More than One Way to Compromise

I think we have it all wrong.

The word “compromise” is one of those words that is supposed to be cut out of the fundamentalist’s vocabulary. It is a terrible word. The Bible has nothing good to say about it. It reminds us of Lot, of Judas, or of Demas.

But in what direction must one go in order to commit the sin of compromise? Typically, we have less of a problem with someone who has gone to the “extreme right” than we do one who has gone to the “liberal left.” We have considered the “middle ground” to be the area of compromise. But is it?

I submit to you that we need to think differently. The middle ground is not a compromise between left and right, it is the solid ground of the Word of God:

Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

The middle ground here is the Word of God, and any move to the right or the left is considered unbiblical. There is no “right” that is to be desired, unless by right you mean correct. Oftentimes, we have agreed, to an extant, with the media. When they refer to us as radical, right wing fundamentalists, although we cringe, we can’t help but be thankful we’re not to the left. This happens theologically, too. In his book, Touch Not the Unclean Thing, David Sorenson disagrees with Ruckmanites, but has much better things to say about them than he would any supporter of the Critical Text:

. . .to their credit, those who hold such a view [dual inspiration] have a fierce loyalty to the Word of God. Never will one of these be accused of questioning the inerrancy of the infallibility of the Bible. (P17) These brethren…are to be commended for their love of the Word of God. Their separatist instincts have correctly sensed that modern Bible translations are connected with apostasy. However, they have essentially gone too far down the right road. Moreover, they advance a confused and unorthodox view of inspiration. (P19)

If by “right” Sorenson means to distinguish these men from liberals, he has a point. But if by “right” he means correct, which I think is more probable, what does that even mean? How can anyone go “too far down the right road?” If it’s right, then you should be able to go as far down it as you want!

Just as much as one can compromise to the left, one can compromise to the right. Any direction away from the center (the Bible) is a compromise.

The Ruckmanites have clearly compromised to what has been called extremism. I guess it fits on the right. But as far as what kind of compromise belongs on which side is a matter of personal opinion. Usually, the left signifies liberalism, and is characterized by a taking away of truth. The right typically denotes extremism, and is characterized by an adding to truth. The Bible condemns both taking away from and adding to the Word of God.

On the left, we find things like limited inerrancy – “Job is just an ancient collection of Hebrew mythology.” On the right, we find things like translational superiority – “Paul wrote Hebrews because the headings in the KJV are inspired and it says, ‘the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews’.”

The further left a church can get, the more it buys into an “everything goes” philosophy: come as you are, leave as you are. The further right a church can get, the more it buys into legalism: come in looking like me, leave like me. Interestingly, the more biblical a church is, the more it buys into. . .well, biblical philosophy: come as you are, leave changed by the power of the gospel of Christ.

It’s wonderful how the Bible always provides that balance between left and right! Let us determine that our allegiance to the Bible would define us as fundamentalists. Biblicism – the centrality of the Bible – should be the ultimate goal for us. Any move in any direction, left or right, would be an abandonment of the precepts of His Word.

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3 comments so far

  1. Will Dudding on

    The ruckmanites are really the only KJVO’s who are totally consistent in their belief.

  2. DT on

    I agree. . in fact, I’ve said that before and thought I was the only one. But I”m going to try to avoid making KJVO the point of conversation because it fuels same strange conversations. It’s my fault once again for bringing it up, but it served as an example for the post. Hopefully, people will realize that I was only referring to the extreme KJVO, and not everyone who holds to that position.

  3. cindyinsd on

    You make some good points, DT. I think we misuse the term “fundamental” by applying the popular meaning (of a right wing extremist) to it. A fundamentalist is supposed to be someone who returns to the foundations, in this case, the foundations of our faith, which would be the word of God. In that sense, I strive to be a fundamentalist.

    I’ve heard it said that Christianity needed its reformation to make it a gentler religion by modernizing it, but in fact, the reformation brought us closer to our true foundation (certainly not all the way there by a long shot), which is love.

    God bless,

    Cindy


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