Safeguard Your ‘Moorings’
Moorings connect sea vessels to solid ground. If these moorings break, the vessel becomes subject to the wind and waves and is likely to go adrift.
Similarly, when Christian institutions break away from their biblical moorings, they become subject to worldly influences and theological liberalism; and ultimately, they drift toward apostasy.
Apostasy can often result from a slow and gradual erosion of certain fundamentals of the faith. The following is a sampling of those all-important “moorings.”
1. A Commitment to Biblical Inerrancy.
Harold Lindsell astutely observed, “Down the road, whether it takes five or fifty years, any institution that departs from belief in an inerrant Scripture will likewise depart from other fundamentals of the faith and at last cease to be evangelical in the historical meaning of that term.”1
2. A Commitment to Propositional, Revelatory Truth.
The use of other sources (i.e., tradition, culture, reason, the scientific method, or experience) for discovering ultimate, revealed truth effectively diminishes the Bible’s authority. Eventually there is no longer an objective standard by which to measure heresy. Man becomes the measure.2
3. A Commitment to Clarity of Theological and Doctrinal Terms.
Theologian Millard Erickson perceived that theological liberals “continued to use the same terminology, but invested it with different meaning.” Further, “In a day in which meaning is thought by some to reside, not objectively in the words and expressions themselves, but in the person who receives them so that its meaning is what it means to the recipient, this concern is especially appropriate.”3
4. A Commitment to Separation.
Entangling alliances with unbelievers can lead to compromise (2 Cor. 6:14–18). An example is the life of King Solomon.
5. A Commitment to Pleasing God.
A subtle but major shift towards apostasy occurs when a believer seeks man’s approval over God’s. This situation can lead to concessions in all the previously mentioned areas. The Bible and history are filled with examples.4
Contemporary departures from the faith portend a future apostasy that will come during the Tribulation (2 Th. 2:3). Today, theologically liberal “sirens” constantly call for those who would join them. Unfortunately, too many people have “put away” a good conscience and “have made shipwreck” their faith (1 Tim. 1:19).
How are your moorings?
- Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 120–21.
- Roger E. Olson, “Postconservative Envangelicals Greet the Postmodern Age,” Christian Century 112.15 (May 3, 1995), 480, cited in Millard J. Erickson, The Evangelical Left (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997) 29, 42–44. Also see George M. Marsden, The Soul of the American University (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) 49–50, 60, 62–63.
- Erickson, 15–16.
- See 1 Sam. 13:11; Jn. 12:42–43; Gal. 2:11–12; George M. Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 144, 146, 181, 186; Marsden, The Soul of the American University, 24, 61, 270, 287.