In the ferocious war between good and evil, it's critical that the church exercise wisdom on when to draw a figurative line in the sand. The church must maintain a fine balance between grace and orthodoxy. Veering towards either extreme always has catastrophic consequences. Lose orthodoxy for more grace and we slip in liberalism and license. Lose grace and we slip into legalism and bondage. Either way, we lose the gospel in our witness.
Many Christians foolishly choose to die on strategically insignificant hills, falling on their sword over nonessentials while ignoring the catastrophic assault on the castle gates. The problem often is that they are murky at best on the issue of inflexible moral truth which ultimately empowers them to differentiate between essential and non-essentials (Romans ch. 14).
Theologian RR Reno writes in the April 2017 edition of First Things,
Over the last three generations, the West has become increasingly ambivalent about strong truths, seeing them as divisive and judgmental. The influential intellectual and cultural movements of recent decades have sought a view of truth that’s more fluid, open, and inclusive. This is obvious when it comes to sexual morality. But it’s evident in other areas as well. Many want a more flexible view of suicide, one that allows people to take their own lives if they face pain or despair. Divorce—the focus of controversy surrounding Amoris—should be treated as “tragic,” not wrong. In this issue, Christopher Caldwell reports on the softening, nonjudgmental language professionals now encourage, even require, when talking about drug addiction (“American Carnage”). At every turn, our dominant culture weakens strong truths.
When we foolishly forsake the concept of inflexible moral truth, we become far more prone to die on strategically insignificant hills in the battle against evil. We end up forsaking the strategic mountains that are truly key and become Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Transcendent truth is paramount in this battle.
Lose the tension between grace and orthodoxy and we lose the gospel. We maintain the tension by clinging to inflexible, revealed moral truth (orthodoxy). Everything else is free to be open to the conscience which may be strong or weak (grace).