Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Hollow, a silhouette, symbolic, vain, and social. These are all words that could well describe our Christian faith in the West (and the U.S. specifically). I came across this story today on-line:

“Woodrow Kroll of Back to the Bible says a new survey shows biblical illiteracy is one of the biggest problems facing the Church in America. According to the Christian ministry president, research shows that the average American owns three copies of the Bible, but doesn’t read any of them.” [1]

Not convinced we have a problem on our hands? Read this:

“[T]wo-thirds of Americans believe that the Bible holds the answers to all or most of life’s basic questions. Yet, only half of the adults in this country can name one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and most Americans do not know the first book in the Bible (Genesis).” [2]

Three bibles. Many can’t even name the four gospels or the first book of the Bible- unbelievable. While people all around the world thirst (and bear beatings, torture, and murder to receive God’s word) we have an abundance of Bibles and show little to no interest in reading them. Much less do we seem interested in living a biblical and Christ centered lifestyle.

Earlier I described our belief in this country as hollow, a silhouette, symbolic, vain, and social. And in this day it has become as much for many believers who not only sit in pews, but those who hold positions within the church. I am not qualified to judge people individually on this ground, that is something each of us must do introspectively and retrospectively guided by God’s word and thoughtful prayer.

That being said, I would like to present what might be the single most common reason why our beliefs have become hollow, symbolic, and vain in many instances.

Compromise– We are quick to avoid confrontation, like Peter following Christ (after his arrest) to the home of the High Priest. But instead of outright denying any knowledge of Christ (like Peter) we simply deny the biblical Christ in favor of a Christ more friendly to the world (and the true Bible in favor of a worldly scripture). There are many reasons for this compromise: avoiding confrontation, a lack of knowledge, seeking worldly acceptance, rationalization that a more PC Christ will draw more people to the Church, etc.

Whatever our reasons, all too often we compromise Christ or His word in order live an easier life- a life free from serious disputes with the world around us. I can tell you from experience that a life of uncompromising acceptance of the scriptures isn’t easy. It is downright hard. The world will call you foolish and stupid, many will hate you for what you believe. It won’t be an easy road.

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” Romans 1:20-22.

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19.

Now I would ask you to look to your own life. Where have you compromised? Do you retreat in horror when the topic of evolution and creationism rears it head? Do you remain silent when the issue of homosexuality within the church is a part of the conversation? Do you quietly abide while others talk about the many paths that lead to God? Did you do any of these things because a thorough search of scripture convinced you they were correct, or did you do these things because you felt uncomfortable (or simply wanted the world to be more comfortable with you).

I can tell you that such a look into your own heart is profitable and beneficial to your walk. How do I know? I was a compromising Christian at one point in my life. My own problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge, but a fear of being ridiculed by my peers and mentors in the academic world.

“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:25-26.

If Christ expects me to die for my beliefs, how can I be so weak as to compromise them just to gain acceptance? If believers around the world are willing to die for Christ, why can’t I simply endure the scorn of my peers?

After all this inward searching, I learned that Jesus was right when He said, “if you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.” I compromised Christ so much that the world accepted and loved me, and in the process I lost my love for Christ. The world was glad to accept me as long as I embraced it’s desires and repudiated those aspects of Christianity that it found offensive. But when I changed, when I embraced Christ fully, I found my reception was much different. Threats, slurs, and intimidation are but a few of the responses of this world those who won’t compromise their firm faith in Christ.

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25

“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matt. 10:22.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matt. 24:12-13.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.

“[I]t is by faith you stand firm.” 2 Corinthians 1:24.

Love Christ because of what He has done, love Him for who he is, or love him because He first loved you. Whatever the reason, know why you believe what you believe. And be ready to respond to those who question your faith.

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Comments
  1. cumby says:

    We have a choice each day, right here on good old WordPress, to take a stand or to compromise. We can hang out with our pals who agree with us, or venture out into the unknown and get attacked. I choose to do both each day. 😀

    I need to be called on my theology but sometimes comfort is also needed.

    People turn to God when in pain or fear. The rest of the time they don’t seem to be interested. Here in America, sometime in the future, many will cry out to God for help. That time is not yet here.

