We have been hearing a lot recently about the “danger of compromise.” The problem with such a blanket indictment is that it ignores the fact that much good has come from compromise.
We would not have the Bible, the Creeds, the Confessions, and the Catechisms if Christians had refused to compromise. Our denominational books of discipline and order would not exist if there had been no compromise. Parachurch charters and articles of incorporation come into being through compromise. And many of our best national and international laws have been forged on the anvil of compromise.
Declaring up front that compromise is “dangerous” is a way people and groups say, “We refuse to talk with anyone who does not hold our views.” And that spirit and decision violates the proven religious means of grace we call holy conversation and the time-honored political principle of bi-partisan negotiation.
Compromise can be dangerous, but it can also be productive. And there is no way to know in advance–no way to predict which it will be until we agree to sit down together and do the hard work of listening to and respecting each other. Refusal to compromise shuts down one of the channels God has used to keep church and state moving forward in good and godly ways.