That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thinking Positively 2

Actually, this post is a book review... haha.  But it was a book I REALLY enjoyed, so I'm classifying it as thinking positively. 
The book was Contemporary Compromise by John Goetsch.  The sub-title says "Standing for truth in an age of deception."  Dr. Goetsch is the executive vice president of West Coast Baptist College.  In this book he sets forth some of the reasons for compromise in the 21st century church, how that compromise has happened, what it involves, what the Christian should do when the truth is compromised, and how to protect yourself against compromise.  

What I appreciated most about this book is the fact that Dr. Goetsch quotes MUCH Scripture.  He is not just giving his thoughts or opinions, but he is truly backing up his statements with the Bible.  Throughout the book he admonishes and encourages the believer to take a stand for the truth in a day and age where the prevailing philosophy is "anything goes."  He shows how this "anything goes" mentality has infiltrated the church, and how the Bible warns that this will happen.  He also gives biblical instruction for dealing with compromise.  He shows how the Bible tells us Satan is the master deceiver, and how it is truly Satan that is behind the compromise within the church today.  He makes the point that the Bible teaches God NEVER changes.  The world around us changes, but God remains the same.  Therefore, God's truth never changes.  This book brings out that fact that while the church may think it needs to change to adapt to the world around it, that is nothing more than a lie of the devil.  Again all this was done with Scripture, and he doesn't just give the reference.  He writes out the Scripture and then goes through it point by point to explain and develop the passage.  It's powerful!

Here are some quotes that stood out to me.  
"What you do with the truth determines what you will do with error."
"Talk is important, but it is our walk that makes our talk walk."
"God is far more interested in our holiness than He is in our happiness."
"We are allowing education to elevate us to an elite status of enlightenment"  (I had to think about that one for a while!)
"Satan rarely acts like Satan: he acts like God"  (that's scary, but it's true: Isaiah 14:12-15)
"Truth has been determined and fixed forever by the mind of God."
"Man trusts his own selfish lusts over God's sovereign love."
"Error doesn't look like error, it looks like truth."  (that's scary too!)
"Prayer is not the least we can do but the most we can do."

Another thing I appreciated about this book is the spirit and tone with which it was written.  There can be a tendency when exposing error to do so with pride in one's own position of knowing the truth.  Such pride is in no way present in this book.  Dr. Goetsch takes a bold stand and does not back down, but he does so in the right spirit.  He names prominent Christian leaders who have sold out to false teaching and who are proponents of serious doctrinal error.  However, Dr. Goetsch has no maliciousness in his tone when he writes these things.  He is not obnoxious or offensive.  He is firm in his position on truth, but he speaks the truth in love.  In reading his introduction, it is apparent that he too is keenly aware of the way those who expose error can be perceived.  Think about this and apply it personally.  What's the first thing we do when someone tells us we're wrong?  Our backs go up, and we immediately get defensive.  We DO NOT like admitting we are wrong, and we will try anything to deflect.  We'll shift the blame, make excuses, and just plain deny the accusation even if it is true!  The fact that we might be offended or defensive doesn't make the wrong go away.  It's still there, and it still needs to be addressed.  It's the same in Christianity.  Many have stopped pointing out error because to do so causes offence to others.  Dr. Goetsch is not afraid to point out the error, and he does so from a biblical standpoint.

This book is a MUST read for every Christian who desires to live for God in truth.  It is biblical, it is genuine, it is truthful, it is humble, it is eye opening, it is practical, and it is encouraging.  If you are a Christian who recognizes the compromise and is taking a stand, you will find this book a great encouragement.  If you are a Christian who maybe has compromised some things, you will find love and encouragement to return to the unchanging truths of our unchanging God in His unchanging Word.  Some things that Dr. Goetsch says may and will go against our human nature, but ultimately he uses so much Scripture that one can clearly see his points from the Word of God, and it's pretty hard to argue against God.  Taking a stand is not easy, but when I finished the book I was even more encouraged to stand for truth.  I see compromised Christianity ALL around me.  It's literally everywhere!  Churches and ministries that are upholding the truths of Scripture are getting fewer and farer between.  It's not easy to take a stand, believe me, but the fact that it is RIGHT and it is what God wants makes it worth while.  

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