In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul refers to the church as “the pillar and support of the truth.” One of the church’s biggest roles is to uphold truth against wave after wave of attack from all sides. 

Since truth is of God (John 3:33, John 14:6), who is better positioned to uphold and proclaim the church than us, His church? Certainly not the universities, the government, or the news media. Philosophers have been trying (and failing in the end) to find ultimate truth for millennia. Pop culture isn’t going to give it to us. If truth is from God, we’re the only hope the world has to set the record straight.

It only makes sense, then, that one of Satan’s biggest efforts would go toward getting the church to compromise on truth. 

Our strategy against this challenge can not only be to deflect and shoot down lies. We are to go on offense by “declaring the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). To quote the old sports adage, “the best defense is a good offense.” Declaring the whole counsel means clearly delineating what we are for. Once we know what we stand for, we already know everything we’re against. 

If we stand for God’s definition of marriage, we’re automatically against fornication, cohabitation, adultery, divorce, and all manner of LGBT issues. If we stand for God’s definition of gender roles, we’re automatically against the insanity surrounding transgenderism, and also feminism, and egalitarianism. If we stand for God’s truths on justice and racism, we’re automatically against both racial discrimination and worldly concepts of justice that only divide further. The list goes on…

However, if we don’t insist on declaring the whole counsel, our views will be set by the world, one way or another. We’ll either capitulate to popular opinion when we receive pushback, or we’ll get overly focused on the day’s hot-button issues, letting the world set the frame and leaving us weak elsewhere. We might speak against gay marriage, but over-emphasis there might leave the door open for compromise on, say, divorce. 

Additionally, when the world “wins” a battle and their idea is universally accepted, it’s all too easy for us to find a way to accept it too rather than stand against it. Most of us can clearly point out the lunacy of the gender debate happening today. But we long ago capitulated to the world’s framework for gender roles in the home. “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” and “happy wife, happy life” ring a bell? Raising kids with gender neutral dreams and goals in life is basically standard, as well. We’ve ceded ground in ways we don’t even realize.

When we declare the whole counsel, we don’t get ourselves into these messes. Be warned, though, the nearer you get to declaring the whole counsel of God, the more enemies you will make. This should not come as a surprise (see 2 Timothy 3:12).

This is why Paul emphasizes the importance of not “shrinking” or “keeping back” any of God’s counsel (Acts 20:20, 27). To do so is akin to a soldier retreating from the front lines rather than standing his ground. In more familiar imagery, it’s like an offensive lineman curling up in the fetal position rather than blocking the oncoming linebacker. As kids, we called it “chickening out.”

Declaring the truth is hard, and shrinking back is easy. But to shrink back is to forfeit eternally valuable ground. As God’s chosen “pillar and support of the truth,” we can’t afford to do that. We have to stand for the truth. If we don’t, who will?