Quest for Truth, A Twentieth Century Need
Jimmy Tuten, Jr.
In this twentieth century, prophecy is being fulfilled. Reference is made to the prophecy of Paul (2 Tim. 4:14). The Apostle knew how dark, skeptical and unbelieving the future would be. To help us face such an ordeal, he vigorously pointed out the need for a good fight of faith, a defense of the gospel, and a striving for a faith once delivered to the saints.
We are living in an age of "spineless universal religion," guilely advocated by masses that are fearful of offending anyone by religious convictions. For some, religion is empty. Scholasticism has sapped Christianity of all fundamental truth beyond a belief in God and Christ. Many of the churches are Christless churches. It is a common thing to see the pulpit of today occupied by men who must be effective jokers, who spend precious moments out of eternity having a good time, instead of preaching Christ. It is heart breaking to hear "seminary graduates" with Ph. D. degrees misapplying and misquoting what scriptures they do use. The blind lead the blind!
The National Council of Churches met in St. Louis, Mo. in 1957. They made a study of the religious situation in that day. They came up with the following conclusion: "Churches are wanting. Many churches yielding to secular practice, have become public relations conscious! Many cannot understand why anything should be done which induces a hostile or even critical popular response" (Sunday Morning News, Dec. 4, 1957).
The sad picture of religious people who fail to study and re-study great fundamentals of the Bible was apparent long before this council met. This picture was in the making 1900 years ago. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and shall turn away their eyes from the truth, and shall be turned to fables" (2 Tim. 4:4-5). This is a fitting picture of religion today. What mankind needs is to go back to the Revelation of God's will, understand it anew, believe it and proclaim it. The following rules given by inspiration will help us in our quest for truth.
1. "Search the scriptures" (John 5:39). The inspired writer says "Study to show thyself approved unto God" (2 Tim. 2:15). John says "Try the spirits whether they be of God" (I John 4: 1). We have examples of such noble people as the Bereans, who were "more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily whether these things were so" (Acts 17: 11). People of the world must come out of their labyrinth of religious confusion and frustration. They can do this by making a fresh study of the scriptures (2 Jno. 9).
The sorrowful picture of remorse will be displayed at the judgment by those who cry, "Lord, Lord," but learn too late that being religious is not enough. We must be religiously right! Jesus says, "Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).
2. "Preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2). After we have attained a full knowledge of truth from our fresh search of the scriptures, we must promulgate the truth. Preach it and teach it knowing that each minute we waste is another minute for someone to drift from an endurance of the work. There is only one God and there is only one gospel (Eph. 4:4-5; Rom. 1: 16). Search it out and preach it!
3. We must "stand fast in the faith." Hear the record again "watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (2 Cor. 16:13). We must do this, no matter what it costs. To retreat from the truth taught in the New Testament, is to have no gospel, no saving power.
4. We must seek to bring thinking men in harmony with the thinking of Christ. To do this we must stand ready to defend what we teach or preach, and believe. We must stand ready to buffet the attacks of Satan.
Jude says, "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3). The Greek expression "epagonizomai" from whence we get "earnestly contend" means "to fight standing upon a thing which is assaulted, and which the adversary desires to take away, and it is, to fight so as to defend it, and to retain it."
Paul says "fight the good fight of faith" (I Tim. 6:12). The apostle practiced what he preached. In the closing moments of his life we hear him saying: "I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7ff.).
Friends, we must be set for a defense of the gospel (Phil. 1: 16-17). This is to be done for establishment and confirmation, (Vincent, Word Studies). We are to unite "in one spirit with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27). Only unflinching courage and steady confirmation can win victory against the foe of faith.
If ever we are to bring life to the dead, empty religion, it will be done only by a hard, faithful defense of truth.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 20, pp. 3-4