Opinions on faith and life

Chameleon Christians

2005-09-01

A.W. Tozer stated:

“Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God. They timidly remember how the Pharisees refused to accept Christ when He came, and they do not want to be caught in the same snare, so they either reserve judgment or shut their eyes and accept everything without question. This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit.

Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. Try the spirits is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine. And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more as we see the day approaching."

Although I have been unable to track down the source of this quote, you may be surprised to learn that Tozer died in 1963. The current fruit of this problem is growing from a much deeper root, a ”weed“ that was planted almost as soon as the ”wheat“ (see Matthew 13:24-30).

Compromise is what turned the early church from a lean, pure body into a bloated, corrupted monster, and timidity is the vehicle that carries it. We ”fear people rather than God“ (Acts 4:19), in stark contrast to the early disciples who spoke boldly and paid with their lives. We refuse to confront error in doctrine, preferring instead to make the lost comfortable in our presence, hoping that the gospel is spread simply by our making friends of the wolves at the door.

Is this the example we see in the scriptures? Did Peter tell the crowd at Pentecost that if they gave their hearts to Jesus they would be happy and comfortable? No, he pointed his finger at them and said,

”Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.“

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ”Brothers, what shall we do?“

Peter replied, ”Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off— for all whom the Lord our God will call.“

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ”Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.“ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:36-41)

Jesus was hardly popular either, and was continually condemning the Pharisees, yet he was kind to the humble. Who are we to say He did it all wrong? Who are we to tell the disciples that they could have done much better by only making friends with everyone? Where does today’s timid sort of “evangelism” come from? And even if someone is saved by this approach, what happens to them when the inevitable suffering we were promised (John 16:33, 2 Timothy 3:12) comes to them?

Certainly the church at large has many of the “qualities” of the churches Jesus warned in the beginning of the Revelation. Yet another sign of the times.