Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Fallacy of Influence

"For a long time, I have felt that the cause of biblical Christianity has been undermined in our time by sincere people who engage in unbiblical activities for the sake of being an influence. The sad and ironic result of those actions has been harm to the cause of Christ and little or no good influence has actually occurred. The myth of influence seduces Christians into believing that by compromising important theological truths more people can be influenced for Christ.

Now I am not opposed to the idea of trying to be an influence. The Christian community should not isolate itself from discussion with anyone or from common action with non-Christians where the faith is not compromised. Christians should hope, pray, and work to be a godly influence wherever they can in this world. Christians need to recognize that certain kinds of compromise can be appropriate. Christians and non-Christians can unite to oppose abortion, for example. And Baptists, Reformed, and Lutherans can join the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals to promote some basic truths of the Reformation.

The danger comes, however, when Christians adopt a notion of influence derived from the world of politics or business. That world sees influence in relation to power, money, numbers, and success. Compromise, cooperation, and intentional ambiguity are all methods used to achieve influence in this world. But should Christians adopt strategies and set goals that compromise basic elements of their faith in the name of influence?"

W. Robert Godfrey, The Myth of Influence

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