Friday, November 23, 2012

A Letter to the Tolerant Church

Throughout time, churches in various places find themselves in the midst of a society which labels as acceptable, or even good, that which the church should clearly see and forthrightly eschew as evil. The pressure to affirm the practice of the broader, surrounding culture can be immense at those times. In such places and times there will be those Christians who endeavor to hold the core of the faith, even while compromising to some degree on what they'll call tangentials. That may not seem unreasonable, but what happens when reasoned compromisers lose sight of who actually holds the straight edge?

In his message to the Church in Pergamum, Christ takes to task a church that was trying to stay true to the fundamentals of the faith while compromising on the practice of morality. It appears, according to Christ, true, obedient Christianity is not maintaining historic, biblical Christology while softening stands on sexuality and idolatry. This seems to me a letter rife with application to the church today. I think we, in the Western world in particular, need to see the line Christ drew regarding these "tangentials"--there is a lot at risk!

It is possible for one to say the right things about who Christ is and what he has done, even to the point of martyrdom, but if one is soft on sexual license or the fixations and substitutions which are idolatry, that one has failed Christ. What a bracing thought! The cost of such failure is being being treated as an enemy of Christ, at war with him and subject to the judgment of his word. The benefit of repentance and success is being treated to a special intimacy with Christ, something shared with Christ that is the victors' alone.

That should be an easy choice, but never undersell the flesh's power to cloud our moral vision, even when the risk is huge!