One of the most important lessons of life that I’ve learned, (Or, perhaps I should say, I’ve had to learn and then re-learn and then learn again) is the willingness to walk alone in truth.
Now, this may seem a bit strange to say. But it’s about learning that there is no group, no denomination, no church, no Christian University, no seminary, no organization, no ministry, no writer, no leader, and no pastor that you can trust 100%.
This is why we must each learn to walk in the integrity of our own convictions, according to the scriptures, even if we must walk alone. Even when all those around us think we are wrong.
I’ve had to learn this lesson many times over in my Christian life. It’s a lesson that isn’t easy or pleasant.
For one thing, who actually teaches this concept anymore?
Who will actually tell you that we must preach the whole counsel of God? And then actually follow through with teaching the whole counsel of God?
That is very rare.
Because talk is cheap. And that includes Christian talk.
Because churches today won’t stand upon the whole counsel of God.
Yes, I know they say they do. And that they’ll get angry when you say they don’t.
Many will say that they teach the whole counsel of God. And then selectively give you the counsel of God. According to their own agenda.
But they won’t tell you that they are doing that.
A Blind Eye
Churches, Christian Colleges and ministries simply do not like those that don’t stay in line. The preaching today is more and more about being “all in”. They want everyone in agreement.
Which leads to the situation that churches are in all over this country.
Regardless of their affiliation, denomination, or creed. They all want folks that will just show up, give their money, help in the work, and support the overall “big picture”.
There is very little time or patience today for those that have issues with what is going on. Or with what is being said. Or with partnerships that are being entered into. Or with coalitions that have been formed.
Today, those who wish to serve as leaders in the church are expected to turn a blind eye to what Bible version is being used, the style of hymns being sung, the style of the worship service, the structure of the teaching ministry, and the doctrines being taught.
One must not question, at least openly, the stuff being done and taught. To do so is to invite a cold, hard response from our brothers in Christ.
It’s amazing, really, when you stop and think about it. There’s been this progressive shift, over the course of my Christian life, in the attitudes of church leaders toward the guys in the pew.
Leaders used to want to know if you had a problem with the church, its teaching, or the direction it was taking. And they’d take the time to find out what it was that you were concerned about. To sit down and actually discuss it with you.
Not so much anymore.
They’ve moved from being actually interested in what you think or disagree with; to a kind of marginalizing of those who don’t agree. Or who won’t go along. Or who might do or say something that would mess up the church’s “gig”.
They will rarely kick someone out anymore; they’ll just politely ignore you.
A Wide-Spread Disease
Unfortunately, it’s not just the churches that do this.
Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities do the same thing. And it matters little if one is an Evangelical, a New Evangelical, or even a Fundamentalist. This is a problem common to all groups.
And it’s getting worse.
Across the board, organizations have agendas these days. Even the Fundamental Christian school I attended in pursuit of a Bible degree, has veered off course. Chasing after rabbit trails rather than teaching the whole counsel of God.
A Reason This is Occurring
And I think there is a reason for all this. At least one reason that is obvious to me.
It’s that God never called us to establish large organizations. He called us to establish a local church. A local body.
And to teach, support, and defend that local body.
We have not been called to even create a group of local bodies. Or a “leadership” church that might be a parent over other local churches. You know, a large church that is establishing “franchises” all over the landscape.
Choosing Which Truths to Emphasize
Large organizations require money. Lots of money.
It takes a lot of money to maintain a large church, or a church-planting ministry, or a denominational organization, or a mission board, or a seminary. And the list goes on and on.
So, how do these organizations pay their bills?
With money gathered from as many Christians as possible.
Which is very similar to a politician who gathers votes and campaign finances. Who seeks to win over a wide consensus of people. To gather together as many people as possible that will give him money.
But to do this, a church must begin to selectively and strategically choose its battles. The more people needed for support, the less controversy that the organization wants to create.
Which creates the inevitable slide down the slippery slope of compromise.
A Slippery Slope
This usually doesn’t happen by some blatant move to do or teach something wrong.
It happens because a decision has been made to avoid anything controversial. To not emphasize a specific truth. Or to avoid discussing this or that traditional ordinance or doctrine. Or to not criticize other popular ministries or teachers.
In short, a church or organization begins the process of not teaching things that will tick off their most faithful supporters.
In order that a greater good can be done. And a greater sphere of influence may be obtained. And a bigger gospel net can be cast to win the lost.
In other words, we end up compromising so that good may come. We end up doing something wrong in order that we might do something right.
In Jesus’ name.
Walking in the conscientious pursuit of truth is a lonely business.
To be content with what the Lord has actually called us to do. And to teach “all things whatsoever” He has commanded us to teach, is not a popular pursuit.
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