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The Church can't 'go along to get along'


"The Church that goes along to get along".

I’ve never heard a pastor or leader use these words to describe their approach to the culture or as a sub-point to their philosophy of ministry, but this is essentially where many churches across our country are. I’m not only attributing this approach to the traditionally liberal denominations we would expect to water down the Gospel and God’s standards for human behavior. Tragically, many churches that use the moniker “evangelical” are doing the same.

Several years ago, I had to correct my assumption that evangelical churches are pretty biblically sound. Unfortunately, this is often an error in modern-day America. As followers of Christ, we're called to be light in darkness, a beacon of hope for a lost and hurting world. But that mission comes with its challenges (and its costs), especially as we face the constant pressure to compromise clear biblical teaching in order to fit in with the culture around us.

Harrison Butker, NFL kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, is experiencing an unhinged backlash for a number of truthful statements made during his very recent commencement address at Benedictine College on May 11, 2024.

As I listened to the full address there were several things I didn’t agree with — but nothing surprising. Namely, it seemed that Butker believes only Catholics are true followers of Jesus Christ. Regardless of that, what he shared about male and female relations, the timidity of many Christian leaders to lead with truth and clarity, and the sexual depravity and identity confusion of our time, were spot on. And it was enough to stir up a hornet’s nest of vitriol and gnashing of teeth from the cancel-culture crowd.

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I had to laugh when I read one article that stated “Butker, who’s made his conservative Catholic beliefs well known, also assailed Pride Month, a particularly important time for the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and President Joe Biden’s stance on abortion.”

LGBTQ+ is certainly the sacred cow of our time — the new religion that no one dares to speak against and all are compelled to bow to and celebrate it.  Yet, Butker is having none of it. As a strong young man with a clear voice of reason, he spoke truth against the lies and damage of our sex-saturated and identity-confused culture. He is a wholesome example of a man who loves and follows Jesus, a husband who adores his wife, and a father dedicated to the well-being and nurturing of his children. In his commencement address, he skillfully and clearly called out darkness and wickedness, providing a contrast of hope and light. For that, Hell is being unleashed against him. We need more Harrison Butkers to speak up with such courage — ones who are actually living the life they profess.

Not only are the loud voices of cancel culture crying out for suppression of truth and punishment of Harrison Butker, but we see the very compromise he was speaking and warning against happening in many churches and entire denominations across our country. The truth of God's Word is watered down and the distinctives of the Church are lost. This is not only a tragedy for the Church but also a betrayal of our mission to make disciples of all nations.

Consider the tragedy of what’s become of The United Methodist Church, a once vibrant beacon of light, hope, and truth. With so many orthodox congregations leaving over the last couple of years, after 40+ years of battle over basic tenants of the faith and vital matters of human sexuality, the recent general conference decisions for the worldwide denomination have given themselves over to the support of what the Bible calls depravity and false teaching — and they’re celebrating it.

When we compromise biblical teaching, we not only lose our distinctiveness as the Church but also our effectiveness in reaching the lost. The message of the Gospel is one of repentance and transformation. It cannot be diluted or altered to fit the expectations of the world.

A prime example of how Christian compromise damages the Church can be seen in the area of human sexuality. In an effort to be accepting and inclusive, many churches have compromised truth regarding marriage and human relationships. As a result, they have lost their distinctiveness as the Church and have become indistinguishable from the world in their approach to these issues. But this is not what we're called to as followers of Christ. We're called to be in the world but not of it.

Jesus doesn’t mince words when it comes to calling out this kind of compromise in His people. “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13).

This call to stand firm on biblical truth is not a call to legalism or judgmentalism but rather a call to faithfulness and integrity — lived out in genuine biblical love. We're called to uphold the truth of God's Word, even when it’s unpopular or inconvenient — especially when it is. We’re called to extend grace and compassion to all people, while also remaining faithful to the teachings of Scripture and the example of Christ.

As we seek to resist the temptation to compromise, we must look to the example of Christ, who never modified His message or His mission for the sake of popularity or acceptance. Throughout His ministry, Jesus faced the pressure to conform to the expectations of the religious establishment and the culture around Him. However, He remained faithful to the truth of God's Word and the mission that He had been called to fulfill.

In the face of opposition and rejection, Jesus continued to preach the message of the Gospel and to extend grace and compassion to all people, calling them out of their sin and futility.

So, let's resist the temptation to compromise and stand firm in our commitment to the truth of God's Word. Let's maintain our distinctiveness (in belief and practice, in public and private) as followers of Christ and not allow biblical values and beliefs to be compromised by the pressures and demands of the culture around us. In doing so, we'll be a light in the darkness and a beacon of hope for a lost and hurting world.

Garry Ingraham is the founder and executive director of Love & Truth Network. LTN is a national non-profit ministry established in 2013 to equip pastors, leaders, and local churches to effectively minister in restoring sexual and relational wholeness, as well as biblical identity. Garry and his wife, Melissa, both came out of the LGBTQ world to follow Jesus.

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