That Thief Again
William V. Beesley
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
It has often and rightly been observed that when one leaves the shelter of complete Bible authority, there is no stopping place short of complete apostasy. Paul said, "But evil men and imposters shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13). Even principles that were once firmly established fall by the wayside.
In trying to show that the church (congregationally) has an obligation in general benevolence (e.g., to nonsaints), a preacher pushing three-score years reasoned: (1) The church is the fullness of the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23); (2) While on earth Jesus healed an unsaved person, the child of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30); (3) Therefore, the church, in following the example of Christ must feed and cloth non-saints.
He objected, with great vigor, when I, following his line of thought, reasoned: (1) The church is the fullness of the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23); (2) While on earth Jesus worked miracles (Mark 7:24-30; John 20:30); (3) Therefore, we must have miracles in the church today. His reaction was expected since we already knew his feelings about the heresy of Pat Boone and company.
Before going to sleep that night (actually the next morning), it hit me. His argument was, in principle, nothing but the old "What about the thief on the cross?" argument of our denominational friends. The time is coming when "churches of Christ" (so-called) will "shake in Baptists (accept as a Christian without baptism in order to the remission of sins), yes, and Methodists, too." Then they will ask in word as well as in principle, "What about the thief on the cross?" Brethren, that old thief ain't entirely dead yet!
Truth Magazine XIX: 14, p. 215