  2. “That time is not yet here.”

    I love how Paul put it:

    “It is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust.” Romans 13:11

  3. Neil says:

    Nicely said. I have sat in Bible studies and such with “mature Christians” and the discussions turn into heresies-R-us and they don’t even realize it. Everything from “The Bible has lots of mistakes / it wasn’t inspired by God,” “the virgin birth didn’t really happen,” “there are other paths to God besides Jesus,” etc. They don’t even realize they are speaking heresy.

  4. DulceDiana says:

    This thought must be a constant test in our minds- this world can so easily tangle us in half-truths and satisfied ‘good’ things.

  5. Fang says:

    Hi J. Thanks for the links.

    *Dannysh is a worry 😯

  6. Kenzie says:

    Thanks for reading my blog.

    And unfortunatly I already deal with all your dirty socks, and dishes! But its okay for now because us women love you men. :]

  7. Sherpa says:

    Whoa—compromising is a very important part of the process of democracy. You can take a stand and still compromise–and still be true to your personal principles.

    As far as scriptures go–I try to read and study every night. I have read the King James Bible front and back.

  8. “compromising is a very important part of the process of democracy”

    In the political process this is true. However, I am referring to our religious convictions and beliefs.

    I am more than willing to compromise regarding the location of a new highway, taxes, and other such issues. However, I will never compromise that my savior was born into this world of a virgin; that He died on a cross for my sins; that on the third day He rose from among the dead claiming victory over sin and death; and that one day soon He will return gloriously to reward his followers with eternal life. 🙂

    What a joy we have in Christ.

  9. timbob says:

    Greetings.Another area that I probably need more work in than I realize. Sometimes no matter how nicely you present truth as laid out in scripture, some will call it hard-hearted, pride, elitist, and what have you. It’s not always easy to just proclaim truth, even when you do it with all of the nicetries that you can muster. The word of God cuts and never returns void. Yet its the truth of Gods word that makes folks free. I pray that we would all be diligent in addressing this matter head-on. A very needful post as we live in an age when folks don’t adhere to sound doctrine but heap to themselves teachers; having itching ears.
    Have a great day in Christ.

    timbob

  10. Hi,

    Neil makes the accurate, but sad, point about confused chuch folk. Uneducated Christians filling pews all over America were the force behind the twin pillars of heresy, “modernization” of worship services, seeking to minimize sin, and injection of religio-tainment, with plenty of clapping, singing and the attendant feel-good activities, joined by sermonettes.

    Bible study can only be fulfilling, and a true growth experience, with an attitude of prayerful, humble, focused learning. Phil 4:9-13 ” I have learned..” “I am instructed..” “I know both how to..” No mysticism here. Sadly, much confusion arises when understanding God comes through TV, music, experience of dubious nature, concensus of peers, and so on.

    I enjoy your posts TT. Thanks,

    Hank

  11. Sherpa says:

    I was just making sure that you were talking personal and not the political process. 😉

  12. No problem Sherpa. Glad you cared enough to check 😉

  13. isaacme says:

    Very true man, the bible says we are to be in the world but not of it. In Christian circles in the western world we’ve pretty much just left off the last part of that verse and said that you can do whatever you want and just so long as you try to do good and are not an atheist you’re going to heaven. The bible obviously teaches something different. Great post man. Great thoughts.

    Sorry that I don’t post comments more often, I’ve been really busy with school lately. I’ve had a hard enough time just keeping my own site updated.

  14. faithwalk says:

    Good post JK and comments too. Like Cumby, my husband ventures into some interesting sites and engages others in some discussions which has gotten me interested in doing the same.
    Especially when seeing aomeone searching, no matter how off they may be.
    may the Lord help us to be faithful to take a stand, by His grace, and serve Him without compromise.

    Blessings to you!
    Susan
    oh, I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t see the whole post on any computer I have been on. The first few letters of every word are missing…

  15. Kristin says:

    An interesting question would be, what do compromise and standing for truth look like in a postmodern world where it is OK to seek to truth but offensive to claim to have found it? What is the role of a Christian in this new postmodern generation? How can we be bold and still act in love?

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