We live in a time when consensus is king. We mustn’t rock the boat or push too hard for a belief. After all, as the thinking goes, who is to say who is right? The only absolute of postmodernism is a lack of absolutes, and it would seem that a great many in the church are comfortable with that. Many are the voices that call for consensus, and some of them are quite persuasive at first hearing. With so many voices calling for the same thing it is often hard to think clearly on issues, like trying to think of a song while another is playing. But every now and then you come across some very clear thinking that brings you back to a right perspective.
Consider the following from Margaret Thatcher on the topic of consensus:
To me, consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner, ‘I stand for consensus’?
Since the beginning of the church there has been a need for God’s people to stand and fight for truth. Athanasius “contra mundum” gave us a proper understanding of the deity of Christ when consensus would abandon the idea of Jesus as fully God and fully man. William Tyndale translated to Scriptures into English at the cost of his life, and Martin Luther faced the wrath of the Catholic church as he nailed his ninety-five thesis to the church door at Wittenberg. These and countless others lived lives faithful to the gospel and fought for its truth.
What are we on the verge of abandoning? Every generation must deliberately pass on a heritage to the next generation, and that always involves a battle for the truth. The battlefields we tend to think of are the social, political, and economic arenas. However, the battle begins in the heart of man and works out from there. Each of the men mentioned above were first and foremost lovers of God. They had been transformed by the Gospel of grace, and from that changed heart, were used by God to affect change in others. The flip side of that is what we read in Romans 1: when the “truth of God is exchanged for a lie,” God gives us over to our sinfulness.
Would you describe your love for God as robust? And does your love for God and His kingdom set the parameters for all you do? Is the Word of God your first and final authority? Are you meeting the calls for tolerance and consensus with resolve?
There are two ways we can go. We can either love God with our whole hearts and see transformation happen in us, our families, our churches and out into the world, or we can try to keep the peace through consensus and see the continual deterioration of God’s design.
Let’s remember Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians:
Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:8b-11)