There is a misunderstanding within some parts of the Church. It has been wrongly represented that our faith in Jesus Christ must be totally open and accepting of all things, all for the purpose of inclusion and evangelism. Even the use of the word “wrongly” could be labeled as unloving by those under the influence of this teaching.
The writers of the New Testament were not shy about calling out issues where truth was being compromised or upholding the qualifications for leadership within the Church. Our faith can become so compromised in a desire to be all things to all people that it will have a polluting effect. Solomon spoke of this pollution when he wrote these words “If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring” (Proverbs 25:26).
When we allow the world around us to pollute our witness by giving in to wicked agendas without expressing the clarifying presence of truth, our message will become clouded and unfit for consumption. Those who hold true to a biblical standard will be maligned from within the circles of cultural wickedness and by those in the Church who misunderstand what biblical inclusiveness means.
This desire to keep our message clear and unpolluted can create a narrowing effect on our circles of fellowship. The purpose of this narrowing is not to create division or exercise religious pride. It is to protect the purity and clarity of our witness. When these challenges take place, they can be very uncomfortable, even rejected as not a work of the Spirit. Yet this purifying and resulting narrowing has been taking place throughout the history of the Church. It keeps us on track when we do not fully understand or even like what happens when truth disrupts our circles of fellowship.
These are not comfortable times in our world or within the Church. The Lord is purifying our message and methods for a purpose greater than we can understand at this time. None of us will be exempt from the process of purification. If our hearts remain tender and open in love toward those who either oppose us or do not yet see the reason for such a narrowing, we will see the Lord do astounding things. What seems like a reduction will release a greater addition in God’s Kingdom, not thought possible when a painful process of narrowing was taking place.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins
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