Homeostasis has been defined as the tendency of a body to maintain internal stability. The temperature of the human body is 98.6º. If you stand outside in -10º weather with 30-mile-an-hour winds, your body temperature will be . . . 98.6 º. If you work in 110 º weather with 90% humidity, your internal temperature will be . . . 98.6 º. Your body will automatically shiver in the cold and sweat in the heat to maintain homeostasis. If you consume fat and sugar, eat a diet that lacks protein and complex carbohydrates, you will maintain homeostasis. But at some point, things will break down. Stay in the cold long enough and you will develop hypothermia. Work in the heat long enough and you may have a heat stroke. Eat enough fat and sugar and you may develop clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and end up with a heart attack.
It seems to me that there is a spiritual parallel to homeostasis. All of us have been exposed to compromise and wrong ideas. Most young men have found some New Evangelicals appealing and some of their ideas intriguing. Many have read their books and taken some insights and information which they have used in their independent Baptist churches. I had a pastor who encouraged me to attend John MacArthur’s Shepherds Conference. Many of my friends became enamored of his preaching and his writing. They shared with me some of his sermon tapes and expressed to me their admiration for him. My encounters left me essentially unchanged (I did not attend the Shepherds Conference). By the grace of God, I practiced the same standards, kept the same godly mentors and examples, used the same Bible and preached the same message of separation from the world as I had before I came in contact with New Evangelical influences. I maintained spiritual homeostasis. But not all of my friends did. Some are no longer Baptists. Some use corrupt Bible versions. Some, having left the intolerant ranks of Fundamentalism for the tolerant realms of New Evangelicalism, now find independent Fundamental Baptists intolerable. They did not maintain spiritual homeostasis. I’m sure I don’t know all the answers as to why, but I trust the Lord will use these thoughts to help us encourage young men and to help young men stay on the right track.
Here are some indicators that a person may be in danger of not maintaining spiritual homeostasis.
- When they become critical and disdainful of the truth and positions which they have been taught from the word of God.
- When they uncritically accept information from those who have compromised truth.
- When they speak more in defense of compromise than of those who take a stand (how easy it is to become more critical of the ungodly disposition of one who nonetheless stands for truth than it is of the ungodly position of the one who maintains a genial and positive demeanor).
- When they become infatuated with leaders who are New Evangelicals and find themselves more interested in reading their blogs, listening to their sermons, and doing their materials than they do those of independent, Fundamental Baptists.
It is impossible to avoid all exposure to error. Thos who go into the world to win the world to Christ will often end up with dirty feet (there is, of course, a special protection promised to those who are spreading the Gospel message – Matthew 28:19, 20). How then can we inoculate ourselves against the inevitable exposure to the germs of compromise?
- Know the truth. Those who know truth instinctively recognize error. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Colossians 3:15) I am told that Chinese banking families never give their children counterfeit money. They instead let them play with large sums of real money from all denominations from the time they are young. Having been thoroughly exposed to that which is real, they instinctively recognize that which is counterfeit.
- Correct error. One of the most helpful statements I ever heard was made by Dr. Wayne VanGelderen Sr. at my Baccalaureate service. He explained that in the world we will be constantly bombarded with error – through billboards, magazines, newspapers, television and radio (this was before much of today’s technology had become widespread in its usage or I suspect he would have mentioned blogs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook as well). He said, “The only way you will keep your mind right is if each time you hear something wrong you immediately, mentally correct it.”
- Make a deliberate decision to limit your exposure to those who have compromised truth. Bro. Steve Chappell told me recently that so much information comes to us that we do not have to “decide to look, we have to decide to limit.”
In our diet, there is room for some fat and some sugar. But there had better be much more protein and complex carbohydrates or we will soon have health issues. Repeated, uncorrected exposure to error will likewise dilute our position, diminish our discernment and destroy our defenses. May God help us to continue in the things which we have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom we have learned them (II Timothy 3:14) and maintain spiritual homeostasis.