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The Church of Compromise (Church of Pergamos) Rev. 2:12-17

The Little Sisters of the Poor were going from door to door in a French city, soliciting alms for old people. One nun called at the house of an opulent free-thinker who said he would give 1000 francs if she would have a glass of champagne with him. It was an embarrassing situation for the nun, and she hesitated. But the hesitation was short–after all, 1000 francs meant many loaves of bread. A servant brought the bottle and poured, and the brave little nun emptied the glass. And then she said, “And now, sir, another glass, please, at the same price.” She got it. 

The city of Pergamum was a beautiful city with curvaceous hillsides and terraces. The city of Pergamum was known for its penchant of art and sculpture which included a sculpted altar of Zeus. Some believed this was the throne of Satan mentioned in (Rev. 2:13). The city was a hub for the intelligentsia because of its large library. Also many scholars may have used the first parchment in Pergamum.

Christ is the one in the text who has the sharp two-edged sword.The sharp two-edged sword is the word of God. There are two other scriptures that corroborate this (Eph. 6:17 and Heb. 4:12). The word of God has searching power so as to convict and convert some and to convict and condemn to punishment others. It will take the penetrating adjudication of the word of God to deal Satan’s throne in the church of Pergamum. (Where is Satan’s throne in our culture: music, movies, morals, social media, TV, marriage, relationships and children). Let’s take a look at the top rap songs April 2016: DJ Luke Nasty (Might Be), Iggy Azalea (Team), Fetty Wap (Jimmy Choo), Young Thug (Best Friend), Drake (Summer Sixteen), Drake & Future (Jumpman) and Gucci Mane (Still Selling Dope). The “sola scriptura” the Bible alone will be the divine eradication of theological
vicissitudes.

Even though there seems to be idolatry at the center of this church there was a remnant who remained faithful to God. The throne of Satan could represent the Greek god Zeus or the Greek god Asclepius. It could also represent the city’s whole religious system of worshipping idol gods. In spite of these sacrilegious acts Antipas remained faithful unto God and according to tradition my have been the Bishop of Pergamum. His martyrdom may have occurred being burned in a brazen bull-shaped altar for casting out demons worshiped by the local population.

As we examine the etymological meaning Pergamos “married.” this translates into the church be married to compromise, false doctrine and idolatry. The church followed after the pernicious doctrine of Balaam. Balaam was a hireling prophet who led the people of Israel into sin in return for opulence and prestige he received. He encouraged Israel to worship heathen idols and indulge in fornication (Numbers 22-25). At Pergamum the church was wedded to the world in order to get worldly advantages. The New Testament portrays Balaam as a self-aggrandizing prophet who had a narcissistic agenda (2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11). The church pursued after the aberrant doctrine of the Nicolaitans. This same doctrine was introduced to the church of Ephesus. But the church of Ephesus repudiated the false doctrine. On the other hand, the church of Pergamos capitulated to the false doctrine and allowed it become the teaching of the church. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans has a lot of uncertainty in Christendom. However, the doctrine can be summed up in the following way: Compromise with worldly morality, pagan doctrine and self indulgence. How our the culture been faced with compromise? Relativism-men has revised truth in their own eyes. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism-one understands that for most people, God is a nice idea but He’s not someone they want to be bothered with on a regular basis. How has church been faced with compromise? The research indicates that only 9% of all American adults have a biblical worldview. The Barna study also indicated that a minority of people who describe themselves as “born again” actually share this worldview. So while “they were twice as likely as the average adult to possess a biblical worldview… even among born again Christians, less than one out of every five (19%) had such an outlook on life.” When a group of young unbelieving Americans was asked to use terms that describe their take on what the Bible represents to them, many of the words they chose were based more in the realm of “cultural mythology” than in the category of “divine” or “sacred” literature (George Barna). [Millennials’] top five word choices are ‘story’ (50 percent), ‘mythology’ (38 percent), ‘symbolic’ (36 percent), ‘fairy tale’ (30 percent) and ‘historical’ (30 percent),” the research points out. “Very few choose words that reflect divine origins: just 12 percent of non-Christian Millennials picked the word ‘sacred’ to describe the Bible, one in 10 chose ‘fact’ and even fewer selected ‘revelation’ (8 percent), ‘infallible’ (3 percent) or ‘inerrant’ (2 percent). The church is encouraged to repent or the word of God will judge their sinful deeds.

There is a heavenly reward for the church if they won’t compromise God’s word. The “hidden manna” may refer to Christ as the Bread from heaven, the unseen source of the believer’s nourishment and strength. Whereas Israel received physical food, manna, the church receives spiritual food. The reference to the white stone and stone could mean: gives the believer “a new name,” indicating acceptance by God and his title to glory. Taken as a whole, the message to the church in Pergamum is a warning against compromise in morals or teaching and against deviating from the purity of doctrine required of Christians.

In conclusion, I believe the proverbial quote from Merrit Mallory “Compromise is simply changing the question to fit the answer” this sums up the age of Christendom. The church is being faced with a theological conundrum how does the church contextualize the message of the gospel without compromising the gospel message. I believe the answer lies within word of God Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

Comments(2)

  1. Reply
    Monica Bohlen says

    Good read pastor. I need a dictionary handy for all the big words

    • Reply
      Robert Caruth says

      Monica:

      Thanks for reading the blog many blessings.

      Shalom,

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