Compromise is the willingness to give up something in order to get something. It is said to be the art of diplomacy. Savvy politicians will tell you that to be a successful politician you must learn to compromise. Because different philosophies and ideologies come to bear within political circles, it is difficult to accomplish anything without being willing to compromise somewhere along the line. Usually, neither side gets all of what it wants. Instead, each side gives up something in order to get some of what it believes to be best. While getting some of what it believes in, each side prevents the other from getting all of what it wants.
Certainly, compromise is valid, even necessary under certain circumstances. Husbands and wives must learn to compromise on a number of issues within their marriage. A husband cannot expect his wife to blindly go along with everything he wants or says, regardless of its appropriateness. Neither can a wife expect her husband to agree with everything she says. Both may agree on the need for new carpeting. She may like red, and he may like brown. They may have to compromise and get blue. He may want one child, she may want six! They may have to compromise somewhere in between.
Other relationships often require compromise to one degree or another. Dating couples, friends, work associates, neighbors may all find themselves having to compromise from time to time with others around them, just to get along.
Basically, there’s nothing wrong with compromising under the right circumstances. But a problem arises when truth is compromised. Once compromised, that truth will never be the same. Truth cannot stand compromise. A few illustrations are in order.
If 2+2=4, it cannot ever equal anything but 4. If someone comes along and insists 2+2=6, and someone else insists 2+2=4, both cannot possibly be correct. Either one is wrong and the other right, or both are wrong, but both cannot be right. If the two compromise and agree to state that 2+2=5, they have not changed the actual truth of the matter. If they could somehow convince everyone in the world to agree that 2+2=5, then 2+2=5 will become an “accepted truth.” However, it will not change the actual truth; 2+2 will always, in actual truth, equal 4. Actual truth cannot be compromised.
When it comes to doctrinal matters, there’s no room for compromise. The truth is the truth. There is only one true God (1 Cor. 8:4,6). There is only one savior, Jesus Christ (Jn. 8:24). The Bible is the only body of authoritative truth that has been communicated to man by God in order to guide man in God’s will (2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is no salvation outside of Christ (Acts 4:12). A person cannot be saved without being baptized (immersed) in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21; Mk. 16:15-16). He cannot be saved without also being in the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47). We could go on and on.
Truth cannot be compromised and remain truth. When one decides to compromise the doctrinal teachings of God’s word, he does away with the truth. Compromised teachings are not actual truth. The only way for one to have actual truth, doctrinally, is to accept God’s doctrine as He has communicated it to us. It cannot be changed and still be God’s truth. Truth cannot be compromised, because compromise changes truth…
Gary L. Hutchens