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By Karl I. Payne
I want to share a quick thought that has been rolling around in my mind for the better part of a week.
Thomas Sowell recently wrote a short article in the December 2012 Whistleblower published by WND entitled “The GOP’s Nice Losers.” The subtitle was, “On the perils of being polite, pleasant and agreeable – at the expense of truth.”
I believe the point of his article was to challenge political conservatives to begin nominating candidates who have the conviction to stand on the truth and the courage to tell the truth if they ever hope to win again. Winners think strategically and do not bend their core convictions in the wind to accommodate pretense over substance or promote public opinion over truth. Sowell contends that one party fights to win. The other party, at least from Dewey in 1948 through Romney 2012, has consistently focused upon appearing polite and agreeable rather than running to win.
My favorite line in his article is related to this past November’s election for president.
“Most of Obama’s arguments were rotten, if you bothered to put them under scrutiny. But someone once said that it is amazing how long the rotten can hold together, if you don’t handle it roughly.”
My thoughts from reading this article were not on politics, but an observation that the church, at least in my lifetime, has increasingly compromised truth to appear polite, pleasant and agreeable. Our core biblical convictions blow in the wind, shaped by appeasing an increasingly hostile and cynical culture, and we wonder why so many people are running from our faith rather than to our faith.
The parallel was striking to me. Democrats fight to win, Republicans play to lose. Oppressors of the Christian faith fight relentlessly to marginalize and destroy our faith, while Christians are content to play at appeasing their concerns, hoping to position ourselves into their good graces. Christians in the past have stood on their convictions to help preserve ethics, morality and the freedom to believe. Today an increasingly large number of Christians and churches are making an art form out of blending into culture rather than contending for our faith, once delivered to the saints. We are supposed to lead in culture and ideas, not just react and compromise to them.
I think Sowell’s observations and warnings about politics in the last 60 years are just as relevant to the Christian church today as they are to a political party. The results are just more dangerous and damaging. Empty political promises can be addressed every four years if someone has the courage to do so. But empty promises about a more progressive Christian faith that is focused upon bending or rejecting biblical truth to the perception of being more polite, pleasant and agreeable is producing results that are not only dangerous and damaging, but eternal.
Jesus not only is the truth, He told the truth and stood on the truth, regardless of what it cost Him. He was kind and polite, but he did not allow what was rotten to hold together. He scrutinized truth and handled cultural and religious ideas and leadership roughly when it was necessary, even if it did not appear polite, pleasant and agreeable.
Karl I. Payne is a pastor and author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonizations and Deliverance.”