Friday, July 01, 2005

The New Downgrade

Steve Camp wrote an excellent article entitled “The New Downgrade? Twelve Dangers of Evangelical Co-Belligerence”, where he pointed out the dangers of ecumenical co-belligerence. Under well intentioned efforts to battle the culture war, well known evangelical leaders have watered down the truth, reducing faith to a lowest common denominator and unwittingly diminished the power of the Word of God. Instead of intensely laboring for eternal matters, too many evangelicals are vying for political power in an effort to restore the moral fabric of our nation. It is not that battling against moral decay is wrong, but never at the expense of doctrinal purity and certainly not in place of the life changing message of the gospel. Evangelicalism is making the mistake of thinking that they can win a culture war, while accomplishing little more than compromising the doctrinal integrity of the church. Furthermore, how is it, as Steve points out, that we are battering the lost with accusations blaming them for acting like lost people? How else would they act? He aptly points out that we do nothing more than alienate the very ones that need to hear the saving message of the gospel. That is the only thing that can genuinely transform them. Even if we succeed in engaging them in behavior modification, they will still be lost people separated from God by their sins.

It is interesting that Charles Haddon Spurgeon faced similar issues in his time. He fought vehemently against the adoption of methodology in the church that was based on worldly wisdom that threatened to undermine sound doctrine and theology. Spurgeon fought valiantly, but his firm stance certainly did not win him any favor with fellow church leaders including his own brother. Spurgeon likened biblical truth to “the pinnacle of a steep, slippery mountain. One step away and you find yourself on the downgrade. Once a church or individual Christian gets on the downgrade, momentum takes over. Recovery is unusual and only happens when Christians get on the 'up-line' through spiritual revival.”

It certainly appears that we are on another “downgrade” today. It is such a sad shame that the church does not learn from history. But then again, most people in the church never study history. As it has been wisely said, those that ignore history are most likely to repeat it.

I was going to elaborate more on the dangers of ecumenical compromise by the end of the week, giving some examples of the harmful effects, but it will have to wait until Tuesday. I will be spending time with family over the 4th of July weekend. Have a safe 4th of July.

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