Faithfulness And Compromise Are Not Static Categories

Assessing a church or a denomination or a culture as one or the other says volumes more about you than the thing you’re assessing. In order to declare that a church has “compromised the gospel,” you have to reduce the gospel down to something simple enough to be compromised by a whole group of people all at once. That’s pretty tough.

I went in for a lot of this as a seminary student in the early 00’s, when I, along with a wide swath of my progressive classmates, denounced conservative evangelicals in America as having made a lethal compromise of the gospel for the sake of political power. There were troubling trends, for sure (George W. Bush equating the “light” of John 1 with America was one), but my determination that an entire swath of American Christianity has compromised the gospel really only meant that it was diverging from the values I was growing into as a young liberal in a mainline protestant seminary on the east coast. I wasn’t spending any time with any of them.

We call people compromised only when they’re not us, only when we don’t share the value to which they are trying to be faithful.

So why not ask that instead? What is the value here? How is the present course an attempt at faithfulness to the gospel?

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