Many of us have heard of the illustration of the Frog and the kettle. If you haven’t the basic idea of this illustration is something like this: whenever a frog is tossed in a boiling pot of water, it’s almost certain that he will struggle and fight and try to jump out. However, if you put the frog in a pot of warm water, he’ll be a happy frog- even when the heat is turned up slowly to the point of boiling!
What a perfect illustration for the church and their devotion to principles. In fact, there are temptations everywhere for churches to compromise God centered practices for man centered pragmatism. And while it’s true that “all truth is God’s truth,” not all that is being done in the name of the church is either God centered or God focused.
But how do you know if the frog’s beginning to boil? Here are some signs:
- Fear overrules faithful teaching. Too often, we see a compromise of biblical teaching because teachers and pastors are afraid of hurting people’s feelings. Even worse, specific doctrines and principles are never mentioned in fear of losing members or potential members. Eph 4:15 tells us that we can and should share the truth in love.
- The great comfort overrules the Great Commission. Church members are part of the church to relate to one another, without a doubt. However, being the church also means to be obedient to Christ. As we grow in our love for one another, we must radically love the world with the gospel…and take meaningful action to show it.
- Democracy overrules theocracy. For some reason the rugged American independence has dominated much of the thinking when it comes to church polity. This is not to say that the church shouldn’t be involved in decision-making, it’s just that not every decision needs to go up for a vote.
- Gossip overrules the Gospel. Gossip is fatal in a church. It is a cancer in a church when supposed believers talk about and discredit others. Gossip isolates, denigrates, and asphyxiates people who are image bearers of God- the complete opposite of what the gospel is supposed to look like.
- Man-centeredness overrules God-centeredness. Although it can be argued that this is true for all of this list, what I mean is about practice in the church. Too often, the methodologies borrowed from corporate America (or even from other churches) are utilized hook, line, and sinker – without even trying to see if the methodology is biblical or not.
That’s a short list, but I know that it can be expanded. Any other thoughts?