I am a history buff. Always have been. I am also one of those people who is fascinated by dates and what happened on certain days. For example, I am writing this on Friday, March 18, 2016. On this date in history in the year A.D. 37 the Roman Senate proclaimed Caligula as Emperor. (Something they would come to regret!) In 978 King Edward of England was murdered, joining thousands of other Christian martyrs in the roll call of faith. In 1852 the Wells Fargo Company was founded. In 1922 Mohandas Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience. In 1961 the Pillsbury Dough Boy made his debut.
Also on this date, Neville Chamberlain was born in 1869. Do you remember Chamberlain? He was the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1937 to 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his attempts to keep the peace, and avoid war with Germany. As the 1930’s progressed, Hitler became increasingly aggressive in his plans to dominate Europe. Chamberlain met with Hitler in a series of conferences in 1938. He returned from Germany in September with Munich Accord. Chamberlain apparently believed that he had corralled Hitler, and that Der Führer’s expansionist effort was at an end. He had Hitler’s assurances as to this fact. Chamberlain famously reported “I have returned from Germany with peace for our time.” That peace was very short-lived, however. And within a year Britain would be at war with Germany, and World War II would have begun.
Historians debate about Chamberlain and his tenure as Prime Minister. Was the Munich Accord he signed with Hitler an effective strategic measure, or a bumbling mistake of truly historic proportions? The jury is still out. However, my (limited) study of Chamberlain leaves with me with one impression—he was basically clueless in understanding Hitler and his intentions. He wanted to think the best of Herr Hitler and optimistically hope that everyone would just “play nice” and get along. He was really a man out of touch with the times.
Chamberlain was probably a good man, a good patriot, and in some ways an effective administrator. But his failure to accurately assess Hitler and the Nazi regime was disastrous. Can I tell you something? We live in a world of Neville Chamberlains. This is especially true in the church. When it comes to what is happening in our world, most Christians just want everyone to “play nice and get along.” It doesn’t matter that our Enemy is out to destroy us, and he is launching an all-out assault in our morals, our doctrine, and our ability to influence our culture. It doesn’t matter that we coddle sinners and hold up wicked people as heroes. It doesn’t matter that we compromise biblical truth, and glory in our “tolerance” and “open-mindedness.” These things don’t matter. We want to live in a “nice” world where peace reigns, and everybody gets along just fine.
This is the world we live in today. A world where the ugliness of sin is no longer recognized. Good is now evil, and wrong is now right. And if you think differently… if you attempt to point out a biblical view of morals and truth… then you are old-fashioned, narrow-minded, and (above all) legalistic. Shame on you for being so judgmental. What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just “love” everybody and accept everyone just the way they are?
Too many people say these very things. And what they are actually revealing about themselves is that they are clueless about what is really happening in our world. There is no peace for us. We are at war! We are already in a war where the Enemy is expanding his territory and, sadly, we are naively allowing him to do it. We should be girding ourselves for battle, and raising the banner of righteousness, justice, truth and virtue. Instead we declare for “peace for our time” and let the Enemy roll right over us. God help us! (If He doesn’t, we are doomed.) God give us men like those in ancient Issachar, who understood the times they lived in and knew what the children of God should do (1 Chronicles 12:32). We need to stand for God’s truth and God’s way. We need to be warriors for the Gospel, “fighting the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We need to heed the words of Martin Luther, “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” We need to once again “Stand up, stand up for Jesus!”