“Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come (Luke 27:29).”
A sunny day at the beach turned into a big emergency for a young girl and her father earlier this Summer at Irvine Beach Park in Scotland. She had ventured out into the surf on an inflatable unicorn when gradually the wind and the tide had pulled her far from the shore. Her father swam out to rescue her but fell into some danger himself as both of them were swallowing sea-water. Fortunately, the Coast Guard was already on scene and rescued the struggling pair and took them to a local hospital as a precaution (1). The Coast Guard warned others that setting adrift into the open waters on inflatables can be very treacherous.
We see the same principles at work in society. Slowly, almost imperceptibly our values and mores drift out to sea and away from firm ground. The winds of change blow and without notice we have departed from our positions. You don’t have to look far to find many significant changes in our society; some high schools are commanding unisex bathrooms (2) and now it is being directed for elementary students (3). Only a few elections cycles back no presidential candidate for either party would endorse gay marriage. Now, Vermont has a transgender candidate for Governor (4). In this world traditions and moral norms are constantly changing. Sometimes, it is for the better. Women were not allowed to vote and slavery was once legal. These were intolerable laws that were rightly corrected.
But there can also be slow, incremental changes that arise in the church that we were warned about in the New Testament. Some have succeeded in causing Christians to question the inspiration of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17), the deity of Jesus (2 Peter 2:1), and the exclusive salvation offered only in Christianity (John 14:6). Jude urged Christians to contend for the faith because there were some who “crept in unnoticed (Jude 3-4)” who would corrupt them if possible. Paul warned the elders in Ephesus that destructive heresies would come into the church that they should be on guard against (Acts 20:29-32).
This continual call to remain grounded in the unchanging word of God to prevent drifting away by the winds of error was continually preached even in the first century. Paul sought to send a reminder of the things he taught in every church (1 Corinthians 4:17). Peter repeatedly wanted to ensure that Christian were reminded of the sound unchanging doctrine even though they were already anchored in the truth (2 Peter 2:1:12-13). Jesus Himself, sent a message to His people at the church in Sardis to recall what they had already received and heard. It is the idea that no other doctrine should be taught (1 Timothy 1:3, Galatians 1:6-8).
It is perilous to trust other sources than the Word of God alone that leads us to be tossed adrift by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) and serves as our timeless anchor that withstands all the winds of other doctrines and societal changes. So many religious bodies are altering their long-held stances and are unaware that they are drifting ever further from the safe shores of the New Testament. If we are anchored in the apostle’s teachings we cannot be pulled away (2 Thessalonians 2:15, 1 John 4:6)
“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away (Hebrews 2:1).”