“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39
Scary words to a people who want to believe in peace at any cost, negotiation with evil, and compromise over principle. Scary words because Jesus insists here that there is no peaceful coexistence. Yet these words have been stripped of their meaning by churches willing to do anything and bow to any altar in order to promote the acceptance and tolerance key to a world that celebrates diversity over doctrine and truth. Either evil will win or it will lose and either the Church will be faithful or the Church will be a harlot. It is as ridiculous as the idea that a cancer patient can make peace with the disease that is killing him. But who refuses to admit that modern Christianity has done just that. The bulk of Protestantism has sold its soul at the altar of relevance and given up every word of doctrine in order to preserve the illusion of respect from the world around you.
Peace with the devil is fake peace. Live and let live cannot work with an enemy whose existence requires you to die. This is the truth that modernity has chosen to ignore but ignorance of the truth does not prevent suffering from its consequences. Whether the reconciliation of lives that matter with the right to kill the child in the womb or the demand for the right to marry only to change what marriage is, Christianity has to choose this day whom it will service. There is no reconciliation with evil or negotiation with the devil. There is only a choice. If the Church is faithful, she will not fail to inform her people of the consequences of such compromise and of the fruits of such tolerance of evil. But the reality is that too many Christians have presumed that this is not only possible but the preferable choice for a church body seeking relevance and trying to thrive.
Jesus insists that He will not countenance peace at any price -- not even within your own family. I don't know about you but I hate to hear this. I have a family with many different denominations and religions represented and there are inevitable conflicts that I would rather avoid. Wouldn't you? I cringe at the people who tell me doctrine does not matter and we all have our own version of Christianity and it does not matter so much what you believe but how sincere you are or how tolerant you are. But instead of cringing, the Lord calls us to speak the truth (in love but still speaking it). So we must contend for the whole Gospel and not parts. We must speak with equal boldness the whole counsel of God's Word. We must not shrink from the moments when the truth will cost us something -- perhaps even a family relationship or friendship! The goal here is not to be right but to be faithful, not to presume our righteousness but to proclaim the righteousness of Christ alone. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matt 12:30).
We have lived too long with the idea that religion does not matter. The fruits of our indifference to the real issues at stake show up in empty pews and graying membership. We have not passed on the faith but left it up to our kids and grandkids. In the end even silence is complicity and Jesus makes it clear that we are unworthy of Him and the faith. It is a harsh judgment but we are not rendering that verdict, Jesus is. The faith is a non-negotiable or at least is should be. In an age when we have bowed before the altar of popularity in order to echo the selfish whims of desire or the altar of expediency to succumb to the expectation of culture or whim of politician, the Church has lost her soul and become the very evil Christ came to confront. As soon as we give evil a voice at the table and a vote on what is truth, the cause is lost.