“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Gal. 4:16
By David W. Daniels
We hear a lot about Christians “engaging in dialogue” with other groups and religions: Muslims, homosexuals, Catholics, etc. But should a Bible-believer do this? What is this “dialogue” everybody wants us to “engage” in?
When we take a closer look, what they want is not really dialogue —it’s dialectic, a very old Jesuit principle.
Dialectic involves three aspects: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. These sound complex, but “thesis” and “antithesis” are simply names for two opposites. “Synthesis” is a word for the compromise people reach in order to come to some form of agreement.
Here’s the problem: what if the thesis happens to be the truth? If one side is the truth, then the other side —antithesis— has to be a lie. But what is the synthesis? Any compromise between truth and a lie is also a lie. So, actually, if you talk about which side wins, the lie wins out, because a lie is always a lie. It never becomes the truth. Truth compromised is still a lie.
But before the eyes of God, everyone loses in this kind of dialogue, or dialectic. What we need is truth, not compromise. We need to persuade the other side to the truth of our side. Then everybody wins and there’s no compromise.
Look at the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They’re standing up there by themselves, because everybody else is fallen down on their faces in front of this giant idol. So the king calls them out by name and says in effect, “Didn’t you hear my decree? I don’t care who you are; when you hear the music, you fall down just like everybody else!”
The three could have said, “You know, we could just bow our heads down. That’ll be good enough.” But then they would be just as bad as everybody else. They might as well be on their faces in front of the idol. Tilting your head is still compromise. It’s still not what God commanded in His word. Instead, they said, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not… we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Thesis stayed thesis, and antithesis stayed antithesis. There was no synthesis. In fact, the king in his fury commanded them to heat the fiery furnace seven times hotter, so hot that his mightiest men, who threw them in, died of their burns.
But God protected those three. And even if He hadn’t, they just would’ve gone to meet Him. But this time He came to meet them! And when they came out they didn’t even have the smell of fire —or the stink of idolatry on them. They stayed with their thesis. They had no guilt of compromise. For them there was no synthesis.
It didn’t matter whether they were afraid or not, because that was not the point. It didn’t matter. What mattered was their refusal to compromise. And God completely honored it.
This is why dialogue will never work when you have the truth. Dialogue only works with two people who don’t have the truth. One lie synthesized into another lie comes up with a compromise lie.
We must stand firm and persuade others of the truth of God’s words and doctrines. We must never compromise God’s truth with the Devil’s —or man’s— lies.