The Hidden Counsel of Compromise
Robert Wurtz II
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1 Cor. 4:1-5)
Living in the year 2015 is very challenging for me as a Christian. I grew up in the 70’s when there was still a clear line drawn between the churches of God and this present evil world. I was not raised in church, but I was sent to church often enough to know what it was all about. I listened to good preaching and I read my bible. In the 1980’s I watched Youth For Christ (KYFC) broadcasts on the old channel 50 that warned me “day in and day out” of the pitfalls of modern culture. All of this instilled in me a terrific aversion to this present evil world. And though I would not be born again until early in 1992, I always knew the difference between a sinful world and a righteous church.
Now I understand that I was listening to the cry of a bygone era when men of God still believed in holiness unto to the Lord. They believed that we must follow peace with all men and holiness without which no person will see the Lord. I would read of men like Smith Wigglesworth who lived separated to God. Others like A.W. Tozer who lamented the entertainment driven culture of his day. Then Leonard Ravenhill who put his hand on the pulse by showing how we have falsified regeneration by a system of 5 minute of less prayers that leave people believing they are saved, but unchanged at heart. I believed all of them.
I recall the old timers talking and preaching about how sinful the world would be in the “end times.” As a child I found some of these things difficult to believe. People in the last days were said to become so worldly that Jesus once asked, yet when the Son of Man comes, will He find a persistent faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8) Surely we live in a time where most, even professing Christians, are doing what is right in their own eyes. What is worse is that from the pulpit to the pew few are bothering to ask what the Lord thinks about the end-time wholesale compromise of the faith that was once delivered to the saints.
A cursory read of the Old Covenant demonstrates what we are seeing today. I used to read the bible and wonder, “How on earth could God’s people backslide so much in a mere 50 years?” Then I read the verse, And there arose another generation that knew not the Lord nor the works that He had done in Israel. (Judges 2:10) That is all it takes; one rebellious generation to decide to break continuity with the past and plot a different course for Christianity. I guess in practical terms in the West, we are somewhere in the book of Jeremiah or maybe Ezekiel about now. Certainly God has a remnant; He always has had. But Jeremiah never wept over the remnant, he wept over the rest of the people.
I have come to the sobering reality that “by today’s standards” of evangelical doctrine and practice I was never lost; I have never backslidden; I have always been saved; I was never worldly; and God has been anxious to tell me “well done thou good and faithful servant.” In fact, even while I lived in sin I was still under the bondage of “that old holiness stuff.” Most of the things I was doing that I considered symptoms of backsliding were only teachings of Pharisees who had no love or grace. What I thought was conviction of sin was really just condemnation from then Devil. As if a generation has lauded, “All those ‘fuddy-duddy’ holiness preachers in the past were too strict and we are the enlightened 21st Century evangelicals. Nothing is compromise in our eyes.” Really? So what did I get saved out of? What “world” am I now crucified to? What world was I supposed to come out of and be separate from? What world am I not supposed to be loving? If it’s not all the stuff I came out of while in sin, what is it? What did I come out of to be saved from? Because much of the stuff I was saved from is over running whole sections of the camp right now.
In the old days people were expected to straitened up and fly right when they “got saved.” Not today. There is no standard of right. What people get saved to today is generally “a fuzzy, love drenched version of political correctness.” Don’t judge. Don’t call anything sin. Don’t call anything compromise. Seek for power to perform miracles, but abandon the lifestyle of holiness that God calls the churches to.
I recall hearing for years that one of the reasons we should pay tithes and give in offerings is so that our loved ones will have a place to go back to when they finally desire to get saved. However, what are they coming back to? If someone attended meetings in the 80’s as a teen and now show up in their 40’s they are likely to be so disillusioned that they walk out the door. There old church doesn’t exist anymore. The buildings are all still there, but the reality is long since departed. The line of demarcation between the world has been moved so far in many churches, that many may say to themselves, “Wow, all this time I thought I was backslid. I guess not. I lived farther from the world than this when I was in sin.”
Sound too strong? Let me ask, what do you think some of the men that we love to quote so often like Smith Wigglesworth would say if he showed up to one of our “christian” events? How about A.W. Tozer? What would men like Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, or Charles Spurgeon say? What about Peter or Paul? What about John the Baptist or Jesus? Can you imagine these men participating in these things we laud as “christian”? Be honest with yourself and when you come to the right answer ask yourself why not? Why would they never in 1000 years participate in such things?
When the cat is away the mice will play. That is simple enough. However, as hard as it is to deal with these things, we have a consolation. Paul stated, Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. This is not to say that we do not challenge the lukewarmness of our times or compromise. Quite the opposite. Nevertheless, It’s not for me to guess what motivates men and women to do what is right in their own eyes. God is going to reveal the hidden counsels of people’s hearts. Some will receive praise and others will be shamed.
What can we do? First, if you were raised to know the difference between worldliness and holiness you can prayerfully and lovingly be a light to this ever increasing darkness. Multitudes are finding comfort in the fact that their pastors, Christian friends, famous and respected leaders, and others are all “doing it.” Be encouraged! You can stand against the flow as a voice of reason and righteousness. Your attitude has to be, “let God be true and every man a liar.” Don’t compromise because friends and family are doing it. Don’t change your theology to match the lifestyle of the people you love. Jeremiah cried and Ezekiel sighed. We may have to do both before it’s over with.