Winston Churchill (who warned what was coming with the rising Nazi Third Reich when most of his contemporaries proclaimed peace) famously said, "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Similarly, Walid Shoebat warns here that progressive liberals are misreading the jihadists, "They think that by overcompensating and throwing in with the favorites against infidel and kuffar underdogs, they will be safer."
When the West capitulates to Islam in the fantasy they can both peacefully co-exist, they misunderstand Islam and its' determination to implement sharia worldwide. Appeasement becomes the catalyst for the downfall of the West.
Similarly, when the church fails to take a stand against those who would destroy it with false doctrine and apostate teaching and instead seeks appeasement, the die is cast. But sometimes, it takes only a single faithful individual to make an effective bulwark.
Athanasius lived in the 4th century AD when the blood of the Church’s earliest martyrs was still fresh in the memories of Christians—and the intensity of his faith was a tribute to those who had suffered and died rather than recant the Apostolic Faith. He did not suffer fools; indeed his disposition recorded by history challenges our common perception of holiness as being appeasing, nice and well-mannered. Athanasius was more than willing to fight if provoked, and when the Church was threatened he did not just speak up, he shouted.
The great issue that was dividing the Church at the time was Arianism, a heresy that purported that the Lord Jesus was less than God— not, as our creed professes, “consubstantial with the Father, God from God and Light from Light,” but instead, Christ was akin to something like the demigods of pagan mythology.
Athanasius would have none of this and steadfastly refused to appease his opponents.
He stubbornly insisted that it is integral to the Christianity that God in Christ accepted a human nature, while at the same time in no way compromising His divine nature. This revelation is called the Incarnation, and it is the central claim of the Gospel. God has in Christ assumed our flesh and shared with us the full experience of what it means to be human, even knowing for Himself suffering and death.
The implications of this are profound; Athanasius insisted that because of what God had accomplished in Christ, “that which is made of earth can now pass through the gates of heaven.” In other words, God in Christ is the singular instance in which two natures, human and divine, co-inhere in one divine person. Because God has done this, he has effected for us, in Christ, a “marvelous exchange”- accepting a human nature so that humanity could share in his divine nature.
Athanasius knew that a denial of the Incarnation would ultimately result in a wholesale repudiation of the totality of the Church’s Faith, indeed in a refusal of the whole Christian practice of life, which flows from and returns us to the densely textured revelation of God become man in Christ. At times, his uncompromising insistence that the integrity of the Apostolic Faith regarding the Incarnation be maintained resulted in much personal suffering and scorn, and it seemed that Athanasius was alone and “contra mundi" (against the world).”
But Athanasius was unyielding.
If faith in the Incarnation was lost, not only would the Church fall, but the great gift of participation in the divine life that Christ offered to humanity could not be appreciated or received. The stakes were high.
The witness Athanasius clarifies just how much theology matters. Contrary to what many now proclaim, theology is of utmost importance. Get it wrong and everything is lost. The great truths of Christianity cannot be taken lightly or dismissed as abstractions that are best left to experts. Every Christian has a responsibility as a disciple to know the Church’s teachings at a measure of depth, or the mission that Christ imparts to us is imperiled. A disciple cannot be content with a spiritual life that is built on the sandy foundations of platitudes or slogans. Christ comes into this world as a man so that we might know him as God. The Christian spiritual life is a continual intensification of our experience and understanding of this revelation.
The tendency to dilute or deny the truth of the Incarnation has been a temptation in every age of the Church. The world may prefer another kind of Christ, but if that is the world’s preference, Athanasius invites us to stand with him “contra mundi.” For appeasement is the death sentence for the church.