It was happy hour at the church in Pergamum. Some of the Christians had opened a cocktail bar and were mixing the gospel with other ideas and concepts. They were taking the truth, adding a dash of this, a slosh of that, shaking it about a bit and topping it off with a mini umbrella.
The problem is that while you may be able to put the gospel in a different glass Jesus is very unhappy when it is mixed to taste. Behind “Baraak’s bar” in Pergamum was a deliberate change of strategy by those who sought to destroy the church. Instead of trying to coerce behaviour from the outside they would seek to corrupt what Christians believed from within.
The challenge of drawing out the application of this passage today is in identifying what cocktails we are making and how to close down the bar. What are we tempted to mix with the gospel and how can we make sure we serve up pure, vintage truth?
I suspect the issues will not be vastly different today than they were then. Perhaps the first is the idea of truth itself. I’ll start with that next time.