In this world, progressives always win in the end. I know that it doesn’t sound very optimistic to say this. That’s because it isn’t. My reason for saying so is that many professing conservatives often compromise their principles, little by little, over time, giving in to the agenda of progressives. These professing conservatives do so to be liked by the increasingly progressive culture so that they might appear to be easygoing, loving, reasonable peacemakers. They are willing to compromise in small ways in the hopes of winning in big ways in the end.
These professing conservatives have bought into the myth of influence. They seem to think that if they compromise a little here and a little there, they will be more appealing to a broader base and will gain a larger audience so that they can finally accomplish their ultimate goals. Though their motives might be sincere and good, what really matters is what they do and say—and what they don’t do and don’t say. They may say, “I’m not going to die on that hill,” yet they never seem to fight on any hill. While they may call themselves conservatives, they prove to be pragmatists. Through their efforts to change the culture, they end up being changed by the culture instead.
Pragmatism has become the modus operandi for many professing conservatives rather than guarding, preserving, and upholding foundational governing authorities. Compromise rooted in the myth of influence is found in politics, in the church, in seminaries, in parachurch ministries, and in the home. Presidents, pastors, professors, and parents often feel as though they need to give in to the cries of those who want them to compromise their stated standards to be regarded as kind, loving, and understanding instead of as old-fashioned traditionalists.
We all want to be liked, particularly by those we love. People who say they don’t care if others like them are lying or crazy—and sometimes both. Yet we must risk being disliked—even despised and slandered—for the sake of those unchanging principles that preserve the core standards, doctrines, and practices of the institutions that have been entrusted to us. In the church, we must always contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints while being eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, for only the unchanging gospel and the unchanging doctrine of the unchanging Word of God can bring about true peace and true unity so that in the end our unchanging God is glorified.