There is a great decision that every denomination has to make sometime in the development of its history. Every church also has to make it either at its beginning or a little later—usually a little later. Eventually every board is faced with the decision and has to keep making it, not by one great decision made once for all, but by a series of little decisions adding up to one great big one. Every pastor has to face it and keep renewing his decision on his knees before God. Finally, every church member, every evangelist, every Christian has to make this decision. It is a matter of judgment upon that denomination, that church, that board, that pastor, that leader and upon their descendants and spiritual children.
The question is this: Shall we modify the truth in doctrine or practice to gain more adherents? Or shall we preserve the truth in doctrine and practice and take the consequences? If the decision is that we modify the truth and practice of the church, then we are responsible for the consequences, whatever they may be. God already knows what the consequences are, and history has shown what they are. But if we choose to preserve the truth, then God accepts the responsibility.
Business people have to make that choice in business. Everyone has to make it at income tax time. Students have to make it in school. We have to make it everywhere in our lives as we touch society. Shall we preserve the truth and the practice of the truth, or shall we alter it just comfortably in order to be more popular, gain more adherents and get along easier in the world?
Actually such a question should never need to be asked. It is like asking, “Should a man be faithful to his wife?” There is only one answer to that question. When we ask, “Shall we preserve the truth and practice of the church, or shall we modify it for immediate and visible results?” we ought to have only one answer. It is not a debatable question, and yet it is one that has to be constantly debated in the secret prayer chamber. It is constantly debated when conferences meet, when boards meet and when a pastor must make a decision.
A commitment to preserving the truth and practice of the church is what separates me from a great many people who are perhaps far greater than I am in ability. This is my conviction, long held and deeply confirmed by a knowledge of the fact that modern gospel churches, almost without exception, have decided to modify the truth and practice a little in order to have more adherents and get along better. When we make a decision to modify the truth, we bring the consequences of that choice upon ourselves. What have the consequences been?
One has been an absence of a spirit of worship in the church. Many people do not even know what is meant by a spirit of worship. That is tragic. I wish God would either change things a little or give me a sight of His glory among His people. I admit that sometimes I feel like the man of God who said,
And I said, Oh that I had wings, like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. (Psalm 55:6–7)
Many of the Lord’s people do not know what you mean when you mention a spirit of worship in the church. They are poor victims of boards, churches, denominations and pastors who have made the noble decision to modify the truth and practice a little. But God responded, “If you do, I will withdraw from you the spirit of worship. I will remove your candlestick.”
Taken from Aiden Wilson Tozer, Rut, Rot or Revival, 1st ed. (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2006), 151–153.