Why does it matter? Why are you always pushing the envelope? Why do you push so hard for what you think is right and what you believe? What difference does it make about the theology that is being advocated? Why can’t you just let things go? Just let it ride! Why is absolute truth necessary in the theology that is advocated in our churches? Hey, one is just as good as the others, right? These are some of the questions that I routinely hear.
The quick answer is because truth matters! Without it, our theology and our faith become relative. Without truth in our theology, any belief becomes ok. When one looks back over the history of the faith, he will see that it is replete with “new theologies” attempting to take over the church. Maybe some advocated such things maliciously- the wolves that will devour the sheep that scripture addresses. These folks were attempting to purposely teach false doctrine and theology to destroy the faith. Maybe others were not acting maliciously, but simply thought that they had a new way of looking at the tenets of the faith. They thought they had the new and more enlightened approach to the faith.
Regardless of which camp these folks fell into, the early church dealt with them in the same manner. They affirmed truth as truth and designated apostasy as apostasy regardless of the intent of the advocate. The early church was keenly aware that truth in our faith matters, and if they allowed all theologies to become a part of the faith, then the basic tenets of the faith taught by Christ would be lost forever. It would have been some type of all encompassing amalgamation that had no resemblance of the true tenets of the Christian faith. All theologies would be valid. There are obvious philosophical reasons why allowing such is unworkable and illogical.
The early church fathers understood this and opposed apostasy and directly contended for the faith and instructed us to do the same to avoid being led down the path of destruction.
2 Peter 2:1-3
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”
“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.”
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord.”
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”
1 Peter 3:15-16
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
Why it important to push the envelope on these issues? Why is it important to defend the faith and insist that there is such a thing as correct theology and essential Christian Doctrine and such should be taught in the local church? It is because scripture advocates this. Additionally, the early church fathers did it and instructed all of us to do it too. The consequences for not doing it is to have the church infected with a watered down theology that will lead all of us not toward God but away from Him and toward our destruction. The early church knew that and we should too. We all have this responsibility. We must all get on board and gladly pick up this cross and carry it. We have a charge to keep!