The title of this post was lifted directly from page 278.5 of Desire of Ages, Home Library Edition.
I was struck with so large a truth in so few words.
If one claims to be principled, then the world has the right to expect actions rooted in principle. If right actions are absent, claims of principle are empty. Many churches, and their attending intelligentsia have rejected such fundamental historical pillars as Creation, the divinity of Christ, all of the Old Testament (represented plentifully in the New Testament), the Resurrection, ...ad nauseum.
One does not edit principle nor can one do so. Principle is based on something as great but yet greater than any core doctrine of one's religion. Principle is visited and revisited over time in the way a person or a church interprets and maintains a grasp of the essence, and on the permanence, of what they say they believe. Principle is based upon the Power that speaks/writes the doctrine.
If evangelism is difficult it is because many churches and many in the church do not know or do not understand the exacting and perpetual nature of principle. If it were to be any other way, principle would expire and morph into something altogether different. Change has taken place over the centuries and in particular over recent decades and what the world sees today are churches unprincipled and neutered...to borrow the most appropriate word.
So who would seek to be part of a neutered and unprincipled church that rejects so much of what cost the lives of millions over the centuries? And why did they pay with their lives? Because they understood and accepted the price of principle.
Principle is always exacting and it is never found "on sale" or as a "bargain."
God Bless. e.c.