This past week as a nation we took the time to remember the birth of our country. We went to parades, we shot off fireworks, we watched a fireworks show. Some of us might have even talked to our children about what July 4th really means. It was a day that the founding fathers of our nation refused to compromise. They had a vision of what freedom would look like and they refused to sell themselves short of it. While I understand that Britain ruled more like a tyrant than that of a deal making nation, I don’t think that would have made much of a difference. Our fathers refused to compromise on their vision. As a child this taught me a lot about what it meant to be an American. I had family that has fought in nearly every major war this country has fought. They didn’t compromise their values then, and for the most part my family still doesn’t. They know what they believe, they know what they believe in as far as this nation is concerned and they refuse to bend. What surprises me in this is that most of those that led our country in the early days of our nation (as well as the members of my family) would consider themselves Christians. Today, Christians make all sorts of compromises. Some bend what they believe for numbers’ sake. Some bend what they believe so as to not lose a job. Some bend what they believe to keep peace. Others change what they believe to follow the masses. Our society’s love affair with the tolerance movement has moved a lot of Christians to compromise in places that they at one time never would have considered. For instance, let us quickly consider the sin s of sexual immorality. Today the compromise is being made on the battle field of same sex marriage. It seems like every year some denomination is announcing that they no longer consider homosexuality a sin. Why was this compromise made? Most today will tell you that they did so because they felt the need to be relevant in the 21st century. While I do not deny that had something to do with the compromise, the bigger issue to that compromises were made decades earlier that led these churches towards that path. Divorce, although once taboo, has no become so common place I heard one father lament the fact that his daughter is the only kid in her class whose parents are married to each other. (It scares me to think that the nuclear family is the minority). Getting pregnant before you got married used to bring shame upon a family (and it still would mine), but in our culture it is just something that happens. In fact, women are being herald as heroines for using children on their own without a man to “define, protect and provide for them.” Mack Fox told me years ago that the reason why he left the denominational churches is because the leadership announced that living together before marriage was no longer sinful. His reply was since when? How could it be wrong yesterday and be okay today? How? Compromise. We stopped standing for the truth because we were afraid that people would stop listening. I have heard of churches that stopped preaching on divorce and remarriage because they were afraid that kind of preaching would drive people away. John the Baptist stood before Herod Agrippa and condemned him for being with his brother’s wife. That kind of preaching not only shut any door he had to reach Herodias, but it ultimately led to his beheading. If modern Christians had it their way, they would have rebuked John for preaching a divisive gospel. They would have told him to stick to the core doctrines of the Messiah. They would have argued that he was being too judgmental. Jesus on the other hand gave him a glowing recommendation calling him the greatest of all the prophets. It is funny and yet sad to me that we as a nation honor those that refused to compromise every 4th of July and every first day of the week, those same persons chastise men who continue to refuse to compromise upon God’s word. Men like Alexander Campbell said it best, “Let us be silent where the bible is silent and speak where the bible speaks.” Compromise tends to happen when we forget that. Compromise happens and God’s word is ignored when we start thinking that we know better than God and start speaking presumptuously for God.
Grinnell church of Christ
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