“Winston Churchill is rightly celebrated as the greatest statesman of the twentieth century and among the greatest of any century.” So writes James C. Humes in his latest book, Churchill The Prophetic Statesman.
One example of why Humes and others give such distinction to Churchill is that when he was faced with the horrible evil of Nazi Germany he argued for resistance though many among his own countrymen were willing to compromise with Hitler, and pressed him to negotiate. Humes marks a moment when the British war cabinet, caught in the “demoralizing grip of appeasement,” was bravely confronted by Churchill’s proposal that England should go down fighting.
As Humes notes, on May 28th, 1940, Churchill, on his 18th day in office, calls for a small meeting at 10 Downing Street. With only 40 people present, Churchill makes an astounding appeal. He declared that against all odds, against all opposition foreign and domestic, Britain must fight on. Italy has betrayed her friends, the USA is uncommitted, the British Expeditionary force is trapped, and Paris will fall in a few days. Yet Churchill is recorded as saying:
“I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with “That Man.” But it was idle to think, if we tried to make peace now, we should get better terms than if we fought it out. The Germans would demand our fleet–that would be called “disarmament”–our naval bases, and much else. We should become a slave state, though a British Government which would be Hitler’s puppet would be set up………
“And I am convinced,” he concluded, “that every man of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender. If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”
Humes reports that Hugh Dalton, the minister for economic warfare, wrote in his diary, in the moments following Churchill’s speech, this entry…. “Not much more was said…No one expressed even the faintest flicker of dissent.”
Here I want to leave this account of human bravery and commitment. I hope that you the reader will reflect with me about our own challenges against the enemies of false doctrine and worldliness. Are there moments when we cower in the “demoralizing grip of appeasement?” We should perhaps ask this: How close are we as a movement to a surrender of the Biblical teachings of Holiness living or especially of the Apostle’s Doctrine? I don’t know. But I feel troubled every day.
I know that the careless compromising of Bible principles is rampant in our culture and throughout Christianity. And it moves even among us Pentecostals like a viper, slithering about biting, poisoning, killing, yet remaining unmolested. The evidence of this is clear. We see it played out in reckless lifestyles and boldly revealed through postings on social media. Snarky remarks openly swirl through conversations and articles as if the great cause of this generation is to dismiss the very doctrines of holiness and sanctification as ‘old school’ ignorance. It becomes a meme. It takes on “cool.” It sneaks its way into codified phrases dropped into sermons and songs, provoking silly smiles among those who think themselves wise. And such posturing, unfortunately, inspires others to make friends with the wisdom and ways of the world, as if God shrinks when we shrink.
Someone said to me, “Well, the world moves on and things change.” True enough, but things do not always get better. We need change and fresh ideas; but we must keep in mind the historical evidence that what is of great value can be lost. The Bible says “there arose a generation that knew not the Lord.” Such was a description of their failure, not their success.
The good news? Revival is here. Many hearts have been touched. The Revelation of the mighty God in Christ has fired the souls of millions, especially the young. This is the day that the Lord has made. A transitional moment is here, and we cannot change that. It is the end time unfolding. It’s a global world, a time of unlimited communication, and ever increasing knowledge. It is a time of high promise and enormous opportunity. It is also the time to take a stand. A time to sow, to reap with the expectation of abundance. It is a time to resist evil. A new spirit of courage is emerging to call the devil’s bluff. Are we willing to say like Esther, “If I perish, I perish”? I believe more people are reaching that point. More are prepared to say, “Let’s go down fighting!” As Churchill warned, we should never think we will get a better deal by appeasement.