted in ministry, women are in positions of leadership, and replacement theology is rife. Little wonder that there are now many folk who find themselves isolated as Christians, unable to find a sound church or Fellowship group to attach themselves to.

But it is not the excesses and areas of neglect that are most worrying. It is those churches that have chosen to compromise themselves, either for comfort or for a quiet life that disturb me most. Compromise is like a vortex, constantly pulling into its influence those on the outer edge, bringing them increasingly closer to being sucked in irretrievably. Instead of the elders dealing with an error, they often allow it to go unchallenged. The next thing that happens is something more serious takes place and they let that one pass also. They then seem oblivious to the seriousness of getting involved with unsound ministries or in cooperation with surrounding unsound churches. The dubious Alpha course is a case in point. From then on it is only a matter of time before they reach the point of no return!

There are those who when asked why they attend compromised churches instead of throwing in their lot with a sound establishment reply that they have lots of opportunities for the Gospel where they are and that they have some success in leading others to the Lord. But what sort of disciples are those new converts going to be if they are incubated in an unsound or compromised environment? They are going to grow up to be compromised believers! Those nurturing them will be unable to teach them what is right (they may soon be told to leave if they do). If they teach biblical truth they are likely to be asked why they are not following their own teaching? In fact, it is usually the case that a glass ceiling is reached, and the new converts are not taught anything that would be likely to rock the boat. So, not only will their mentors not see the importance of attaching themselves to a sound group, but their converts cannot be expected to do so either.

I close with a challenge. You may be someone who has prided yourself upon being sound, but you have to admit that you have compromised yourself for the sake of expediency. Are you prepared to repent of that and put it right? If so, I suggest that you get before the Lord and pray along the following lines:

“Heavenly father, I want to come and thank you for your Word. I am sorry that I have not always followed Your truths or Your leading, because often it has not been convenient for me. I am also sorry that I have not given support to those who are struggling to uphold Your Divine standards. I ask for your forgiveness and promise that I will now stand for what is right, whatever the personal cost. Lead me on dear Lord, for Your name's sake.”

Terence Scarborough