Wednesday, November 08, 2006
With the recent Ted Haggard revelations, I thought this would be an appropriate post to resurrect from the archives. I originally wrote this after a local pastor resigned when his two-year affair was uncovered by his sons. This was the post that got me into blogging in the first place. I hope it proves a blessing.
On October 3, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stood before the House of Commons and attempted a defense of his abandonment of Czechoslovakia to the German Reich. Three days previously, Chamberlain had returned from Munich with his now-infamous assurance of "peace for our time." By this he meant that Britain and France would not interfere with the German annexation of the Czech Sudetenland, a move that stripped Czechoslovakia of her strongest defenses and a large portion of her industrial capacity.
As Chamberlain stood before the House on that October Monday, enduring cries of "Shame!" from the Honorable Members, he argued that "the new Czechoslovakia will find a greater security than she has ever enjoyed in the past." Five months later, Germany, along with Poland and Hungary, divided up the remnants of Czechoslovakia, annihilating a model democracy and staunch ally of the Western powers. Less than six months later, Europe plunged headlong into the cauldron of the Second World War.
The morally bankrupt diplomacy of appeasement was largely responsible for World War II. A just peace was whittled away a sliver at a time, until the pitiful remnant of "peace" was too small to prevent the blade from slipping into bloodshed. Small steps, tiny accomodations, incremental acceptance. So begin wars. So begin adulteries. So begin every evil known to man.
No nation transitions instantly from peace to war, and no Christian transitions instantly from holiness to impurity. For instance, when a church reels from the scandal of an adulterous pastor, you can be sure that spiritual appeasement is responsible. When a root of bitterness sprang up, it was allowed to push roots deeply into the soil and leach vitality from the soul (Heb. 12:15). When circumstances pressured a weak conscience, they were allowed to press the conscience to the side (1 Cor. 8:7). When the right action was apparent, it was replaced with inaction (Jas. 4:17).
Step by step, a mosaic of sin began to form. Rather than declaring war on sin, the pastor sued for peace. After all, the wandering imagination is only natural. The flattery of attention is powerful, but not deadly as long as you know it's happening. Implementing God's commands are time-consuming, and there will be more time tomorrow (or the day after). Gradually, tiny acres of the soul were ceded to Satan with the understanding that this would be the final allowance. The pastor willfully ignored the fact that the Devil is a predatory dictator who will be satisfied with nothing less than total control of both body and soul. But Satan is also a wily diplomat; like Hitler, he will agree to partial control, knowing that a foothold today is a firm grip tomorrow. And when the dreadful morning dawns, when the depth and the horror of secret adultery breaks into the punishing light of day, the only sound greater than the weeping of God's people is the laughter of the Devil.
Do not be deceived; peace for our time is a lie. As long as the Curse works its deadly way through our bodies and minds, we must declare unending war on sin (Gal. 5:17). Give no quarter, take no prisoners, accept no truce. Make no provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14). The command is clear, and the choice is equally clear. If we accept the peaceful coexistence of sin, we will soon live in the lashing service of sin.