Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Creeping Vine of Compromise

Weeding the garden rosebush area in our yard is not one of my favorite things to do. If I keep up with it on a regular basis, it usually doesn't take too long to get it done. However, after the past few rainy winter months, I made the mistake of allowing one area to get overun with the creeping vine.

Even garden expert Bob Vila warns against them when he stated:

"When I first designed the garden, I thought a nice creeping vine of variegated euonymus up one tree would be interesting. A big mistake! For lo these many years I have regularly been pulling it out, again and ever again.

Finally I decided to eradicate it once and for all which is easier said than done. I started and yanked. Long fat rooted tendrils had spread everywhere under the myrtle, far and wide. The more I pulled, the more there seemed to be. I filled a large garbage can with rooted sections. To buy just one of these choice plants would cost several dollars. Yet here I was throwing out a hundred that had become invasive weeds."

That was exactly what I had to do yesterday. And I'm not done! Already filled one 32 gallon garbage can with creeping vine! What a chore!

With all that time consuming pulling and yanking of the weeds, I starting thinking about the current tide of compromise going on in our nation; even within many denominations of churches. Just like the creeping vine plant, the creeping vine of compromise gradually encroaches upon our land and attempts to choke out the life of the Truth of the Bible. Such compromise often starts out very slowly. Then, the infiltration stifles the true work of the Spirit in God's people and smothers the Gospel in the twisting vines of a weak, watered-down, worldly message. This isn't done in an obvious manner. No. Such a sudden diversion into error, would be too obvious and the church would react against it. Those who lead others into compromise are often very likable. They may even seem genuine and "loving." However, all the while they are putting forth a philosophy that is leading the faithful into a deeper, choking grasp of compromise with the world. Jude warns us to "contend for the faith" because "certain men" have "crept in unawares."

Jude 1:4 - For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

How are the faithful to guard against such pervasive, "progressive" philosophy?

We must know the pitfalls in order to avoid them or if already noticably found to be working within our lives and churches, seek to weed them out.

One pitfall is discontent. Eve's seed of rebellion was brought on by satan's questioning God's Perfect Will and goodness towards her. Satan's sly statements led her to believe that God was holding out on her. The seed of discontent was planted.

What are the current ways that discontent is aroused? Being told that God's ways are narrow-minded? Being convinced that we are missing out on something? Being brain-washed (or, more specifically brain-dirtied) that following Jesus and God's Word is too negative, too confining, too unloving.

That "unloving" claim against Bible-believing born-again Christians is a big one. Just as with any other derogatory name that could be hurled at believers (bigoted, homophobic, holier than thou, intolerant, etc.) no Christian wants to be deemed unloving. But if you fall for such conspiracy, then the roots of compromise have already settled in. God is not only concerned with love, he is concerned about the kind of love that is being projected by believers. His Word tells us that he is concerned about our knowing the Truth, and that Truth is the Person of Jesus Christ. He is more concerned about our holiness, which is not to be compromised by our sins which are often disguised by Satan as "happiness."

When someone claims that their particular sinful way of life makes them "happy" and you think in the back of your mind that you don't want to trample upon their "happiness," remember that they one day may be in danger of the Lord Jesus Christ saying to them:

Jesus speaking:

I Never Knew You
(see also Luke 6:46; 13:26, 27)
Matthew 7:21 - 23 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

The Narrow Way
(see also Luke 13:24)
Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 *Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

God's Word never changes. But man's perception of His Word (e.g. compromise) often does which leads to heresy and apostasy. The entire book of Jude warns us of this happening...especially in the last days.

Another pitfall is when others attempt to fault the faithful for preaching the narrow path to salvation. Many of the new movements out there in the churches want to appease those who desire a progressive view to Christianity instead of sticking with the orthodox view of the necessity towards holiness. Thus, such "leaders" strive to balance the message of the Gospel which usually means compromising one or more parts of it. This often can be just a subtle, yet very dangerous deception. One example is the emphasis on love, grace and mercy without the need for repentance for sin (meaning, not only asking for forgiveness but also turning away from former sins). This skewed view of the Gospel is (knowingly or unknowingly) sending people into a dangerous place for their souls!

