One step, either in the right or in the wrong direction, usually leads to another step in that same way. One true principle is in harmony with another one. One false belief usually promotes and produces another. Sometimes one false doctrine actually demands another one. The "end" requires a means." For instance, if I am commanded to fly to New York, the end demands a means of travel that is not met by the railroads or the buses. The Lord's command that we assemble (Heb. 10:25) demands a place. The command of Christ that we baptize sinners into Christ demands "much water". Now, in like manner, a false doctrine may require another false act.
The doctrine of Purgatory is a necessary one if the doctrine of restitution and suffering for sin. is true. The idea that one must make restitution for all sin, and that one must suffer for every evil, makes a place for such suffering and a time for one to make complete atonement necessary if any except perfect ones are to be saved.
Roman Catholicism teaches that God forgives the guilt of sin, but that He requires temporal punishment, which one may not have completely paid at death. In such case they say he is justified, but still laden with the full debt of temporal punishment. Something like their supposed "purgatory"' is then a necessity in, order that one can finally be freed from this temporal debt and enter heaven. This is a clear illustration of how one false belief fosters another one that is also false.
If the doctrine of Original Sin could be proved true, then we would almost be forced to believe in infant baptism, for if the little babies are guilty, then some means must be found to rid them of that guilt. Since remission of sins is had by baptism into Christ, then, since they would be in grave iieed of remission, they would have to be baptized.
This matter can also be. reversed. If one could prove that babies must be baptized, then, since baptism is for sinners only, we would have to conclude that babies are guilty. Again this illustrates that one false, doctrine begets another one.
Mr. Cornelius Stain, editor of "Berean Searchlight", and a leading man among the dispensationalists identified as the "Grace Gospel Fellowship" people, says, "Today there is not a single work of righteousness, not a single religious requirement in God's plan for our salvation". (God's Plan Of Salvation Made Plain" page 19). But even these people admit that Peter preached baptism for remission of sins. So if one believes t h e statement quoted above, he has to find some way of getting rid of the force of Peter's teaching (Ac. 2). These people say Peter's teaching on this matter was succeeded by that of the "gospel of grace" given by Paul. The theory naturally demands, also, that Paul did not require baptism-in fact that he repudiated it in the last years of his work. Once more we see that a false concept leads to another one. One step indeed leads to another!
Perhaps we are all troubled with this problem -- that the e n d requires a means. The idea that the local church was insufficient to accomplish our God given mission led to a Missionary Society. It was a demand for universal church action, and such required some organization. This may have been described as a necessary way for churches to cooperate, but it was not. Local churches can and do cooperate without any organization other than the church. But the failure to recognize that completely independent action was all that God expected or allowed, brought on a human institution, (The Missionary Society) to serve as a means to a man-made end.
The same problem arises today in discussions of the benevolent work of Christians and of the church. Many people suppose that James 1:27 is a charge to the church. Debaters argue that the verse requires the church to support, to the extent of its ability, the widows and orphans of the world. This false conception leads to the building and maintaining of gigantic institutions to try to meet this need. These institutions, in, turn, solicit contributions from the churches under the guise that James 1:27 demands it of them.
It is the view of this writer that it is time that somebody affirmed that the church, from its treasury, is scripturally authorized to care for the world's needy to the extent of its ability. I shall be glad to deny such affirmation in written discussion in this magazine, and shall further gladly affirm that the church, from its treasury is scripturally authorized with regard to benevolence, only to care for needy brethren (saints). I truly believe such a discussion would help us to see the responsibilities of individuals and of the church. Let us not allow one misconception to drive us to other false beliefs and actions. And, instead of trying to decide how to care for the world's needy, let us first consider who should do it.
Truth Magazine I:8, pp. 2-3