By Tom Roberts
“It don’t matter to me,” asserts the words of a song, and with some Christians, it could be a theme song. I continue to be amazed at the lack of conviction among Christians about even the most fundamental teachings of the Lord, both of public worship and private life.
It is not at all unusual any more to hear of well-known preachers who have stood for a certain way of life for years suddenly changing and practicing something different. One president of a “Christian” college has left the church and joined the Presbyterians. Another was involved in an automobile collision that took another’s life, and the accident happened due to the fact that the preacher had been drinking. Some preachers who used to oppose liberalism are found to be leaders in liberal churches. A number who used to oppose church choirs now defend special singing groups and solos. Some simply refuse to take a stand on any controversial issue and will, like a chameleon, adopt the color of those around him at the moment.
But it’s not only preachers. It is amazing to see a lack of conviction among members of the church at large. We see members who will drift back and forth between liberal and faithful churches as though there is no distinction. Immodest apparel has been accepted without a whimper. Indecent movies are a way of life. Vile language is heard everywhere and defended because “everyone is doing it.” Drinking and gambling are not considered evil unless they “get out of hand,” whatever that means. Increasing numbers see nothing wrong with missing worship services to engage in recreational outings. Folks are more concerned with having a good time than service to the Lord.
Today’s greatest social sin is to have conviction about anything. A person with conviction is viewed as a fanatic, as narrow minded, and as an intolerant bigot. It matters little what subject is under consideration – to have conviction about anything is the one unacceptable, unpardonable crime. It is considered gracious to stand quietly and allow the Lord’s name to be defiled, to follow gutter language, to hear the unspeakable spoken. It is being broad-minded to be in the presence of those who drink and laugh at those who won’t. People refer to others as “sophisticated” who are able to allow any kind of profane and worldly speech or habits to occur in their presence without an objection.
Folks, do you ever object to anything? Does anything offend your sensibilities? Do you find anything at all religiously wrong or morally shocking?
The definition of conviction, as being used here, is: “a doctrine or proposition which one firmly believes . . . fixed belief.” When one has a firm belief about something, it is usually followed by a way of life consistent with that belief. Anything less is moral cowardice or hypocrisy.
We need people of conviction in the Lord’s church today. We need conviction about the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection, about scriptural worship, about faithfulness, about attendance, about language, about marriage, divorce and remarriage, about morals, about liquor, about evangelism, about the mission of the church and much more.
One can well understand how Elijah must have felt (1 Kings 19) when it seemed that all Israel had turned aside after Baal. He said “. . . and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” Thankfully, God reminded him that there were thousands of others who, like Elijah, still served the Lord. At times like these, we need to remember that there are good men and women, faithful Christians around the world, who do have conviction. They are serving the Lord, drawing the line against evil, standing up and being counted for the cause of Truth. For each and every one of these, we thank the Lord.
But to those of you who read this who are drifting with the tide of compromise and who have been too week to stand with the Lord, let me urge you to be like Joshua, that wonderful warrior for Jehovah. he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15). We cannot have conviction and do any less. Hey, where’s your conviction?
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 22, pp. 683, 693
November 15, 1984