I have found that people who believe this way take only a portion of Galatians and apply it:

Galatians 2: 14-15 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, *why do you compel Gentiles to live as *Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

But they leave out the following:

Galatians 2:17 "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

This is in keeping with what Jesus said:

John 14:15 - If ye love me, keep my commandments.

It is because of love for our Lord Jesus that we no longer desire to be transgressors! There is a difference between just being remorseful (usually, the "sorry I got caught" attitude with the accompanying love for "self" motivation) and true sorrowfulness accompanied with repentance (love for Jesus motivated). With the help of the Holy Spirit who indwells the hearts of born-again believers, our spiritual rebirth helps to lead us away from sin and self and towards Christ's will for our lives.

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
(see also Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43-45)
Matthew 7:15-20 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Compromise is the work of many who would come to you in sheep's clothing. But Jesus warns us that inside they are ravenous wolves.

Another compromising pitfall is intellectual pride. Those who think they know better and are above "believing the Scriptures and Whom they testify of" will not likely seek practical application of God's Word to the masses. Biblical wisdom sought and applied is far more valuable than man's wisdom sought through intellectual pride.

Another compromising pitfall is muffling the message. If your church leadership appears to be bringing in assistant pastors who have been indoctrinated with a "kinder, gentler way of ministry," my suggestion is run!

The true Gospel message gives us the warning of dying with your own sin upon your soul and that you will end up in hell if you choose that option. You just have to wonder if the man is really sincere about Christian faith if you are in a church where the pastor does not sound the alarm bell regarding the reality of a place called hell.

When a man is afraid of offending those in error, when he lacks a definite biblical stand on issues, when he seems reluctant to warn of sin and compromise, and when he seems too kindly disposed toward those so involved, watch out. The strangling vine has silenced the clarion call.

Another compromising pitfall goes hand in hand with the previous one: if a man or pastor endorses worldly views, entertainment, or the "pop culture" in the interest of "relating" to the lost, he is in error.

In notes from a Bible study, the leader shared:

"If you notice a gradual decline in emphasis on truth and an increasing emphasis on love, perhaps stated as a need for balance between the two, look for the fatal flower of faulty doctrine. Scriptural love is always firmly rooted in and grows out of Truth. If there is a flaw in our love, it is because of a flaw in our stand in the Truth."

This is precisely why there is such a rift between liberal churches and fundamentalist churches. The crux of the matter rests on the promotion of faulty doctrine or God's absolute truth as revealed in the Scriptures. One cannot be for both the liberal doctrines floating on a breeze out there while at the same time adhere to the fundamental moorings of Biblical ministry and doctrine.

I once asked a question similar to the following:

How do we reconcile the differences between the liberal leftist churches and the Bible-adhering, born-again believer churches on moral issues such as abortion, homosexuality, euthansia, cloning etc.?

Not one person wanted to answer it!


Because the answer is that they cannot be reconciled because they are polar opposites! One or the other must compromise on any given issue. IMHO, to compromise God's Word on any of those issues is to raise man's wisdom above God's wisdom. So, the answer to this dilemma rests in choosing between those who would compromise the Biblical worldview vs. those who staunchly and steadfastly adhere to it.

We see compromise on these very same moral issues day in and day out. In the media, from Hollywood, in the biased news programs, in schools and colleges, in various political organizations and lobbies. Political correctness and that good ole' buzzword, "tolerance" is allowing so many people in many professions to promote wrong, compromising programs and positions to our impressionable children.

David Kupelian's bestselling book, "The Marketing of Evil" demonstrates all too well how compromise has led to an onslaught of self-destructive madness. What is truly scary is that such "marketing of evil" techniques have already infiltrated some churches. Many of the unsuspecting are being brainwashed (brain-dirtied) into not realizing that the compromise that they are being taught and subjected to is actually corruption disguised as freedom.

Jhn 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

The lying lips of such marketers of evil have taken its toll upon our society. As Christian believers, we are called to be salt and light in this world and not let them bulldoze over us in their attempts to steal, kill and destroy our children!

Another compromising pitfall is to allow ourselves to grow weary of the battle. Don't let that happen!

