“When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’?” (2 Corinthians 1:17).
A lot of people have blamed the “Charismatic Renewal” for causing division in the Church. Yet I have never seen anything more divided than was the Church before this unique outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place. More than a hundred denominations! And within each of them a polarization of liberals and conservatives; some deeply and primarily involved with extremism, either in social-action programs or in fundamental theology! And these extremes carping at each other, and then often coming together only after much, much COMPROMISE. And that’s the ultimate weakening force in any institution – COMPROMISE!
Watch a healthy growing business enterprise. You’ll see dynamic leadership making strong and articulate decisions. But as soon as they seek to please and satisfy all segments of the operation, compromise sets in and success begins to wane. The educational institution has fallen into the same downward spiral, to a large extent, for the same reason. Our national army is in a very weakened condition, because the training regimen has been compromised in seeking to satisfy the soldier’s desire for personal comfort and pleasure.
Leadership in any institution cannot afford to try and please everybody. Compromise means giving up certain STANDARDS – ABSOLUTES, if you will. Institutions function at optimum success by operating within well-established boundaries.
The Church as we have known it for two or three generations has often appeared to be a house whose foundations were crumbling. In a large measure, that’s exactly what has happened; its foundations have crumbled!
The New Testament says that the foundation of the Church is to be solid rock! Paul said to the church at Ephesus (and to churches everywhere), “You are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built upon the FOUNDATION of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:10-20). Paul uses a variation of that word, “foundation”, in the next chapter. Here it is translated “rooted; grounded”. (3:17). Now, we all know that if you cut a tree away from its roots in the ground, it will die. If the foundation of the Church, then, is the “Apostles and Prophets”, and those in places of responsibility compromise them out of the Church, then the foundation becomes crumbled, weakened, and the building itself becomes shaky and unstable.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 18, January 1982.