Tragedy of Compromise
the Sawdust Trail
We are not to disobey the Scriptures on the plea that we
are displaying God's love.
Christians have a distorted view of the nature of God's
love. New Evangelicals have stated, "The badge of Christian
discipleship is not orthodoxy, but love." Current New
Evangelicals trumpet the fact that fundamentalist separatists
are harsh and abrasive while they are loving. Love, according
to them, overlooks doctrinal error and embraces almost everyone
who claims to be a Christian. Love does not criticize nor
condemn. Love merely affirms.
very plain from the Scriptures that love and obedience walk
together. Consider these words of our Lord.
ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15)
that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that
loveth me" (John 14:21).
a man love me, he will keep my words" (John 14:23).
Lord commands in His Word that His people "have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather
reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). Liberal preachers are sources
of the "works of darkness." To fellowship with
them is to disobey this command; to do so is, in fact, unloving.
passage, plus the utterances of Christ just cited from John's
Gospel, declare clearly that if one would obey Christ, one
must refuse cooperation with apostates. The proponents of
ecumenical evangelism, however, do not agree with this premise.
In the face of scriptural admonitions to the contrary, they
continue to cozy up to the Christ-denying church leaders.
We are not to seek to please as wide a constituency as possible
in order to gain a sympathetic hearing for the gospel.
of the points that Graham defenders have made is the fact
that hundreds of people from liberal churches hear the gospel
of Christ because their pastors and churches cooperate in
the crusades. This is a flagrant case of religious pragmatism.
We employ whatever methods work regardless of the scriptural
principles involved. Certainly this was not the methodology
of the early apostles and their followers. Paul, in combating
the Judaizers who were trying to flavor the gospel of Christ
to suit the palates of Jewish hearers, declared, "For
do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men?
For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of
Christ" (Gal 1:10). "Men-pleasers simply do not
hurl anathemas against those who proclaim false gospels."49
An apt observation indeed! But, regrettably, Billy Graham
does not "hurl anathemas" at those great number
of supporters who preach a false gospel. His failure to
do so wins him many friends, but does it fulfill the commands
of the Lord?
We are not to condone false doctrine as though it were of
Roman Catholic Church teaches heresy, but Billy Graham condones
and encourages its leaders. They teach many doctrines which
are directly opposed to the Word of God; yet their leaders
and members are featured or included in Graham crusades
and conferences. So also is it with the charismatics who
insist that sign-gifts are still operable today. Paul did
not mince words about false doctrine when he wrote, "Now
the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils" (I Tim. 4:1). The
great apostle of love, John, was not only concerned about
the manifestation of love but also about the repudiation
of error. He did not advocate a naïve gullibility concerning
doctrine. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try
the spirits whether they are of God: because many false
prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).
In pursuing that theme he said that we should be able to
differentiate between the "spirit of truth, and the
spirit of error" (I John 4:6). Spiritual discernment
is important and must be exercised. There is a vast difference
between truth and error and this difference ought not to
be ignored or glossed over.
We are to recognize that sound doctrine has priority over
fellowship and that true fellowship is based upon sound
has fallen on evil times. Few wish to battle for what they
call "peripheral" doctrines. They wish to emphasize
instead our unity in Christ and the blessings they see flowing
view of doctrine, however, is much stronger than that of
some evangelicals. When the first local church was founded
in Jerusalem, its characteristics were noted. There were
four of them, but the first one mentioned is steadfastness
in the "apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42). Fellowship,
breaking of bread, and prayers followed the mention of doctrine.
It is noteworthy that doctrine is the first on the list.
It would not be of such paramount importance to many evangelicals
today. A little later in apostolic history Paul was concerned
that "the things which become sound doctrine,"
be taught in the church (Titus 2:1). Often Paul refers to
"sound doctrine," that is, doctrine which is healthy
and not contaminated by error. He was most concerned that
this kind of doctrine be perpetuated in the churches.
evangelism is not in line with God's program and principles.
It is an attempt to bring together that which should not
be together. "Can two walk together, except they be
agreed?" (Amos 3:3). "What fellowship hath righteousness
with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with
darkness?" (II Cor. 6:14). God has separated light
from darkness and no one, not even in the cause of evangelism,
should attempt to take down those divinely erected barriers.
The Tradedy of Compromise. ByErnest Pickering. ©1994. BJU Press.
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