When I was weeding, I thought to myself, "I just did this a few months ago and look at the re-growth of weeds attempting to steal the water and nutrients from my rose bushes, trying to kill my rose bushes so that they can't thrive, and thus reaching the end result of trying to destroy the beauty of my garden!"

It's true. Weeds will never stop popping up somewhere. However, does that mean we give up because it's tiring and unpleasant to pull them out? Do we let them overun and trash the garden? Of course not! Weeding is necessary for a healthy, productive garden.

The same is true for the growth of our children and grandchildren. Don't let that "creeping vine of compromise" have its way with them! Don't let vines of compromise overun our nation and churches either!

Yes. It will often take discernment to weed the false converts out from among the true born-again believers and friends of the Faith. There is no doubt that when you cross the compromisers, you can expect opposition, conflict, even lies about you and your motives. But God's Word is clear when it says that it is our duty to "contend for the Faith once delivered to the saints."

Jud 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

There is no mention of the word "compromise" in that verse. There is no room for the creeping vine of compromise in Biblical Christian faith.

Build on the Rock
(see also Luke 6:47-49)

Matthew 7:24-27

"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

1 comment:

Christinewjc said...

Here's a link to a good article with details about the current craze called The Emerging Church movement.

The Emerging Church has some good points to it, however, the excerpts below caution us to notice this new movement's tendency towards compromise:

"Missional toward Compromise

If there’s one word that positively represents the Emerging Church, it’s missional. Though not proprietary to the movement, the word missional emphasizes a return to the church’s identity as existing for the world—to be God’s stewards over creation, to be a light to the nations, to be witnesses of the inaugurated kingdom of God on earth.

One of Carson’s sincere affirmations of Emergent, which the PCA would echo, is its determination to reach non-traditional people who would otherwise never darken a sanctuary door. A common mantra among Emergent leaders is “belonging before believing”—the idea that postmodern people require long exposure to Christianity from within the church before they can make a commitment to believe. This approach has much to commend it.

And yet, unbounded by a full biblical doctrine of the church, the missional impulse can lead to dangerous compromises. “Belonging before believing” can become an excuse to be always seeking, but never finding. The call to renounce sin can devolve into a temporary truce. The peril of unbelief, including adherence to other religions, is often minimized.

But compromise is not the only option. In the prototype issue of byFaith, Tim Keller described what he calls “post-everythings” and their allergies to conventional approaches to ministry. They gravitate toward narrative, emphasize experience, and resist religious proofs. But rather than reshape the Christian gospel to fit postmodernism, Keller offered several practical and theological resources within the Reformed tradition that are already equipped to address post-everything sensibilities. These include the overarching narrative of Biblical Theology, Jonathan Edwards’s insight into the religious affections, and Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics. Emergent writers may correctly diagnose postmodern sensibilities, but their prescriptions tend to conform rather than transform.

Community toward Moralism

Emergent writers emphasize a return to the importance of the local church as both an intimate, extended family and a positive presence for good among its neighbors. Thus we find a strong emphasis on showing compassion through tangible deeds of mercy and justice. While sharply critical of conservative evangelicals’ involvement in American politics, Emergents advocate public activism in social causes such as environmentalism, international human rights, and reduction of Third World debt. Despite the clear red state vs. blue state lines here, biblical justification for many of these social concerns is not only easy to find, but shameful to deny.

Tragically, however, the Emergent trajectory tends to overshoot the mark and careen toward moralism. While we would expect to find some abandonment of unpopular biblical standards—and we do find some—more striking is the movement’s heavy emphasis on certain types of behavior. The first of Gibbs and Bolger’s nine Emergent practices is “identifying with Jesus,” by which they mean personal and corporate imitation of the character of Christ. This involves deliberately shifting focus away from the Pauline letters and toward the Gospels, where we all find rich instruction on how citizens of the kingdom should live.

The result, however, is that the theological significance of Christ’s atonement—the completeness of our justification, the assurance of our adoption, and the transforming power of His grace—is distanced from our calling to grow in holiness. Not unlike old liberalism, Emergent trumpets a number of worthy virtues, but neglects to explain and proclaim the very truths that make those virtues possible."

(bold and italics mine)